When I was told that we were heading over to Samburu for a holiday, my mind wasn’t prepared for the kind of unforgettable experience that I was going to have. It was a media farm trip, organized by the Kenya Tourism Board meant to market Kenya as a romantic destination. We travelled by air, and for a first time experience I swear it was awesome. I have often wondered how it felt to watch people from up there and how things looked like. Were they as tiny as I had often seen them on TV or how were they? In front of me was a white couple who enhanced the feeling of romance during the entire journey with their caresses and cuddles. What a great way to start your journey as a couple!
We arrived in Samburu at midday when the sun was up on top of our heads and were received warmly by the community. Samburu Intrepids is situated on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River in the arid heart of Samburu National Reserve.
We were briefed of the activities that we would have at the Intrepid Hotel in Samburu, a hotel which I highly recommend for couples who desire to have a quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Usually, when people told me of Samburu, visions of the desert and underdeveloped houses would cross my mind. Nevertheless, this hotel has made me see a different side of this county which I believe couples will enjoy when they come for either their honeymoon or as they tie the knot. I enjoyed sleeping in the tents which were cooled off by the river breeze and nearby forests. The weather is really hot in Samburu, hotter than in Mombasa!
Later during the evening, we were educated on the Samburu people by the resident naturalist, James Ntopai. It was really interesting learning about the difference between Masaais and Samburus and the different animals that exist in that place. The following day, we had a trip to the local Samburu people, where we took photos and learnt firsthand on their culture and traditions.
Besides the usual game drives, bird watching and a walk to the local community, one of the activities which I strongly enjoyed was star gazing. I used to think that this activity was just for white folks who enjoyed science or planning to visit one of the planets some day but I realized that it is just for anyone who’s interested in the environment around them. It’s for those people who see themselves in the bigger picture-people with some sort of what I would call a sense of wonder. People just like you and me.
The skies were stunning. I learnt that since Samburu is close to the equator and it’s lying on the edge of the northern hemisphere, it was very possible to view more than 60 constellations in one night. Our star guide, James Ntopai, was very polite and first oriented us to the instrument that we were going to use. From there, the guide taught us how to notice patterns in the sky amongst the stars. We noted the curves, the triangular as well as the straight lines of stars forming various patterns like Orion, Plough and so many others. They reminded me of my class five science where I had seen the patterns virtually but now I was seeing them in reality.
As he explained, checking through the telescope to see whether he could spot another star or constellations, the guide narrated to us some of the myths that were passed down to generations concerning the stars. The one I can nostalgically recall was on Perseus, a constellation named after the hero Perseus in Greek mythology. It ranks as the 24th largest constellation and occupies an area of 615 square degrees. In the myth, Perseus was the son of Danae, who was King Acrisius daughter. (sorry for the big names,). King Acrisius had received a prophecy from an oracle that his own grandson, whom he had locked up in a dungeon, would kill him and sit on the throne. To cut the long story short, Perseus was this grandson who managed to take over his grandfather’s throne after the King expelled his expectant daughter. These are just some of the stories that you will learn about if you are one of those star gazers enthusiasts or a curious common man like I am. After an hour of learning and being caught up in the sky, I was escorted to my room, where myriads of thoughts on what I had learnt cascaded through my mind. I think couples would love to gaze into the sky and wish upon a shooting star for a happy ever after!
Just before we left to our next destination, we were treated to an outdoor dining terrace where buffet a breakfast served overlooking the river. It was so refreshing that we almost got late just chatting and the manager was with us answering the numerous questions that we had about the place. Couples or guests can have lunches or dinners served in this place upon request.
I totally enjoyed my two nights in this place and am sure that many couples will enjoy their honeymoon too!
Published in Sunday Nation and People’s Daily