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Trip Report Just got back from Kenya

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Hi all, just wanted to give a quick report on my trip to Kenya given the questions that have been raised on this forum. My husband and I spent two weeks there and just got back on Friday.

The bottom line is: if you are at all on the fence about going because of security concerns...GO!! Please! You will have an experience of a lifetime!

We were never concerned for our safety and saw absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. We spent 4 entire days in Nairobi sightseeing and driving all over town (mainly with a friend who lives there and also on a day tour with the infamous Kennedy), and not once did we feel unsafe. (Well, at least from anything related to civil unrest! There are some crazy drivers there though!)

Because of so many cancellations, we had an almost completely private safari. We stayed at Larsen's Camp in Samburu and there was one other family of 5 there. We stayed at Olonana in Maasai Mara and were the ONLY guests for the entire time (4 days). And then we stayed at the Kiwayu Safari Village in Kiwayu and there was one other family there (again, 4 days). We had every single game drive by ourselves with what appeared to be the best guides around. The privacy was almost overwhelming, because it was so sad to see these places having such a drought in business, but the staff were all fantastic and were focused on making sure we had a magical experience...which we did.

Also, because of the lack of tourists, the animals were much braver and we were able to see some amazing things. Like a baby black rhino nursing!

Those were the positive aspects of the trip. But it was very depressing to see the entire economy affected by the drop in tourism, especially since there is no practical reason for tourists to avoid Kenya right now. The violence is truly isolated in cities where tourists would not visit, or in slums in Nairobi where tourists would never go, and the only tourist areas affected are Naivasha and Nakuru, which are easily avoided. I would emphasize that we flew from park to park, so we don't know what the roads were like or how those were impacted. The impact of the drop in tourism goes far beyond the workers at camps inside the parks -- for example, the tribes are also affected, since they rely so heavily on tourist purchases. And Kennedy broke our heart with stories of cancellations impacting his business.

That's my two cents from our trip. We are so glad we did not cancel - not only because we were able to contribute to the economy, but because we had the safari of a lifetime.

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