Kenya/Tanzania - down the memory lane

Old Apr 26th, 2009, 04:49 AM
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Kenya/Tanzania - down the memory lane

I lived in Kenya as a child, returning to Norway in 1975 after four years. For 20 years I have been dreaming of going back. I was only 7 years old when my family and I left Kenya so I don't remember much, memories, pictures and stories mix together and I can't tell them apart.

Through the years I have asked my parents about going back to Kenya together, but for some reason they haven't been all that keen on the idea. Things have changed since the early 70's and I think they have been discouraged in fear of getting disappointed.

But four years ago something had changed and they caught on to the idea of making a trip down memory lane. My parents, my sister and I started planning for the big trip. We did a lot of research and had endless discussions of where to go. I used this forum quite a bit and got good advise and ideas. The trip was booked and payed for, we were leaving in June 2007. Then a huge tragedy hit our family. 14 days before departure my 11 year old nephew (my sister's son) got sick. It soon turned out to be very serious. He had aggressive braincancer and died only seven months later. When realizing how serious his illness was, we were only too glad that we weren't in Kenya when the cancer was discovered.

For a while after his death, we were unsure if we wanted to go through with a new trip. I knew what I wanted, but many feelings unleash when a tragedy like that happens and there are many considerations to be taken. But some time last year we decided to pick up on the idea. We made a few changes to the original itinerary and started the booking process. We leave June 13., I can't believe how soon it is. I haven't dared believing in this dream coming true, but now I can't help the tingling in my body.

The trip is a combination of looking up old places and a traditional safari/beach vaccation. The itinerary is as following, feel free to coment and throw in suggestions of things to see and do:

June 13th : Dayflight from Norway, via Schiphol to Nairobi. Kenor Safari picks us up at Kenyatta airport, overnight at Fairview Hotel (http://www.fairviewkenya.com/).

June 14th:
Sightseeing in Nairobi. We have a car with chauffeur at our disposal. We won't be visiting the elephant orphanage, giraffe center, The National Park. We might go to the Karen Blixen home. We plan to stay mostly in the City Centre and visit some markets, River Road and some bars my parents use to visit 30 years ago

We are not easily scared, but off course we are weary about security issues in Nairobi. Is it too risky with a stroll down River Road? (without cameras and valuables)

Any other suggestions in Nairobi?

June 15th:
This day is dedicated to visiting our old homes, schools and kindergardens. Kestrel Manor School, Kilimani School, Baptist Church Kindergarden and Jacaranda School among others. We have car with driver.

June 16th - June 19th (four nights):
Basecamp Explorer (http://www.basecampexplorer.com/masaimara/en) picks us up in Nairobi and we drive to Masai Mara. We have chosen to drive to exprerience a bit more of Kenya's countryside. The drive takes about 6 hours so we have decided to skip an afternoon gamedrive the day we arrive Basecamp Explorer. There hasn't been to much about Basecamp on this forum, I'd would much appreciate it if anyone who knows the camp would coment on it.

My sister and I was supposed to spend one night at Dorobo Bushcamp and do some safari walks, but infortunately the Bushcamp is closen until peak season. We have been offered a night at Wilderness Camp (I think it is Koiyaki Wilderness Camp). Do anyone know this? Our aim was to spend a night out in simple tents. As far as I can tell with the Wilderness Camp we might as well stay at Basecamp and do walking safaris there.

We also want to have a full day gamedrive. Do anyone have suggestions to what areas of Mara we should aim for?

June 20th - June 22nd (three nights):
We head for the coast by plane. We will be staying on Tiwi Beach, SheShe Baharine Beach Hotel (http://www.sheshebeach.com/). We chose Tiwi over Diani Beach in hope of escaping some of the tourist swarms and SheShe because it looks cozy and small.

The plans on the coast is to visit Mombasa one day (dinner at Tamarind restaurant). I guess we'll be strolling the Old Town and Fort Jesus. The second day we will be driving south to try to find our old summer vaccation place at Diani Beach. Then we'll head down to Shimoni and Wasini Island. My sister and I love to snorkle, my parents will probably enjoy some Tuskers while waiting for us

We'll have a car and a driver both days.

June 23rd - June 24th (two nights):
Early departure for Tsavo East and Kilaguni Lodge by car.(http://www.serenahotels.com/kenya/kilaguni/home.asp). Kilaguni Lodge is one of the real trips down memory lane. I think almost half of all our animal pictures from the 70's is taken her.

June 25th
We drive from Tsavo to Nairobi and fly to Arusha where we will be spending the night at Impala Hotel.

June 26th - June 27th (two nights):
We're on our way to Ngorongoro Crater. We'll make a stop at Lake Manyara on our way to the crater. We'll be staying at Sopa Lodge. We chose Sopa because of the thought of sipping to a GT while watching the sundown over the crater

June 28th - July 1st (four nights):
We drive from Ngorongoro to catch the plane to Zanzibar. The first four nights on Zanzibar will be on the East coast, at Tamarind Beach Hotel (http://www.tamarindhotelzanzibar.com/). Again we chose this hotel because of the (hopefully) peace and quiet.

We are not sure what to do while staying here. I want to take a trip to Jozani Forest and maybe a cave trip. I also want to go to Prison Island. If anyone has some suggestions on what to do, I would very much appreciate it.

July 2nd - July 3rd (two nights):
Finally we will spend two nights at Tembo House in Stone Town. We will have a farewell dinner at Emmerson & Green (changed name?) the last evening.

July 4th:
Afternoon plane from Zanzibar to Nairobi and nightflight back to Oslo.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 08:00 AM
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I just wanted to say welcome back, Siro12, I beleive I remember your first set of posts, as I do recall your name. I am so sorry to hear about your loss, and I am really glad that you and your family have picked up the trip again, it sounds wonderful!

I will look forward to reading your trip report when you get back!
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 08:07 AM
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Thank you, Lynda

I'm not looking forward to writing a trip report, that means the trip will be over. But I will try to write one knowing how much I have enjoyed reading the trip reports here.

Siro
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 10:59 AM
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Siro, welcome back! I’m very sorry to hear about the loss of your nephew.

Seeing your post is a trip down memory lane to 2007.

I’ve strolled down River Road feeling very safe. It’s generally not recommended to tourists though. A change that your parents will notice is that nowadays ex-pats virtually never visit the City Centre.

I stayed at Basecamp the first time I visited Kenya in 2003 and for a long time I planned going back, but I didn’t and then Basecamp became too expensive. Now I also find it a bit too close to Talek Town. It’s in a good area for reaching all parts of the Mara and it’s one of the 2 camps that are gold-rated by Ecotourism Kenya. For a long time I also planned staying at Koiyaki Wilderness Camp. It’s run by Koiyaki Guiding School and I looked forward to its opening as I thought it was a great initiative and had got information that it would be reasonably priced, but it wasn’t. For the full day game drive you could visit the Mara Triangle side.

Kilaguni is in Tsavo West. There’re almost frequent sighting of wild dogs.

Weren’t you going to Lamu?

Safari njema!
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 11:28 AM
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Oops, Tsavo West that is...

Thank you, it's great to be back You have a good memory, we were indeed going to Lamu. Unfortunately the prices went wild the second time around, the last itinerary had increased by almost $2500 per person. Lamu was expensive for three days so it had to go. I'm very sorry for that, i'd really like to go there. Tsavo is new though, it was a mistake leaving it out the first time. Kilaguni is important regarding memories.

Thanks for the input. Except for being too close to Talek Town (how does it affect the camp?), did you like Basecamp?
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 11:50 AM
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Being close to Talek “Town” doesn’t really affect the camp when you’re inside it. The park is right across the river and I saw lions very close to camp on my first afternoon game drive ever. You have to pass through Talek and Talek Gate when going on a game drive, but that can be interesting in a way as well. I liked Basecamp.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 03:59 PM
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Siro12 … what a terribly sad thing to happen for your whole family. I am glad that you have been able to re plan your safari. I too spent my childhood in Uganda/Kenya and went back in 2005 for the first time since 1972. People warned me against going saying that it had changed too much for the worse. Well, I went with an open mind, not expecting it to be the same and it was the BEST thing I ever did. Laid a lot of ghosts to rest and because the pace of repair and regeneration can be slow in developing countries, found many things virtually unchanged (for better or worse ).

I don't know about River Road, the warnings are always dire, but Nyamera has travelled around in many places in Kenya on her own and I think her travels are the richer for it. Take advice locally and make normal safety precautions.

I found writing a trip report made the trip come alive again, almost like having the safari all over again. Hopefully you will feel able to share some of your experiences with us. It also made me realise that Africa is there and I can travel there whenever I can raise the money, instead of being an unattainable dream. It helped me.

Can't comment on the locations you have chosen but will be interested to hear your opinions of them when you return. We also travelled in June for the lower prices and had great wildlife viewing, hardly any rain although Mombasa had rain for a short time each morning. I found it a little cold for swimming, but I am not a beach person at the best of times.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 09:38 PM
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Hi Twaffle
It's interesting to hear your experience of going back. Personally I'm not afraid of getting disappointed, I was too small. It's just going to be a blast. I think my parents are mentally prepared for changes, the biggest fear is all the tourists I think. We went camping "alone" in the parks and Diani Beach consisted of two hotels...

We chose June because of the pricing and got mid-season pricing most places (except for Sopa Lodge/Ngorongoro). A bit of rain doesn't matter. Beachlife isn't on the top priority list, don't want to waste time lying on a beach. Being from Norway I'm used to cold water though

Nyamera: A lion close to camp That would be great. We have booked tent nr 4 and 5 after being told they have the best location with a river view.

Oops, getting late for work (somehow Fodor's and Kenya is much more tempting )
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 02:06 AM
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Hi Siro12
Did you reach work, dear one? Yes, we are a bit afraid of the differences, hords of tourists and the increased poverty. Emmerson and Green is now 236 Hurumzi, Tower Top restaurant. Interesting comments on Siro12's post. I will follow with with pleasure. Have a nice day, Siro12
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 09:37 AM
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Yes, dearest mother, I did get to work in time
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Old Jun 11th, 2009, 04:13 AM
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I leave home in about 38 hours, finally heading for Kenya. I just want to thank you all for your kind and helpful replies both now and several years back when we originally startet planning this trip

I'll make sure I come back here and both write a report and put out some pictures.

Siro
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