I hope you guys like your trip reports long!
Here's the 15 day Kenya portion. Days 16-20 in Tanzania still to come. I hope to get all of the photos uploaded by next week.
Hard to believe that it was only 14 months ago when we started planning our first trip to East Africa. At that time I had tickets in hand to fly to Nairobi 3 months later but was completely clueless about what we were actually going to do when we got there. Thanks to the help of this board, I was able to quickly put together a successful first trip to Kenya. At the time I honestly thought that it would be several years before we’d return to East Africa or any part of Africa. Little did I realize that 9 months later, we’d find ourselves there again (though I think Dennis has me beat on the quickest return ).
I spent most of that flight back from Nairobi in early February trying to figure out when we’d be able to go back and ideas for a return trip were in the works. From our experiences on the first trip, we knew that we wanted to stay longer, get somewhat off the beaten path, see contrasting environments, travel in a slower season, stay at small accommodations, and spend some time out of the vehicle. The hardest part was deciding specifically where to go and we literally worked through dozens of possible itineraries before settling on what we did. Even 20 days isn’t that much time, but the places that got cut just make good excuses for another trip.
We picked November primarily because it’s low season in East Africa, but also because I knew it would be easier to redeem award seats at that time of year. I now think it’s a great time of year to go. The weather was perfect. We experienced very little rain and what rain there was came in the form of short afternoon showers which had a welcomed cooling effect. We encountered very few other tourists. Even at Nakuru and the Masai Mara, there weren’t that many other vehicles. Elsewhere, we pretty much had the places to ourselves. Aside from a few visiting friends and relatives, we were the only guests at almost all of the places where we stayed. Most of the visiting friends and relatives were Kenyan residents so it made for very interesting conversations. We learned so much on this trip and felt that we got a glimpse of life in Kenya which we otherwise would’ve never seen. Only at Kicheche and the second night at Malu were there other paying guests.
Day 1 - Our trip started with 3 flights from LAX (via ATL and AMS) arriving at NBO around 8:30pm on the evening of November 15. The KLM day time flight to NBO is very scenic – we flew over the Alps, the cone of Mt. Vesuvius, the Nile – I somehow managed to miss this spectacular scenery last time. As before, since we were one of the first passengers off the aircraft, there was no line at the visa desk. While we were waiting for our luggage, I went over to one of the exchange bureaus to change some money and waved to Julius who was waiting for us outside of customs. We used the same tour operator, Eastern and Southern Safaris, as our last trip since we were very pleased with their services and requested the same guide. Outside of customs, I picked up a second SIM card and topped up both and off we went to the Hilton for our first night. Within an hour of our flight arrival, we were checked in and in our room.
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I hope you guys like your trip reports long!