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We arrived on a small airplane runway and were greeted by our driver with tea and snacks. Our first game drive of the trip was from the airport to the camp which took a good two hours as we stopped numerous times to watch and photograph the wildlife. With a population of over 1000 elephants and views of Mount Kilimanjaro we spent two nights at the Elewana Tortilis Camp. The camp had a rustic safari vibe with a beautiful common area overlooking a water hole where baboons would play with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background. After being welcomed to the camp by the staff and shown our tent we had lunch followed by an afternoon massage at the on-site spa. Around 4:30 pm we meet up with our driver who took us for another game drive and to watch the sunset over the mountains as the elephants returned to the forest for the night. We then returned to camp to have a delicious dinner followed by a nightcap while gazing at the milky way before turning in for the night.
At around 5:30 AM we were awoken by the staff bringing us a tray of coffee, tea and biscuits so that we would be ready to meet our driver at 6 AM at the entrance. We would then go on the morning safari drive and mainly saw large herds of elephants traveling together to look for food and water. There were also plenty of “tuskers”, large male elephants with tusks that were close to touching the ground, following the herds of female and baby elephants. Along with the elephants we also saw wildebeest, zebra, hyena, lion, giraffe, antelope and a large variety of birds. We were then taken to a spot for a bush breakfast where the staff setup a kitchen amongst some trees where you can see elephants and giraffe grazing in the distance. There was made to order omelets with all the fixings. After a filling breakfast we went to visit a Masai village to interact and learn about the culture of the local villagers. The afternoon was filled with more food and another evening game drive where we ended our drive with a sun setter, which is drinks and a view of the reserve while watching the sunset before heading back to camp for dinner.
The next morning, we were again awakened with coffee and biscuits and taken on a game drive back to the airport where we had a boxed breakfast while we waited for our plane to take us to our next location.
The conservancy covers 65,000 acres, a vast wilderness. Lewa has dramatic views to the south of snowcapped Mt. Kenya, and to the north down to the arid lands of Tassia and Il Ngwesi. It has many diverse habitats from pristine forest, fertile grasslands, extensive springs and acacia woodland. Registered as a rhino conservancy in 1983, the conservancy is famous for its successful rhino and Grevy zebra breeding, two endangered species; Lewa is home to 10% of Kenya’s rhino, and 20% of the world’s population of Grevy zebra. Since Lewa is north of the equator in Kenya you can also see only see the giraffe necked antelope, oryx and the Somalian ostrich in Lewa.
We were greeted at the airport by our driver who would be taking us for game drives during our stay with some snacks and cold beverages. Lewa was hotter than Amboseli and felt and looked more like a desert. This made it easier to find animals near water sources. We spent the drive to the Elewana Lewa camp viewing white and black rhinos. The camp was like an oasis in the middle of the desert and had a pool to be able to cool off in. After getting settled and having lunch we left for our evening game drive where we saw lions, cheetah, rhinos and a number of other animals. We finished our evening with a sun setter with the rest of the guests from the camp. As the evening began to cool down quickly, we returned to camp to a large fire warming up the common area and dinning area. After dinner we were greeted by a clear sky with millions of bright stars lighting our way back to our tent.
The next day we were able to experience some unique Lewa adventures in-between our morning and evening game drive. We were able to go on a hike with a ranger to explore the surrounding area around the camp followed by going on a camel ride led by a local villager. For our evening game drive, we were able to watch a leopard pull down its dinner from a tree.
We were then woken up early by the camp staff with coffee and biscuits and the most beautiful and colorful sunrise the next day to get ready for a quick morning game drive before we returned to the airstrip to catch a plane to our next location.
To be continued......
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Nicky Schick is a certified family travel consultant and writer. On the go and in the know with first-hand experience!