- Located In:
- 10-20 employees (Founded in 1997)
- Member Of:
- ETT & TRA
- Tour Types:
- Custom mid-range tours that can start every day
- Price Range:
- $100 to $450 ppper person per day (USD, excl. int'l flights)
Email Joy and Allan Vezina | 65+ years of age | Experience level: first safari
Top notch from start to finish. Every need was attended to promptly and courteously.
Safari in Kenya and Tanzania
What an amazing trip to East Africa we have experienced. Fourteen days and eight camps. Later we arrived home knowing that we left our hearts in Africa.
This tour (our first) was arranged thru Wildebeest Safaris and orchestrated through Noah Kuti. We had planned it perhaps four months before we left and had many back and forth emails to and from Noah. Even with the seven hour time difference, Noah answered our email questions promptly. We don’t know when that man slept.
We flew to Amsterdam and then after a layover we took a flight to Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city. Our very first stop (that we had requested) was at the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Their hours are limited to visitors… just one hour per day at eleven AM. That is because they work so hard with these little creatures that their time is devoted to that. We are now “fostering” our very own little soul. We “took” one that has a very bad, unable-to-be-repaired knee, just like ours. We are “giving” elephants this year to all those on our Christmas List.
Once you leave Nairobi there are no more “roads”… just back road trails. They are bumpy, they go up and down, they are narrow and washed out in many places by the rain and often blocked by animals.
Our first camp was Larson’s Samburu Camp. It was our first realization of how badly the drought has affected the area. Our “tent” was literally at the edge of a river but there was no water. There were however, monkeys. Many many monkeys. Everyone uses the adjective naughty when describing them. Our tent was to remain closed and locked at all times as these fast moving creatures would enter and have a field day trashing it. We complied. At mealtimes, a Maasai would stand alert with a slingshot to keep the monkeys from joining us at our table. He succeeded.
Our first dinner was served at our tent on a lovely set table. The food and ambience was nice. Following that, we zipped up our tent and had no trouble falling asleep. In the morning, we walked around our camp site and enjoyed the flowering trees, the walking paths and even those monkeys. The Staff there numbered more than the guests which was sad. The drought has affected so many. Upon leaving there and going on our first game drive, we saw the result of no rain in two years. You hear about drought but until you see it for yourself, you cannot imagine it. We saw hundreds and thousands of animals in brown fields with no greenery or water in sight. It’s heartbreaking to see. How do they sustain themselves?
N.B. About ten days later we heard they had rain. We looked at pictures of it on our guide’s phone and realized that yes, they did receive rain, but now it was flooded. Larson’s had even fewer guests now as they had to temporarily close.
On the way to our second site, Sweetwaters Serena Camp (Ol Pejeta Conservancy), we experienced another game drive. Again, and this is important, there are no real roads… just those bumpy, really bumpy trails. We won’t write about these game drives but please be assured that there were so many animals on each of them. For now we are talking about our campsites. Sweetwater Camps was unbelievable to us. There was a large man made pond for the animals and the animals did come. Elephants, giraffes, water buffalo, rhinos, zebras, wildebeest. Anyone searching for birds would find many varieties. There was a huge plain leading up to the watering hole so we could see them as they neared.
Mealtimes were amazing. It was like going to a first class restaurant but served buffet style. Not like our typical buffets served here. Different areas were set up according to food types and they skimped on nothing. It was hard to decide which was better, the animals or the food. In the Reception Room there was a large book entitled “Animals I Saw Today”. Entries included so many experiences such as one from a five year old boy which read, “I saw a lion kill a baby giraffe today. Its mother was mad.”
Our “tent” and that word is used so loosely, was equipped with a king sized bed, a lovely washroom, side tables and such a view. I asked about a hair dryer and one was immediately brought to our tent. The service was wonderful. We were sad to leave but we discovered soon that we were sad to leave every place we stayed.
Venturing on, we came to Lake Nakuru Sopa Lodge (Lake Nakuru National Park). What luxury. This was in a National Park and impossible to describe. Our tents were really cottages as we would describe and we were taken by golf carts to our temporary homes from the Reception areas. Everything there was pure luxury. The open shower was equipped with teak floors – something never seen by us. Our main room had amenities usually seen in high-end hotels only. Never by us!! There was an amazing lookout that had just a couple of weeks earlier been the scene of thousands of pink flamingos. It was the only time on our safari that we saw rain but even that was delightful as they lit the fireplaces. Reminded us of a getaway place where you just wanted to relax, have a drink, enjoy the view and veg out.
Campsite number four was Sand River Maasai Mara in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. This was our only three day stay and we absolutely loved it. We faced onto a river, but again totally dried up. We still saw many animals It was relaxing to sit on the deck and listen to the birds and see whatever wandered by. The first morning we were there, there were four water buffalo asleep right in front of our place. They had the same rule that the others had – no going out between evening and mornings without an escort… always dressed in the native garb. If we wanted any help or an escort, we waved our flashlights and immediately one arrived. We were equipped with a whistle and flashlight just as a precautionary measure.
Our second day there we witnessed part of the migration right in front of us. Could never count how many wildebeest or zebra there were. Had not realized before this trip that the zebra travelled with wildebeest. They do. Sand River was very special to us and we can’t verbalize why… it just was. It was such a welcoming place to return to after our game drives and those bumpy trails. They no longer can even be counted as “roads”. Probably our favorite part were the outdoor showers. Absolutely phenomenal. There is nothing like showering outdoors watching animals in their natural habitat. Showering was a favorite activity. Part of this writing couple was in tears when we had to leave.
Our 5th campsite, Asanja Africa Camp (Central Serengeti) was totally different than any we had experienced before. In truth, the part of this team who wasn’t crying at leaving Sand River was near tears now. The word ‘authentic’ was used a lot by me. We were to be here for two days and the other half was prepared to stay in the Land Cruiser the entire time. It didn’t help when we were cautioned not to leave shoes outside the tent as the hyenas would steal them. That being said, it turned out to be a wonderful adventure. It truly was authentic and such a different but excellent experience. The staff (like in every place we went) was beyond wonderful. Conservation of energy was and is important. Lights went out about eleven for the night. We thought it may be a problem but it wasn’t. We had flashlights! Also hot water was to be conserved. To take a shower was fabulous. We would tell the staff whenever we wanted to shower and then the fun began. Someone (a Maasai) would heat the water, climb a ladder outside the tent and pour the warm water into a bucket and onto us. He would wait until we told him we were thru and then he would climb down and return to whence he came. We loved every warm drop of it. Such an experience. When we left there, when our time was up, there was a lesson learned: Just give things a chance. The other places had been so high end and beautiful that it was odd to see the other side. That’s not to say that this place wasn’t comfortable or well-equipped because it was. The Staff there was friendly beyond words (as were they all) and came out to the trail as we were leaving to wish us well and have pictures taken.
Camp number six. Wow. And wow again. We were situated on a coffee plantation at The Manor in the Ngorongoro Region. This was the only place we wished we had brought some clothes that weren’t safari related or not exactly clean. However we could not have been made to feel more welcome. The beauty of this place was like nothing ever seen by us. Our accommodation was definitely not tent-like or even cottage like. It was as described, a Manor. The huge gardens were cultivated beautifully. Coffee bean bushes were everywhere. The trees were glorious. There was a library in the main house as well as billiards, a media room, and so much more. We could (if only we had had the time) visited the spa, had a massage, a pedicure, hair… the works. There was horseback riding. There was a swimming pool. In our rooms (yes, plural) were flowers place on the bed, the huge tub, the slippers, the coffee station, the list goes on. There was a back to back fireplace that we decided no we did not need lit. It was swanky! When we went for dinner, we were met before we entered by our waiter, Shariff who called us by name. (Just like here, don’tcha know). It definitely was five star dining with a five star menu along with the five course dinner. Even water was included… for free. In Africa that is a real find. The wine etc, was also included but we were more excited about the water and drank to our hearts’ content.
Shariff was efficient but very friendly. He made no notice of the safari pants we wore with animal prints on them, the not so clean tea shirts and the muddy shoes. He may have seen this before but he was very classy about it. The food was first rate but the coffee, oh the coffee. Rightly so being on a coffee plantation, but it was indescribable. Never have either of us had such wonderful coffee.
Missing our own cat back home, we were delighted to meet their sweet house cat. I asked if we could have her join us in our room and were allowed. Now it was a true accommodation!
When we had to leave the next morning, the staff met us outside by the land cruiser and gave us each a gift and had pictures taken. So sad to leave were we. But wait… we had a pleasant surprise. We could not leave because there was a large, a very large elephant blocking the trail. And the trails as we had learned were just one elephant wide so no room for us. We would just wait and see. Not a problem until his mate came out of the bushes trumpeting away as if we should get on our way. And eventually we did.
After The Manor, we travelled on to Nimali Tarangire located in Tarangire National Park. It was literally in the middle of nowhere. It had better be worth it after the ride there. I use the word ride very very loosely. It was so worth it. Upon our arrival there were three giraffe there to greet us or at least that’s what I think. In any case they were there. We got settled in our home for the night and again it was located on a river with no water. When we were escorted in for dinner were we in for a surprise. It was not in the main lodge but instead a beautifully set table was waiting for us outside and on a small rise. It had a linen table cloth and wine and china and candles. It was directly in front of a large watering hole where many varieties of animals came to drink. The sky was amazing. Because there were no lights around us, the sky appeared pitch black with shooting stars and the different constellations there for the viewing. Dinner consisted of broccoli and cauliflower soup, filet mignon and chocolate mousse. Coffee of course followed. The weather, as always was perfect for remaining outdoors so we were able to remain as long as we wanted and watch the animals enjoying their water. The part we found sad about this place that when we were leaving in the morning, there were no guests booked for the following day. We had heard that tourism was down but it’s such a shame when places such as this remain empty or partially so. The staff there could not have been more helpful or friendly. We loved everything about it. That outdoor under-the-stars dinner though (our first ever) was the real highlight.
Our final destination was Satao Elerai Camp in the Amboseli National Park. This camp is devoted to conservation and lives what it promotes. There are no fences so animals are free to come and go as they choose. Everything is solar powered. Electric power is turned off between 8:00AM and 6:30. . This is when most people are on safari. We thought it would present a problem originally but it never did. Lunch was done with gas power. Coffee was available 24/7.
One highlight of this camp was a watering hole/pond (we were still in drought) and animals were always there. Many giraffes, elephants, zebras, water buffalo visited it regularly. There was such a comfortable reception room with lookout spots where we could sit and read or chat or play any of the many African games that were provided. A bridge connected the sitting and eating areas with the reception room and it was filled with incredible plant life and water creatures. Every bit of Satao Elerai was built with local wood in its natural form. That meant the buildings, all furniture, every speck right down to toilet paper holders. Our bathroom was larger than any home there or here and no man made materials. Our deck was wonderful to sit and watch Mount Kilimanjaro directly in front of us.
Again, the food and service was such that we could take a page from their book.
Each of these places had its own charm and provided many happy memories. In no place did we have any complaints or concerns regarding the accommodations, the food or the service. Again, in no place did we feel anything but safe.
Africa was nothing we had expected and was so much more than expected.
It was magical in every sense.
We travelled there to see The big Five and The important Ten.
We saw and learned so much more.
Joy and Al Vezina
Markham, Ontario, Canada
Email Susanne & Ralf | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
Excellent 6 days Safari
We did a 6 days Safari with Wildebeest staying in Amboseli NP, lake Nakuru, Massai Mara and lake Naivasha. We could customize the entire Safari according to our preferences and Noah was extremly helpful during the entire planning phase. Our guide Dennis made our Safari absolutely amazing, doing everything for us to see and experience all highlights: sunsets, boat ride, balloon Safari and of course the fantastic animals. We saw the big 5 not only once, but several times in different situations and animals up close (e.g. lions eating their kill, leopard not only sleeping, but also walking and showing up in full glory along a creek, elephant nursing its baby, ostriches mating...). The lodges were all great, all places were wonderful, however Massai Mara being our highlight. We would definitely recommend Wildebeest Safari and Dennis.
Email Stephen | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: first safari
Half a day and a meal short
Went to Maasai Mara from/to Nairobi with Wildebeest Safaris. Reviewing the itinerary later, I see that I wasn't provided what was promised for the last day: instead of morning game drives and then an afternoon return to Nairobi by 5 PM, I got an early drive back that was passed off as a "game drive" and was returned to the city before lunch. I guess I wasn't paying adequate attention as this was my first time out. Oh well. I think the fault was with the safari organization rather than the guide, so I'll spare naming him in a negative review. In fact I think he did alright, and it was a pleasure to chat with him as we went.
Email Rachael | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
Outstanding and amazing time. Reliable company, would definitely recommend and use again
Noah speedily replied to all of my messages and even called me to answer some questions I had. The drivers we had were lovely, knowledgable and very helpful. The price we paid was extremely competitive and we received excellent value for the money we spent on the trip. We had the most amazing holiday and wouldn't hesitate to recommend this company. This was my second trip to Kenya, but my first booking through Wildebeest Safaris. I'm really looking forward to returning to beautiful Kenya and without hesitation I will be using this company again. The company had a good local reputation and was spoken highly of by the staff at the accommodation that we stayed in.
Email Frederique | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
Very lucky with game drive
We booked a 4 days / 3 nights safari (Nakuru and Masai Mara) with Wildebeest Safari. I've been many times in Kenya (at least 10 times) and it was first time with my husband, my 2 girls (10 and 7 years) and I. I would say the safari was very good and we were very lucky with game drive. We saw the Big Five and plenty of other animals. We arrived in Nairobi 26th September. The Airport is Under construction therefore, it is a big mess. We were a bit confused as Ken (the person in charge of the welcome at the arrival) waited outside of the Airport. Many of operator waited Inside... Then the transfer to the Wildebeest Eco Camp for the first night (Nairobi Langata) was ok. But I would never never recommended Wildebeest Eco Camp. It could be a super place but the people working there are terrible. Nobody welcome you. They didn't find the booking etc... we had to walk to our tent (which was at the opposit of the camp) with all our luggage without help and explaination of the camp and facilities. Anyway it was just for the first night. Next day (first day of our safari) we should have meet our guide at 8h00. 8h30 nobody was there. I called Wildebeest and they told me that the guide was stock in trafficjam but he should arrive in the next 5 minutes. 10 minutes later nobody. No help from the reception of the camp Nothing. 15 minutes later the guide arrive at the reception. In fact he was behind the camp as the security guard at the entrance said that he has to wait outside.... well the driver guide finally came Inside at the reception and we left Nairobi 1 hour later. Our driver guide was Joseph. A very good driver... but didn't interact much with us. Didn't explain much. Anyway maybe a bit shy or I don't know. But he took care of us, the vehicle was comfortable and very clean during the safari. First stop in Nakuru at Nakuru Flaming Hill camp. Very nice place, very nice people. We liked this place ver much. Very good game drive also. Next day Nakuru - Masai Mara Serena lodge. What a terrible long day. We passed though the mountain (via Moa) . When we reached Narok after 4 hours we thought it would be ok yet. No way the road to the Mara is awfull. It is not a road. First time I came in Kenya 20 years ago the roads were better. Next time (if I 'll come again) it will be a flying safari. We left at 7 the morning and reach Mara Serena lodge at 4h30 the afternoon. We were tired and my girls were exausted. Wildebeest Safari should advise custumers that roads are so terrible specially when you travel with kids. Anyway this day was a long and uncumfortable day without game drive... just driving driving and driving. Thanks to Joseph who managed this very well. Next day was a full day safari in the Mara. Very good game perfect. The picnic lunch in the middle of the Mara was great. Mara Serena lodge (I've been there at least 5 times) was ok. 20 years ago was same... but staff are not so friendly. The girl at the shop was terrible. Then back to Nairobi with 3 hours drives again on this terrible road. And one more night at the Wildebeest camp. Next morning we should have a transfer at 7h00 to the Airport. Once again our driver (Ken) arrived at 7h30-7h45. He told us again that the security guard told him to stay outside of the camp with car. Ok you stay outside but come at the reception please. Our flight was at 10h00 and we were afraid to miss it. It has been a big stress. To resume the games were perfect (very lucky), the vehicle was also perfect (clean and comfortable), the guide (Joseph) drive his car perfectly but needs to interact a little more more with clients, accomodation very good at Nakuru, good at Masai Mara and poor in Nairobi. We found that Kenya changed a lot. People are not as friendly as they used to be (so disappointed with this point). Roads are poor ... but landscapes still beautiful. My family and I enjoyed the safari but not sure will come again.
Email Nini | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: first safari
Email Yves&Sanne | 20-35 years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
Email Ajit | 65+ years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
Email Laurent | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
Responsive. Very well organized. Professionnal drivers.
We did a 8 days/ 7 nights safari in Kenya and Tanzania . Everything went smoothly in spite of the two border crossing and the long roads. The guides/drivers were very professionnal and my daughter and I had a very nice time. We are always a bit frustrated because we would have liked to see more action (a cat kill for instance !!!) but we cannot predict nature and so maybe that the reason we would like to come back !!
Email Dr Samiran | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
Wonderful Experience with Wildebeest Safaries
Our Kenya Safari with Wildebeest was really memorable. Noah gave us a reasonable deal for the safari.Official proceeding are smooth.Baraka is very prompt with reply with mails.I sent more than 50 mails prior to my visit.All are replied with necessary informations .During the all of the services were provided according to the commitments. The Land Cruiser was new.Our driver cum guide Geoffrey was excellent with driving skill,punctuality,concepts about the routes and wild lifeand very well behaved.I definitely recommend strongly Wildebeest for your Kenya Safaries.My regards to Wildebeest team.
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