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knightriders1950 Oct 25th, 2011 01:51 AM

Haven in the earth
You might have been little surprised on reading the title of my trip report. I tried here a small snap of my heading, Hope all of you will agree. Once a Mogul Emperor of our country said looking on the beauty of Kashmir ” If there is really any thing called heaven ,it is here only”.I beg to differ with the Emperor, that If there is really any thing called heaven ,it is here only , only with the world of wild(?) animals. What we imagine about the heaven is, it will be place where no Malice, jealousy, cruelty, bloodshed. People will love each others and life should be full of peace. Where one have trust on others. Practically, all these are absent very much in this world. Even we brag” we are most civilized in the earth” It is most ridiculous and laughable. On the other side you definitely observe all the dream qualities exists among the family of wild animals. Now if I differ with the Mogul Emperor and say that Heaven is only here. Weather I will be wrong? Judgment with Fodorites. If my feeling is wrong, please excuse me.

In my childhood, when I used to read about African wild animals, specially about Masaimara, from then I nourish my dream that if I get an opportunity I will definitely pay a visit to Africa. During my long working life it could not mature, After my retirement on February 2010 , I decided that now it is the best time to fulfill my dream. Accordingly I start searching from December 2010 in the net what is the best option to reach the safari travel . I have gone through so many trip reports in Fodors, Lonely Planet, Trip Advisors and much more. During this I find one reports posted by” Indiancouple” which I find most elaborate and suits the places of choice. They are also from India. I contacted them through mail as well as over phone. I am really very grateful to them. They have not only helped to finalized my tour programmed but also each and every point of time they extend their helping hands to success my dream safari. Again I covey my sincere thanks to “ Indiacouple”.

I just completed my twelve days safari on 22nd October’11. My itinerary were as follows.
Day 1---------------Oct 10th NAIROBI ------------------ SAROVA PAN AFRIC HOTEL
Day 2 & 3----------11th & 12th AMBOSELI----------------KIBO SAFARI CAMP
Day 4----------------13th & 14th LAKE MANIYARA -------LAKE MANYARA HOTEL
Day 5 & 6-----------15th & 16th NGORONGORO--------NGO WILDLIFE LODGE
Day 7 & 8-----------17 & 18th SERENGETI--------------SERENGETI SOPA LODGE
Day 9, 10 & 11-----19,20 &21st MASAIMARA------------MARA SOPA LODGE
Day 12--------------- 22nd To NAIROBI AIRPORT------DEPART

After lot of searching I have finalized my safari with D.K.Grand Safaris,a Nairobi based company. Before finalizing I have read much much appreciation about them in different trip reports., specially by Lynda and Indiancouple. All though I have ask for quotations from few tour operators of Nairobi. But after discussion again with “ Indiancouple” I fixed with them. My experience with them in single word I can say is SUPERB. I always find Daniel, the owner of DK, was prompt on responses of my mails, very polite and courteous. Few times we talked over telephone also. I placed before him the places I like to visit and tentative dates ,as it was a tailored made safari. Daniel immediately send me the details with the name of the lodges. Also immediately placed the alternatives, mainly on lodges, where we asked for. Considering the cost factor we decided to deviate from internal air travel and restricted to drive through road. After exchange of so many mails we finalized our safari. We are very very satisfied with DK from the beginning to end. Again we must say with a final call from “ Indiancouple”

As regards ourselves, I retired from a Nationalized Bank, as my wife was not in position to shoulder the long travel hazards, my son-in-law accompanied with me. All though I have travelled almost all parts of India, Including few game parks. But it was my first foreign trip. Naturally I was little bit nervous , but all my friends always encouraged me. Some of my friends asked me while first time going to abroad for a holiday trip ,why you choose a country from Africa? I replied every one like see our own face but I like something differently.

There was nothing but to wait for the desired date after finalizing tour price and remitting 30% in advance on first weak of April'11 and rest on reporting to Nairobi, which suits us well. Before one months to our journey Daniel send detailed Itinerary where all my question was answered. By this time we arranged for air ticket, Visa for Kenya and most important Yellow fever Vaccination , as we travelled to Tanzania, where it is must.

Here I like to mention from my experience a few things for the future travelers.
Dress - What you have ,you carry, Nothing to think about colour and others, which you feel comfortable along with one wind cheater with linen inside to protect from little cold in the morning and evening.
Medicine- Carry routine medicines, don’t afraid about malaria, only carry one mosquito repellent to take care.
Others- carry only those which are your routine use. No special item is needed.
Take it easy, as like other tours.

Its all come to end my journey preparations and will start posting my safari trip report as and when find time

holidaying Oct 25th, 2011 06:04 AM

Superb! Looking forward to rest of the report.

I'am also from India and planning to go with DK Grand Safari from Nov 1. Can you give me your phone number, please. I need to speak to you.

knightriders1950 Oct 25th, 2011 09:15 AM

Thank you holidaying. I am sure you will enjoy your holidays with DK. They are excellent. you can send mail in [email protected].I shall try to share my experience.

qwovadis Oct 26th, 2011 03:09 AM

Congrats on your trip awesome report so far...

CaliNurse Oct 27th, 2011 09:27 PM

Greetings,Knightriders. I am at the stage you were a yr ago,, wondering what to see and who to go with. Looking forward to the rest of your report.

knightriders1950 Oct 28th, 2011 08:27 AM

Thank you Qwovadis and CaliNurse,for your interest. I will go on psting my report with a time gap , as I have go out for few days

knightriders1950 Oct 28th, 2011 08:51 AM

10th October,2011,Sunday

On 10th afternoon, myself and my son-in-law started our mission to Kenya from Kolkata(earlier Calcutta) towards Mumbai. In Mumbai we took rest in my friend’s residence and reached Chhatrapti Sivaji International Airport, Mumbai at About 11 PM. I have already told as it was our first trip to abroad, I was little bit nervous to follow the formalities was to be observed. But practically we have not faced any problem. Kenya Airways counter opened at about 12PM. We take our Boarding Card then proceed towards Immigration, following to the security check. It takes about 45 minutes. After that we noticed that the flight is delayed about 45 minutes. At about 4AM we started Nairobi. It was almost full board. In board, fruit juice was served. Then we slept about 4-5 hours. We landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi at about 7AM .Kenya time.
We have taken Kenya Visa beforehand. We have not faced any problem at all in immigration and collection of luggage from conveyer. All took 15-20 minutes. About 7-30 we came out from the airport, we saw someone with placard of DK was standing just opposite to the gate. We greeted by Daniel, Kennedy , and Eliza .of D.K. Grand Safaris. We left out all our confusion as soon as we meet DK team. We drove towards Sarova Pan Africi which is about 30 minutes drive. But if some thing goes wrong when it is not your hand. In our case it was really like that. Due to construction of roads and heavy traffic we traveled 2hrs 30 mins to reach our destination. It is called morning shows the day, but it was not happened subsequently9Except one,describe later). During this long journey Daniel told so many things, what to do and what not to do. From the beginning he was very much cautious about our comfortable safari in all respect. It gave us much pleasure. He asked me about anything I like to know. I told him I have nothing exceptto know the road condition of Serengeti to Masaimara. He burst into laughter and told why I am worried? I told him the description of the road posted by Indiancouple is really horrible. Daniel assured us although the road is not much improved even then I need not to be worry. As Daniel was to move towards Shambhuru, we made our payment within. On reaching to the hotel at 10-15AM Daniel told madam Eliza and Kennedy will meet us 10-30AM sharp for our Nairobi trip and left for shambhuru ,as Elephant orphange open at 11AM only for an hour only.

As we are already late, we had no time to take rest. We took our bath and have our breakfast in the buffet system. It was excellent. We were ready by 10-30 AM.
Eliza and Kennedy came by 10-40AM.. We started our Kenya Visit towards The David Sheldrick Animal Orphange Who played a significant role in conservation of wildlife in Kenya Helping save the lives of orphaned Elephants and Rhinos who are ultimately released back into the wild area. We reached there by 11 o’clock and find they brought 7 elephant of different younger ages. There were several bottles of Soya milk. Elephants were feeded by the trust people and few by themselves. It was really a enjoyable moment. One lady of Netherland, associated with the trust, explaining how the elephants were compelled to become orphanage by so called civilized people, by poaching, even by using drugs. After 15-20 mins. All seven elephants were taken back after playing football ,mock fighting and another group of seven elephants of little bit higher age brought into the field. The same thing repeats again. Some of us petting the elephants. The lady was explaining there was 14 person for 14 elephants. Rotationally every one of them spent night with one elephant, thus all of them acquainted with the elephants. Every one has name. There was only one Rhino confined in the cage .They never bring to the open field like elephants considering their wildness. By this time one hour was over. After much enjoyment we proceed towards Karen Blixen Museum.

Karen- Blixin a Denish couple undertook a remarkable development work in Kenya in the first part of Twentieth Century. In their memory the Museum was built. A free guide explained so many things about their life, different articles uses etc. No photography allowed inside.

Our next destination was Giraffe Centre. The mission of this center almost same as like The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust ,to save the Giraffe, mainly Rothschild Girraffe. Its a entertaining area. A small hut is built equal to the height of a giraffe. You can feed a giraffe from there where a special type of food is provided by the authority free. Its a amazing moment when giraffe lay their tongue to take foods from your hand, really great. It’s a dream, I am feeding a giraffe in my own hand, petting them freely. Snap so many photos. Spending an hour we left for Utamandani, a craft centre to get an idea about the products and its price. After that we were on the way to the famous Carnivore Restaurant for our launch.

Carnivore is a different experience. It open air meat specialty restaurant. For Non-vegetarian it’s a great. Right from beef . pork, crocodile, lamb, chicken, ostrich and so many type of meat is openly grilling in a open space and serving to you cut from a main portion as per your requirement and test. Our launch was arranged by our tour operator. We took our seat. Immediately waiter came and ask for our menu. They put one Big round tray having different salads, pickles etc. with a flag on the top. With little surprised we asked the waiter, what for the flag here, He laughed and replied so long the flag is up we will go on serving meat as per your choice, when you will be fully satisfied ,down the flag. we were really perplexed. All though we are non vegetarian we confined within chicken and ostrich. Within half an hour we down the flag. One of the waiter rush to us and asked with a worried face, are there anything wrong? You have down the flag so quickly. We assured him, not at all as we are fully satisfied that’s why we down the flag. They told You are very little taker. Really it’s a nice and different experience. I request for the future visitor even you don’t like Non-veg item visit the place for gather a peculiar experience.

Came back to Hotel at about 4 PM. Eliza told us we will start for Amboseli tomorrow at 8 AM. As we were very tired we take some rest. Went for dinner at 8PM, it was lovely preparation, Immediately after we go to bed for tomorrows preparation.

holidaying Oct 28th, 2011 11:23 AM

very interesting report, knightrider. Don't make me wait tooooo long for Amboseli report.

KathBC Oct 28th, 2011 09:23 PM

Thanks for sharing your memories!

knightriders1950 Oct 31st, 2011 08:34 AM

Amazing Picturessss

knightriders1950 Nov 1st, 2011 10:47 AM

knightriders1950 Nov 2nd, 2011 12:02 AM

11th October,2011, Monday, AMBOSELI

“AMBOSELI” –land of ‘salty dust”, some where mention “ a place of water”, our next mission . I don’t know which one is correct? If any one has correct idea, please apprise.
Alarm was set at 6-30 AM. After long sleep we woke up. took our bath and rush to buffet breakfast table. Nice arrangement, right from different type of cereals, fruits, fruit juice bread ,what not? It’s a beautiful all liking selections. With a heavy breakfast waiting for the DK team. At 8-AM Eliza came and meet us. Handed over Two hats , DK symbol engraved. Eliza put on necklace stating that it will save you from all evil strength.

Thanks Eliza , we have not faced any sorts of trouble during our safari. As requested by us they provided one international adopter for our use. We meet our guide Festus and a young always smiling face boy, Denis. Both of them covered our Kenya Part. We checked out from the hotel and see one almost new Toyota Mini Van with pop-up-roof is standing for us.

Its Good-Bye to Nairobi and proceed towards Amboseli at about 10-40AM. Ice box was loaded, in the van, with bottled water and soft drinks through out our journey. We were passing through Mombasa road. Condition of the road was good throughout. Denis said the road is constructed by Chinese Co. We give a little break at Emalli town. Visit one craft centre .While coming to Emalli we pass through Lolongo village, as trucks are lining called lolongo, Machakos, a junction to East side of coastal region. We turned to road through Masai land. We saw few giraffe, zebra etc enroute Amboseli. We reached Kibo Safari Camp at about 12-30 PM. A well come drink was served. Room no 17 was allotted to us. Its really nice experience to spent night in a camp. You can say modern camp. Facility of hot water, shower, time bound electrycity all were there. Sitting arrangement in a small balcony with two chairs. The lodge is well fenced. So there is no fear of wild animals. But who will restrict baboons so many beautiful birds moving here and there. Daniel told us don’t keep any food in side, even not in the bag. They are very dangerous in this respect. Denis told us we shall go for game drive at 4PM

One thing I missed to mention regarding weather conditions, It was cloudy in Nairobi Airport. We were thinking whether Nairobi is not welcoming us with smiling face .Will it injurious to our safari. But not at all. We always enjoy this. Our whole journey was most pleasant. We were lucky.

Today’s weather was same as yesterday, partially cloudy .In Kibo Camp we moved here and there for few times. Go for shower. Then moved for our launch. Every time we noticed that we have fixed table during our stay. This time our table no was 18. Lunch was in buffet system. There was Varity of food. Soup, different vegetable curry, beef ,chicken, different fruits, tasty desert. Decent selection and taste. Our waiter was Mayks. Oftenly he came to our table and asking about the food. He also asked about anything special required for dinner. We request for chicken curry and few chapattis ( hand made bread). Nice launch with extremely friendly atmosphere.

We were ready by 3-30 and see our van is ready with open pop-up roof. Our real safari will start now. We are really startling. The dream nourish from my childhood it will come into reality. As soon as we came out from Kibo Camp we saw three giraffes standing beside the road. We start by 3-35PM after having a cup of tea and with our camera ready position entered through KIMANA Gate after completion of formalities. We are entering the dreamland .Everything before our eyes. I pinch myself, really what we looking into, Is it real? Within a while I feel ,yes it is real. I was speechless. Just looking around with amazed look. Just entering the gate we saw a large numbers of zebras. As Dennis told plains zebras have shiny coats that dissipate over 70% of incoming heat, and some scientists believe the stripes help the animals withstand intense solar radiation. The black and white stripes also act as camouflage called disruptive coloration that breaks up the outline of the body .It was also told that as like thumb impression of us ,never match with anyone ,same the stripes of Zebra also, never match with other zebra. We saw wild beast, ,Thomson Gazelle, Impala, Grant Gazelle, beautiful Crown Crane, Black smith Flover Mara bitstocks, African spoon bill, Yellow necked birds, Kori bustard, All on sudden we saw some gathering of vans. Fetus drove towards that area. Wow, what we saw. One lion three lioness with four cabs. It was from some distance. But we cant close the eyelid (It happens so many times) “just amazing” enjoyed some time and drove out for others. We saw few big elephants, Hippos( from distance) By this time it was almost 5-45 evening . we returned to our camp by 6pm. As it was little bit cloudy with some rain in the night, we have not faced` any dust at all in the road but Mount Kili was covered with cloud blocked our eyes. How ever we will be one more day here Let us hope for the best .Denis told us we will go for morning game drive next day at 5-45 AM. So get ready accordingly. Coming back to camp we straight to pool. Spent some time. As Amboseli just at the foot hill of Mount Kili , Natural beauty is always touch you. Returned to the room, changed our dress and coming out. There was open fire place. So many tourist enjoying every moment sitting surrounding the fire place. At 8-30 we are in the “Acacia” dinning place.

We sit our fixed table no 18. Our waiter Mayki came and told you will be served your special menu. As like lunch time, there was all type tasty food for everybody. Finish our dinner and roaming in the complex.There was arrangement of Masai dance. We were not impressed. It was full moon night. You can think what a moment it was. Mount Kili was flashing with moon light which definitely make an impression in the mind for forever. At about 10 o’clock we back to bed for our next days journey.

homestayholidays Nov 8th, 2011 12:50 AM

nice holiday you had there. i will send you an email

knightriders1950 Nov 9th, 2011 05:17 AM

Thank you homestayholidays,

I am egarly awaiting for your mail. I shall try to share my experience. Sorry to all, that I am out of my city, I shall start posting by last week of the month

CaliNurse Nov 11th, 2011 10:21 PM

Thanks again, Knightrider, for this detailed report!

atravelynn Nov 12th, 2011 06:24 PM

I am impressed you took such detailed notes that you can state which table you had for each meal.

Your anticipation of starting the safari in Amboseli really comes through. We had the same first animal on safari--the giraffe.

I know what you mean too about not closing the eyelid when you see something special, such as lion cubs.

Thanks for the tutorial on the flags at The Carnivore.

The first photo link worked well and it appeared both of you and the giraffes were having a nice time. The second photo link did not work for me.

Looking forward to the rest of your report.

If your wife reads this, she'll want you to return and take her with you.

knightriders1950 Nov 14th, 2011 03:23 AM

Thanks CaliNurse and atrvellynn for your interest. The photos will be posted shortly. atravellynn rightly said, my wife will defenitely accompany next time inspite of her physical problem.

Elainee Nov 15th, 2011 04:17 PM

Your report is informative and your writing is charming. Thank you for sharing with us.

knightriders1950 Nov 15th, 2011 09:48 PM

12th October 2011,Tuesday, AMBOSELI

It’s a new morning. As told by Festus, we get up at 5 o’clock in the morning .Have our tea and ready for our safari ,last day at Amboseli. We are enjoying the Amboseli morning. It was sunny but little bit cloudy also. Mount Kili is also not fully exposed her beautiful face till now, but we expect any time it can happen, However, we moved out from the hotel and observed our two friends are ready with open pop-up roof van. We were moving towards the dreamland.

As usual, immediately after coming out from the lodge, we charmed a group of seven giraffes with a baby. Again entered through Kimana gate. We were moving in a different route. We saw a large group of elephants with 3/4 kids. Some of them inside the water, playing with each other. There were Cape Buffalos, Hyenas zebras, wild beast,thompson gazelles,impalas and also few beautiful birds. While passing beside Amboseli Lodge, Denis told The lodge is closed due to bad management. Huge infrastructure slowly worsen. Here we saw numbers of Baboons, Blue Monkey etc. While coming back we face one Lion and three lioness just beside the road. Yesterday we saw from some distance, but today it is within ten feet distance We spent almost half an hour but no activity observed. They were just in a sleeping mood. Only movement from one side to another. After moving some distance we saw few Hippos from little distance in the water except one standing on the land. We enjoyed the moment. Returned to the Lodge at about 10 AM.. We moved for our breakfast. It was decent variety of different items.. Coming back to our tent, took rest for some time. Then moved towards beautiful pool. We had our lunch. As we already mentioned, the selection of different items so nice, there will be no scope of dissatisfaction for any one. All staff are so well behaved and so much attentive you will feel that you are not at home, So nice. In the afternoon we enjoyed every moment sitting on the balcony.

At 3 PM we moved to visit a Massai village. We were greeted by the masai people. The village is having about twenty small huts standing in a circle shape. The leader of this masai group took us towards a dancing group. After some time both of us joined in dancing, but shortly we getting tired . However ,we enjoyed the moment. Then we join in the prayer. All of them prayed for us. We saw the moment they light fire with friction of two pieces of wood and brunt elephant dung. We read in history how in ancient time people light fire with friction of two stone pieces. We witnessed the same. The young leader explaining everything. Then moved to the small hut very cautiously with head down. Inside, the hut is divided in two parts. We sat on a cow leather. The room was full of smoke and it was difficult to sit. The young leader told he has three wives and five children. For each marry you have to give ten cows to the brides house. I asked you have already spend thirty cows and how many cows still have with you? He replied I have another forty cows. I told that means you can marry another four times, He smiled and replied yes I can, but not now. I was discussing about their society, culture, food etc. Spending some time we came out from the hut. It was really sad to observe the poor living conditions of this families. We came back to the lodge. Took tea. Mount Kili is very much clear, still not full. We were ready for our last trip to Amboseli.

We started our journey at about 4 PM. We were discussing with our guide about Cheetah and Rhino. They told if your lick favors’ you can see Cheetah but it is very difficult to see Rhino ( It proves later). With hope we stared our last round to Amboseli. As usual we came across so many Zebras, Cape buffalos. Giraffes, Wild beasts Hyenas, Elephants and many birds. All on a sudden Festus stopped the van and said look, we saw one lioness just sleeping beside the road, almost near to our van. we were enjoying and waiting for future action. Suddenly the big cat standup and start walking. Slowly reached the road, just in front our van, and moving. We are enjoying with perplexed eyes . We were alone there. Very slowly we followed the cat. It’s a wonderful moment .All on a sudden one van overtake us and tried to cross the lion. We can’t check ourselves. Shouted and throw something nasty words. Disturbed lion left the road and go down to the grass land. Damage the nice moment. We feel why this idiot people come here who don’t know how to enjoy and also disturbed others. Pity for them. We spend almost two hours. But nothing special. At about 6-30 we were returning to the lodge without cheetah and rhino. After crossing the Main gate Denis pointed out the fully clear Kili. I cannot explain . Only feel every moment with our heart. No cloud, sun rays reflecting with so many clours on Kili .Amazing. Slowly sun is setting and waiting for full moon. Take so many photos and returned to the lodge. Sitting on the chairs trying to memories the every moment of Amboseli. By this time fool moon in the sky. Clear Kili in front, Can you imagine the situation? We are very lucky. It was a decent staying at Kibo Safari Lodge. One thing forget to told you that Danis hand over small beautiful gift on both the days at Amboseli. It is something special from D.K.Grand Safari. Thanks to Daniel also.

At 9 o’clock we finished our dinner with as usual in lovely atmosphere. And go to bed for tomorrows journey. Very quickly two days at Amboseli is over. We feel sad.

CaliNurse Nov 18th, 2011 10:35 PM

Knighriders, you are a knight--rather, a PRINCE-- for writing so well and sharing this story with us.
Waking at 5 a.m.--good thing you have that tea!!!
Looking forward to the next installment when you have time.
Asante sana!

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