Kenya-Tanzania Trip Report

Old May 6th, 2009, 11:15 PM
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No twaffle, I worked out our itinerary and it was passed on to them for a quote.
Are you going to use them again?
And if so are you going directly through them?
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Old May 7th, 2009, 05:39 AM
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sallysaab, can not wait for the next installment. Your report really got me excited to visit Samburu! And, I enjoy your writing style. I trust the fatties with their brollies will continue to have great sightings in the next segment. Dick
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Old May 7th, 2009, 12:28 PM
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Dick thanks,
for the writing style which from here on changes a little.
I took with me a little HP Ipaq thingy with it's little foldout keyboard. We'd come back from the drive, have a cool drink, I'm now too scared to mention the F word, and I'd type up the notes, but at the Mara the little horror died. My scribe made notes and now I'm trying to piece it together.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 03:17 PM
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Sally, I meant no offense with choice of words. I simply enjoyed reading how others at times see themselves. Like your situation, my wife often took copious notes which were invaluable weeks later.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 07:27 PM
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OMG, the F above is for Fanta! in case you werent following my racing thoughts, sorry.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 09:16 PM
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SS … am planning to use Sunworld again and would definitely book directly and would request Ken as all of us were so comfortable with him.
Were you happy with their services? Always worth knowing because if there are little things that could be arranged better, we can take that into account. We used Bush Homes last year and they were also great, but the places they use are too expensive for a family of 4.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 10:11 PM
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twaffle, Sunworld were fine. We were in 3 different vehicles and the first was the most comfortable by far.
All were Landcruisers, but it was the configuration within the vehicle with the windows.
The first was the newest, next one needed little things repaired and from the back row of seats it wasnt easy to take photos out of the window. The last vehicle was the biggest, 3 rows of seats behind the driver and it was unbelievably uncomfortable.
If we could choose your Ken and the first vehicle we'd be as happy as larry.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 10:12 PM
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Day 13 (30th March): Lake Manyara - Ndutu Conservation Area
Went on an early morning drive around the lake and saw bushbuck, warthogs, Impala, and a Batilla Eagle, Masai Giraffe, monkeys, baboon, yellow billed stork, hippo, buffalo, zebra, African white backed vulture, wildebeest, troop of baboons, Sykes Monkeys, Black backed Jackal, Dik Dik, African Grey Hornbill, Red collared bishop bird, ostrich and family chasing a jackal, Guinea Fowl, Elephants.
There were a lot of yellow barked Acacia Trees that fall over when it rains because of their lack of deep roots.
Went back to lodge for breaky, which was really rushed due to them taking so long, because again it wasn’t a buffet, didn’t realize scrambled eggs could take half an hour. Tried to beat the baggage collectors, it was hysterical, but they won in the end. Went to check out and they wouldn’t take Visa because it was under $US30 so had to pay cash.
After the kafuffle at reception, we noticed about 50 zebra bags being unloaded; glad we were leaving before the hordes arrived.
Headed off for Ndutu, on the way we saw Kori Bustards, then a Side-stripped Jackal, Thompson and Grant Gazelle, Banded Mongoose, Hartebeest, warthogs running as per usual, Zebra, Ostrich, lots of herding Masai along the road, Masai Giraffe, Wildebeest, ele’s.
We headed up and away from the lake, excellent views of the surrounding areas from the top.
It was a steep descent back in to the valley, with a sign telling you to Pole Pole, slow down, because of the sharp corners, we saw 2 trucks that had rolled.
Very pretty countryside with Masai villages all around. We noticed a big storm on the horizon and hoped it would make it this far. The area into Ndutu was extremely dry. Aadje and her staff greeted us, wanting to check out who was the problem guest with the Chilli allergy, assuring there wouldn’t be any Chilli whilst we were there. We were given room 15, 1 away from the reception for a change.
Walked in to the dining area to see 70 Belgium’s having lunch, and thought it was time to leave NOW! Luckily they were just there for lunch and heading for Lake Manyara.
Had an excellent lunch, followed by yet another quick bag re sort and a workout in the gift shop, where Lin totally tangled the mans beads, thankfully he was very patient.
On the afternoon drive, the weather had cooled right down and it looked like it would actually rain.
Lake Ndutu is a soda lake that was very very low due to no rain through March, which normally is their wettest month, and very little in previous months.
We saw Masai Giraffe, Secretary Bird, White Bearded Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Plovers, Gazelle, 3 baby Hyenas with Mum 1 suckling, Mongoose, Leopard Faced Vulture, Eland, Eagle, Reedbuck, Buzzards and lovebirds as well. Also saw a couple of lions that according to Francis were Nomads and had been kicked out of the pride, then we saw a lioness that had obviously had babies, but we couldn’t see them anywhere.
Had a very nice dinner and the serval cat came and sat on the roof beams whilst we were having coffee.
This is a very nice place, a real homely type place, could stay here for a while. Our room was comfortable with the bare essentials. Dot had to lift her mattress partially off the bed to try and level it out.
Water was extremely scarce, had very quick soda water showers and the water was strange and you couldn’t dry yourself, you were kind of slippery. We didn’t do any washing because of the shortage of water.

Day 14 (31st March): Ndutu
Fantastic sunrise! Early morning game drive, and we saw Buzzard, Masai Giraffe, Thompson Gazelle, Zebra, Wildebeest, Kori Bustard Bird, pack of Hyena, Secretary bird, Vultures, Hyena chasing Gazelle, Black Backed Jackal hiding behind blade of grass from a Hyena, actually we watched him for a while, whilst he’d crouch down and then quickly look up to see where the jackal was and dive down again. 2 Lionesses and a Lion with very full bellies, another Lion, Eland, White Stork (immigrant from Europe), Elands jumping & kicking as we disturbed them, Hyena’s tucking into a left over kill, Vultures and Marabou Storks waiting for their turn, Side Stripped Jackals, Chestnut Sand Grouse, Albino Zebra, Tawny Eagle, Superb Starling, Warthogs running, Grass Mice, Fisches Lovebirds, Ostrich…no Eles!
Had breakfast out in the bush, out of the car, using the bonnet as a table, Zebras & other animals around us everywhere. Very Nice!
Back at lodge around 11am or so for coffee, lunch and a relaxing afternoon sitting in the lounge writing postcards etc. No one else around, very peaceful.
Thunderstorm finally arrived and it seriously rained. Had late afternoon drive. We saw Giraffe, Guinea Fowl, Zebra, Dik Dik & babies, Gazelle, Lilac Breasted Roller, Impala, Zebras having a nookie, Spotted Thick Knee Bird, Side Stripped Jackals.
By now Lin who was totally besotted with the Zebra, (Biddy that’s the short necked zebra not the long necked brown ones!) started seeing some zebra twice to the point where Francis said he was recognizing some them as well, p l e a s e! Although tragically we did keep seeing one baby zebra that broke our hearts, we’d be driving along and then “oh look at the little baby” and each time it was the same poor little chap with a broken foot, it got to where we started avoiding zebra’s.
It didn’t rain for the whole drive and the tracks became very muddy, we slipped and slid from one side to the other which I loved, the other two didn’t enjoy, and Francis, well it was helping him to build more muscles in his arms. Saw Wildebeest running & playing and doing dressage moves, Kori Bustard bird, Vulture eating a Zebra, Hares.
A very handsome Lion on side of road calling for his family, apparently lioness has 7 cubs seen by others at lunchtime right on the side of the road, but we had no luck in spotting them.
Returned to lodge a bit early because of wet conditions.
At Ndutu we saw the “tail enders” of the migration, there were still thousands of animals around and plenty of babies. Francis did drive us to a river where quite a few wildebeest didn’t make it, didn’t really need to see it.

Day 15 (01st April): Ndutu
Our day trip to the Serengeti was cancelled because we were worried about getting bogged due to the heavy rain, and the road out was the one we were on yesterday, and as we were heading back to the lodge several large trucks were trying to get through with great difficulty.
Aadje joined us for breakfast and was very informative telling us all about Ndutu’s history, also said that we wouldn’t see anything we hadn’t already seen by going in to the Serengeti, so, Lin advised Francis of the change of plans thinking he would cancel our lunch boxes, but NO. We sat around the lounge with Neeta and her husband, who were from Angola and passed a couple of hours easily chatting. We all headed off around 9.30 with lunch boxes, Francis still wanted to go to the Serengeti, but we were too worried about getting stuck out there. And as we intend to return another time, it wasn’t a huge drama for us.
We crossed to the other side of the lake, with the roof open for a little while, but had to close it because we were getting so wet.
We saw Impala, Black backed Jackal, Zebra, Hartebeest, albino Zebra, Laughing Dove, Wildebeest, Gazelle, Giraffe as well as 3 young giraffe, we were convinced the baby two were twins but Francis said they don’t have twins and who were we to question him, White Stork, Dik Dik, Crowned Crane, 2 lions eating a baby Zebra and no it wasn’t “that” one. The lions had just killed a pregnant Zebra, and the easiest way to describe it is they did a “C” section, we thankfully missed seeing it and once again didn’t stick around. Also Thompson Gazelle, Vultures on the ground wings spread out to dry, Black backed Jackal feeding on a wildebeest.
Came across “The Leopard Lady” parked under a tree and wondered what she was looking at. We looked up the tree for leopards and the nearby ground. Francis just said she should not be parked there as it has been raining and those trees fall over. We were convinced she wouldn’t have just been parked there, but he just drove on. Found out later the leopard lady was actually looking at leopards in the damn swamp the only place none of us checked out. Dot mentioned this to Francis the next day, he just denied it and said no she wouldn’t have been … Poor Francis was told the pressure was really on now, and we expected all the animals to be lined up in alphabetical order when we entered the Crater the next day.
We followed 2 other vehicles off the road a little bit to watch the jackal eating, the first vehicle got straight away, the second really struggled and we sat there digging in deeper, Francis got out to look for wood or something to put under the wheels. Nothing happened other than putting us in deeper, he phoned the second vehicle to come back and help us, and he arrived and wisely stayed on the firm road. After a lot of stuffing around and getting nowhere the first vehicle came back again.
After much discussion, he backed his vehicle in so he could tow us out with the shortest piece of wire we’d ever seen, and successfully got bogged worse than us. We suggested we all got of the vehicles but they didn’t want that, we also thought if they put the spare wheels in the holes they had dug for the sticks that they’d be able drive out over the wheels but no. And I guess because it was so wet and still raining they didn’t want us to disappear in to the mud as well. After wasting an hour or more the 2nd driver decided he’d go back and get something to help the 2 vehicles out, thankfully Neeta in his vehicle suggested he took the rest of us back with him. That meant much to the delight of Neeta’s husband, who’d heard of the story of “shoes by Sheldrick” that we’d have to paddle through the mud in our one and onlys, actually he expected we’d take our one and onlys off. We took 2 lunch boxes with us and left the other 2 with Francis.
We got back in time for the others to have their lunch while we ate ours back at our room. They race to the loo’s by everyone was hysterical!
Probably an hour or so after we returned the truck went out again and rescued the 2 bogged ones and they arrived back at the lodge around 3pm. We didn’t think Francis would want to go out again, as he was very wet and dirty, but he did so we headed out around 4pm.
Roads were very wet, slipped and slid, but we stayed on the main road, finally saw the lion family, several lions and possibly 5 cubs, from a distance. Also saw Hildebrand Starling, Zebra, Impala, Dik Dik, and finally some Eles. Giraffe, Kestrel, Gazelle and baby, Leopard Tortoise, that’s now two “sort of leopards” also a family of Giraffe with 2 young chaps, Black backed Jackal, Wildebeest, also a Zebra lying down, very very pregnant, looked like it was about to give birth, although that’s our story and we’re sticking to it.
Repacked our bags for the millionth time!
We loved Ndutu, food was fabulous and the staff great and US$ are the way to go. Mobile phones are a no no! Not that ours worked anyway.
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Old May 8th, 2009, 06:05 AM
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sallysaab,

And here I thought I offended you in regards to use of terms fatties and brolly!

Which lodge/camp in the Ndutu area?

As with the previous reports, enjoyed the most recent especially with mentioning of bishop bird, the chestnut-bellied sandgrouse and a couple others we have not seen. Also, to think we have been on the northern circuit three times seeing numerous leopards but never a leopard tortoise!
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Old May 8th, 2009, 01:15 PM
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Dick, thinking back on it now the darn brolly's were useless, we got very wet, but they were very compact!
It was Ndutu Safari Lodge http://www.ndutu.com/index.html
Numerous leopards, now your being cruel!
Seriuosly though, we got up close and personal with the leopard in Nairobi NP, even got to touch him when he pushed past the fence purring.
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Old May 8th, 2009, 01:19 PM
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“Didn’t realize scrambled eggs could take half an hour” and the lunch boxes no matter what are both funny typical Africa snippets.


“Had a very nice dinner and the serval cat came and sat on the roof beams whilst we were having coffee.” This would be like dining with the Queen to me.

I hope your animals do indeed line up in alphabetical order for you at the crater.
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Old May 8th, 2009, 05:10 PM
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sally, a question about Nairobi NP. Wife and I have tentative plans to visit there on free day we have in Nairobi before flying to Samburu next day. Hindsight being what it is was it worth the time for you? We have been to the giraffe center and the Karen B museum so thought it might be interesting to see np practically in a major city. Or, is it too much like a big zoo?
Thanks
Dick
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Old May 8th, 2009, 11:11 PM
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Dick, I'm probably not the to ask, because we wasted 3/4 hour sitting out the front and we only had about an hour there. We saw some of the Safari Walk at a run, then jogged down to the Orphanage for a quick sprint.
Was it worth it, as in dont miss it, not really.
Hehehe although we did see a leopard!
Maybe someone else would help out here.
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Old May 9th, 2009, 05:45 AM
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Enjoying your report and I thought we were the only ones who didn't see a leopard when we were in Kenya in 2006, but did see 2 leopard tortoises.

Joyce
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Old May 9th, 2009, 06:07 AM
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sally -

“Had a very nice dinner and the serval cat came and sat on the roof beams whilst we were having coffee.”

Reminded me (my '07 visit) of the serval (Paka) that came to sit on my lap during dinner and then followed me back to my cottage, popped into the bed to make himself comfy on the next pillow. Sadly, he left in the middle of the night... first time a guy ever did that with me

Joyce -

I didn't see a leopard till my 4th or 5th safari. And, then this year, had a leopard all to myself in the Mara without another vehicle for miles. Your day will come!
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Old May 9th, 2009, 11:55 AM
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Regarding Nairobi NP, I think there is the orphanage and Safari Walk and then there is the park in general. I've been investigating a morning visit prior to my noon flight this Aug. The walk is an additional charge--I forget how much--from the traditional game drive.

Way back in 1994 I recall doing the walk and seeing the zoo (I am sure both have been upgraded since) and then going on a regular guided drive through the park. The walk/zoo were ok, but I was captivated with the safari. It was my first safari experience and we had close encounters with giraffe, we saw antelope, zebra, monkeys, and my first cheetah.

The view of animals in the foreground and buildings in the background, while not pristine, is certainly unique. I don't recall the game drive feeling zoo-like, but the walk and orphanage definitely felt that way, but that's what I'd expect from an animal orphanage.

Since '94 I think the park has suffered some tough challenges, but I've booked a couple hour game drive (that's all the time I have, what's recommended is a 4-hour excursion) to check it out again.

Rsnyder, you'll probably be gone by then.

Sallysaab, Nice to encounter a leopard!

This link might be of interest.
http://www.blogcatalog.com/blog/nairobi-national-park
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Old May 9th, 2009, 03:05 PM
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Thanks atravelynn for the link. Allowing for seasonal differences(we will be there in Nov)good chance we may add to birds we have seen in East Africa based on April 09 report there. We not necessarily avid birds (with extensive check lists, etc) but certainly adds another dimension to the wildlife variety in East Africa.
Dick
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Old May 9th, 2009, 03:33 PM
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All 3 parts have separate fees. The Safari Walk is $20pp, the Orphanage is $15pp and the park itself is $40pp plus the vehicle fee http://www.kws.go.ke/KWS%20Park%20En...ees%202009.pdf

The former 2 are basically zoo like with caged animals at the orphanage and a more open setting at the Safari Walk (you walk around on elevated platforms). I probably wouldn't go back to either one. I haven't been on a game drive in the park.
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Old May 9th, 2009, 08:55 PM
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Thanks for the above comments everyone.
I'm also getting the feeling I should finish this thread so here is the last of it:

Day 16 (02nd April): Ngorongoro Conservation Area - Sopa Lodge
Had breakfast without Aadje because Virginia was there. She’s an 80-year-old American who stays for a month each year.
Heading for the Crater we saw Dik Dik, Giraffe, Hartebeest, Buffalo, Vulture, Marabou Storks, White Storks, Zebra, Wildebeest, Thompson’s Gazelles, Ostrich, Jackals, Grants Gazelle, Baboon, Masai herding goats and donkeys.
Stopped at the Olduvai Gorge for toilet stop and museum, we found it to be very interesting.
Lin and Biddy loved the toilets, which were starting blocks, yuk!
Bumped into the nice Americans again and spoke to the guy who was a retired Vet about broken legs, they’d unfortunately seen more than we had, we still feel we should have been able to help the baby Zeb. Bought stuff from the stalls in US$ and didn’t get hassled.
Went on to the Sopa Lodge room 9 of 99, a huge room, amazed we didn’t get room 99.
Had lunch on arrival, which was very nice. Used the Internet which was very cheap and very slow.
Had a lazy afternoon washing and repacking the bags, again!

Day 17 (03rd April): Ngorongoro - Sopa Lodge
We left the lodge at 6.30 with breaky boxes and it was long winding road down to the Crater.
Today was Francis’s last chance to find the Big 5, and the pressure was really on!
Not really.
But we did see Eland, Guinea Fowl, Zebra, Buffalo, Pin tailed whydah, black and white bird with very long tail (?), Grants Gazelle, Thompson’s Gazelle, Wildebeest, Vulture, Hyena, Sparrow Larks, Black backed jackal, Warthog, Black and white Stork, Lion, Lioness and cubs, Spa winged geese, hippos, Bat Eared Fox, Elephants, Side stripped Jackal, Black Rhino, Crowned Cranes doing the court ship dance, Ostrich, and a lot of ele bones.
We had breaky at the Hippo Pool Ngoitokitok Springs, and reasonable toilets, actually got out of the vehicle and wandered around, a very pretty place, saw Egyptian Goose, Cuttle Egrets, Long tailed cormorant, African Jacana, Spekes Weaver birds oh and of course hippo’s.
After moving on from the pool, we saw Crowned Cranes, and more ele bones and the remains of a buffalo, 2 very big very full lions, mongoose, lioness, rhino and youngster, lesser flamingoes, greater flamingoes, hyenas by the lake trying to get the flamingoes, Marabou Storks, Kori Bustard, Buzzards, lots of wildebeest with young.
As we climbed out of the crater we saw zebra, that no one recognized, and baboons, disappointed we didn’t see the big 5 but there’s always another day. The scenery in and around the crater was spectacular.
Have never given much thought about “The Big 5” and after much discussion we learnt that it’s actually the most dangerous 5.
Lunch and dinner back at the lodge, the staff sang a few songs and were very good.
Back to the room to repack our bags, again!
The Sopa Lodge was okay, food was good, staff very friendly, room comfortable.

Day 18 (04th April): Ngorongoro - Kilimanjaro Airport - Nairobi. - New Stanley
Whilst at breaky a fellow who we spoke with yesterday said he heard a noise in the middle of the night and looked out the window to be face to face with a buffalo, and we were going to put our washing out there on the grass!
Headed off immediately after breakfast for the long trip back to Kilimanjaro.
We didn’t find the long distances to be a problem other than the roads, and that was more in Kenya, and I remember thinking at one stage that I’d give anything for my internal organs not to battered for a couple of minutes! But there was so much of interest to see along the way, I think driving at least once is essential.
We stopped at a lookout before we headed down to the flats, fabulous view over Lake Manyara.
We went straight to Kilimanjaro Airport, our Safari Link plane was cancelled due to lack of interest or something similar and we were transferred to Air Kenya, who are always late and were!
The plane was supposed to leave at 1.50 but didn’t leave until about 2.45.
Couldn’t by anything at the airport because they wouldn’t take Visa Card, ended buying a packet of chips for lunch.
Arrived at Nairobi Wilson and were shoved around the place because the President was arriving, and he wouldn’t wait for us to leave. As we were about to leave and meet the driver, we were told our luggage had to go back on the trolley and we’d be taken out another exit.
Dot got in a panic because we couldn’t find the driver and was worried we’d miss out on going to Sheldrick’s, but luckily one of the airport staff had gone to find him.
William from Sunworld picked us in a most uncomfortable 4wd, and took us out to Sheldricks where we had to wait an hour before we could see the babies, and to add to the stress we weren’t even on the visitors list.
Had an enjoyable time with the babies, the latest arrival Isiolo had only arrived at 2pm that arvo, and we were lucky enough to meet Dame Daph.
Oh one thing I forgot, the 2nd time at Sheldrick’s I spotted a woman I’d seen on Fodor’s, I’d stolen a photo of her and a baby ele taken I think a couple of years ago, she was pretty involved with the ele’s and a keeper so I just asked if she posted on Fodor’s, she was stunned!
Back to the Stanley Hotel, the traffic was amazing, especially around Central Station, packed solid with people, cars, buses etc really quiet a scary place to be, but a block or two away, the streets were quiet.
We got upgraded to room across from the nightclub again, thump, thump, thump, not staying there again. We watched a naked, or not, man doing a show upstairs, had everyone including the staff watching. Back to the room to repack our bags for the ongoing flight.
Won’t stay at the Stanley Serena again, but only because of the nightclubs.

Day 19 (05th April): Early departure Nairobi - Metcourt Laurel
William picked us at 5am for our ongoing flight. William is Masai, and it was really interesting hearing stories of his childhood etc
It was an easy check in, except we had to fill in “entry forms” for our departure, which really confused everyone.
On arrival in J’burg looked a round the shops and had lunch at the Mugg & Bean before heading over to the transit center for the Big Black Hotel Bus.
Checked in to hotel, and then went to the Casino to find a drink, not Fanta Leely, which was a challenge and not very enjoyable, ended up having to hang off the bar, then thought we’d go and have a go on the pokies, except the damn things wouldn’t take our money no matter where we shoved it.
Went back to the Piazza to have dinner in the Italian Restaurant, the waiter was nice to start with and then became very hard to find, we had to keep asking for the bill even saying we’d go with out it.

Day 20 (06th April): J'burg - De Wildt overnight
Paul picked us up on behalf of Johnny of King Cheetah Tours who was at Durban, and drove us out to De Wildt and straight to the lodge. Had a stunning lunch, really nice lodge, a beautiful old house converted. With a lovely dog called Sebastian. After lunch we were picked up by Anita, a volunteer working for De Wildt as a guide and went on a 3 hour Private Tour. Very informative, Anita was very knowledgeable. After the tour we did some shopping in the gift shop, had our photos taken with Charlotte.
Back to the lodge for a beautiful dinner, after which the staff just went home. We were amazed, as we were told nothing, until I asked what we should do about the doors, the last to bed was to close them. In the morning we came down stairs, all the lights were still on, not sure if the Poms closed the doors or not.

Day 21 (07th April): De Wildt - Elephant Sanctuary - Southern Sun Grayston
An early breaky before we were picked up at 7.45 to go for the Cheetah Run. We saw Sharka, Charlotte and Shakespeare run.
After which Rita decided that Lin should have the opportunity to see Cleo, her Cheetah who was on Lovers Lane. She asked Ann Van Dyk the owner, who agreed, as we’d come so far. Saw 4 12-month cheetahs on our way to Cleo.
We raced back to the lodge as Benny was picking us up at 9.30 to go to the Elephant Sanctuary.
Arrived at 10am and by the time we found our way along the track to the office we were a little late. 3 elephants were brought through in to a sheltered area. Temba a 9-year-old elephant was the one we interacted with. Basel was his keeper.
We all got up close and personal and had elephant kisses, better described as “sucking face”, rubbed his tummy, touched his foot etc etc. I was amazed how warm to touch he was and how soft compared to Sheldrick’s babies, who I guess are sort of stiff from all the mud and oil they cover them with, also Temba’s trunk was very firm as opposed to the babies which were very lolloppy(?), ok, limp!
We then went on a short informative tour whilst waiting for our turn to do the elephant trunk in hand walk, where you actually hold on to the tip of his trunk.
Had a great lunch, 3 courses dirt cheap, Benny came looking for us because we were a little late to go nowhere in particular.
We headed back to J’burg with a bit of a look at Pretoria, went to Jasmyn Farm Stall, which had all sorts of produce in it. They make their own milk, butter, cheeses, yoghurt etc as they have a dairy attached. The fruit etc was dirt cheap, and looked beautiful.
Benny took us up to the Government Buildings with beautiful gardens and market stalls.
And then on to Sandton Grayston Hotel another place we wont go back to. In future we’ll try and stay at The Michelangelo on Sandton Square because of where it’s situated at Nelson Mandela Square.
We had a buffet dinner at the hotel, and shared a small bottle of Moet for Dots 60th. We had wanted to go to a better restaurant in Nelson Mandela Square, but we were told we couldn’t go out safely at night, very disappointed.
We were also very worried about the fridge in the room, as it was unbelievably hot, we asked the staff to turn it off, but they didn’t so we had to pull the cupboard apart. It had all but boiled the milk.


Day 22 -23 (08th - 9th April): J'burg - Sydney - Intercontinental Hotel
We had breakfast at the Hotel and waited for Benny to pick us up at 9.30, we were supposed to go on a tour of J’burg but it didn’t happen. We ended up going to Sandton Shopping Center and Nelson Mandela Square, and then Benny picked us up at 11.30 and very slowly took us to the airport. We didn’t see anything of J’burg. Arrived at the airport at around 1pm for our flight at 6pm. Not at all happy with King Cheetah Tours and quite frankly wouldn’t recommend them. We did contact Johnny the owner who promised to return our money for the Wednesday, we unfortunately paid up front, and when I queried the lack of contact from his satellite office he said he didn’t know we were back in Australia because he couldn’t smell we were home!
Had lunch at Mugg & Bean again and the staff welcomed us back, must have made a lasting impression on our first stop, and then went and got in the check in queue which had opened early. Lin and Biddy found out that they had been upgraded to Premium Economy.
Did some Duty Free Shopping and hung a round for the plane, which didn’t take off on time, because once again some moron checked in their bags and didn’t make the flight, we left about hour late.
It was an uneventful flight, really quite easy, Premium Economy is the way to go. The Business Class people wandering around in their PJ’s was interesting.

SUMMARY

Everything really went without a hitch, and a big thank you to twaffle and atravelynn and others for putting up with me over the 3 years of planning.

None of the lodges we stayed at were busy, except the Crater Sopa had probably around 40 people.

We probably went at the wrong time of year, but I wanted my b’day in Africa and the migration wasn’t a priority as strange as that may seem to some.

Samburu Serena, was great, really loved the area, and will definitely go back.
Sweetwater’s Tented Camp was fine, and I would imagine after the rains it would be stunning.
Lake Nakuru Sarova Lion Hill Lodge and the Lake Manyara Serena Lodge were fine.
Mara Serena Lodge was fine, the Mara unbelievable.
Ndutu was great, loved the area.
Ngorongoro Crater, the Sopa Lodge was fine. The Crater amazing, although we did expect to see a larger volume of animals. And once again is this an area

We took as suggested plenty of US$1, as well as other denominations and Travelers Cheques. We carried the different denominations in our pretty swish, clip lock bag wallets. When working out spending money we didn’t take in to account buying drinks, didn’t give it a thought really.
Even though the lodges gave you water we still bought several big bottles per day, and generally had water with each meal. Also Sunworld provided water in the vehicles. We also took some Collidal Silver with us, it’s a natural antibiotic that has been used for thousands of years, and we’d put a cap full in our bottles of water each day.
We didn’t use any of the copious amount of medical supplies we’d taken.
For the long plane trips we took Frequent Flyer Health Boost tablets and I used Frequent Flyer Nasal Spray, as soon as I get on a plane someone nearby sneezes all over the place, and with out fail I get a cold.
sallysaab is offline  
Old May 10th, 2009, 12:48 AM
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Thanks for the report … now for the serious question. When do you plan to return and where are you going to go?
twaffle is offline  

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