Abroad Cover Feature Travel & Hotels

Trip of a Lifetime

Female Lion Hunting

For an American, a trip to Africa is a trip of a lifetime. A journey to the Motherland, the cradle of humanity — you can’t help but feel an intense connection to the land in Africa. It is many miles to get to Africa and quite foreign to an American once you get there. If you can, you’ll want to enlist the help of safari professionals, Micato Safaris. Micato Safaris are legendary; consistently winning top tour awards. This stellar organization was founded by Nairobi-based couple, Jane and Felix Pinto. Felix worked in the government which afforded him the opportunity to start a tour company. What started as one mini-cab has grown into one of the most luxurious travel experiences on earth. Everything is taken care of to the nth degree. You don’t have to worry about being attacked by wildlife, having a food allergy or not having enough fun. The folks at Micato do it all. I was fortunate enough to experience one of their bespoke journeys through Kenya and I’m thrilled to share it here with you. I went solo, but it’s a perfect getaway for romance, family bonding or just life experience.

Before the trip, we were sent a duffle bag and our safari documents. When you go on safari, you ride on puddle jumper planes with strict weight restrictions. Micato sends their guests a duffle bag as well as a packing list that is extraordinarily helpful. They tell you exactly how many pairs of socks to pack, remind you to pack spf and offer a suggested reading list. They even include darling luggage tags.

We started in Los Angeles where I was met by Micato’s Jessica Brida, who automatically got me upgraded on the flight to London. It was a full flight on Virgin Atlantic from LAX to Heathrow so the switch up to Premium Economy (Virgin Atlantic Airways’ version of business class) was greatly appreciated. Premium Economy is set up in the two, three, two configuration and I got the middle of the middle but it was surprisingly comfortable. There were tons of movies to select from and a decent meal
with drinks was served. I watched Inception on that flight, which is kind of a bad choice if you’re scared of flying! Ah, well.

Sure enough, three movies later and a little bit of sleep I landed at Heathrow. It’s always such a treat to be in London, even if I didn’t get to leave the airport. I enjoyed access to the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Lounge in Terminal 3. I had eight hours to kill and I spent it well. This is not hard to do at the lounge — easily one of the best airport lounges on earth. They had fantastic service from the happy and helpful staff, incredible selections of food from vegetarian Indian fare to burgers to upscale entrees, complimentary spa services, showers, spa amenities, library, TV, pool, video games, kids area, and numerous nooks and crannies where you can spread out with your clan.

The time went by quickly and before you know it was time to board the flight to Nairobi. This time I (surprise!) got fully upgraded to the Upper Class; a very special treat as I had not slept much for a full day. I immediately fell asleep in the flat beds and woke up to my dinner in front of me. I was parched and everyone else was sleeping and the cabin was dark. I went to the galley where I found a much-appreciated bottle of water and fruit to munch on while I did yoga stretches. Post-stretching and well hydrated, I checked out the navigation systems and learned that we were over the continent of Africa. It was the coolest thing in the world. We had a bit more flying to do but you certainly get the most incredible service when you sit in Virgin’s Upper Class, so the trip was a breeze and soon we were at the airport in Nairobi.

The airport was small and easy to maneuver through. I had to have US$50 cash to purchase my visa. The lights went out as I was waiting in line, which was a funny diversion and supposedly happens once in a while. The team at Micato met me at the door and I proceeded to be whisked into town by my safari guide, George Omuya. George was awesome. He was handsome, funny, and knew everything about anything. I immediately felt safe and could tell I was with someone who really knew his stuff. We drove through Nairobi and it was a bit like driving through Mexico City in that there was a stench of pollution and lots of people walking.
Traffic was terrible but our knowledgeable driver knew the back roads and got us to our destination in record time.

Fairmont The Norfolk

I was taken to the Fairmont The Norfolk, a historical hotel that is typically the starting point for Micato’s safaris in Kenya. The landmark hotel has been around since 1904 and has hosted such dignitaries as Winston Churchill and Bill Clinton. Recently renovated and taken over by the Fairmont Group, the hotel has top-notch rooms, excellent dining, all-you-could-need for business and a truly incredible spa. You must ask for Susan if you have time for a massage, I wanted to bring her back to the States because she was such a gifted healer. The restaurants include a jazzy joint called Tatu, which is easily one of the best restaurants in town. They also serve afternoon tea in The Tea Room and have a fun bar area for lunch, cocktails or light noshing.

After a day of acclimating and the incredible massage from Susan, I started the real adventure. My days would start with breakfast on the famous Lord Delamere Terrace where there was a vast array of breakfast options and Kenyan coffee and tea. Kenya is famous for its coffee, which was quite strong. Don’t make the mistake of  drinking it after dinner unless you are going for an epic night out. After breakfast, George gathered me up and took me on my first adventure.

My first stop was to go to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. I was fortunate enough to visit with the Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick, the widow of David and the savior of hundreds of orphaned elephants and other wildlife. Baby elephants in Kenya and surrounding countries lose their mothers to a variety of conditions such as drought, poaching and accidents. The other elephants are unable to care for the orphan so without help they would suffer and die. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust houses, feeds and develops a group of baby elephants and allows visitors to see the elephants being fed and having a romp around their pen. The elephants are the cutest things
on earth; they are playful and can be a bit ornery. Elephants have a lot in common with humans in that they form tight bonds with their caretakers and with each other. It’s true that elephants never forget and remember and recognize their keepers for life.

Baby elephants and their keeper at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick is a remarkable woman who has led thetrust from nearly its inception. She’s quite stoic, English, refined and peaceful. She’s been working with elephants for 50 years; her husband was the first warden of Tsavo National Park starting in 1948 where they lived and worked until 1976 when he was transferred to Nairobi. David died 6 months after taking the new position and the government said that she could build her cottage in Nairobi National Park and continue her work with orphaned animals.

When orphaned elephants are found by park rangers, they are flown in to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage on chartered planes, as they are usually too weak to make it by car. The orphanage has to replace what the elephants would have in the wild — which includes a highly specialized milk formula that mimics elephants’ mothers’ milk, and“family”. In the nursery, the keepers become the elephants’ family — they are there 24 hours and work on a rotating cycle.

The reasons why the calves are losing their moms are human related. Many lose their moms to poaching, which has gotten bad recently. Ivory poaching has been escalating recently, especially with the arrival of Chinese road construction workers. They provide a readymarket for the ivory; its price has gone up radically since the Chinese arrived. Other elephants fall into wells, which are dug in sand rivers to provide water for cattle. The parched elephants run over to drink it and the walls cave in, trapping the elephants in the hole. Other elephants are victim of Masai tribesmen attacks. They are found with spears embedded and ax wounds inflicted by Masai tribesmen seeking revenge for lost cattle.

I traveled to and from excursions in luxurious Range Rovers. My next adventure was to a spectacular place called Giraffe Manor. Built in the style of an old Scottish hunting lodge, it’s home to several Rothschild giraffes who come right up to the lodge, poke their heads through the windows and expect to be fed. It’s an amazingly surreal experience to be in a beautiful and historic home surrounded by timeless art and have a giraffe next to you. There are rooms for rent at the Manor and you are welcome to stay there overnight. I had a delicious lunch on the back patio consisting of grilled goat cheese salad and red snapper kebabs served in traditional Kenyan style, with shredded cabbage rice and chili. The Manor is located just eight miles outside of Nairobi’s city center, so easy to reach even though it feels like you are miles and miles away into the country. The establishment was started to help save the Rothschild giraffe and has been successful in doing so.

Giraffe Manor

The final outing on my first day in Nairobi was to visit the home of Karen Blixen. Karen was made famous in the movie, Out of Africa. Meryl Streep won an Academy Award for playing her opposite Robert Redford, who played Karen’s boyfriend, Denys Finch-Hatton. Karen was an interesting woman with an interesting life. She wrote Out of Africa based on her time in that home. She had recently divorced her arranged-marriage husband and struck out on her own to try and make it in the coffee business. Unfortunately, her crops failed and she lost her great love in a plane crash, which sent her into a tailspin of depression. She smoked and suffered from anorexia, but was a prolific writer. Her house is simple and a trip back in time. It was interesting and educational to view the antique furniture and understand how
they lived back then.

At the end of this busy day, I retreated back to Fairmont The Norfolk for a quick break and then back out for a very special dinner at the home of Felix and Jane Pinto, founders of Micato Safaris. Felix and Jane are two of the most warm and welcoming people on earth. They are local Kenyans of Indian descent. Jane is incredibly social and loves to chat. Felix is a bit more reserved in a serious businessman sort of way, but they both have grace by the buckets and it’s no wonder why they excel in the hospitality business. Dinner consisted of a mix of African and Indian food and included a delightful array of sauces and spices. I enjoyed a live performance from a men’s a capella group.

The next day was going to be exciting as I was headed to the slums of Nairobi to check out AmericaShare, the philanthropic arm of Micato Safaris. AmericaShare was started over twenty years ago when a child carrying a note asking for $15 for a school uniform approached a Micato employee from New York. The employee was moved to tears, and knew that something needed to be done to help children living in the slums of Nairobi. She convinced Micato to form AmericaShare and started a school sponsorship program so that Micato’s safari guests could be invited to sponsor children for the duration of their education.

Prior to arriving at the Mukuro slums, I stopped by a large grocery store to stock up on gifts for the kids. It was so fun to pick out art supplies and snacks that I was told would be much appreciated by the children. After I got the goods, I headed into the slums. The slums were quite disturbing to the this American’s eye. There were no proper roads, just pathways with very muddy ground. The building structures were in dire condition but the people had a life in their eyes and surprisingly, many seemed just as happy as you or I. It’s hard to understand that level of poverty even if you are used to the homeless guy on the corner. These people aren’t poor because of drugs or mental disease, they were born into destitution and into a culture where you don’t get educated and travel the world. The only way out of the slums is an education and AmericaShare is an organization that helps  these kids with a future.

Mukuro Slums in Nairobi

I arrived at the AmericaShare compound in the middle of the Mukuru slum and it was an oasis in the middle of chaos. It is set in a gated area with several structures used for community centers and libraries, a playing field and a basketball court. There were lots of kids already playing ball. I was thrilled to tour the facility. My first stop was at a reusable sanitary pad project. One of the problems girls face is not being able to afford sanitary pads and so they’ll stay home from school in shame during menstruation. Unfortunately, staying home along during the day also increases the risk of rape. By providing reusable sanitary napkins and hygiene kits, Micato helps these girls keep up on their education and keeps them in the safety of school.

I then stopped by the library where boys from the slums were reading and I checked out the computer lab, where boys were playing video games that teach responsibility and ethics. The video games, designed as part of an innovative program called the Partnership for an HIV-Free Generation, are designed to put the kids into virtual environments where they make ethical decisions and are educated on HIV prevention. This project is in conjunction with Microsoft and Nike.

The school children of AmericaShare

My last stop on the tour was to an actual pre-school classroom supported by Micato’s AmericaShare. The children greeted me and sang me a song. These kids were something else; they were so sweet and happy. The Micato safari directors and I passed out snacks and bonded with the children who were simply just precious. After the classrooms, I played ball in the yard with the kids and then returned back through the slums. It was nice to know that in the midst of such poverty was a heart of hope.

That afternoon I did more soul stirring with a visit to a wonderful art gallery and jewelry designer. The art gallery is the studio of Carol Lees, who represents the top visual artists of East Africa. The studio is set in a lovely part of town near many embassy offices. It’s built into a tree house and features bold and stirring art of modern African life with subjects including political commentary.

I then visited the studio of Gemini Desai, one of Kenya’s top jewelers. Gemini works with marginalized women who are single mothers and teaches them her craft. The collection of work available at her store is a mix of beads and stones crafted into wearable art. Ancient beads, worn by Samburu warriors who were lion hunters or the “Chevron” bead which came from the Venetians in the 1500’s with the patterns on the side are stunning and special jewelry. It’s a great stop to stock up on gifts for the women in your life with price points that span from very expensive to incredibly reasonable.

The following day I was off on the next segment of my adventure, which would take me out of the urban setting of Nairobi to the southern border of Kenya and the north of Tanzania. This was the equivalent of going out into the middle of nowhere. It was instantly peaceful, one of those places where your blood pressure drops  considerably and the silence is eerie yet fills an unknown longing. The trip to this magical land does require a flight in a puddle jumper so prepare yourself. The landing strip will occasionally have to be cleared of wildlife, but that’s a big part of the reason to explore Shompole.

Shompole is a remarkable resort that has hosted the likes of Brad Pitt and Bono The architecture is really cool; it is built into the side of a mountain ridge and made to fit into the natural environment. This is eco tourism but they did not scrimp on luxury. My suite was large – around 1000 square feet, with a dipping pool, sitting area, large bathroom, dressing area and huge bed. There were no walls, only a panoramic view of Great Rift Valley below. There were patio areas and birds flying in and out. The roof was thatch and the temperature in November was hot. The dipping pool at the foot of my living room was my first test and it was very refreshing. The décor of the place was minimalist naturalist. Wooden furniture from the local trees taken out by the river during rainy season was used for art and functional furniture. The walls were white stone.

The Room at Shompole

The staff at Shompole was exactly what you would expect from a five-star resort. The group of developers partnered with the local tribe to build Shompole; they lease the land from the tribe and employ tribes people at the hotel. Tourism is a coveted career among tribal kids. In addition to being extremely gracious and hospitable, the
staff at Shompole were fun and joined me for dinner and lent out books. Myself and the other guests would all eat around a family style table. We were served veggies from Shompole’s organic garden and various meats and fishes. We even had lasagna one night, which was definitely a treat. The best, coolest part of Shompole is the animals. Every morning and evening I would go out on safari and test my luck spotting animals.

Pink Flamingos on Lake Natron

The first evening I went south right up towards the Tanzania border at the base of Lake Natron, which is a saltwater lake. On the drive out I saw local people who were kind enough to pose for pictures and come up to say hi. Many were carrying goats or stacks of wood and the adults were wearing traditional tribal attire. The kids were amazed at my white skin, wanted to touch it and thought that we were angels — they were pretty freaked out, and we were equally fascinated at this culture living out in the middle of nowhere.

I spotted zebras, deer, wildebeest, tree monkeys, exotic birds, and a lone bull. The lighting and the clouds were magical and finally I got to my evening destination at the edge of the lake surrounded by pink flamingos. It was pretty terrific and the only thing that made it better was the staff from Shompole who had set up sundowners. There was a full bar and passed appetizers as I chilled out and took it all in. After my safari, I returned back to the resort for a delicious dinner and then called it a night.

Sleeping at Shompole was a little bit frightening. Your bed is zipped up into a tent but there are definitely critters all around and you can hear lions growling. I was afraid to get out of my tent until it was fully daylight so try to travel with a sleeping partner, as you’ll be scared if you have to sleep alone.

The next day was spent going on a walking safari tour in the morning. I was woken up very early (6AM) by the gentle sound of my butler saying “karibu” and bringing tea. I left early to set out on my tour. I was guided by a couple of guys from the local tribe who were as nice and as authentic as you can be. We went for about and hour and a half walking up the riverbed and the guides introduced us to the local flora and fauna and even taught us how to make a fire in the bush from sticks. We saw a family of baboons who were friendly enough and then as we were walking along the riverbed, we came upon a fully set table in the middle where I was treated to breakfast from the staff at Shompole. It was so surreal to be sitting in the middle of a dried out riverbed in Africa, eating custom-cooked eggs and sipping on mimosas, but such is life on a Micato safari.

Later that day, on my afternoon safari, I spotted my first pride of lions. They are the king of the jungle for a reason. There was a group of five hungry, young-ish female lions. They were a bit bony in the hips so we figured they hadn’t eaten in a few days. They were moseying about and eventually wandered off.

The Shompole Locals Performing

On this particular evening I had the good fortune of being entertained by the local tribe and had the chance to purchase some of their jewelry and artwork. The women of the tribe had set up a market and laid out their beaded jewelry. After shopping I was served drinks and then treated to a dance and singing performance by the male tribe members. The performers were outfitted in their traditional tribal attire and their songs and dances included high-pitched shouts and lots of jumping up and down. Some of the performers wore headdresses made with feathers and various animal parts.

After a couple of sleepless nights in Shompole, I was excited to have a change of temperature even though I was sad to leave this unique property. I took my last mini-game ride on my way to the landing strip to be picked up and taken to Mount Kenya. On the way to the landing strip we spotted another pride of lions and various zebras.

My next stop was Mount Kenya, which was about an hour away in the trusty puddle jumper. Once I arrived at Mount Kenya, I was greeted by Micato Safari drivers and taken to the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club. The Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club is a magical destination located right on the equator and at the base of Mount Kenya. The property has a fantastic history. Previous owners include Englishman Percy “Bongo” Smith, who died in a drunken brawl. Ownership then went to a wealthy American, Rhoda Lewisohn, who built a luxurious home for her French lover turned husband, Gabriel Prud’Homme. The property eventually fell into the hands of film star William Holden, Texas oil millionaire Ray Ryan and Swiss financier Carl Hirschmann. They turned it into the Mount Kenya Safari Club in 1959 and hosted the likes of Sir Winston Churchill, Bing Crosby, Ava Gardner, Lord Mountbatten, members of the Saudi Arabian royal family and more. Eventually ownership went to the Arabs and it is now managed by the Fairmont Hotel Group.

The hotel is luxurious and elegant and the best room is Rhoda and Gabriel’s old room above the main area right on the equator. It’s got views of the enchanting gardens and the peak of Mount Kenya. The gardens are very special and include a hedge maze, tennis courts and swimming pool. On the other side of the property you’ll find the equator garden and the William Holden Foundation Animal Orphanage. The orphanage is a delight to visit and hosts a great deal of animals including zebroids (half zebra and half horse), bongo (a type of endangered antelope), cheetahs, a variety of monkeys, Grey Crowned Cranes, wild cats, a friendly bull, a porcupine, leopards, and a 100 year- old turtle.

Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Another wildlife excursion I was able to experience during my stay in Mount Kenya was a visit to the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The chimpanzee is the closest animal relative to humans and these sweet creatures have been rescued from places like Rwanda where, sadly, there is a market for poaching chimps and gorillas for the  bushmeat trade. This practice is closely linked to the logging industry as the loggers are not provided any other means of nutrition. It’s a sad state of affairs and once the primates are rescued and brought to the sanctuary, they are free to live out their lives in peace. A visit to Sweetwaters provides an excellent opportunity to stare into the eyes of these great apes and see all of their human mannerisms.

While staying at the Mt. Kenya Safari Club I was able to enjoy a number of activities including a bush dinner and a bush breakfast. The bush dinner was set along the river and included entertainment from the locals similar to, but a lot smaller than, the show in Shompole. They danced and sang and encouraged me to join in, which I did. It was very fun, and a once in a lifetime experience to dance at the foot of a river with local Kenyans. The bush breakfast was presented after a rigorous horseback ride through the forest at the base of Mt. Kenya. Other tour guests and I mounted the horses at about 7:30AM and rode for about an hour and a half though the gorgeous terrain. Then we came upon a grassy open space and low and behold, there was a fully set table and chef station ready to prepare our breakfast. It was such a treat to eat outside on this clear, warm and sunny day.

After all of these wonderful adventures, you would think that my experience on this Micato safari would be coming to an end when, in fact, the best was still to come. Our next and final destination in Kenya was my favorite stop. Again, I was fortunate to stay at a Fairmont property, the Fairmont Mara Safari Club. This was my favorite resort of the trip. I knew we would be staying in tents, but these were some seriously luxurious tents. I think it was the service that won me over at this destination. Everything was perfect!

One of the things I liked best about this property was the way every guest experience was so carefully thought out. The tents were perfectly designed with a comfy bed in the center of the room, a small seating and dressing area and then the bathroom towards the back half of the tent. Each tent also had it’s own patio with an outdoor
sitting area. The bathroom had modern amenities including a dressing table and hair dryer. The entire tent had beautifully rich colors with dark wood accents. At the end of the night, after your room had been turned down, the nets around your bed were zipped down and a flashlight and bottle of water were placed inside the bed. There were also lights with pull on switches directly above your bed so you could turn on the lights in the middle of the night without the fear of having to get out of your tent. You could still hear critters in the night and the comforting sounds of the hippos coming from the river.

Entrance to the tent at Fairmont Mara Safari Club

The main thing to do when you stay at the Fairmont Mara Safari Club with Micato Safaris is to go on safari, and get to know the animals. The resort is located on the  Masai Mara National Reserve and is surrounded on three sides by the Mara River — home to a great number of hippos. Surprisingly, these sweet, rotund, vegetarians are the most feared and biggest killer to humans among all of the animals in Kenya. They spend their days lounging and sleeping in the river and then in the evening they leave the river and head out to the fields where they enjoy their daily meal of grass. The reason they are so feared and dangerous is because they will crush you if you get in the path between the river and their food. No other animal (not counting humans) can kill a grown hippo but their calves are at risk from crocodiles and lions. However, the skin of mature hippos is too thick for the crocs and lions to sink their teeth into.

As I slept in my luxury tents along the river, I would hear the hippos grunting about after their feeding time. For whatever reason, I found the hippos to be my favorite animals in Africa. Perhaps it’s because they keep to themselves and seem to have an idyllic lifestyle — who wouldn’t want to lounge in the water all day, be safe from lions and crocodiles and be feared by humans?

However, those delightful hippos were not the only animals I was treated to on the Masai Mara National Reserve. I was fortunate enough to see “The Big Five”. “The Big Five” is a classification of animals that are most coveted to be seen on safari. The name has gruesome beginnings from when hunting was allowed and the most prestigious kills were classified as “The Big Five”. They include elephants, lions, rhinoceros, buffalo and the elusive leopard. It was pretty easy to spot the first four animals but the hardest to find, and therefore most exciting to see, was the leopard. I was thrilled to experience a leopard sighting on the Masai Mara. It was on an evening safari and up in a tree sat a beautiful leopard noshing on a goat, which was stolen from a local Masai tribe. It was pretty gruesome to see the dead goat with its lifeless body slung casually over a branch but the leopard was magnificent. They are easily the most beautiful animal on safari with their spotted coat and bright blue eyes. Her mannerisms reminded me of a common house cat with a detached attitude to all of the attention she was getting as she went about cleaning her paws.

There was some concern for the life of this animal as it is common for the local tribe to take retribution by killing the leopard for stealing their goat. The government has a program in place to pay the locals for their goat in an attempt to spare the life of the leopard — a huge tourist draw — but as with most government intentions, there is a lot of red tape involved for the tribe to be reimbursed. As it is with human nature, they would prefer the instant gratification of just killing the leopard.

Also located on the Masai Mara National Reserve is a rhino sanctuary. The rhinos have a huge risk of poaching as their horns — which are made of keratin — and are sold on the black market. There are some cultures (yes, we are looking at you again, China!) that grind up the horns and use them for aphrodisiacs and other, rather mystic, potions. The horns are sold on the black market for a measly $2700. The folks guarding the rhinos are paid about $150/month — to give you some perspective. The rhinos I visited had 24/7 guards that spend their days and nights protecting the animals. I was told that there were armed guards posted up on the hill who keep an eye on the rhinos. There were also armed guards down where I was, which was only a few yards away from the herd of rhinos.

I showed up to see a father and son rhino sparring with their much-coveted horns. It seemed like a mix between a face off and a father/son lesson but the guard told us that the two would, most likely, need to be separated, and the son taken off to a different sanctuary. These animals were enormous and a bit frightening as they were very close to me. I was told that they don’t see well but that I needed to be very quiet to avoid being charged. Yet another once in a lifetime experience, thanks to the good folks at Micato Safaris.

Firing up the hot air balloon

My final day at the Fairmont Mara Safari Club started extremely early due to another incredibly exciting opportunity. I wasn’t sure if the weather was going to  cooperate but it did, and I wasoff on a hot air balloon excursion. I left the hotel while it was still dark; we caught a hippo and calf in our headlights as they were heading back to the river. We got to the take-off field, entered the basket — which was lying sideways — and started to fill up the balloon. Soon enough, we were airborne and enjoying the sunrise and the vast terrain of the Masai Mara National Reserve. Sightseeing by hot air balloon is really cool because you get a unique view of the terrain and the animals. We even flew over a local tribal village. The elephants did not enjoy having us fly over them and threw a bit of a fit. After a thrilling hour or so of flight we landed in a field, were picked up by Micato Range Rovers and driven to another spectacular champagne bush breakfast.

Later that day, after a much needed nap, I ventured out to meet the local tribe. This group lives close to the hotel and they greeted me with a traditional welcome dance and then let me meander about their homes. I got to know the chief who was very sweet and told me all about living in the tribe. The men are welcome to take more than one wife but he said that he only had one wife and that they were happy and in love. The tribe’s biggest concerns are having enough food and water, educating the kids and trying to prevent malaria. I spoke with one young man who was about 18 and he said that they had to travel for about a day to be able to use the Internet. Upon our return to the hotel, I suggested to sales and marketing executive, Sean Walwyn, that perhaps the Fairmont Hotel Group could help these kids with some books and  Internet access. They were huge fans of the United States and were particularly proud of President Obama’s Kenyan roots.

And with that our safari adventure was coming to a close. It was such an incredible experience and the staff at Micato Safaris and the Fairmont Hotels were spot on perfect. While it might be something you have to save for several years to enjoy, it really is a must do. A visit to the motherland, meeting the locals — from the remote tribes to the Nairobi slums to the gracious Pintos, seeing the animals, learning the culture, everything about Africa is wonderful.

Micato safaris:  www.micato.com; 1-800-MiCATo-1
Americashare:  www.americashare.org
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts:  www.fairmont.com
Virgin Atlantic Airways:  www.virgin-atlantic.com

1 Comment

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