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Kenya Airport Reviews

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Sep 23rd, 2007, 04:59 PM
  #1
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Kenya Airport Reviews

Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta (International): We didnít spend much time there, but the airport seemed older in style (website www.kenyaairports.com/jkia). The few shops and restaurants that we saw were small and cramped. But to be fair, we didnít spend enough time there to make an accurate comment. We got visas for Kenya before leaving the States, and we were glad when we saw the line at the airport (not that you need to rush anywhere, unless youíve got a connecting flight). The visas were about $50 each USD for single-entry, and we paid another $50 USD each for the service who got them for us (see A Briggs at www.abriggs.com).

Nairobi Wilson (Domestic): Wilson is the domestic airport in Nairobi (website www.kenyaairports.com/wilson). We flew on SafariLink (website www.safarilink-kenya.com), but it seemed that all airlines operated similarly. Each airline has its own small building, where you must go to check in and check luggage. The SafariLink building has a small snack bar and restrooms. There is no smoking inside, but itís not a problem outside. You are then mini-bused to the small airport facility from which you will fly. Once through security, there are two duty-free shops and restrooms, but they are in separate small buildings. There is a small waiting area with seats, but there are many more passengers than room to comfortably wait. We have used other domestic airports before, and this didnít resemble anything we had previously seen, whereby you could pull up to the doors an hour before your flight, find your appropriate airline counter, check in, and have a quick wait in a shop or coffee bar. There was no problems with it; it just wasnít what we were expecting. There is a small window for customs/immigration, which youíll need to use if flying from the domestic airport to Tanzania or another country (this was fast and easy, and the staff from SafariLink led us by the hand through the steps). There is no coffee shop in the main departure area, but I believe that one of the two shops sold cold drinks and packaged snacks. There is regular security here, and our bags at the SafariLink ďterminalĒ WERE weighed.

Kichwa Tembo Private Airstrip: I think that this was a paved (macadam) runway, surprising for being out in the middle of nowhere. We flew on a rather large plane between Wilson and Kichwa Tembo, probably holding about 50 passengers, having a restroom, and even a flight attendant who served hard candy and bottled water. This plane was much larger than I had imagined it would be, but the planes would get smaller from here on in. There is no formal airport building, only a small round seating area with a bench and covered by a roof (but open on the sides). There are no bathroom facilities at this airstrip; no running water; no electricity. We were met by staff from Bateleur, and greeted with a wonderful champagne welcome (including crystal flutes). It was a great beginning to our safari, and we would soon grow accustomed to the unbelievable luxury of the CC Africa lodges and staff! It was immediately apparent that we chose the best company for our safari (although we did not book through CC Africa itself). Luggage is NOT weighed here, and there is NO security.
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Sep 23rd, 2007, 05:04 PM
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Interesting approach to a trip report. Such detail is rarely devoted to the airports, but saved for the final destination. Saw your other thread on Tanzanian airports too. Are you an airplane/airport buff?
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Sep 23rd, 2007, 05:17 PM
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You made me laught! No, I'm not an airport buff, I just like to be prepared (or probably overly prepared) for any trip that I take. When I couldn't find the kind of information that I wanted to know before my trip, I thought I would address some of it myself when I wrote my own reviews. I have some minor health problems, and others in my family have mobility issues, so I try to look at things with a different perspective and supply info that may help others. I debated about doing a traditional trip report, but since my reviews are so focused on hotels, airports, day tours, tc. and not on the "I saw such-and-such animal on such-and-such day", I didn't know if pasting all my 11 pages of reviews into one spot would be wise. I also find it easier when searching for specific information if it's in one small segment rather than wading through someone's entire trip report to find out whether there's internet access in the rooms (not that I don't love reading the whole trip reports, too). I hope I didn't make a mistake. If so, I'll learn for next time. This is the biggest trip I've ever taken--and the most reviews I've ever felt compelled to write, so I really wasn't sure how to post them.
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Sep 23rd, 2007, 06:41 PM
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Hi fluffnfold

These are very good threads!
i like your (different) concept.
u r right: it will be useful, easy to be searched etc'
{though, personally, these lodges you review are irrelevant to me before winning the lottery...}

let's hope others will add to those reviews so they'll become a kind of standard reference ...

aby
PS
i do have a certain view how to better organize the info on this forum, and your threads will fit nicely in this future scheme
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Sep 23rd, 2007, 07:38 PM
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I'm conflicted about this format - makes it easier to search, although if the search function was working that wouldn't be necessary. But, it has clogged up the forum, with some threads that I was following being bumped back to the dreaded "next 50" despite having posts today.
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Sep 24th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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Hi! I am going on a very similar itinerary. When you say they weighed the bags. What were the limits?

Thanks
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Sep 24th, 2007, 12:20 PM
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While I've enjoyed reading these individual segments, they could have all been included in a single trip report. As mentioned, the search function doesn't always work. Besides, LyndaS is going to have one heck of a time jumping all over to compile her summary of your safari

Some choose to report day-by-day; transport, animals seen, food eaten, accommodations/amenities... all of which are fine for the individual poster; often difficult for the reader. It's kind of like those who post Part 1, Part 2, etc. where you're looking for continuing information in different places.

Simply a comment/suggestion.
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Sep 24th, 2007, 12:26 PM
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Fluff,
But will there be an animal sighting report at some point?
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Sep 24th, 2007, 02:39 PM
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Fluff,
But will there be an animal sighting report at some point?


Separate report for each species, perhaps?



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Sep 25th, 2007, 10:04 AM
  #10
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Ha ha, Bill_H! I didn't plan on writing a general trip report, but I can probably put one together when I find the time. Just a general list of the animals that we saw:

Bateleur Camp/Masaai Mara: leopard (just for a split, running second), cape buffalo, giraffes, hippos (including a huge pod by the Masaai River), zebras, gazelles (etc--I'm still not clear on the differences between the antelopes, gazelles, topis, Coke's hartebeasts), cheetah family, wildebeests (just standing on a cliff waiting to cross--no actual crossing like I had hoped), elephants, hyenas, lions, warthogs, lots of beautiful birds, and NO RHINOS

Ngorongoro Crater: giraffes, hippos, zebras (including some that came up to our room at the Crater Lodge while we were out on the deck--it was almost completely dark, and they were playing and bucking up against each other--too bad it was too dark for photos), gazelles (including antelopes, gazelles, topis, Coke's hartebeasts), cheetah (right after a kill), cape buffalo (the ones on the property of the Crater Lodge are unbelievable!), wildebeests (just standing on a cliff waiting to cross--no actual crossing like I had hoped), elephants, hyenas, lions (right after a kill, with great interaction between the lions and hyenas), warthogs, lots of beautiful birds (including flamingos), baboons and other monkeys, and STILL NO RHINOS

Klein's Camp/Serengeti: LEOPARD! (we took lots of pictures, but were pretty far away), LIONS! (a pride of about 10 young males, which we saw during on off-road night drive--this was probably the most amazing sighting of the whole safari--to be out there in the pitch blackness, surrounded by these playful man-eaters--if only we could have taken some photos), giraffes, hippos, zebras, gazelles (including antelopes, gazelles, topis, Coke's hartebeasts), wildebeests, elephants, hyenas, warthogs, lots of beautiful birds, baboons and other monkeys, and OF COURSE, NO RHINOS (I don't think there are any in the Serengti, anyway)

I was happy that we saw animals just after the kill, but not the kill itself.

The only rhino that we saw was in the Nairobi Safari Walk (Kenyan Wildlife Services) park, so that was disappointing. I was also disappointed not to see the wildebeests crossing a river. They seemed so ready to go...

I'm sure I'm forgetting some really obvious animal. And by the way, that also alludes to the order of my trip:

Dubai: 2 nights at Dar al Masyaf (Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah)
Nairobi: 2 nights at House of Waine
Masaai Mara: 2 nights at Bateleur
Ngorngoro: 2 nights at Crater Lodge
Serengeti: 2 nights at Klein's Camp
Zanzibar: 2 nights at The Palms
Dar es Salaam: 1 night at Kilimanjaro Kempinski

I loved all the hotels, particularly the fabulous food and service at the CC Africa properties and The Palms (but then we were paying for it). I also thought that we spent just the right amount of nights in each location--I know for some people it would have been a whirlwind, but for me, it was just right.
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