Video Ring

Your Timeless Journey Awaits...

With my safari bag packed and yellow fever certificate in hand, I was all set for my adventure to Kenya and couldn't contain my excitement.

Day 1: Arrival in Nairobi

With my safari bag packed and yellow fever certificate in hand, I was all set for my adventure to Kenya and couldn’t contain my excitement. I boarded Kenya Airlines flight from Cape Town to Nairobi, with a short layover at Victoria Falls.

On arrival at Jomo Kenyatta Airport, a quick and easy border and immigration check was done, and I met my private chauffeur for the transfer to my home for the next few nights, the Sarova Panafrica Hotel.

Sarova Panafrica is a large hotel that caters mainly to the local market, hosting various events and parties. They had a lovely pool and an outdoor BBQ area, which seemed popular for such occasions. While most guests appeared to be locals, I did spot a few international visitors. Having my own space with a comfortable double bed was a true blessing for some much-needed peace and quiet.

The hotel staff was efficient, friendly, and always ready to help. I couldn’t have asked for more during my stay here.

Day 2: Nairobi Touring and Hotel Visits

I started the day with breakfast at the hotel. The waiters made quite the impression in their charming red waistcoats and were always ready to assist.

I met my guides and departed on a City Tour of Nairobi, driving through the city, where my guide pointed out the various buildings of historical interest. Our first stop was at the Utamaduni Craft Centre and Tea Garden, which was a really lovely market with beautiful crafts. I enjoyed exploring the centre and taking in the artistic creations.

Next, we visited the Giraffe Centre, which seemed to be a popular local excursion for schools and families. The giraffes have their own free-roaming nature reserve, which was great to see. From the Giraffe Centre, I caught a glimpse of Giraffe Manor, and just opposite the centre, there was a walking trail in the reserve, from where you can see more giraffes.

From there, we headed to the Karen Blixen Museum/Estate. This visit felt like an integral part of Nairobi’s history and Kenya as a whole. I found the museum to be quite intriguing. Sitting outside in the garden, under a shady tree, my guide shared the story of Karen Blixen. It was well-narrated and informative. The tour of the house itself was pleasant, with the guide providing detailed insights into every painting and piece of furniture.

Arts at the Karen Blixen Museum

Nicole's visit to Carnivore Restaurant in Nairobi

Carnivore Restaurant

After the tour, I had worked up quite an appetite, and it was perfect timing because we were headed to the Carnivore Restaurant! This is the place for carnivores. They serve chicken, lamb, beef, ribs, bull testicles (yes, really!), crocodile meat, and my personal favourite, ostrich meatballs. The waiters brought the different meats around on a revolving tray, accompanied by various sauces. Also served are a variety of salads. The ambiance was good, and I had the unexpected pleasure of having a kitten join me for lunch while enjoying the upbeat tribal music playing in the background.

Hotel Visits
  • Next on the agenda was a site inspection of the Radisson Blu. It had a fresh, and spacious vibe, with various areas to relax and unwind. It was bustling with activity on a Saturday. There are three dining areas, one of which caught my eye—the Chophouse, which had a private 8-seater dining option within the restaurant. The hotel also had large outdoor areas, a swimming pool, a spa, and a gym.
  • Our next stop was the Kempinski Villa Rosa. This hotel had a charming boutique-style outer-appearance, but it turned out to be quite spacious. In fact, it boasted one of the largest presidential suites in Nairobi, spanning from one side of the building to the other. The atmosphere was warm, and there was a touch of old classic elegance that added to its sophisticated charm. One of the highlights at Kempinski is the inclusion of daily yoga and exercise classes, depending on the occupancy and demand. It is a great option, especially considering the delicious meal and restaurant options available at the hotel.
  • I had the opportunity to visit the Sarova Stanley Hotel, and it was truly a place steeped in history. The hotel offers a 1-hour historic tour, which was a fantastic way to learn more about its rich past. As I walked through the hotel, I couldn’t help but notice the colonial feel, with deep shades of red and green adorning the interiors. The Sarova Stanley is known for its famous historic restaurant, the Thorntree, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They also had a remarkable Thai restaurant, but it required pre-booking due to its limited capacity. It was a relatively small restaurant, so both hotel guests and outside visitors needed to plan ahead. It’s worth noting that the Thai restaurant was closed on Sundays.

  • Stepping into Hemingways Nairobi, I immediately felt grand. The rooms were beautiful, each named after famous individuals who had contributed to the country, tourism, or conservation. The hotel’s gardens and terraces are simply stunning, adorned with amazing flower arrangements that filled the air with delightful fragrances. Guests can arrive at the property by helicopter, utilizing the neighbouring premises for landing. It added a touch of luxury and convenience to the experience.
  • Hemingways Eden was a world apart from Hemingways Nairobi. It felt like a spiritual sanctuary, surrounded by serene, forested gardens. Each room type had its unique charm and character. I particularly loved the 3-bedroom house, which used to be a family home. It has a down-to-earth, nature-inspired feel, with amazing paintings, artwork, and furniture. The husband even crafted the beds, while the wife designed clothes, and their children displayed artistic talent as well. One of the accommodation options had a small quiet room or meditation room upstairs, which added to the overall peaceful atmosphere.The walls of the cottages are adorned with hand-drawn butterfly murals, adding a whimsical touch. In the evenings guests are invited to gather around the bonfire for drinks and snacks, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.One thing that stood out was their commitment to a “farm to table” philosophy. They have their own vegetable garden, resembling a greenhouse, where they pick fresh produce to serve as much as possible. It is a wonderful way to ensure quality and freshness in their meals.Additionally, they have a boutique designer studio where guests can purchase clothes, handbags, and accessories. The restaurant at Hemingways Eden served breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It offered a stunning and serene atmosphere overlooking a dam, adding to the overall charm of the dining experience.

Hemingways Nairobi

Heminways Eden

Final stop at Karen Blixen Cottages which has a charming and quaint appeal. The restaurant there was well-known and a popular spot for locals to enjoy a Sunday buffet surrounded by nature and trees. And being close to Wilson Airport, one could occasionally hear and see aircraft flying past, adding a touch of excitement to the surroundings.

Nairobi to Angama Mara: A Journey to Remember

As I prepared for my journey from Nairobi to Angama, I was filled with anticipation. The transfer from the Nairobi City Hotel was provided by Angama Mara, and provided onboard amenities such as Wi-Fi, water, and nuts as a snack, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable ride. We started our adventure at Wilson Airport, where each airline had its separate building. I found myself in the general area, eagerly awaiting our flight. The waiting area had everything we needed, including a bathroom, a curio shop, and a café.

Our flight to Angama from Wilson Airport was with Safarilink, aboard a 36-seater Dash Aircraft. It took us just 45 minutes to reach the Kichwa Tembo Airstrip, where game drive vehicles were waiting to transport us to the Angama Mara Lodge. The short 15-minute drive to the lodge was filled with excitement and anticipation.

Exquisite scenery across the Maasai Mara in Kenya

Luxurious stay at Angama Mara Safari Lodge

Angama Mara is an unfenced paradise, allowing wildlife to roam freely. At night, the lodge provided security personnel to walk guests to and from their tents/rooms, ensuring their safety.

The lodge consists of North Camp and South Camp, each offering 15 tented suites with an identical look and feel. The accommodations are comfortable and provide a cozy retreat after a day of exploration. At the main lodge, the tented suites are equipped with heated electric blankets to keep warm and cozy during the nights. While there is no air conditioning, fans are provided in the rooms to ensure comfort.

Also offered by Angama is Angama Safari Camp, which can be set up in various locations within the Masai Mara. When the camp is set up, guests from Angama Mara Main Camp are also able to stay here for two nights, only paying the difference in park fees.

My stay at Safari Camp was an authentic and personalized experience, allowing me to disconnect from Wi-Fi and truly connect with nature and ourselves. The Safari Camp is located along the Mara River, and the presence of hippos was unmistakable, especially at night. The boma/fire area was a lovely gathering space at night, where one can share stories of the day’s adventures, before heading to the main lounge/dining tent for dinner.

There are plenty of activities to enjoy at Angama Mara, including:

  • Nature walks with a Maasai Naturalist and the opportunity to go for a run with the Maasai.
  • The beading center allows guests to create their own beaded designs, like necklaces or bracelets.
  • The map/movie room serves as a versatile space, perfect for watching a movie with popcorn, hosting presentations or history talks, or even serving as a unique dinner venue.
  • The photography studio provides cameras for rent, and the staff, including Rob, helps guests capture breathtaking photos. They even offer assistance with editing.
  • All these activities are included in your stay, allowing guests to make the most of their experience.
  • For special occasions like honeymoons or weddings, guests are also able to hire a photographer.


At the main lodge, meals were ordered from an à la carte menu that changed daily. Angama Mara caters to guests with specific dietary requirements, such as Kosher or Halaal.

The Boma area, a short distance from the lodge, provided the perfect setting for sundowners after the afternoon game drives. It offered a breathtaking view, complemented by drinks and snacks.

We had planned to experience bush dinners in the forest, but unfortunately, the rain prevented it. Instead, we enjoyed a braai menu served at the main lodge, accompanied by Maasai warrior entertainment in the form of traditional singing and jumping.

Meals at the Safari Camp were decided by the chef and served directly to our table with a few sharing plates.

Then of course there’s meal time

spectacular views at Meal time, Angama Mara,


One notable feature of Angama Mara is the onsite clinic, staffed with two doctors, one of whom is always on duty. The clinic provides complimentary services to guests and also serve the local community.

During my visit, I had the opportunity to explore the village and the Shamba garden, where fresh herbs and fruits are grown. It was an amazing experience to walk through the garden with gardener Sam, selecting ingredients for my salad. I greatly enjoyed my lunch on the deck at the Shamba Garden. Next to the garden, there is a church/chapel where guests could have quiet moments or even hold ceremonies. Church services are held on Sundays for the community.


Game drives at Angama Mara could be full-day or split into morning and afternoon sessions, allowing for flexibility in exploring the Mara. However, night game drives were not permitted in the Mara Triangle, and off-roading was limited, except in the case of spotting cats.

As my time at Angama came to an end, I returned to Wilson Airport for the next connecting flight and headed onto my next destination – Cardamom House along the coast of Kenya.


The morning starts out early as we need to get to the Balloon flight take-off site before sunrise.

This short early morning transfer is just as exciting as you come across the night straddlers of a hyena, a jackal or a hippo.

Arrival procedures begin with a cup of coffee and a biscuit, payment, safety briefing and demonstration all while watching these gigantic balloons fill up to take on the sky.

Nicole on a hot air balloon ride experience in Kenya

Up, up and away we go over the reserve, over the forest and over the Mara River first going high and then going low – Elephants, hippos, crocs, Topi & huge herds of buffalo to see everywhere you go.

After a magnificent hour’s flight it’s time to take ground – and o so lucky we were with the smoothest softest landing.

On landing a short transfer in 4×4 open vehicle game drive vehicles to a breakfast banquet set up in the middle of the Masaai Mara – a glass of bubbly is served first of course.

The hot breakfast serving was no short on all good breakfast must-haves, eggs, sausage, bacon, toast, pancakes, and there is coffee of course, there were fruit options however I left that to the birds and bees to enjoy.  Finally, a stamp of approval – a certificate of flight received indeed.


One of the most unforgettable experiences during my trip was visiting the Out of Africa spot, where the famous movie was filmed. It was a quick drive from the main Angama Lodge, followed by a short hike up to a rocky outcrop. Everything was set up, including Champagne, snacks, blankets, and cushions. Here I could relax and take in the breathtaking view of the Masai Mara. It was a truly romantic and special experience, often organized for guests celebrating special occasions or honeymooners.

Safari to Beach: A Slice of Coastal Paradise



After an incredible stay at the luxurious Angama Mara, it was time to head to the beach! The next few flights took me from Wilson Airport to Lamu, followed by a short wait before boarding the flight from Lamu Airport to Malindi International Airport. From there, we had a two-hour road transfer to the Vapingo area and finally reached Cardamom House – a true gem. I can’t help but rave about the stunning beaches in the Watamu area. The crystal-clear waters, soft sand, and vibrant marine life make it the perfect destination for beach lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike.

With ten rooms scattered across different areas, each exuding a Swahili modern style, the property seamlessly blends the essence of the sea with natural and organic furniture. I loved that they incorporated old dhow materials into their design, giving the place an authentic touch. The property felt airy, open, and wonderfully peaceful.

But let’s talk about the cuisine – exceptional is an understatement. Every meal at Cardamom House was a culinary delight. They prioritize fresh, local ingredients and even source fresh fish from the local fishermen. Seafood lovers like me will be in paradise. Dinners were set up in various areas of the property, including the beach adorned with twinkling fairy lights.

When it came to activities, there was no shortage of options. Hamadi, the on-site gym instructor, was a jack of all trades. He led various exercises like Thai chi and karate and also offered massages. Group beach exercises were invigorating, and massages were done outdoors, overlooking the ocean or on the verandas of our suites.

Beach walks were a peaceful way to soak in the coastal beauty, while the marine conservation center, just a 10-minute drive from Cardamom House, fascinated me. They had a project focused on protecting and enhancing the coral in the area, and I had the opportunity to snorkel and witness their progress firsthand. For adventurous souls, skydiving at Vapingi Airstrip was an option too.

Nearby, in Malindi, you could try kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, or even sailing on a dhow boat. The possibilities were endless, and I savoured every moment.


A short 20-minute drive from Cardamom House brought me to Vipingo Ridge, a paradise for golf enthusiasts. The golf course, surrounded by a conservation area where antelopes roamed freely, provided a unique playing experience. But Vipingo Ridge wasn’t just about golf. Horse riding, tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a sports centre were all part of the package. They even had a clinic centre, ensuring guests’ well-being during their stay.

Kite Surfing at Salties Beach Bar in Kilifi was an absolute thrill. Riding the waves and feeling the wind in my hair was an experience I’ll never forget.


As my time in Kenya came to an end, I made my way back to Nairobi. From Vipingo Airstrip, we took a private charter flight on a Cessna Caravan 208B. The 1 hour and 40-minute flight was a mesmerizing journey, providing awe-inspiring views from high above. And to my astonishment, I caught sight of the majestic Kilimanjaro Mountain, its snow-capped peak glistening in the sunlight. It was a sight that took my breath away.

Though I couldn’t explore all the wonders of Kenya and Nairobi during my visit, I know there are countless unique experiences and hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

Nicole with her pilot ahead of her journey to Nairobi

  • Until next time, Kenya, you have my heart! – Nicole

In this article
  • Arrival in Nairobi
  • Nairobi Touring and Hotel Visits
  • Nairobi to the Maasai Mara
  • Safari Experiences
  • Beach Time!

Discover Our other travel stories

Read our travel stories for inspiration and updates.