Trip Report - August 6 to Present, Masai Mara, Eldoret, etc.
Replies: 1 - Last Post: Sep 21, 2012 2:02 AM Last Post By: Voyager_2002
Sep 20, 2012 8:40 AM
Initially arrived from London with my parents, sister, and wife in our party. Arrived late and spent the first night at the Hotel Downtown. Had a bit of an adventure on arrival. We had some very substantial luggage - five people's bags and a mountain bike - and booked a Nissan mini-van to ferry us all into town. Given that we had my parents, on their first trip to Africa, we decided to forego the usual haggling and booked at the Kenya Taxi Co. desk. We filled two entire seats and the boot with luggage. We got to the hotel without any problem, got everyone into their rooms - which even my parents found very adequate - and went to grab a bite to eat. When we got back to the room I suddenly realized that my wife's two large bags, which she had used to carry all the gear she would need for two months of athletics training, were missing. I assumed we'd put them in another room, so I checked the other rooms - no luck. Then we both realized - they had been in the boot of the taxi and had never gotten unloaded. Of course all sorts of unpleasant thoughts went through our minds. The driver had given my wife a business card "for future reference," and she called the number - which went unanswered. More unpleasant thoughts. She called another number on the card, the taxi desk at the airport, and was told that the driver had returned, realized that the bags were there, and was on his way back to the hotel. He arrived shortly thereafter, was extremely apologetic, and all was well.
After another day in Nairobi, during which I allowed myself to be dragged to different tour companies by the always enthusiastic touts, we headed up to my wife's hometown of Kapsabet to let my family meet all of her family. We took a weekend trip up to Iten, to check out the Kerio View hotel, which is simply stunning and very reasonably priced - fantastic food and a view like none other.
After a couple more days in rainy Kapsabet, we (minus my wife who was back to work training) headed down to Nakuru where we would be picked up for our safari, which we had booked with Gametrackers. In Nakuru we stayed at the Milele Guesthouse - a church run conference center place. Very nice grounds, decent food, and a quiet location (assuming a church conference isn't on site) - cost about $30 us per person B & B. The Gametrackers driver/guide & cook were waiting for us the next morning - they arrived about 20 minutes early with the trusty Landcruiser. We headed south to Masai Mara. The road was fine up to Narok/Ewaso Nyiro. Past that point it shouldn't even be called a road - it is a disaster. Our driver/guide, Jackson, was simply outstanding. Good driving, college educated with a degree in Wildlife Management, and speaking flawless English - he was fantastic.
The time at Masai Mara was good - good food at camp, we stayed in small cabins, which were very adequate, and we saw pretty much everything we wanted - including a crossing complete with croc-wildebeest action. Based on my experience, I would say that one would have to be crazy to choose a company that uses safari vans rather than cruisers. The safari vans were completely unable to get to the crossing points, and we literally went an entire day without seeing one because they couldn't get into parts of the reserve. When we did see the vans, there were 10-20 of them circled around a sleeping lion or cheetah. Very glad we spent the extra money.
After the Mara we went back to Nairobi. Hotel Downtown was completely booked up the first night, so we checked into the Kenya Comfort Hotel. It is fine, but my parents and I agreed that it was NOT worth the extra cost over Downtown - and they felt it was much noisier as well. A couple more days in Nairobi and I said goodbye to my folks and caught a shuttle van back to Kapsabet - used Classic Shuttles on Mfangano St. Cost 800Ksh to Kapsabet and had a very smooth 5 hour trip back upcountry where I've spent the last month doing little more than mountain biking up to 50km per day and enjoying the weather.
Anyway, hope someone can find something of use in there - will post a few more details in the coming weeks including some dining tips.
Sep 21, 2012 2:02 AM
I think the airport transfer service gets full marks for honesty: would you care to name them?
And since people often ask about safari costs, it might help others to let us know what Gametrackers charged you, and whether you had to pay a deposit by bank transfer in advance. Incidentally, it is good to see that name again: I went on one of their safaris back in 1983, and will never forget it (although I have no idea what I paid).
(4 star Hotel)
From US$120.03 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$70.96 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$89.13 per night