It was early in the morning when the Masai woke us up the next day. The last game drive in the Masai Mara was about to start and we were heading to another section of the national park. The Topi lion pride was the main goal of today. The Topi pride consists of 6 male lions, several lionesses and currently has over 10 cubs of different ages. You hardly ever see them all together at the same spot.
In total there are more than 32 lions! They got their name from the place where they like to hunt and chill: the Topi plains. The scenery with its amazing hills and plains is beautiful by the way. When we got near the Topi plains our ranger Lenkoko immediately spotted them. Since it was still quite early and therefore cool the little ones were playing. They were very interested in our car as well and they came that really close. A bit further a couple of young males were relaxing in the morning sun. A few miles away we even saw some lions mating! What a start.
Breakfast on the Topi plains
We decided to move on and saw dozens of elephants passing by. Lenkoko parked our vehicle at a safe distance under a lovely tree and we got out for a wonderful breakfast. After our last breakfast in the park it was time to head back to the airstrip. We were picked up by another car who dropped us off. The plane arrived a bit late but hey, what an amazing beginning of our trip.
A bit of rust on the sides
Back at Nairobi Wilson airport our own Toyota Land Cruiser rental was waiting for us. When we booked the car we knew it was going to be old but even with this knowledge we were surprised by the car. It was a rusty old car with a squeaking clutch and a roof and windows that didn’t quite close. We got a rapid briefing of the car. If we had to turn on 4 wheel drive we had to get out of the car to manually enable ‘diff-lock’, even if you were in the mud which we found out later on our journey. It did made us realize what a lovely modern car we owned last year. There was also a black button that we had to press when turning off the engine. It felt a bit like the series Lost since the button hardly moved and you got the feeling that it didn’t make any difference whether or not you’d press the button…
A dangerous pizza
We had to get used to driving such a big car again and then also on the left-hand side of the road in a busy city. Luckily the Tamarind Tree Hotel wasn’t far away. We grabbed a late lunch and then got back on the road and drove to a nearby mall to buy the most essential items: a sim card and some beer and wine to fill up our fridge in the car ;).
For dinner we decided to go to Lucca, a fancy Italian restaurant which is part of the even fancier Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel. We thought it would be a good idea to take an Uber. Boy, we were wrong, after a couple of meters driving in the rain the wiper blades fell off, the windows got foggy, it was dark and he just took every roundabout without checking to see if there were other drivers. You could say we were quite happy when we arrived.
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Yeah buddy, they’ve got gas!
We started the next morning with some breakfast at Java House. This is where we went a couple of times last year so it was a bit of a trip down memory lane for us. We bought some lovely artisan bread at the Artcafe and moved on to the next shopping mall to buy a portable camp stove and some gas to make coffee on the road! We brought our percolator with us on this trip and we were lucky: the gas cartridges were available. Our last stop before hitting the road was the gas station to get (a lot of) Diesel. We also had to get steering-, clutch- and brake fluid to make sure we would survive haha. At that time we were finally ready to go to Amboseli National Park. After driving for a while we found out that that the fuel gauge of our second tank wasn’t working. That’s kind of a challenge haha.
The Kilimanjaro in the background
The Mombasa Road is one of those famous roads in Africa. We got off at Emali and almost immediately the Kilimanjaro showed itself. Wow! When we were having a small lunch along the road several Kenyans stopped their car to ask if we were OK. Guess they’re not used to self-drivers eating next to the road but it does show how kind they are.
The last stretch of our drive for that day was a bumpy dirt road leading to the Kibo Safari Camp. Upon arrival, we immediately noticed the smell of fire since the whole reception and restaurant area were burned down only two days ago! They did manage to get out most of the furniture and luckily no one was injured. Just before the sunset we managed to swim a bit and have a drink while looking at the amazing Kilimanjaro. The tents we had were spectacular with a great view of the highest mountain in Africa.
A day in Amboseli National Park
The next morning the alarm went off at 5.40 AM, there’s no such thing as sleeping in when you’re on safari. We were the first ones to arrive at the Amboseli National Park gate. The adventure started immediately since we saw this huge and famous elephant with insanely long tusks. Some people go to Amboseli National Park just to see this wonderful creature but don’t actually see it. We opened up our rooftop and felt like proper rangers while driving with the Kilimanjaro left of us.
We were on the lookout for some more elephants for that typical Amboseli shot with the Kili in the background. While we didn’t see elephants right away we did see lots of lions, a hyena with little ones and loads of other spectacular creatures. After a short breakfast on top of the lookout point we drove along the lake and saw big groups of pelicans and flamingoes. The scenery, especially the lakes and the Kilimanjaro, make this a one of kind park. Just before lunch we found the elephants and the Kilimanjaro was still visible even though the first clouds were coming. We then returned to our camp to rest and relax.
Wine, beer, popcorn and elephants
That title sounds strange right? In the afternoon we got back into the park for some more wildlife. We decided to not drive that far and just chill inside the park. Our car was parked in between two lakes and we opened up our fridge for a drink. We even brought popcorn with us and there was plenty of wildlife around us. We saw hippos in the water, buffaloes walking by and some playing elephants. At one point they got so close while wrestling a bit that we had to reverse.
Take a breath
The next day we just wanted to relax a bit. We planned to just relax by the pool but that turned out to be a bit different. We woke up to some dark skies and it literally poured down that morning. The Kilimanjaro was just gone. After some breakfast had a small morning walk through our camp and played a game of hearts on our deck. In the afternoon the weather was much better and it even got hot! However, as soon as we jumped in the pool it started to rain again. That’s Africa as well!