We returned to Sirikoi six months after our first visit and had an even richer experience. Rather than visit a series of camps, we decided to spend five nights at Sirikoi. We would have stayed longer but the camp was closing briefly for the wedding of one of the owners' daughter. Despite the logistics of organising this event in the bush, my wife and I were still given the extraordinary level of service and hospitality we experienced on our first visit.
We were fortunate to have the same guide and spotter, James and Burcha, who got to know us in September and gave us the warmest welcome at the airstrip on our return. The celebrated film maker and author, Natasha Breed, was in camp again and helped add to the sense of a real homecoming. The owners, Sue and Will Roberts, were kind and hospitable as before and really cared that we have another great visit.
Familiarity with the camp routine made this an even more relaxing trip with time to enjoy the camp and not think about getting ready for a transfer after the second or third night. We got to know where certain animals lived in the conservancy and the familiar site of the male Somali ostrich as we drove out made us feel part of the environment and not just passers through. In September, we walked in the forest ending with the breathtaking views from the canopy pitched high above the trees. This time, we walked with Burcha and a ranger through a magnificent valley. Seeing the animals on foot has been described as 'reading the book,' more intimate than the view from a vehicle even if the vehicle brings you closer to the animals. This time, we saw a vast herd of elephant at a safe distance, followed the trails of a leopard, lion, and hyena to a zebra kill without ever seeing the predators. Walking also gave us the rare chance to experience the details not visible from a vehicle: a bird next with three small eggs, the leopard tortoise in a stream, brilliantly coloured lizards all up close.
Animal sighting in the vehicle were spectacular, including seeing a lion kill. We then followed the huntress back to her family where after a joyful reunion, brought them to dinner. Seeing this incredibly sociable family, three generations, express their happiness at meeting will always stay with me. Again, I appreciated the fact that James was always respectful of the animals. Night drives were special as well with sightings of bush-babies leaping from tree to tree.
Although everyone comes to Kenya for the wildlife, getting to know people can be even more interesting: on this second visit, I gained a deeper insight and appreciation of how much work it takes to run a camp like Sirikoi.
The food was even more delicious than I remembered, including one traditional African dinner. The fresh fruits and vegetables are fresh from the incredible garden - worth a visit - and the tents remain more comfortable than suites at many top hotels and offer a wonderful view of wildlife on the edge of camp and of course admit all the astonishing sounds of the bush.
We're already plotting our return and would highly recommend you come too. Stay a bit longer and really get to know Lewa Downs. You will be richly rewarded and have a chance to dig a bit deeper into this extraordinary corner of Africa.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sirikoi is a beautiful small family run lodge situated on private land & surrounded by the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Set in a shady acacia grove & overlooking a natural waterhole, Sirikoi offers some of the best game viewing in East Africa, as well as some of most unusual activities in Kenya. Sirikoi offers everything from helicopter excursions, to flying bi-planes, nights spent out fly camping on quad safaris, and riding safaris. SIRIKOI HOUSE awarded BEST SAFARI HOUSE KENYA and runner up to BEST SAFARI HOUSE AFRICA, by the Good Safari Guide awards. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Sirikoi Hotel Nanyuki
- Sirikoi Kenya/Nanyuki Town