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DansDeals Forum => Trip Reports => Topic started by: Shunts on July 20, 2015, 07:14:49 AM

Title: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Shunts on July 20, 2015, 07:14:49 AM
Part 1

An African safari was always something on my agenda. This year it actually became a reality. Due to last minute planning, we werenít lucky enough to get the flights we hoped for and were therefore forced to take any available routing.

 We would fly SFO-DXB-NBO on EK F and return NBO-ADD-LHR-SFO on ET and UA J with drives and hoppers once we were in Kenya. We wanted to do things differently, so instead of doing the typical Kruger Park etc, we opted for the more ďauthentic feelĒ and enlisted the help of a travel agency which did a phenomenal job tailoring a trip for us in Kenya.

The lounge in SFO was very empty and quiet and the flight was uneventful though the service was a bit underwhelming.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/510/19649190258_9a53f481c5_c.jpg)
Lounge in SFO


(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3796/19842234861_1917e32125_c.jpg)

The food was quite unappetizing, but I wasnít expecting anything edible anyways.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3794/19214858484_91c5dceac1_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/490/19223724684_ee2b017ae3_c.jpg)


We landed at 7:30pm which gave us enough time to check in to the Conrad and head out for our 10:00 Burj and a chance to check out the mall. We attempted chauffeur service and was denied because the perk is no more with Alaskan bookings. An Uber would have to suffice.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/488/19649539300_d85e964745_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/327/19842459651_0229e1d09c_c.jpg)
Our upgraded suite

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/341/19225452943_0e3598148a_c.jpg)
Hotel Lobby

The train was cheap and only a few stops from the Conrad, so we figured it would be a way to see more of the city. We took a cab back because we were tired from all that walking in the mall.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3705/19811000756_23c33f1aac_c.jpg)
Our train stop

I would have loved to be at the Burj during sunset, but that obviously wasnít possible. It was fairly quiet though because of Ramadan.

Our flight out to NBO was 10:45 and I wanted to catch a morning swim, but the pool was too hot!

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/389/19820155146_445f8cdca3_c.jpg)
It looked so inviting.

We had the entire cabin to ourselves which was especially nice as there was a plane change with the updated suite configuration.

We landed in Nairobi at 4:30. We were transported by bus to immigration which is in a parking lot because the main terminal burned down in 2013. Our body temperature was checked with infrared prior to passport control - I guess this is normal practice? We were worried that our food was going to be confiscated as it contained meat. We actually had a full freezer bag which contained jerky, cold cuts and a bunch of frozen double wrapped meals that we will have heated for us at our camp. Thank you Dan for the Polar Bear bag recommendation! The items remained frozen for hours in the Dubai heat.

After our original plan to take Uber was scrapped because a lack of internet - which would have been free with T-Mobile, we took a pre paid fare to the Hilton. In hindsight, that was a much better outcome as traffic in Nairobi is from the worst in the world and Uber probably would have turned out more expensive.

We arrived at the Hilton 18km, $20 and 1.5 hours later.

We got upgraded to a suite because of our diamond status. I am genuinely concerned to know what a typical room looked like. We chose Hilton because it was the only name we recognized. It is a decrepit piece of crap.

 
(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/529/19649741448_3cca9e5daa_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/385/19837798455_cc90353ef5_c.jpg)

We wanted to take a look around town and were informed to leave all valuables behind; I therefore don't have any pictures from the streets. When we asked where we should walk, the response was "don't go that way" pointing to the left; we heeded his warning. We dropped by the lounge for a quick local beer and headed out; to the right.
After a short walk we made our way back to the hotel for safety concerns.
Tomorrow we drive to Lake Nakuru.
 
(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3779/19842477471_fec351684b_c.jpg)
Lounge at the Hilton

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/479/19837644855_0e11de751a_c.jpg)
Lobby

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/370/19842637511_1a83a3547b_c.jpg)
View of traffic from our room

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3672/19840583842_e0d23ce871_c.jpg)


Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Hershelsdeals on July 20, 2015, 08:04:22 AM

Looking forward for the rest
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: 3yummyboys on July 20, 2015, 08:25:28 AM
Can't wait to hear about the safari!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: morgs on July 20, 2015, 08:27:41 AM
Finally a safari tr :D cant wait for the rest!!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: sammy n on July 20, 2015, 08:35:58 AM
Nice! I love TR's!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: AJK on July 20, 2015, 08:45:09 AM
Looking forward!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Marco Polo on July 20, 2015, 09:52:53 AM
Sounds like a fun trip. Waiting on the rest.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Chapshnell on July 20, 2015, 09:59:52 AM
Keep it coming! And stay safe :)
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Yaalili on July 20, 2015, 10:41:12 AM
Wow, something new for a change!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: jj1000 on July 20, 2015, 10:45:08 AM
Wow first TR and it looks like a pro! This looks very exciting!

Nice job so far.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Marco Polo on July 20, 2015, 10:45:50 AM
Wow first TR and it looks like a pro! This looks very exciting!

Nice job so far.
Well he has been around since 2013. Long-time lurker.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Proisrael on July 20, 2015, 11:55:53 AM
http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2015/07/17/lion-makes-kill-in-front-shocked-tourist-caravan/

Did you hear about this story?
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Platinum on July 20, 2015, 12:44:37 PM
We were there when this happened http://www.people.com/article/cheetah-crashes-safari-photos
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Feivish on July 20, 2015, 02:18:27 PM
http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2015/07/17/lion-makes-kill-in-front-shocked-tourist-caravan/

Did you hear about this story?
We were there when this happened http://www.people.com/article/cheetah-crashes-safari-photos
I'm no DDF police but why clog a nice TR with irrelevant information.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Platinum on July 20, 2015, 02:59:04 PM
Because this was part of our trip that is being reported if you don't find it relevant then don't read it.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Luvtotravel on July 20, 2015, 03:06:20 PM
Because this was part of our trip that is being reported if you don't find it relevant then don't read it.
are you with shunts?
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Platinum on July 20, 2015, 03:08:16 PM
are you with shunts?
Yep!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Luvtotravel on July 20, 2015, 03:16:53 PM
Yep!
enjoy!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Shunts on July 20, 2015, 09:44:09 PM
Part 2

We were up at 8:00am on Thursday to meet our driver, Nick, with whom we will spend the next day with.  After retrieving our precious freezer bag from the hotel staff which were kind enough to store it for us, we loaded up and headed to Lake Nakuru National Park. The drive takes about four hours traversing through many small towns. There is great elevation and the occasional nice view.

We stopped along the highway to check out a small shop selling its wares. There was a school, I would presume on a trip, with its students looking at us as though we were from an entirely different planet. We assured them we were human and their bewildered faces adjusted.

On a side note, our guide expressed to us that people are scared to visit Africa because of Ebola, not being aware that the Ebola breakout was closer to London than it was to Kenya.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/560/19215049654_4aed014e28_c.jpg)
Our vehicle

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/479/19875763131_fb1c01b999_c.jpg)
View from the car

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3698/19842796241_f1b14baffe_c.jpg)
Itís sad; lots of the city looks like this

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/560/19682917590_ab882b20fc_c.jpg)
School children and shop

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/301/19250156463_5b5e9975ee_c.jpg)
We regrettably had to turn down his corn

We checked in to Sarova Lion Hill Lodge and were greeted with a cold eucalyptus scented towels and fresh mango juice. It was here that we discovered that the hospitality in Kenya is incredible.
We were given a brief tour of the camp grounds and headed off for our afternoon game drive!

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/507/19650562590_7bc33e4237_c.jpg)
Our cozy cabin

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/412/19650609780_d7b514029b_c.jpg)
From the outside

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3707/19876517201_47b170edf7_c.jpg)
The grounds are very nice and tranquil

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/366/19876630831_1d03febbd9_c.jpg)
Bountiful occupied birdsí nests


As soon as we began the drive, a monkey came inside through the top of the roof and stole a bad of goodies. Realizing it contained nothing of interest, it dropped it on the road and took off running. What a great way to start, I thought!
I took a bunch of zebra pictures unaware that they are as common as cows in the Midwest.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/277/19831183702_08c7fbefc9_c.jpg)
Zebra, of course

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/416/19217133463_11debe8b29_c.jpg)
There are usually more flamingo, they say

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/261/19217194183_6220ba29da_c.jpg)
I donít know what this is

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/277/19684051868_e9746cbc9b_c.jpg)
Nor what this is

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3669/19811702836_4bf8e51fd2_c.jpg)
Ah, yes, a rhino

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/346/19685254980_89cebfc0c7_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/403/19684096328_cd3d84dd9f_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/448/19838717005_7dba8feca0_c.jpg)
We were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this guy

When we returned to camp and denied dinner, the chef requested to speak with us. He said he was expecting us and made a kosher dinner. We politely declined and attempted to explain that we keep ďreal kosherĒ and that what he made unfortunately didnít fall into that category.
He begged with us just to see what it was he made for us.
Incredibly, he procured a brand new cutting board and knife! He also had a closed bottle of olive oil and plastic-ware.
He went on to say that he had a whole fish and potatoes double wrapped in the oven. We were shocked. We passed on the fish and opted for a salad instead.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3678/19846020726_7c01d5d38c_c.jpg)
Got to work right away

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/556/19838762115_be909a8264_c.jpg)
Dining area

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/561/19652168959_f0e68f969f_c.jpg)
Chef Nicholas

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/262/19217893283_5b9905a850_c.jpg)
Turndown service

Tomorrow is our flight out to Masai Mara.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Hershelsdeals on July 20, 2015, 09:55:12 PM

Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Marco Polo on July 20, 2015, 10:11:34 PM
Looks amazing.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Something Fishy on July 20, 2015, 10:18:53 PM
Awesome! Can't wait for the rest.

Masai Mara is number one on my bucket list ;D.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: MosheD on July 20, 2015, 10:25:24 PM
Nice great job. Sounds awesome
Cmiiw but stork and peacock
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: yoruel on July 20, 2015, 10:32:26 PM

Tomorrow is our flight out to Masai Mara.

Wow, so this is a live TR?
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Shunts on July 20, 2015, 10:47:25 PM
Wow, so this is a live TR?
It isn't. It recently concluded. Just my peculiar writing style.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: VacationLover on July 20, 2015, 11:18:49 PM
Cool!! Keep it coming
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Chapshnell on July 21, 2015, 12:05:19 AM
Pretty high on my bucket list as well. Youre surviving on fruits & veggies basically?
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: skyguy918 on July 21, 2015, 12:15:22 AM
Mods can move this elsewhere if this is not an appropriate spot, but I thought it was relevant:

I just recently finished watching David Attenborough's Africa. Highly recommend it. All I can say is that Africa (the continent) is pretty amazing, and the series captures some truly stunning wildlife.

Here's the intro/trailer:


This guy (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7p6iWFO4LPfBjgbhaz3VHg) has the first 3 episodes uploaded to youtube, shouldn't be too hard to find the rest online.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: morgs on July 21, 2015, 03:03:15 AM
Great stuff-keep it comin!! (the chef in the photo only looks mildly insulted ;D)
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Yaalili on July 21, 2015, 11:01:36 AM
Great stuff-keep it comin!! (the chef in the photo only looks mildly insulted ;D)

Lol :) OP this TR is great so far.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: BrooklynCPA on July 21, 2015, 11:23:28 AM
Amazing TR, can't wait for the rest!!!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: E-MAN on July 21, 2015, 02:37:54 PM
Unbeleivable! Can't for the rest
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: rediplus on July 21, 2015, 03:39:12 PM
I love this stuff. Living vicariously through the forums. Keep it up and thank you..
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Shunts on July 21, 2015, 09:50:34 PM
Part 3

We had to be up early on Friday to catch our flight out from the Loldia Naivasha airstrip which is about a two hours drive away from camp. The first part of the drive was done on the same roads we used a day earlier to get to the lake. We then turned right and went off-roading. Iíve never experienced such a violent drive in my life. It was bumpier than a camelís back. Thankfully thought, it only lasted half an hour.

We arrived at the airstrip and waited for our plane to arrive. Our scheduled departure time of 10:15 came and went and there was still no plane in sight. We were in Africa after all, and thus the realization that the possibility of the plane not showing up at all was real and that we may be forced to develop alternative Plans for Shabbos.

Our fears evaporated when a few minutes later a gleaming airplane came in for a landing. Flying time would be twenty five minutes to the Masai Mara Oleski airstrip. It was nice to experience a plane making a special pickup just for you. The gate was locked, so we had to wait for the gate keeper who arrived by bike to open the airport.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3790/19650880400_7bf231f5ac_c.jpg)
Our gate

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/492/19277340324_c85750aef0_c.jpg)
First class lounge

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/287/19217925153_a63ea641cb_c.jpg)
He loved his toy

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3831/19658325968_cd07571535_c.jpg)
Our ride

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3670/19713455759_4197fe9f12_c.jpg)
Check-in


Upon arrival in Masai Mara, we were greeted by our safari driver, Scentura, who would drive us the 45 minutes to the grounds of Encounter Mara where we will spend the duration of our trip. We chose this camp because of its location and size; there are only 10 tents. It sits in the Mara Naboisho conservancy. They only allow a select amount of people and vehicles visit a day in order to preserve the wildlife. This allows for the guides to get really up close to the animals and give you the best experience, whereas other safaris are simply congested with traffic. Additionally, the moment you leave the camp you are already in the wild. Some of the other options we looked at would have required a 25 minute drive just to exit their premises and reach the perimeter fence.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/314/19218069523_a167090944_c.jpg)
Our guide on the inside and spotter on the outside

After dropping off our things, we went out for an afternoon drive. We let our guide know that we needed to be back by 5:00, so our drive would a bit limited. We were pleasantly suprised by how much we would get to see. Our guide was exceptionally knowledgeable and had great skill in finding the animals.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3815/19893526652_378a139953_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/357/19812915816_b8438f661d_c.jpg)

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3759/19874817876_9a557f26d8_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/532/19844020501_4b14a38d03_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/288/19216516824_9646f4fd8c_c.jpg)
Wildebeest

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/481/19714396439_37e6d1bb9a_c.jpg)
Buffalo

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3826/19278404714_820bacb445_c.jpg)
Lappet faced vulture

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/519/19713111838_832478374f_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/410/19844074991_6d0192c0c9_c.jpg)


We let the staff know that we would not be able to go out on a drive the next day, but we happily took up on their offer to go out with an armed guard for a walking safari. They obviously steered us clear of any wildlife which wasnít a bird. We learned a lot about the environment and the culture.

We gave them a pan of food to warm up before Shabbos. I even brought a bottle of wine with me which I totally though would break en route. They set up a table right outside our tent with a warm fire. There are no words to describe how amazing and beautiful our Shabbos was.
 
(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/548/19659754019_5a7b63c711_c.jpg)

We met a very nice non Jewish family on Shabbos afternoon. They were very knowledgeable and knew a lot about Judaism from growing up and we spent many hours discussing various topics.
 
I am not yet done!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Yaalili on July 21, 2015, 10:08:26 PM
Could you discuss a little about the costs of all these lodgings that you did?
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Moshe123 on July 21, 2015, 10:19:05 PM
Amazing TR
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Moshe123 on July 21, 2015, 10:58:14 PM
Mods can move this elsewhere if this is not an appropriate spot, but I thought it was relevant:

I just recently finished watching David Attenborough's Africa. Highly recommend it. All I can say is that Africa (the continent) is pretty amazing, and the series captures some truly stunning wildlife.

Here's the intro/trailer:


This guy (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7p6iWFO4LPfBjgbhaz3VHg) has the first 3 episodes uploaded to youtube, shouldn't be too hard to find the rest online.


Thanks!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Chapshnell on July 21, 2015, 10:58:42 PM
amazing, and in the end maybe contact info for all?
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: tageed-lee on July 21, 2015, 11:11:00 PM
Amazing TR! What are you shooting with? The bird pics are really nice!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Shunts on July 21, 2015, 11:27:20 PM
Thank you! I actually purchased the camera, a Sony DSC-HX400V right before the trip. I don't know anything about photography. I figured I'd learn along the way.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Something Fishy on July 22, 2015, 12:51:06 AM
(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3790/19650880400_7bf231f5ac_c.jpg)
Our gate

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/492/19277340324_c85750aef0_c.jpg)
First class lounge

This made my day.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: AJK on July 22, 2015, 12:56:54 AM
Yup. I laughed.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Yaalili on July 22, 2015, 01:14:54 AM
This made my day.

Lol true.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Joe4007 on July 22, 2015, 08:12:49 AM
Awesomely awesome TR! This kind of trip is something I've always dreamed about. One day...
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: lunatic on July 22, 2015, 08:24:38 AM
Awesome. Thanks for sharing
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: puddles on July 22, 2015, 09:52:51 AM
You are living my dream. So jealous. Amazing TR. The outdoor Shabbos was probably what it was like a few thousand years ago ;)
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: alpicone on July 22, 2015, 10:38:18 AM

I read the TR on my phone before looking at the pics on the PC. If you are reading this TR on your phone you need to read it again. The pics are great.

In this pic, is the bird sitting on the buffalo or did you happen to catch it as it passed by?

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/481/19714396439_37e6d1bb9a_c.jpg)
Buffalo
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Chapshnell on July 22, 2015, 10:40:29 AM
They sit on the buffalo & eat the insects climbing on him.. same idea as the fish that latch on to sharks
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Yehuda57 on July 22, 2015, 11:15:09 AM
Great TR. Always dreamed about going to the Masai Mara/Serengeti

You've been Best Ofed  (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=53386.msg1214661#msg1214661)
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: benjie1305 on July 22, 2015, 11:18:38 AM
Amazing TR! Now this is something I really want to do.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: skyguy918 on July 22, 2015, 11:21:42 AM
Great TR. Always dreamed about going to the Masai Mara/Serengeti

You've been Best Ofed  (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=53386.msg1214661#msg1214661)
Took me a few tries to read that link correctly. Maybe make it "You've been Best Of'ed"
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Yehuda57 on July 22, 2015, 12:47:40 PM
Was there a vote? Who makes that decision

See the Wiki. Feel free to submit other posts, as long as they are not your own. It's just a way to highlight good posts which people may have missed as it is impossible to keep track of every thread.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: solls108 on July 22, 2015, 12:51:13 PM
This is great. I did not see anywhere the amount of points you used. Care to share?
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Luvtotravel on July 22, 2015, 12:59:30 PM
This is great. I did not see anywhere the amount of points you used. Care to share?
maybe it was all cash... according to the little research i did, my points would basically only get me to the continent. after that its all cash if you want an authentic experience. id b delighted for someone to cmiiw
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Proisrael on July 22, 2015, 01:11:06 PM
Phenomenal unreal TR. This makes so many other places pale in comparison! 
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Ergel on July 22, 2015, 01:41:31 PM
Can we stop clogging up this thread. Have your best of discussion in the best of thread
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Dan on July 22, 2015, 05:50:07 PM
This made my day.
+1, awesome TR.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Emkay on July 22, 2015, 06:39:56 PM
maybe it was all cash... according to the little research i did, my points would basically only get me to the continent. after that its all cash if you want an authentic experience. id b delighted for someone to cmiiw
There are a couple safari options with points but very limited
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Emkay on July 22, 2015, 06:41:35 PM
Could you discuss a little about the costs of all these lodgings that you did?
Cost is one of the things holding me back from going. Was supposed to be going this coming October but realized that my dream safari would run me around 8k so its gonna have to wait a little
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: BarryLincoln on July 22, 2015, 07:39:54 PM
Wow!!! Unreal!! Great TR...
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Shunts on July 22, 2015, 09:41:45 PM
Part 4

At the conclusion of Shabbos, we met our guide who would take us out for an evening drive. The spotter uses a spotlight with a red filter to scan the brush for the reflective eyes of the animals. It is now and early morning when predators are most active.
 
After about an hour of driving around without much activity, our excitement began to taper.  It was when we were beginning to think that we wouldnít see anything that a handful of lions came into view. It was a bit difficult to see clearly and I wasnít catching much on my camera. But I did manage to capture on video an incredible roar from the male lion calling out to its pride. We were just feet away.

Our drive had to be wrapped up as vehicles not allowed out after 10:00PM





We were up early on Sunday for an all day safari which would take us to the Mara River. We were really hoping to catch the Serengeti wildebeest migration which follows the abundant grasslands to the Mara. The animals are required to cross the crocodile infested waters of the Mara River which is a spectacular sight. But because of the plentiful rains and food, their arrival is delayed until August.
 
In the mid afternoon heat, we looked for a shady spot to stop for lunch. We noticed a nice tree in a clearing and decided to stop. We were mere feet from the tree when our guide suddenly braked. Pointing up, he asked if we were able to see the animal resting in its branches. Indeed we were. It was a leopard and its baby. Needless to say we ate lunch somewhere else.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3786/19813388546_04454949c6_c.jpg)
Sunrise

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3670/19839310205_1aa9307ec7_c.jpg)
A cheetah

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/424/19832044392_ee2a4d7bc0_c.jpg)
Hmmm

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/542/19929038345_b1d447407a_c.jpg)
Check out his wound

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/272/19929059135_300a3a6a74_c.jpg)
Resting in the shade

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/335/19216720314_8069ae418e_c.jpg)
Her hubby not too far away

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/498/19839399355_c375821c92_c.jpg)
Wow!

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/489/19934166771_f570629f6a_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/485/19929077995_2ecc6c3d6b_c.jpg)

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3688/19929085085_6a5835e2ff_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/273/19306483864_65d88bf03e_c.jpg)
The Mara River

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3780/19839521875_73cb734496_c.jpg)
The unsuspecting tree

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/376/19929120975_c1e69916f3_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/299/19921554932_fa3115ea0a_c.jpg)
She finally came down from the tree

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/340/19653083879_10b1966746_c.jpg)
Lunch

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3772/19741102688_e2c0889c2c_c.jpg)
A jackal

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/406/19742312859_f77790a075_c.jpg)
A spotted hyena

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3694/19308016993_e660424c67_c.jpg)
We got a flat tire. At least is wasn't at night

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/296/19651814408_2cb620d186_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/507/19934109461_b0505b4d58_c.jpg)


I will conclude in my next post!


Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Emkay on July 22, 2015, 09:49:21 PM
Great photos!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: rots5 on July 22, 2015, 09:52:16 PM
amazing!!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Yaalili on July 22, 2015, 09:57:49 PM
That lunch pic is great!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Moshe123 on July 22, 2015, 10:17:35 PM
Amazing stuff!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Matovu on July 22, 2015, 10:23:51 PM
Please dont mind me asking.
It's an open vehicle, those beasts don't pounce at the humans ?
And a flat tire in the middle of the jungle ? Explain how you're still alive.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Emkay on July 22, 2015, 11:04:09 PM


Please dont mind me asking.
It's an open vehicle, those beasts don't pounce at the humans ?
.
I believe one of the main reasons is that they see the entire vehicle with all occupants as one large entity

Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: DMYD on July 22, 2015, 11:06:42 PM
Wow really amazing and interesting pictures! Thanks for taking the time.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: benjie1305 on July 23, 2015, 12:07:09 AM
I.NEED.TO.GO.ON.A.SAFARI
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: MosheD on July 23, 2015, 12:16:51 AM
I.NEED.TO.GO.ON.A.SAFARI
Dansdeals Adventure DO? LETS DO THIS!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Matovu on July 23, 2015, 12:33:37 AM
I believe one of the main reasons is that they see the entire vehicle with all occupants as one large entity
Do you mind explaining it a bit more ?
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Yehuda57 on July 23, 2015, 12:54:36 AM
Do you mind explaining it a bit more ?
Most animals can't/won't get into the Jeeps, which are very high, even if they are open top.

On top of that, when the animal is looking at the Jeep they don't see a vehicle with 10 creatures inside, but rather one giant creature, which is much bigger and stronger than they are.

Yes, it is dangerous for the Rangers to stop and change a flat tire. There was one incident in Kruger national park in which a leopard killed a Ranger who left his vehicle while waiting for help to repair a flat. Though the rangers are often armed, they are trained how to spot potential harm, and how to deal with it without deadly force. They are the last people who would shoot an animal. As for the tourists, they remain safely in the Jeep.

Safaris are safe, unless you do something idiotic like get out of the car, or antagonize the animals.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: ual902 on July 23, 2015, 01:46:06 AM
Did you approach the EK Chauffeur desk when you arrived in DXB and asked them for a car and they turned you down cause you were on the AK award?.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: morgs on July 23, 2015, 07:29:51 AM
Most animals can't/won't get into the Jeeps, which are very high, even if they are open top.

On top of that, when the animal is looking at the Jeep they don't see a vehicle with 10 creatures inside, but rather one giant creature, which is much bigger and stronger than they are.

Yes, it is dangerous for the Rangers to stop and change a flat tire. There was one incident in Kruger national park in which a leopard killed a Ranger who left his vehicle while waiting for help to repair a flat. Though the rangers are often armed, they are trained how to spot potential harm, and how to deal with it without deadly force. They are the last people who would shoot an animal. As for the tourists, they remain safely in the Jeep.

Safaris are safe, unless you do something idiotic like get out of the car, or antagonize the animals.

Not always true...http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/terrifying-moment-cheeky-cheetah-gets-6035295

Great installment!!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Yehuda57 on July 23, 2015, 07:34:34 AM
Not always true...http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/terrifying-moment-cheeky-cheetah-gets-6035295

Great installment!!
Awesome!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: JoeyShmoe on July 23, 2015, 09:37:26 AM
Not always true...http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/terrifying-moment-cheeky-cheetah-gets-6035295

Great installment!!

Too.Many.Corny.Cat.Puns.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Shunts on July 23, 2015, 09:45:20 AM
Did you approach the EK Chauffeur desk when you arrived in DXB and asked them for a car and they turned you down cause you were on the AK award?.

Yes. They do not rely on the F or J marking on the boarding pass. They check the computer.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Something Fishy on July 23, 2015, 02:18:32 PM
(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/424/19832044392_ee2a4d7bc0_c.jpg)
Hmmm

 Velociraptor! (http://www.amnh.org/our-research/science-news/2007/velociraptor-had-feathers)
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: ual902 on July 23, 2015, 04:12:42 PM
Yes. They do not rely on the F or J marking on the boarding pass. They check the computer.

With Etihad in 2012 they just looked at my bp and got me a chauffeur in AUH.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Dr Moose on July 23, 2015, 04:52:41 PM
With Etihad in 2012 they just looked at my bp and got me a chauffeur in AUH.
things have charged quite a bit since 2012
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: maxmiles on July 23, 2015, 05:15:39 PM
Amazing job so far!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Suave on July 23, 2015, 06:59:17 PM
BEST TRIP REPORT I HAVE EVER SEEN.

yes, CAPS.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: lunatic on July 23, 2015, 07:15:14 PM
BEST TRIP REPORT I HAVE EVER SEEN.

yes, CAPS.
Wow. And coming from a world traveler...
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Shunts on July 23, 2015, 09:09:28 PM
Part 5

As life has it, all awesome things must come to an end. Our safari would be no different. We had a departure time of 8:45AM from the Olseki airstrip to Wilson Airport, a forty five minute flight. From there we would be driven to Nairobi for our flight to ADD.

Here are some photos at the camp Encounter Mara.



(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/511/19334286183_7a2585cb83_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/555/19653137149_4fc61b464c_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/491/19651754950_00d1bce15b_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/446/19334353913_6a3da52d41_c.jpg)
Yes, very important to see

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/272/19767329448_c6a850024c_c.jpg)
Bucket shower

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/366/19832285922_b1fff28695_c.jpg)
General lounge area


We asked to leave to the airstrip a bit earlier so that we can take advantage of the extra time and perhaps get to see some more wildlife along the way. This worked out nicely as we got to see a lioness with her cubs, a wandering leopard and a flock of vultures consuming the carcass of a zebra.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/555/19219044193_227f02014d_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/257/19839928585_cb5826ae5a_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/384/19960054821_b5dcfbb646_c.jpg)

 
It is safe to say that the most frightening part of this trip was flying on this aircraft whose last maintenance check is still unknown. Upon arrival at Wilson, we met our driver for the 20 minute transfer to NBO.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/300/19954663105_cf0812c1cb_c.jpg)
The airstrip terminal

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/419/19959817871_f9c840d8d2_c.jpg)
I felt a bit safer with two engines

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/471/19332014544_5c9059f08d_c.jpg)
At NBO. Perhaps practicing for the presidentís arrival?


When we arrived at the airport we asked if we can be placed on the earlier flight to ADD which wasnít open at the time of booking. After speaking with a manager who allowed it, we attempted to check in. After an hour of failed attempts, they proclaimed that their computers were hacked and were shutting down. We panicked. If we werenít going to make this flight, we were ready to purchase a ticket on any flight that would get us out of there.

They finally said they would be issuing handwritten boarding passes. When we finally got ours we headed to the lounge.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/277/19766667540_3b94f1aa64_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/284/19217338704_dd40374377_c.jpg)
Lounge in Nairobi

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/489/19651968718_e0a3acaf71_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/325/19651948340_bf19e1d29a_c.jpg)
And that is why I donít fly Kenya Airways


The flight was better than expected. We didnít have a kosher meal because we took the earlier flight. I didnít at all mind the trade-off.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3728/19947015312_79f6ca583e_c.jpg)


We had a long layover in ADD. We initially wanted to leave the airport. But it was dark, we were tired and we would need to purchase a visa, so we scrapped that idea.
 
(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3763/19844975671_2142506664_c.jpg)
The lounge in ADD

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/355/19652188300_d640b605aa_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/500/19813866166_9dcc70d82b_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/432/19219285253_74ec047f97_c.jpg)
These were great!

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/316/19814037336_2c79dd390a_c.jpg)
A new 787 to LHR


When looking to book a safari, there are many factors which influence price, such as time of year, location, duration and level of luxury. The place we chose was all inclusive. Additionally, in Mara, there was no cell reception, Wi-Fi or swimming pool. There are those locations with more amenities but arenít as exclusive.

I also want to point out that we never went hungry. We packed a large bag of provisions. Such as bread, peanut butter, granola bars, instant soups etc. We also had our freezer bag and had hot meals in the evenings.

Although not required to enter Kenya, we did get yellow fever and typhoid vaccinations. We also took malaria pills.

A visa for US passport holders is $50 which you can get on arrival.

I would like to thank Platinum for all his help booking this trip.


Thank you all for reading, I hope you enjoyed!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: grodnoking on July 23, 2015, 09:19:04 PM
Thank you! Awesome TR!!!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Yaalili on July 23, 2015, 09:20:01 PM
Wow wow wow, and that handwritten boarding pass priceless.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: benjie1305 on July 23, 2015, 09:25:26 PM
This was great! And thanks to Platinum for enabling this TR!  ;)
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Moshe123 on July 23, 2015, 09:25:30 PM
Thank you!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: chucksterace on July 23, 2015, 10:05:59 PM
Awesome TR..

On a serious note, want to help me plan a trip? I think I know where I might go next.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: mlomni on July 23, 2015, 10:15:36 PM
Kudos on a very well written TR. I enjoyed reading this one tremendously. This is one of the best TR's i have seen on DDF.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: rediplus on July 23, 2015, 10:35:51 PM
superb!!! thank you
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Chapshnell on July 23, 2015, 11:24:22 PM
Thank you very much for taking the time to write this up. Mind posting contact details of your hosts etc.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: morgs on July 24, 2015, 06:48:36 AM
fantastic tr-Thanks so much for taking out the time!!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: BrooklynCPA on July 24, 2015, 11:50:57 AM
Thanks for taking the time to write this amazing TR!!! A safari was always on my bucket list and you gave a new push!!!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: 3yummyboys on July 24, 2015, 02:36:35 PM
Really excellent TR and looks like an amazing trip! Wonder how to do a trip like that on points somehow
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Fan of Dan on July 27, 2015, 01:15:12 AM
Great TR!! Really amazing - I spent a week in Kenya last year and reading your report brought back such amazing memories. Seems like you had really nice sightings as well. Well done. How did your timing work out with the migration?
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: moen on July 27, 2015, 06:43:06 AM
On average what can I expect such a trip to cost? Points+$
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Joe4007 on July 27, 2015, 07:44:45 AM
Great TR!! Really amazing - I spent a week in Kenya last year and reading your report brought back such amazing memories. Seems like you had really nice sightings as well. Well done. How did your timing work out with the migration?
Part 4

We were up early on Sunday for an all day safari which would take us to the Mara River. We were really hoping to catch the Serengeti wildebeest migration which follows the abundant grasslands to the Mara. The animals are required to cross the crocodile infested waters of the Mara River which is a spectacular sight. But because of the plentiful rains and food, their arrival is delayed until August.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Feivish on July 27, 2015, 11:12:56 AM
Great TR!! Really amazing - I spent a week in Kenya last year and reading your report brought back such amazing memories. Seems like you had really nice sightings as well. Well done. How did your timing work out with the migration?
Where did you stay?
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Fan of Dan on July 27, 2015, 12:50:56 PM
Where did you stay?
I spent 2 nights in the Hilton in Nairobi which I found to be decent for an East African hotel. Again this is not London, Paris or NY.
We then went to the Masai Mara and spent 5 nights in the Ashnil Mara Camp which is right on the Mara river. Location couldn't have been better. It wasn't cheap though although not crazy expensive either and points were worthless aside from the Hilton (unless you consider the fact that I sold points to fund this expensive trip!).

It was a really amazing trip however, and well worth it IMHO. I found the game to better then the South African parks or Chobe in Botswana.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Feivish on July 27, 2015, 01:10:46 PM
I spent 2 nights in the Hilton in Nairobi which I found to be decent for an East African hotel. Again this is not London, Paris or NY.
We then went to the Masai Mara and spent 5 nights in the Ashnil Mara Camp which is right on the Mara river. Location couldn't have been better. It wasn't cheap though although not crazy expensive either and points were worthless aside from the Hilton (unless you consider the fact that I sold points to fund this expensive trip!).

It was a really amazing trip however, and well worth it IMHO. I found the game to better then the South African parks or Chobe in Botswana.
How did you get around in Nairobi?
How did you get to the Masia Mara?
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Dan on July 27, 2015, 01:11:21 PM
Great TR!
Any chance we can see a breakdown of costs?
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Fan of Dan on July 27, 2015, 02:08:56 PM
How did you get around in Nairobi?
How did you get to the Masia Mara?
I booked everything through a tour operator aside from the Hilton. They were able to get us a better rate at the safari lodge and additionally they provided us with a private 4 by 4 safari jeep with a driver for our entire trip. Our driver picked us up from the airport and drove us everywhere until we returned to the airport the following week. Nairobi is not the kind of city to drive around yourself.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Feivish on July 27, 2015, 03:40:33 PM
I booked everything through a tour operator aside from the Hilton. They were able to get us a better rate at the safari lodge and additionally they provided us with a private 4 by 4 safari jeep with a driver for our entire trip. Our driver picked us up from the airport and drove us everywhere until we returned to the airport the following week. Nairobi is not the kind of city to drive around yourself.
A TR would be nice and helpful.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Shunts on July 27, 2015, 06:16:14 PM
Great TR!
Any chance we can see a breakdown of costs?

We used 75k Starwood for 100k Alaskan outbound and 80k UA inbound. For hotels, we used cash and points. This came out to be the most economical as the price increased with each additional person and we were a group of three. We used 12k + $62 and 28k + $84 for Nairobi and Conrad respectively. As far as the Safari itself goes, it wasn't cheap, but was worth every penny!
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: ual902 on July 27, 2015, 07:21:41 PM
We used 75k Starwood for 100k Alaskan outbound and 80k UA inbound. For hotels, we used cash and points. This came out to be the most economical as the price increased with each additional person and we were a group of three. We used 12k + $62 and 28k + $84 for Nairobi and Conrad respectively. As far as the Safari itself goes, it wasn't cheap, but was worth every penny!

Did you find the safari guides locally or via a referral?
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Platinum on July 27, 2015, 07:27:30 PM
We booked everything through a tour company.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: dpk4588 on August 05, 2015, 05:21:21 PM
Awesome TR. Excellent pics! Looks like you had fun!
Can you give us a ballpark cost of the safari?
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Drago on September 06, 2015, 06:18:50 AM
Great TR, loved the pics.

For those asking about safari hotel's that can be booked w/ points, this post does a good job listing some of them.
http://travelisfree.com/2014/11/10/african-safari-hotels-on-points/
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Platinum on September 06, 2015, 11:54:15 AM
We stayed in the park and was still charged the mandatory $75 per person per day.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Emkay on September 06, 2015, 11:57:18 AM
We stayed in the park and was still charged the mandatory $75 per person per day.
Upon entry or exit? They made you show an itinerary or just asked you?
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Platinum on September 06, 2015, 12:01:56 PM
Upon booking with the travel agent. I can't see that working, whoever will be taking you on the game drive will know how many days you are staying...
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Emkay on September 06, 2015, 12:04:45 PM
Upon booking with the travel agent. I can't see that working, whoever will be taking you on the game drive will know how many days you are staying...

So you paid the travel agent the fee and he had the driver pay it? Fat chance the driver paid it, he likely told them one day and pocketed the rest
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Platinum on September 06, 2015, 12:14:54 PM
We stayed in a place that only has 10 tents not a big mega hotel. It included hotel stay, private game drives, food, and park entrance fees. The one time we went to another game resort the driver actually stopped and paid.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Emkay on September 06, 2015, 12:19:19 PM
We stayed in a place that only has 10 tents not a big mega hotel. It included hotel stay, private game drives, food, and park entrance fees. The one time we went to another game resort the driver actually stopped and paid.
Which resort was this?
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Platinum on September 06, 2015, 12:23:06 PM
Encounter Mara.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Platinum on September 06, 2015, 12:32:53 PM
Even if you manage to get the hotel stay on points you are going to have to pay for the game drives separately and that's where a chunk of the money goes.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Yehoshua on September 08, 2015, 05:33:54 PM
Wow, wow, wow!! What an incredible TR!! Excellent pictures, especially your gate and first class lounge at the first airstrip and the had written boarding pass. Looks like you had a blast!

How did learning to use the new camera on the go work out? Did you feel more comfortable by the end?
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Shunts on September 08, 2015, 08:03:24 PM
Thank you!

It really was an incredible trip.

For the most part I just used the pre-configured settings on the camera wheel. Towards the end, I tinkered more with the settings.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: Yehoshua on September 08, 2015, 08:10:13 PM
Thank you!

It really was an incredible trip.

For the most part I just used the pre-configured settings on the camera wheel. Towards the end, I tinkered more with the settings.
Great pics either way.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: justmeha on January 12, 2020, 06:59:10 PM
sucks that all the pics disappear'd
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: yungermanchik on January 12, 2020, 07:39:13 PM
sucks that all the pics disappear'd
I don't know about you, they're still there for me.
Title: Re: Kenya Safari TR
Post by: justmeha on May 20, 2020, 04:51:57 AM
I don't know about you, they're still there for me.
your right, never mind.
its funny how TR's developed since then