When you get an email from a hotel saying , “Lea could you come and have a look at our property and let us know your thoughts and consequently send us more guests”. This is a travel consultants best day at work. My colleagues and I were invited to go check out Satao Camp, Tsavo East and since none of us had ventured into that park it was a great weekend out of Nairobi.
Tsavo East Park is a total of 11,747 sq km. It is one of Kenya’s oldest and largest National Parks: covering approx. 40 per cent of the total area of all Kenya’s National Parks. The drive time from Nairobi is about 5 hour to Voi Gate and 2-3 hours from Mombasa/ Diani. Satao Camp is right in the middle of the park hence it took us another 2 hours plus game viewing stops to get to camp.
The game viewing in Tsavo East is pretty good with possibilities of seeing lions, leopards, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, several cats, antelopes, kongoni, lesser kudu, oryx, klipspringer, impala, stripped hyena, gazelles, buffaloes and elephants. Some 500 bird species have been recorded in the area, including ostrich and some migratory kestrels, while buzzards stop at Tsavo-East during their long flight South.
So for some history class :- back in 1898 when the Kenyan railway was being built there were 2 notorious maneless lions that were crazy and undefeated they jumped all loops and ate about 135 construction workers in a span of 2 years. This caused the construction to pause as the workers left in worry of their lives – well they finally got killed but that where the man eating Tsavo lions come from 🙂You will notice the elephants here look very different from the Asian Ellies, The Amboseli Elephants and the Maasai Mara ones. The elephants in Tsavo are Red, yes red – well they were not really born like that but the dusty soil of Tsavo is naturally of this color and the elephants regularly partake of dust baths. The dust serves as an important anesthetic to protect the elephant’s skin. It also has the added bonus of shining up their tusks in to an almost silver appearance.
So enough about all the park stuff, we got the camp starving as what we expected to be a 4-5 hour to camp was about 7 hours. The camp is set right in the middle of the park make it very convenient to go on the game drives.
The camp is unfenced allowing for the wildlife to freely walk around the camp. They have a watering hole in front of the rooms which during the dry season loads of game come to drink from it making it a delightful experience. Thou I did not get to see any animals at night, I definitely had weird noises which based on bush talk would be some good game. The camp has 20 tents in total which keeps it small enough for personalized service but large enough to accommodate teams of 30 – 40 people. All the tents are tastefully designed with locally made furnishes and African designs. The tents all have verandas fully furnished with a breakfast area where you have the choice to have you orange juice and coffee at your tent before going to the mess for full breakfast. I loved that they had the bathtub with a view for that period where you wanna have a soak but do not want to miss out on the beautiful views. The dining area was not my favorite place , we were lucky to have our set up on the patio allowing for proper lighting. On days when they are full, i think those right inside the restaurant would find it a tad dark. The food however was really good and the chef was happy to work around our very different palates. 🙂
A unique concept they have is a raised viewing deck with cushions where you can hang out with your wine and catch up on your days sightings as you watch the sunset. You however do not want to stay there too long into the evening as you will be eaten alive by mosquitoes. On a pleasant day they can set up your lunch outdoors away from the restaurant to give you a full outdoor eating experience. The staff is very friendly and keen to please and make the guests feel very at welcome. I would recommend this place but more to people visiting the Kenyan Coast and want a safari experience. From Nairobi the drive time is too long and you have other parks in closer proximity where you can have your safari experience.
I will be visiting their sister property Satao Elerai in Amboseli. Stay tuned to hear about that.
PS: I carried my camera equipment and accessories and forgot my camera so excuse the poor quality photos from my phone. 🙂