During our time at Amboseli, we stayed at Tortilis, a luxurious tented camp situated just outside the park which has 17 spacious en-suite tents, each pegged to a wooden deck and shaded by a thatched roof and separated from the bush by an electric fence. The tents are thoughtfully appointed with large double or twin beds, and have en-suite bathrooms that are simple yet elegant; this is a whole new way of doing a safari under canvas. There is a main lounge, bar and dining area, all built with natural materials, offering spectacular views down to the watering hole from where you can watch giraffes and ostriches stopping to drink. The atmosphere at Tortilis is sociable and relaxed, and staff throughout the camp – 70 per cent of whom are Masai, trained in such non-traditional skills as waiters and watchmen – are chatty and keen to impart their inherited knowledge of the bush. During your stay, you can take morning and evening game drives with one of the camp’s own guides in an open four-wheel drive truck, or go for a walk in the concession area with one of the camp’s expert Masai guides. You can also pay a visit to the neighbouring Masai village and take a look inside the dung-plastered huts inside the simple thorn enclosure. We were shown around by a young warrior wearing a bead-work choker and sandals made from old car tyres whose name was Ipitek – and who went to tremendous lengths to welcome us into his home and to share his way of life. Back at the camp, we relaxed around the large swimming pool, and had our aching muscles pummelled by the very experienced camp masseuse – the perfect way to unwind after a long day in the reserve. On our final night at Amboseli, we drove to the top of Kiritua Hill for a hilltop sundowner. And, as I gazed out over the timeless African savannah, watching the sky turning all shades of pink and blue behind the setting sun, pierced only by Kilimanjaro, I promised myself that I’d return here some time very very soon. KENYA GETTING THERE
Kenya Airways (www.kenya-airways.com) flies daily from London Heathrow to Nairobi and prices start from £480 including tax. Thomson Tailormade offers a seven-night break combining two nights at Tortilis Camp, Amboseli (www.chelipeacock.com/camps/tortilis.htm), and five nights at Gazi Bay Tented Beach Retreat (www.destination-adventures.com), South Mombasa, with prices from £1,749 per person. The cost includes accommodation on a full-board basis at Tortilis and on an all-inclusive basis at Gazi Bay, as well as return flights from London Heathrow with Kenya Airways and transfers with Pollman’s Tours and Safaris. For bookings and information visit www.thomsonworldwide.com or call 0871 664 0273. A one-hour sunrise hot air balloon flight with Kilimanjaro Ballooning including champagne bush breakfast and transfers is $425 per person www.kilimanjaroballooning.co.ke. For more information on safaris and beach holidays in Kenya go to www.magicalkenya.com or call the Kenya Tourist Board on 0207 367 0931.