Featured Lodge: Sarova Shaba, Kenya

Shaba reserve

Sarova Shaba Lodge is set deep in Shaba National Reserve on the banks of the Ewaso N’giro (Nyiro) River. It is the only lodge on the reserve, with 85 rooms in raised bungalows. The lodge’s expansive pool is the perfect place to relax at the end of a long day of viewing wildlife.

Room exteriors

Guest rooms look out on the river and the lodge’s many fish ponds. Modern bathrooms include both tub and shower; beds are equipped with mosquito nets that are lowered as part of turn-down surface each evening. Rooms are a true retreat, free of the distractions of television and radio. A hot water kettle means you can make tea to enjoy as you sit on your porch to watch the river go by, or enjoy a brisk coffee before breakfast.

Lodge by the Ewaso Nyiro river

Amenities include an outdoor dining boma, bar, spa services (massage, pedicure, manicure, and skin treatments), and a well-appointed giftshop. Wildlife is plentiful in and around the camp, with plenty of vervet monkeys to provide entertainment and crocodiles that sunbathe on the banks of the river. (Steep banks and an electric fence keep the reptiles at a comfortable distance.) Cultural activities include traditional Samburu dancing at dinnertime.

Samburu girls

Daphne Sheldrick: A Force for Elephants

Daphne Sheldrick feeds one of her early elephant rescues.
Daphne Sheldrick feeds one of her early elephant rescues. Photo courtesy of David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Who doesn’t love baby elephants? Daphne Sheldrick certainly does, and she’s taken her love further than most, becoming the first person to successfully rescue baby African elephants of nursing age who have lost their mothers and raise them to adulthood. One Green Planet recently wrote an illuminating profile of this fascinating 81-year-old woman.

Read moreDaphne Sheldrick: A Force for Elephants

World Travel Awards Honor Kenya and Tanzania

Bill Jollie took this photo of Mount Kilimanjaro while climbing as part of an Ujuzi safari to Tanzania.
Bill Jollie took this photo of Mount Kilimanjaro while climbing as part of an Ujuzi safari to Tanzania.

It’s the beginning of a new year and time to look back on the past one. Every year, the World Travel Awards accepts nominations from travelers for the best places to visit around the globe. After voting, two of my favorite destinations came out on top for 2015:

In addition, Kenya received top honors overall for being the World’s Leading Safari Destination, and South Africa also received many honors for its lodges and destinations.

Want to learn what all the fuss is about? Read more about one Ujuzi traveler’s hike up Mount Kilimanjaro here. And view pictures from my exploratory safari to the Masai Mara here.

Ready to explore Africa? Contact Ujuzi so we can help!

A group of Cape buffalos rest in Masai Mara National Park, Kenya. Photo by Anne Medeiros of Ujuzi African Travel.
A group of Cape buffalos rest in Masai Mara National Park, Kenya. Photo by Anne Medeiros of Ujuzi African Travel.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Photo taken by Bill Jollie on an Ujuzi safari to Tanzania.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Photo taken by Bill Jollie on an Ujuzi safari to Tanzania.

Taking Kids on Safari

Surveying the savanna. Photo taken by Susan Thurston on an Ujuzi safari to Tanzania.
Surveying the savanna. Photo taken by Susan Thurston on an Ujuzi safari to Tanzania.

In 2016 and 2017, Kenya is waiving visa fees for children. What a great time to introduce your kids or grandkids to the joys of exploration! The country offers a range of fun safari activities for kids of all ages, a few of which include:

  • Feeding endangered Rothschild giraffes by hand at the Giraffe Centre in Karen
  • Petting baby elephants at the Daphne Sheldrick Animal Orphanage and David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
  • Visiting  chimpanzees at the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Ol Pejeta Conservancy.  This sanctuary offers a safe haven for abused and orphaned chimpanzees from West  and Central Africa. (Chimpanzees are not native to Kenya.) After being nursed back to health, chimpanzees spend their days exploring, climbing, socializing, and learning to be chimpanzees all over again. This is an amazing project supported by the Jane Goodall Institute.

Read moreTaking Kids on Safari

Featured Organization: Giraffe Centre, Kenya

Photo courtesy of the Giraffe Centre
Photo courtesy of the Giraffe Centre


Though giraffes aren’t considered endangered, their numbers have decreased in recent years and some subspecies—like the Rothschild giraffe in Kenya and Uganda—have only a few hundred members.

To help the endangered Rothschild giraffe, African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Kenya was founded in 1979 by the late Jock and Betty Leslie-Melvile. A Kenyan citizen, Jock wanted to create an educational institution in conjunction while also actively increasing the Rothschild’s population.

To that end, the new organization opened the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi. Still going strong, the center educates thousands of local school children each year about their nation’s natural heritage, raising a new generation of Kenyan conservationists. It also breeds, rehabilitates and releases Rothschilds to protected wildlife areas in various parts of Kenya.

When AFEW started, only 120 Rothschild giraffes lived in the wild. Through breeding and conservation, the Giraffe Centre has helped raise this number to 300 giraffes in five groups across Kenya.

Read moreFeatured Organization: Giraffe Centre, Kenya

Watch elephants on Google Street View

Elephants at samburu screenshot from Google
Elephants at Samburu. Screenshot from Google Street View.

Samburu National Reserve in Kenya is among my favorite wildlife areas, thanks to its rebounding population of elephants. And now I can revisit it every day thanks to a joint project among Google Maps, Save the Elephants, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Kenya Wildlife Service, Samburu County Government, and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.

The project adds photographic maps of Samburu to Google Street View. You can get a bird’s eye view or watch elephants at ground level. Visit the links below to explore Samburu and learn more about the project! And if you’d like to see Samburu in person, please contact me to plan your safari.

Read moreWatch elephants on Google Street View

Today is World Rhino Day

A white rhino grazes at Lake Nakuru National Park. Photo taken by Kathy Overman on an Ujuzi Safari to Kenya.
A southern white rhino grazes at Lake Nakuru National Park. Photo taken by Kathy Overman on an Ujuzi Safari to Kenya.

Please take a few minutes today to help protect endangered rhinos around the world. If you are able, consider a donation to Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, which is racing against time to save the northern white rhino. There are only four northern white rhinos left in the world.

You can read more about Ol Pejeta’s work here.

Find additional organization that work for rhinos, and other ways to help out, at World Rhino Day’s Facebook page.

Big boy! Our find of the day with only 33 living in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
A black rhino enjoys browsing in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania. Photo taken by Ujuzi African Travel.

New visa rules in Kenya and Uganda

Kenya and  Uganda have both made changes related to visitor visas. Kenya has introduced an electronic visa application, and Uganda has changed the fee for its 90-day visitor’s visa to $100.

The East African Tourist Visa — covering Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda — has not been effected by these changes. It is still available for $100 upon arrival in Uganda or Kenya.

Read moreNew visa rules in Kenya and Uganda