Kenya is the birthplace of term safari (Swahili for a journey). Ever since the railway cut through to the hinterland in 1900, famous names such as Hemmingway, Finch Hatton, Roosevelt and many more have come here on safari and left spellbound having experienced the wonders of this magical land. Big game, untouched tribes and stunning landscapes combine to produce what is often described as the holiday of a life time.

Sosian is a 24,000 acre private wildlife conservancy which prides itself on managing a unique blend of tourism, conservation and traditional cattle ranching in Laikipia’s highlands. Accommodation manages to be extremely comfortable, almost luxurious, while maintaining a warm and homelike atmosphere making for an extremely relaxing stay. The warm and welcoming hosting dedicated to making sure everyone has the holiday of their dreams is one of the main reasons for the enduring popularity of this game experience. The ranch lies at high altitude (5500 ft), which makes for a perfect climate with no record of malaria. Riders wishing to have a relaxed adventure, travelling with non-riding companions or families in school holiday season will find few better places in Kenya. 

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from GB of Redditch on 17/09/2015

Ride Summary
I have never seen happier horses - they are fed 3 times a day, and turned loose as a herd when they aren't working. Tack all in superb condition
What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Friendliness     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Speed of response     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Efficiency     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Knowledge     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Other(please specify) Unicorn arranged our flights and several transfers - all ran like clockwork     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Riding tour leader
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Horsemanship     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Pacing of Ride     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern for Safety     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Leadership     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Friendliness/availability     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Culture     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Flora/Fauna     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments
I rode out with Simon and Charlotte who were both excellent guides.
Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments
I have never seen happier horses - they are fed 3 times a day, and turned loose as a herd when they aren't working. Tack all in superb condition and kept very clean.
Meals
Meal Quantity     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Punctuality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Accommodation
Camping Equipment     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (X) N/A
Hotels/Lodges/Inns     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hygiene standards     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Miscellaneous
Transfer arrangements     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other office staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other ride staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Weather     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (X) NO     (   ) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

What could we do to improve this ride?
Nothing!
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
6
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
The horses are forward going and occasionally spooky. The going can be steep and rocky and there are lots of thorn bushes. That said I asked for a forward going horse - they have 30 horses, so the horse can be changed to suit the rider and the route can be changed too (I generally was the only person riding)
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Any other comments:
Sosian is a great place if you have non riding friends/family or don't want to ride the whole time. Each session (morning/evening) can be a ride, a game drive, a walk or something else.
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

Sosian's speciality is in providing a totally private game viewing experience, away from the restrictions of National Park rules. This sense of freedom and exploration means that we can offer action packed adventures in the surrounding Laikipia wilderness. Trekking, Bush Walks, Riding, Camel Safaris, Game-Drives and Night-Drives all offer a multitude of unique ways to seeing game. The Guiding is of the highest standards which complement the huge range of activities available. As well as looking for wildlife, there are other activities available which include Fishing, Archery, Tennis, Rafting, Tubing down the River and swimming in the rivers after jumping off Waterfalls. A visit to a nearby Samburu settlement should not be missed and provides a fascinating insight into traditional pastoral life which has not changed appreciably in hundreds of years.

With a beautifully built stable yard for 26 horses, Sosian has always ensured a varied string of well- schooled and well-mannered horses to suit all abilities and rides are tailored to ability. To ride out in the bush guests must be experienced and confident at all paces. Riders should be able to control their horse when cantering in open country and stay seated in case their horse spooks. At times the terrain is rough and riders must look out for holes in the ground. For beginners and young children there are shorter rides close to the lodge, as well as lessons in the sand arena.
The horses are generally thoroughbred or thoroughbred cross, with the tough native ponies originating from Ethiopia. Besides being stabled at night to protect them from lion, the Sosian horses otherwise live a very natural existence running as a herd during the day which makes for very easy horses to work with, as they are genuinely happy & relaxed animals.

A simple cross country course provides a bit of fun for the experienced riders and a real achievement for the more novice riders.
English tack is utilized and all the horses are schooled to be light in the mouth and responsive to the leg. Many of the best horses have been bred at Sosian and they range from 12hh children’s ponies to 16.2hh horses.
Sosian has an expanding herd of 600 + head of Boran cattle (Kenya’s very own zebu breed developed from the native stock) including a pedigree breeding herd and small dairy. A tour of the ranching side of Sosian is another fascinating activity not to be missed. Guests can lend a hand with dipping, weighing and vaccinating and learn about the trials of keeping unfenced cattle in this wild environment full of large predators. Sosian is well known for its delicious home cooking using fresh ingredients from the garden and its warm and friendly hospitality. There are lots of wonderful places to eat including picnics by the river, lunches by the swimming pool and bush dinners around an open fire followed by camping under the stars for the more adventurous.

As well as big herds of elephant, zebra, buffalo, numerous species of antelope, giraffe and hippo; lion, leopard, cheetah and spotted hyenas are regularly spotted. Sosian is home to some rare and endangered mammal species such as Jackson’s hartebeest, Grevy’s zebra, Reticulated giraffe, striped hyena and aardwolf. There are three packs of African Wild Dogs in the area and sightings of these endangered predators are prolific. Sosian works closely with the Laikipia Predator Project collecting data on wild dogs and lions to protect both these species. The birdlife is spectacular and large raptors such as Martial Eagle, African Hawk Eagle, and Bateleur are resident and often seen.

Sosian’s dramatic landscapes are wild and varied with open plains, acacia forest and riverine valleys. Large Kopjes, rugged escarpments and other promontories provide spectacular view points across Laikipia’s endless landscape.

Sosian’s original ranch house was built in the 1940’s by Italian artisans, beautifully restored in recent years to accommodate up to 14 people, whilst maintaining the welcoming atmosphere of a private home, known now as Sosian Lodge. Seven cottages are dotted throughout our garden, a wonderful haven dominated by verdant greenery and flowers, all set against a back drop of Mt Kenya with views for miles over the Laikipia Plateau- true unspoilt Africa. Each cottage lies with its own private veranda and en suite fully plumbed bathroom. The lodge has a beautiful rock swimming pool, set beside a soaring opensided thatched roof house, spaced with hammocks and comfy day beds, a Tennis Court, Riding Manege, and Organic Vegetable Garden.

Max Hastings wrote about his time in Laikipia "it is amazing how soon one becomes indifferent to the outside world, concerned only for the big events taking place within one's own horizon." Sosian embodies this notion. In this great wilderness you find both beauty and comfort but the only thing worth thinking about is what you intend to do with your long African day. Sosian is dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and is a member of the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, working to protect Laikipia's wildlife through sustainable land uses such as eco-tourism.


Single supplement exemption - when booking as a group, one person may be exempt from paying single supplement

Family offer - the third child sharing a triple pays conservation fees only

 

Reading List
We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and have selected several books connected to this ride. If you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.

Going Down the River Road - Meja Mwangi. This is a good introduction to East African Literature.  
The Safari Companion - Richard E. Estes (Chelsea Green, UK) This book aims to explain not only what animals you're looking at, but also what they're doing, and its illustrated explanations make fascinating reading.
The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals - Jonathan Kingdon (Natural World, UK) A detailed and comprehensive catalogue of African land mammals, illustrated with photographs and distribution maps for each species.
Kenya from the Air - Anne Arthus-Bertrand and Anne Spoerry (Thames and Hudson, UK/Vendome, US) Superb images of the country from the eagle's viewpoint.
Marsh Lions - Brian Jackman and Jonathan Scott (o/p). Beautifully produced and painstakingly researched study of the lions and other animals around the Musiara Marsh in Maasai Mara.

 

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

With a beautifully built stable yard for 26 horses, Sosian has always ensured a varied string of well- schooled and well-mannered horses to suit all abilities and rides are tailored to ability. To ride out in the bush guests must be experienced and confident at all paces. Riders should be able to control their horse when cantering in open country and stay seated in case their horse spooks. At times the terrain is rough and riders must look out for holes in the ground. For beginners and young children there are shorter rides close to the lodge, as well as lessons in the sand arena. The horses are generally thoroughbred or thoroughbred cross, with the tough native ponies originating from Ethiopia. Besides being stabled at night to protect them from lion, the Sosian horses otherwise live a very natural existence running as a herd during the day which we firmly believe gives us such easy horses to work with, as they are genuinely happy & relaxed animals. A simple cross country course provides a bit of fun for the experienced riders and a real achievement for the more novice riders. English tack is utilized and all the horses are schooled to be light in the mouth and responsive to the leg. Many of the best horses have been bred at Sosian and they range from 12hh children’s ponies to 16.2hh horses.

Rider requirements

From intermediate onwards to ride out with big game. Novice riders can be accommodated with advance notice. Riding is generally 2-3 hours in the mornings and/or afternoons and keen riders can spend at least 5-6 hours per day in the saddle. We often ride to bush breakfasts or sundowners, which seem to appear from nowhere as you turn a corner on a particularly beautiful stretch of the river or reach the top of a breath-taking escarpment. Weight limit strictly 210 1bs or 95 kgs.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 15 st/209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Guests are accommodated in an elegant 1940’s farmhouse that has been beautifully renovated. The lodge sleeps 14 with more space for children if needed, in the family cottage, which has an interconnecting room to sleep another three children with their own bathroom. All the rooms/cottages are en-suite with their own private verandas. There is also a larger and more private honeymoon cottage, known as the Italian Cottage, built by Italian artisans post war. There is also a swimming pool, tennis court, and organic vegetable garden, Sosian is well known for its delicious home cooking using fresh ingredients from the garden.

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.

General information:

From September 2015 onwards, all visas must be applied for online.
Visa processing time after application and payment is seven days.
VISA applications by visitors to Kenya will be made via www.ecitizen.go.ke
Nationals who require VISA to enter Kenya can now apply for their eVisa via www.ecitizen.go.ke

The British Consulate in Nairobi is at Upper Hill Road, Nairobi, PO Box 30465 - 00100 Nairobi. Telephone: (254) (20) 2844000. Email: ConsularSection.nairobi@fco.gov.uk.

The Kenya High Commission in the U.K is at 45 Portland Place, London, W1N 4AS. Telephone: (020) 7636 2371.

Climate Summary

Due to the altitude (Nairobi is at 6500 feet) Kenya has a pleasant temperate climate year round despite being on the equator. There are rains in April/May and again in November/early December. June/July/August can be a little colder particularly at night and July can herald some cloud cover which is not unpleasant for riding. March is the warmest month although temperatures are still good for riding.

Climate Chart


Health

Anti-malaria precautions should be commenced prior to arrival in Kenya. There may be other health risks, which you can contact your doctor about prior to leaving.

For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org. You can also check the Department of Healths website at www.dh.gov.uk.

Health (ride specific)

Anti malaria precautions are recommended - see your doctor for details. Sunscreen and a mosquito repellent containing DEET should be packed.

Electricity

Voltage and plugs are the same as the UK.

Film and Camera Equipment

While on safari there is no power on site so please to bring any spare batteries and film required. For emergencies the jeeps can be used to charge from the batteries although there are not enough jeeps to make this facility available routinely.

Packing List

Layers of clothes is the best option as mornings and evenings can be chilly but the middle of the day can be very hot. Long sleeved cotton shirts are recommended to keep the sun from burning. Hats, sunglasses and sun block are a must. Hard hats and chaps are recommended, as is a warm and clean set of clothes for relaxing in the camp in the evenings. A head torch is very useful. There is a swimming pool at the lodge, so make sure to bring your swimsuit.

Kindly note that there is a 15kg weight limit for the light aircraft transfer.

Programmes

This lodge can be booked all year round per night with a minimum 3 night stay.

Departure Dates

2018/2019 TBC

Pricing
No single supplement is charged if the rider is willing to share with someone of the same sex, and a sharer can be found.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1per night605
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Teen 12-17yrs per night455
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Child 2-11yrs per night305
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Individual room per night805
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Conservation fees per adult per night115
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Conservation fee per teen per night86
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Conservation fee per child per night54
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1per night669
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Teen 12-17yrs per night499
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Child 2-11yrs per night335
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Individual room per night895
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Conservation fees per adult per night125
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Conservation fee per teen per night96
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Conservation fee per child per night60
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1per night749
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Teen 12-17yrs per night559
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Child 2-11yrs per night375
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Individual room per night999
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Conservation fees per adult per night139
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Conservation fee per teen per night109
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Conservation fee per child per night67
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1per night6,935
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Teen 12-17yrs per night5,175
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Child 2-11yrs per night3,469
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Individual room per night9,245
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Conservation fees per adult per night1,295
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Conservation fee per teen per night985
2017 - Peak Seasonper night1Conservation fee per child per night619
Recommended Reading

‘Going down the river road’ by Meja Mwangi this is a good introduction to East African Literature.
Richard E. Estes "The Safari Companion" (Chelsea Green, UK) This book aims to explain not only what animals you're looking at, but also what they're doing, and its illustrated explanations make fascinating reading.
Jonathan Kingdon "The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals" (Natural World, UK) A detailed and comprehensive catalogue of African land mammals, illustrated with photographs and distribution maps for each species.
Anne Arthus-Bertrand and Anne Spoerry, "Photos by Yann Arthus-Bertrand Kenya from the Air" (Thames and Hudson, UK/Vendome, US). Superb images of the country from the eagle's viewpoint.
Brian Jackman and Jonathan Scott "The Marsh Lions" (o/p). Beautifully produced and painstakingly researched study of the lions and other animals around the Musiara Marsh in Maasai Mara.

Other Activities

Sosian offers a huge range of activities including walking, horse-riding, camel safaris, game-drives, night-drives, fishing, archery, tennis and swimming in the waterfalls behind the lodge. Guests are also encouraged to participate in ranch life, such as dipping cattle. The guiding is of the highest standard.

Wildlife

The 24,000-acre private, working ranch sits on the Laikipia plateau, 80kms west of Mt Kenya, offering pure wilderness, with more
than 250 species of birdlife and an abundance of game species with four of the big five being found at Sosian Ranch, plus rare species such as wild dogs, Jackson’s hartebeest and Grevy’s zebra.

Other Country Information

Kenya's history dates back to many centuries from the internal diaspora or the early settlements and migrations. Then came the formation of the various language groups who developed their own religions, traditions, governments and ruling systems. Then came the white settlers, which was followed by the fight for liberation, which gave birth to the Mau Mau freedom fighters and the rise of the Kenyan heroes.

English is the official language while Swahili is the national language. That means that government and education are in English, while everything else tends to be in Swahili. And, in actuality, most of government is in Swahili also. In addition to these two languages, most of the people in Kenya also speak their "mother tongue" - their tribal languages.

In Kenya it is possible to leave Nairobi, a city with a thriving business heart powered by the latest information technology, and drive in just a few hours to a place where life is lived in accordance to tradition and custom, where warriors armed with spears drive cattle into thorn brush enclosures to protect them from lions at night.

Kenya is three hours ahead of GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.

The international dialling code is +254.



Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Loisaba or Nanyuki airstrip
Transfer:
2017: Two-way flight from Nairobi to Loisaba airstrip $412, transfer from Loisaba $60 per vehicle (9 seats), transfer from Nanyuki Airstrip $255 per vehicle (6 seater)
Flight Guide:
London - Nairobi return £450 - £790. Please see "getting there" for flight information
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