Travel Diaries: Kenya

We’ve teamed up with Intrepid to explore the world through adventure, community-based experiences, and our shared Do Good ethic. Recently, we sent Skye—a Queer filmmaker, photographer, and friend of Cotopaxi—to Kenya. Get inspired for a trip to this East African country with her highlights, photos, and unforgettable moments.


safari life


When we travel, we learn so much not only about ourselves, but about one another as well. Many couples are able to travel free of worrying about what others might think of them. As a gay couple, Gaby and I have more to consider when traveling outside the U.S., and even in some parts of the U.S. Being gay is still a crime in many countries, so it is naturally something we consider when traveling. Because of this, we experience travel through a different lens than others might. One of the best feelings in the world is finding acceptance in unexpected places. 

In Kenya, being gay is still illegal, and this was something that crossed our minds as we set out on this trip. However, we were met with heartfelt acceptance from our Intrepid travel group, and from the locals we met along the way. This made our trip such a beautiful and encouraging experience. 




We got to walk 10 feet away from wild giraffes, boat through families of hippos, float 1,600 feet above the Maasai Mara National Reserve in a hot air balloon, and bike through iconic landscapes alongside baby zebras. We were able to truly immerse ourselves in the culture by dancing with Maasai warriors and learning about their way of life in a women's village. Most of all, these experiences—coupled with the ability to share our authentic selves—allowed us to fall in love with the wonderful country that is Kenya.


Maasai warriors


Destination Details; From Nairopi to the Maasai Mara

Day 1: Arrived in Nairobi mid-afternoon.

Day 2: We drove to Lake Nakuru National Park, stopping at overlooks of the awe-inspiring Great Rift Valley along the way. Once we set up camp, we got to walk around the local village and learn about regional agriculture and education. Some of the women of this village taught us a traditional dance.

Day 3: Our first safari! On a game drive through Lake Nakuru, we saw rhinos, flamingoes, and giraffes. From there, we drove to Lake Oloiden, set up camp, and went on an evening boat safari to see birds and hippos.


safari boat


Day 4: On a walking safari in the Crater Lake Game Sanctuary, a local animal psychologist taught us about animal behavior. We got up close and personal with giraffes, zebras, antelope, and even buffalo. 

In the afternoon, we went on a 12k bike ride through the famous Hells Gate National Park, again getting so close to wild Kenyan animals. At the end of the bike ride, we went on a short hike to an overlook that inspired the landscapes in The Lion King


hiking in kenya


Day 5: At Loita Hills Maasai Village, we learned about the culture from Maasai Warriors and spent time with widows in the village who have been the main champions for female rights and empowerment in Kenya. We finished off the day with a bonfire with the warriors, sharing stories with each other.

Day 6: This morning, the Maasai Warriors brought us around the bush and taught us how nature is their pharmacy and gives them everything they need to live and thrive. After that, we drove to the Maasai Mara and had our first game drive in the famous savannah. 

Day 7: We woke up at 4am for a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Mara, one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. After breakfast, we went on a game drive the rest of the day, saw the famous Mara River crossing site, and even went to the border of Tanzania! We were able to spot all of the Big 5.

Day 8: We drove back to Nairobi and said goodbye to the humans and the country we’d grown to love in our short time there.


lion in kenya


Most unforgettable moment: Walking through Crater Lake, turning a corner, and seeing a giraffe standing 10 feet away from me. That experience was so incredibly magical, but watching the expression on Gaby’s face and sharing that moment with the person I love made it one of the best moments of my whole life.

Most memorable person you met: I have Celiac Disease, so food is always something I have to really plan traveling around, which can be a huge bummer. But I have never felt safer eating while traveling than on this trip because of the local Intrepid chef Wycliffe, who was with us every day. I miss him a lot! 


wycliffe cookingWycliffe cooking for the crew


Do Good moment: When visiting the Maasai village, we learned about a female empowerment project called ENKITENGLEPA, which means “a cow that belongs to all of us”: “ENKITENGLEPA has 20 members, most of them single mothers (widows). Our project empowers women economically through income-generating activities (e.g., beadwork, buying and selling cows, selling milk, Maasai attires/souvenirs, etc.) Our project also advocates for education for girls, and we have established a rescue village for both widows and young girls escaping early marriages and female genital mutilation." We met all of these women and bought the beautiful bags and jewelry they created with beadwork. 


Maasai culture


Sustainable travel tip: We loved that Intrepid planned so many experiences led by locals, because this is a super important part of traveling responsibly and sustainably. On our own, we also made sure to make sustainable choices. We brought reusable water bottles, made sure our soaps were biodegradable and in refillable containers (no single-use plastics), brought a clothesline in case we needed to wash our clothes, and overall made it a goal to limit our plastic use on the trip.


hot air balloon


MVP gear of your trip: Definitely my Cotopaxi 5-panel hat—the sun was so intense and I wore this hat every single day because I forgot sunglasses of all things!