User Reviews – Kenya
20-35 years of age | Experience level: first safari
Beautiful, geologically and biologically diverse country
I spent about 4 months (August to December) traveling in Kenya, visiting several different regions of the country from Lake Victoria to the Indian Ocean. I passed through Nairobi several times between different legs of the trip and I gradually became accustomed to the hustle and bustle. The roads were overall in poor condition when I visited in 2002, but they were dramatically better when I went back briefly in 2010.
While in Kenya, I snorkeled in the Indian Ocean, summited Mount Kenya, watched the big game in Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru, and near Tsavo, drank cow's blood with Maasai, camped and had an exciting close encounter with wildlife in Hell's Gate, and explored the rainforest in Kakamega. There is tremendous ecological diversity in Kenya- not just the classic savannah!
One of my favorite places was the island of Lamu. Nearly 10 years later, I sometimes still fantasize about the fruit smoothies they sell there. Delicious! If you have time, I highly recommend visiting the Kenyan coast. The history of trade is fascinating and the beaches are beautiful! Watamu was one of my favorites because you can easily swim to the reef for snorkeling.
Another highlight of the trip was climbing Mount Kenya. I went with two girlfriends and we hired a guide but no porters so we carried all of our own things. We only saw two other people without porters in the 6 days we were on the mountain, and we definitely felt like a bad-ass group of women. The climb up Mount Kenya was scenic and interesting- well worth it even if you don't get to the peak. Our guide was impressively agile and a great help.
I spent a fair amount of time in western Kenya, in the rolling, tea-covered hills between Lake Victoria and Mount Elgon. Kakamega Forest, a unique habitat in Kenya, has tremendous biodiversity. I am not a birder, but I know that Kakamega is one of the best places for birding in Kenya. One of my favorite memories is from walking up to a hill in the forest before dawn to watch the sunrise and see the mist and birds above the tree canopy. I loved Kakamega so much that I almost did my dissertation research there, but ended up working in Tanzania instead.
Throughout Kenya, I stayed in homestays, budget, or mid-range accommodations. I often took public transportation (for both long and short trips). The basics of Swahili are relatively easy to pick up, but most people in Kenya also speak English.
Email Sallyrango | 50-65 years of age
Kenya - a great safari experience, scenery, wildlife, people, - get off the beaten track
Kenya had changed a great deal when we returned after a 25 year gap. We heard that Masai Mara and Ambosili have become very crowded, so instead we headed north of Nairobi to the hills around Nyeri. It proved to be a fantastic choice. We stayed in a new lodge called Rhino Watch and they arranged the two week safari of our choice. All the staff are local Kenyans and they really know what they are doing. The lodge is owned by a German guy who arranges photo and film shoots, so he knows all the best places to go. He is married to a Kenyan lady and her family run the lodge and drive the cars. There were just 4 of us travelling in a 4 wheel drive with an expert guide and driver called Moses. We stayed in a luxury tent with all mod cons. Aberdare National Park has fantastic lush green scenery, great views of elephants, buffalo, monkeys and sometimes leopards, and we never saw another car. Solio Game Reserve has more white rhinos than I have ever seen before, hundreds and hundreds, and we saw lions and a leopard, and Ol Pejeta Game Reserve turned out to be fantastic for Lions, Giraffes and Cheetahs and more Elephants. These game reserves are all nearby and uncrowded. We also went on a walk with giraffes. It could be pretty cold up there in the mornings and evenings. The food in Rhino Watch was amazing, freshly cooked for us on our return and huge amounts. Another highlight was staying on Lake Baringo at Roberts Camp, where hippos come out of the water at night and sleep right by the huts. This was a great area for birds, with thousands of flamingos on Lake Begoria. Nakuru Game Park was much more crowded, but we got incredibly close to lions there - one group was asleep in a tree near the road, and another group were asleep under the picnic tables. We had these lions to ourselves. We also got a good view of a hippo in the lake with pelicans and flamingos. The weather was warmer once we left the highlands. In Nairobi we visted the Giraffe Centre where you can stroke wild giraffes, and Sheldricks Elephant Orphanage, which rescues baby elephants. Both well worth a visit. We were so impressed by this trip that we have booked to go back again next year. A small, intimate safari experience - comfortable but not luxurious, with the emphasis on hours and hours of game viewing. Ideal for photographers and real wildlife enthusiasts, not so good for people wanting a "holiday". We were usually up and out by 6.30am and not back until 7pm or later. We also had a lot of interraction with the local community, and I took a suitcase full of clothes out to an orphanage where we went and met the kids.
Amazing and magic experience. Best place visited ever...
The most incredible trip to a very special part of this world. It is an encounter with the basics of humanity and the magical beauty of nature...
We have learned that people can be happy with very little material things and that definitily we have too much of everything and most of the time it is hard to reach peace of mind and joy.
Also realised that animals in their habitat behave better than human beings....
The most frightening experience is driving in Kenya roads...
Email Bobonacus | 35-50 years of age
I was amazed at the quantity and variation in Wildlife
What an amazing place, the volume of wildlife far exceeded all expectation. We flew to Nairobi, picked and and driven to near Lake Nakuru, 2 nights here before heading to Masai Mara for 4 nights. Then drive back to Nairobi and a night there before flying home in the morning.
Lake Nakuru was exceptional for the flamingoes (among many other birds and animals) and is well worth a days visit. The noise of the birds has to be experienced.
Then to Masai Mara which was just amazing, the volume of wildlife was incredible. I could not believe how many animals there were. We did a sunrise balloon ride which was expensive but so worth it. Breakfast on the plains when we landed was just surreal with all the wildlife around. Lions, Cheetah, Elephant, Zebra, Wilder beast, Impala, Gazelle, Buffalo, Giraffe, Hyena, Crocodiles, Ostrich, Vulture, Hippo, Jackal and many more seen :) Camp site was amazing, private site with just 12 travelers + guides ... very luxurious with en suite! Picnic a few hundred feet from the crocodiles ... another next to the Hippos.
Local guides were used in fairly small vehicles who were very knowledgeable and patient when we wanted to stop for photography. If you are interested my photos are here http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobonacus/sets/72157625299783106/
Email Alan Mirviss | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: first safari
Kenya and our 3-day mini-safari lived up to my hopes of what Africa and the game preserves should be
So VERY pleased with our tour service - Skywide Tours. My wife got approval to present at a conference in Nairobi on Tuesday. I emailed Skywide asking for a 3-day package to Masai Mara and David responded within 12 hours. After looking at our travel arrangements, I emailed back on Wednesday night asking to move it forward by 1 day - to Sunday. Again, David responded in short turnaround to confirm this was manageable. We met David at our hotel at 7 AM Sunday, along with our guide, Wachanga. During the next 3 days my wife and I were continuously impressed with Wachanga's engaging personality, his vast knowledge of large animals, birds, plants and geology of the Rift Valley, which he imparted while we BOUNCED along along the dirt roads which snake throughout the Masai Mara National Park. We found out that after being a school teacher for many years, he now is one of the longest-running guides in Kenya. As a result, in addition to his commitment to ensuring we saw as much wildlife as possible, his ease in the mechanics of a multi-day safari - as well as being on a first-name basis with many of the other guides and wardens in the preserve - made the whole experience extremely smooth. We stayed in OL Moran tented camp, where we were pleased to discover that our tent had a shower/toilet attached. The food was simple, but filling. Overall just what we expected for safari accommodations.
As we were coming back into Nairobi we decided to engage Wachanga for the day on Saturday, 4 days from then, to go through the Nairobi National Park, David Sheldrick elephant orphanage and the giraffe center. Again, David and Wachanga were quite accommodating. We finished with a tour of the Kazuri Bead Factory, which employs several hundred single women producing incredibly beautify necklaces and bracelets. We had wanted to try an authentic yama choma meat meal, so we had a late lunch at a restaurant Wachanga arranged.
During the day on Saturday we realized that our flight out the next day wasn't until 11:30 PM, so we asked if Wachanga could take us to see Hell's Gate National Park. Again, this was arranged without difficulty at literally a moment's notice. Hell's Gate offers multiple activities for a 1-day excursion, including the only park where you can leave the vehicle; a close-up view of the escarpments of the Valley wall; a walk up a narrow gorge with 'escape routes' up the side walls in case of a flash flood; and a close-up look at the geothermal plants that provide 10%+ of Kenya's electricity. On our way back we stopped at Lake Naivasha and took a 1-hour ride to see water fowl and hippos.
As you can tell from this long review, we are enchanted with Kenya, and enthusiastic about Wachanga and David from Skywide Tours - their flexibility and local knowledge made this the perfect week trip! We encourage you to use Skywide, request Wachanga, and tell them that Alan and Diane sent you!
Email Christopher J May | 20-35 years of age | Experience level: first safari
What can be said about Kenya that hasn't already? It's simply one of the most amazing destinations that one could contemplate. The variety of the animals and birds is simply beyond compare. And Kenya provides some of the most scenic vistas to encounter all of the animals in. While Tanzania may lay claim to the highest peak in Africa, Kenya is home to the second highest peak -- Mt. Kenya. The latter is far more scenic as a backdrop for all of the wildlife. Carved by many, many years of glacial activity, it's a sculpted delight that is dramatic from all angles. Additionally, Kenya offers a very large variety of terrains and eco-systems. It's all here in a country filled with friendly, helpful people that are proud of who they are and where they're from.
Email Sakshi Verma (www.sakshi.photography) | 20-35 years of age | Experience level: first safari
I've only been on one safari holiday in Kenya. This one lived up to all my expectations, and more!
Email Maciek Bit | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
I think Kenia is economically the best place to visit.
50-65 years of age
Our Kenyan tour included Samburu (hot and arid), Lake Nakuru (Flamingo and Rhino), another lake included a boat trip to get close to Hippo and hunting Fish Eagle. Finally the amazing, incredibly beautiful Masai Mara, lions and cheetahs on kills, an amazing variety of bird life - ground hornbill, secretary birds, vultures, ostrich and more - wildebeest in astonishing numbers, warthog, buffalo, zebra, giraffe, gazelles, antelopes, elephant and finally a beautiful scene of around eight lion cubs gleefully greeting thei mother.
Email Ania | 20-35 years of age
Friendly people, beautiful parks, one of the kind meeting with the nature!
Kenya it's a perfect place for everyone who love nature. There are many parks, whee you can meet African Big Five. I recommend to start with the Arc the hotel in the middle of Aberdare National Park where you could spend night surrounding by while animals.
You should also visit the capital Nairobi, where find good place to sleep and delicious is no problem at all. Visit Karen Blixen Home and don't forget to stop by Giraffe Center where you can pet and feed giraffes . I think the good time visit Kenya is fall when great migration has place. This counry is also great spot for beach and warm ocean lovers.
If you need more information check my blog: http://www.travelpod.com/members/ania12