How much has it changed in 20 years?

Old Apr 9th, 2010, 12:25 AM
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How much has it changed in 20 years?

My first (and only) safari experience was in Kenya about 22 years ago.
I went to Nairobi, Amboseli, Tsavo, Lake Nakuru, Samburu, Masai Mara and Mombasa (overnight train from Nairobi--loved the train ride experience, but not Mombasa).

Just out of curiosity, how much has it changed in 20 years?
For instance, I don't remember:
-- seeing lots of tourists/vehicles at the parks
--gourmet meals
--nature walks

Was I totally naive/clueless at the time or have things changed? What other differences might I expect when I return (hopefully this year)? Is it better/ worse/same or just different now?
live_aloha is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2010, 12:44 AM
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Oh, and almost forgot the most important question! How about the number of animals in the parks---more or less? Please tell me they are healthy, thriving and have not diminished over the years.
live_aloha is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2010, 06:34 AM
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Though I am a fan of Kenya and have a trip in the works right now to Kenya, there are some problems. For example, check this thread with 2 links.

Link #1 is very dire. Link #2 gives cause for some hope. As alluded to in the links, the Mau Forest is crucial to the health of the region. That whole situation with deforestation, squatters, and wealthy business interests such as tea farms within the forest, is somewhat of a mess right now. The plan was to remove those encroaching on the forest and destroying it, but then where do those people go, how are they compensated, who was really an original land owner, who arrived late to the party when they found out there was compensation, and what role does corruption pay in allowing some business interests to stay?

These concerns and other conservation issues are discussed more at length on the forums Safaritalk, where I spend a good deal of time and on Bushdrums, where I pop in now and then. Bushdrums seems to focus on East Africa.

My first visit to Kenya was 16 years ago and in the subsequent visits I've noticed more vehicles. I honestly cannot say I detected a drop in animal sightings, despite the stats showing there are fewer. But guiding plays a big role in that and also access to areas and there are more roads now.

You'll still have a fantastic time and your observations and comparisions will be valuable.

Twaffle also spent time in Kenya as a young girl and has since returned. In fact you may want to check out her "Childish Trip Report--40 years late" on safaritalk.
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Old Apr 9th, 2010, 09:07 AM
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I've also been visiting these past 16/years. Each visit has been different. Of course the first seemed just amazing and "out of this world" but so too have subsequent visits, for other reasons.

Rather spend an afternoon with an elusive leopard then see a heard of wildebeests; able to peer directly into the eyes of a cheetah that is sitting on the bonnet of the vehicle we're in; encountering the migration in the Mara when the herds should have long been gone into the Serengeti; breakfast with the vervet monkeys who insisted they wanted my biscuits rather than let me enjoy. Catching sight of a leopard tail as it came around a kopje to see me reading... scared the daylights out of the cat who hi-tailed it out of there real fast; a little "bambi" outside my tent who insisted it wanted to be my best friend and followed me everywhere. Hippos unching under my tent; baboons destroying the makuti palm on the top of the tents; a herd o 30+ giraffe "sitting" as if waiting for me to arrive - since named "Sandi's giraffes"

Never had a check-list of which game I wanted to (or did) see, rather took each day as Africa offered it.

Supposedly, the volume of game has decreased, but can't personally attest to this.

For certain there are more lodges/camps throughout the country, many lux, with flush loos, bathtubs, gourmet meals, amazing desserts, wines, spas, camel safaris, horseback riding... whatever the demand, they seem to be met. But one can still find the basic safari camps at budget pricing.

At least on my first visit there were no Masai warriors riding motorbikes rather than walking, and nowadays it seems all have a mobile attached to their ears! Welcome to the 21st Century.

Everything changes!
sandi is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2010, 08:41 AM
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I guess it depends where you went and maybe what time of year... I have vivid memories of a trip to Kenya and Tanzania about 25-30 years ago and there were a number of occasions when we'd be one of 10-20 vehicles at a sighting (yes really that many).

In high season, there are certainly a lot of vehicles in core areas of the Masai Mara, for example, and some sightings can end up crowded, though there are more rules in place to encourage drivers not to crowd the animals and to move on and allow others access... adhered to/ enforced to varying degrees...

But you can also avoid these kind of encounters without too much difficulty - game density might be just a little less dense, but so rewarding when it comes and so nice to enjoy in peace.
Kavey is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2010, 10:58 PM
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Atravelynn, sandi and Kavey:
Thank you all for your responses, comments and insight.

It appears that economically/politically there is more at stake now(with the associated struggles), but nice to know there are also people interested and invested in doing what is right to protect the environment/resources.

Glad to hear the animal population has not been adversely affected.

As far as the other changes....well, I like the part about flush loos, gourmet meals, amazing desserts and wine!

Hmmm,,,could I be part of the problem???

I like to think that my travel to Africa could help feed the family of the person employed by the camp I stay at. One of the things I struggled with on my trip so long ago was, although I am not wealthy, it just seemed that I had so much more monetary comfort than the person who was making my trip so wonderful. I realize that money is not everything, but it does make you stop and think...and be humble and appreciative for the simpler things in life.

Wow, sandi---motorbikes???? Ugh....I had a hard time accepting plastic bags stuck in trees 20 yrs ago. Everything does change....(but I still refuse to have a cell phone)!!!
live_aloha is offline  
Old Apr 12th, 2010, 07:31 AM
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... you might still find plastic bags in trees

And, I'm with you regarding a mobile phone. Mine is for emergency only, if I even remember to take with when I leave home or office.
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