Kenya July/August 2007

Jun 19th, 2007, 08:50 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Cdngirl2,

Don't cancel your trip. If you have not been to Africa and don't interact with those who go regularly, it can seem scary and remote and it may appear that danger lurks everywhere. We are naturally afraid of the unknown.

Kenya expects to receive over 1.5 million visitors this year and tourism is a huge factor for the country's economy. Hosting visitors is routine in Kenya. They have a major incentive to uphold the safety of visiting tourists because it is their livelihood. Of course things can go wrong, but as Sandi states, there are dangers everywhere. Wouldn't you hate to cancel, stay home, and get hit by a car a mile from home?

Numerous reputable and conservative travel companies are operating (fully booked) trips to Kenya, your destination of concern, and Tanzania and Rwanda. They want their clients to come home safely and travel with them again. They do not want the bad press of one of their participants meeting an unfortunate fate. They are not going to send people into unnecessarily dangerous settings. I'm sure they are not running tours to Iran or Afghanistan or even Columbia, though more intrepid travelers might seek those destinations.

A&K, Tauk, Globus, International Expeditions, Natural Habitat, to name just a few, have departures that include Kenya. You could call them up as a prospective client and see what they say about Kenya. Since they sell more than just Africa, you could ask if another one of their destinations would be better. I bet they don't try to steer you into another trip if your real interest is Kenya. That's because Kenya is fine if you do the normal activities and travel with a reputable guide.

Of course you can talk to your current agent about your fears, realizing they have a vested interest in sending you. They might agree to delay your trip for a year without any penalty. That could be a solution if you you believe you would be so distraught that you think you would not enjoy your trip.

As for going alone... You won't be alone, you'll be with your guide or at a lodge/camp with others. You may even have other safarimates in the vehicle with you. Traveling alone to other countries is different and requires more assertiveness and independence because you have to decide where to eat, what to do, maybe even where to sleep. Not so in Africa. Meals are at the camp/lodge, you cannot walk around except on the lodging grounds, and the daily activities are set for you. Now the single supplement, I fully agree, that's a scary thing. Are you suddenly stuck paying it?

As a cautious, non-risk-taking traveler, who has no interest in ticking off dangerous destinations or bragging about going to them, and who prefers stressfree nature trips, I feel compelled to make a strong case that you are over-reacting if you cancel your trip. Canceling will cost you money and a wonderful opportunity.

If you wanted to backpack and hitchhike through Kenya alone, I'd say don't do it. If you wanted to bicycle Tanzania by yourself, I'd tell you that you're nuts. I'd even caution against driving by yourself through Namibia, a fairly tame activity since the roads are paved. But a Kenya safari in July? Start your packing and bone up on your Swahili! Your biggest risk is sun stroke so pack extra suntan lotion and a high SPF lip balm.

Why don't you list your itinerary and company you are traveling with and you can get more specific suggestions and encouragement.




atravelynn is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 03:27 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 3
Thank you so much to those who posted such detailed and thoughtful responses to my earlier post. I posted here in the hopes of getting some comfort and encouragement from experienced and passionate travellers and I was not disappointed!

First off, you should know that your responses made me reconsider my initial plans to cancel. I spent another several hours trying to find a tour or something that would work so I could feel safe and still go.

The problem is this: I am a student, neck deep in student debt. The trip was a splurge (I deserve it!) but it was intended to be somewhat no frills - backpacking, hostels, overnight busses and the like. This was when I had someone to travel with which has now changed. I'm a pretty confident solo traveller but I've never been anywhere like Africa and I don't feel comfortable with my original "no frills" plan.

The only safari I found that works with my dates is a Peregrine Lodge safari that is crazy expensive. It's $2,125 + food and is way more luxurious than I wanted or planned to pay for. Atravelynn gave me some more tour names that I will check out but I think my decision may end up being based on financial issues coupled with the fact that this was never the trip I had in mind.

Incidentally, I may use part of my ticket to go visit a family member who, ironically, got hit by a car a mile from home.

Thanks again, all!
Cdngirl2 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 10:22 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,846
Cdngirl2,
If you want to join a group budget camping safari, you should contact local tour operators in Kenya. Try www.gametrackersafaris.com. You'll still be traveling with a tour operator and won't be alone but it will be much less than the Peregrine lodge safari. Most of the companies mentioned by Atravelynn are fairly high end and will cost more than the Peregrine tour. Good luck and sorry to hear about your family member.
Patty is online now  
Jun 20th, 2007, 10:47 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Cdngirl2
The companies I listed were much higher end. The idea was that these are not risky outfitters that might cater to intrepid risk takers, yet they still routinely go to Kenya.

Since you will be alone, I think something like Gametrackers would be ideal.

Sorry about the accident in your family.
atravelynn is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 10:51 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 429
Does anyone know how far this explosion was from the Serena hotel? I know the Serena is famous for its visiting diplomats and politicians. I am not cancelling my trip, but am considering switching to a different hotel while in Nairobi. Any thoughts on this? Thanks!
lmavolio is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 11:22 AM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,846
Imavolio,
If you can't find the Ambassadeur Hotel on a map, try looking for the Hilton or Stanley. They're in the same general area near Moi Avenue. That will give you some idea of the location relative to the Serena. I wouldn't say it's very close to the Serena nor is it very far (central Nairobi is fairly compact). My guess is it's about a mile away.
Patty is online now  
Jun 21st, 2007, 06:38 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,309
Cdngirl2,
I thought you had already booked your safari. You could check with Nairobi Backpackers as well. I'm alone in Nairobi at the moment feeling perfectly safe. The only part of what you had planned with your friend that sounds a bit risky are the overnight buses. I'd say daytime travel is better. But, many people use overnight buses without problems.

Imavolio, do you really think that bombs always explode in the same place?
I can't see any reason for choosing a street close to the Ambassadeur Hotel as a site for suicide bombing. I'll have to ask if anyone knows who did it and why.
Nyamera is offline  

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