"Want a dream safari planned? Look no further!"
Right from my first call to Sangeeta enquiring about a safari in Kenya to arriving back home after 9 eventful nights, the experience has been top notch. Chalo Africa provided me with all the options available and I am so happy that I followed her advice and stayed at Mara Encounter and Topi House, both run by Asilia Africa. Sangeeta provided us with quite a few options within just a couple of days. Her knowledge of the African bush is unparalleled. Chalo Africa is prompt with their service including providing vaccination requirements, visas and so on. Once you freeze a plan they execute it with perfection; no follow ups required. If you are looking for a specialist safari expert that caters to a range of budgets, Sangeeta and Chalo Africa are the ones to rely upon.
We stayed at the Eka Hotel at Nairobi prior to our flight to the Masai Mara. Eka is a good hotel with excellent food. A practical option close to the airport. We then flew to Naboisho where the adventure began. Wilson and Nabala at Mara Encounter were excellent guides. I have been on safari before at Sabi Sands and Botswana and the standard of guiding here is the best I’ve ever experienced. The camp is at a prime location with sweeping views of the plains and a river flowing just by the fence. The tents are spacious with bucket showers. The food was sumptuous. We had breakfast in the bush on each morning game drive. Wilson and Nabala know the bush very well. They tracked for over 5 hours one morning to see the 5 male cheetahs. We had given up by 11.30 am after driving from 6.30 am but they persevered until we found the cats. We learnt a lot at the walking safari. The visit to the local village was very educative for all of us especially the children. The night drives at Naboisho were thrilling, especially seeing lions on the hunt. Sammy and Peter who run the camp are very warm and excellent hosts. Go to Naboisho to see the big cats especially Lions and the Cheetah. Asilia has 2 camps – Mara encounter and the more expensive Naboisho camp which provides a better tent etc…. but the game drives are the same at both the camps.
From Naboisho, we went on a game drive to the next stop on our itinerary: Asilia’s Topi House. Perched on the very top of a hill that is in turn wedged between a Conservancy and the Mara, Topi House is the sort of hidden gem every safari lover ought to seek. What stood out about both properties is the quality of the guiding and the unique spin that each one had despite being very close to each other. Our guide at Topi, Fred Ronko, is a veteran Maasai guide with more than 20 years of experience in the bush that includes guiding both tourists and well-known documentaries. Fred is that rare sort of guide that can predict where exactly a particular leopard is moving through the dense forest, anticipate its arrival at a particular clearing and then position the car to get the best shots possible whilst avoiding the numerous vehicles that throng the Mara. Fred also correctly predicted that a lioness is going to kill a wildebeest and we waited till the kill happened and were well rewarded. He knows the pulse of the bush. Topi house is fantastic for families as you get the entire house to yourself. The entire team from Chef Isaac to Jackson and others treat you like family. A must if you can spend a bit more at the Mara. Asilia also runs Rekero camp within the reserve but Topi House is more strategically located.
We were so happy we chose Chalo Africa and Asilia ! I have given overall rating of 5 stars as ” Excellent “. But the whole experience exceeds 5 Stars. We look forward to visit Tanzania and other places with Chalo Africa and Asilia.