|Upon our arrival at Camp Olonana, we were greeted by a Masai warrior playing a welcoming tune on his flute. Following him and our concierge Christine, who oversees the flow of their guest’s experience to the edge of the deck overlooking the Mara River, we knew we’d chosen the perfect environment to fulfill our dreams of a safari combined with exquisite accommodations and service.|
After the other guests arrived at the landing strip, we began the 25-minute drive to the camp. Our combined enthusiasm and the sightings along the way, had all of us, including Anderson, chattering on simultaneously.
|The fast flowing Mara River is muddy due to erosion and lack of man’s intervention. The local Masai tribes are dependent upon its waters as well as the wildlife and vegetation. It is this river that the Great Migration crosses over and again as it makes its way from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara. We missed the crossing of the millions of wildebeest but we did travel to Tanzania to see the tail end. By the time we made that journey, we were so satisfied with our safari experience that we hardly gave it a thought. Someday, we will return to see it at the right time and more than anything go on safari once again. Tom suggested we return the year of my 70th birthday, a little over 4 years away.|
|The all-inclusive camp consists of 3 meals daily, appetizers, snacks, beverages, high tea in the afternoon, and alcoholic drinks at any time of day or night. Glass bottles of purified water were presented at our table at all meals and in our tent for drinking and brushing teeth. I was so excited I failed to take a photo of our delicious GF chicken curry lunch.|
|All produce at Camp Olonana is organically grown in their on-site garden. A certified ecologically friendly resort, the care is given to the food, and the use of water, fuel, and electricity were refreshing in this distant setting. For example, all electrical outlets were shut off (lights stayed on) from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm and off again during the night. In consideration of our need to recharge our equipment, we were given a power strip connected to the generator that was available 24 hours a day. Many more measures were implemented to maintain the ecological integrity of the camp, which consisted of 14 tents, a spa tent, the lodge, gift shop, offices, and housing for staff.|
|The organic garden located at the camp, left unlocked for us to peruse at our leisure.|
|Our tent was #4 a short jaunt down this stone-paved walkway. The Camp Olonana, 5000 feet above sea level and cool at night had few mosquitoes and insects. The cool nights were heavenly, requiring a down comforter to keep us warm. That was a rather pleasant sensation!|
|Continuing along the tree-lined path to our tent, it was comforting to know our bags were already inside with little to unpack with a short time to unwind before taking off on our first official game drive at 4:00 pm.
|The veranda to our tent. Approaching, it took our breath away.
|Soon, we were unpacked, with our equipment plugged in, anxious to write here to begin sharing the experience. With no Internet connection in the tent and neither of our WiFi devices able to connect, we comfortably sat in the lodge to go online to post. As we’d mentioned the connection was poor, preventing us from posting many photos until returning to Diani Beach, where still the connection isn’t strong. We slept in the bed on the left, keeping our electronics plugged in on the bed on the right. For the first time ever, my camera ran out of juice on safari forcing us to use the 2nd camera which Tom used less often.
|Additional view of our tent.|
|Our stone bathroom in our tent after we’d unpacked. The toilet is behind the door to the right and the shower is to the left as shown below in the next photo.|
Tomorrow, we’ll share the beginning of our best safari photos with many unusual sightings in the wild, animals on the hunt, animal kills, dining in the bush, gorgeous scenery, and eventually, our trip to Tanzania.
Also, interspersed, we’ll include our communal evening barbecue with entertainment by a local Masai tribe. And, we’ll share our unbelievable visit, on our last day, to a nearby Masai village where we were welcomed and toured by Chief Richard learning the way of life for the Masai, so far removed from our own reality and so rich in its content.
Wildlife photos tomorrow…