Trip Report--Kenya

Old Aug 27th, 2006, 07:40 PM
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Trip Report--Kenya

We have been home now for one week from the most exciting trip of our life to Kenya. We have traveled all over the world but there is nothing that compares to our trip to Africa.

We took our family of 8. Our 3 children in their 30's and two spouses and one grand-child age 4-1/2. Maybe because we with our family it was so awesome but I think there is something very magical about Africa.

We were thrilled with the company we chose to plan our trip, Africa Adventure Co. They did an awesome job. We had two guides and 2-4-wheel drive land rovers for the full two weeks. Our one guide, Fidel Kyalo, had the Silver Level certificate from Kenya Professional Safari Guide Assn. He is a photographer's dream. our other Guide, Ricard, was very good to us. They picked us up at the airport and we spent two nights in Nairobi. We saw the baby elephant orphanage, the giraffe orphanage, Karen Blixen's home and the Thomas Barnardos House orphanage our only day in Nairobi. It was all extremely interesting.

The next day and three nights we were in the Samburu Reserve. There is just nothing like it in the world to be able to drive up so close to the elephants, giraffes, zebras, leopards, etc. Each day of our trip got better and better. We stayed at the Samburu Serena Lodge which was beautiful.
Then we drove to the Aberdares and stayed at the Aberdare Cntry Club. Our young adults all went horseback riding amongst the zebra and giraffes and had the time of their lives. This resort was the only one on our trip that was a downer. The rooms were very old and worn out. Guess we just noticed because everything else was so great. We septn only one day in the Aberdares and that was enough. Every day on our two week safari we took morning drives and evening drives. We always wore our safari tan which is a good idea.

Next we went to Lake Nakuru and stayed at the Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge. Absolutely beautiful. It was exciting to see all of the flamingos and to see the hippos and rhinorocurs so close. We stayed there 2 nights.

From there we went to the Masai Mara and stayed for four nights in a Group Shared Siringet Mobile Camp. It was a blast. The tents are lovely. But what was so exciting about them was listening during the night to the lions roarding, hippos, and many other wild animals all making their noises. We saw a pride of lions in the Masai, hundreds of giraffe, zebra, many, many lions, cheetahs, leopards, thousands of wildebeasts. By the way, our son-in-law went out with another group for a morning ride because one of our vehicles had to get a tire repaired, and believe it or not, a cheetah jumped up on the hood of their car. He has photos to prove it or we would never have believed him.

I'm probably not doing a good job describing our trip but I will say, being away from TV, newspapers, computers and with your family was such a unique experience. We all totally immersed ourselves into Africa. We didn't miss a beat. We never gave our other life a thought. The people are so kind, warm and caring. The animals are unreal.

If you are questioning going, go. Do pick a good tour company, that makes all of the difference.

We used all American $'s. That worked good. We had all of our tips arranged before hand in envelopes. That saved confusion. $5 per day per person for hotel staff. $40 a day for each guide plus a generous tip o n top of that. We each carried one suitcase only and did use everything we brought. I did not need a windbreaker. A fleece jacket was enough. I didn't need gloves. We were pretty casual. Tan was in.


Our last night in the Masai we had a 70th surprise birthday party for my husband and a 35 for one of our sons. The young Masai men who worked at our camp came out and sang songs and danced for us and then they brought out a birthday cake with candles. We'll never forget it. They set our candlelit table up under the stars by a bonfire. A night to remember.

Thanks for the help of many people during the months of our planning. You gave us a lot of good advice. This is one of the first trips I packed the right clothes.

None of us wanted to go home and talking to my children a week later they are all wishing they were back in Africa. I guess you have all been feeling that way all along. Thanks again for all of the help. Betty
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Old Aug 27th, 2006, 10:47 PM
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Thank you Betty for a very nice trip report. I'm so glad all of you had a great time. And, now is the time to start making reservations to return next year
regards - tom
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Old Aug 28th, 2006, 07:34 AM
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I'm glad you had a great time - it really is special isn't it? If you didn't know, you must have been among the last people to stay at the Aberdare Country Club before they closed for renovation.

Where was your camp in the Masaai Mara? Was that an Africa Adventure Co. camp?
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Old Aug 28th, 2006, 07:44 AM
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"We never gave our other life a thought."

Wonderful, isn't it?

I'm so glad you all had a great time, and I hope another African safari is on the horizon for your family.

Thanks for the short and sweet report. Any pictures you manage to post would be icing on the cake.
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Old Aug 28th, 2006, 08:06 AM
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Welcome back Beth, thanks for a great report.

Isn';t the Lake Naivasha Sopa wonderful? I am glad you got to stay more than one night. I just wish they fixed more of the road leading there

we got the same cheetah jumping on a jeep in the Mara. What a great moment!

$5 per day per person for hotel staff. That is VERY generous indeed.

And isn't it wondeful being out there and forgetting our life back here?
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Old Aug 28th, 2006, 10:01 AM
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Thanks for your report. Any more details about the mobile camp would be great. Location? Which operator set up this camp? Number of tents? Thanks.
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Old Aug 28th, 2006, 10:06 AM
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Asante sana kwa ripoti.
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Old Aug 28th, 2006, 10:12 AM
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I wished we had seen that cheetah! Our guide was telling us about her. Apparently she was sick and cared for by humans and became used to being fed them....so now she jumps on vehicles looking for food from the humans (not the humans as food though
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Old Aug 28th, 2006, 04:49 PM
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I don't know if I can go back to Africa. Our trip was so wonderful would we be disappointed and always be comparing it? For now, my memories are just savoring what we saw and did.

We stayed at the Group Shared Siringet Mobile Camp in the Masai for four nights. It was arranged by the Africa Adventure Co. There were a total of 7 large family sized tents in this hidden location. The guides drove thru the Masai and then drove right into a hugh grouping of trees and there we were!! Africa ADventure Co. said it was in the best part of the Mara. It was on a beautiful spring 6 miles due south of Mara Itrepids, within a stones throw east of the Talek and Mara Rivers. They said this campsite is all about location. It is set up for the season only then torn down. Besides the 7 tents were a cooking tent and then a large bar/dining tent. It was really cozy and awesome. I think I mentioned we could hear all of the wild animals at night roaring. You would swear they were outside of your tents. They were ensuite. We looked in the back of the tent and they had two large canvas water bags. Our helper, Gordon, ran to the river, heated water up and filled the bag for a shower. Then each day he would fill up the second bag with water from the river for the flush toliet. It lasted 4-5 flushes. Primitive but functional. Crazy. You would be standing in your tent shower and he would be on the other side of the tent saying are you ready and then he would pour the water in for your shower.

I only mentioned the dollar amount of tips we gave for information. We found that the most questionaable part of our trip. We filled our envelopes before we left and that worked well.

As for the Cheetah on the hood of the car, Richard our guide told the story that many years ago a mother cheetah was killed leaving several cubs. A man tried to help the cubs thru the time needed. Eventually he tried to help them eat wild food and he would put a kill out for them to eat. Finally, they went and learned how to do their own kill. Richard said this family of cheetahs ever since has felt comfortable around the dark green vehicles and that is the rason for their jumping up on the hood.

Aaron, our son-in-law, who was in the vehicle said they all ducked thinking next it would jump in the 4-wheel drive. Their guide said not to worry they couldn't get thru the bars. They would only lay on top and maybe pee or something worse. Thank goodness that didn't happen.

We have so many photos between 8 of us. I'm asking my husband to post some. They are really cool.

All of our lodging was good except the Aberdare Cnty. Club. I can believe they are closing for renovation. Their rooms were bad and I've also heard the same about the Treetop and the other location.

Our first day out on the road they took us to lunch at the Trout Tree Restaurant. it is a Restaurant built in the top of a tree. It is so cool. You look down on a trout pool and of course that is what you eat, fresh grilled trout. The Columbus monkeys were swinging i the trees.

Oh, I loved this trip.

Thanks again for the help and questions.

Betty
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 08:27 AM
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Here is our fmous cheetah. At one point she did have her tail and part of her rear end sticking into the jeep and I was expecting her to mark her territory.

waynehazleDOTcom/eastafrica/Masai_Mara/roll13/index001.html

And no, Treetops has definitely not been renovated lately. I gotta take every opportunity to slam those guys until they fix the place up
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 09:17 AM
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Great photos. We are sorting thru ours now. They are all so good we hate to throw any out. Betty
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 12:25 PM
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Welcome Home. I am glad to hear that you had such a great trip. Can you please share some information on how your 4 1/2 year old grand-child did on the trip. We will be leaving in 2 1/2 weeks for our trip with our just turned 5 year old twins. They are looking so forward to it, and are constantly talking about all of the animals that they are going to see. Did you grand daughter? have a good time on the game drives? How about the night noises?
Thanks, Heather
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 05:23 PM
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Our granddaughter, Claire, did very well on our trip. Of course, she had the undivided attention of all. But that isn't necwessarily true because everyone was taking so many photos. She would love watching the animals and then she had lots of times she just wanted to sit and play in the land rover. We took the bottom part of her car seat and strapped her in. This helped over many very bumpy roads. Also, believe it or not, the roads rocked her too slip when we were on long drives.
She never fussed or had a problem. We had card games and I, grandma, had a few surprises in my suitcase for her because we really didn't bring toys for her. I brought a Blueberry Muffin as a surprise and it gave her a buddy to talk with.

Her parents laughed with her a lot before the trip about the animals not eating people so she had no fear whatsoever. I told you we tented and the animal sounds were very close to us. It never bothered her. I am so glad we took her. Some folks advised we find her a babysitter and my response was no way. You know how much fun Christmas is with children? That's how our trip was with Claire.

Whoops one problem!! SQUATTING!! That did not fly. She refused and ending up holding it until we got back to camp.

One other problem. She refused to take her Malaria pills. Everynight it was a fight until we finally got her to try one wrapped in a gummy chewey. Once she tried she was happy. Her Mom brought lots of those small packages of gummy treats. One package per pill.

Enjoy. Betty
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 05:50 PM
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Thank you for the tips. I am sure that you got some great pictures of her on Safari, I would love to see them when you post them. I am imagining the wonderful pictures that we are going to take to help all of us remember our trip. I will definitly be bringing the some fruit snacks/gummies that is a great idea.
Thanks, Heather
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Old Dec 11th, 2006, 04:31 PM
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Where was I the end of August? (Wish it was Africa, but no). I missed this the first time around. But saw a comment on another thread so thought I'd search for your report.

Glad you had such a good trip. Another safari would not be disappointing by comparison, I'm sure. But it might be hard to gather a family of 8 again. Your accommodations in the Mara sounded fabulous, complete with your own personal hood ornamnet. A dozen years ago the cheetahs were doing the same tricks because I too saw it--on my first trip. I didn't realize the <font color="green">green</font> vehicle had anything to do with it. I thought the cheetahs were merely gaining a height advantage as they do on a termite mound.

Malaria pills in gummy chews. Brilliant hint for other families.
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