Okay, so after we left Samburu, we started on our way towards Shaba National Reserve. We were headed for some relaxation after a few days spent driving around on safari. The two reserves are right beside each other, but it took longer than expected to get there due to the ‘locals‘.
See, we ended up caught in the thick of a massive herd of camels! The locals tend to herd their livestock through the reserves, which can often scare off the more exotic animals. In this instance, I didn’t mind too much, as I happen to love camels. On my bucket list is to do a camel safari through the desert, and stay in a bedouin style tent.
Once we got through the camels, it was pretty quick up to the Sarova Shaba Game Lodge. The terrain here, despite being so close to Samburu, was far more rocky, and looked fairly volcanic. As we got closer to the lodge, the rocks gave way to trees and then the river that runs alongside the resort. Shaba Lodge was a lot ‘fancier’ than Samburu, and we wanted to make the most of our two days of relaxation. So we checked in to our room, and headed for lunch.
We pretty much spent the next two days in and around the pool, reading our books and snoozing. It was quite lovely! There were more people at this lodge, and yet we pretty much had the pool to ourselves! Most of the groups staying there were taking safari tours each day, while we had already spent over three days doing just that. So instead, we ate and got all kinds of lazy for two days…
After Shaba Lodge, we made our way back to Nanyuki and headed towards the Fairmont Mt Kenya Safari Lodge! We had yet one more night booked for relaxation before heading to Nairobi, and got some seriously good rates at this super-fancy hotel. Our room (or should I say rooms?) was like a little cabin tucked away from the main buildings (sensing a theme?). It came with a little sitting room, huge washroom, bedroom, and a large patio. The best part of all, was the fireplace! Despite what you might think, Kenya can get quite cold at night, depending on your elevation. Not that we really needed it, but Richard and I both love a good open fire.
But despite all the finery and fireplaces, we were mostly there for the wildlife! Right beside the hotel is the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy, which you can visit. It costs a small fee, but you get to actually touch the animals, which is quite awesome. Well, you can’t touch the leopard they have, but you can touch cheetahs!!
One of Richard’s colleagues visited this hotel six months before we did, and actually got to go into the enclosure with them and play! See, cheetahs aren’t normally dangerous to adult humans. We’re too big to be viewed as prey to them (which is why I specified adult) so they act more like dogs than anything else. However, when we got there they would no longer let anyone into the enclosure, stating that the young cheetahs were too big now to play safely. We were able to pet one of the cheetahs through the enclosure though!
That thing purred so loudly! It was quite crazy putting your hand through a fence and petting a cheetah… having it lick your hand with its crazy rough tongue. It really was just a big cat.
Other than petting cheetahs, we got to stroke some bongos, feed ostrich and monkeys, as well as see the most adorable little pygmy hippopotamus. All in all, despite the disappointment that I wouldn’t be able to actually play football with a couple of cheetahs, it was still quite fun! Like a really exotic version of the Beacon Hill Park petting zoo.
Afterwards we headed back to the hotel for some tea before dinner. The hotel has lots of peacocks roaming around (perhaps what first reminded me of Beacon Hill Park) as well as these crazy prehistoric type birds with the most dangerous looking beaks. It might have driven Richard nuts how they kept trying to sneak up on us and steal food, but I loved it. You can bet that I was throwing them crumbs for sure!
Not only did the hotel have strange birds, but they also had horses and a pair of labradors that you could take out for a walk! Of course Richard and I did just that… and these two dogs almost ripped our arms off! But it was fun to walk around the safari lodge with a pair of exuberant canines.
In the end, we relaxed and enjoyed the hotel for a little over a day before embarking on the last bit of driving for our trip. We were heading back to Nairobi, dropping off the vehicle, and seeing the sights. Stay tuned for the last post on our Kenyan adventure!