by Sarah Fazendin
On most African safaris, the “Big Five” of African big game—including Lion, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Leopard and Rhino—is the main attraction.
African Latitude (www.africanlatitude.com), a Nairobi-based safari company that has been leading expeditions into the Kenyan and Tanzanian bush for over twenty years, gets travelers out of the safari vehicles to allow for exploration of some stunningly beautiful, mystifying and isolated African terrain on foot and thereby focusing not only on wildlife, but on cultures, landscapes and ecosystems.
What is the value of seeing Africa on foot? In today’s age of commercialized tourist attractions, it’s not always easy to find authentic means of learning about and interacting with foreign cultures. On these walking expeditions, you will actually walk through traditional Masai villages and are constantly interacting with these local communities. By traversing this terrain on foot, you are “on the same level” as the local tribal people instead of simply staring at them the out the window of a Land Rover.
The Loita Hills trek, in Southern Kenya, starts with mobile tented camping on a private concession in the famous Masai Mara, which is the northern segment of the great Serengeti ecosystem. For three days you will explore this area featuring Africa’s most diverse and highly-concentrated wildlife area…this is a classic safari experience!
Next, your group sets off into the Loita Hills on foot for four nights, transferring to a more lightweight camping, as some areas are so remote that vehicles can not traverse the terrain. During this period of the trip you will cover up to 15 kilometers per day, but it’s definitely not a race.
The walk is at a comfortable pace, allowing plenty of time for interaction with the local communities (including shopping for some stunning beadwork made by the local ladies!) and learning about the natural surroundings as the group walks to the very edge of the Great Rift Valley. At the end of each day, camp will be ready and waiting for your group to arrive, set in the most scenic of locations, with cocktails waiting for you as the sun sets over the African savannah.
After all this camping and trekking, your safari ends with a bit of luxury. The group will spend two nights at the lovely Shompole Lodge located in a private game reserve near Lake Natron. On the last day of the trek, you will walk down the Great Rift Valley escarpment nearly 2000 feet!
The climate at the bottom of this escarpment tends to be quite hot, and by the time you reach Shompole Lodge, the infinity swimming pool and a chilled glass of wine have never looked more inviting. Spend the next two nights here relaxing in style, with great food, optional spa treatments and a luxurious swimming pool for your pleasure.
While open to any and all, this Loita Hills trek happens to be a fantastic Divas-only trip, as the combination of big game, walking exercise, exotic cultures and luxury accommodations can’t be beat, and the days you spend on the trail and nights around the campfire make for great “catching up” time with friends and family.
For more information, please visit www.fazendinportfolio.com/destination/latitude or call the North American African Latitude office (ask for Kate) at 303.886.6953.