The time has come for me to bid farewell to my life in South Africa and begin the long journey overland to our new home in Kenya’s Maasai Mara.
COVID is very much at the heart of the move. We had bought and converted a Toyota Land Cruiser in 2019 with the sole purpose of making an epic trip across the continent of Africa. But it was a case of “all dressed up and nowhere to go”!
When COVID hit, I was at our Ingwelala home in South Africa, with Emma back in England. We were parted for almost 12 months. During that time I thought long and hard about our life in Africa and my mind kept drifting to a place we had visited in 2016 in the Maasai Mara – the beautiful Naretoi reserve in Enonkishu Conservancy, in the Northern Conservancies. http://www.naretoi.com
We had both realised that over time, we were gravitating to East Africa; being inexplicably drawn to the vast open plains and dotted acacias, which is (for us at least) quintessential Africa. The Great Rift Valley and its game rich savannahs had captured our hearts. I’m not sure if the inspiration was Karen Blixen “I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills” or John Cleese’s view from a Torquay hotel window…….”Herds of Wildebeest Sweeping Majestically Across the African Plains” So………I picked up the phone and called Tarquin Woods (the founder of Naretoi) ” Hi Tarquin, how’s it going at Naretoi?”…….”Hey Charlie, great to hear from you, really well, we’ve only a few plots left”.
I asked Tarquin if he had any of the premier sites left? Yes, ONE! was the answer. I asked Tarquin to take photos and send them to me immediately. When I saw the incredible views over the plains to Keleloni Hill, I was sold. I told Tarquin to hold it for me and give me 3 weeks to get Emma out from UK and up to Kenya with me.
The rest is history. We decided on a Wednesday night to sell our lovely home at Ingwelala (not the easiest of decisions!) and by 4 p.m. the following day, it was sold! I will be taking treasured memories with me and will dearly miss all of the friends I’ve made of over 40 years in South Africa (ouch!). But every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
It’s now almost 18 months since we bought our 5 acre plot. We are building a house, guest cottage and staff quarters. We were fortunate enough to find the most amazing builder, Kyalo Mathwalle (Bonan Consulting) who has delivered beyond expectations, he really is in a different league to what I have previously experienced in Africa.
I have now acquired Kenyan Residency (it took under 3 weeks from the application date). All of our personal possessions and our Land Cruiser are currently in storage, waiting for paperwork to be finalised before being shipped to Mombasa. So, myself, my good friend Carlo and my trusty Land Rover are making this last final journey across the continent, where Emma will join me in Nairobi to begin this new and exciting chapter in our life.