A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. This one began with us grabbing coffee for breakfast and fueling, destination, 257km away from Nairobi to Voyager Ziwani Camp - Tsavo West National Park. I enjoy touring Kenya by road as I absorb majestic scenery.
A couple of minutes later we were along the Nairobi – Mombasa highway towards Emali, 100 km from Nairobi through beautiful, vast savannah, greened thanks to the long rains. The road is smooth and after making a turn at Emali for the 100km drive to Loitokitok, nature gave us its best as far as the eye could see. It was beyond my imagination– with the Chyulus on the left in Tsavo West and Kilimanjaro hidden by dark clouds further on the right.
Tarmac winds through land that depicts wildlife up until two hills on either sides of the road that seem to open up a world of stunning beauty, more like a welcome to the land of wildlife. Two hours after we left Nairobi, we reached Oloitokitok for a tank refill. It’s a border town and Tanzanian cell phone service providers welcome us, giving us an idea of how far south we’d gone. Some 57km with a bit of off road driving, we were welcomed by friendly staff to the shadow of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro.
On our first night after a nature walk and dinner, I jotted this note in my notebook at 2155Hrs. These words best describe that particular moment:
I’m warm in bed (many thanks to the surprise hot water bottle) writing this note at Voyager Ziwani in Tsavo. It has been a rainy evening but I’m not complaining at all. It’s my first time to spend a night in tented camp out in the wild and so far I love it! It’s a completely new experience. Adrenalin rushes whenever a hippo stares blank at you from the pool or when you hear birds shake tree leaves. The air is so fresh with a scent of the wild. My shoes got muddy and when I looked down to wipe them my eyes were met by ants building colonies and dragon flies following my every step. There’s so much Life and I feel embraced by mother nature.
The environs are music to the ears. Crickets, birds singing (over a hundred species of them!) and river water flowing down a stream from the hippo pool. Right now my tent zip is shut and I have a whistle by my bedside (keeping in mind what we were told earlier “If the animals disturb you, blow this.”) I was also told that later after midnight, once the generator is switched off, hippos will graze right outside my tent!
Earlier today, at around 4:30pm, we took a nature walk round the pool. We saw crocodiles, a family of hippos that number over 40 huge ones and so many different species of birds. It’s mind blowing. Our guide, Salim, is a walking encyclopedia, with so much info and you realize where you fit (well, hopefully not in a food chain..) Looking forward to seeing hippos graze! G’nyt.
At 2am I was woken up by hippos grazing a couple of feet away from my pillow on the other side of the tent! I didn’t move an inch and in pitch dark, I aborted the plan to use my flashlight to take a look at motomoto. I woke up the following morning to the sound of birds singing and I stepped out of the tent onto the green campsite.
It’s a night to remember; no telephone disturbances, sleep is so sweet and nature just has a way of soothing you to maximum relaxation. Ziwani has an amazing restaurant and bar serving a wide variety of delicacies. There’s a bonfire area where traditional dances are performed. I highly recommend a visit. Truly memorable. Other activities you can embark on include night game drives in Tsavo, ranch tour of Gicheha farm, trips to lakes Chala and Jipe, tours of World War II battlefields including the “Sniper Tree’ and “Salaita Hill”, the Adventurers’ Club for keeping children active while on safari and so on. Bird watchers are guaranteed a fabulous time. Learn more here.
There’s an airstrip right next to the camp and if you opt to drive down, use a 4X4 with fuel enough.
Below is a brief video of the camp. I’m editing a better one with the tents, nature walk, etc.. Visit this link again soon. Feedback is welcome under comments sections or tweet @eGichomo. Enjoy!
One of East Africas most established and innovative safari names, Heritage Hotels offers seven Kenyan properties in three different brands: Voyager Safari Camps and Beach Resorts in Tsavo and Mombasa; the famous Intrepids Camps in the Maasai Mara and Samburu, and the Great Rift Valley Lodge at Lake Naivasha; and the luxurious five-star Mara Explorer tented camp and the romantic Arabian isle hideaway of Kipungani on Lamu Island.
General Information on Heritage Ziwani Camp