It only took three hours to drive from Majo Moto to Sanctuary Farm, but we may as well have arrived on another planet. After being in the dry, dusty, drought-ridden hills of the Maasai camp, we now found ourselves in the lush, green paradise of Lake Naivasha. Sanctuary Farm is a family-owned and operated lodge perched on acres of beautiful wildlife sanctuary. There are no predatory animals in the sanctuary, but it is teeming with zebra, antelope, giraffe, wildebeest, water buck, monkeys, and a lot of amazing birds. Since you don’t have to worry about becoming dinner for a lion, guests at the Farm can wander on foot or horseback through the paths and woods, intermingling with the animals in a surprisingly intimate way. We all were amazed to get so close to these animals in the wild, and the girls particularly delighted in wandering freely and experimenting with just how close they could get!
We stayed at the Lodge for two nights and three days, wandering around with our in awe of all the incredible sights before us!
Right next to Sanctuary Farm is a peninsula called Crescent Island, another privately owned game reserve around which to roam on foot. We packed a picnic lunch at the lodge and spent a fabulous afternoon wandering along the peninsula and taking in the majestic views of the wildlife against the backdrop of Lake Naivasha.
Blair: We also experienced the Farm on horseback which allowed us to get even closer to the animals. All three girls rode, Schuyler and Zoe unassisted and Thayer with a guide leading her around the Farm. Lobsang got on a horse for the first time in his life and seemed calm, cool and collected (he later told us he was completely panicked the whole time because he knew that his horse knew that he was a total rookie without a clue how to ride). Jeff, of course, was put on top of a beautiful horse that we soon learned was a 4-year old stallion and needed to be kept clear of ALL LADY HORSES at ALL TIMES because apparently stallions will attempt to “engage” with any lady horse they get close to, regardless of carrying a rider (he was a frisky young horse if you know what we mean). So now you can imagine Jeff trying to keep his stallion away from Thayer’s horse and Pickle’s horse, both lovely ladies, while we all walked together on a single lane dirt path. Throw in the guides telling Schuyler and Zoe not to let their horses get too close because they kick each other, and nerves are running a bit high.
Best of all, I had been warned by a fellow traveler that the horses at the Farm were “a bit difficult to control and would run away with you whenever possible” so I forcefully requested the most calm, mellow horse possible for myself. I was assured, when about to depart atop a gangly horse named Sambuka, that he was the “nicest, calmest horse.” Then, just before heading out, the stable hand mentioned as an aside that Sambuka was completely phobic of wild animals. Yes, they put me on a horse who feared wild animals with all his heart for an hour tour of a wild animal game reserve. Thankfully, I was not ashamed to ask Paul the stable hand to walk alongside Sambuka, which turned out to be a great idea when we saw our first giraffe about 1/10th of a mile down the lane. Sambuka apparently would have thrown me or just wished me luck and galloped back to the stables had Paul not been holding him. Everyone else got a big kick out of my predicament, including Thayer who started calling out “MOM, WILD ANIMALS AHEAD, GOOD LUCK!!!” every thirty seconds. When I arrived back safe and sound to the stable, I agreed that it was all quite hilarious. It turns out that Sambuka emigrated to Sanctuary Farm from Uganda, where apparently horses don’t mingle with wild animals. He was still adjusting to his new surroundings (with me on his back).
The only animals we did have to watch out for at Sanctuary Farm were the hippos, who leave their cool resting places in the lake every evening to graze on the grasses of the Farm. Despite being plump, silly-looking vegetarians, hippos are highly aggressive and likely kill more humans in Africa every year than any other wild animal. When we walked to the dining area for dinner each evening, a guard (armed with a flashlight – huh?) escorted us to assist in the hippo patrol and somehow keep us safe should we stumble upon one of the lumbering beasts in our path. We never saw one on land, thankfully, but we did take a boat ride to see them in their water-logged abodes which was very exciting!
And finally, here are a few photos of Sanctuary Farm itself, to give you an idea of the accommodations. Fabulous!
Another incredible few days are behind us now. It’s hard to believe that we’ve really only been in Kenya for about a week. We have already experienced so much! Our next post will come to you from yet another dramatic landscape in Kenya, this time along the coast of the Indian Ocean.
Thanks for following us – we love all the support from afar!