When my colleagues at JbD travel on so-called Educationals (trips designed to test-drive the destinations we recommend to our clients) they are often in the company of other tour operators. On my recent visit to Kenya and Northern Tanzania it was just me, myself and I.
Airports can be overwhelming places to arrive in, especially when alone. I needn't have worried. You know those handwritten signs you see people holding at airports when you get off a flight and you wonder what it might feel like to see your own name on such a sign? Now I know. One of Journeys by Design’s ‘on the ground’ agents met me off the plane and took me through security, visa and passport control formalities and baggage claim. Plus the internal flight to Lewa was as easy as catching a bus. ‘Joanna, you’ll be the second stop’ I was told as I boarded the tiny plane. I arrived at Sirikoi Camp in time for lunch. Easy peasy.
I stayed in lots of different and very beautiful places. For the lone traveller, top of my list would have to be Sirikoi and Nduara Loliondo Safari Camp, both of which were staffed by people who couldn't have been more helpful, lovely and professional. Sirikoi I remember especially for a great cheetah spot. It’s known for its rhino population, but on the first morning game drive, in the company of the wonderful James, we watched not one but two of these beautiful cats enjoying sunrise in the long grass
Meanwhile, while at Nduara Loliondo Safari Camp, I was witness to the wildebeest migration. Being alone, with my guide and driver, the equally wonderful Chediel Mnzava, in the middle of the biggest open space I have ever seen - not a tree to break up the space! Empty from horizon to horizon! - among hundreds of thousands of animals just milling around stamping their feet and braying and grunting, gave me a real sense of my own insignificance – in a good way. It felt a privilege to be granted such perspective.
I stayed in six camps in total, spending two nights in each, and sometimes I was the only guest (with a camp staff of thirty to look after me!). Like other lone travellers I encountered, I didn't regret setting off solo and I never felt lonely. Many camps have Wi-Fi access so it’s possible to call home or update your Facebook status – if you really want to. If you live on your own, and fancy a dream break, I couldn't recommend East Africa more.