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Trip Report Safari report - thanks to all for helping us to have a wonderful trip

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Thanks to everyone who wrote in with safari suggestions to this site – they were invaluable to my wife and me. From Feb. 17 – 26 we went on a 10-day trip to Mombassa, Kenya during which we took a 3-day safari, and it was a wonderful experience.
We went on a 3-day, 2-night safari, staying at the Sarova Mara Camp. We went on 6 game drives. The drives to and from the airstrip each counted as a drive, which I thought was rather cheesy, but lo and behold on our drive to the camp I spotted a small herd of elephant. We drove close enough that the matriarch even trumpeted at us. What a thrill!
We also saw several impala, two Masai giraffes and a troop of baboons on that drive.
We used the advice from this website and purchased “An African Safari Journal” and forced ourselves to make entries after each drive – which was also good advice.
In all, we saw 21 different animal species, including a pair of lions mating, three hyenas out hunting, and a herd of about 150 Cape Buffalo – one of which was none too happy with our presence. We even saw a Serval cat thanks to our alert guide. And we got so close to some of the animals we felt it was incredible. We were only 10 to 12 feet from groups of lions several different times and also got that close to a beautiful cheetah. We even got to see a pair of mating lions. Although, seeing the lions mate was both amazing and disappointing. Talk about premature ejaculation! The males don’t have much to roar about in that department. It was over in about five seconds. No wonder they have to mate for an extended period of time, doing it every 10 minutes or so. Come to think about it, that may be something to roar about – and they do!
And we saw at least 12 bird species including a hammercop, two secretary birds and some crested cranes. We tipped generously, as most people suggested on this site, and didn’t mind a bit as we knew people there needed the money.
The advice we got on this site about the value of having at least a 75 to 300 meter zoom lens was right on the money. I used the Canon Rebel T-2 and the telephoto lens had an image stabilization feature that was even better than using a monopod. We also took advice from this site regarding binoculars, getting two pairs of Canon 10 x 30 binocs with the image stabilization feature. My wife got some excellent shots with a digital camera we had purchased a year or two back.
People on the site advised bringing lots of film. I brought 17 rolls thinking I’d never come close to shooting that many pictures. But I shot 14 rolls of film. And again, using advice from this site, I took the photos for processing at a camera store – which was more expensive, but also ensured the processing was more professionally done. And the photos came out wonderfully. In fact, if I knew of a photo contest that was non-digital, I’d probably send in some entries.
We wore a safari shirt and pants that zipped off above the knee that also provided additional bug-off protection. We used the TravelSmith site to purchase those clothes – yet more good advice from people on this site. And I bought a sweat-wicking t-shirt that was like magic to me in the fact that I was able to wear it three days in a row while sweating like a warthog, and it was fine after just being given a chance to dry out.
My wife brought a few lipsticks, some postcards and some pens to give away, as was recommended by someone on this site – and they were a big hit with the Kenyans. Having lots of sunscreen, bug repellent and little first-aid items like Pepto-Bismol, aspirin and bandages were all good things to bring. We even bought a bird identification book after we got back that was recommended here, and my wife thinks it’s the best one she’s seen – a Princeton Field Guide “Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania.”
We just can’t thank the people on this site enough for the practical and useful advice we were given. We got travel insurance, as recommended here, which gave us peace of mind, but fortunately we didn’t use. It was truly the trip of a lifetime!

We stayed at the Royal Reserve and Safari Club through a timeshare we are involved with. It was lovely. But the safari was the highlight.

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