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HomeUK TravelAssessment: Hemingways Ol Seki with youngsters - Naboisho Conservancy safari

Assessment: Hemingways Ol Seki with youngsters – Naboisho Conservancy safari

If ever there was a bucket record household journey, taking a safari is it – and so I knew {that a} keep at Hemingways Ol Seki with youngsters can be a spotlight of our time in Kenya.

My daughter walks along the path towards the Simba family tent at Hemingways Ol Seki - my review of our Naboisho Conservancy safari

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Set within the second largest conservancy within the Masai Mara, our Naboisho Conservancy safari gave us an opportunity to discover a few of personal reserve with out battling the crowds.

And whereas any household safari isn’t an affordable possibility, there’s fairly merely nothing like the possibility to see Africa’s wildlife within the wild – and attending to see the animals with my daughter was much more particular.

Not all camps are as child-friendly as others although, so for those who’re planning your individual household safari in Kenya, right here’s what we considered a keep at Hemingways Ol Seki with youngsters.

Hemingways Ol Seki overview: important statistics

The personal Naboisho Conservancy stretches for 145 sq. kilometres inside Kenya’s Masai Mara nationwide reserve, with one of many highest concentrations of wildlife within the area.

The second largest conservancy within the Mara (solely Mara North Conservancy is larger), Ol Seki is considered one of solely 9 safari camps and lodges right here. The numbers allowed into the reserve are all the time restricted, so not solely is there an ideal likelihood of seeing the animals, you’ll have much less competitors too.

It’s lower than an hour’s flight from Nairobi’s Wilson airport, relying how lots of the Mara camps your aircraft stops at on the best way – we flew with Safarilink. You can even drive, which takes round 4 hours.

One of the small Cessna planes used by Safarilink on the earth of the airstrip in the Naboisho Conservancy - the airline's internal flights are one of the easiest ways to get around if you're planning a Naboisho Conservancy safari

There are solely 9 luxurious tents at Hemingways Ol Seki itself, with house for 20 visitors in whole, together with the household ‘Simba’ tent the place we stayed.

In addition to a latest main redesign, there have been a number of new tents added to the gathering however it’s nonetheless a really intimate expertise: it’s also possible to select from the smaller Nina tents and second household tent, Chui.

One among a number of motels throughout the Hemingways amassing in Kenya, the group additionally contains Hemingways Nairobi and Hemingways Watmu on the coast.

Hemingways Ol Seki with youngsters

Even the largest household can have house to spare for those who test into the Simba tent at Hemingways Ol Seki with youngsters – we hardly knew which mattress to decide on.

View across one of the bedrooms in the Simba family tent with neutral bedspread on the double bed, wooden furniture, red patterned rugs and day bed/sofa - my review of a stay at Hemingways Ol Seki with kids

With two separate bedrooms off the principle residing house, plus two bogs and a deck space outdoors, to not point out the communal areas – eating room, lounge and pool space – my daughter and I have been spoiled for alternative.

One was arrange with a double mattress, plus day mattress to the facet, whereas the second had twin beds and its personal day mattress. Supreme for those who’re staying with youthful youngsters and wish to have the ability to put them to mattress in a separate room, or in order for you one to have the ability to keep in the identical room as you.

All adorned in impartial colors with splashes or crimson and photographs of Maasai individuals, there was additionally a fan to maintain us cool (plus we obtained scorching water bottles at night time when the temperature dropped) and mesh home windows permitting a breeze via through the day.

There’s even surprisingly good wi-fi, together with solar-powered electrical energy to maintain all units charged.

Behind every of the bedrooms have been two bogs, one connected to every bed room – so for those who have been visiting as a multigenerational household group, it could additionally imply that grandparents may have one half of the tent and their very own house.

Every toilet had its personal bathe – with an impressively highly effective bathe, given that you just’re in the course of the bush – plus a separate space with a flushing rest room, sink and someplace to place toiletries, all behind a privateness curtain.

There have been additionally separate cabinets to unpack your garments or retailer suitcases. Not that we’d have been tripping over them, given how spacious all of it was.

Together with chairs and a desk within the bedrooms, there have been additionally squashy sofas within the residing space plus a eating desk with chairs.

On the again, a stocked drinks cupboard with alcoholic and tender drinks, plus tea and low for those who needed it at any hour of the day.

We additionally had our personal butler, William, to take care of us if we would have liked the rest – though between recreation drives, a while chilling out and napping, plus meals on the fundamental eating space, we barely had likelihood to take advantage of what was on supply, not to mention make any additional calls for!

The wraparound terrace has a number of extra locations to sit down or lounge as effectively, all looking onto the plains – we may hear the wildebeest grunting to one another, as they and herds of zebra grazed all through the day.

With our binoculars, we may make out much more of the animals, together with jackals slinking via the scrubby grass, and when you have an extended keep or determine towards two recreation drives per day, it’s a stunning place to laze and watch the wildlife.

There have been loads of choices for downtime too – we made essentially the most of our keep by taking each daybreak and late afternoon drives, however whether or not we stopped for breakfast within the bush or returned to camp, we nonetheless had a number of hours earlier than and after lunch to chill out.

I normally squeezed no less than one nap in (6am begins, 35C+ warmth and a glass of wine at lunch made that very simple!) however we liked the small infinity pool to chill off after the primary recreation drive of the day.

Subsequent to the eating space, there are extra loungers dotted round right here within the shade too and one other nice view out right down to one of many waterholes and the animals. Because the temperatures climbed, the cool water was blissful to sink – hippo-like – into and watch.

Till we have been known as for lunch, no less than. As with most safari camps, meals is included with a set menu, however regardless of travelling with a choosy 10-year-old, they all the time managed to offer one thing she would get pleasure from in addition to scrumptious three-course meals for lunch and dinner for me.

View to chairs and tables on the terrace by the dining area, overlooking the pool during a stay at Hemingways Ol Seki in Kenya with kids

Whereas they’re glad to be versatile, you do have to let the camp know upfront when you have any specific dietary necessities although.

With solely half a dozen different individuals staying on the camp throughout our keep, it didn’t take lengthy to strike up dialog at mealtimes as effectively – you’ve your individual separate desk however it’s a relaxed environment that’s excellent for households.

And whereas my daughter was the one little one staying that week, it’s actually not unusual – because the household tents go to point out.

In case you do fancy a slightly extra secluded possibility one night time, it’s also possible to select to have dinner at ‘the Cave’, a personal desk on a rock overhang.

With a woodfire close by for mild, you’re tucked away on the facet of the slope and it feels such as you’re the one individuals on this planet (aside from the wildebeest, nonetheless calling away in the dead of night close by).

And whereas we usually headed straight again to mattress after dinner, prepared for an early morning recreation drive the subsequent day, there are extra squashy sofas and comfortable armchairs to retreat to with a drink for those who fancy – there’s even a telescope at one finish, for animal recognizing through the day and star-gazing at night time.

After darkish, we have been guided to and from our tent – not simply to make sure we had loads of mild to seek out our means, however in case any animals managed to seek out their means in.

Unlikely however reassuring: and the wildlife we did see in camp was undoubtedly of the cuter selection.

In addition to just a few red-headed agamas (which shortly earned the nickname of Spiderman lizard for its blue and crimson colouring), my daughter liked recognizing the furry little rock hyraxes which scurried round.

A number of preferred the shade of the loungers by the pool, however we shocked a pair on our deck and on the roof of our tent.

The sound of speedily pattering paws on the canvas proved there have been loads extra scampering above us, though half the time we may solely hear them slightly than see them.

However the lodging itself is barely half of the expertise at Hemingways Ol Seki with youngsters, beautiful although it’s – and our recreation drives within the Naboisho Conservancy didn’t disappoint.

What to see on a Naboisho Conservancy safari with youngsters

One of many largest attracts of a vacation in Kenya with youngsters, a safari is completely unmissable when you have the chance.

It doesn’t matter how outdated you’re, seeing a household of lion cubs enjoying collectively or a leopard in a tree with its kill is the sort of expertise you always remember – to not point out the array of different animals you may spot on a safari in Kenya with youngsters.

And the flexibleness of being in a personal conservancy is right for households. In case you go to a nationwide park, you could effectively want to go away by 6.30pm as nightfall falls too, whereas personal recreation reserves just like the Naboisho Conservancy mean you can be extra versatile.

In our case, this meant we may cling round ready for a leopard to emerge from the undergrowth and benefit from the astonishing sight of it climb its tree to benefit from the stays of its kill.

For our first few drives, we went out alone with the information too, which was excellent if we needed to hold round a bit longer to marvel at lion cubs, or determine to not linger by the river, the place the highly effective aroma of hippos was not successful with my daughter!

Yawning hippo in the river during a Naboisho Conservancy safari in Kenya - my review of a stay at Hemingways Ol Seki with kids

The Naboisho Conservancy has one of many highest concentrations of lions within the Maasai Mara, and whereas we solely stayed for 2 nights, we managed to see lion cubs, dozing male lions and several other lionesses together with an affectionate pair of sisters.

We fitted in two recreation drives every day, which additionally gave us likelihood to cowl most corners of the Naboisho Conservancy, to identify as a lot of its animals as potential.

Whereas cheetah eluded us – purpose to return! – we nonetheless managed to see virtually the whole lot else on my daughter’s wishlist, and extra.

There have been a number of elephant sightings, from the oldest grumpy bull elephant right down to one of many youngest calves, watching his mom carefully as he realized to make use of his trunk to tug up grass.

But additionally loads of smaller animals, together with leopard tortoise, tiny scurrying dwarf mongoose and birds galore, from vultures and secretary chicken to kingfishers.

Hyenas slinked and lurked, whereas warthogs darted about in alarm, their tails held excessive and ramrod stiff – typically adopted by a number of infants in a faintly panicked procession.

One among our favorite discoveries of the journey was the invention that the Swahili identify for them, pumbaa (sure, like within the Lion King), means ‘silly creature’ as they typically neglect why they’re working away. Not transfer if there’s a lion in your tail.

And in addition to too many zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, antelopes and gazelles to depend, our February go to meant we additionally obtained to see a lot of infants, together with a new child giraffe, solely round an hour outdated and nonetheless studying the right way to use these enormously lengthy legs.

Do be sure you carry binoculars, ideally a light-weight however highly effective pair, ideally minimal 10 x 40 – it makes an enormous distinction when youngsters can get an in depth take a look at the animals.

Alongside the best way, our unbelievable information Patrick additionally shared a few of his data of the Mara’s wildlife, in addition to navigating our Toyota Landcruiser down not possible slopes, throughout river crossings and unerringly to spots the place we may discover the convservancy’s animals.

Whereas the massive sightings are all the time memorable, it’s the little moments which stick within the reminiscence too – making an attempt to pile rocks to guard a plover nest constructed too near the highway because the anxious mom shrieked alarm calls, earlier than returning, feathers solely mildly ruffled.

Watching a lioness stalk, even when she determined towards the hunt that exact time, and making an attempt to breathe additional quietly as a lion cub prowled very near the string of autos, interested by these unusual steel intruders.

Our Masai guide with two giraffe leg bones which reach to his chin during a family safari in Kenya - my review of a stay at Hemingways Ol Seki with kids

Or realising simply how big a giraffe’s leg bones will be… and with bleached white bones scattered round from earlier meals, shortly beginning to recognise which animals that they had belonged to.

It’s effectively price permitting a few days to your safari – that means, for those who aren’t fortunate sufficient to identify one thing on the primary day, you’ve obtained one other likelihood.

There’s no actual level making an attempt to pack the whole lot right into a day anyway: it’s too scorching to maintain driving for hours on finish (even when your youngsters may stand it) and the animals can have sought out the shade too so there’ll be much less to see anyway.

Acacia tree at sunset on the savannah during a Naboisho Conservancy safari - our stay at Ol Seki with kids

In addition to our morning and night recreation drives, there’s additionally the choice to take guided bush walks for those who’re visiting with older youngsters and village visits to get a style of native Maasai life.

Different tempting extras embody a scorching air balloon flight – these normally have a minimal age restriction although and contain a really early begin.

For extra recommendations on visiting Kenya with youngsters, take a look at all my recommendation, together with planning a household safari

What to pack for a Kenya safari with youngsters?

In addition to binoculars, and a zoom lens for those who’re travelling with older youngsters who’ve their very own DSLR digicam (or sharing yours), considered one of our greatest buys was this little animal guidelines for East Africa.

Nice for conserving my daughter engaged throughout these durations the place we have been ready for animals to seem, it was additionally useful for instructing her (and me!) extra about what there may be to seek out on a safari in Kenya.

Whereas not all of the animals will be discovered on a Naboisho Conservancy safari, the overwhelming majority may – and our information helped to clarify the place you may see the others. Plus it’s a enjoyable memento to maintain afterwards.

For extra recommendations on what to pack for Kenya with youngsters, take a look at my Amazon record with extra of my necessities

View of the Naboisho Conservancy in Kenya, with a giraffe in distance during a family safari in the Masai Mara - my Hemingways Ol Seki review of a stay with kids

In any other case, whereas lots of your loved ones safari packing record will look the identical as for any scorching climate vacation, there are some things to remember on the subject of your packing record for Kenya with youngsters.

At all times take a well-stocked first support equipment, as whereas tented camps can have necessities accessible, the choices for youngsters shall be extra restricted.

You’ll additionally want excessive SPF just like the Ultrasun vary and high-strength insect repellent: the Jungle Formulation vary has a formidable selection, whereas the Boots Repel roll-on is okay for youngsters aged 2+ and is available in most power.

Take a look at my full household and little one first support equipment record of necessities to pack

Keep away from blue (and black) clothes on safari as this will entice tsetse flies – carrying insect repellent ought to maintain them at bay, however higher to not give these nasty bugs any added incentive to test you out.

Shiny colors can even make you extra seen to the animals, so muted shades are higher – though having mentioned that, our information wore conventional Maasai patterns together with crimson and vibrant purple in addition to neutrals, so don’t really feel you need to change your whole wardrobe. Khaki is all the time good although.

My daughter with her camera phone taking a photo of three elephants, including a baby, in the Mara Naboisho conservancy in Kenya - my tips for visiting Kenya with kids include advice on a family safari

Do pack some heat garments as effectively, for early morning recreation drives and for the evenings.

Whereas temperatures hit the mid to excessive 30s by lunchtime, it may be unexpectedly cool very first thing, particularly mixed with a breeze as you drive, so a hoody and lengthy trousers got here in very useful for six.30am begins. Our information did have ponchos to borrow, however it’s greatest to carry your individual layers.

Chances are you’ll want rainwear as effectively. There are normally two fundamental wet seasons through the 12 months in Kenya – the ‘quick rains’ for just a few weeks throughout November and December, then the ‘lengthy rains’ from April to early June (typically on the finish of March as effectively).

It’s price taking closed toe sandals even when it’s dry, each for guided walks and in case of stinging bugs and scorpions after darkish (though simply venturing to and from the restaurant with somebody to mild our means, we managed advantageous with out).

Don’t neglect that when you might need a beneficiant weight allowance for worldwide flights, you’ll most likely be restricted to 15kg for any inside flights, plus you may solely take soft-sided baggage or circumstances.

Hemingways Ol Seki for households: the decision

Our keep at Hemingways Ol Seki was simply one of many highlights of our journey to Kenya – in every week with loads of competitors.

And it wasn’t simply due to the unbelievable experiences on our Naboisho Conservancy safari, though that actually performed an enormous half.

Having been on a self-drive safari earlier than, it was fantastic to have a information with us, realizing the place all the newest sightings have been and sharing all his data (to not point out having the ability to go off highway simply).

Plus the sheer variety of animals was astonishing. In our 10-minute drive from the airstrip to Hemingways Mara camp, we’d already seen a couple of dozen completely different species, nearly with out making an attempt – and the reminiscence of that leopard rising from the bushes to scale its tree and devour its kill is unforgettable.

However whereas a couple of camp may supply these experiences, it’s nonetheless onerous to beat a keep at Hemingways Ol Seki with youngsters – for luxurious and a family-friendly welcome, I solely want I’d had longer to repeat these rock hyraxes and lounge there day after day.

Disclosure: Our keep was courtesy of Hemingways Assortment, with flight assist from Far & Wild and Safarilink. All opinions on a keep at Hemingways Ol Seki with youngsters for our Naboisho Conservancy safari are my very own

Pictures copyright MummyTravels


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