Trip Report Kenya Aug 2006

Old Sep 19th, 2006, 10:54 PM
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Trip Report Kenya Aug 2006

If I don't get started I never will.... so here goes....Its not as exciting as some of your experiances but nevertheless we had a wonderful family holiday. We will surely return to Africa soon!


Kenya August 2006

I dream of Africa:

Africa, has always been on our travel ‘wish list’, so for this year’s family holiday I started researching and joined Fodor’s and other travel forums in January. The question remained…..where in Africa??? We narrowed down to visiting Kenya as we have friends in Nairobi. I asked for quotes from 13 outfitters in Nairobi. Most were prompt and gave almost a similar itinerary and quote.. We chose AcrossAfrica who used to be a sister concern of the Sarova group but now have been bought over by Liberty Africa Safaris but is still known as AcrossAfrica.(their web site : http://www.acrossafricasafaris.co.ke/ ). Our friends in Nairobi had recommended them. In March 2006 we went ahead and booked our safari to Ark – Aberdare, Shaba (we also did game drives in Samburu and Buffalo Springs), Mt. Kenya Safari Club (we visited the Ol Pajeta Conservancy at an additional cost), Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara. We stayed at the Sarova lodges/tented camp wherever possible. In spite of booking in March our Mara accommodation was waitlisted till a week before we left in August!

With months and months of research (and drooling over other trip reports and photographs) and patiently awaiting our “D” day …..Our day arrived! Of course, before that we had to go through our Yellow fever shots…..it is not mandatory for Kuwait but our 14 year old son, Adim will be visiting Singapore on a school trip in November and S’pore is very strict about vaccinations…. so we all took it as a family….After all its once in 10 years so what the hell! We had packed in our neutral colored clothes, hats and mosquito repellent. My ‘just incase’ medicine chest was equipped with band aids, bandage, crepe bandage (our two boys were traveling with us-so had to be ready ), antiseptic cream, anti vomiting, anti diarrhea, anti histamine, Panadol( paracetamol), calamine lotion, our weekly mossie medicine, loads of wet wipes (used for almost everything)and waterless soap. I actually forgot to pack in anti biotic meds which I realized on the plane to Dubai and I hoped and prayed that we would not need them!

My husband AD, armed with his Fuji Pine Pix S602z pro with Raynox 2.2x tele and 7mm fish eye adaptor. He also used an 80 GB portable storage device to copy data from CFC card without having to connect to a computer. AD had also picked up a bean bag and a spanner. I would use my analog Minolta Dynax 505si, with 10x 200ASA film rolls and Adim would use the Samsung VP-DC 163i video cam. We carried 20 rewritable DVDs. And Aamer (our 9 year old) was the unofficial game spotter, thrilled with his 7x Olympus binocular.

We were flying Kuwait-Dubai on Kuwait Airways and Dubai- Nairobi on Kenya Airways.Unfortunately, our departure day was the day after the Heathrow incident (bomb threat) and we faced one major hurdle. Kuwait Airways was not allowing any hand luggage…..only tickets and passports in hand. Ooops! Our camera equipment, lenses, flash etc etc, Aamer’s PSP, Adim’s video camera and iriver …. AD was extremely troubled. How would we ever fit them into our check in luggage? We had a 7 hour transit in Dubai airport and we were minus a change of clothes. But what really troubled us was the equipment getting damaged. Repacking and reshuffling luggage in 1 hour obviously was not ‘good enough’ packing! All we could do was hope for the best.

We shopped at the Dubai duty free…. gifts for friends, AcrossAfrica travel consultant and our driver/ guide. We had booked a room at the Dubai International Hotel (DIH) just to relax and wash up before our next flight at 2.30 am. We ate at the Irish Village Pub. Great food. We don’t get pork in Kuwait so the family tucked into some very nice juicy pork chops.

Africa – here we come:

Kenya Airways was pretty good (however, we did have an issue on our return leg- more on that later). Our co passengers were a huge group of very colorful Kenyans. They were interesting to watch and our 5 hour journey ‘flew’. I think we were all too excited to sleep….the boys were tired and sleepy but I don’t think they slept a wink. AD was perhaps too worried about the camera equipment and I was a ‘lil worried about the antibiotic meds that I forgot to pack in…. so no sleep!

We reached NBO airport at 6.40 am and got our visas on arrival (we had downloaded the forms and filled it up before we began our journey and kept $50 x 4 ready). This was a great tip in the Fodors forum. We were out in less than 10 mins. To our surprise, we were stopped at the customs for a very unusual thing, a gift tax! No where had I read that there would be a tax on gifts! One lady custom’s officer asked very sweetly if we were carrying anything to declare. We told her about the perfume bottles for friends and gave her an approximate figure of $ 90. She spent almost 3-4 mins calculating on a calculator and then told us that we need to pay $ 60 as tax! I promptly told her to keep the gifts as it made no sense. We carried only what we were allowed (I had checked the inflight magazines) and all this polite exchange was done with a smile…. she actually let us off!!! 

We stayed with friends in Nairobi and got our first glimpse of wildlife on the way from the airport. We saw one lone giraffe and got so excited. Spent 2 days with friends and they introduced us to the way of African life. People in Kenya are so friendly and warm…. At the supermarkets, on the roads, the security guards….. All ready with a smile and a Jumbo!

Oh yes…. The camera arrived safe n sound!

Stepping into another world:

Our vehicle (a mini van with a pop up hood) picked us from our friend’s res. Our driver/guide Rueben was going to be with us for the next 9 days. Our AcrossAfrica representative had come over to give us the initial brief. He had patiently answered all my queries for the past many months and appreciated his little gift.

Day 1-Our first stop on the way to the Aberdare Country Club was at a curio shop. We used it as a toilet stop…. . got our first taste of Kenyan artifacts and handicraft and some very polite hard selling. We weren’t ready for any shopping as yet! The drive was rather enjoyable…broke the ice with Rueben and traveled up North passing near Thika which boasts of the world’s third largest pineapple plantation. Aberdare Club is approx. 170 Km or 3 hrs from Nairobi. Aberdare Country Club is a lovely place, well maintained with well manicured garden… with some great lunch. Sat out with beer amidst peacocks, peahens and wild boars…… We would need to store our main luggage at the Club locker carrying with us only small overnighters.. The Club transport took us to the Ark which was a 45 minute drive.

Ark is a uniquely shaped lodge for about 120 guests tucked away in the Aberdares National Park forest .There is a large watering hole besides the lodge where animals come to drink. We got to see an elephant, several buffaloes, giant forest hog, our very first leopard, hyena and a genet. It did get very cold and they provided with hot water bags which was greatly appreciated. Dinner and the next day’s breakfast were very good. The long tables had to be shared and we shared ours with an American family .Our meal times turned out to be fun and interesting. There were tourists from Spain and Italy and they were in big groups. The rooms are very small but one needs it only to sleep. I found the rooms rather shabby. The central place or the glass covered viewing area was quite full. A lovely fire burning, making it warm and cozy….the atmosphere was quite like a ski resort. However, the whole place did have a very ‘restricted’ feel to it. It was fine for a night’s experience but not to be repeated again.

Day 2-3haba : We set off from Ark after breakfast. Met up with Rueben at the Country Club and proceeded up North to Shaba Sarova which was approx 4-5 hour drive.. We crossed the Equator and the dusty outpost called Isiolo. We stopped at the equator for photographs and some souvenir shopping. We saw the water demonstration and the boys had fun with one foot on the northern hemisphere and the other in the southern. We even got a certificate for crossing the Equator. Very touristy but some things entertain 9 year olds. I know, I was told not to shop at the Equator but I decided that if I liked something I would just pick it up saving myself a ‘self butt kick’ later. I sweetly bargained and whatever price they quoted (I insisted in getting the price in KES) I brought it down to one third. I then converted it to the currency that I am comfortable with (currently it is KWD) and if I found it reasonable I bought it. My son picked up 6 medium sized dismountable spears for his friends at 200 KES each. We did pick a few other stuff….which amounted to 3000 KES. Our guide, Rueben thought we got a good deal. So the Equator stop was fun for the kids and we continued our journey. The roads were very good in some places, terrible in others, some places the off road was better than the tar roads…. But I guess its part of the African adventure. I wanted the boys to experience ‘roughin’ it out at the cost of breaking our back. Actually, it wasn’t as bad as our desert driving in the Wahiba Sands of Oman. There, you get literally completely rattled, swinging from one side to the other.


On reaching Sarova Shaba, we were assigned our rooms and our table for the rest of the stay. This property is absolutely fantastic. The rooms were large and we were given two adjoining rooms. Sarova Shaba lies on the banks of the crocodile infested Ewaso Nyiro River and in the heart of the Shaba Reserve. We could see crocodiles from our rooms and was often visited by the vervet faced monkeys. They are so adorable.
After lunch (a fabulous spread) we set off on our afternoon game drive.The animals seem to be less in the Shaba region than in Samburu but it is pretty and picturesque. The northern parks are dry and dusty. and shrubby unlike the savannah grasslands in the Mara.. We saw the dik dik. They are so tiny and cute and they reminded us of our Chihuahua back home. We saw a lovely sight of several gerenuk( antelopes who stand on their hind legs) stand and eat in a line …it did remind me of a line of men standing and peeing! Sorry about that, guys! The reticulated giraffes are really good looking with very distinctive patterns. They are much better looking than the Maasai giraffes. The Grant’s gazelles and the Thompson’s gazelle which had a swishy black tail. And loads of zebras and elephants. The zebras were dusty( ‘coz of the soil) and seemed brownish in color and I felt like running a hose on them. Rueben was in contact with the other drivers on the radio and he must have heard of a lioness with cubs but did not mention anything to us. He suddenly swerved the vehicle about 10 ft into the off-track and stopped suddenly in front of a bush. There was our first lioness! It was so close that initially we could not see it. We were looking for something at a distance. Both AD and I had our telephoto lens on and had no time to change the lens as Rueben explained that he was off the track and might get fined. But we did get to see the mother and her cub who was hiding behind another bush. Back in the lodge, the kids relished their hot chocolate and we enjoyed our drinks, dinner, crocodile feeding and a Samburu dance show. What a great day!


whizforty is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2006, 08:50 AM
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sounds like you had a great time! thanks for posting, enjoying your report!
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Old Sep 20th, 2006, 02:39 PM
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Thanks for posting this. Looking forward to more!
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Old Sep 20th, 2006, 05:20 PM
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I'm enjoying your report also. Look forward to more.
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Old Sep 20th, 2006, 06:38 PM
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Glad you didn't hose down the zebras. Your report is very amusing - I love that you include details like that.
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Old Sep 21st, 2006, 12:56 AM
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trip report Kenya cont.

Samburu: After breakfast we set off for our second game drive. After a good night’s rest we were all charged up and highly enthusiastic. We saw plenty of game in Samburu including a lioness with cubs. We saw an entire family of several generations of baboons’ .By then zebras, giraffes, gazelles became a common sight. It almost seemed like our cows and cattle on the Indian roads. We were hoping to see a lion, leopard or a cheetah but returned for lunch without seeing any. Needless to say , we were a wee bit disappointed.

Buffulo Springs: After lunch, we drove to Buffulo Springs, yet another reserve in the Samburu region. There was nothing much to see except for lots of gorgeous looking buffalos. Once again, Rueben seemed to be concentrating on his radio and seemed to be rushing. We did not question him as we knew he had something up his sleeve. Suddenly we saw ourselves entering the Samburu Reserve. These parks are obviously connected. He brought us to a leopard sleeping on a rock…. It was his siesta time. Waited for a while but the leopard was in deep slumber so we moved on to see a couple of cheetahs at a distance. And then moved on to see the most royal and majestic lion…… He was gorgeous. He was huge… sitting and looking around….obliging all for some lovely pics.
We returned to the lodge very very satisfied and extremely glad.

That evening, we had a drink with Rueben. His knowledge about wildlife and fauna is tremendous. The Sarova Shaba staff gave us a lovely farewell. The dining room staff came with a cake and sang a farewell song. The service was excellent and the staff extremely helpful. The gift shop is quite reasonable and we picked up a few fridge magnets that we did not see anywhere else!


The colonial era:

Day 4 -Mt. Kenya Safari Club: After a hearty breakfast and farewell to some excellent hospitality, we left Shaba and went south through Isiolo, crossing the northernmost foothills of Mount Kenya, Africa’s second highest mountain. The drive was about 3 hours with some photo and leg stretching stops. We were in time for lunch. We were given a suite with two large bedrooms and a living room and two beautiful decks. It’s a great place to chill and supposed to have been a playground to the rich and famous of the yesteryears-and understandably so, with its lush, landscaped gardens, golf course, swimming pool and of course the breathtaking views of the snow capped mountain. It’s like the clubs that we have in Calcutta, West Bengal, India all left behind by the British but definitely better maintained. After lunch, the kids went off for a round of golf (clubs on hire and balls to be purchased) and croquet. In spite of its magnificent surroundings there was something lacking….. It was impersonal and the service was slow. Perhaps after the personalized attention at Shaba the contrast in hospitality was rather alarming. Our rooms were quite a distance from the main reception and we would need the club shuttle to ferry us.

We took an optional tour to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy by paying $ 40 per head to Rueben after he made a few calls to the head office in Nairobi. If the club arranges then it would be $ 80 per head. We saw the chimpanzees and visited Morani the tame black Rhino. AD and the boys thought it to be waste of time (and money)….. its no fun in petting a Rhino…they would prefer to see them in the wild. We’ve done petting of tigers and having a python around the neck in Thailand but its no fun after what you see in the wild. The adrenal rush and the excitement of spotting an animal is something else!

The rooms (with an active fire place) were warm……it had got quite cold by evening. We had to get into semi casual clothes for dinner. No jeans and trainers. Mount Kenya Safari Club was once again fine for the sake of experience but I wouldn’t repeat it.


More to come......
whizforty is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2006, 05:56 AM
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cont...

Shimmering Pink:

Leaving the plush surroundings of the Mt. Kenya Safari Club behind, we headed west to Nyahururu,still known as Thomson’s falls for its 237 cascade. We stopped here for photographs and shopping. We met a couple who were dressed in their traditional attire. Paid them a 100 Ksh for the boys to stand with them for photos.
We picked up a few more gifts and as Rueben mentioned that we helped in the economy of Kenya… and almost under his breath he added “in spite of your bargaining skills”.

Day 5-Sarova Lion Hill Lodge: After a 3.5 hour drive we arrived in time for lunch. We were assigned the Ziwa Suite which had two bedrooms and living room. The suite was fantastic overlooking the pink shimmering lake. We had uninterrupted view of the flamingoes right from our suite patio. Once again the food and service was excellent. We went out on our game drive that afternoon. We were glad we included Lake Nakuru as it had a different landscape. We got a fantastic view of the lake from the baboon hill .We got to see several Rhino. At sundown, the lodge put up a dance with African music around a born fire along with drinks served right there. A very good show indeed. We should have stayed on another night only to recharge even though one night was enough there.. I think this ‘on the move’ was taking its toll.
However, after a well rested night, we were ready for the MARA!


whizforty is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2006, 05:15 PM
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Your descriptions of the dik dik and the gerenuk were wonderful.

So you visited Samburu, Shaba, and Buffalo Springs? It appeared you found Samburu to have the most wildlife, is that an accurate reading on my part?

Your account of seeing a sleeping leopard, then some cheetah, and finally on to a "majestic" lion is one productive outing!

Looking forward to the Mara.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2006, 08:36 AM
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I am very interested in the Ziwa Suite in Sarova Lion Hill Lodge. Three of us will be traveling to Kenya next August and we have booked two rooms in the Lion Hill Lodge. I would much prefer to have a two room suite, do you know if there is a big price difference? Thanks.

We will also be in Masai Mara for 5 days, looking forward to your report for the Mara.

Pat
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Old Sep 23rd, 2006, 10:51 PM
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The best for the last:


After an early breakfast we leave the flamingo fringed Lake Nakuru behind, we drove almost 6 hours to Narok, the district headquarters of this part of Maasailand. The drive was tiring. And we did take a couple of breaks.


Day 6-7-8 arova Mara Camp: We arrived in time for lunch. We were given the brand new superior tented suite. These tents are large ….large enough to fit in a double bed and 2 single beds , a writing table, two little couches and lovely a deck outside ….. it even came with a complimentary bottle of wine. These are Sarova’s latest upgrades. We were the first to occupy that particular tent and the smell of freshly polished wood was still in the air which was not very nice. Unfortunately, we had to walk quite a bit to reach the reception or the restaurant. As our 9 year old, came to the conclusion that to reach anything superior or luxurious, we would need to work for…real hard. All said and done…. after a tiring day even a daypack and the camera bag seems to be a heavy burden! The Sarova restaurant seemed to be a little too cramped. Or it was completely full up and it seemed awfully congested. The Children were taught archery by a Maasai. Our 14 year old sneaked into the business center and used the internet…. So much so for living in the wild.!!!! He even managed a chat on the MSN with my sister in law in New Delhi. She had never ever dreamt of chatting live with Maasai mara.


After lunch, we were off on our game drive .The Maasai Mara offers wonderful scenery and an abundance of big game. Its vast rolling plains, open savannah, hills and woodland groves are pleasing to the eye. The acacia trees and the African skies with the setting sun is something to die for. That afternoon, we saw three cheetahs stalking some wildebeest at a distance. We waited for quite a while hoping to see a kill but the cheetahs gave up. We saw millions of wildebeests migrating .We also saw vast herds of buffalo, zebra, Impala, gazelle, giraffe roam the plains just lazily graze. We missed a leopard kill by a few minutes… we saw the elusive and the clever him up on a tree with his supper and he remained there till the next evening. We managed to see an extremely good looking lion.He was majestic. A few meters away was a lioness lovingly watching her three teenaged cubs play close by. As the word got around and other vehicles started coming she seemed to get a little hassled and started walking away. The cubs were oblivious to the crowd and continued playing….. ran to their mother who was walking away with a disgusted look. They walked up to our vehicle and went past us to play ….that was the highlight of the day. We spent at least 30 mins there just watching and recording on the cam. We returned to the camp very satisfied. It was hot chocolate and dinner and then a long trudge back to our tent. We were surely knocked out.


The next day, as pre planned and pre arranged, we took the Sarova vehicle (a brand new modified land cruiser) and their best guide, David for a full day safari. After breakfast, we set off with a picnic basket for lunch. Two other ladies from the UK joined us on this trip. Within 3 minutes of driving away from the camp we came face to face with a family of 3 enjoying a poor ol’ zebra. The Mom and Dad seemed to have their fill and were letting the cub enjoy the rest. So another kill missed! However,a great way to begin the day. We were driving towards the Mara river to see the crocs and on the way we saw a lioness with a few cubs resting under a tree. The cubs, on their mother’s nudging trotted off to a nearby ravine. I think the mother sensed some danger…… fortunately we were the only vehicle there. The lioness decided to get up and walk past us check on her babies. Then she roared as if calling out to them and walked on. Still no sign of the cubs…. She stopped and looked once at us and then gave another roar…..and continued walking. This carried on for a few minutes….till the cubs joined her. It was amazing….so maternal!


We saw three magnificent, beautiful, graceful cheetahs at real close quarters. They were relaxing under a tree. We did spend a lot of time with them as we were the only ones there. We got their undivided attention. Gave us lots of photo opportunities……. Almost posing for a shot.


At the Mara river we saw hippos and a few crocs but nothing very exciting except for the fact that our ‘hippo guide’ armed with his automatic did mention that he had to use his gun once on a hippo who came charging out on to a tourist! I am still not certain if he was pulling my leg!!!!


We had a picnic lunch along with some good ‘ol Tusker malt under an acacia tree that afternoon. David kept a watchful eye for any unexpected guest. We returned to Mara Sarova at 3 PM after a long day. We had a date with Rueben thereafter for a visit to the Maasai village.


As we stopped at one of the Maasai manyatta , the chief’s son approached us and asked for $20 per head. He did come down to Ksh 3500 thereafter. The whole experience was a little overwhelming. We did find it rather commercialized and very touristy. I would tend to compare it with the tribal villages that I have been to, back in India where they live in extreme poverty .I have worked with several such tribal children and their community. Some of the Maasai’s are educated and they understand the business aspect of the world. Somehow, I felt that the rural innocence is lost which is still very apparent in the tribal villages that I have visited in India.


We returned rather ‘bushed’ from a full day out . However, after a good night’s rest we were refreshed the next morning for an early morning game drive. We managed to see a lioness devour a wilderbeest .. Once again, we were the only ones there and closely watched her enjoy her meal…..after some time when the second vehicle arrived, she stood up, picked the wildie and dragged it to hiding place behind a bush. She seemed a little tired or injured. She would stop several times to take a breather. It was a sight to see.


We got back to the camp at about 10 AM for a garden breakfast party hosted by the Camp Manager. That was fun.

I dream of Africa (once again):


The roads to Nairobi are from terrible to awful. After Narok it got better. Our stay in Nairobi with friends was great. We ate at Carnivore. We had camel, ostrich, crocodile, beef, pork and chicken. We also ate at Osteria( superb) and at Moon flower( superb again). Checked out the Maasai market on a Friday. Adim (who is heavily into coin collecting) managed to pick up some old coins at a good bargain.


The issue with Kenya Airways was that they almost off loaded us in spite of reconfirming our tickets 4 days prior to our departure. We had to wait till they got their seating plans in order. It was rather annoying and the airport was quite warm. We saw several other passengers offloaded and they complained that they had been doing that for every flight during this peak season….. A little disorganized, perhaps.


Thankfully, my ‘just incase’ medicine chest returned to Kuwait unopened.


We loved Kenya and would love to go back. I realize that I did make a few mistakes in planning esp. being in one place for less than 3 nights. From now on it’s going to be a minimum 3 day stop over. We did miss out on a few places and a kill that we so badly wanted to see….and would like to do the coast as well. The African travel bug has bitten us all.…….. And we should be planning out our next visit soon….. Till then I dream of Africa.
whizforty is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2006, 06:57 AM
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Hope your sweet dreams soon turn into reality and another trip.

It appears you had a great time in the Mara. Three cheetah at one time is spectacular.

Did you write that your guide had a gun with him on the game drive? Or did I misread that?

Just a comment on your hope to see a kill. You can do many safaris and not see one. On the one hand, that can be your "excuse" to return, but on the other it could set you up for disappointment if seeing that is a high priority.

Your son will have lots to tell his classmates about his summer vacation.
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Old Sep 25th, 2006, 08:21 AM
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Atravelynn, we had to take another guide at thr Mara river... who had guns. These guides walk with you spotting hippos and tell you about the hippos. Yes, not seeing the 'kill' is definetly a reason to return to Africa.....I guess we are just looking for an excuse. The boys sure have some wonderful stories to tell and so do the parents. I am just waiting for people to start the topic and there I go rattling off about Kenya. Unfortunately, most are really not interested..

Pat, the Ziwa suite at Lake Nakuru lion Hill was wonderful. Its a great place to 'chill'. I am not sure of the price diff but can check with our agents.
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Old Sep 25th, 2006, 09:21 AM
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Whizforty,
The “hippo guide” must have been a ranger.
Thanks for your trip report. It sounds like you have to return to Kenya as soon as possible - and I’m not surprised at all. I’m looking forward to your pictures.
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Old Sep 25th, 2006, 02:12 PM
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whizforty:
Thanks for the report--it sounds as if you had a great family vacation.
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Old Sep 25th, 2006, 03:21 PM
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Thanks for sharing your report. It sounds like you and your family had a great time!


Jenn
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Old Sep 26th, 2006, 10:24 AM
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Thanks Whizforty, I asked Serah at ESS (my booking agent) about the Ziwa Suites, she said the Ziwa suite is much more expensive than two rooms, with a difference of about US$350 for the night. But when I checked the Lion Hill webite, the standard double is $280 per room per night and the two bedroom Ziwa Suite is $540/night. It appears that the Ziwa two bedroom suite is a little cheapter than two rooms.

I would appreciate it if you can check with your agent, there are 3 in our party and we will be there next August. Thanks.

Pat
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Old Sep 26th, 2006, 10:44 AM
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Great report! I thought it was very exciting, although of course you didn't mistakenly end up in Burundi.

I can't wait to see photos.
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Old Sep 27th, 2006, 06:09 AM
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I have upgraded my two rooms at the Lion Hill Lodge to the two-bedroom Ziwa Suite. The cost of the Ziwa sute is $146 more. Here is the reply from Serah, my booking agent with ESS.

"we conduct business based on confidental contract rates agreed between us and the various hotel chains and our standard room rate is much lower than you you have seen on Sarova's website. Therefore, this upgrade to Ziwa will work out to US$146 for you."

Thanks for your trip report, Witzforty, I would never have known of the Ziwa Suites.

Pat

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Old Sep 28th, 2006, 01:10 AM
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Pat, I'm glad that my trip report could help in some way. This is an amazing forum..... really.....!

The photographs should be on soon.

Whizforty
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