Just returned from 2Afrika Safari in Kenya

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Apr 16th, 2002, 11:52 PM
  #1
Thyra
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Just returned from 2Afrika Safari in Kenya

Hello, just got to Amsterdam following a 9 day safari booked stateside by 2afrika and with land arrangements done by Vintage Africa. First of all the trip was a close to perfect as you could ask for. We saw tons of animals, including the big 5. Our driver, Peter was a delight, lodges very nice and food acceptable. No one in our party got ill and everything went quite smoothly. We did end up having some problems, as our departure tickets didn't arrive until a mere 48 hours before we were to depart for NYC and then to A'dam and Kenya. Also, they booked our return from Nairobi to A'dam 1 day late, which lead to some confusion. But I will say that the representatives from Vintage Africa did a remarkable job, to their credit they put us up in a 5 star suite, and gave us a complimentary excursion normally costing over $100.00 pp also paid for our b-fest and Lunch at the Carnivore restaruant. All in all despite the minor inconvenience they went out of their way to set things to rights and we have no complaints. I would go so far as to say that it was a perfect trip. I would highly recommend Vintage africa, as we were driving identical transportation vehicles, and staying in the same lodges as many of the higher priced tour companies. Our total pp was $1895.00 plus tax INCLUDING AIR from NYC a great deal! And a great group. I highly recommend them.
If anyone is interested I shall post more report, as right now I am just arrived in Amsterdam. Happy travels.
 
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Apr 17th, 2002, 06:41 AM
  #2
kavey
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Thyra
I'm very interested...
More! More! More!
Kavey
 
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Apr 17th, 2002, 07:34 AM
  #3
Dick
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Thyra, I too am very interested in hearing more about your trip. We have one booked for Tanzania in June thru 2Afrika although we did the air ourselves. Have two day layover in Amsterdam and such might help take care of jet lag before heading on to Arusha. Looking forward to hearing more.Thanks
Dick
 
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Apr 17th, 2002, 10:19 AM
  #4
lisa
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Yes please, more details! Accommodations? Meals? Did you find 9 days enough?
 
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Apr 22nd, 2002, 09:07 AM
  #5
Thyra
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OH where to start??? Well I can rightly say that taking a safari has been my dream as long as I could remember, but I never thought that we would be able to afford it until I read about 2afrika on Frommers (sorry Fodor's ) website and we decided to go for it!! I am so glad I did, with such a lifetimes worth of expectations riding on it, I was very worried, that it would never live up. I can honestly say that our safari met and exceeded my high expectations!!!
OK for those of you interested, I will briefly post the ins and outs:
Flights arranged by 2afrika from NYC via A'dam to Nairobi, on Northwest (no problems) and KLM, all fine, ontime no problems, new security I found very comforting.
In Nairobi we had prompt and efficient meet and greet by Vintage Africa Rep. Stayed at Holiday Inn Mayfair wonderful hotel, I nice decor, full amenities.
First Stop Lake Nakuru, to stay at the Lake Nakuru Lodge: Basic amenities, but we heard a lion growl right behind our "bungalow/hut" the first night, what can be more exciting then that? Food decent, not 4 star, but importantly no one got ill. I found b'fest to be the best meal of the day, and mostly stuck to indian/curry food for the other two meals buffet style, wide selection. Nice staff best of all game viewing was wonderful, as this is where we found our leopard!!! sitting no more then 15 feet away in a tree, you would swear she/he was posing for the cameras.
 
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Apr 22nd, 2002, 09:14 AM
  #6
Thyra
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Cont. We were 2 nights at Nakuru, then long bumpy ride to Masai Mara to stay at Mara Sopa Lodge.. really liked this place, it had a sort of swingin' 60's vibe and you kind of expected Richard Burton to be lounging around. Lovely pool spectacular view, food better then Nakuru (which wasn't bad either) nicer room, very large extremely friendly staff.
Game Drives: Most important part, were done in a "pop-top" safari vehicle which is basically a retro-fitted mini van that is very comfortable and my husband and I stood for every game drive, there is a little roof for sun and rain protection and they are very roomy. Game we saw: Lion, Cape Buffalo, Leopard, Elephant, rhino (the famous "Big 5") plus, baboon, velvet monkey, crocodile, hippo, giraffe, antelope, zebra, buzzard, flamingo, many cheetah, gazelle, eland, bush baby, dik dik, hartbeast, wildebeest, and many more, so many I can barely remember.
 
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Apr 22nd, 2002, 09:17 AM
  #7
kavey
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Thyra
Sounds soooooo wonderful!
So glad it met and exceeded all your expectations!
Our trip to Botswana and Namibia was like that too...
Do you have pictures on the web anywhere yet?
Kavey
 
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Apr 22nd, 2002, 09:35 AM
  #8
Thyra
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Cont. One of the top selling points for Vintage Africa is the small size of groups, we had only 3 other people in our party (6 is the maximum) we all got on well, and everyone was very positive a good group.
Weather: I can't tell you how stressed out I was about weather, as we were travelling during the dreaded "long-rains" I spent many sleepless nights worried that the roads would wash out etc. Honestly the weather could not have been nicer to us, we only had mild rain on 2 game drives, which didn't impede us at all, mostly the sky was clear, blue with big-puffy breathtaking white clouds or rain in the distance, and one spectacular thunder storm, which added more drama than inconvenience. Plus the crowds were substantially less then during the peek "migration" season lodges were only about 1/3 full and often we had game viewing all to ourselves.
Tips: Most useful item we brought was my husbands terribly cliche, photo journalist vest. There is a reason people wear these things, all the millions of pockets were invaluable for lip balm, bottled water (supplied by tour company) camera's binoculars, journal etc. Also, there is much debate about flying to various game parks vs driving. Though the roads vary in quality, I am very happy that we drove!!It gave you a priceless oportunity to see how the people live and work. It was endlessly fascintating, to drive past the lonely Masai herder's or the women in their colorful clothing, or open air markets etc, I would not have done it any other way.
Kenyan People: Amazing,,, in fact, I must have had about 30 people say directly to me "you must go back to America and tell all the American's to visit Kenya" they are warm, sincere and delightful.
Guides: I don't know how you could do game viewing by yourself, the guides have a network, where they share info and a good guide could make or break a trip our guide, Peter, was A+ wonderful, clever, polite knowledgeable, able to fix a flat, or communicate with locals. We were very pleased.
Camera's: In my opinion, unless you are a serious photographer who knows a complex camera like you know the back of your hand, a high quality point and shoot seems the best option. So often things happen in the blink of an eye, and if you are figuring out lenses, filters etc, you miss it! We got some stunning photos, with our little point and shoots, using 400 film (each of our camera's had decent zooms and my husband has an elph that took some stunning panoramics). The bottom line, be comfortable with your equipment.
Each person should have their own binoculars we used them almost constantly.
Health: We brushed our teeth with bottled water (readily available) avoided salads and uncooked veggies (though people in our group ate them with no ill effects). We both used malarone for malaria with no ill effects, but luckily we each had our recommended shots and my husband did get a chaffing wound from horseback riding so we were certainly glad we'd had our tetanous boosters.
Visa's we got at airport upon arrival $50.00 dollars, 5 minutes and one form.. piece of cake!.
In closing... it was the best vacation of my life and I am so very glad we did it.. Africa has now put it's spell on me and we can't wait to go back!
 
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Apr 22nd, 2002, 09:40 AM
  #9
Thyra
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Kavey, thanks for your interest.. we did have our photos developed in A'dam.. some great ones for us blinding amateurs!!! For this one I will post some online!!! Thanks also for your inspiring accounts of your Botswana/Namibia trip.. We are looking to Botswana for our 10th wedding anniversary...If I do get my photos online I will let everyone know.
 
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Apr 22nd, 2002, 10:12 AM
  #10
kavey
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Thyra
We are intending to go back to Botswana & Namibia for our 10th wedding anniversary too, it's not until 2004 though!
Would love to see some of your photos if you put them online.
Kavey
 
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Apr 23rd, 2002, 07:02 AM
  #11
Dick
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Thyra, thank you for making my morning. We are about 6 weeks away from beginning our trip to Tanzania. In fact, today our daughter has trip to Doctor's office as to prescription for anti-malaria pills. Since we have a two day layover in Amsterdam I would also be interested in your experience there. Not to say the accounting as to Kenya was not interesting. Thank you for sharing and especially on items such as vest, binocs, etc.
Dick
 
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Apr 23rd, 2002, 08:00 AM
  #12
Patricia
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I was one of the 3 others on safari with Thyra and her husband. I just want to say I echo everything she said. We loved our trip. Were VERY satisfied and then some with everything (including the company of Thyra and Justin!). The views from both lodges were just spectacular. We had a view from Lake Nakuru Lodge of the soda lake in the distance that is home to approx. 1 million flamingos. Even at that distance (I'm guessing a mile or two) we could see the pink on the lake. Beautiful pools at both lodges and outdoor bars and (sometimes)terrace dining. They give everyone a turn or two eating outside. Great staff. Guards outside our doors every night who would escort us whether or not we thought we needed it. Lots of giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, lions (the other 3 of us took a hot air balloon ride and flew low over a pride of 22 lions! What a thrill!). We would go back ANYtime!
 
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Apr 23rd, 2002, 08:11 AM
  #13
kavey
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Patricia
So glad you were also happy with your trip!
Were you travelling with Thyra and Justin or did you just met them out there?
And were you previously using Fodors Africa forum for research?
If you already were and just met them there that's gotta be one huge and exciting coincidence given that this forum is so much quieter than the Europe one!
Kavey the curious!
 
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Apr 23rd, 2002, 08:27 AM
  #14
Thyra
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For Kavey, well Patricia and I met via Fodor's forums (though not in person).. then we began a emailing each other with stuff...." How much are your shots costing???" "Have you gotten your tickets yet???" things like that... given the delay in our tickets arriving it was most comforting to email Pat for daily updates! If anything had gone wrong, I figured at least there would be two of us to freak out together!! But the first time we met in person was on the first morning in Nairobi...I can't tell you what a great group we had.. Sandy (Pat's companion, and John (who turned into my husband's drinking buddy) all got along famously (this is the first time my husband or I had taken a "group" tour and we were very apprehensive initially). But we had a merry band of people who all reacted extremely positively to every imaginable experience which made all the difference ( I can think of nothing worse then being on a dream vacation with someone in your group who was a wet blanket, or a whiner). Our group enhanced our experience quite a lot and I am sure we will be emailing each other for years to come.
Dick!!! I am jealous already I am ready to go back!!!!! Have a wonderful WONDERFUL trip and be sure to post a report upon returning.
 
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Apr 23rd, 2002, 08:29 AM
  #15
Thyra
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PS Dick, I will most likely post a brief A'dam report on the Euro forum... (though it seems to have gotten a little bit more hostile since we've been gone).
 
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Apr 23rd, 2002, 08:59 AM
  #16
Patricia
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One thing I wanted to be sure to pass along. Sandy and I opted to get our visas after arriving at Nairobi airport. 2Afrika provided a form to fill out when they sent our itinerary and tickets. So we arrived with $50 US in crisp new bills (that's what they want) and our forms all filled out--handed those across with our passports and they stamped them and sent us on to baggage claim. That was it! Couldn't believe how fast it was (one or two minutes) and then we could claim our baggage and leave the airport! Amazing! We had pictures taken just in case they needed them, but they didn't need them. So for anyone who's going that way and kind of worrying about it, as I was, nothing to worry about. You make a slight right turn shortly after entering the airport from your plane and there's the visa booth. $50 US, your passort, and your filled-in form are all you need. Piece of cake!

Yes it was kind of quirky that I found Thyra on Fodors and she was going to be in our group. Great stroke of luck. It's nice to talk to someone ahead of time like that and kind of get to know them.
 
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Apr 23rd, 2002, 03:34 PM
  #17
buck
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We also had Vintage Africa in Kenya last year and they have to be one of the best if not the best ground operator in Africa. Their drivers/guides are just the best, we had a guy named Dominic and he took us to his house one day to meet his family on the way back into Nairobi. Also had John in the other van. A grand time was had by all. The lodges and food was good, the Kenyan people were warm and friendly and really made us welcome. They also treated us to lunch at Carnoviors which was not included in our tour. The trip of a lifetime, everyone should do it at least once. Buck
 
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Apr 24th, 2002, 01:02 PM
  #18
kavey
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So though you found each other on Fodors, you didn't book deliberately to be on the same tour? That's wonderful!
I love those little quirkinesses!

I love meeting Fodorites when they come to London... I have been lucky to meet so many, mostly from Europe forum, one from US and soon, one from here.

If anyone is coming through London, and would like to meet and talk about travel (especially Africa) you'd be most welcome!
 
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May 4th, 2002, 12:31 PM
  #19
beth anderson
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Thyra

would also love to see your photos (Kavey has gotten me into Africa all of a sudden). If you post them, if it isn't too much trouble, could you email me? I so rarely come over here to look in, would hate to miss them!

thanks~!

Beth
 
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May 6th, 2002, 08:22 AM
  #20
Thyra
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Hi Beth, my goal is to have our photos up and available by June ish.. thanks for your interest.. Have you been to Africa??? If not then... let Kavey get you WAY into it!!! It is so amazing! Everyone should go at least once.
 
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