We don’t need to go to South Africa: we took a women’s trip to Ken

Imagine waking up as the birds start to wake up the nature reserve, the sun is shining with its pleasant rays and you find yourself with a group of women exercising in a local yoga class, by the pool, at a time when everything is going well for you.

I embarked on a journey that combines safari and wilderness, cocooning lodges in the heart of the savannah of the Masi Mara tribe and a “round belly” in a magical resort at Diani Beach, one of the blue and impressive beaches of Mombasa and I came back in love. For those looking for a slightly different holiday to refresh, have fun and actually live scenes from National Geographic – Kenya is absolutely the destination.

(credit: Dana Stavi)

I travelled on a unique women’s tour organised by Iris and Yoel Amit and it was a perfect break. The heart of things in Africa, and also of the trip, was to keep things simple – to keep everything simple, both in nature, heart and thoughts. We have forgotten that a little bit in our country.

After a short connection in Ethiopia, we arrived in Nairobi, where we boarded jeeps and drove to Kenya towards Lake Naivash, to the Sopa Resort Lodge and arrived directly for a night’s sleep. The advantage of arriving in a new place at night is the discovery and waking up in the morning in a world different from anything you knew. The green outside immediately grabs you, the huge trees, the exotic flowers and in between you will suddenly discover little monkeys jumping or zebras and giraffes walking freely, as if you were part of a scene from “Jurassic Park”.

(credit: Dana Stavi)

And for those who start to get itchy feet just by hearing the word ‘lodge’ (a combination of luxury hotel and glamping), know that the lodges themselves are huge and spacious. The lodge rooms combine king-size beds with mosquito nets all around, spacious showers with modern bathrooms, and there is also a balcony overlooking the gardens with the opportunity to watch the animals wander around you.

In the central hall there is also a dining room entirely decorated with carved wood, and at the buffet you will find a lot of vegetables and fruits, some of which are familiar to us and others less so, but my recommendation – you should definitely try them! There were also omelets and pancakes prepared on site, and a wide variety of pastries and breads, salads and cheeses that will remind you of an Israeli breakfast, so you will feel right at home.

(credit: Dana Stavi)

After breakfast, we continued to cruise by motorboat and canoe through the heart of the famous Lake Naivasha, alongside wildlife such as pelicans and eagles, and bird species that had just stopped for a break, en route to Eretz. We also encountered goats, zebras, giraffes and even a family of hippos. From a state of alertness and vigilance that we had brought from the country, we felt how Kania slowly began to seep in and calm us down. Instead of taking pictures with a mobile phone, we started taking pictures with our eyes, to burn the experience.

We continued to a village in the Mara Sarova Camp Reserve, where we had the privilege of meeting the warriors of the Masi Mara tribe and the women of the tribe, and sitting down for an introductory conversation with the chief’s son and his weapon bearer. We listened to the trumpets that invited other members of the tribe to approach us, the local songs and dances of the villagers, we were able to experience one of the rituals used in the tribe in which the men jump to crazy heights on the spot like a real spring, and understand the origin of the custom and how it was supposed to be part of the courtship rituals between the men and women of the village itself.

We walked a short distance to a relatively new cultural museum, created by the women of the village with the help of an Israeli, Etti Dayan, a researcher and anthropologist, who fell in love with the charms of Africa and became almost “one of them” as the title of her book indicates.

The small museum displays jewelry and clothing from different tribes and periods as part of the evolution of handicrafts in Kenya, and tells the story of how women have evolved, even in traditional and conservative areas such as Masi Mara and other tribes. The change is slow and small, but noticeable and substantial. The trainings are conducted by the women of the tribe and it creates a bond and a different experience, and you can also recharge your batteries at their art fair.

(credit: Dana Stavi)

During the “GAME DRIVE” excursions, which are the daily jeep rides into the savannah and back to the lodge, we were also treated to extraordinary scenes worthy of National Geographic. Already on the first day, we saw how two mothers in Palo, who had strayed from the herd to give birth, found themselves giving birth and a few minutes later were already fighting for their lives and the lives of the cubs that had been born against hyenas who had come to get their dinner, and then against lionesses who had come to hunt. We quickly understood that this was not only a scene of good and evil, but a real scene of survival as each side tries to stay alive. The entire food chain. We are witnessing another day of safari in Kenya, where in a second of lapse of concentration or thought, one can become someone else’s meal.

The return to human and animal nature makes you think and wakes you up. The senses are working at full speed and the heart is beating with fear or with excitement and adrenaline. At every moment, we see a group of tigers nibbling on an unlucky deer that day, or a huge group of elephants wandering in space and a few tiny “dumbo” elephants who make davins at us and taunt us with their trunks to dissuade us from getting too close. And after each encounter with nature in its wild nature, we need a moment for ourselves to assimilate and breathe in the experience.

(credit: Dana Stavi)

We continued our journey with a short, direct flight that allowed us to see the beauty of Kenya also from a bird’s eye view, and we arrived at the Baobab Beach Resort and Spa on the magical Diani Beach.

This resort is suitable for the whole family, but there are also closed areas reserved for adults for more peace and quiet. The grounds themselves are huge and the central path brings guests together with a multitude of infinity pools adjacent to the beach, open and closed poolside bars serving soft drinks and alcohol, and the spa complex (for an additional fee) consisting of a number of carved wooden cabins next to tropical vegetation, and a varied menu of treatments at an affordable price for the Israeli wallet. At the center of the complex is a large dining room with a variety of buffets that combine local dishes with poultry, fish, meat, soups, desserts and natural juices and fruits. In the evenings, you can enjoy African dance performances by the local entertainment team or watch the amazing spectacle of the tides next to a full moon and pink sunsets.

Snorkelling enthusiasts can also enjoy a sea safari, which offers water sports as well as sailing in a glass boat to the island in front of the resort, created as a result of the area’s tides.

We thoroughly enjoyed diving in the turquoise waters of Diani Beach, drinking sweet coconuts on the island, snorkelling with the marine equipment provided by the ship’s crew, and also learning a bit about the coral reefs and the fish and starfish that grow there. We came back with a lot of loot, don’t worry, we didn’t bring any starfish home, just a collection of photos and experiences.

(credit: Dana Stavi)

An important part of the female journey is the connection between the being of the place and you, and we felt this all the time thanks to Iris and Yoel, who constantly tried to slow down the experience and allow us to really merge with Africa. Iris is responsible for the workshops that combine the emotional connection between us and our environment, and the change we wanted for ourselves at that moment. She also makes sure to combine yoga or African Zumba classes with a cocktail and a pool party, to move and dance and move the body along with the mind. Joel’s job is to make sure that we don’t just stay in the ivory tower, but go out to watch a spectacular sunset or enjoy a joyful picnic among lions and rhinos, visit a boys and girls school in Mombasa or the Masi Mara tribe village. While everyone in Savannah is looking for the “Big 5” (buffalo, lion, elephant, tiger and rhino), Yoel was careful to remind us not to look only at the “kings of safari” but also at the tiny and colorful birds, as if he were asking us to lower the resolution and also notice the special little animals of Africa, which do not take up space and volume or stand out in the landscape, as if he were inviting us to point out and pay attention to things that others cannot always delve into. The journey is the connecting point between all these moments that combines pleasure and experiences with a lot of soulful conversations and time for oneself to write, think, let off steam and build oneself.

And if I have made you want to take a wonderful trip to Kenya, I highly recommend the feminine journey of Iris and Yoel Amit. All the details on their site https://yoelamit-safari.co.il/

Dana Setoi – Travel Journalist Tour Guide in Neve Tzedek Owner of the blog “Quality Time” dedicated to travel and leisure. 050-5418675 | https://linktr.ee/danatime

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