My 1st African Adventure/June 2011

Old Jul 10th, 2011, 05:07 PM
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My 1st African Adventure/June 2011

My 1st African Adventure/June

3 nts – Nairobi – Macushla House
2 nts – Samburu – Samburu Game Lodge
3 nts – Masai Mara – Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp (classic)
1 nt – Arusha – African Tulip Hotel
1 nt - Lake Manyara – Serena Lodge
2 nts – Ngorongoro Crater - Sopa Lodge
3 nts – Serengeti – Kirawira – Tented Camp
3 nts – Zanzibar – Mchanga Beach Resort
3 nts – Stonetown – Beyt al Chai Hotel
1 nt – Nairobi -Macushla House
1 nt - Nairobi – Giraffe Manor

I am a single female in her late 50’s from Vancouver, BC who did a lot of travelling in my younger days but not so much in the last 15 years. Needless to say I was really ready for a big splash out so when my company gave me an extra vacation week for my 25th year of service it seemed the right time for a major trip. Africa was always the carrot waiting for me at retirement but then realizing by waiting till then that I wasn’t going to be any younger, any healthier or have more money, it made sense to go for it now.

My 1st post on Fodors was August 2010 asking if I was altogether crazy for thinking of travelling to Africa on my own and I received such amazing responses from other single females that if I was crazy then so were they!! And so the planning began, complete with sleepless nights from the sheer excitement of it all.

Scoured thru Fodor’s The Complete African Safari Planner for ideas and found the guidance from this forum selfless and immeasurable so heartfelt thanks to everyone here!

My new friend and African adviser Lynda_S was always there at the end of the phone line to answer all my sometimes silly questions and soothe any panic that may have surfaced, not to mention offer the loan of binocs, flashlight, inflatable pillow and other safari “must haves”, all for the price of a few bags of gummy bears!!

I will try gearing this report to others who are researching their 1st safari in hopes of paying it forward a bit and will apologize now for its length.

Packing

Putting together the appropriate safari wardrobe presented a bit of challenge not only with the in country flight baggage restriction of 15 kgs but also because nothing in my closet remotely even came close to the earth tones suggested due to everything being in bright jewel tones worn with lots & lots of black. I must admit to rebelling at first, refusing to add the cost of a new safari wardrobe in beige no less (gasp!) and one that most likely wouldn’t ever be worn again, to the already skyrocketing price of the trip. But as time went on I knew that if going on safari I also wanted to look the part and besides I’ve never been one to turn down an excuse to go shopping! Settled on 4 outfits in various shades of olive green with a little purple thrown in cause 23 days in one colour would have been too much!

“Know your wardrobe” was the big lesson here. Make sure you’ve worn & washed everything before you go as my capris/pants all had 5% lycra in them, were bought loose for comfort and within an hour of wearing had stretched to a point where for the 1st time in my life I was thankful for big hips to hold them up!!!! Plus when laundered, and all the places I visited did, including smalls, the clothes were dried in the sun & didn’t have the heat from a dryer to provide any shrinkage.

Best thing I took was a light scarf as the mornings & evenings were cool and when not being worn it was great for covering my camera. The scarf also jazzed up the outfits for evening. Took a light fleece and wore it every day, even slept in it at the crater. Flip flops, walking sandals & covered shoes were included but I pretty much wore the flip flops everywhere. Really could have left the covered shoes at home and saved myself a kg or 2 in weight since my bag did weigh in at around 17kg at Wilsons but they kindly overlooked that. (phew!)

With friends in London I hadn’t seen in 25 years I chose to fly British Airways in World Traveler Plus where for a whole bunch more money you get more leg room, a seat that’s 2 inches wider and a newspaper. Was it worth it? Well yes the leg room was great but the arm rests are solid & can’t be raised and they house the remote control which pretty much took up that extra 2 inches so I’m not entirely convinced it was worth the extra money. And that's an awfully expensive newspaper. Next time I would look at Vancouver to London flight deals and then deals from London to Nairobi rather than booking all the way thru with one carrier.

Both Kenya and Tanzania visas were purchased at arrival in each country with no hassle whatsoever.

Anti-malarial drug was malarone with no side effects other than slightly more vivid dreams than normal, altho those could also have been due to all those lions roaring during the night.

Any cash carried was kept on me at all times in 2 separate little pouches that I attached to a loop inside my handbag and kept at the bottom of the zippered Baggalini handbag.

http://www.ebags.com/product/baggall...ductid=1111629

For one who seldom leaves home without make up on, a little mascara applied, sometimes with just a flashlight or in very dim lighting, became the norm as anything more in such a natural environment, well just seemed wrong!

Shampoo was provided everywhere but not conditioner or a facecloth so the old thin one I took really came in handy.

Ziplock bags of various sizes were used to store most things which really helped in easily finding items altho with a duffle bag it sometimes felt like the old "needle in a haystack" search which invariably ended in removing everything from the bag and starting over. argh!

Next - Kenya along with some photos by a non photographer (be easy on me please)
KathBC is offline  
Old Jul 10th, 2011, 05:13 PM
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Great start, KathBC; welcome home! I'm looking forward to hearing all about your adventure.
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Old Jul 10th, 2011, 05:14 PM
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Hey where'd my Kenya/Tanzania go???
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Old Jul 10th, 2011, 05:22 PM
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Dunno... did you post a link? You can't post the actual photos on Fodors.
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Old Jul 10th, 2011, 05:52 PM
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Welcome home

enjoying your packing clothes adventure so far !!
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Old Jul 10th, 2011, 06:18 PM
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Great start and can't wait for more!
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Old Jul 10th, 2011, 06:23 PM
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Thanks Sharon! You provided some really helpful advice & I thank you for that!

The Kenya/Tanzania I was referring to is the tag. Coulda sworn it was there earlier!!

Thanks Percy, yes my next 2 chapters will be on hair styles best suited for a semi arid region and the pros & cons of not wearing nail polish! Better stay tuned!!
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Old Jul 10th, 2011, 10:48 PM
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Aahh... got it! I wonder if you can edit that, being the original poster (OP).
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Old Jul 11th, 2011, 05:06 AM
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Great start!
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Old Jul 11th, 2011, 05:12 AM
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... no nail polish, that could be considered blasmphemy for me! Can't wait to hear the cons. And, of course the safari segments.
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Old Jul 11th, 2011, 02:37 PM
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LOL sandi!!Yeah I found it tough with my toe nails bare for a month but then found it just as odd when they got coloured again!

Hope to have the next chapter up in the next day or so.
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Old Jul 11th, 2011, 02:45 PM
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... been there also!
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Old Jul 11th, 2011, 06:34 PM
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Welcome back! Laughing about your gratitude for "big hips." Looking forward to reading more.
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Old Jul 11th, 2011, 06:49 PM
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Welcome back. I'm sure you have many tales.
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Old Jul 11th, 2011, 07:25 PM
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Nairobi

https://picasaweb.google.com/1115480...eat=directlink

Sandi @ Africa Serendipity arranged the Kenyan portion and was a dream to work with. [email protected] Her replies were always prompt & very thorough and I really felt she understood what I was looking for and always offered options I hadn't thought of. Much like she does on this forum! The final package mailed out to me was chock full of information & resources.

Macushla House in the Nairobi suburb of Karen is an ideal spot especially for a solo traveler not only for its charm, lovely home cooked meals and personal service but there was always someone interesting to have dinner and exchange the day’s events with. And if you wanted just to be on your own, for a 6 room B&B there were plenty of places to do just that without having to be in your room. There was definitely a sense of homeyness here.

The elephant mud bath at the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage was the best way to start an adventure. I mean who can resist baby eles slip sliding around in mud the colour of milk chocolate? They were way toooo hilarious! We came back later in the day to feed & tuck in my fostered baby Sities who simply made my heart melt even tho she wasn’t so keen on getting her photo taken. What a fabulous place this is!

Riding the streets of Nairobi with Kennedy [email protected] whos expert driving skills kept us safe amidst the craziness that is Nairobi traffic and the heavily armed security we had to go thru just to go for lunch, was much appreciated and a huge thrill all at the same time. Keep in mind we Canadians only see AK47s in movies.

The 2 full days in Nairobi gave me a chance to rest up before the “Main Event” with a visit to the Karen Blixen Museum which if you’ve seen the movie you simply can’t miss but in the end will probably find a bit of a letdown since most of the things inside the house are props from the movie. The day we came by there were 2 different events with large tents on the lawns which the farmhouse seemed to get lost in. Still how can you not go, just don’t expect too much.

Other visits included Kazuri Beads & Utamaduni with a nice lunch at the Verandah Restaurant next door. Being a consummate shopper I had a pretty good idea of what I was looking for as souvenirs & gifts so was able to get a lot of my shopping done 1st thing and have it kept for me at Macushla until my return after safari. Of course that doesn’t mean there was no shopping done along the way!

One evening around 6:15 as Kennedy & I were driving back to Macushla we happened to go by the Giraffe Centre just as the giraffes were about to be taken across the road to the main park. Altho it was getting dark already we stopped for some photos, the keepers were there and gave us some pellets to feed them . It was glorious cuddling with a giraffe head on either side of mine, that is until one licked Kennedy on the top of his head and practically made him fall into the ditch along the road!! Ahhh only in Afreekah I tell ya!
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Old Jul 12th, 2011, 04:24 AM
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This is great...keep it coming. Glorious cuddling with a giraffe: what's not to like?
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Old Jul 12th, 2011, 04:48 AM
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Waiting for more!
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Old Jul 12th, 2011, 01:20 PM
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Loving your report & waiting for lots more! The type of info you are giving is fabulous, it will help many people.

As always, love your humor, you especially had me laughing on the AK47, you are so right - only in movies here! But I did see one once on a guard in London's Heathrow (in 1994). Can't prove it though as Jamie dragged me way very quickly when he saw I was going to take a picture

As you know, I have looked through all of your pictures and would like to tell everyone they are AMAZING - to me they have really captured the essense of Africa.
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Old Jul 12th, 2011, 01:55 PM
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Great first day!
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Old Jul 12th, 2011, 02:21 PM
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I am following and enjoying !!
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