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Short trip report for our Sept/Oct. Safari with the kids. [Sabuk/Shompole/Mnemba/Elephant Pepper/Giraffe Manor]

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I owe everyone a trip report from my trip to Sabuk/Mnemba/Shompole/Elephant Pepper Camp & Giraffe Manor. I have been so far behind in my work, I haven't had a chance to post much. But here is a small trip report, because I am feeling guilty.

We had a great trip and the kids (age 5) loved it. Every day they ask me if we can go back. At the time I did not realize that it was such a life changing experience for them. Now that we are home, it is all they talk about. I can't believe how much they learned about animals, or how well behaved they were. Luckily we had our own jeep the whole time, since there were 5 of us. [Myself, Husband, Robbie & Madison age 5 and my dad.] They especially loved Giraffe Manor because of the very close interaction with the Giraffe. Every day my son draws a picture of himself and Mark the giraffe doing something different. He considers him close personal friend.

SABUK- Sabuk and Shompole were great lodges. Sabuk has to have been my favorite lodge, I just wish that they had animals like the Mara. Since it was our first safari experience, we got excited to see a lion sitting up on a rock 500 yards away. Are best animal experience there was a bull elephant. We kind of came upon him behind some trees by the road. Luckily he just looked at us and then walked off. I think we probably 10 feet from him.

SHOMPOLE was also a great lodge, but it was really lacking in animals. We spent our three days there looking for any sign of a lion, and we still were not successful after 5 morning and afternoon game drives. The problem was that our guide felt compelled to find a lion for us, and we zoomed past all of the other wild life.

MNEMBA was great. It really is like being on your own private island. The kids especially liked it here. The managers have a son who is close in age to Robbie & Madison so they had a great time play together in the sand and tide pool fishing with him. The sand there is unbelievable. It doesn't get hot and your feet just sink in. The closest thing I can compare it to is Cayman Island, but better. The fish there is really great and that is coming from some who does not usually eat it. They also served warm salted cashews, which were really addicting.

As a side note. I was really surprised by the soft drinks in Egypt and Africa. I am usually a big fan of Coke, but it really did not taste very good. It tasted better as we got closer to Nairobi. In Zanzibar it really had a medicine like taste. I don’t know if they use a different sugar or what.

ELEPHANT PEPPER CAMP: I think this was actually our favorite. They have just had a change in camp managers, and brought in 3 relatively youngish managers, two women and a man. They were very friendly and each were in charge of something different at camp. Sam took the kids and my husband on a short bush walk. They are still talking about the dung beetle they saw and the bush toothbrush. I thought they were also very professional, as I was a little bit concerned about the kids going on a walk. After the walk, I found out that they had sent a scout down to the water hole where they were going to walk to make sure there were no animals there. It turned out that there were some Cape Buffalo so they changed walking plans and just walked the perimeter of the camp. The other people staying camp were also the friendliest of the all the lodges. Our guide, Mike was great and the kids loved him. I would really compare this tented camp to actual camping. They have flush toilet, but no running water. Each morning we would get our pitcher of hot and cold water.

GIRAFFE MANOR: The giraffe feeding is great. I have so many wonderful pictures that I do not think I could get any where else. I am still trying to figure out how to post my pictures. We spent the night and had a day room before out 10:00 p.m. flight home. I have a picture of Madison eating her spaghetti and the giraffe sticking his head through the window. He has his tongue out like he is going to start eating her spaghetti with her. The kids really liked being able to get so close to the giraffe. They were so gentle. We went to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage for the elephant tuck in and got to go and hug the cheetahs at KWS. I have to admit that it was a little bit strange to have the cheetah lick your hand, but they were purring.

After we got home I was so tired, I didn’t think I was ever going to go all the way back to Africa. Then I started going through all of our pictures and re-living how great our trip was. That and the fact that every day they ask to go back.

The jet was a killer. The kids to get used to the time change again for a week. They were falling asleep at 2 or 3 p.m. and then waking up at 2:00 a.m. and staying up and going to school the next morning. Finally by the weekend we were able to keep them up long enough for them to go to sleep a the right time. I was surprised that I had such a hard time with the jet lag. Of course it may have been all of the red eyes we were taking with our stop over in Cairo.

Now we are thinking about going for another week in Africa at the beginning of June, in connection with a short trip to Paris. It is hard to be “relatively” close and not take advantage and going to Africa. I think I will keep it pretty simple with Elephant Pepper again and then add on Little Gov’s, and of course we have to drop by to see Mark the Giraffe at Giraffe Manor.

I would be happy to answer any questions on any of the above mentioned camps or anything else for that matter. Thanks to everyone who helped me plan this trip. I could have never done it or known which camps to research if it had not been for all of your suggestions and trip reports. Thanks!

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