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Trip Report Kenya - July 2014 - Acacia House in Masai Mara area

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We flew British Airways, arriving in Nairobi late Thursday evening (July 3rd). Unfortunately, only one of our bags made it onto our flight. We had made arrangements to stay at the Ole Sereni hotel for one night - flying to Kisumu the next day - but changed our plans to wait for our luggage. Fortunately, our missing bags arrived on the next British Airways flight. Phew!

Ole Sereni Hotel
This is an excellent hotel not far from the airport. Traffic moves very slowly in Nairobi, so we were very glad that we stayed outside the center of the city. The breakfast buffet is very nice and there are plenty of options for lunch and dinner. We enjoyed looking out on the Nairobi National Park, sighting several birds and mammals. We spent 2 nights at the Ole Sereni hotel at the start of our Kenya trip and one night at the end.

Lost Luggage
Two friends (who flew British Airways the day after us) were also missing luggage. We couldn't stay in Nairobi to wait for it, but all of the luggage eventually made it to our hotel in the Kisii area. Two of the bags were filled with clothing and gifts donated for a local orphanage, so we were very happy when they arrived safely!

Sameta Lodge
We spent the majority of our trip visiting a school and orphanage near Ogembo. We stayed at the Sameta Lodge which was built about two years ago. (Much nicer than the hotel in Kisii where we stayed on previous visits.) The beds were comfortable, the staff was very nice, and the food was quite good. The chef, Isaac, prepared some delicious meals for us! We would be happy to stay here again.

Acacia House (one of the Mara Bush Houses managed by Asilia Africa)
This is a great place to stay with family or friends who want to experience the best Masai Mara has to offer! I did a lot of research before our first trip to Masai Mara in 2010, and Acacia House was perfect for us. So when friends suggested a second trip to Masai Mara, we were delighted to be able to come back here. We requested Salaash Ole Morompi as our Masai host and guide, and it was great to spend time with him again. Other staff included Evelyn (the chef who prepared our delicious meals) and 3 young Masai men who took care of us - when we weren't off on game drives.

Salaash is truly an excellent guide. We had several photographers in our group, and he carefully positioned the landcruiser in a way that gave everyone an opportunity to get great shots. We had our share of magical moments such as a group of lionesses with cubs preparing to hunt with the setting sun providing a lovely backdrop. Two cheetah brothers running on the savannah and stopping to play with each other. Lilac breasted rollers catching the eye with their beautiful coloration. Salaash was great at answering our questions, identifying all of the birds we saw, and helping us get the most out of our experience.

As for Acacia House.... It is a beautiful home, with comfortable beds, luxurious bathrooms, a welcoming living area, and a veranda looking out onto a watering hole. A typical day might start with a game drive at 5:30 am, stopping for a delicious breakfast along the way. Home for lunch (overlooking the water hole) and some time to relax. Then off for another game drive, followed by drinks and a delicious dinner back at the house. But you could choose to spend the day at the house - swimming and watching the waterhole - or go off to the Masai Mara Reserve for a full day. Some of our best sightings were in the northern conservancies but we were also glad we made time to go to the Reserve.

So glad we were able to come here again! I can't imagine staying anywhere else in Mara - unless it was one of the other Mara Houses like the Topi House.

Safari Vehicles
On our 2010 visit to Masai Mara, we we rode in an enclosed vehicle with openings in the roof. This time we were in an open-sided vehicle. I prefer the open sides for photography and feeling "immersed" in the Mara - especially when there are a lot of photographers in the group - but would be contented with either vehicle.

Driving Around Kenya
For a variety of reasons, we chose to hire a driver for portions of our journey. I had heard about David Kimani on another forum and knew several people who had hired him in other trips to Kenya. Our group of six hired David for several airport runs as well as longer trips from Kisii to Masai Mara and from Masai Mara to Nairobi. He took great care of us and was very reliable. We wouldn't hesitate to call on him again.

Hope this trip report is helpful to those who are contemplating a trip to Nairobi, the Kisii area, and/or Masai Mara!

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