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just returned from Kenya

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My husband and I just returned from a wonderful trip to Kenya during which we travailed by road over large of the country. We felt safe, welcomed, and had a wonderful time.

Our trip started with an arrival at night at Nairrobi’s Kenyatta International Airport. We traveled via local roads with a representative of our tour company (Pollman’s Tours) to our hotel (Safari Park Hotel) on the outskirts of the city. The hotel/ resort was beautiful and, despite low occupancy, fully operational. Great meals, full service, AND they gave us a room upgrade to a suite.

The next morning we were met by our guide/ drive for the next week and drove by van to the Serena Mountain Lodge which is near Karatina. For our guide, it was his first safari since December. We passed through the outskirts of Nairobi and man small villages and were able to see the many residents as they walked, biked and took vans to work and school and sold their produce along the roads.

The Serena Mountain Lodge had only 10 guests but you would not have known the occupancy was so low by how we were treated. All usual activities occurred.

The next day we took to the road again, stopping at Thompson Falls and passing though the city of Nakuru on the way to Lake Nakuru Lodge with no problems or concerns. The total number of guests was about 24, including a single tour group of about 18. Fellow travelers with whom we talked were all having great and uneventful trips. There was clear evidence of the recent fire but the grass lands seemed read to burst into bloom as soon as the rains start. We then had a wonderful almost private tour of the reserve.

The next morning we started our longest drive over the very variable roads through Narok town via Mai-Mabiu and ending in the Rift Valley at the Masai Mara Game Reserve. The, Mara Simba Lodge was beautiful but, if not for the to of us and our guide, empty. They had no guests the three days before but did expect 10 the day after we departed. Service was gracious and very comfortable despite the rather obvious lack of tourists. The game drives were again wonderful, in part because there were so few vans jockeying for the best spots to observe the animals.

We returned to Nairobi along roads which passed by Massai villages and small towns where we saw residents walking, biking and using vans to travel from place to place and transport crops. As was true on all the other trips, we experienced no problems of any kind. Once back in Nirobi, we lunched at the Carnivore Restaurant, visited the Karen Blixen Museum and fed giraffes at the Langatta Giraffe Center and the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. The Safari Park Hotel again upgraded our room. As was true on all our other trips, we felt safe and welcome in this very crowded and busy city.

This turned out to be an ideal time for the visit. The tourist industry is clearly hurting and lots of Kenyans are suffering as a result - from the farmers who sell to the hotels and their staff, the tourguides to the curio vendors. At one location we were the only tourists who stopped there is over 24 hours.

We felt safe and very welcomed the entire time and no matter where we were.

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