We are fortunate to have four wonderful properties in Africa, which are all completely unique in their own way. I was lucky to spend some time hiking and biking around the Atlas Mountains while staying at Kasbah Tamadot, and then we went on to Mahali Mzuri in Kenya.
Mahali Mzuri is one of my favourite properties around the world – it was set up as a result of a conversation I had with a wonderful man Jake Grieves Cook, formerly the Chair of the Kenya Tourism Federation. He was incredibly worried that the Great Migration of wildebeest that took place every year was being restricted by people putting up fencing. The Great Migration – where hundreds of thousands of wildebeast pour down into Samara from Tanzania – is the largest migration of mammals in the world and one of the great wonders of the natural world.
Jake’s idea was that if a group of people could invest in the area, we could make the protected area bigger – and this would benefit both the animals and the local community.
Mahali Mzuri opened in 2013 with 12 tents on 13,500 hectares of land. It’s such a huge expanse and it’s a real treat being able to switch off and feel part of nature – unlike the Mara itself we limit the number of vehicles, which is so important for the animals and for the experience of those watching the animals.
I’ve been lucky enough to see the animal kingdom at its most dramatic from just half a mile from the camp. The Maasai Mara also has one of the largest densities of lion in the world and when I was there recently, I saw lions hunt a buffalo – quite a dangerous dinner as they often use attacking as their best form of defence. I also saw a lion kill a warthog just a hundred yards from the camp, and a herd of magnificent elephants trundling past.
Mahali Mzuri also only allows a certain number of visitors into the area at any one time. This helps protect the environment and is good for the animals as they are not crowded.
It really is a great privilege to be able to see nature in all its glory and play a part in protecting it. There’s still work to be done to persuade others not to put fencing up, but strides are being made in the local community and I will always keep pushing for progress. Staying at Mahali Mzuri is a breath-taking experience and every time I visit I’m rewarded with magical memories.