- 5 day safari trip
- 20-25th August 2017 (during Wildebeest Migration)
- Flight from London, Heathrow to Nairobi
- 3 hour private car transfer to Loldia House, Governors Collections (2 nights)
- One day game drive to Lake Elmentaita to see the bright pink flamingos and Lake Nakuru National Park
- Light aircraft transfer from Loldia to Main Governors Camp, Masai Mara (3 nights)
- 3 game drives per day plus Hot Air Balloon Safari
- Flight back to Dubai for some relaxation (4 nights) – Highly recommended as the safari is tiring.
Since I was a little girl, I always wanted to go on a safari in Kenya, and my dream finally came true!
It took a lot of convincing to get my husband to agree to go, which I found really bizarre because we both love being around animals and watching wildlife shows with David Attenborough. So why did he not want to go? You see, my husband is a triathlete, and the only holidays he likes to go on, are ones where they are hosting some kind of sports event! He tried to convince me to stay at a Kenyan running camp for 2 weeks, with a 1 day safari, but I wasn’t having it! Needless to say, I got my way, and we both had an amazing trip!
I must admit, I was feeling a little nervous before the trip. Why? Here’s a list of all our worries and how we prepared:
- We had to get quite a few vaccinations: Hepatitis A & B, Diphtheria, Tetanus and Poliomyelitis, Rabies, Typhoid, Cholera and Yellow Fever. My husband doesn’t like injections, and he wasn’t pleased when he found out that we wouldn’t have needed so many if we were going to South Africa. Lucky for me, he found out about these after we had already booked!!
- We were worried about taking the malaria tablets because everyone told us that they cause tummy issues and my husband and I both have quite sensitive stomachs, so we thought they’d ruin our trip. We therefore decided to take Optibac Probiotics with our malaria tablets and thankfully we didn’t have any issues. Not sure if it was because of the probiotics, but it might be worth looking into these if you ever decide to go.
- I am severely lactose intolerant, so I was concerned that I’d find it difficult finding food to eat. However, this was not the case, the food in Kenya was amazing. At the Governors Camps, they prepare all your food for you. They will even prepare a picnic for you if you decide to do a whole day game drive. The food was delicious and I even requested recipes which I have been making back at home. The only time I had a problem with food, was at the airport in Dubai on our way home. Everything seemed to have milk in it, so I had to each chips from McDonalds. I hate fast food, but at least I had something to eat.
- We were concerned about the quality of the drinking water, but we had sealed bottles of water provided in our rooms, during dinner and also on our game drives. So this was not a problem. We avoided ice in drinks and we did not eat any salads, as we weren’t sure what water was used to wash it. As mentioned previously, we had no tummy problems on the trip.
- Our families who have never been to Kenya before were telling us how dangerous it is. But because we had arranged a package holiday with Virgin Holidays, we always had someone picking us up to and from the airports. Whilst on our safari, we always had a knowledgeable driver taking us out on game drives, and security guards who would escort us to our rooms at night, as protection from any animals.
- My husband is scared of mosquitos, spiders and snakes. We didn’t see any snakes and the spiders are no bigger than anything you’d find in the UK. As for mosquitos, my husband reacts pretty badly to bites, but we used 50% deet mosquito repellent and we didn’t get bitten once in Kenya. Funnily enough, my husband got bitten on our way back whilst in Dubai, but his skin didn’t react too badly to it. Another precaution we took was to always zip up our luggage, and put our shoes in bags when we were not wearing them, so that no unwanted creatures would hide in them.
- We were also a little concerned about being attacked by animals. I mean, we did get pretty close to the animals. Lions were walking right up to the jeep and staring at us like we were dinner, but they didn’t try to attack. Interesting fact: It’s actually more dangerous to come face-to-face with a buffalo, than it is to come face-to-face with a lion. Why? Apparently, if a lion is full, he will leave you alone, whereas a buffalo will attack for no reason! Regardless, when you’re in the jeep, you’re seen as one huge object, so you would only be in danger if you get out of the vehicle.
- I had no idea what to pack. Not only did I not have any “safari appropriate” clothing, but we also had to to ensure we only took 15kg of luggage each because we were taking a light aircraft between camps! This was not an easy task for me, and after a few tears, I eventually sacrificed not taking a tripod with me to save on space! To be honest, I don’t think I would have really used it. Here’s a list of items we found really useful on our trip:
- DSLR Camera with 24-70mm lens and 70-200mm telephoto lens. I bought the telephoto lens specifically for this trip, and I am so glad I made this investment.
- Binoculars are really useful for initially spotting animals before you get up close.
- LED flashlight – To use at night when going back to your room/tent. It gets dark really early and really quickly in Kenya.
- East Africa Wildlife: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species in Kenya, Tanzania & Uganda
- East Africa Birds: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species in Kenya, Tanzania & Uganda
- Anti-bacterial hand gel. Mine came on a clip which I hung on the side of my bag.
- 50% deet mosquito repellent. I didn’t get bitten once on the whole trip and it doesn’t smell as bad as others say. Also, I suffer from eczema and the repellent did not affect my sensitive skin.
- Toilet roll/baby wipes and plastic bags – For cleanliness and incase you need to ‘go’ on one of your game drives. Luckily, I did not.
- Hat/cap, scarf and light cardigan/jacket – For the early mornings and evenings, as it can get quite cold and windy.
- Natural coloured clothing, such as khaki and beige colours. I noticed that when I wore white, it would scare some of the animals away and the same goes for bright colours.
Looking back, there was really nothing to worry about and I would go back in a heartbeat. It was honestly the most amazing experience I have ever had. We were lucky enough to see all the Big Five (Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard and Black Rhino). Black Rhinos are an indangered species and are very rare to spot, but we were fortunate enough to see them at Lake Nakuru National Park, as well as one on the Masai Mara whilst on a hot air balloon ride.
Leopards are also quite shy creatures, so we were very lucky to find one on our first day on the Masai Mara. We saw the leopard carry a wildebeest into a tree to eat it. Our driver told us that they do this so that the hyenas don’t come to steal their prey. We were told that leopards are the only big cats you’d find in trees, but we saw a lion sleeping in a tree in Lake Nakuru and a cheetah climbing a tree whilst on the look-out for prey in the Mara.
There was no guarantee we would see any animals on our safari, so we were very fortunate. Literally, the only thing we didn’t get to see, was the wildebeest actually crossing the river, to capture that iconic migration shot. But Hakuna Matata… it’s another excuse to go back again.