Kenya Trip Report - 7 camps in 18 days

Feb 6th, 2011, 10:25 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 130
Kenya Trip Report - 7 camps in 18 days

After a LIFETIME of dreaming of Kenya, I've just completed 18 days of a 6 week tour of Kenya.

These are the places I went...

Kigio Wildlife Camp - Really sweet guide - Stephen - Saw TONS of wildlife - everything BUT lions, elephants, leopards and rhinos. Massive amounts of wildlife - private fenced in conservancy. Can do walking safaris. BEAUTIFUL rooms - really nice. I had 5 HUGE windows of a watering hole. A hippo path ran right past the back of my room - you can't imagine the THUNDER of a baby hippo bounding down that path at night and racing across big rocks to jump into the pool. Super sweet staff. REALLY nice for a first place because it's only 45 min drive to Lake Nakuru. I had a driver, guide, and spotter - all to myself and LOVED it.

Hotel Intercontinental - 1 night to wait for a flight - I REALLY didn't like this hotel. Food was LOUSY. There were three things wrong with my room - BIG THINGS. The lock on the door wasn't working. The ac didn't work right. I couldn't turn off the light in the bathroom and it lit up the bedroom all night because of stained glass windows from the bathroom into the bedroom. And it took FOREVER to get anything fixed - had to call three times for each thing. REALLY annoying and I would NEVER stay there again. And this was even with a $200 upgrade to the executive floor. Puhleeze.

Finch Hatton’s Camp - LOVELY. Really fabulous atmosphere. Super sweet staff and especially fabulous manager, Jonathan - what a gentleman. Great food. Great guide - Thomas. The room itself was nice but not my favorite because I couldn't get a king-sized bed. The bathroom shower was super dark. But WOW - the dining room and bar astmosphere was SUPER- fabulous - really exactly what you'd hope it would look like . Really nice.

Tortilis Camp - GREAT guide - Joseph - silver-level guide who truly LOVES animals and knows EVERYTHING about them. Seriously one of the most amazing spotters ever. Nice Italian managers. Serve ONLY Italian food - which I TOTALLY don't understand - that's like going to China and eating ONLY Mexican food. Seriously - what's with that? You have to walk WAYYYYY up a tall hill to get from your room to the dining room - and departure point for game drives. Saw 240 elephants from the airstrip to the camp. WOW! So spectacular. Tons of game. Tons. Hippos. Cheetah. Saw no lions. But for elephants - I can imagine no equal. Sensationally beautiful room AND dining room/bar area. Really nice. Exactly what you WISH it would look like. BIG PLUS - huge organic garden with some of the most delicious organic veggies and fruits - EVER. If ONLY they didn't serve only Italian food.

Elephant Bedroom - SUPER high quality game viewing. And immensely sweet staff and the Manager is one of the nicest men on earth - Gitonga. But it's having a pretty serious drought. I would DEFINITELY want to return when the river is full. Saw tons of baboons. Saw my first leopard there - in top of a tree as if it had landed like a bird. Then discovered a lion waiting under it for a leopard snack. My Samburu guide - Anthony - and Masai guide- Gary - were FANTASTIC. I seriously almost cried having to say goodbye to them and Gitonga.

Sirikoi Camp - EXTREME high quality EVERYTHING here- from the AMAZING room with a HUGE roll-top tub and tons of custom woodwork and AMPLE shelving and TONS of wildlife just right outside my room - rhinos, warthogs, gazelles, ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. Sue and Willie Roberts - some of the coolest people on the planet. They have lived in Kenya forever and know absolutely everyone. THE MOST beautiful fruit, vegetable, and herb garden I've EVER seen, EVER. I was DYING to get my hands on that garden produce to create something luscious in their kitchen, Man do I miss my kitchen. Really nice food. They have the MOST lovely outdoor dining area with a HUGE handmade table, a campfire, looking out over a large watering hole right on the edge of the 66,000 Lewa Conservancy - a haven for 100 rhinos. At every meal we could see elephants, rhinos, zebra, waterbuck, warthogs, and more. They have pet hornbills and a pet cheetah. WOW! One of the TOP 3 massage therapists EVER - Imminza - Mable. And without a doubt the MOST wonderful guide and spotter team ever. Met some really interesting people there. I would recommend this to EVERYONE for the ultimate safari camp.

Richard’s Camp - Sue and Willie's son, Richard's camp. Genuine tented bush camp. Nice big tents. Wonderful food. Awesome atmosphere - tea by the fireside each morning. Awesome game drives on the Mara. The star of the show is Richard - WHAT an interesting sweet man. He's had camps for 20 years. He really understands what people want. You feel as if you're visiting in his home. The staff is SOOO sweet and accommodating. Remember the tub from Out of Africa - Barkley Cole's tub? Richard built an AWESOME outdoor bathroom with the tub center stage under the stars. AMAZING atmosphere. Be sure to get Richard to take you on a flight over the Mara in his GORGEOUS airplane built in 1954 - one of the TOP 5 experiences of my trip. Saw TONS of lions. Saw a group of about 300 zebras at our bush breakfast.

Little Governors Camp - rather white-bread safari camp - just way too tame for me. Really nice watering hole with constantly changing wildlife -especially birds. Have to take a boat across the river to get to every game drive. This is ONLY for seriously fit folks. VERY beautiful atmosphere at bar and dining areas. Pretty good food but not great. Very accommodating staff. Took and AMAZING balloon ride - with great bush breakfast. I REALLY don't like group game drives with birding fanatics - just really not my favorite thing in the world. And I CAN"T stand it when guides/drivers stop at everything they see - I'd rather just stop when I want to. They have three game drives a day and no night drives. This was probably my least-favorite camp. Wasn't wild about my room either because it was the ONLY room of the whole trip where I had continuous mosquitos and strange little black flies. And twin beds - ugh... But a GREAT masseuse.

Norfolk Hotel - waiting for a flight. Really pretty nice hotel. not THRILLED about the room layout. But the food is GREAT. One of the BEST chicken pot pies I've ever tasted. Pretty reasonable rates. Easy check in. PROMPT room service- 25 mins max.

So those are my observations. I hope they help someone have as GREAT a safari experience as mine.

And WOW - I want to give HUGE kudos to the BEST tour operator EVER - Vintage Africa who took TREMENDOUSLY GREAT care of me from A-Z. I will NEVER travel with ANYONE else to Africa. I couldn't have asked for more. Bharat, Sammie, and Peter - you are MY HEROS. Thank you sincerely for the WORLD'S GREATEST first safari experience ever - TEN TIMES better than I could have ever dreamed of.
mariacallas2 is offline  
Feb 6th, 2011, 11:26 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 690
Hey mariacallas2, good to hear from you! Sounds like you really did have a fantastic time, but then has anyone ever reported having a horrible safari!??!!

Are we to expect a Part Deux for the remaining weeks and perhaps some photos?
KathBC is online now  
Feb 7th, 2011, 04:44 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 161
Sounds like a great trip! We really liked Finch-Hattons - very colonial, but the tents over-looking the hippos was awesome. And the pool was really welcome the day we arrived.

Good to hear about Kigio - I'm looking at it for our next trip. We're you in the lodge or tents? Any tips about which room or tent has the best view?

Was three nights a good amount at Elephant Bedroom?

I agree with your opinion of the Intercontinental, too. Not my cup 'o tea.

Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip!
Local2542 is offline  
Feb 8th, 2011, 08:47 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 290
Great report, and so to the point. Thanks
roadwarriorafrica is offline  
Feb 27th, 2011, 11:37 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 37
Thanks for this report - good, to-the-point thoughts on these locations. We'll be visiting Little Governor's this summer and wanted to better understand the comment about having to be seriously fit. How far is the walk from the river to the camp (is it more than 10 minutes)?

Thanks!
PT123 is offline  

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