Day 1: Arriving in Kenya
"I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong hills" Karen Blixen, Out Of Africa
Flying out of Wilson Airport in our little Cessna Caravan, someone pointed out the Ngong Hills in the distance, where the book and film started so many people's fascination and love affair with Africa. Kenya set the scene for the classic safari to Africa. The sprawling ramshackle city of Nairobi gives way to rolling green hills and eventually the vast openness of the Highland plateau of Laikipia, the first stop on my my East Africa adventure.
We arrive at Loisaba airstrip, welcomed by cold refresher towels and purple prickly pear juice set out on the dusty edge of the airstrip. On the way to our lunch stop, our driver gives us an introduction to Laikipia, originally Masai and Samburu territory this area is a series of massive ranches interconnected by game corridors.
Welcoming, warm and inclusive, three generations of the Francombe family live and work here, perched on the edge of a hill overlooking their 5000 acre game ranch. A sense of impending adventure is implied by the arrival of Andrew, by helicopter, landing just behind the browsing camels as we are driving up to the lodge. Rocky and Colin are there to greet us with cooling drinks and stories to share.
Loisaba, professional and cool, this sleek tented lodge is straight out of a magazine, with views over the plateau.
Reticulated giraffes at sunset in the soft light start our short game drive on the way too visit Loisaba Star beds, a separate lodge with a twist, the four poster beds are on wheels and roll out on to their own private little decks so you can literally sleep under the stars. Each bed even has its own number plate.
After G&T's by the fire and some stories about snake bites .... we head back to the main lodge for dinner. Greeted with hot chocolate and marshmallows and swiftly seated, our chef for the night, Christine comes over to explain the menu for our dinner, an elegant conclusion to our day.