No clue about Kenya

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Sep 16th, 2004, 04:09 PM
  #1
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No clue about Kenya

My son has decided to spend 6 months in a college program in Kenya in 2005. I plan to visit in March or April, but have absolutely no clue about the country---is it safe, health care,weather, things that are "musts" to see, accommodations. Could you point me in the right direction? I plan to be there 2-3 weeks.

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Sep 17th, 2004, 04:57 AM
  #2
sandi
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I get over to your local library and take out a few books about the country of Kenya. At the same time look for guidebooks which will provide information to places people visit and why. Type of environment, animals, accommodations, etc.

Does your son know where he will be situated - what part of the country? Will you want to stay in tha area only or travel around the country alone or with your son, if he has the time to accommodate you? Do be aware that April is the "long" rains season, sometimes referred to the "green season". Many say this is the best time to visit. And while the wet season, there is never any guarantee it will ran, rain daily, or rain only two or three times during your stay.

Most guidebooks will provide names of tour operators who can arrange an itinerary for you, but it would be best that you arrange something with "in-country" outfitters, who will offer you better prices. It's also possible that whatever organization is running the program your son will be partcipating in, might have solutions/options for family or friends who come over to visit program participants.

I would also suggest, you search on the top of the Africa/Mid.East page for "Kenya" and/or "Kenya and Tanzania" or "East Africa" threads - read thru them, and you'll get an idea of where travelers like to visit and the type of accommodations they choose.

This should at least get you started. Then if you have specific questions, return here for answers.
 
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Sep 17th, 2004, 05:00 AM
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You must be very proud of your son. For you - I suggest a visit to the local library for basic information. Take out a Lonely Planet guide or a Fodors, Do a google.

With the greatest respect - there is so much information available in print, or the net - do some basic reseach first and then come back to us.

And if I see another post about "is it safe" I think I will start throwing plates at the wall.

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Sep 17th, 2004, 05:15 AM
  #4
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alice13 - may I join you at the wall and toss a few plates myself? and I'm sure we can find a few more to participate.
 
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Sep 17th, 2004, 05:19 AM
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Cool it, Alice! Some not so frequent travelers ask where to start and that's what Adam Sparks asked to point him in the right direction. Why won't you read Sandi's post to learn and always try to remember about compassion. Geeeeeeeeeez!
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Sep 17th, 2004, 05:20 AM
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remove my statement about learning from Sandi. Thanks
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Sep 17th, 2004, 06:07 AM
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Some time ago I found the Africa and Middle East forum is visited mostly by those who travel often to Africa, who are addicted to it, who have knowledge or pretend to know all about the continent and are passionate about it. On the other hand I also found they form a kind of clique and if you are not part of it or you are new to this board you are often ignored or made fun of it. In their opinion everyone should have the same knowledge and passion for this fascinating country.
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Sep 17th, 2004, 12:56 PM
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Thank you Mama. The African continent is such an unknown for many of us, and therefore very daunting. I will be visiting my son in Nairobi, but then hope to travel the country by myself. When I see things about "in-country outfitters" and "tour operators" it adds to my confusion---I have always traveled in countries on my own with no tour.
As to the safety issue, I am no coward, and look forward for the chance to see this truly "foreign" country, but recently I heard on television that Naibori was a stronghold for terrorists and so therefore I am concerned for myself, but of course much more for my son.
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Sep 17th, 2004, 03:34 PM
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adamsparks - Nowadays and in the times we live, it seems there are lots of places that are strongholds for terrorists. Terrorists are being picked up all over the world these days. As to the "do not go" warning, the US and, I believe, the UK, lifted the warning about 2-months ago. And even that warning was a bit over-the-top, as most travelers who chose to go found East Africa safer then their home countries. Now the warning is "to be cautious" which holds true regardless where one travels.

My mention of in-country outfitters and tour operators are simply companies within, in this case, Kenya, who can take care of making arrangements for places you wish to travel. Should you wish to visit certain National Parks/Reserves, they can arrange transportation, guides, lodging, hot-air ballooning, etc. If you want to go horseback riding, play tennis or golf, visit the coast or offshore islands, they can arrange transportation and accommodations - at whatever budget you are working with.

No doubt you'll want to spend some time with your son and maybe even enjoy his company, say, on a trip to the Masai Mara for a few days. So while the word "tour" doesn't sound comfortable to your ear, even three or four days doing this is considered a tour. And since it's not as if you can hop a bus to get to the Mara, and then wander around on your own - there are wild animals out there - a vehicle and a guide/driver, and a place to lay your head, is a good idea.

After spending time with your son, and having gone thru some guidebooks and threads on this board, you will likely find areas of interest to visit on your own. In that case, an in-country outfitter will be able to handle all the arrangements for you.

As your ideas come together, don't hesitate returning here for input if necessary.
 
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Sep 17th, 2004, 05:17 PM
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mama - you have a point there about cliques. Me? well if I was overhasty I apologise but when it comes to information regarding climate and "must sees" then I guess because I couldn't imagine not doing a bit of research myself first, I expect everyone else to be the same. Yes, I know, you shouldn't do that (smiley face).

So, OP - to Nairobi - and leaving the question of terrorism out of it - it does have a bad reputation. Sad, as it wasn't always like that, but generally the advice is not to walk around alone at night, and it's wise to follow it. Mind you, that is true of parts of cities the world over.

Kenya? - game parks and beaches. I would try and fit in a safari - Samburu and Mt Kenya perhaps, and up to Lake Turkana. The Masai Mara is the most famous game park and would be first choice for many people. From Nairobi an overnight visit to Lake Naivasha would be good, esp for the view from the top of the escarpment down over the Rift Valley. Safaris can be booked locally after you arrive but it's a while since I did that. Someone with more recent knowledge might be able to quote names and contacts. If you have time for just one more thing I would go to Lamu or take the train down to Mombasa - lovely beaches north and south. I prefer south. You can easily do the coast without taking a tour.

Kenya is lovely. I am sure you will have a great time.

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Sep 18th, 2004, 02:41 PM
  #11
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Thanks for the responses. It gives me an idea which way to go, where to begin etc. What you said about Nairobi verifies what my son is hearing---American students are calling in NiROBYOU---because of the pickpockets. This will be a quick lesson for my son. Personally I can wait to have a chance to learn more about the country.
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