During the Thanksgiving break, we flew to Kenya with our kids and our close friends, the Combs. We started our journey at Giraffe Manor
, where giraffe feeding becomes the envy of every influencer on Instagram and Tiktok. It's a truly unique experience, getting up close and personal with these long-necked giants. We then traveled to Ol Donyo Lodge
to revisit one of our all-time favorite destinations in Africa. Tucked into the Chyulu Hills with endless views of Kilimanjaro, Ol Donyo exists on its own. It's a special place, uniquely remote and intertwined with rich culture, serene landscapes, and diverse wildlife. The kids were enthralled with daily soccer matches against the Maasai staff. Sleeping at night was an adventure, filled with lion calls from outside our room every 5-10 minutes. It was a brilliant experience, culminating on the day of our departure when I locked eyes with our guide from 13 years earlier. It brought a tear to my eye hearing him retell our adventures together: jumping with the Maasai (picture above), tracking leopards in lava tubes, getting raided by baboons, and throwing Maasai spears (backwards) with cocktails in hand.
Our next stop was Mara Nyika
, in the Maasai Mara. For over a decade, Marni had been telling me stories of the wildness and concentration of animals in the Mara, and it did not disappoint. Evidently, the staff learned that the five kids (along with some adults) were soccer enthusiasts, resulting in a match each day. The staff had their own uniforms and were officially the Mara’s top team. The game drives were surreal watching groups of elephants roam, giraffes graze, leopards climb trees, cheetahs and lions on the hunt. The balancing act of a mother cheetah was unfathomable; she had six cubs she was caring for, while hunting and eating. The lion prides were large, and one of the prides had cubs we were able to spend some time with. Shockingly, we were able to witness lions mating - which apparently occurs every 10-15 minutes for 3 days straight. The experience of visiting a Maasai bead shop and a goat/cow market is indescribable. A last bush dinner under the stars, while hyenas circled the dining table, was adventurous to say the least.
We ended at Solio Rhino Sanctuary, where we witnessed the world's highest concentration of rhinos. Then, a brief stop at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club and a Thanksgiving Dinner with friends in Nairobi preceded our return to San Diego. Throughout the trip, the days were packed with so much experience, laughter, wine, and exceptional cuisine every minute of each day.
We’ll be back!