Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page >

The Safari (Kenya) and Gorilla (Uganda) Trip Report from August 2021.

The Safari (Kenya) and Gorilla (Uganda) Trip Report from August 2021.

Old Oct 25th, 2021, 03:18 PM
  #81  
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
so fantastic. Thanks for the in-depth report and fantastic photos! did you feel that the covid testing and re-entering the states was pretty easy? Thinking of going to Kenya in February and mostly concerned about getting back in
bryana2002 is offline  
Old Nov 11th, 2021, 10:07 PM
  #82  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 4,540
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Surfmom, thank you so much. The photos!! The memories!!!
Been away from Fodors for awhile, but this post was worth the wait.
Hoping to return some day to this amazing (in every way) part of the world, I enjoyed living vicariously through your writing and pix, including comments at the end. Yes--the people!!!!
CaliNurse is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2021, 09:24 AM
  #83  
 
Join Date: Nov 2021
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What an amazing adventure, your photos are SO gorgeous ! This is such a dream of a trip, thanks so much for sharing
StefersonAirplane is offline  
Old Nov 15th, 2021, 09:22 AM
  #84  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,386
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
ugh, I've been absent, so will catch up with replies. ◡̈

odie1 We liked seeing the gorillas twice. Our thoughts were if we went that far, it was worth it. However, I think I would have planned an extra day in-between to do some hiking, see the town, see the monkeys, and just get a break. The two days were such different experiences, it was nice to be able to compare and contrast them.

bon_voyage not sure! I think we are going to try Rome and the Amalfi Coast in spring. I have a HS senior who likes history and the college girls aren't so into it, so that is a trip that won't create too much heart-ache! And we've booked the Maldives for Christmas 2022 - a catamaran. We are water people and love the combination of the active and chill time on a private cat.

amyb that is funny about toothbrushes. When we went to the travel dr for malaria prescription before the trip, she recommended throwing in an extra toothbrush and if you have tummy troubles, throw it away!

bryanaaryala It wasn't a big deal to get the covid tests - and our travel agent set it all up for us. The worst part is the unknown of 'what happens if I test positive?' I did feel like that a little bit in the back of my mind at all times. But we knew that going in and decided it was worth it.

CaliNurse thanks for the compliments! I know we've shared many similar experiences! ◡̈

StefersonAirplane Thank you. I love to take pictures. I'm not so good about doing anything with them, so it is a goal this year to get some of them hung on the walls!
surfmom is offline  
Old Nov 22nd, 2021, 05:25 AM
  #85  
 
Join Date: Nov 2021
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You should definitely hang some on your walls, they're gorgeous ! What kind of photo equipment do you use, if that's not indescrete ?
StefersonAirplane is offline  
Old Jan 2nd, 2022, 10:23 AM
  #86  
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What TA or outfitter did you use

Hello. Currently beginning to plan for a safari/grills trek/beach vacation in Africa and love your posts about your recent family trip. I think you may have mentioned GameWatcher (or something close) in one of your posts. Is that who planned your trip?

Thanks!
ameesterline0787 is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2022, 12:22 AM
  #87  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,664
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I Just came across this great report. Wonderful writing and beautiful photos. I was at Porini lion in 2017 and Jeffrey Wu was there then too. My trip in 2019 was very similar to yours, Amboseli and then Porini lion again and then gorilla hike uganda
I am planning a third trip next year, I just canít seem to get enough and I rarely go anywhere twice. We booked the previous two trips and the upcoming one all through gamewatchers. I really loved the service before and during the trip and the camps are great. I canít wait to go again, thanks for getting me all excited
live42day is offline  
Old Apr 19th, 2022, 07:32 PM
  #88  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,386
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
hi guys! sorry, I've been absent.

StefersonAirplane I used a canon 6d mirrorless with a 100-400 lens. On the gorilla hike, I used my 70-200 2.8 lens. The gorilla shooting was very difficult, so I was happy with anything.

ameesterline0787 We used Gamewatchers to book our trip. Absolutely would use them again (and probably will!)

live42day So funny that you also saw Jeffrey Wu. I follow him on IG and get jealous and want to go back! Glad to hear you are going again. It really is a magical place. ◡̈
surfmom is offline  
Old Apr 19th, 2022, 08:15 PM
  #89  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 5,839
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yo SM,
Bravo on a very fine TR with accompanying photo essay! My faves were those leopard shots plus your giraffe. Your trip was obviously a lot of fun for the whole family. Your post @#77 separates your report from the majority of others--superb Q&A summaries wherein everyone had a voice.
Ugandan musical suggestion: the first 2 albums by the late Geoffrey Oryema--'Exile' then especially 'Beat the Border'. They'd make a great soundtrack if ever you were you to arrange this TR into a digital slide show or whatever.

Where to next?
I am done. the end.
zebec is offline  
Old Apr 20th, 2022, 01:57 PM
  #90  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,386
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
zebec thanks for the kind words!

Will have to check out those music suggestions. ◡̈

next? We've just come back from southern Utah - Zion and surroundings. A week of hiking (all), rock climbing and canyoneering (boy and dad), photo shooting (me), and exploring (all). Particularly love Coyote Butte South - didn't see another soul there and it is a wow! figuring out the next one. ◡̈
surfmom is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 12:57 PM
  #91  
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
following
belindahmoglin2624 is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2022, 05:09 PM
  #92  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 5,839
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yo OP SM,
Did you happen to read the article on the Fodors title page about 'what not to do while on safari'?
The '10 tips' there surely would bring some stories to mind, yeah?
I am done. the leopard eyes
zebec is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2022, 10:09 AM
  #93  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,234
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you so much for this wonderful report Surfmom. We are planning a similar trip to Uganda/Kenya in November - at least as long as yours - maybe adding on.... still planning.

Wonderful photos!

Just now about to make our first deposit and considering, as company recommends, travel insurance. We are experienced travelers - long trips to farflung destinations over the years - but have never purchased travel insurance. We will this time because now we're both over 70 (though knock wood in pretty good shape) , COVID, airline chaos, expense of this particular trip, airline chaos etc....... Hence looking for any tips re travel insurance vs that provided by major cards like Chase etc (which we have).
glover is online now  
Old Aug 4th, 2022, 11:15 AM
  #94  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,801
Likes: 0
Received 6 Likes on 1 Post
Originally Posted by glover View Post
Just now about to make our first deposit and considering, as company recommends, travel insurance. We are experienced travelers - long trips to farflung destinations over the years - but have never purchased travel insurance. We will this time because now we're both over 70 (though knock wood in pretty good shape) , COVID, airline chaos, expense of this particular trip, airline chaos etc....... Hence looking for any tips re travel insurance vs that provided by major cards like Chase etc (which we have).
I have never used credit card coverage, so can't speak to that. I usually go to InsureMyTrip.com and compare plans for what I want for coverage. I usually end up with either TravelGuard or Allianz. Also, ask your safari planner if they have a relationship with a particular insurer. Two of mine do and they have a discount for clients that can cut the premium cost down or get you a better plan for less money.

I did have to file a claim with Allianz when my Dad went into hospice a month before my safari and I had to cancel. It was very straightforward and I was paid within 14 days of submitting my claim. The hardest part was getting the physician to fill out the form.
amyb is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2022, 10:02 PM
  #95  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,985
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I just found your report and it was so much fun to read. Great photos!
KTtravel is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2022, 11:40 PM
  #96  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 22,690
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
glover, Seven Corners is worth looking at for over 70, and you can customize to not duplicate what you have on any credit card. For example. they have medical only international that includes COVID coverage.
mlgb is offline  
Old Aug 8th, 2022, 10:45 AM
  #97  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 161
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Realy great report - we are looking at a safari for June of 2023. A couple of questions - what was your packing list? was laundry available at any of the stops? it sounds like the middle of each day is somewhat open after a morning drive and before an afternoon or evening drive?

Thank you!
Iahawk is offline  
Old Aug 8th, 2022, 05:29 PM
  #98  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,386
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
thanks for all for reading and enjoying. It was about a year ago - my kids are seeing photos come up on their memories, so it is fun to remember.

We did purchase travel insurance - we used TravelGuard. We were happy not to have to use it! (although we used it in 2020 and they were terrific).

Iahawk Packing list: keep it simple! We only carry on and that is plenty. There is a weight limit that is strictly enforced when you depart Wilson on the small planes for safari camp. And yes, many places do laundry. I ended up washing socks and underwear at our last location, which was unfortunate, because those were the days of rain and they struggled to dry. I would do a smaller load earlier if I knew I couldn't get it done at camp.

list: for 10 (ish) days: 1 pr. jeans or khakis (to travel in on long flights), 2 pair lightweight safari pants (worn every morning and evening for game drives), 1 or 2 pr shorts (only worn during the day hanging out at camp), lightweight leggings/sweatpants (if I was cold at night for sleeping). 5 or 6 short sleeve shirts, 2 dryfit/lightweight sweatshirts, 1 long sleeved shirt, 1 heavier sweatshirt (worn on long flights since I get cold). socks/underwear. something to sleep in. 3 pair shoes: travel in hiking shoes (stiffer sole, so good for previously broken foot which can act up), sneakers (packed), lightweight flipflops (for wearing around camp), rain coat.

and then way too much camera gear. ◡̈
surfmom is offline  
Old Sep 12th, 2022, 03:04 PM
  #99  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 98
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for writing this trip report, Surfmom! I read it with great interest, as I am considering a very similar, if not exact, trip. Some questions:
You said you where very happy with Gamewatchers. I was wondering how you vetted them, did you get quotes from other companies, and what convinced you to use them?
How did you choose Uganda over Rwanda. (I like the idea of doing a gorilla trek two days, and I suspect that it was just a matter of cost.)
Why did you fly into Nairobi, but out through Entebbe? (EWR is so much easier for me to get to, but JFK is also doable.)
What would you have done differently?
Thanks!


pasqualino is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2022, 05:37 PM
  #100  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,386
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
pasqualino Good luck with travel planning. ◡̈

Back in 2017, when we decided upon Africa, I called 3 highly reviewed travel companies. One sent back a canned itinerary that was very expensive. Another sent a half-baked, "we can do whatever you want". Julie, from Gamewatchers, spent 45 minutes on the phone with me - asking me about our family, our goals, what we wanted to see, etc. She also educated me about why Kenya only and not Kenya/Tanzania like I originally asked for (lose travel time going from one country to another, a second travel visa, etc.). It is overwhelming and she helped us narrow the funnel of what to see based upon our goals.

After she sent a personalized itinerary, I researched Gamewatchers to ensure they were legit and there were many positive reviews. So we took that leap of faith and trusted our gut, and things worked out great.

We chose Uganda because the price of the gorilla permits was significantly cheaper than Rwanda. We booked about 18 months out, so we get our choice of locations. Since we were doing 2 days x 5 people, the cost difference was signficant.

We flew into Nairobi since we started in Kenya and out of Entebbe since we did gorilla trek last. We could have easily flown Entebbe - Nairobi => US, but we were able to make flights work. I do prefer going in and out of EWR than JFK, but we were on a super tight schedule - two kids were heading to college for fall semester within 48 hours, so we were anxious to get home. We found flight times just worked better coming back into JFK. (I was able to get someone to drop us in EWR and pick us up in JFK, so that solved that problem).

What would I have done differently?
- added a day in-between the two gorilla treks in Uganda. maybe see the monkeys. maybe just chill and enjoy the hotel and read and relax. We were tired and sore and would have loved the recovery day in-between. We knew we were pushing it, but kids were anxious to get home, so we booked it that way.
- stayed at Porini Lion for 3 nights instead of 2. We did 2 in Amboselli, 2 at Porini Lion, 2 at Mara Ngenche. Just too much moving. Had we spent 3 days at the middle one, it wouldn't have been quite as rushed. Again, we were trying to shoehorn a lot into our trip.
- Other than that? not much. ◡̈
surfmom is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
piyuyo
Africa & the Middle East
6
May 12th, 2012 09:15 AM
pollydill
Africa & the Middle East
13
Apr 2nd, 2012 07:55 AM
cruisinred
Africa & the Middle East
7
Aug 24th, 2006 11:05 AM
Patty
Africa & the Middle East
32
Mar 7th, 2006 07:12 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -