Holiday review by Mrs Susan Bailey
Name: Mrs Susan Bailey
Date of trip: 04/10/2018
Number of people: 2
There are just so many.. Seeing the last two northern white rhino was emotional and incredibly moving. Not being able to get to our tent late one afternoon at Porini Lion Camp due to a hippo being outside, so having to wait until it moved on! Staying at the house on the hill at the Emakoko lodge was amazing - the views, our own infinity pool, our own chef one night as we were the only ones staying at the lodge, so he came to the house to cook for us . As soon as we arrived at Tsavo, we saw Lualeni with her two week old calf as well as the rest of her herd having fun at a water filled ditch rolling in the mud. Unforgettable!! Meeting all our foster elephants at the various orphanages / stockades - truly magical. Lualeni also brought Lulu to the stockade - it was just so special. Lualeni was featured on the elephant Diaries with Jonathan Scott and Micheala Strachan years ago. I knew the week before we departed that she had had a calf and was hoping to see her, so it was a dream come true!! Being able to chat to the keepers and be with them while they work and watch the elephants at the water holes / mud wallows. Just AMAZING and so special. The staff at all the camps made each camp very special - in particular Emakoko Lodge, Ithumba lodge and Umani Springs lodge, where the staff went above and beyond to help us. Having a game drive in Nairobi National Park on our last morning was unforgettable too - we saw 8 black rhino, white rhino, lion, hyena with pup, a large male leopard sitting on top of the foliage 40 feet up a tree, as well as all the plains animals. It was an action packed three hours. Would definitely recommend anyone to stay here on arrival / departure.
The holiday exceeded all our expectations. It was great to go back to Porini Rhino camp and see David again - he was previously manager at Porini Mara camp when we went 6 years ago. The combination of lodges and tented camps were amazing. Our experiences with the elephants at the stockades were unforgettable and magical. We all have such special memories and it will be very difficult to ever top this trip.
Tracy was great and dealt with all our queries and kept tweaking our itinerary until we were completely happy with it.
All the guides were great, knowledgeable, professional and courteous. Julius, our driver for the second part of our trip was amazing and really looked after us. He was an excellent driver - the road out of Nairobi to Mombassa is certainly a challenge. We always felt safe and he never took risks like many of the other drivers on the road.
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
It was very humbling having Phillip, the head keeper at Umani Springs Stockade thanking us for coming and supporting the Sheldrick organisation, as without all the supporters from around the world, he and the other keepers would not be able to do their jobs. Emanuel at Ithumba also thanked us profusely for our support. Not only do the supporters / foster parents of the ellies, keep the orphanages going, but they also help the native wildlife due to the water holes that the Sheldrick organisation keep full with water.
The places you stayed
Staff were very welcoming, especially as we arrived so late at night. The chef prepared an amazing meal, which unfortunately we struggled to eat as it was so late. Three courses at midnight was quite difficult to digest, but we made a good attempt. Tent very comfortable and would definitely recommend staying here. They also put on a good hearty breakfast the following morning before our departure. Would have been nice to stay two nights just to acclimatise and unwind after travelling.
Love it here. We stayed here 6 years ago and it was great to go back. David the camp manager was very welcoming and was great to see him again as he was at Mara camp where we had also been to before. Food was very good. Michael our driver was very good - albeit we had a white knuckle ride on our way back to camp the first afternoon due to the torrential rain and the black mud just turned to an incredibly slippery surface.
Staff all great. We were very well looked after. Food again was very good. Nelson and James were our driver and guide who were excellent. Sat in the jeep and had a sundowner watching a large pride of 15 lions. Saw so many lions here, a female cheetah with her 4 cubs and every time we saw her, she had always just made a kill. Also saw 2 leopard, the first one was Figlet, daughter of Fig who was resting under someone's car. She was very comfortable. Unfortunately we did not see the thousands of plains animals we had hoped to see as the migration had been very different this year. The animals had kept crossing and then crossing back and had not really stayed like they usually do.