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High hopes

Sarah Gilbert joins a flying safari that puts the focus on preserving Kenya’s endangered species, including rhino, wild dogs and cheetah, and gives her easy — and comfortable access — to key conservationists and their work
NEW PERSPECTIVE: Dipping down low over the Suguta River in northern Kenya’s Suguta Valley

Having seen off a smallerbut still enormousbull, alpha elephant Jager made a beeline for a young female on heat and mounted her without preamble. Their far-fromprivate coupling was over as quickly as it began, but the rest of the herd continued to circle them, ears flapping, trumpeting loudly with excitement, while our small group sat awestruck and speechless in the midst of this tumultuous celebration.

It was a spectacular finale to our morning in Samburu National Reserve in northern Kenya. “Sit quietly”, whispered Bernard, our Samburu guide, “and they’ll come to us.” And they did — the fuzzy-haired, week-old calf that stood under its mother’s stomach to feed, two teenagers engaged in a play fight and the testosterone-fuelled male in musth that came a little too close for comfort. We saw all this and more.

Samburu was the third stop on Scenic Air Safaris’ Endangered Species Flying Safari. It’s no ordinary safari, and it’s no ordinary bush plane. Our Cessna Grand Caravan was fitted with just eight fully rotating — and reclining — leather seats and large panoramic windows to frame the stunning landscapes, and it transported our small group in style around Kenya’s national parks and reserves with a focus on frontline conservation efforts to preserve vulnerable and endangered species, giving us unrivalled access to key conservationists.

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About Travel Africa

Photographing elephants • Alternative Namibia • Plan the perfect Zambian safari • South Africa's most scenic drive • Kenya's endangered species • Madagascar's Masoala • Exploring Harare • Arusha National Park • On foot in Nyika • Lost City of the Kalahari • Inspiring Ugandan women... and much more!