Taking over the wheels at The Safari Series
Can a true safari be experienced from the back of a safari car? Not if you ask the guys at the Safari Series. Instead, they prefer to take the keys, hand them over, and let you do the exploring!
With affordable rates, self-drive vintage Land Rovers, friendly staff and the most remarkable of views, Joe Wahome discovers the perfect getaway for adventurous travelers. The Safari Series is a beautiful, six-tent, owner-run camp set deep in the bush in the scenic wildlife-rich Lolldaiga Hills Conservancy, near Nanyuki.
This property is unique for its self-drive vintage cars. I got to drive a Series I Land Rover built in 1954, with a top speed of just 50km/h. Having never driven a manual car before, I was thrilled by every bit of it, but still remembered to enjoy the game viewing; when we encountered a pride of lions, there wasn’t a single other car in sight. The Safari Series is a classic Land Rover haven and you will find numerous models here. There are the Series I and II Land Rovers built between 1954 and 1966, and a couple of Defenders built more than 30 years ago. Guests can drive themselves in the wild under the watchful eye of their guides.
“I was in the tourism space before, mostly behind-the-scenes, while Ed was involved with getting business executives out of the boardrooms and into the wild. Within a few years, he had bought enough bits and pieces of furniture and equipment for his bush business. He had an obsession for old Land Rovers and our yard in Nairobi had about 10 of them. I told him to sell or find a solution to create space in our yard, and that’s how the idea for The Safari Series was born..”
Husband & Wife team Ed & Moon Hough, host guests while raising their one year old daughter Romilly at the camp.
Set in the private 49,000 acre Lolldaiga Hills Conservancy, the diverse landscape includes dry savannah, open woodland and high altitude forest. From camp we could see Lolldaiga Hills, which at 2,000m, are some of the highest peaks in Laikipia County. The Safari Series has a huge communal mess tent where our meals were served, and a large outdoor fireplace near a small man-made dam. Here, we saw elephants, buffaloes and giraffes while having an evening drink before dinner after a fun day of adventures. The six tents at the intimate camp each have a large comfortable bed, outdoor bathroom, flush toilet, overhead bucket shower, solar power and a small deck with safari chairs where we enjoyed lounging in the middle of the day while enjoying the views.
The conservancy is a working ranch where livestock and wildlife coexist to improve the habitat. There are over 60 wildlife species recorded here, including four of the big five except rhinos, plus over 300 bird species. The conservancy also boasts the highest concentration of leopards in the greater Laikipia region. You can also find archeological sites dating back to the Stone Age in the hills, including two rock shelters, rock art, pottery and burial mounds. A hike or drive up one of the hills is recommended, the views are striking, and on a clear day, one can see Mt Kenya in the distance.
Front seat on safari in vintage series Land Rovers. Perfect for young, fun and adventurous and particularly families with kids. Other activities include hiking, fly camping and kayaking.
As you can imagine, safety is a big concern; all guests have to be covered with AMREF Flying Doctors for their trip and before starting a safari, guests who wants to drive the cars themselves will join a Land Rover training session – which is more fun than it sounds, I promise! You must have a valid driving license and sign a waiver to be able to drive the cars.
Know before you book
6 Rooms with that can accommodate 12 guests.
From Ksh 10,000 per person + Ksh 3,500 conservation fees
20 minutes from Nanyuki, mostly on tarmac.