Reviews

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Karen   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: July 2022 Reviewed: Sep 26, 2022

Email Karen  |  20-35 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Perfect first safari experience!
5/5

We first spoke with Tiago from Spirit of Kenya back in 2019 when we originally booked our trip to Kenya, for July 2020. With everything that then unfolded with the Covid-19 pandemic, we were forced to reschedule our planned trip to 2021, and subsequently to 2022. Tiago was nothing but incredibly helpful, absolutely nothing was too much hassle and he was always so quick to respond to queries. He explained everything perfectly, and made us feel at ease ahead of traveling. We had always dreamed of staying at Giraffe Manor, and despite the hotel being fully booked on our desired date, Tiago continued to follow up with the hotel for any cancellations and we were able to secure a room for our trip! The safari experience was incredible, from the moment we landed in Kenya we were looked after by Spirit of Kenya staff members, who ensured seamless transfers to and from airports. Our guide while in the Maasai Mara was called Joseph, who was also excellent! He was really knowledgable and ensured our needs were catered for at all times. We stayed at the Neptune Mara Rianta camp, and we cannot recommend the staff / accommodation and food highly enough! Now we're home, and can reflect on the trip of a lifetime, we can say wholeheartedly that we would definitely use Spirit of Kenya to book any future trips!

V Lewelling   –  
United States US
Visited: August 2022 Reviewed: Sep 23, 2022

Email V Lewelling  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

Wow!
5/5

What a wonderful experience! Spirit of Kenya planned and executed an exceptional safari in Kenya for us that exceeded our expectations for wildlife, nature, and culture, all of the things this beautiful country has to offer. In preparation, Tiago responded promptly to all of our questions (and we had many), eased our concerns, and put together an excellent itinerary and accommodations. Our guide, Anthony, was so knowledgeable of all the species we encountered, made sure we saw everything we wanted to see, could spot most any bird or animal from far away, and was a lot of fun! We felt very well taken care of. Great value for money.

Evan   –  
United States US
Visited: September 2022 Reviewed: Sep 22, 2022

Email Evan  |  65+ years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

Trip of a lifetime!
5/5

Six of us just finished the most amazing trip to Kenya provided by Spirit of Kenya. From pickup at the airport, through several day outings around Nairobi and through our nine day safari, everything was error free. We had planned to do the trip in 2021, but canceled at the last minute due to Covid fears. Their trip planner, Tiago, graciously rebooked the entire trip for this year. Our guide, George, was a flawless driver and had the eyes of an Eagle while on safari, seeing and identifying things that we had difficulty seeing with binoculars. Even though we chose only moderately priced hotels, all of the lodges exceeded our expectations many times over. The people everywhere were so friendly and took such good care of us. Our only complaint is that we all gained weight from all the great food!

Michael   –  
United States US
Visited: September 2022 Reviewed: Sep 19, 2022

Email Michael  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Exceptionally Incredible Safari, Thank you!
5/5

Exceptional!!! Our 14 day private, customized (base on 11 Day Spirit and Soul of Africa) safari was incredible - exceeding our expectations. BIG Thank you to Sandy, our trip designer/main contact; and all 3 of our incredible guides: Nesta(Lake Nakuru, KE), Julius (Masai Mara, KE), and James(TZ - Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire).

From the start, Sandy was great and answered numerous questions, discussed park options, travel times and options transferring between parks, etc.. to create an incredible private, custom safari for us. She also helped communicate and coordinate changes during the trip due to flight cancellations. Thank you, Sandy!

A huge THANK YOU!!! to all 3 of our guides: Nesta(Lake Nakuru, KE), Julius (Masai Mara, KE), and James(TZ - Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire). All 3 had eagle eyes, spotting animals big and small. Guides make or break a safari trip. We simply cannot thank each of them enough for their contributions that made our safari absolutely incredible and the envy of other safari travelers we shared our experience and photos with during our travel home.

We saw all of the “big 5” during the trip and 4 of the big 5 on several days. We saw 2 male white rhinos fighting…We saw lions daily; including cubs to full adults both male and female….We saw leopards and cheetahs several days…We watched lions and cheetahs hunt and eat….We saw servals cats in two parks. We say hippos, giraffe, and elephants in almost every park; along with a variety of smaller animals and birds. Yes, we have almost 5,000 photos and videos (high end 400zoom camera rental from lensrentals.com) documenting our incredible trip. We highly recommend Soul of Tanzania and Spirit of Kenya; along with our guides (Nesta, Julius, and James).
Here are the items we customized and what we would do differently….if you are interested….

We customized their 11 Day Spirit and Soul of Africa trip), removing Lake Manyara, adding an additional day to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater parks, and replaced Amboseli Park KE with Tarangire Park TZ. We were very pleased with our substitution of Tarangire for Amboseli and highly recommend Tarangire. It wasn’t on the original itinerary, but we (and our guide James) would highly recommend Tarangire. We saw and watched several different large elephant families (infants, adolescents, and adults) on every game drive. We saw more elephants in Tarangire than at all the other parks combined. We also saw leopards, lions, and cheetas; along with many other animals. The park swap allowed us to avoid long travel drive times to Amboseli and from Amboseli to Nairobi by flying directly from Kilimanjaro airport to Nairobi.

We recommend spending at least 2 nights or ensuring a full day of game drive (6-8 hours) in each park, i.e. spend more time on game drive(s) in a park than it took to get to and from a park; otherwise reevaluate why you are going to that park… We would drop Ngorongoro Crater completely and shorten the trip or add those days to Masai Mara or central Serengeti. Yes, we saw some huge herds of buffalo and wildebeest, and the landscape itself was unique being inside a crater. But, we didn’t see anything new, the crowds around an animal sighting were huge (40-50 vehicles) – making actual viewing and photography difficult; and beyond buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, and gazelles… other animal sightings were sparse and often from a great distance.

We replaced any drive between parks that was over 4+ hours with air transfers (SafariLink, Coastal) – think large (10+ passenger) propeller airplane “bus type service” between park air strips (aka these are not private, direct charter flights). Inter-park Air Transfer Recommendation: If your considering inter-park air transfers: Don’t just focus on the travel drive time, but also on road conditions…i.e. ask if the inter-park road is paved versus unpaved… if unpaved – travel by air. Unpaved roads = cross breed a motel vibrating bed with a mechanical bull ride. 3 ½ hours between Serengeti and Ngorongoro was absolutely brutal and exhausting.

If you are transferring between parks by air…get the name and phone number of the guide(s) you are meeting at the next camp/location. If you have any flight delays or cancellations, this will provide you a way to communicate and coordinate accordingly.
African airlines (both commercial and those providing transfers between parks) are known for delayed and cancelled flights… plan as best you can…then go with the flow . Flying between parks/locations definitely increased game drive time…but with added complexity, hassle, cost, and risk versus driving. Honestly, if the roads between the parks/locations are paved – I would drive instead of fly. Note, air transfers between parks are at an additional cost and you will likely have a new guide at your destination. Driving = same guide through all parks in a country and no additional costs.

Cost & Accommodations

Private vs Shared safari/vehicle – the guide and vehicle were $560US per day…the more people you have in a vehicle = lower cost per person (Shared option). We saw many vehicles packed to their maximum 7-person capacity which looked quite cramped… In our opinion, a maximum of 4 persons per vehicle is ideal, providing room to move and the ability for everyone to easily reposition to see things. I would also expect a “shared” safari would likely limit your ability to customize it, but I’d ask accordingly.

Accommodations – This is likely the largest cost component of the safari. We were offered 4 levels from budget to luxury ranging from $100-200 per person per night up to $1000 pp/night. Do your research and read the reviews… Is the accommodation in the park? How far/long is the drive from the accommodation to the main game drive area? One of our accommodations was in the park but 1 hour away from the main game drive area, hence we wasted 2 hours’ round trip each day. Tent Camps can be better than large lodges, don’t automatically discriminate. Our tent camps were far superior in service and quality versus a couple of the lodges we used.

If you are still reading and interested, here is a list of questions I compiled to compare operators, tours, etc… Good Luck
Categories Question
Company How Long Have or Your Safari Company been in business?
Company Do you run your own tours or outsource to others?
Contract What are your deposit and cancellation policies?
Contract Require Vouchers for all accommodation 1-2 months prior to departures…to ensure the room is booked and paid for(avoid canceled accommodations/last minute changes)
Insurance Do you offer trip insurance? Can I get a ballpark quote?
Company Where can I find reviews of this trip, you, the tour operator(if different), and the guide?
Contract Request detailed Itinerary, including travel time between locations.
Contract Ensure contract lists of what is included; meals, lodging, beverages, park fees, game drives, airport transfers…
Contract, Extras WHAT NATIONAL PARKS FEES OR CONSERVATION / COMMUNITY FEES ARE NOT INCLUDED?
Contract Payment terms? Payment Options(direct transfer, credit card, etc…)
Contract/Rates Are all Taxes included? If not what & how much is it?
Extras What Extra charges should I expect at each accommodation and how can I settle them?
Tour WHAT CURRENCIES ARE ACCEPTED at each destination/accommodation?
Tour, Game Drive Ensure this is a Private tour…what part of this tour will be shared with others…such as game drives? Vehicle type, max people?
Travel, Transport How many days/hours of travel between each leg?
Travel, Transport What type of transportation for each leg? Vehicle Type? Amenities?
Travel, Transport If driving between legs, is flying an option? Cost?
Travel, Transport Is transportation between legs/locations included in this package?
Guide Who will our guide be? Same or different for game drives?
Guide How well does out guide speak English?
Game Drive Does the game drive have a CB radio? Sharing/Receiving sighting information?
Guide How many years of guide experience does he/she have? Feel free to ask for a specific driver?
Guide, Contract If I am not satisfied with the guide during the trip, what are my options and how would I exercise them?
Guide How many times has the guide done this tour?
Game Drive Are game drives included in every accommodation? Any limitations, like # I can do per day?
Game Drive What is the game drive schedule and lengths at each accommodation ?
Game Drive SEATING POLICY ON GAME DRIVE VEHICLES
Tour, Game Drive How accessible is each park relative to its accommodation? Is the accommodation inside the park?
Accommodation Any special/required attire for dinner at any of the accommodations?
Accommodation Can you tell me about the accommodations, amenities, communication facilities?
Accommodation What are the laundry options at each accommodation? Cost?
Accommodation Sustainability and ECOTOURISM PRACTICES, Policies, etc...?
Accommodation, Food Are the meals included individual, family style(limited to our private tour, or buffet?
General What sort of day and night temperatures can be expected?
General What is the malaria risk in the area you are travelling to?
Tour, Game Drive Which of these are national parks versus private reserves? If private reserves, are they open or fenced?
General What are the tipping and gratuity expectation for every aspect/activity/accommodation of this tour? Are they included?
General What animal interaction, private interactions, etc… are possible? Cost?


Maggie   –  
United States US
Visited: July 2022 Reviewed: Sep 9, 2022

Email Maggie  |  20-35 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

I had high expectations before going and they exceeded each and every one of them!
5/5

We had an incredible time. I really appreciated all of your communication before and during the safari, even though we were hours apart, you were so incredibly informative and helpful throughout the process! Thank you André! It was great knowing the coordination was completely taken care of for us to only enjoy the safari once we arrived.

Our safari guide, Simon, was wonderful! He made us feel welcomed and safe. Not only was Simon well versed in all of the wildlife, but he also seemed to know all the best spots to see the animals and was able to spot them no matter how far off they were, he had such an incredible eye! I also appreciated that he suggested some edits to our days so that we could take a boat trip on Lake Nakuru and see the hippos!

It was amazing that they were able to set up our hot air balloon trip over the Masai Mara as well, that was the best experience of the entire trip!

The lodging Spirit of Kenya offered was some of the best lodgings we have ever had! Talk about incredible luxury, it was amazing, 5 stars!! The food by the way, yum!! We loved seeing Kenya and cannot wait to go back! I've already shared information with my friends and family, it was the trip of a lifetime!

Sonali   –  
United States US
Visited: July 2022 Reviewed: Sep 5, 2022

Email Sonali  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Excellent
5/5

We decided to book our tour through Spirit of Kenya based on the manner Tiago the journey designer communicated with me. He was very prompt with his responses and always positive.
When some of the hotels of our choice weren’t available he was very quick in suggesting others and with our consent, getting them confirmed overnight.
I had a very good first impression of our tour guide Raphael, with whom we spent the next eleven days.
He was courteous,obliging, calm and always in good spirits.
He was determined to show us the big five which we did, elephants in Amboseli,Rhinos in Nakuru and lions,leopards and buffaloes in Masai Mara. He made stops whenever we wanted to admire the scenery and gave me ample time to take pictures.
Our visit to a Masai village (which was in close proximity to our camp) and getting acquainted with their culture and lifestyle was a unique experience and one of the highlights of our trip.
Honestly, as this was my first visit to Kenya I wasn’t sure what to expect or how it would turn out, but I must say that with excellent planning and service offered by Spirit of Kenya and the staff at the camps/cottages we stayed at, our trip exceeded my expectations on every level!

Kim   –  
Australia AU
Visited: September 2022 Reviewed: Sep 4, 2022

Email Kim  |  20-35 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Sego is amazing, funny, patient & really made our experience for us!
5/5

The tour overall was really amazing!
Our tour operator Sego was so knowledgeable, patient, funny and just so easy to get along with.
Our tour was five days long, visiting the two main parks.
We saw so many animals in every place we went, there wasn’t anything we missed out on.
All the accommodation was great; very clean and had everything we needed.
Although the driving was long, there was many places Sego stopped for us to get coffee, use facilities and get some snacks.
Would highly recommend Spirit of Kenya for a safari.

Rosane   –  
Portugal PT
Visited: August 2022 Reviewed: Sep 3, 2022

Email Rosane  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

Amazing adventure!
5/5

Amazing adventure!

First of all to thank Vanessa and for the extraordinary planning of the Safari. Charles, our guide was fabulous during the 7 days we were together. A professional and wonderful person who with his calm and experience gave us unique moments. My children are still talking about him after our return :)
The hotels were fantastic (Mara Bush Camp, Tawi and The Cliff) with a friendly and always present staff.
It was the best family holiday we have ever had and I wish to return for another adventure with Spirit of Kenya!

Soumya   –  
United States US
Visited: August 2022 Reviewed: Aug 28, 2022

Email Soumya  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Excellent
5/5

We booked our 8 day safari trip to Kenya and Tanzania with Spirit of Kenya mostly based on Tripadvisor reviews. Andre who helped us plan our trip was very professional and prompt with his responses. His recommendations worked perfectly well for us in terms of lodging and activities. I will be honest, we were a little apprehensive about how it would pan out but the trip exceeded our expectations.
Saying we had a wonderful trip would be an understatement! All our requests were taken care of including dietary needs ( I am a vegetarian) and extra water bottles.
Airport pick up and drop off were smooth. We enjoyed plenty of wildlife both at Mara and Serengeti. We loved both these places for different reasons.

Our tour Guide in Kenya Nauff picked us from Nairobi and drove us to Masai Mara. He made stops every time we wanted to watch an animal or enjoy the scenery. One of the reasons to visit Masai Mara was to see Wildebeest Mara river crossing and we got to see it! Nauff who was knowledgeable about the animals and the nature made sure he never once harassed animals in the process of showing us. Staying at a conservancy (outside the park) , at Amani Mara camp made all the difference, we were able to go for walks and also do a night Safari!

There was a transfer of guides at the Tanzania border which was done efficiently.

Prosper, our guide and driver in Tanzania was very knowledgeable and was determined to show us all the big 5 at Serengeti and we did see them! Special mention to leopard spotting at Serengeti. Thanks to Prosper!
The hot picnic lunches at Serengeti was one of highlights. We also visited Ngorongoro crater. Prosper made sure we got a good view of the ecosystem in close proximity and got good pictures !

We felt very safe throughout the trip.

We thank spirit of Kenya for all the beautiful memories that will last a life time.

Eddie shah   –  
Belgium BE
Visited: August 2022 Reviewed: Aug 27, 2022

Email Eddie shah  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Excellent org by spirit of Kenya
5/5

Planning the holiday with Andre from spirit was very good - he was very flexible and gave us a number of different and varied options to consider. He was also very responsive to all my questions in a timely and detailed manner.
All the arrangements ran smoothly and as excepted ( in some cases exceeded our expectations )
Patrick our safari guide was excellent - knowledgable and very friendly and flexible he really made sure we were comfortable and we got to see the big 5 .
All hotels / lodges were very good and met all our needs with interconnecting rooms fir the children and our dietary requirements / no complaints at all.
It was a wonderful experience and spirit of Kenya made it a very special holiday of a lifetime for us .

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