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Trip Report--Kenya

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We have been home now for one week from the most exciting trip of our life to Kenya. We have traveled all over the world but there is nothing that compares to our trip to Africa.

We took our family of 8. Our 3 children in their 30's and two spouses and one grand-child age 4-1/2. Maybe because we with our family it was so awesome but I think there is something very magical about Africa.

We were thrilled with the company we chose to plan our trip, Africa Adventure Co. They did an awesome job. We had two guides and 2-4-wheel drive land rovers for the full two weeks. Our one guide, Fidel Kyalo, had the Silver Level certificate from Kenya Professional Safari Guide Assn. He is a photographer's dream. our other Guide, Ricard, was very good to us. They picked us up at the airport and we spent two nights in Nairobi. We saw the baby elephant orphanage, the giraffe orphanage, Karen Blixen's home and the Thomas Barnardos House orphanage our only day in Nairobi. It was all extremely interesting.

The next day and three nights we were in the Samburu Reserve. There is just nothing like it in the world to be able to drive up so close to the elephants, giraffes, zebras, leopards, etc. Each day of our trip got better and better. We stayed at the Samburu Serena Lodge which was beautiful.
Then we drove to the Aberdares and stayed at the Aberdare Cntry Club. Our young adults all went horseback riding amongst the zebra and giraffes and had the time of their lives. This resort was the only one on our trip that was a downer. The rooms were very old and worn out. Guess we just noticed because everything else was so great. We septn only one day in the Aberdares and that was enough. Every day on our two week safari we took morning drives and evening drives. We always wore our safari tan which is a good idea.

Next we went to Lake Nakuru and stayed at the Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge. Absolutely beautiful. It was exciting to see all of the flamingos and to see the hippos and rhinorocurs so close. We stayed there 2 nights.

From there we went to the Masai Mara and stayed for four nights in a Group Shared Siringet Mobile Camp. It was a blast. The tents are lovely. But what was so exciting about them was listening during the night to the lions roarding, hippos, and many other wild animals all making their noises. We saw a pride of lions in the Masai, hundreds of giraffe, zebra, many, many lions, cheetahs, leopards, thousands of wildebeasts. By the way, our son-in-law went out with another group for a morning ride because one of our vehicles had to get a tire repaired, and believe it or not, a cheetah jumped up on the hood of their car. He has photos to prove it or we would never have believed him.

I'm probably not doing a good job describing our trip but I will say, being away from TV, newspapers, computers and with your family was such a unique experience. We all totally immersed ourselves into Africa. We didn't miss a beat. We never gave our other life a thought. The people are so kind, warm and caring. The animals are unreal.

If you are questioning going, go. Do pick a good tour company, that makes all of the difference.

We used all American $'s. That worked good. We had all of our tips arranged before hand in envelopes. That saved confusion. $5 per day per person for hotel staff. $40 a day for each guide plus a generous tip o n top of that. We each carried one suitcase only and did use everything we brought. I did not need a windbreaker. A fleece jacket was enough. I didn't need gloves. We were pretty casual. Tan was in.

Our last night in the Masai we had a 70th surprise birthday party for my husband and a 35 for one of our sons. The young Masai men who worked at our camp came out and sang songs and danced for us and then they brought out a birthday cake with candles. We'll never forget it. They set our candlelit table up under the stars by a bonfire. A night to remember.

Thanks for the help of many people during the months of our planning. You gave us a lot of good advice. This is one of the first trips I packed the right clothes.

None of us wanted to go home and talking to my children a week later they are all wishing they were back in Africa. I guess you have all been feeling that way all along. Thanks again for all of the help. Betty

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