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Kenyan Safari Gallery

Photographer Emma Golpys gets up close and personal with Africa's iconic animals

Published on October 18th 2012.

Kenyan Safari Gallery

THE tour guides warned us that no animal sightings were guaranteed on our safari drives through Kenya's national parks. I think they were being a little over-cautious. It was more like The Big Ten than The Big Five when we visited The Shimba Hills and Tsavo National Parks.

The holiday was part beach relaxation, part safari tour. After acclimatising at the Southern Palms hotel on Diani Beach for a night, we set off at 5am on a four-day adventure into the wilderness.

That evening we watched leopards feeding and elephants visiting the watering hole, which was right next to the rooms

The first stop was Shimba Hills Lodge – a beautiful wooden building that blended into the forest and overlooked a lake visited by Seble antelope. Like all the lodges on the tour it was well-kept and clean with mosquito nets over our beds (though we didn't spot a single bug in any of them).


Then it was back in the jeep for an afternoon drive through the park, taking in sightings of elephant and giraffe.

After a night's rest, it was another early start for a 6am safari drive. The wake-up call was worth it though, as we glimpsed a cheetah and many different antelope and deer.

The next stop was the Tsavo West National Park – an area of mountains, forests and grassland which is home to leopard and zebra, amongst other beasts.

Here we stayed at the Ngulia Lodge which sits just below the Ngulia hills. An afternoon drive took us further into Tsavo West National Park where we saw lions and water buffalo. That evening we watched leopards feeding and elephants visiting the watering hole, which was right next to the rooms.


We then took a walking tour through Mzima Springs, an oasis inhabited by many different types of monkey, birds and fish, as well as crocodiles and hippos.

Our final stop was Tsavo East National Park where we stayed at the Voi Lodge, apparently the inspiration for the Lion King. Voi Lodge sat at the top of a hill overlooking the savannah grasslands of Tsavo East, with views of the nearby Sagalla and Mwakingali hills.

This grand lodge had a pool and outdoor bar but the best feature by far was a viewing room within the hill which put us at eye-level with the watering hole. Herds of elephants, baboons and zebra were just metres away, and in their natural environment.

Then it was back to the Southern Palms for ten days of all-inclusive unwinding. I put my camera away at this point – it was our turn to relax by the water in the sun.

You can follow Emma on twitter here

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