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Unread 19 May 19, 04:40 PM  
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#1
skalexander
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Join Date: Mar 09
Location: Isle of Man
Kenyan Safari (work in progress)

So my Dad and I are going to Kenya next week on a Safari trip, and I thought Id do a little trippie, as I struggled to find reliable advice on some things outside the Dibb, so it might help someone in the future.

But we havent been yet, so just going to introduce us and set out our plans...

Me: Im Kate, 32, safari first timer and lifelong lover of giraffes.
Mike: my Dad, 67, has wanted to Safari for a long time but my Mum wont go.

Were doing a trip with African Horizons, booked with Newmarket Holidays through Travel Counsellors. Were flying into Nairobi then weve got 1 night at the famous Treetops, 2 nights in Samburu National Reserve, 1 night in Lake Nakuru National Park, 2 nights in the Masai Mara Reserve and 1 night in Nairobi.

In addition to game drives, weve got a stop at a Thompsons Falls, a visit to a Maasai village (not sure how I feel about treating someones village like a museum but hey ho) and a visit to the giraffe sanctuary in Nairobi.

Weve had to have some jabs - Hepatitis A, Polio/Diptheria/Tetanus 3-in-1, Typhoid and Yellow Fever. Im going to go back after 6-12 months and get the Hepatitis A top up which will give 20 years of protection, as theres other places I want to go which require it. Weve also got anti-malarials.

We each paid 62 at Boots for Yellow Fever, 64 at the GP for the other jabs and a private prescription for the anti-malarials then 30 at the pharmacy for the tablets. Weve got generic Malarone which Ive since discovered is available without a prescription, which would have been cheaper.

We also had to apply for visas for Kenya, at US$51 each. We applied online and they were accepted within a few days. I believe you can apply when you get there but I wanted our ducks in a row before we leave.

Thats it for now, the last job really is to figure out what to pack - I always overpack so trying to be conservative.

Bye for now
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Unread 19 May 19, 04:43 PM  
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Gryff
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Looking forward to reading along
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Unread 23 May 19, 05:18 PM  
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smithlane
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Sounds like a fantastic trip and one Id love to do in the future. Looking forward to reading all about it
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Unread 7 Jun 19, 06:48 PM  
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skalexander
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Join Date: Mar 09
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Day 1 - Travel Day and Treetops

Day 1 - Travel Day and Treetops

Our flight was 6.25pm from Heathrow, so we had a long day until it was time to go.

I've been in Edinburgh for the Marathon weekend, so I flew down to London instead of heading home, and stayed overnight with a friend. When she headed to work, I went and did some shopping. My Dad flew to Gatwick and transferred to Heathrow, and we met at Heathrow at about 2pm.

Check in opened 4 hours before departure, and there was a big queue when we went over, but it moved quite quickly. We had tried to check in online but only chargeable seats had been available, so I'd aborted but we were allocated the seats I'd clicked anyway (before I realised they were chargeable) but no charge. We had 16G and 17G - aisle seats one behind the other.

Security was uneventful and we went to the Prince of Wales pub for a late lunch/early tea. The food was pretty good. After we finished we had about an hour to kill before boarding. When we got on board, I found a woman sat in my seat and the window seat empty. I politely told her she was in my seat, and her and the woman next to her got up and were trying to usher me into the window seat, telling me that was my seat. I stood my ground, pointed at the picture above the seat which clearly showed G was the aisle, and they moved. I was still quite stiff from the Edinburgh half marathon and I was suffering with my feet, so I really wanted to be able to get up and move around without disturbing anyone, especially as it was a night flight.

The flight was full but uneventful. I brought a butty with me so didn't have the food but Dad said it was okay. I was really quite uncomfortable which got worse as time went on, but I'll give the plane the benefit of the doubt, given I was sore to start with.

We arrived early and proceeded to immigration. We had been approved for e-visas but needed the visas adding to our passport. There was no signage whatsoever and no one to ask so we joined the visa queue, but it turned out to be wrong, we should have been in the "other passport" queue. The officer we saw wasn't overly friendly, but we were allowed in and went on our way.

Nairobi airport is only for travellers - you can't meet passengers at arrivals or accompany them into departures. Fortunately, our guide was stood outside with a prominent Newmarket Holidays sign, and after a few mins waiting for others we proceeded to the vans.

There were 21 travellers and we were split between 4 vans. Dad and I were with 4 others - we stayed with them throughout the trip, and we were paired with Rashid who would be our driver and guide throughout the trip. The other ladies were a bit disappointed the vehicles weren't open sided, but actually the vans were better as you can slide the windows to get a better look or take pictures, and when we did game drives the roof lifted up so we could get a better look and there was also room to move around to get a better view.

We set off and it quickly became apparent that Nairobi traffic is horrendous. Made LA rush hour look like mild congestion, and Rashid said you have to be a bit crazy to drive there. We drove for awhile, not sure how long as I fell asleep, and stopped at a fruit market to have a snack. I've never been a mango fan, but if we got mangos like they had there, I'd eat them all day long.

We drove for another while, again fell asleep, and stopped to use the bathrooms which were though the back of a souvenir shop. This seemed to be the case a lot, and I can only assume the company pay the shop as I'm not sure many people made purchases, and certainly at this first one no one did as it was the first day and we were all weary. The facilities weren't what we're used to but they were clean enough, even if they were well worn and the flush didn't work properly (ongoing theme).

We arrived at about 10.45am at the Outspan Hotel where we were having lunch. There was grumbling as lunch wouldn't be ready until 12, but we had a walk around the (beautiful) gardens and then went and sat by the pool to read, and some others joined us. Lunch was served promptly. As a fussy vegetarian, I did worry I might hate the food and I packed loads of snacks as an insurance, but they mostly came back home with me as the food was great from start to finish. Lunch today was lentil curry and rice, which was yummy and then I had fruit for pudding. There were cakes, chocolate or coconut, but I didn't partake.



After lunch it was 16km to Treetops in Aberdare National Park, and we were there at about 2pm. We were allocated rooms and invited to a short walking tour at 5pm. I think most of us took this time to crash for a couple of hours! The walking tour was short but interesting and I then spent a couple of hours in the lounge overlooking the main waterhole, reading and taking piccies until it was time for tea. This was the only place where we all ordered from a menu rather than it being a buffet. I ordered vegetable stew and Dad had beef steak - no complaints from either of us.





After tea there were some elephants at the watering hole so we spent some time watching and photographing them before going to our room. We both tried out the shower, and even after running the water (they reuse it, not sure how) it was cold. Dad went first, and halfway through my shower the hot came through, thank goodness!



There were buzzers in the room, which you can turn on or off, and if left on they will sound if animals come to the watering hole - there are different numbers of buzzes for different animals. As we were about to drop off, the buzzer sounded and we saw a black rhino, which was pretty incredible as they're very shy and elusive. After admiring him/her we passed out!
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Unread 7 Jun 19, 07:20 PM  
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MichelleS
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Its a fabulous experience,we went last year
Did you get to the David Sheldrick elephant orphanage?
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Unread 7 Jun 19, 09:23 PM  
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skalexander
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Originally Posted by MichelleS View Post
Its a fabulous experience,we went last year
Did you get to the David Sheldrick elephant orphanage?
No we didnt, but we did the Giraffe Centre on the last day. Treetops was actually my least favourite of the places we went. I enjoyed it but the trip just got better and better as it went on.
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Unread 9 Jun 19, 08:07 AM  
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skalexander
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Day 2 - Treetops to Samburu

Day 2 - Treetops to Samburu

We were up early and had breakfast, which was continental style with lots of choice - cereal, fruit, pastries, toast and cooked breakfast. We left around 7.30am for the drive north to Samburu National Park, around 200km away.

Time passed easily in the van as we all chatted amongst ourselves and Rashid gave us commentary on the places we were driving past and answered our questions. We stopped for a toilet break and leg stretch at a shopping centre in Nanyuki, and we all had to be searched before going into the centre, a sign of the times I expect.

It hadn't been overly warm at Treetops but the heat was noticeable as we got closer to Samburu. We arrived at the gate to Samburu at 11.40am and we did a bit of a game drive on our way to the hotel. Samburu is home to some animals which we wouldn't see anywhere else, including the grevy's zebra, reticulated giraffe, baisa oryx, somali ostrich and gerenuk antelope - these are known as the Samburu Special Five. A couple of pics from the drive in:-



We arrived at Samburu Game Lodge in time for lunch, which was buffet style and the food was lovely. The rooms were set out in the style of little chalets, and I think of the places we stayed the rooms here were my favourite. The shower was questionable, more of a trickle than anything, but we managed even with my big bushy mane needing washing. After we'd settled in, as it was very hot, by my standards, I went for a dip in the pool which was lovely. We went out for an afternoon game drive, the highlights of which were 3 groups of elephants and a leopard, we were so close to them, it was incredible:-



We got back to the lodge about 6.50pm - Rashid drove quickly and we had to hang on, as the park was closing and he can be in trouble if we're late back. We had 40mins to freshen up before tea, but it didn't take me long so I went to the terrace area to have a drink and read my kindle, and I got a message through on my phone to tell me my best friend had had a little girl she'd sent it around 10am, but I hadn't had wifi to receive it - it took over an hour for the accompanying photo to download, it was veeeeery slow, but to be expected.

We met for tea at 7.30pm, again buffet style and lovely. We were seated on 3 larger tables from Samburu onwards, which was nice as we all moved around so we were meeting other people in the group, not just those in our van.

An early night called for all of us, as we were leaving at 6.30am for another game drive.
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Unread 9 Jun 19, 09:01 AM  
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kirstenjet
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Wow the photos are lovely of the animals! Sounds like an amazing trip so far.
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