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A royal proposal: Will and Kate's Kenya

Thursday, April 28, 2011
There would be no royal wedding had Prince William not popped the question to Kate Middleton when they were in Kenya on safari last year.

*Get up-to-date royal wedding coverage from Channel Nine News here!

No-one on the Getaway team has done more safaris than Jules Lund — he even has his own safari suit — and he says there is definitely something romantic about being on safari in Africa. It's a very different kind of romantic, and one of the best places Jules has been is Lake Naivasha, two hours from Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

The freshwater Lake Naivasha was settled in the 1930s by the British social set. Until 1950 the lake was a landing place for flying boats on the passenger and mail route from Southampton to South Africa.

The shantytown's beautiful lake made it a holiday hideout for the colonial elite. Now it's popular with anyone wanting a true African adventure. It's home to an enormous variety of wildlife and there are more than 400 bird species in the area.

Rather than the usual jeep safari, Jules boarded a boat and took off into the lake to get close to the resident hippos. The enormous sleepy-looking creatures might look cumbersome and inactive, but they can reach speeds of up to 50km/h on land.

At Crescent Island you can walk with the animals. There's a no "car policy", and walking is the way to get around the 160 hectares of sanctuary with 1500 head of game. Jules' guide Moses assured him there are no big cats to fear and that the animals are some of Africa's happiest. It's predator-free and things are so good they are 200 percent overstocked with wildlife.

Moses told Jules the animals are so used to human contact, most will let you get as close as you dare.

Jules lived out childhood fantasies mingling with gangly giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, impala, eland and waterbuck. For a while he was back in the pages of his Tarzan books.

Hippo Point is one of the most luxurious, albeit eccentric, retreats in the world. Owner Michael Cunningham-Reid spent much of his youth in Kenya and became determined to protect its dwindling wildlife.

The nine-storey wooden tower resembles a Chinese pagoda. It has master, drawing, blue and yellow rooms, all overlooking Oloidien Bay. Breakfast is served under towering acacia trees and intimate candlelit dinners take diners to a bygone era. Greens are straight from Hippo Point's organic gardens and seafood is straight from the Indian Ocean.

Hippo Point House is quite stunning and far more conventional than the tower. The seven-bedroom Elizabethan-style house was built by an Irish magistrate in the 1930s and remains a relic of colonial Africa. A traditional English rose garden and green lawns contrast with yellow native acacias.

From Jules' point of view, it's not hard to see why William was stirred into proposal mode.

Location

Lake Naivasha in Kenya.

Cost

Hippo Point accommodation starts at $567 per person. Meals, drinks, game walks and drives and laundry are included.

Peregrine Adventures' 11-day Essence of Kenya tours from Nairobi start at $4795 per person twin-share. Accommodation, transfers, transport, visits to five reserves and most meals are included. Eight-day Kenya Lodge Safaris cost $3075 per person twin share. They include a visit to Lake Nakuru, accommodation, most meals, transport, game activities and park entry fees.

Emirates has flights to Nairobi and 19 other African destinations via Dubai from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. For an exclusive Getaway viewers' discount, visit www.emirates.com/getaway.

Prices correct at April 28, 2011.

For further information

Emirates
Ph: 1300 303 777
www.emirates.com/getaway

Peregrine Adventures
Ph: 1300 854 500
www.peregrineadventures.com

Hippo Point
Box 1852, Post Office
Lake Naivasha
Kenya
Ph: +254 733 333 014
www.hippopointkenya.com
info@hippopointkenya.com

Visa: Australians are required to have a valid passport, visa and return ticket.

Electricity: 240V at 50Hz.

Time zone: GMT +3.

Currency: Kenyan shilling.

International dialling code: +254.

It is recommended travellers to Kenya see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there may be specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended. For further information, visit www.smartraveller.gov.au and www.welltogo.com.au.

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