our last hurrah
The temptation when one first arrives in Kenya is to rush to the country’s renowned national parks, such as Amboseli, Nakuru, and of course the Maasai Mara. It took us several safari trips to realize that there are other, more private ways to experience Africa’s wondrous flora and fauna. The Laikipia Plateau, which occupies part of what used to be the White Highlands during colonial times, quickly became one of our favorite destinations for undisturbed game viewing, free from the restrictions of park rules.
With our departure from Kenya quickly approaching, we wanted to make the most of the three-day MLK weekend and go on one last safari. For the past year, we had tried several times to visit Sosian, a 24,000-acre wildlife conservancy and ranch in northern Laikipia, to no avail. The seven cottages have been fully booked each time we’ve had visitors, but as luck would have it we had the place all to ourselves this month.
Blending conservation with traditional cattle ranching, Sosian throws wide the possibilities for exploration. We went on multiple game drives in search of wildlife, of course, but it is the other activities that set Sosian apart. We spent one afternoon cooling off in the Ewaso Narok river, where D went cliff-jumping off the top of a 35-foot waterfall and we both braved the current to swim in its roiling waters. Had the water level been slightly higher, we could have gone tubing down the river, dodging boulders and hippos.
Sosian is known for its riding safaris, so S went for her first lesson in English riding on one of the nicest-looking horses we’ve seen in Kenya. She had momentarily considered exaggerating her skill level when the ranch manager asked if we rode regularly so that she could go on a ride into the bush, but decided not to chance it. There is no telling what animals one might encounter and the ranch manager stressed that we’d need to be able to control the horse if it got spooked by a lion or elephant and took off galloping. D had no interest in mounting a horse and spent the time stalking various colorful birds that were flitting around our cottage.
Sosian’s name — ‘wild date palm’ in the Samburu language — embodies its essence, the combination of tame with the wild. It is ideal for those, like us, who prefer a unique and personalized bush get-away.