I recently had a bit of free time on my hands and decided to head over to Samburu East District. I had been mulling over the trip to Sera Community Conservancy for a while and when time and opportunity came, I was set for it. I had been told that it was a beautiful place of solitude where you got to explore Kenya’s best bounty in nature while offering true relaxation. And I did really need to get out of town for some rest and recreation. If you have plenty of time, I recommend the 6-hour long scenic road trip through Nanyuki and Isiolo towns and Archer’s Post hamlet. Flying, however, is the choice mode of transportation for most guests. I arrived at Kalama airstrip aboard an Air Kenya flight (one of two airlines that operate daily flights to Kalama). My journey had begun at the crack of dawn and I was pleased at the four stopovers in Amboseli, Nanyuki, and Lewa Downs before Kalama. Let’s just say a bird’s eye-view paints a different impression of Kenya.
If you are one for some adventure, go for the camping option. This will set you back by Sh2, 700 inclusive of conservancy fees. If one for a little luxury, go with the Saruni Collection. They run luxury bandas on a dreamy location overlooking the Lugga, a dry river bed, shaded by palm trees. Saruni Rhino is an intimate set up consisting of a restaurant christened Swara House and a detached kitchen flanked by two bandas. To the left is an open ‘family’ banda that can accommodate up to four persons. The banda is open plan. A beautiful private sandy terrace has chairs and tables overlooking the Lugga while a nearby tree hoists a dreamy hammock bed.
I was received by the shuka-clad manager Samuel Lemerumi and his lean team. My stay highlight was dinnertime where the chef prepared and served me some wholesome delights under a starlit sky amplified by strategically-hung hurricane lamps.
I decided to get into rhino tracking, the one experience that had brought me this far. Of the rhino population that calls Sera home, I was privileged to spot two females: 14-year-old Sala and Julia, 5. We were also on the trail of 10-year-old Cedric but dusk set in too soon. On our way back to the camp, a bat-eared fox scurried out of a hole giving me such a fright. Not my finest moment, but I bet you would have shrieked too. The rhino tracking sessions that last anywhere between two to four hours, with varying walking distances depending on each track, will cost you about Sh8, 000. After this little adventure, I understood why I had been asked to get air evacuation insurance. I had gotten mine for Sh1600 from the AMREF Flying Doctors Maisha Tourist cover. It is valid for a month.
In 2015, Sera earned the right to reintroduce the endangered black rhino 25 years since the last one was poached in the area. The 54,000 hectare sanctuary is the only place in East Africa where visitors can track wild rhino on foot.