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Amazing Tsavo West and Un-believable Swim in Lake Chala – Phine Safaris
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Amazing Tsavo West and Un-believable Swim in Lake Chala

Amazing Tsavo West and Un-believable Swim in Lake Chala

In Feb 2017 My wife and I, took a road trip to  Voyager Ziwani Camp on the fringes of the Tsavo West National park (South Eastern Kenya). We knew that it was going to be a wildly interesting tour, what we didn’t expect was how charming and addictive this region is. The trip there is full of beautiful surprises. The Camp is set on the foot of the Imposing Mt Kilimanjaro (The highest mountain in Africa & the highest free standing mountain in the world) the view is breathtaking. Voyager is set by a Dam on a private Sanctuary and game is plenty.

There are 2 things that above all made our stay there remarkable

1. The food (Every meal was 5 courses and was meticulously prepared a la carte to your liking.

Food is prepared A la carte . The chef is great!!!

2. The Scenic Excursions

The Excursions
Day 1.

We had left Nairobi at 0600 HRS which allowed us to take in the views along the way and still make it in time for a sumptuous lunch at the lodge.
After the lunch we freshened up in our well prepared room/tent and waited for 4.30p.m. when we would meet our guide who would take us on a nature walk. The guide was able, courteous and well informed His name was Salim) I am curious about birds and we came across so many bird species I haven’t seen before. Its was also adrenaline filled walk walking to a herd of brown Tsavo elephants, Hippopotamuses, crocodiles, Gnus, Eland, impalas, warthogs, guinea fowls, buffalos too many to name.This walk took about 1 hour and it is either done in the evening (dusk)  or in the morning (dawn).
We enjoyed the evening Nature walk. Walking next to riverbank teeming with crocs and hippos
Later at about 1900HRS
We also did a night game drive which I also recommend.

Day 2

After a sumptuous breakfast (We got packed (picnic) lunch from the lodge) This is done for free on request. WE drove along the Tsavo border where we encountered the game (Giraffes, buffaloes, you name them) as we drove towards the SNIPPER TREE : https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g303978…
The Sniper tree
The Sniper tree is a huge centuries old baobab tree with its trunk caved to make a chamber about 3 m deep and one meter in diameter. A decent dwelling. Legend has it a German Lady snipper who was avenging her husband’s killing by the British hid in this tree. The trunk of the tree is riddled with bullet scars Evidence of a battle long over. The lady hid in this tree with her arsenal and supplies. From this tree she picked out British soldiers whom she would identify through their fatigues.It is said she shot and killed tens of British soldiers before she was killed with a grenade.We got a chance to climb up to the tree which still has the ladders she used and is now occupied by bees.
We then got out of the sanctuary to Slaita hill. Actually the hill was named Slaughter Hill from the aftermath of the World War 1 where the British bombed the Germans who had taken positions on the hill. Slaughter hill was hard for the local Masai to pronounce so it was named Slaita hill. The after math of the battle is evident from the many dugouts and trenches round the hill. Hiking on this hill is hiking through history.
Hiking up Slaita Hill (Slaughter Hill)


Catching a break near the summit of  Slaita Hill
The crowning excursion was a driving up the edges of kilmanjaro to very Beautiful Crater Lake Chala.
This is a fresh water lake in a caldera. The lake sits on the boundary of Kenya and Tanzania. The drive up to the rim is remarkable but the decent 100m from the rim of the crater to the edge of lake is adrenaline filled and the views are out of this world. Our guide kept us busy with information of how the lake was formed and how water sips in from the glaciers of Mt. kilmanjaro to how it drains through a votex to Lake Jipe. The decent is not for the faint hearts. 100m (330 ft) near vertical decent to the blue lake looks more dangerous than it actually is. Especially if you are afraid of heights.
At the Rim of the Crater


Getting to the lakes edge is a welcome relief both from the intense heat (temps soared to 39°C as per my cars thermometer) and from the decent. We met some fisher men checking their fish nets for the endemic Tilapia Fish.
Lake Chala
After a brief chat and taking in of the remarkable views of the steep slopes, some lodge on the Tanzania side of the lake, we changed in the bushes and took a swim in the lake. The waters are super clear and they were cool. our guide explained to us that crocodiles have almost been certainly eliminated and no crocodile have been spotted in the last several years. That said we were urged to be vigilante. The swim was relaxing and fun. I was filled with awe at the depth of the lake which is very deep(94m almost 300ft)
Here time seemed to stand still. It took about 30 minutes before i could attempt to venture more than 5 meters from the shore. at the back of my mind was the 94 m depth!
This was also where we had our picnic lunch ( Sandwich, Chicken, juice, banana, apple and water) in more than enough portions.
Swimming at Lake Chala A welcome break the temperatures were in the high 30’s
By late afternoon we had to move on with and our last stop was Giceha farm (part of the sanctuary where we toured the expansive farm that grows maize(lots of it) Oranges, tangerines, lemons and lime in their acres) Mangoes, beans . I was also surprised at the number of camels (i was not previously familiar with large scale camel farming or any camel farming, the goats and many others.

When we were through with the tour farm, we went back to the lodge and opted to freshen up and relax by the dam with a bottle of wine as we watched the sunset over Mt. Kilimanjaro. A few meters away a hippo grazed not bothered by our presence and a crocodile lazily swam by. soon we would be making our a la carte 5 course dinner done by the resident Chef. This was one of my most beautiful breaks.

Day 3.

I like to call this day the sad day as its the day we check out of this heaven on earth and drive back to Nairobi.

YOU too can get to create your own memories based on this itinerary (3 days 2 nights at Voyager Ziwani/ Lake Chala) which my company Phine Safaris on facebook or www.phinesafaris.co.ke can put together for you. You can take 2 options
Option 1:  on Self Drive (I recommend a 4 X4 vehicle or a reasonably raised car)
Option 2: Take our customized tours with driver/guide/Safari for 2 nights on full board accommodation at Voyager Ziwani Cam 
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