My niece married a childhood friend from a rural area to the north of Nairobi in the foothills of Mount Kenya - but that's another story (a very interesting one by the way). So we took the opportunity to join the celebrations, before travelling first to the Lakes in the Rift Valley, and then to Maasai Mara.
With images from 'Out of Africa' and 'White Mischief' in our minds, we selected Loldia House on the shores of Lake Naivasha, to experience the life of Kenya's early settlers (but in far more comfort!).
With beautiful views from the veranda across the lake to Mount Longonot, wild animals roaming free on the farm, hippo grunting noisily at the end of the lawn and fascinating night drives up to the airstrip, Loldia is a bit of a paradise on earth. Our welcome from Heather, the property's warm-hearted and appealingly eccentric manager, ensured we felt at home from the start, not to mention the delights of our spacious cottage accommodation, complete with open fire and hot water bottles in our huge four poster to keep us cosy during the chilly nights.
Days and evenings were filled with game drives, boat trips and leisurely walks, enhanced by delicious picnic lunches and the extraordinary spotting ability and wide-ranging knowledge of our talented guide Mungai.
From Loldia we travelled by road to the Maasai Mara (air transport is also available) where we were completely blown away by the abundance of wildlife, the huge skies and the stunning scenery.
At the end of our visit our guide lamented the fact that we hadn't seen a leopard, but for us it was a minor concern as the magical scenes we saw will stay with us for ever: herds of elephants of all sizes tearing up the grass with their trunks with all the dexterity of a master spaghetti eater; slender and elegant giraffe loping across the plain; the pride of eleven sleepy lions lounging with their paws in the air under the meagre shade of a scrubby acacia tree; a group of scurrying mongeese swarming up a low hill to sit on their haunches and watch the world go by; a stretch of shallow lake with unsightly marabou stork fishing for frogs; a rare sighting of a serval cat miaowing its way across the savannah; massive hippos sprawling on the muddy banks of the river; a shiny black rhino setting forth with surprising speed, with a spritely silver jackal trotting behind; herds of plump and immaculately striped zebra nudging each other like bashful teenagers; and above all, coming over the brow of a hill to see a million wildebeest in long queues stretching from horizon to horizon.
The award winning Governors' Camp properties in the Mara are the perfect base for your wildlife exploration, and furthermore, they operate the unforgettable balloon safaris which give you another perspective altogether into the huge savannah with the Mara river snaking across the plain.