Report and pictures from Kenya

Oct 17th, 2007, 06:31 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 14
Report and pictures from Kenya

We've got so much information about Kenya and safari in general from this forum, so it's only fair to give something in return. I'm not one to write elaborate trip reports so I'll keep it brief not repeating what many other people before me said.

We divided trip in two distinct sections. First part was private safari and second leisure time on south coast (Galu beach). For the first part we contacted Sun Trek Safaris (http://www.suntreksafaris.com/). Peter and Sultana were very helpful and did everything as we asked down to the smallest detail. We visited Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha, Masai Mara and Amboseli. Our driver/guide for first three parks was Lawrence and his 30 years of experience were showing. He's fountain of valuable info with eagle eyes. I can whole hardly recommend both Sun Trek and Lawrence.
Second half of our trip we rented a RAV4 and drove to Amboseli and coast ourselves. We asked at Amboseli Serena lodge to organize our game drives there. They gave us Land Cruiser and Daniel as driver/guide. Either we got lucky or these guys know their job. We got to see what we asked for every time - just like placing an order in restaurant .

All three lodges (Simba Naivasha, Mara Serena and Amboseli Serena) exceeded all our expectations. While we are not demanding (don't care about spas and such) we are picky (like clean room with shower and toilet that work well and plenty of hot water). Absolutely no complaints in any regard. You heard before "they will bent backwards ..." and it's absolutely true. From manager down to parking lot attendant.

On the coast there were only two let downs. Beach is not what we expected. We both prefer beaches were you can swim (and to me that means easy way in and out and depth of at least 2-3 meters). Diani/Galu beaches are not for swimming. Even if you manage to get in past all seaweed, coral and garbage all you can do is crouch because it's very shallow. Or you have to go way, way out. You also have to watch for high/low tide. Luckily villa we rented (http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/Ken...ast/p16315.htm) had private pool and despite me not liking pools it came handy this time. Speaking of villa, while I fully expected to "share" it with roaches and such (unavoidable in tropical places) I didn't expect it to be termite infested. Unless owners do something about it the main pillar that's holding structure of the house is going to be eaten away in next year or so.

Word about driving in Kenya. There are two distinct styles you will have to adopt. In Nairobi and Mombasa you've got to be aggressive. Otherwise you'll never get anywhere. Rush hour(s) traffic is more like complete gridlock. Red light is taken as guideline only and pushing your way through intersection or roundabout is common. It is not unusual that you drive in 4 lanes on 2 lane road.

Road from Naivasha to Nakuru is under construction. Meaning you drive on temporary road and in many places temporary temporary road and even third one (in other words you have vehicles coming from all directions). Given that that road is main artery for goods to be transported from Mombasa to central Africa you can expect hundreds and hundreds of heavy trucks. Dust is everywhere and sometimes visibility is zero. Just day after we passed matatu collided with truck and 8 people died. Iím glad I was in learning mode while Lawrence did driving there. Road in and out of Amboseli (Namanga-Amboseli-Remito Gate-Emali) is so badly corrugated that it may be once in a lifetime chance to experience how would it feel to be on a paint shaker.

GPS combined with map from http://www.tracks4africa.com/ was great to have. Directions to lodges in all parks we've been are clearly marked.

Lastly pictures are at http://members.shaw.ca/KenyaSafari. Flash is required. Many have comments on the left side. One of car rental pictures has link to short video with Amboseli road.
753951 is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 07:27 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
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Hi 753951, enjoyed the pics especially the Cheetahs! and the comments too. Its nice when pics are labled or commented upon. The pic of thedead wildebeasts was amazing. Had they drowned? Many posters here have commented on the crowded conditions, the many vehicles, and the disruptive guests observing the migration. Would you mind commenting on your experience in the mara. Thanks so much. Cc
chacheetah is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 07:54 AM
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Yes they drowned. It's amazing to see them cross Mara River at impossible places (high river bank, crocs all over) when only 20m downstream is shallow crossing that even I would dare to try (OK maybe I wouldn't go that far).

As for Mara it was time of migration peak. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, wildebeest and zebras plus impalas and gazelles. Naturally makes for great hunting grounds for lions, cheetahs and such. I think it's unique place in the world with so many different animals in one place (relatively speaking). It is common to see many lions, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, buffaloes, hippos, crocs, gazelles, impalas, waterbucks, topis, etc. in mare hour or two. In fact, after a while you start ignoring "less interesting" species. I could just sit there and watch cats all day long.

Depending on your driver/guide you can be there first to spot them and enjoy for a while until hordes of other cars come (and they will come). There was a moment when more than 15 cars came together to watch lions feasting. Bigger animals don't mind it that much. Lions will, for example, go where they intend to go no matter what (same with elephants of buffaloes). Cheetahs, on the other hand, will sometimes try to avoid crowd (walk away) but sometimes will use car as means for obtaining better viewing point in looking for pray.

It's amazing, unusual and weird experience - all in one.
753951 is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 08:51 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 57
Thanks for posting your pictures and the report of your adventurous trip. I especially liked the picture labels because I have a shot at Lake Manyara that I've been changing the label on from stork to pelican and back again. I'll make a comparison and see if I should change again. Then again, I might just take the label off--what a concept.
patlanta is offline  
Jan 7th, 2008, 08:44 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 328
Hi 753951:

I have to 2nd your glowing praise of Sun Trek, Sultana and especially
Lawrence, as that was the combo we used in 2002 and it was amazing. I hadn't realized how long ago 2002 was when you mentioned Lawrence's 30 years of experience realized its been 5 years.

Pictures were great, your obviously a much better photographer than me, dumb luck allowed me to get a few good ones - http://travel.masterpiece-cs.com/

Thanks for helping me relive an experience of a lifetime.

Lee
TravelMaster is offline  
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