TRAVELSTORY: Geraldine Kemper discovered beautiful Kenya with her boyfriend

"From vast hilly landscapes in Masaai land to the dry desert and hot springs at Magadi, staying with a Masaai family and sleeping in a tent among the wildlife, having breakfast with fresh pancakes in the morning sun and going to bed after a beer by the campfire, it was an unforgettable holiday within a holiday. " - Geraldine & Freek

We were going on holiday to Kenya in November, and were figuring out what we could do. Although we normally plan everything ourselves and one of us had lived in Kenya for some time, we also wanted to do a special trip in nature and adventure with motorbikes. We had heard good stories about Charlie’s Travels and ended up with them. We got tailor-made travel advice in a short time and while we were already in Kenya.

Something for everyone!

And that’s exactly what we think Charlie’s Travels does best. Whether it’s a group trip, an anniversary holiday, a family with 3 kids, or in our case a travel-loving couple in their early 30s looking for a small holiday in a holiday with 6 days to spend, they look at what the need is and make a nice plan around it. And so we did! We chose to do a nice trip through the Loita hills, then add a motorbike safari and end by train in Diani, where we had already booked a hotel. Before the trip, we received an extensive briefing via email from Travel Consultant Sjoerd, Operations Star Ruth and the team at Charlie’s Travels, who were quick to respond and very helpful. A Whatsapp group was also set up for pressing questions.

“Whether it’s a group trip, an anniversary holiday, a family with 3 children, or in our case, a travelling couple in their early 30s looking for a little holiday within a holiday.”

Geraldine Kemper Charlie's Travels Kenia

The journey can begin

We were picked up on time from our hotel in Nairobi, and left for a long journey with beautiful views over the Rift Valley. After a short pee break where we immediately bought some cool hats to protect our Mzungu heads from the sun, we continued the journey to a town near the Loita Hills, where we changed cars and final shopping was done by Chris, our private chef. Initially, meat had been bought for both of us even though we had indicated that one of us did not eat meat, but fortunately Chris was flexible and adjusted the menu accordingly.

“We learned a lot about the culture and learned our first words of Masai by the campfire. We actually felt at home right away…”

A village of busy markets with thousands of colours and smells, Masai coming to buy or sell animals, street vendors with megaphones, it was a cacophony of sound and impressions. After a second long drive, we arrived in a small village of a few houses, where we set up our tent and where we would stay the first night with Robert, the local Masai chief and also the coordinator of the tours. We learned a lot about the culture, learned our first words Masai by the campfire and actually felt at home right away. After buying some souvenirs, we left with Peter (our guide) and another Masai for a three-day hike through the Loita Hills, one we will never forget.

Geraldine Kemper Maasai Charlie's Travels
Geraldine Kemper with Chef Chris (left) and Masai Robert (right)

Really off the beaten track

Beautiful hiking through rolling hills and small villages, having a campfire in the evening, having lunch overlooking the mountains, learning about Masai culture and customs, hearing the buffalo and hyenas at night, and not encountering a single other tourist for 3 days. This is truly an example of off the beaten track. And a few days of not showering and maybe washing in a small muddy pool, but then you are truly out in the wild for a while. The camp was set up for us, the donkeys carried our bags and the chef made delectable food, so although we didn’t sleep in a real bed or could shower, we lived in great luxury! And camping in the middle of the forest among the animals and next to a safe fire, who wouldn’t want that?

Curious about Kenya?

After three days of hiking, we saw the Magadi desert and walked down from the mountains. Here we said goodbye to the Masai, while a delicious lunch and cold beer awaited us in the village. We were also welcomed by our guides for the second part of our trip, which was 3 days of motorbike cruising through the Magadi desert. After a short and efficient motorcycling course (TIA – This Is Africa), we tore off safely but quickly to head into the desert. These guides could tell us less about the wildlife and surroundings, but that didn’t make it any less fun. 3 days of driving around, seeing giraffes, zebras, gazelles, it was beautiful! And the moment a whole herd of wildebeast suddenly runs off in front of you and dashes up the sand, it really does make you intensely happy as a human being. We paid a little extra to the local community and visited the beautiful Lake Natron, we had tasty fresh curries for lunch in the shade of a tree next to wild giraffes, we slept overlooking the Loita hills, took a refreshing dip in the river and a hot splash in the hot springs, and above all, were intensely happy driving around.

All good things come to an end...

After 3 days of gathering dust and getting wonderfully dirty, we were picked up at the end by a driver from Charlie’s Travels who had our backpacks, and were able to take a refreshing shower on the way before boarding the train in Nairobi. After a wonderful 5-hour journey on a fine luxury train, we arrived in warm and buzzy Mombasa on the coast, where a driver was waiting to take us to Diani on the coast The ideal place to unwind and recharge. The 6 days with Charlie’s Travels seemed like two weeks. It wasn’t cheap but absolutely worth the money. Apart from a few little things, it was also top-notch organised with good guides, delicious food, and good, fast and helpful service from Charlie’s Travels. We both got to see and experience great parts of the world on our travels, but this was truly one of the most cool and special experiences we have ever had. Highly recommended!

“We both got to see big parts of the world and experience a lot on our travels, but this was truly one of the most cool and special experiences we have ever had.”

Geraldine Kemper Afrika Kenia Charlie's Travels

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