Sanctuary Farm, Lake Naivasha, Kenya


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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!

Just outside the dining lodge

Just outside the dining lodge

Running with wildebeests

Running with wildebeests

Monkeys grooming

Monkeys grooming

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Giraffes roam freely all around us

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Crescent Island

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.

Crescent Island

Crescent Island

Getting a sense of scale!

Getting a sense of scale!

So many Thompson's Gazelle!

So many Thompson’s Gazelle!

Finding new friends in the wild

Finding new friends in the wild

Examining a hippo skull

Examining a hippo skull

Enjoying the view!

Enjoying the view!

Horseback Riding

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.

Tibetan horseman

Tibetan horseman

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). 

Blair and Sambuka being led by Paul in the front

Blair and Sambuka being led by Paul in the front

Hippo Alert

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!

Signs around the Farm

Signs around the Farm

On the boat

On the boat

Lazy hippo

Lazy hippo, thankfully

And finally, here are a few photos of Sanctuary Farm itself, to give you an idea of the accommodations.  Fabulous!

Dining room

Dining room

Girls cuddling in bed

Girls cuddling in bed

View from our bedroom window

View from our bedroom window

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! 

Categories: AFRICA, Sanctuary Farm, Lake Naivasha, Kenya

6 comments

  1. JUST INCREDIBLE!!! We are so enjoying sharing in your adventure!!! As much as we miss you, we are so happy that you are having these incredible experiences. Love you lots, Mem and Pep.

  2. Awsome beyond belief…..thanks for sharing your adventures with….XOXO

  3. Well, dear friends, this whole trip is such a brilliant gift to you two, and your three lovely daughters…these are the memories that will never bleach out, experiences that will stay with you for the rest of your life, adventures that will still be talked about when the girls are grandmothers… and you gave it to them. So much better than anything material ! But I warn you: it’s highly addictive what you ‘re doing. And once it gets under your skin, there’s no way you can get rid of it.
    It’s called the travel-bug. And there just ain’t no cure… Lucky you !
    Klaas

  4. Just a short reply: I just LOVE the picture of the girls chasing the wildebeests.
    It’s unbelievable you have been so close to all the animals and especially the giraffes………. Makes me jaleaous!
    Enjoy your last bit of Kenya and after that South-Africa.
    I’ll send you an email soon with tips of the East-Coast of Australia…… Let me know when you’re heading east!
    Cabaret was great! I was dressed up very beautiful and we laughed all night 🙂 Thanks again!
    Love, Linde

  5. What adventures you are having, creating memories for a lifetime. As I watched the videos and looked at the pictures, I was filled with such nostalgia, how ai would love to return to those countries. Now you can understand how life is so simple, and so very close to nature, that human relations is what is important. This will be a life altering experience for all of you. How wonderful that you can live all these experiences together as a family! I keep you in my thoughts and prayers, so that you will remain safe. Girls, your cuties are doing fine, I even think they are gaining weight. I am greeted at 5:30 am with squeals of hunger.
    they love coming out and exploring, though I have to follow then with a paper towel! They miss you and said to send their fuzzy kisses. Fran

  6. Love the horse story! Hilarious!

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