Jambo! (Swahili for hello)

There’s room for a couple more adventure and wildlife enthusiasts to join Elephant Quest, a special safari to Kenya, November 5-18, 2016, that I co-designed with Tamsin Corcoran of New African Territories. In March, Tamsin was awarded the title of Honorary Game Warden with the Kenya Wildlife Services. She’s also known and loved throughout Kenya’s bush (rural areas) for her dedicated efforts to ensure that tourism benefits the local communities that neighbor the lodges and camps on her roster.

Elephant Quest is about all wildlife, because the presence of elephants means a healthy eco-system sustaining the gamut of indigenous fauna and flora. What’s special about Elephant Quest is our visit to Ithumba. By necessity, we are a small group, due to limited lodging at Ithumba Hills, an unadvertised camp run by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, located in remote Tsavo East National Park.  Ithumba is where guests get close to elephant orphans after they graduate from the Nairobi Nursery (one of our first stops!) and start the process of re-integration to living free. Ithumba is also the closest humans can get safely to wild elephants, because ex-orphans bring their babies and new families back to visit Ithumba — it’s true that they never forget. Nor will you if you join Elephant Quest.   

The group is mostly ladies, fun-loving and very young at heart. We will have our very own wildlife guide, Chris Brennan, who consulted on the BBC Big Cat Diaries. His Kenya-born wife Tamsin hopes to accompany us as well. They’re simply the best, nicest, most fun and extremely knowledgeable people with whom to explore Kenya. In addition to being absolutely fluent in Swahili, they’re well-regarded by local communities throughout rural Kenya. Elephant Quest has the distinction of being guided by two of the most reputable safari leaders in Africa.

The itinerary of Elephant Wildlife Quest begins when we land in Nairobi on 5 November. We spend 3 nights at Ololo Lodge, located on the river that borders Nairobi National Park. Sunday is a day of rest, but I promise you a fun and exciting breakfast on the veranda, watching wildlife on the hillside– part of the unique Nairobi National Park with its proximity to the nation’s capitol — lunch, pool-time, walking about the gardens of Ololo, game-watching from the veranda, and a fun dinner to celebrate the inaugural Elephant Quest. I’ve invited Tamsin and Christo join us.

On Monday, we spend the day in Nairobi National Park and visit DSWT’s Nairobi Nursery – if you haven’t adopted your elephant(s), you can do it in person that day. It’s a very special part of the safari, and being that close to the orphan eles is — well, I could write reams and still not paint the whole picture of what you will experience – you have to be there, but fun, profound, scary because these magnificent creatures are in danger of extinction, you name it… 

Tuesday morning, we fly to Ithumba Hills, the new camp that the Sheldrick Trust built on the hillside at Ithumba – 4 tents, 8 guests maximum, unless we triple up. The tents in Kenya will forever change your attitude toward “camping”!!! From Ithumba, we fly to magical Sabuk in the Laikipia Plateau for 3 nights, then to the Maasai Mara for 4 nights at Speke’s Camp. We return on November 18 to the historic town of Karen for lunch and shopping, then continue to Jomo Kenyatta Airport, Nairobi to connect with our international flights home. 

There’s still time to join the inaugural launch of Elephant Quest. Kenya’s new eVisa application online is quick. Several vaccinations are necessary for travel to East Africa. Best of all, you will become an ambassador for conservation and wildlife tourism by sharing your adventures with friends thereby spreading the word about the importance of protecting wildlife from poaching. Elephants are at risk of extinction because of the greed for their ivory tusks and the ruthlessness of poachers to supply the black market — all the more reason to join Elephant Quest in November.

For the detailed itinerary, cost (this inaugural Quest is very close to cost), what’s included (OMG, lots! — but not international airfare), please contact me: LaurenGallops@gmail.com 

For information about Ololo, Sabuk, and Speke’s: www.africanterritories.co.ke  NOTE: Ithumba is NOT a commercial tourist destination, so contact me for info and photos of Ithumba, etc. I have stayed everywhere on the itinerary, except Ithumba — a total of five glorious, magical weeks during two previous visits to Kenya.

To book your place on Elephant Quest, email: Tamsin@africanterritories.co.ke and please be sure to copy: Victor@africanterritories.co.ke 

Carpe diem – Elephant Quest is your adventure of a lifetime!