Having the sheer number of trips going on between when I finalized my safari and now I think has kept me from really getting excited about safari. But now that LA and Vegas are safely behind me, and I've recovered from that trip, I can set my sights fully on safari.
After so many trips last year where we enjoyed the liberty of going carry-on only, I've decided to try it for safari. Try it as in, let's practice pack and see how doable this might be. I've been mulling it over in my head and have talked myself into it all being possible. After all, I'm bringing summer-weather clothing (light!) and will have access to laundry service at the midpoint of my two weeks on the ground there. But the thought of just strolling off the plane, exchanging money and heading to my hotel (no more visa queues, did it all online!) is just so enticing. And then when I return home, since I have Global Entry, I can be in a car heading home much faster if there's no luggage reclaim involved. I can do this. I know I can.
My safari planner, who is a GEM, has put an incredible itinerary together for me. After a quick night in Nairobi, I fly right out to Amboseli to a lodge at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Amboseli is known for its massive elephant herds and I'm so anxious to see them, as well as Kilimanjaro itself. Despite being in Tanzania, it is actually best seen from Kenya. Go figure.
Then it's back to my beloved Mara, this time the Naboisho conservancy. I'm hoping beyond hope that the big cat spotting here is as good as it was in Olare Motorogi. I'm also hoping to get into the reserve itself and find the Marsh Pride. I'm still gutted over the loss of the Marsh Pride females (Siena and Bibi, who were poisoned by locals last month) but want to see the remaining pride if we can find them.
Specifics aside, I'm really longing for the wide open space, the white puffs of cloud that just seem to hang in animated suspension right over us. As much as we drive to them, they never seem to get any closer. The beauty of the pink lightning jumping between clouds in a storm. The warmth of the sun. The quick as a minute sunrises and the watercolor drawn sunsets, gin and tonic in hand. Being unplugged, mentally, physically and device-wise. This blogger is tired, needs a recharge and a reset. This is why I love Kenya.
I will ease back into reality when I return to Nairobi and stay in Nairobi National Park. It's a wildlife reserve right in the middle of the city. On my last day on the ground in Kenya, I'll get to the Sheldricks Elephant Orphanage and meet four of my five foster elephants (the fifth has already graduated to the next level of reintegration and is no longer in the nursery. As much as I don't want to wish away the entire trip, this is what I'm most looking forward to. I've followed these babies for over a year now and am so anxious to see them in person.
So with a deep breath I'm going to start laying things aside to pack (or not, as the case may be) and start organizing myself so that last week before I leave isn't the stressed-out freak out that it usually is. I just cannot believe that over a year later, I'm finally taking this trip! Hakuna matata.