Part 1: Ol Donyo Wuas

By Lyndon and Jason Duplessis, Fish Eagle Safaris

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This was our first safari trip to both Kenya & Tanzania. After exclusively traveling to Southern Africa, being able to visit East Africa twice in one year (Uganda, Feb.) was very special. This trip was much more similar to our Southern Africa trips, as opposed to Uganda, but East Africa is still a unique destination. The people in East Africa are extremely friendly, and by the end of our trip we felt like the little bit of Swahili we had learned became second nature in our vocabulary.

For us, the meat and potatoes of every good safari is being able to view wildlife. In that regard, this trip was at the very top. Going on a safari in many ways is like a fishing trip. You never know what to expect and often times the results surprise you. Not only did we see a great abundance of game, but the quality of the sightings was excellent. For 4 years we hadn’t been able to see a hunt on any of our trips, but we were lucky enough to see several this time around.

Day 1:

We arrived in Nairobi and met with a representative from Origins Safaris (Our choice of safari operations for East Africa), and headed out from the airport toward the Norfolk Hotel. Nairobi is a pretty city, especially with the jacarandas in bloom, but if you’re ever there for an extended period of time beware the roundabouts. We also suggest hiring a driver, as the traffic can get ugly. We arrived at the Norfolk in the late afternoon and took the opportunity to get in a quick nap before dinner. We’ve been known to sleep away the entire first day, but luckily we forced ourselves to grab something to eat at the Tatu; one of the Norfolk’s restaurants. The food was excellent. In a trip full of delicious food, we may have had the best meal at our first stop.

Day 2 & 3 – Ol Donyo Wuas, Chyulu Hills:

Our first stop on the safari was Ol Donyo Wuas, about an hour flight south of Nairobi. The camp has a wonderful location in the Chyulu Hills near Amboseli National Park and if you’re lucky, within sight of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Unfortunately for us in the two days we were there we could just barely see the outline of the mountain as it was not clear enough. Despite this inconvenience we had a wonderful time at Ol Donyo. The game viewing here wasn’t as good as it has been in the past due to the recent draught which had killed a lot of the animals. But even without that aspect, this is a special camp. The surroundings are beautiful and they have a long list of activities that make it an excellent spot to stay multiple days.

Here’s a view from our room. As you can tell the room is nice as well as the view and there’s a small plunge pool that’s frequented by quite large agama lizards.

Ol Donyo Wuas has a partnership with Ride Africa. They maintain a very nice stable at a distance to the camp, which allows them to take clients out on horseback rides. There are different types of rides for people with varying levels of proficiency on horseback.

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in Texas grows up riding horses so we stuck with the beginner course. Nonetheless this was an enjoyable experience, especially being able to experience the bush in a new way. Unfortunately, the camera was a bit fragile for horseback especially considering Jason’s novice horseback status, so only a few photos were taken.

Oryx on a rolling plain:

We also took mountain bikes out with a Maasai guide on an evening ride, another new bush experience for both of us. Even though for the most part there was little elevation change on our route, it got quite challenging at times because the area is spotted with old lava flows. Over time, the flows have been ground up into fine black sand that make getting traction somewhat difficult.

Continue to Part 2