Don’t we all love to dream of flying away to a tropical island, or a cosmopolitan city in a faraway place? Travel is something in which I take great pleasure. Packing? Not so much.
Now for a confession. Several years ago, we wanted to do a safari holiday. My research showed that the Masai Mara was a great destination to catch site of the big five – elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo and leopard. What my husband didn’t know was that I didn’t want to look at any other, possibly equally qualifying, destinations. Why, you may I ask? Well, I am an author.
In addition to sharing a holiday of a lifetime with my husband and our son, I also wanted to do some research for my book, The Secret At Arnford Hall. I needed a location with a dangerous place, to send the protagonist to, a certain Gabriel Black, as he searched for a man who didn’t want to be found. I wanted to tie it in with a destination the young Gabriel would have travelled to with his parents and siblings. In addition to that I needed somewhere with seedy places off the beaten track, together with exotic destinations that would pull a person back. Kenya seemed to fit all my needs.
Two days in Nairobi gave me an insight into the “downtown” areas, populated with rundown buildings, and ramshackle shops and warehouses. Then you could turn a corner and see palatial hotels with hidden tropical gardens and areas to drink delicious coffee away from the bustle and fumes of the streets. This gave me the location for a car mechanic who fixed Toyotas. I remember everywhere I looked there would be a beat up Toyota on the road somewhere. Kenya seemed the perfect setting for the hapless mechanic to seek escape from gambling debts, get caught up in kidnapping by a violent gang boss, and feel the pull on his heart strings, leaving him wanting to return as a pilot to fly shuttle planes over the Masai Mari. We even took one of these flights ourselves to end our holiday on the beach at Mombasa.
So enough about the research, and more about our wonderful holiday. In Nairobi we visited an elephant sanctuary and a giraffe centre.
It was wonderful to get up close and personal to these fantastic animals and to learn about the conservation programmes. The Kenyans were extremely friendly and proud of the work they were doing. We stayed in a beautiful hotel which seemed to be in a sanctuary of its own, hidden away from the busy life going on in the capital.
During our journey to the Masai Mara, our driver was excellent at spotting hippos in Lake Navaisha and birds catching fish at Lake Nakuru. The wildlife and landscapes were amazing.
For the next stage of our holiday, we roamed the Masai Mara in search of life in general, and we were not disappointed. Hard to believe we even had a picnic on some scrub land. Here is just a sample of the treasures we came across.
We were sorry not to see a leopard, but the abundance of animals, birds and reptiles we had the privilege of seeing in their own habitat made it the most magical of experiences.
And the pièce de résistance? Our abode was a luxury tent, with sleeping area, dressing area, ensuite facilities and the odd monkey running across the top in the night. It was enchanting. If I could choose a retreat to write in, our Kenyan campsite at the Masai Mara would be very hard to beat. My only problem would be…distraction.
Mollie Blake is a published author of contemporary romance. A lover of reading sexy stories, Mollie decided to go one step further and write her own. Her romances are filled with danger and peppered with hot sexy scenes. She is a member of International Thriller Writers and UK Romantic Novelists Association.
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