Almost 6 years, or 2310 days ago was when I first boarded my flight to Kenya, a long time ago indeed what surprises me about the whole trip is with how much clarity I can still remember almost every moment I’ve spent there.
Kenya in the continent of Africa isn’t always a popular choice for people to visit, it doesn’t offer the beaches of Hawaii or the comforts of London nor the shopping of Paris, the food may not be as amazing as Italy and these are all activities and places I adore, still, to me my journey across Kenya was one of the most beautiful and incomparable destinations ever.
Something I’ve always noticed about travellers are the contrasts, while I may love mountains and beaches, I’m either going to be a mountain person or a beach person, a country traveller or an urban traveller, and the alternatives continue, but when nature or the earth as a whole creates something stunning it cannot be missed by either of the travellers, and this meeting point to me was in Africa.
If you’ve ever conversed with someone about Kenya, they may bring up the capital, Nairobi, I was in fact warned about how the tiny city and its in-lanes that were to be treated with utmost caution due to reports of thieving, hit and runs and more could be dangerous and while that did scare us off, me and my family of 10 dealt with it like every other Indian family, by internally stressing out and snapping at each other. However, I think the warnings were just that, warnings given to alert but not scare us since Nairobi while chaotic and quick was a bit of a frenzy it wasn’t scary or unsafe. But it did start off the journey with an adventure yet after grabbing our luggage we drove off to our first destination. Sitting in the jeep, I remember thinking how the air smelt different with every foot we drove away from the city and into the wild, each bump in the dusty road made us giggle and feel at home and even today so many years later I remember the wide smile of our jeep driver as he drove us to the prided jungles of Maasai Mara.
Maasai Mara, one of the most well known wild savanna of the world, a grassland, hot and golden with sprinklings of shade giving green trees and mountains, based in Kenya shares it borders with the county of Tanzania, the home of the famous Kilimanjaro mountain that I was able to actually see the tip of.
The largest attraction of these mid-African countries happens to be the national reserves like Maasai Mara and the Serengeti, so the resorts are beautifully centered in the reserves with either age-old manors from the British era of the commonwealth or well-spaced tents. Unused to vacations in tents, our first thought was about the extreme discomfort we’d face but the beauty of the jungle and excitement of the safaris made us forget about it all. However if you get a chance to visit, the Giraffe Manor is an experience you shouldn’t miss, for giraffes come and tower over you as you eat your gorgeous European breakfast in the open.
Untouched by the pollution of the cities, the Maasai reserve’s skies looked bluer than normal, the stars at night were so so many it looked like glitter was sprinkled across the night sky, the moon was larger than ever, the sunset a true true beauty that we would stop our safari jeeps to witness and yet the animals, yes the animals were at the centre of it all.
A term one should know before visiting Kenya is the ‘big 5’, a term commonly thrown around as you take your safari trips, it’s extremely rare and you should consider yourself very lucky if you get to visit Kenya and see the big 5 – African Elephant, Lion, Leopard, Cape Buffalo, and Rhinoceros. I think being able to see all 5 of these magnificent animals may have made a magical trip for me even more unreal. The otherworldly magic continued as we got to visit the tribe of Maasai, originally the land keepers of this wide reserve, their colourful clothing, beautiful beadwork and fascinating headgears were a sight to see, they lived as one with the jungle in houses of mud, self made hunting weapons and pride.
Pride ; a word with a literal meaning in Africa for aside from a deep sense of pleasure in your achievements it is also the name of a group of the most magnificent animal of all, the King of the jungle, whose roar is deafening, stride is confident and mane is majestic, the hero and villain of many legends – the Lion of Africa and as fate would have it, almost like a fairytale, on my last safari in Africa I got to see a pride complete with the king, two lionesses and their beautiful, adorable cubs.
If I sit still and imagine, I can still see the blue blue skies, the soft heat of the sun, the aroma of freshly ground Kenyan coffee and the animals looking deep into my eyes all of which I experienced along with an unreal sense of peace in Kenya.
While an uncommon choice, you should visit the wilderness, beauty and gracious hospitality of Kenya for it is the land where ‘there are no worries’ or as the locals say in Swahili, “Hakuna Matata”!
Written by Akanksha Sharma, the co-founder and CEO of the premium bath and skincare brand CITTA (www.cittaworld.com) she started her company with her mother in order to take Indian skincare rituals with a modern luxurious twist to the world. She loves to travel, play tennis and of course at the core of her passion is her brand CITTA.