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Colorado's Own African Outfitter

African Safari Adventures

Here I was on a warm Sunday morning, somewhere deep out in the Maasai Mara savanna, bending down with a throng of Masai cattle-herding boys from about 5 to 15, who were all eager to touch my humidity-challenged “lion’s mane” hair. Some giggled, some shreaked a bit, but none were too shy to give it a go After all, when one lives in a dung hut surrounded by wilderness for hundreds of miles in every direction, it's not every day one gets to touch a 'mzungu's' hair. That's what I was in Kenya - a mzungu, which is Swahili for Caucasian.

Oleshargegilololtoriroi (thankfully also known as Joseph,) the Masai guide who escorted me on this nature walk, was decked out, as always, in his flashy traditional garb of red plaid wraparound blanket, no end of colorful beads and an exotic leather braided headgear that made him look positively royal. He carefully translated for us and told me that the boys were on a mission to collect branches for their teacher to use as whipping
switches – something to keep on hand, apparently, whether needed or not. When I told them that my own children didn’t have this treatment in their school, they looked astonished.

With us, we had Amos, a park ranger dutifully equipped with a World War II-era rifle -after all, this IS lion country – as well as elephant, cheetah, leopard, wart hog, etc.- country. While we traipsed the countryside, viewing herds of Thompson gazelles, Topi antelope, elephants and others, I asked the two men about their culture and they
barraged me with questions about ours.

Kenyans embraced me with their genuine warmth and outgoing natures. I loved the Swahili greeting of ‘Jambo’ which everyone uses instead of ‘hello,’ and the endearing “much welcome.” I was surprised when I heard ‘hakuna matata’ and realized that the theme song from The Lion King, which my children had played a million times, really DOES mean ‘no worries, no problem.’ Our trip was coordinated by Denver-based Africa Adventure Consultants, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The award-winning firm ( named for the 5th year as one of Travel & Leisure’s World’s Best Safari Outfitters,) specializes in custom safaris and other types of travel in many countries in East and Southern Africa. Kent Redding, the founder and president of AAC uses his expertise and extensive background knowledge gained from living and working for years in that region of Africa to guide others in designing their trips.

The region Redding specializes in is noted for hosting the Great Migration, actually a year-round event that spans across Kenya and Tanzania, with different species migrating in inconceivably huge numbers, particularly when millions of wildebeests and zebras migrate across the Serengeti and Mara plains in thunderous herds in June. The rest of the year, however, there is no shortage of animal sightings across the rolling plains and savannas.

Flying into Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi, most opt to spend one day there visiting the local Elephant Orphanage and the Rothschild Giraffe Sanctuary. The next day, we traveled via bush plane to Samburu Intrepids game park lodge. At Samburu, we slept in large constructed tents which were very comfortable, cozy and well-equipped. My cabin looked right onto the gently flowing river, in front of which mischievous, determined little monkeys scampered up and down trees and watched me intently, hoping to get inside the tent. 

At the game park lodges, game rides are typically offered two or three times a day.The rides are in incredibly sturdy 6-7-passenger Land Rovers or similar. Rather like a bucking bronco ride at a wild west park, we’d set out in peaceful hunt of the so-called Samburu Special Five – Grevy’s zebras, reticulated giraffes, Somali ostriches, long- necked gerenuk antelope and Beisa oryx along with elephants, lions, leopards and others. We spotted plenty on every ride. There’s nothing quite like seeing giraffes’ graceful forms far off in the distance – and knowing they are WILD.

The cultures of eastern Africa are just as diverse and thrilling – Masai and Samburu peoples living in their ancient lifestyles of dung huts and herding cattle, dressed in what must be the most colorful garmets I’ve ever seen. The villagers have adapted to tourism while keeping their culture virtually intact. They invite visitors to enter a hut and hear a short talk about their lifestyle, while the women outside lay out their handicrafts for sale.

In the evenings before dinner, safari guests can meet in the lodge for a slide presentation and lesson about the local customs or wildlife, while enjoying cocktails and appetizers. If desired, the lodges will prepare ‘bush dinners,’ beautiful, magical events in secluded areas under an incredibly thick canopy of stars. The fruit was even more succulent and varied at the beach resort – in fact, just as I was about to dig into the juicy mango on my plate one morning, a monkey leapt onto my table, grabbed the mango and sprang away in one fell swoop – the employees were frantic but we tourists just laughed.

Hakuna matata to the mango-stealing monkey, and hakuna matata to me. I left Kenya with tears in my eyes for the warm, embracing Kenyans I had met.

To celebrate 20 years, Africa Adventure consultants has several new tours,
including the 20th Anniversary Time Capsule Dream Safari, a 20-day luxury trip to
seven countries. The company supports worthy causes helping both people and wildlife
in Africa. For every client who visits Africa with us, we donate to one of our specially
selected non-profit programs.

● AfricAid
● Lion Recovery Fund
● Rhino Conservation Botswana
● Uthando South Africa