On Safari at Solio With Mikey, Sala and the Twins

By Paul Steyn

It’s not such a bad life when you are a Carr-Hartley child, and your early years are spent out in the wilderness, travelling with your parents to Africa’s most beautiful places.

I recently spent a weekend at Solio Lodge with Mikey, Sala and the twins (Kinna and Tisa), and we had a great time trundling around the reserve in search of wild animals.

Solio is a fantastic place for children.

In terms of wildlife, there’s constantly something to see along the marshy river and in the open plains, and the density of animals is unlike anywhere I have experienced in my travels around Africa. And the best thing about Solio is that you don’t have to share it with anybody else. Unlike many reserves in Africa, where you share the property with many lodges, Solio is the only lodge on the entire 45 000 acre ranch and 19 000 acre Solio conservancy.

During our game drive, the kids climbed up onto the roof of the Land Cruiser, where there are fold out seats, and we drove through the forests of sick-green fever trees that grow along the river.

One of the great things about Solio is the diversity of the terrain on the property. Moving out of the valley and fever tree forests, we drove into the open areas, where many of the reserve’s white rhino graze. At one point, the kids were trying their best to count the many rhinos that we could see in one viewing.

Set up high in the valleys between mount Kenya and the Aberdare mountain ranges, the Solio conservancy is unique in that it remains one of the last sanctuaries for rhinos in Kenya. Its scary to think that by the time kids are 30, we may not have rhinos in Kenya any more (if poaching continues the way it is) so what a privilege to be able to spend time with such densities of this ancient species.

If you go on a safari with Mikey and Tanya, you may well meet their kids Sala, Kinna, Tisa as they sometimes come along on trips and safaris all over Africa. They have been all over Kenya and frequently visit Lake Naivasha, Meru National Park, the Aberdare National Park and the Masai Mara. They have even also been to Tanzania and to the secluded Mnemba Island off the coast of Zanzibar. 

Sala, the eldest, enjoys photography, and she often whipped out her camera to photograph the rhino, giraffe, zebra and the pride of lions that we saw near their buffalo kill one afternoon.

The days were spent relaxing at the lodge, eating great food, and watching the wildlife move through the open plains in front of Solio. There’s hardly a need to go out on game drive some days, and one could be content to sit on the deck and watch the herds of buffalo, rhino and giraffe amble across the open plains.

Evenings were spent in big, spacious, cosy rooms, and after every tasty dinner, a warm fire is waiting in the rooms to send you to sleep.

On Sunday afternoon, we reluctantly left the lodge and drove back to the Carr-Hartley home in Nairobi, where the kids busily got ready for another week of school.

Just a normal weekend for the Carr-Hartley family in Kenya.

Mikey Carr-HartleyComment