Masai Mara was unlike any destination we had visited before. From the luxury lodge to the safari- this beautiful destination exceeded all of our expectations.
After seeing the reviews for Masai Mara, Kenya on TripAdvisor as one of the the top five conservation areas in Africa, we knew that this was the place visit. We have visited beach resorts, cities, and even mountainous ranges, but never a safari park; and I especially had never been to Africa. We had also always wanted to attempt to see Africa's Big 5 - which is an elephant, lion, leopard, water buffalo and rhinoceros. All of these together, made Masai Mara a great choice for this holiday.
Dubai to Masai Mara, KenyaOur Kenya vacation started from Dubai where we boarded an Emirates flights to Nairobi. We arrived in the afternoon and spent one night at the Kempinski Hotel in Nairobi city. The next morning, we made our way to the domestic airport in Nairobi and took a short flight to a safari park within Kenya where many of the passengers who were either staying at this safari park, or waiting for another flight (us) disembarked the plane. From here, we boarded a 10 seater plane which took us to Masai Mara.
As we arrived in Masai Mara we flew over the grasslands and spotted zebras - one of the animals I was excited to see! After landing, we were greeted by a team from the Fairmont Resort - the Masai Mara luxury resort we had chosen to stay at. A safari jeep from the the resort was waiting for us along with a beautifully set table with fresh juices.
The Fairmont Resort
After looking at reviews on TripAdvisor for hotels in Masai Mara, the Fairmont Resort stood out to us. We had also stayed at the Fairmont in different cities previously so we knew that we would receive great service and have a great experience.
Once we arrived at the luxury lodge we were taken to our tent. We stayed in the beautiful Riverfront Deluxe Tent which was laid out beautifully - it was much more of a 'glamping' style stay, rather than just a simple tent.
The tent looked out over the river where hippos would swim by and was about a 5 minute walk from the luxury lodge where the resort reception and outdoor pool were, and also where we had our meals, watched a bit of television and had some wifi connectivity.
The SafariEvery morning at 6am the Fairmont safari guide would take us for a 90 minute drive around the conservation searching for wildlife, we also went on 1 afternoon safari. In total, after 3 safaris we were lucky enough to see all of Africa's Big 5! This was definitely the highlight of the trip.
We didn't get to see a kill (a lion or leopard attacking another animal) while we were there, we always JUST missed them - but I was okay with that because I honestly think it would have been hard to see. However, we did have a bit of a scary experience where we were quite close to a lion in our jeep, and our jeep got stuck in the mud! The lion walked around us and the driver was able to get the jeep out - phew!
We stayed for 2 nights in Masai Mara before heading back to Dubai. There are a few things I wish we could have done before leaving which is also why we want to go back- perhaps to another part of Africa just for a different experience. Next time, along with going on safaris, we want to spend some time visiting the villages and going on night safaris.
But of all the places to visit in Kenya, I'm so happy that we went to the Fairmont Resort in Masai Mara. The experience was amazing and the service was exceptional.
Our yearly trip to Canada typically includes visiting my family in British Columbia and spending time there for a week.
This time though we thought, let's explore Canada! My husband had only been to the Okanagan Valley (where I grew up), Vancouver and Toronto. And myself, I had been to the same plus Calgary, Banff and Lake Louise when I was much younger.
So, after a bit of research we decided on a road trip from Calgary to Banff to Moraine Lake after which we would drive to the Okanagan.
After landing in Calgary, we picked up our Jeep and headed straight to Banff.
What a stunning little town Banff is! I didn't remember much of it as I was quite young when I first went, but when we got there, the sun was shining and the town was bustling.
We stayed at the Rimrock Resort Hotel in Banff National Park surrounded by the Canadian Rockies. This hotel was beautiful, but what was even more beautiful was the view. Our room and balcony looked over the forest and mountains. As you walk out on to the balcony, you smell fresh pine and the coolest and freshest air that I have ever breathed. You can see more of the resort and our trip on my new travel Instagram account here (check out the Instagram Story Highlights).
After dropping our bags off in the room and spending some time enjoying the view from our balcony, we headed to the Banff Gondola. This gondola took us up to Sulphar Mountain where the view included the Bow Valley and six stunning mountain ranges. It was breathtaking.
That evening we headed down to the town center and had dinner and drinks at Boston Pizza (our favorite chain restaurant in Canada!) and then headed back to the hotel.
The next morning, after breakfast at Melissa's Missteak (recommended by our Banff taxi driver), we headed to Moraine Lake. We had originally planned to to go Lake Louise but due to the large number of tourists there, and after a bit of research, we decided that Moraine Lake was a better choice. And it really was.
You have to either be with a tour or be staying at the luxury hotel- Moraine Lake Lodge to get access to this lake. We luckily booked the last available room at Moraine Lake Lodge.
Firstly, the lodge was perfect. Each room had a fireplace, a balcony overlooking Moraine Lake, and was so cozy. There are no TVs and limited wifi (which was actually pretty awesome). As soon as you walk into the room you smell the fireplace and wood - 2 of my favourite smells.
The main lodge with the restaurant, reception and living area overlooked Moraine Lake. The hotel offered a tea time for guests, drinks, cozy blankets, a gorgeous view and of course a fireplace to snuggle up next to.
Once we checked in, we hiked up to a lookout point which had a gorgeous view of Moraine Lake and the valley.
We spent the day walking around the lake, enjoying tea time followed by drinks and dinner in the evening. The night ended with us sitting by the fireplace in our room, sipping on wine and enjoying the view outside (by the way, the sun doesn't set until 11pm- and this is in the middle of June!).
I have to say, out of all of the places that we have visited Moraine Lake is one of the most beautiful. From the stunning cyan blue lake to the lush green forest and fresh air, I can see myself visiting again to enjoy the hiking, canoeing and relaxing atmosphere. You can find more highlights of my trip on my new travel account on Instagram here (check out the Instagram Story highlights).