Adventure, Africa, Epicurus, Game Drive, Happiness, Kenya, Kenya Wildlife Service, Maasai Mara, Magical Kenya, Nicolas Mutua, Philosophy, Private Safari Tour Guide, Safari, Safari Kenya Plus, Silverbird Adventure Tours & Travel, The Big Five, Tourism, Travel
We all like to talk about our lives, yet I find myself often more curious what it is exactly the person is doing with it. Their life. The life they have.
What makes them happy, and what inspires them. For some, they find happiness in their lives by having a sense of purpose, adventure, a natural curiosity of the world that surrounds them, and exposure to a variety of things to stimulate them intellectually.
On the topic of finding “Happiness” Philosopher Epicurus would caution us to simply not look in the wrong places to find it. Epicurus’ Philosophy on happiness states we require only four key ingredients; Friendship, Freedom, Self-sufficiency, and strive to have an analyzed life.
Most of those key points come naturally to us. Then there is adventure which could be an under estimated 5th key ingredient Epicurus just did not consider when he spoke of “Happiness.” Adventure can make us happy too. The yearning to explore. If you don’t yearn adventure because it’s just not your bag, that’s okay too but many have a hunger to head out. To be free.
Leave it all behind. [Temporarily while on vacation at least]
Why? Because a sense of adventure can challenge us mentally and it can push an individual to know themselves; learn more about their individual preferences, strengths and limitations, even entertain ourselves with the novelty of exploring the unknown.
In this article I’ll share a recent experience I had when I met David, a Private Safari Tour Guide from Nairobi, Kenya, Africa, and a FAQ conversation with another equally impressive Private Safari Tour Guide residing from Malindi, Kenya, Africa. Malindi is roughly an hour east by aircraft from Nairobi as you head towards the Indian Ocean coastline.
If you have ever yearned to experience what it’s like to experience an authentic Safari in Africa, Kenya is a great place to start. Hands down, my trip to Kenya, Africa, for Safari was the best. Other adventures taken this year were personally exciting, but none were as remarkable, and novel, as my recent Safari.
The Swahili word “Safari” means journey. To venture out for a Safari no longer means big game hunting for sport as it once did years past where hunters used medium to big bore riffles with enough stopping power to kill it’s prey in a single shot. Rather, today Safari is for viewing wildlife, sweeping landscapes, hiking, photography, hot air balloon rides, camping out in the wild, or staying in a Lodge overnight in a game reserve. There is always time for friendship in the evening to review the day’s adventures and exploits just as they did in the past. This will never change.
It’s safe to visit Kenya. If adventure and scenic beauty is what you seek, Kenya is the place to be. It’s beautiful.
And, the United States of America has for some time now been establishing crucial cooperative international security ties with the country to boost its ability to monitor and curb security concerns which greatly impact its ability to provide safe tourism, and ensure continued business growth in the private sectors for Kenya.
For one, the Kenya Visa process became automated late 2015, making it effortless to apply online and travel between USA and Kenya. Secondly, Kenya Airlines has committed by 2017 to implement direct flights between the two countries.
Until the direct flights commence I recommend Emirates Airlines. When you fly between USA to Kenya it takes roughly 19-Hours depending on the flight you secure and departure airport. Expect a long layover because of the length of the first leg of the flight. For example, if you fly from San Francisco, California International Airport (SFO) to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) Nairobi, Kenya, Africa, the flight is 15-Hours to reach Dubai for the first leg. Then you’ll catch your connecting flight from Dubai to Nairobi which will take roughly 4-Hours.
David and the Lion: My Private Safari Tour Guide
I met up with David in Nairobi. The InterContinental Nairobi Hotel concierge service, Mr. Gerald Mutugi, arranged a local Day Trip. David agreed to be my Private Safari Tour Guide to visit a few Nairobi National Parks, the Elephant Orphanage, and the Giraffe Manor.
The Nairobi National Park is in the heart of the city with miles of protected land.
At this park you can view Lion, Rhinoceros, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Zebra, Cheetah, Gazelle, Impala, Antelope, Ostrich, Buffalo, and Wildebeest. At strategic spots you’ll also see armed guards with a watchful eye protecting the two White Rhinoceros there. It’s amazing to see what you would otherwise only read about on the endangered species. The White Rhino have a 24/7 armed guard for protection.
We were one hour into the Safari and there it was…..a sighting of a Lion out in the distance. Quickly all the Safari Cruisers in the area merged into this one spot to catch a look once David announced on the radio our sighting.
The Lion we spotted began to move across the plain and all the Zebra in its path scattered as if on queue to make way. When you’re there you really feel a sense the Lion is at the highest hierarchy here, but truth be known, as I learned all these same animals according to my guide David the herds are more fearful of the Lioness [the female Lion]. She does all the hunting every couple of days. The Lion feeds from her catch and lounges the rest of the time. The Lioness is stealthily, aggressive and does all the hunting for food for her Lion and cubs. All the animals appeared to fear the Lion but in talking with David perhaps the animals are more fearful of the Lioness and know wherever the Lion is, she is not too far away and they are aware they would be the hunted if they linger too long. It’s a strange arrangement. It’s also the rule of nature here.
So, there I was, atop the Safari Cruiser standing in the elevated open roof top. The Lion we spotted started approaching our convoy and heading to an area closer and closer near us. The Lion does not seem phased by our presence and continues forward towards the vehicles. I’m inside the Cruiser, fully protected, taking photos. The Lion continues to walk towards the other Cruisers, then comes within only a couple of feet from where I was standing inside our vehicle. I met his gaze and I immediately crouched down where I stood inside the Cruiser. Had I stayed standing I could have extended my reach and touched it.
The Lion had gotten too close to the Cruiser for my comfort. I must admit this moment was exciting and so powerful to have made direct eye contact with the Lion.
Who gets to do that every day?
Other’s laughed at me. To this day I don’t know if it was instinct, being scared of the Lion being too close for comfort, but it was a situation to be respected. The only way to explain it is……like being securely housed inside a steel box but you still flinch even though the danger cannot get to you.
I was so close I could make out the yellow color of its eyes and the intent look in its pupil as the Lion walked by the side of our vehicle casually. It was like it looked at me directly; and I sat down like all the others in the wild…..giving the automatic right of way just based on the sheer power of its presence. In that moment I looked to David, and he smiled at me with a look of reassurance “You are safe in the vehicle” David said. ”Yes, this is as good as it gets. This is the stuff.” Then, we laughed about it later and the rest of the day in fact.
The Lion walks slowly and extremely close to the Cruisers ahead of David and I. The Lion then lies down to rest, then came to check out what David and I were doing, and then on his way he went.
David and I are in the White Cruiser in front of the Lion in this picture. The hood of our Cruiser can be seen bottom right in the picture here. The front of our vehicle is facing the Lion.
The Elephant Orphanage is largely a safe haven for young baby Elephants who find their way to the orphanage because they were rescued from harm in the wild or abandoned because their mother died. The orphanage also offers an opportunity for conservation, and education by providing the general public access to interact and learn about these massive creatures. On the day David and I visited there were four dozen or so primary school age children visiting as well to learn about the animals on a Field Trip. Both the young and old have similar interest I thought.
The Giraffe Manor, Giraffe Center, is another “must visit” interactive experience you will enjoy with the Giraffes. You’ll be allowed to feed them, and if time permits during your stay in Kenya the Giraffe Manor is also a hotel.
The Private Safari Tour was effortless and affordable. David was more than welcoming, knowledgeable regarding the wildlife, and eager to explain the local culture. David was once employed by the Elephant Orphanage caring for the baby Elephants, but as he explained to me he was accidentally pushed in the back by one of the very active Elephants. After that he sought other more financially lucrative employment working as a Private Safari Guide with Silverbird Adventure Tours & Travel and taking with him the wealth of knowledge he learned while working there with the animals at the orphanage. Being an entrepreneur is more lucrative and safer I suspect when you can work for yourself within the safety of a Safari Cruiser.
On the way to the National Parks we visited, we passed along the major strip of highway, Mombasa Road/ A 104, that was heavily over hauled with new foliage in preparation for American President Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya. It was the long road the President and his motorcade would take to reach the Kenyan State House. I found it most amusing to learn according to David, when President Obama visited Kenya, he passed this route at night and most locals viewed the landscaping overhaul of this major long road as a wasteful exercise because all this hard work and new foliage could not be appreciated at night. Overall the gesture was very much appreciated to honor one of their own visiting. It marked the first time a sitting American President would visit Kenya while still in office and many lined the roadway just to catch a quick glance as the motorcade rolled through.
This was the time frame of the Annual Global Entrepreneur Summit Kenya 2015 [#GESKenya2015].
While you’re in Kenya there are several reminders of many other greats who have also visited over the decades like Ernest Hemingway, Kuki Gallmann, and her husband who became recognized conservationist there. Their life story was filmed here “I Dreamed of Africa.” The adventurous, prolific American novelist Ernest Hemingway loved Africa and once you visit you’ll see why too. In 1952, after Hemingway would publish his last work of fiction “The Old Man and the Sea,” Hemingway traveled to Africa for Safari. In fact, in the Maasai Mara National Reserve Park there is a Hemingway Trail. There is a tour in the Maasai Mara that goes along the floor of the Great Rift Valley via Narok the only Masai town, then you’ll climb the western wall entering Hemingway’s country that borders the Serengeti plains, entering the Mara.
FAQ Conversation with Nicolas Mutua, Private Safari Tour Guide
I met up with Nicolas Mutua, another experienced Private Safari Tour Guide while on an extended holiday at the Barracuda Inn Beach Resort, Watamu, Kenya, Africa, near Malindi, closer to the Indian Ocean coastline.
Annually, from multiple regions of the globe, many take the pilgrimage to Africa to witness the most popular of all Safaris that occur in the Maasai Mara. Herds of Zebra, and the massive Wildebeest make their annual migration.
Hundreds of thousands of Wildebeest make the crossing from the Serengeti to the Maasai Mara game reserve to graze during the migration. The local Kenyan newspaper “The Standard” describes the commencement of the migration as beginning with a nudge and soon turns into a full-fledged stampede. Whatever crazy instinct drives these strong animals is the same nutty urge that has humans angling for a photo.
Nicolas Mutua has extensive experience on the topic of going on a Safari. These are the questions Nicolas Matua answered for me. Here’s what he had to say.
How long have you been doing Private Safari Tours in Kenya?
“15 years of experience in the tourism Private Safari Tours sector and I’m a tour leader for information.”
Nicolas adds if someone wishes to visit the country it is safe to travel to Kenya.
Kenya is a beautiful country and has several places to visit one can’t possibly see everything in one trip. How many places are there to go on Safari? What is your favorite place to visit for Safari? And, why?
“My favorite National Parks are……..Masai Mara the best reserve for migration of gnu and many others.
Lake Nakuru National Park to see rhinos, flamingos and many other
Amboseli National Park, Kilimanjaro view Mt. Kilimanjaro and many more
Tsavo East National Park, and fauna and flora famous River Galana
Taita Hills reserve overnight at Salt Lick Lodge and I’m telling you that your expectations will come true.”
Tsavo East National Park is the largest of all Kenya parks (More than 13,700km). Tsavo East is nine times larger than the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
Fauna: Species found in the park. This is referring to a park’s large and diverse wildlife population.
Flora: The park’s predominate vegetation, tree species, grassland, flowers, plants, etc., that can be found there.
The Maasai Mara National Reserve established in 1961, is 1,510km / that’s 583sq miles. The nearest town is Narok. The Maasai Mara National Reserve is also known as Masai Mara and the locals just call it The Mara so you’ll see both spellings.
When I visited Nairobi, Kenya, for the first time my goal was the Maasai Mara for the annual Wildebeest Migration, but proved to be too much of a logistical effort after a 19-hour flight and all the other activities planned. Any words of wisdom for those who may want to visit this large game reserve park in Kenya?
“If someone wants to visit our Masai Mara I know from USA is almost 19 hours, but I’m very professional, kindly [friendly], and know after client arrives is always tired so I normally tell the client there wish is my demand. Because it is me to value the client [ …. I value the client needs and cater to them] so if their flight arrives late in Nairobi they will overnight at one of the hotels in Nairobi then day 2 they start their adventure on the following day and this is the best way to meet the client’s needs, and to sport the Big Five. I will advise you to book, and to visit 4 to 5 National Parks especially the Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru. Amboseli, and Taita Saltlick, and if some will visit different National Parks it’s 90% we will sport the Big Five.”
The Big Five are the African Lion, African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, African Leopard, and White/Black Rhinoceros. Traditionally, the Big Five are specified not by their size, but categorized by their difficulty for hunters to hunt them by foot.
Countries where all the Big Five are most commonly located include Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, Namibia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Malawi.
What do you like most about your job?
“Kindly I like my job, it is my talent too and also my personal passion. So about travelling all 19 hours is not a problem I am here for you to make sure your expectations come true.”
If you follow the local politics in Kenya, what do you think regarding what’s happening in Kenya since American President Barack Obama’s visit in 2015 for the Kenya Annual Global Entrepreneur Summit that had a focus on Africa’s growing entrepreneur population, foreign investment opportunities, its growing economy; increased Tourism, Kenya Airways pledge to start 2017 flights direct between Kenya and USA?
“Since President Obama arrived in Kenya everything is going well politically. Also Tourism is now peaking in Kenya because Kenya is safe.”
For someone who has never been to Kenya, what would you like others to know about Kenya?
“For people who have never been in Kenya before I advise them to book for Kenya….It’s safe……Come and explore the best destination. Being a tour leader for that long as career I promise all viewers on my site I promise them their wish is my demand. Book ….Book Kenya with Safari Kenya Plus.
“Kenya is ready for you.”
Describe what a person can expect on a Private Safari Tour with you? What’s it like? Day Trips, or overnight stays.
“Overnight Taita Salt lick is fine but booking is being made according to how many parks visited, so it is you to tell me how many parks. Then I will be able to coordinate price. Private Tours can be for one person, 2 persons, or even 3, so tell me how many you are kindly.”
Private Safari Tours are tailor made according to the client’s wishes, and how many National Parks they would like to visit. All that is required is the client please outline to guide which National Parks they would like to visit and for how long; day or overnight, and guide will thoroughly strive to arrange the best tailor made tour; best price, and all the details to best cater to the client’s individual needs to make their expectations come true. Nicolas does have recommended tour itineraries for many different National Parks clients can choose from on his website and clients can develop their own.
Basically, what Nicolas Mutua conveyed during our conversation is if you can envision your best Safari, your expectations, and what your perfect itinerary would be, Nicolas can make it happen!
You exclusively work out of the Barracuda Inn Beach Resort, Watamu, Kenya, but can people contact you directly for Private Safari Tours if they are not staying at the Barracuda Inn?
“Yes. If someone would like to book Barracuda Inn Beach Resort then we will contact each other; meaning giving information of Safari. Booking in advance, paying a deposit to be on the safe side that the safari is booked, especially for a long Safari so someone who would like to book Barracuda Resort can also book Safari with me [Nicolas] without any problem.”
“So my word is welcome….. Discover the beautiful places. Release your African dream. Kenya is the best destination to be.”
“ Safari Kenya Plus – Private Day Tour welcomes you to explore.”
Explore More: Resources and Links
David; Website Link: Silverbird Adventures Tours & Travel
Magical Kenya: Tourism Directory, Places to Visit, Go on Safari, Visa Information
Kenya Wildlife Service: List of National Parks and Reserves, Tourism, Conservation, Resources
:::: Until Next time: à Donf ::::
Dr. Lawana R. Lofton, PsyD – Psychologist with one simple goal of making concepts of psychology accessible. Follow @lrlofton Read Psychological Précipice: The Psychological Pursuit To Find The Best In You on Amazon. If you have not read it yet, as you may guess, I highly recommend it.