Home / TRAVEL / Ultimate Adventure Guides / JAMES ROBERTSON (East Africa)   
James Robertson (East Africa)
Company: Ker & Downey (Pan Africa)
Luxury Travel Adventures in Africa
The word 'Ndorob' was a name given to the free-roaming hunter-gatherers in Kenya.  This has been bestowed upon James by his safari crew and other Kenyans due to his endless search for new areas and adventure.  It is only natural that the safari life should be the ideal outlet to fulfill these desires.
One of the defining moments in James' youth was an exceptional day spent with David Sheldrick, the legendary park warden of Tsavo East (still an icon of conservation to this day) - flying over the vast park specifically to see a herd of elephant that he estimated to be around 2000 strong.  Few more exceptional wildlife sights can there be.
Having led safaris since late 1979, one could imagine getting tired, however living by the motto of never following the same safari itinerary twice and continuously searching out new destinations in Africa to inspire repeat travellers keeps the adventure.  Proof that this works is having two groups that have travelled with James over 26 times!  James feels that the diversity in Africa means these groups could continue another 26 times without covering the same territory.
The safari industry has changed with the times.  Travel is far easier especially cross-continent.  Guides are able to cover many of the countries that used to be hard to get to or insecure.  Although based in Kenya, the birthplace of the truly mobile safari, James' safaris take him to many of the major wildlife and wilderness areas of Africa.
My most luxurious and adventurous trip:
Flown by helicopter directly into camp in our 30,000 acre private concession bordering Amboseli National Park to be greeted by 100 warriors in camp for an incredible afternoon's cultural experience, competitive spear throwing, races with braids swinging - all in the shadow of Kilimanjaro, the world's highest freestanding mountain. Between gamedrives having the helis at our disposal enables one to get high on the mountain slopes close to the peak at sunset, or explore with picnics the vastness of Tsavo and its extraordinary herds most notably elephant.
We spent time on the lakes walking and trout fishing, before landing at Lewa for lunch. Horseback riding and walking amongst rhino, elephant, reticulated giraffe, Grevy's zebra are hard to beat.
We spent time on the lakes walking and trout fishing, before landing at Lewa for lunch. Horseback riding and walking amongst rhino, elephant, reticulated giraffe, Grevy's zebra are hard to beat.
Then onto to Shaba - wild and beautiful, little visited, one can explore away from the crowds, and knowing the reserve as well as we do experiencing great wildlife, that one has to work for, that makes it so much more thrilling. It has waterfalls, rocky outcrops, gorges of incredible beauty. Flown by helicopter out in the afternoon to Magado Crater to see the salt collection and people living in caves on the crater rim. A pool numbering 50-60 crocodiles is only accessible in this way. The evening is spent on the top of Bodich mountain looking over the endless wilderness of Northern Kenya.

Departing camp for Lake Turkana, must be one of the wildest and most indescribably rugged and beautiful journeys one can make in Africa.  Walking amongst the most incredible array of fossils dating back over 2 million years, with enormous tortoise shells and complete elephant skulls beautifully preserved. A fly camp set on Central Island sets the scene for the end of a remarkable day.
Luxury Travel Adventures in Africa
There was an early walk to explore the three very different lakes and volcanic activity pushing heat out of vents, before fishing on the lake so well known for the huge Nile Perch, caught easily here to take back to camp. The journey south through the Great Rift is a geological marvel -  lakes full of flamingos, sand dunes, lava flows that end in freshwater springs that somehow crocodiles have found their way to despite this harsh environment. Great valleys to land in and explore, before landing on the freshwater Baringo for lunch. The final journey over Bogoria massed with flamingos thriving on its alkaline waters before rejoining camp in Lake Nakuru.
The contrast in this one day, having started in the searing heat of Turkana - to the refreshing coolness of Nakuru is really quite extraordinary - and really does highlight the diversity that Kenya has to offer.  To witness the flamingos at dawn with a misty sunrise through their legs is a remarkable sight. Plentiful rhino, lion and some of the best leopard viewing occur here in East Africa if you know where to find it.
My favourite place in the world:
'Home is where the heart is' and 'home' for me is Kenya.  Closest to my heart has to be Tsavo as this is where I grew up on an 85,000 acre ranch called Rukinga.  My grandfather Ray Mayers, was one of Kenya's great men, overly generous, his home became a regular stopping point for any family travelling by road to the coast.  I can hardly remember a night when we didn't have guests!  Our home was nothing fancy - just sacking walls, no doors or windows.  I remember a rhino getting stuck in the kitchen, and my grandmother blasting a thieving baboon off the window sill whilst in the bath!  But mostly it was the vastness of the place - the dry acacia scrub and of course - the elephants.  Tsavo National Park is over 8200 sq miles and is home to probably the greatest number of elephants in East Africa.  Herds of many hundreds march across the landscape in the perpetual search for water and food.  Probably the most powerful memory I have is of flying, in a Supercub but with the windows open, over a herd which must have been 2000 strong.  The pilot was a wildlife crusader of note, the warden of Tsavo - David Sheldrick whose legacy continues now in the elephant orphanage in Nairobi.  I was 11 at the time - and this would be a life changing experience for anyone - it certainly was for me.  This dry Tsavo bush has always been my favourite - hot, dry and quiet...
Other great Africa guides: Howard Saunders , Peter Silvester, Nigel Perks, Michael Lorentz, Adam HedgesSandor Carter
Posted 1/7/13
Take the Luxury Poll
69% of voters want
in flight WI-FI.
qoute The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
St Augustine

join the club