Just about the Masai Mara

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May 18th, 2003, 08:33 AM
  #1
LizFrazier
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Just about the Masai Mara

Hi all you East Africa lovers-
I figured we needed out own thread for those going to the Mara for this "Season of the Wildebeest".
I found this site that shows the weather in the Mara. It is: http://www.luxurytravel.com/weather/...masken01.shtml
I was worried the rains might not come this year and our trip in September would be disappointing so I searched until I found it. Just Nairobi weather wasn't enough for me. I have watched this for a week now and it changes daily, so even though there isn't a date on it, I'm sure that it is current.
Looks like the rains are falling right on schedule and we should have a good season. Now let someone take care of the terrorists and we'll be all set.
I also decided not to spend a night in Nairobi before going to the Mara. Just lessening as much danger as I can.
I will travel right away to Wilson Airport from Jomo Kenyatta Int'l A/P. There is a place there called the Aero Club that offers day rooms or night rooms. They have a restaurant and a taxi to take you to your terminal. The rooms are $35 for the day room, full night is about $60. The taxi runs about $1.25 to the Air Kenya terminal. I know most of you are not booking your own transport, but in case anyone chooses to, I will post the sites you need to do so. Liz
 
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May 19th, 2003, 04:40 AM
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Hi Liz!
I was so glad to read that you had not completely nixed your plans for Kenya in September. I think your change of plans as far as getting out of Nairobi as soon as possible and into the bush is well thought out. Good luck to you with this. I know how much you were looking forward to your trip. By the way, thanks for the site. Of course, I had no choice but to put it in "my favorites" folder!!
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May 21st, 2003, 11:27 AM
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Hi Liz, do you have an e-mail address for the Aero Club accommodation? How did you find them?
Are you arriving from Amsterdam during a day? Do you have a taxi arranged to take you to Wilson? Does it mean you will be in Governors one extra night? Lucky you!
Are you going to stay in Nairobi after your safari?

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May 21st, 2003, 05:44 PM
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LizFrazier
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Gina-
We are scheduled on British Airways which have now suspended all flights until further notice. So---we may not be going. Hopefully this will be cleared up before September. We arrive in Nairobi at 8AM. We will catch a shuttle or taxi to Wilson Airport. I understand this runs between the two airports. If not then we will catch a cab.
I heard about the Aero Club from an agent. I used Google to find them. The email address is: [email protected].
Yes we chose to stay the first night at Governors Camp rather than in town because of the terrorist threats. I figured I would rather be out in the bush than in a hotel in town. Just sounded right.
So we will have 6 nights on the Mara. I don't see how we could catch the 10AM flight out to the Mara, so we booked the dayroom. I don't have any idea what its like but I'll let you know when we return. We will return from the Mara on the afternoon flight and have dinner then go to JKIA and await the night flight. I really don't care to spend time in Nairobi anyway.
We are flying British Air because we are using American Airlines frequent flyer miles. They are the partner, not KLM. When we go to Tanzania in February, we will fly KLM, and fly into Kilimanjaro, bypassing Nairobi. Liz
 
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May 22nd, 2003, 08:44 AM
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Actually, BA has just moved its Nairobi flight to Entebbe and Kenya Air is providing the 1 hour shuttle flight (no extra cost) to Nairobi.
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May 22nd, 2003, 08:57 AM
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LizFrazier
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NoFly-
I knew that BA had switched and offered flights to J'burg, Entebee or another place, but they were not offering anything in addition. I can imagine that Kenya Air did what they did to attempt to ward off cancellations of safaris. My feeling on that is it is still flying into Nairobi, and if the threat is there, we won't go. We don't have the exact wording of what the threats are, except they supposedly include aircraft. Hope this gets resolved soon. Thanks for the heads up. Liz
 
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May 22nd, 2003, 09:45 AM
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Liz, you still have three months before your safari. Don't worry too much for now. Just think and dream of wildebeests crossing Mara River. And you will be right there watching them.

Do you know who is going to be your guide at Governors? We had James and he was fantastic. Just two of us and him. We spent all days in the fields. Sometimes he brought our breakfasts, then we returned to the camp for lunch, rested for one hour and then back on our next drive and finally back to the camp after watching sunset in Masai Mara. We will be planning our third safari as soon as we get our free tickets from KLM
When in Governors we heard from other visitors how great their guides were. I think all of them in Governors are excellent.

You will have a great time. Right?
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May 22nd, 2003, 12:06 PM
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LizFrazier
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Gina-
Thanks kiddo! Don't know who our guide is yet. Still gotta get over the hurdle of the flight situation first. We won't cancel till July or August. We won't make the final payment until we are sure we get to go.
Wish you were going to. Sigh! Oh well. If plans change, we may get there at the same time. Liz
 
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May 22nd, 2003, 06:57 PM
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Liz, I agree with Gina. You have done all you can to prepare for your trip, just think now of all the glorious sites you will see. Lions, the Mara River, a crossing!, giraffes - nature at its greatest. I have the utmost confidence you will be going in September. I still have my fingers crossed for you!!
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May 23rd, 2003, 08:05 AM
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LizFrazier
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Thanks SusanLynne-
Some days I KNOW we'll go, then the next I kinda am not sure. What a roller coaster. I am so envious of the ones going now. Just to BE there. Ever since I first went I wanted to live on the Mara. Does anyone want to join me? haha. Liz
 
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May 23rd, 2003, 08:50 AM
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I feel like that too, Liz. I wouldn't mind going on safari every year. Next month we are going to be in the Seychelles and when there I'll be thinking of Mara. After all it is only 1000 miles east of Kenya on the Indian Ocean
I promis I will think of you too, Liz, Susan, Kavey
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May 23rd, 2003, 09:02 AM
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I'm the same - since June 2001 Africa has been in my dreams, night and day.

I still hold dear my global destinations wish list and enjoy trips to other places - Venice, Bologna, Tallinn, Jordan - but would be in Africa in a heartbeat if I suddenly came into a fortune.

Right now my thoughts are with Clematis who either left yesterday or is due to leave today, I forget, for her African adventure.
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May 23rd, 2003, 09:06 AM
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Hi Kavey, I always had positive experiences on this forum except for the one person who proved their true colours. When are you going back?
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May 23rd, 2003, 09:51 AM
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Not till 2004.
I've always had positive experiences with people on this forum, period and I'm in touch with many of them.
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May 23rd, 2003, 11:50 AM
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Hi Liz, Kavey and Gina!
Well, I thought I was the only person in the world who has become thoroughly obsessed with Africa. I dreamed of going there since I was four or five years old, and when I finally did, it not only met but exceeded every expectation. My husband thinks I am insane: I suggested we sell our house, put most of the money in the bank and with the rest head over to East Africa for a few years. He wants to get his PPL and it is less expensive to do it there than our neck of the woods. I researched flying schools, but he failed to take the bait. Alas, I will have to wait until 2004 to return to a region that has completely captured my soul. So, Liz, if you move to the Mara, make sure you have enough rooms to accommodate Kavey, Gina, me and all us other Africa fans!
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May 25th, 2003, 07:50 AM
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Hi Susan, as you see you're not alone. There are a few of us. Let's all go to Mara. But I would have to take my husband with me. He is the best travel companion. Besides, he is also a real travel addict. Every month this year, except May, we are going somewhere. No, wait a second. We went to NH just last week but that was only a day trip. Does it count?
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May 25th, 2003, 08:18 AM
  #17
LizFrazier
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I already tried to move to the Mara and it didn't work out. If we didn't live in such a perilous time it would be wonderful to be together there sometime. Unfortunately you just can't plan like that anymore. Whoever thought the world would change so repidly and drastically in our lifetime.
It is so nice to meet you folks here though and share this wonder that is Africa. Liz
 
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May 25th, 2003, 12:16 PM
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Hi Gina!

Considering I live in New Hampshire and you had to travel to get there, yes, I would say that even a day trip counts! Such a shame that you will be so close to East Africa while you are in the Seychelles. Several friends of mine have been there - including one who splurged for a week on Frigate Island - and they said it was paradise. Will it be your first time? I am sure it will not disappoint. And Liz, I would like to hear more about your attempted relocation to the Mara. I am intrigued ...
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May 25th, 2003, 01:33 PM
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LizFrazier
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SusanLynne-
I thought I had posted some of this before.....but here goes:
I retired from my 30 year government career the year after I first went to Africa. I retired early just because I wanted to spend more time in Africa. I knew I would move from DC, when I retired since I'm not from the East Coast, so I put my condo on the market to sell and took off for Nairobi. I had big dreams and thought I would spend 30 days there and make arrangements to move as soon as my place sold. I visited the government offices to apply for a permit and looked around for an apartment. I was put in touch with an American lady who had done the same thing a few years before. She was an attorney and actually transferred over to work for the U.S. government office there as I recall. There was a small group of Europeons that did things together and although I missed meeting them, I saw enough to know I would be happy there.
I walked most places I went because it was in and around Nairobi. It was fun!
One day I came upon a young man on the sidewalk, who asked for my assistance with information about the U.S. schools. I went with him to have a cup of tea at a spot he knew about. We sat down and ordered our tea. We were the only people there and it was on a side street and up some stairs at a raunchy looking place. Stupid, stupid, stupid! Two guys came out of nowhere and took the other two chairs at the table and the hair on the back of my neck went up. I looked around and realized I was outnumbered and could easily be overcome. The waiter turned his back to us and did the dishes like this isn't the first time it went on.
I bravely looked the toughest guy in the eye and stood up and got a few coins out and laid them on the table to pay for my tea. I told him I was feeling strangely about this encounter and yes if I disappeared someone would come looking for me. I slowly walked out and then ran downstairs and back to my hotel. I never did THAT again!
So I knew I would need something to do when I moved over and I talked to some people who needed help in setting up a celebration for some sort of anniversary there for their company. I also was told I might be able to help Cynthia Moss in Amboseli as a cook or something. Now I did see her when I was in Amboseli on my first trip, but literally that is all. I just saw her. I didn't go to see about that although it is something I would have really liked. Its been 15 years ago and some of the details are not as easy to recall, but the gentleman who wanted help puting on this celebration promised me if I did that, he could arrange that I could live on the Mara after that. His company had some sort of place there. I know this sounds strange but I just don't remember all of the details.
Well I had all sorts of offers of aid in getting my permit and I wondered why everyone I talked to had a "friend" who worked in that department of the government and could help me. Slowly it dawned on me the "help" would be rather expensive shall we say.
I told my guide that I didn't have $3,000 with me but would wire it to him. By then it was time to go home (back to DC). I checked with the Kenya Embassy in DC, and found out permits were scarcely given out and they only cost $15.00.
I saw enough to know I could not survive there as a single lady. Not without some sort of job. That was the end of that dream.
A year and a half later, on my second safai to Kenya and Tanzania, I met a Greek Doctor in Arusha, who knew the head of the Catholic Church or something in Dar es Salaam. He said if I would train to be a nurse then he could put me in touch with this gentleman and I could find out about a job in a mission on the Serengeti. So I enrolled in pre-nursing when I got home. Which by the way was now on the West Coast since I sold my condo and moved back to Washington state where I was born.
Long story short, I wanted so badly to work there, I found Earthwatch and volunteered as a helper on an elephant project on the Okavango Delta in Botswana. It came up during summer break at college. Well, in two weeks I found out I could not live in a darn tent in the middle of nowhere and survive. You wouldn't believe our living conditions. Oh, I know about public camp grounds. Never even slept in a sleeping bag before. Too funny! So at the end of the Earth Watch assignment I came home, dropped out of nursing classes, and that was the end to my dreams of living in a tent somewhere in Africa. Later I met and married Max and decided that I would probably never live in Africa. I did once again think of it when Max and I were in Botswana in 1999. I suggested to my sweet Max, that he being a plumber could probably get a job in Maun, with one of the camp managers and travel to the different camps when they had plumbing problems. Of course I would expect to go along to these camps. OR...he could volunteer to work free one summer and we could go and stay at a camp in Botswana and get our board as payment. If you've ever seen some of the plumbing you'd see that I got a big fat NO! So......that's about it.
Oh, while I was in Tanzania on my second safari, after my exploratory trip to Nairobi, I met a couple of fellows who knew this girl that was murdered and whose story is told in "A Death in Kenya". Most interesting people there and so sparsely populated that everyone seems to know everything. Anyway that was a real interesting aside as I had just read that book. Such a sweet young girl. So innocent. Such a tragedy.
Another interesting experience I had in Kenya involved my first safari and some young men who stole the handbag of one of our group when we were stuck in the mud on our way to the Mara. Really surprising what happened to them, but I'll leave that for another time.
Hope you're not sorry you asked.
Have a nice day! Liz
 
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May 26th, 2003, 03:54 PM
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Hi Liz!
No, I was not bored. Very enlightening. I too have come across some interesting things in my pursuit of relocating to Kenya or Tanzania. One would think it would be so easy, but that is hardly the case. Thanks for the information.
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