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back from kenya thanks for your help[ report: watamu/masai marta/lake nakuru/amboseli/karen

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Jul 11th, 2006, 04:55 AM
  #1
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back from kenya thanks for your help[ report: watamu/masai marta/lake nakuru/amboseli/karen

hi everyone!
i'm still in africa so computers here are a bit hard to access (where i am) but i wanted to finally post a report thanking you all. without your encouragement and endless help i would never have gone to kenya and i think it is now one of my favorite countries!

i arrived and was met by a driver who took me to lake nakuru where i saw a million flamingoes and a rhino or two and a giraffe and lots of baboons. if you have a business trip and need a one night stopover type trip i'd recommend it. the food was fine and the ride was gorgeous- kenya was so much more beautiful than i had thought it would be.

then i flew to the coast- things were down season in lamu so i decided on watamu and despite the rain i had a great three nights. my drinks at hemingways in the pretty bar were a memroable way to pass a ferocious storm. i visited the gede ruins by tuk tuk and had a great time meeting kenyans at the resort and swimming and watching camels on the beach. relaxing and no hassles at all, except when kenya airways cancelled my return flight.but that's nothing that hasn't happened to me before...they were kind enough to rebook me on their competition east african air- a very modern plane compared to kenya airways and right on time.

then i had a quick transfer for myflight to masai mara. i know now why the location of the lodge is much more important than the food- there seemed to be very boring scneery and boring animals much of the time from masai safari club - the tents were great and there was a lot to do at the lodge from village trips to evening programs, but botswana this wasn't. my last morning i organized a private game drive and we went as far as governor
's camp where we finally saw herds of zebra and varied scenery. i'm glad i went as this was a very last minute trip,but i think you are all very correct to meticulously research your lodges ahead of time.i did enjoy the resident hip[pos. i stayed 3 nights. 2 would have been fine. lots of lion cubs..NO MALE LIONS!

then i had a night in nairobi and checked out the village market shopping complex. don't eat the fries from the pub where the ex pats are eating. i was never sicker! up all night. even considered cancelling my trip to amboseli the next day- but i did go.

amboseli lodge was nice but crowded and i didn't like my new yorker knows everything safari mate- i grew up in ny so encounterihng this form of wildlife on safari was a drag. she actually made the entire truck wait while she spent a half hour chatting with someone- during our game drive! she was intimidating so the driver did what she wanted and ignored the rest of us (me and some very polite east africans).
game wise there was much more variety than i saw on the mara: hyena, jackals, cerval cat, and again NO MALE LIONs. i keep putting that in caps because botswana had so many we were bored of them!

then i finished with a free day in karen and i did the loop- sheldricks, etc. i really want to emphasize how large and attractive that blixen cafe is and how it is not on thre grounds of the very missable museum. the guide rushed us through in about 10 minutes flat and then actuially asked for a tip at the end!

anyway kazuri beads is not to be missed if you are interested in development work...go visit the workshop and then leave timne for selecting your souvies...also kenya duty free was really great.
i'm already planning my next weekend treat to kenya from my station...all mombassa hotel advice welcome. sorry this is so boring. i was hesitant to visit kenya and i'm so glad your help encouraged me to go. it was great!
thanks
kerikeri
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Jul 11th, 2006, 06:36 AM
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Kerikeri,

So if someone could only go to one country, between Botswana and Kenya... which would you recommend?
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Jul 11th, 2006, 07:08 AM
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Kerikeri,
Iíve been wondering what itinerary you ended up with. Thanks for the report. Iím glad you enjoyed Kenya despite the disappointment (!) in the Mara. Itís the first time I hear about anyone who hasnít seen male lions in the Mara. Though if you look at a map you can see that the Safari Club is a looong way north of the actual Maasai Mara NR. Now the Lamu low season has finished.
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Jul 11th, 2006, 07:18 AM
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Itís a bit hard for me to imagine ďboringĒ scenery in Kenya and ďboringĒ animals anywhere Ė except my cat when sheís only interested in voles. Do you have any pictures?
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Jul 11th, 2006, 07:45 AM
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At the coast I still consider The Serena to be the best hotel. North Coast. Great Diving School. If you go there say Hi to Abbas one of the instructors. He got me through my Open Water Certificate. If you think the Mara is spectacular for wild life, take a trip 1.5 km off shore and about 10 metres down!

Negotiate a price with Serena, if it's quiet you can get a good price.

Make sure you have a meal at the Jahazi Grill (seafood)
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Jul 11th, 2006, 08:44 AM
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I'm glad you got there and did it! Thanks a lot for reporting back. I wonder why there was so little wildlife in that part of the Mara? Thank you for the warning that it's a pretty boring area up there!
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Jul 11th, 2006, 12:42 PM
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I've been wondering how you made out. Thanks for reporting back and I'm glad your having a good time.

Which operator did you end up going with and would you recommend them?

I stayed at Kicheche camp around the same area in November and the game at that time of year wasn't as abundant as in the reserve itself either.
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Jul 11th, 2006, 02:11 PM
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Hello Kerikeri,
Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy your location in the Mara. How was the Sarova Lion Hill in Nakuru? Did you finally decide to stay there? Please tell all!
What was the Village Market in Nairobi like - we are considering going there? Any other tips?

Thanks
Imelda
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Jul 12th, 2006, 11:14 AM
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hi everyone
thanks for responding wow i sound like a whiner! sorry for that.
only- yes go to village market if you have about two hours to spare. all the stuff you see in the hotel gift shops are there (is there?) and yopu can access many atms and also charge things. i would eat/ coffee at drums and do not eat at the place at the end. seriously.
village market is just like a western outdoor mall, but it is totally safe and easy and it's nice to walk around outside and sit without a care. if you're not a shopper, then don't bother with it. it's also lively in evenings but that might have been world cup activity.

and if i wasn't clear about the mara- when we drove to governor's camp, THAT was truly great.

and for the person who asked botswana or kenya- i would say if you're into animals, go to botswana and if you want a really well-rounded vacation and don;tmind not seeing everything, or if you have seen everything, then choose kenya.

i spent themorning at the localkenya airways office boooking another weekend there while i'm still resident in east africa, but i doubt i would return to botswana as soon. kenya was very easy and manageable, bostwana more special- for a special occasion. that's just 2 cents.

kerikeri
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Jul 13th, 2006, 05:29 AM
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Thanks for your account. Nakuru was certainly a hit. Interesting that Amboseli produced more game variety for you than the Mara. I think that's unsual.

Sorry about the rude vehicle mate. Those of us who are not rude by nature may need to become so when encountering such a species.

For the Botswana vs. Kenya question. Budget is a big difference with Kenya being more affordable for most safaris.
I don't have a preference.
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Jul 13th, 2006, 06:41 AM
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Welcome back Kerikeri!!!!
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Jul 13th, 2006, 07:46 AM
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Kerikeri,
A report from Uganda would be interesting Ö
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Jul 14th, 2006, 11:52 AM
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you all are so nice!

and nyamera- i can give a detailed report of the shopping malls of kampala and the supermarkets, but will be better equipped to discuss the hinterlands afer my ngo takes me into the field this week- we're heading south across the equator toward kabale for meetings....seven hours of scenery, i'm told. and cold temps- i'm already quite chilly in kampala!
kerikeri
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Jul 14th, 2006, 12:06 PM
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Kerikkeri - For which NGO
are you working?
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