need your help with my kenya adventure

Old Aug 4th, 2010, 05:26 PM
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need your help with my kenya adventure

Will be on a surgical mission for 6 days in Kisomu, Kenya. Leaving from either Philadelphia or JFK not sure yet. Surgery on children- burns, cleft lip, palate etc... It is my first time going to Africa. I was told to get yellow fever vac and the malaria work up. Any other suggestions for me would be appreciated.

After the mission I want to go on a safari and need other ideas. The mission is from Oct 2-9 the I am on my own, female, 54 in excellent health and shape. I cycle an average 120 miles a week. so please, names, places and must do's. Not sure if I will ever be there again!

I have used this site with great success and I look forward to your advise and ideas. I plan to return on Oct 21.

Thank you so much....Max
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Old Aug 4th, 2010, 05:59 PM
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I don't think it's <i>strictly</i> required to have the yellow fever vac. for Kenya if you're coming from the U.S. I have had the YF innoc and lost my card. Last trip I made sure to get a replacement because I was also going to/coming from Rwanda. Unless you have health reasons not to get it (ask your doctor or a travel clinic), I'd get it just to have one less thing to worry about. Same with malaria prophylaxis.

In terms of what to do in Kenya, where and when, I'm afraid I haven't much advice other than to say definitely include the Masai Mara! This is the savannah "Africa" of your dreams. I recently stayed solo at Kicheche Bush Camp and had a fantastic time.

Your budget and interests will also determine the shape your trip takes. Do you want to fly or drive between parks/wilderness areas? Do you want to do some climbing or walking? Do you think you'd want to see the coast? Etc.

Whatever you do, I am sure you will fall in love with Kenya.
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Old Aug 5th, 2010, 02:47 AM
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Well as they always say, prevention is better than cure, yellow fever vaccine can be debatable but i would argue that Malaria one is a must especially that you are going to lake side town of Kisumu.

Kenya has got lots of breath taking sceneries, and i always find it beautiful everytime i have been out there. Places to visit depends with your budget and time you have. I reckon if you are going to Kisumu you are better off visiting the Maasai Mara and other national parks in the Rift valley rather than going all the way to the coast where all you are going to see is the Indian Ocean and the White Beach sand.

They way the do safaris there is quite good since they usually put 6 people on one tourist van to go on safari meaning that you are never alone even though you booked alone.
Hope that helps, if you have other questions feel free to ask

Johnny
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Old Aug 5th, 2010, 04:48 AM
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Yellow Fever is not required for entry -- and there hasn't been a recorded case since 1997...so risk is very low!! That said, Kenya is still on WHO's list of countries with risk of YF transmission, so if you travel to another country in the next few months, THAT country may want to see proof of the YF vaccination IF they notice you've been in Kenya. Usually it's only an issue if you're going directly to another country (Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa, etc.) There is no problem getting back into the US.

IF you plan more travel to YF risk countries (sub-Saharan Africa or jungle area in South America) the YF vaccine isn't a bad investment, as it lasts 10 years. However, IF you are over 60, and haven't ever had YF vaccine before, then you should NOT get it; the extremely low YF risk in Kenya is NOT worth the added age-related vaccine risks.
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Old Aug 5th, 2010, 04:55 AM
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Thank you this is a good beginning...can you supply me with reputable safari companies to look into in that region or near. It does not have to be high end but since I am somewhat clueless to rates I would like it to be comfortable. I was told Maasai Mara is the place to go. I have 11 days after the mission to plan and explore this amazing side of the world. I am open to all suggestions. Thank you. Max
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Old Aug 5th, 2010, 06:43 AM
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Generally, coming from a Western country - US, Western Europe, Canada, Australia - YF would not be needed if you were only doing safari on the traditional routes.

However, for those who are volunteering (NGOs, Peace Corp, Doctors without Borders, etc.) working with local communities... it is strongly recommended to have the inocs - Tetanus, HepA/B, Yellow Fever, Polio Booster. Most of these are good to have even if you never leave home (Tetanus, HepA) which diseases can be contracted anywhere. Also, Tetanus and HepA, along with YF are good for 10/yrs; Polio for the rest of your life.

In fact, the "mission" should provide you with all the information needed as regards inocs and certainly malaria meds.

Discuss with your personal physican or a specialist in Tropical Diseases as it relates to your own health history and the nature of your visit.

Returning to Nairobi you can commence your safari, whether driving, flying or a combination of drive/fly. Unless you wish to join a group which often have set departure dates, set places (parks/reserves) at which you stop, # of days at each, and accommodations they choose... the alternative is a private/independent safari that you design yourself. The latter is what most choose to do. But do remember the dreaded single supplement.

Depending of type of accommodations you choose, you have to expect to spend $350-$450/day which will include: daily room/tent, meals, park fees, vehicle/guide, taxes. If you take some flights, these can average $150-$250 per segment. Extras will be your: Visa, inocs/malaria meds, trip insurance (medical/evacuation), Flying Doctors, gratuities (for guides/staff), alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, souvenirs.

Suggested driving safari (after arriving back at NBO and taking a day to catch your breath :
Day 1 - Sightseeing in NBO: Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Center, Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage; drive to Mt. Kenya for stay at "salt-lick" hotel - o/n
Day 2 - Drive to Samburu, elephants and unique species as: recitulated giraffe, Grevy's zebra, gerenuk antelope, Beisa oryx, Somali ostrich, wide dogs... or course, predators; afternoon game drive - o/n
Day 3 - Samburu; morning/afternoon game drives - o/n
Day 4 - Drive to Nanyuki/Ol Pejeta Private Conservation; Goodall Chimp sanctuary; night game drive can be done - o/n Sweetwater's
Day 5 - Drive to Lake Nakuru; afternoon game drive - o/n
Day 6 - Drive to Lk. Naivasha; boat ride to Crescent Island for walking safari - o/n
Day 7 - Drive to Masai Mara; afternoon game drive - o/n
Days 8 & 9 - Masai Mara; morning/afternoon game drives daily - o/n
Day 10 - Drive (or fly) to Nairobi; dayroom till transfer to airport for homebound.

It's a place from where to start. Feel free to return to this thread and tell us of your progress.
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Old Aug 5th, 2010, 08:44 AM
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Maxine, Your mission sounds wonderful - congrats.

For a safari outfitter, I highly recommend Gamewatchers, located in Nairobi. They offer an authentic safari experience and a way to support the local communities at the same time.

www.porini.com

We just did a 9-day Gamewatchers safari and the attention to detail was flawless. They also worked with us to keep costs down. Gamewatchers operates the eco-friendly Porini camps in private conservancies owned by local Masai tribes, including two in the Mara area.

The small tented camps are in gorgeous settings - not "fancy," but extremely comfortable with exceptional guiding and interesting fellow guests. In addition to game drives, they offer incredible walking safaris, village and school visits, night drives, etc.

We chose to stay in two of the Porini camps (Amboseli Porini and Porini Lion), but Gamewatchers can get you good rates and provide accommodations and transfers to non-Porini camps as well.
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Old Aug 5th, 2010, 02:38 PM
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Max,
I'm curious about your mission. Is it affiliated with Smile Train? My sister in law lives in Nairobi and is big supporter of Smile Train. Do not know if you will have time in Nairobi but she may want to meet you as it sounds like you are involved in a cause that is very close to her heart. She is a 57 year old female.
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Old Aug 5th, 2010, 05:07 PM
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I am so grateful, this info is fabulous!!!! I will look into all of this and make some plans. I thank you and please do not hesitate to come back if you think of something else I just must do or see.

Sandi- thank you for taking the time and suggesting a day by day...

Crosscheck- do you feel that spending 9 days with Gamewatchers covered it ALL? You did not wish you had done anything different? Just wondering how to do this as I am a solo female and just want to be a wise one.

Joeyi..I am an OR nurse who became addicted to surgical missions after my first one to Bangkok. It was with Healing The Children, just like the Smile Train...just a diffreent organization. Not as well known or as big but I was hooked. I experienced a feeling of satisfaction and love after seeing parents looking for the first time at their children without their 'deformity' that I knew I wanted to do this forever! The group made exceptions and we did procedures on young adults...life changing! Last summer I went to China and this time it will be to Kenya. I actually specialize in neuro but it seems the calling all over the world is geered toward plastic surgery. Give your sister in law my email [email protected] maybe we can talk, you never know.....
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Old Aug 5th, 2010, 05:22 PM
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Just to throw in a plug for Eastern and Southern Safaris & Kicheche. I used ESS for part of my recent trip. Patty and kimburu, posters from this board, have both used them a few times. In fact I traveled with Patty and her husband Mark to Tsavo in Kenya this June and had an unforgettably great time. Patty and Mark have traveled with joeyi and her husband in the past. I booked the Kicheche Bush Camp portion myself. Kicheche Bush is on the same conservancy as Porini Lion, where crosscheck stayed. I believe we both really liked the conservancy.

http://www.kicheche.com/

Here's my tent--it was way nicer than a simple gal like I needed though I certainly enjoyed it:
http://www.pbase.com/leelygoes/image/126335201

Don't worry about solo travel in Kenya other than the usual common sense things.
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Old Aug 5th, 2010, 07:53 PM
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Thank you Leely for the photos! I will actually be celebrating My 55 birthday on this trip and I am thrilled to be able to check off that number one item on my bucket list... Africa!
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Old Aug 5th, 2010, 09:03 PM
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Max, Our parameters were different from yours because we were on a family safari and needed 2 nights/1 day in Nairobi to recover from the long trip. We also wanted to include an all-day hike in Amboseli and spend 4 full days in the Mara because of the migration. I'm certain that Gamewatchers would put together a fantastic trip for you as well, and would probably include at least one more destination.

To answer your question, I wouldn't have changed anything about our trip...it was the perfect first safari and we were thrilled with Gamewatchers' service and philosophy.

Having said that, I would also trust advice from Leely, and others on this board with extensive safari experience. It might be a good idea to contact several outfitters and compare their offers.
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Old Aug 6th, 2010, 11:08 AM
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Hi Max,

What a terrific way to visit Africa for the first time! You will have an incredible experience getting to know people in Kenya and really helping out in a very meaningful way. So cool! (And, an awesome way to celebrate your birthday, too.)

I want to add my own two cents and also recommend Eastern & Southern Safaris (which Leely mentioned above). They planned a fantastic 10-day visit to Kenya for us in 2007 (if you click on my name and look for my Kenya/Tanzania trip report, you can read about it in exhausting detail). My itinerary was very similar to the one Sandi recommended, which is pretty typical for a first-timer and an excellent way of seeing the diversity of landscapes and wildlife in Kenya.

Be warned, though, that "Africa" is not an easy thing to check off your list... We thought we were going on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and then ended up going to Uganda & Rwanda the next year, and doing a volunteer project in South Africa the year after that, and now we're planning a trip to SA, Botswana and Zambia for 2011!
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Old Aug 6th, 2010, 12:17 PM
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Hi MyDogKyle,

Uh Oh! It sounds like I will be in love with Africa like the rest of the people that have been so generous with their comments to me!

The Eastern & Southern outfit gets the most votes and has many repeat customers. It seems like the way to go for me.

I look forward to reading your trip report!

Thank you for your reply. Everything helps me. Max
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