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Report and pictures from Kenya

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We've got so much information about Kenya and safari in general from this forum, so it's only fair to give something in return. I'm not one to write elaborate trip reports so I'll keep it brief not repeating what many other people before me said.

We divided trip in two distinct sections. First part was private safari and second leisure time on south coast (Galu beach). For the first part we contacted Sun Trek Safaris (http://www.suntreksafaris.com/). Peter and Sultana were very helpful and did everything as we asked down to the smallest detail. We visited Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha, Masai Mara and Amboseli. Our driver/guide for first three parks was Lawrence and his 30 years of experience were showing. He's fountain of valuable info with eagle eyes. I can whole hardly recommend both Sun Trek and Lawrence.
Second half of our trip we rented a RAV4 and drove to Amboseli and coast ourselves. We asked at Amboseli Serena lodge to organize our game drives there. They gave us Land Cruiser and Daniel as driver/guide. Either we got lucky or these guys know their job. We got to see what we asked for every time - just like placing an order in restaurant :).

All three lodges (Simba Naivasha, Mara Serena and Amboseli Serena) exceeded all our expectations. While we are not demanding (don't care about spas and such) we are picky (like clean room with shower and toilet that work well and plenty of hot water). Absolutely no complaints in any regard. You heard before "they will bent backwards ..." and it's absolutely true. From manager down to parking lot attendant.

On the coast there were only two let downs. Beach is not what we expected. We both prefer beaches were you can swim (and to me that means easy way in and out and depth of at least 2-3 meters). Diani/Galu beaches are not for swimming. Even if you manage to get in past all seaweed, coral and garbage all you can do is crouch because it's very shallow. Or you have to go way, way out. You also have to watch for high/low tide. Luckily villa we rented (http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/Kenya/holiday-villa-Kenya-Coast/p16315.htm) had private pool and despite me not liking pools it came handy this time. Speaking of villa, while I fully expected to "share" it with roaches and such (unavoidable in tropical places) I didn't expect it to be termite infested. Unless owners do something about it the main pillar that's holding structure of the house is going to be eaten away in next year or so.

Word about driving in Kenya. There are two distinct styles you will have to adopt. In Nairobi and Mombasa you've got to be aggressive. Otherwise you'll never get anywhere. Rush hour(s) traffic is more like complete gridlock. Red light is taken as guideline only and pushing your way through intersection or roundabout is common. It is not unusual that you drive in 4 lanes on 2 lane road.

Road from Naivasha to Nakuru is under construction. Meaning you drive on temporary road and in many places temporary temporary road and even third one (in other words you have vehicles coming from all directions). Given that that road is main artery for goods to be transported from Mombasa to central Africa you can expect hundreds and hundreds of heavy trucks. Dust is everywhere and sometimes visibility is zero. Just day after we passed matatu collided with truck and 8 people died. I’m glad I was in learning mode while Lawrence did driving there. Road in and out of Amboseli (Namanga-Amboseli-Remito Gate-Emali) is so badly corrugated that it may be once in a lifetime chance to experience how would it feel to be on a paint shaker.

GPS combined with map from http://www.tracks4africa.com/ was great to have. Directions to lodges in all parks we've been are clearly marked.

Lastly pictures are at http://members.shaw.ca/KenyaSafari. Flash is required. Many have comments on the left side. One of car rental pictures has link to short video with Amboseli road.

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