Home' Travel News : February - March 2016 Contents 36 travel news february/march 2016
february/march 2016 travel news 37
Kitaani Kya Ndundu (Nest of Owls) as it is properly known was long ago Cottars Tsavo
and for a time was also known unofficially as Nuttar’s. Named after long-time manager
and bon-vivant the late Lionel Nuttar. A great location at the foot of the Yatta Plateau,
the food at the camp is extra-ordinarily good.
Just 5-kms outside Mtito we came across a bull elephant by the side of the road, my
eldest took a photo and posted it on Facebook with the moniker ‘Traffic’. I haven’t seen
elephant so close to the road on this stretch for a longtime. Evidently the new railway
construction is causing mayhem in their lives. Wildlife sources tell me that 20-elephant
were killed last year in this area when they became trapped between the old railway
line, with a passing train and the huge earthen banks of the new railway. Confused they
apparently ran into side of the train or into the path of the oncoming train.
Onwards to Voi, for a quick hassle free entry into Tsavo East National Park. We did
not have a KWS Safari Card so bought temporary cards for the four girls, moi and the
gari – all of Kshs. 3,000/- for 24-hours, citizens all. Residents pay a tad more, overseas
visitors a lot more.
We headed to Satao Camp at Mukweju about a 100-minute bimble from the entrance
on excellent tracks with game viewing en-route. Lots of the legendary red dusted Tsavo
elephants plus lesser kudu, Oryx and other assorted plains game. Bird life seemed
abundant but we didn’t pay them much attention. The rains had just abated, so the park
was lush and green, which is not exactly the best of times to view wildlife.
I’d heard a lot about Satao, a traditional safari camp being the recurring comment. It
is that indeed, with attentive friendly staff, excellent safari cuisine with huge tents that
have all mod cons. 20-tents, four of which are suites in all. The in-room read impressed
me no end – Vanity Fair, good grief that’s my all time favourite magazine.
Attention to detail seems to be paramount here, the place is immaculate – the sweeping
and racking are a true work of art. Cold towels, top-of-the-line tea bags (Kericho Gold),
and bitterly cold Tuskers. They even have in-camp game viewing, a small herd of impala
are the resident lawn mowers. In the heat of the day and at night they herd their young
into a crèche on the lawn, then stand guard. Talking of heat of the day, it gets hot in
Tsavo, sometimes veddy veddy hot.
But you don’t just stay here just for the grub, pub and the good sleep; it is the vista you
look out at that does the brain in. A picture they say is worth a thousand words as these
images on the next page clearly show. From your veranda, the Hammerkop Lookout or
dining al fresco it’s all there 24/7 for you to enjoy.
For those that absolutely cannot stay unconnected there is Wifi in the bar area, slow as
it should be in such a remote location. A very special resident rate of Kshs. 7,500/- per
person per night full board, with no single supplement - is some deal.
On the drive home which we did it in one giant leap, with comfort stops at Voi and
Hunters Lodge. Coming by way of Kilifi and Kaloleni, and joining the Mombasa – Nairobi
road at Mariakani. This short-cut to the north coast, which has been under construction
for more than five-years is now about 70% complete. We live in hope that it will be
completed this year.
Elephants crossing the Athi River in Tsavo East National Park
The young's take on Satao by Kesha Davidson
Satao camp is tucked away on the African savannah,
located in the heart of Tsavo East National Park. The calm
atmosphere in the campsite displays an abundance of
wildlife, varying from the Vulterine guinea fowl streaked
with vibrant feathers to a many dusted antelope in the
morning or evening light. The campsite overlooks one
of the many waterholes, which are a symbol of life in
the dry African heat, and welcomes herds of elephant
and other diverse wildlife. The Acacia trees pierce the
traditional red soil of Tsavo and fence the camp with
natural symmetry, but still project a feeling of wonder.
The tents are simple with canvas rooftops, but have a
relaxing interior ranging from a cosy bed to a large open
bathroom. The campsite allows for the adventurous feel
of “camping”, but with the much-appreciated benefit of
homely comforts. Each tent has a scene of the unhindered
landscape, which has spotlight beams in the nearby
plains to illuminate the wildlife at nightfall. The camp is
fueled with a generator, working on a time schedule to
supply electricity and the much needed fans, from early
evening to eleven at night. The hospitable aura of the
camp is obvious, with friendly staff offering a smile at
any hour of the day. At Satao, you will dine beneath the
Acacia trees, which are forever silhouetted by dusk or
dawn. In the openness of the restaurant and bar, you
are free to sip your icy cold Tusker, whilst viewing the
perfect combination of African wildlife and horizon.
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