Currently living in Los Angeles, Patty Chang and Mark Geiger sought out small, intimate lodges over the course of their recent 20-day trip to Kenya and Tanzania.
Why Kenya and Tanzania?
A safari in East Africa had long been on my wish list. We made our first trip in January of this year, not knowing at the time how much we would fall in love with the destination. On the plane ride home from our first trip, I was already scheming and planning a return trip, and here we are back again in November In all of my travels, I have never been so compelled to return some place so soon.
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What was your favorite part of the trip?
There were so many memorable moments. Just slowing down and waking up at dawn each morning to watch the sunrise from our tent or cottage while listening to the sounds of birds and wildlife all around. Spotting wildlife on our horseback safari ? elephants, herds of wildebeest and eland, giraffe, zebra. We went in November which is low season and were the only guests at most of the places where we stayed except for friends and family of the owners. We learned so much on this trip and felt that we got a glimpse of life in Kenya which we otherwise wouldn’t have seen!
What surprised you?
The classic image of East Africa is that of endless open plains often seen in National Geographic, but there is so much more diversity. There are incredible variances in landscape, climate, and fauna from one region to another.
What would you do differently if you had to do it all over again?
The first trip was a great learning experience that helped shape the second. We had a much better idea when planning our return trip of what we like and
didn’t like. I knew that for the second trip, I wanted to stay off the beaten path, see contrasting environments, travel during a slower season, stay at
smaller accommodations, and spend some time out of the vehicle. If I were to change anything for this trip, it would have just been to stay a few days longer and spend more time at some of the camps.
What advice do you have for someone going to Kenya or Tanzania?
Book a private safari. The cost is not that much more, if any, than a group safari and you’ll be able to customize every aspect of your trip. It also gives you
more flexibility in terms of your game drives and allows you to determine when to go, where to explore, and how long to stay. East Africa has a reputation for
being crowded. While to some extent this is true, you can easily avoid the crowds by traveling in low season or visiting less well known but equally fascinating areas. And if you?re camping, definitely leave the hairdryer at home!
Busy researching safaris? Pick up some tips from Patty and Mark’s trip report
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