RICHARD BRANSON: Why I love Kenya
There’s something about Kenya that makes you feel there’s magic in the air, wonder at every turn, and an ever-present sensation of oneness with nature.
A trip to Kenya can be an incredibly cleansing experience. Open spaces, so vast and untouched, lend perspective and instil a sense of peace. I love to visit the country, and, while I’m there, drop by Virgin Limited Edition’s stunning safari camp, Mahali Mzuri.
Opened in 2013, Mahali Mzuri was built to protect large areas of the land that act as pathways for Africa’s famous Great Migration. Positioned within the Maasai Mara ecosystem, the camp has a front row view of the wild and roaming game of the Migration.
During my most recent visit, the landscape was alive with a majestic kingdom of animals. We were lucky to see hundreds of lions, elephants, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes and wildebeest. In my opinion Mahali Mzuri offers the best wildlife viewing in the world. It’s a rare sight to see a cheetah kill or a leopard kill, and we were incredibly fortunate to see not one but two in a matter of weeks – one in South Africa at Ulusaba, then again in Kenya.
One of my favourite things to do while visiting Kenya is to invite a group of local kids on safari. The Masaai community love the animals and are doing everything they can to protect them. As an honorary Maasai Elder, I enjoy taking local children on game drives, so that they can learn about the animals, conservation and the world around them. The future of our planet is in the hands of our children – by allowing them to understand and appreciate the natural world at an early age, they can make a real difference.
My recent trip to Kenya also gave me the opportunity to catch up with my Uncle Charlie. A source of enormous wisdom, and a lot of fun to be around, Charlie is a wonderful uncle and an amazing safari partner. I particularly enjoyed having him around, as, in between animal sightings, he gave me loads of great baby advice to help me in my new role of grand-dude!
On top of discovering the lay of the land from a safari truck, we also got to take in Kenya from above, on a spectacular balloon ride. It was my first time piloting a balloon since my last flight around the world. I thoroughly enjoyed being back up there – drifting over the sweeping plains. Just magical!
Kenya is a beautiful country full of wonderful people, wildlife and landscapes. It’s always a pleasure to spend time there, and I look forward being called back. Have you visited yet? And if not, if you have the opportunity, isn’t it time you did?