CLIENTS TRIP REPORTS EAST AFRICA – Dec 2020 – Jan 2021
Solo Adventurer Safari to Kenya
My trip to Kenya during the COVID pandemic was amazing!
I went to Solio Lodge and Rhino Sanctuary and Sand River on the Maasai Mara.
My 1st night after landing in Africa, I stayed at the Tamarind Hotel which was very nice. My last night I stayed at Hemingways in Nairobi. At Solio – it was only me and one other guest for two nights. Then there were a total of three (of the five) lodges filled. I was treated like a Queen. They were very attentive, always checking on me. Gemma (from Giraffe Manor) filling in for manager Ava, was fantastic. Gemma was kind, professional and efficient. She had dinner with me for the first two nights. My guide, John was easy going, accommodating to my indecisiveness. We went on walks around Solio. On safari drives I was able to get out of the jeep and I sat on the grass surrounded by white rhinos. We were cautious around moms with their babies. There were quite a few baby rhinos! He drove me to a local town in which we stayed in the vehicle. He took me to see the horses and waited over 1 and a half hours while I went for a spontaneous horseback ride with a different John. Zebras, cows and warthogs in the field with us! I am normally afraid of horses yet I felt completely safe! One day as I was sitting on my patio, I was privileged to have a troop of vervet monkeys eat and play on the grass in front of me. Masks were worn properly and strict health guidelines followed.
The food was outstanding, fresh and perfect for my picky, vegan requirements. Elvis, the Chef listens. He even took my food challenge and made a special request dish for me. On the last night, they surprised me with singing and a vegan birthday cake. It was probably the best birthday that I have ever had.
Earlier in the day, at the last minute, my guide, John took me to Ol Pejeta. I saw chimpanzees and the last 2 (on Earth) Northern White Rhinos. I asked for JoJo and he gave us a tour of the rhinos. He let me pet the mother rhino and I fed Baraka, a blind black rhino!! Wow!! JoJo had toured the USA , Hong Kong and the UK after the last male(on Earth) Northern White Rhino died, Jo Jo was his caretaker. I was fascinated listening to all of the rhino education and history.
I highly recommend including Ol Pejeta and JoJo for travelers who have similar interests! He also explained how scientists are in the process of artificially creating babies to make sure the Northern White Rhino does not go extinct! Sand River in the Maasai Mara was also very nice. Not as highly professional but the staff were extremely friendly and the food was great here also. Again, Only 1 to 2 other parties in the 16 lodge campground! On safari I (again, I had a private vehicle.) I saw a lot of elephant babies, lions and cubs, and a black rhino which did not run away. The grass was very long, so it was harder to see hidden animals…
The ground team in Nairobi, Jonathon and Phinou, were absolutely amazing! The helped me to feel very safe as a single woman in a foreign country! And we remembered each other from safari two years ago! I had to get COVID tested at a local hospital and John sat with me and guided me every step of the way! He was always early for all of my transfers with him and Phinou…
So many laughs and great memories and exclusive treatment from this last minute decision (2 months) to travel to Kenya! Thank you Szilvia and the Africa Adventure Company!
Leslie Siegel, Jan 2021
Private Tour of Ancient Egypt and Safari to Kenya
Just a quick email to say we had the most incredible adventure in Egypt and Kenya.
A special mention must go to Mohamed our guide, Zachary our tour director, Osam our coordinator and our 3 drivers Magdy, Esam and Dodos.
Mohamed was unbelievable. He truly is one of the most knowledgeable and caring guides I have ever met but even more importantly he has a great sense of humor and is incredibly professional, gentle, passionate and enthusiastic. Mohamed brought life and understanding to our tours which far exceeded our expectations. We would not return unless Mohamed was once again our guide!
Zachary did the meet and greets and basically organized everything for us whilst we were in Cairo. Zachary is incredibly thoughtful, helpful, perceptive and professional. He went beyond the call of duty and always tried his best to ensure our needs were attended to. He is a true asset to the organization.
Osam did an incredible job in taking care of our logistics and helped us arrange our Covid tests and certificates as well as our balloon rides. He is extremely friendly, gentle and professional and was an absolute pleasure to meet and deal with.
All three of our drivers were first class, safe, friendly and efficient. They too are an incredible asset to the company. We truly felt as if we had the best team and we can’t thank them all enough. Then it was off to Kenya. A portion of the trip was visiting Samburu. We arrived late in the afternoon and were met by our traditional Samburu guide ‘Lepayon’, and then set off to the Samburu National Reserve as we were keen to start our safari. We saw large herds of elephants, two separate leopards, Grevy’s zebra, gerenuk, reticulated giraffe, Beisa oryx and plenty of dik diks. We arrived at Saruni Samburu Lodge at about 6:30pm where we checked into our rooms and then enjoyed an early dinner. The sumptuous three-course Italian inspired meal accommodated our special dietaries of vegetarian and gluten free meals.
SARUNI SAMBURU LODGE
The following morning we set off to the Samburu National reserve where we saw the ‘Samburu Special Five’ and large herds of elephants. We witnessed a very strange situation with a giraffe collapsing in the shallow part of the Ewaso Nyiro River. It was lying very still for about an hour with a crocodile slowly making an approach, fortunately the giraffe managed to stand up and then walked off. We think he may have had a fight with another giraffe and concussed himself but that is only speculation. We enjoyed a picnic breakfast on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River and then continuing with our game drive in the afternoon and returning to camp at about 6:00pm.
The next morning we headed off to “Save the Elephant” where we spent the morning and enjoyed a picnic breakfast before returning to the lodge for a late lunch. We spent time speaking with Lepayon about the Samburu people and their culture and traditions. We set off at 5:00pm for a game drive around the Kalama Conservancy stopping briefly for a sundowner and then returning to the lodge for an early dinner.
On our last full day in Samburu we set off really early to the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary which we thoroughly enjoyed. From there, we went off to the Samburu National Reserve where we saw large herds of elephants, the ‘Samburu Special Five and crocodiles. We visited a traditional Samburu Village before returning to the lodge at 6:00pm. We had an early dinner hosted by our guide, Lepayon, where we were able to discuss the Samburu Culture and learn more about the area and conservancy.
Sadly it was time for us to leave this morning. We set off at 6:00am for an early morning game drive and picnic breakfast before continuing to the airstrip for our onward journey.
Thanks again Mark.
Nic Polenakis, Dec 2020
Flying Safari to Kenya and Tanzania
I am sorry we have not responded with our feedback from our trip until now. We can’t stress enough what an amazing adventure we had. We knew it was going to be great but it exceeded our expectations!! Everything was outstanding from you/the company providing us pre-trip communications on what we needed (including visas, vaccinations, and what to pack), to our awesome guides, Festus and Wilson, and the accommodations and food. We felt both Festus and Wilson were very enthusiastic about their country and culture and eager to share all their knowledge about it. They were also so knowledgeable about the animals that we learned so much from them. We felt that they were genuinely concerned about what was important to us to see and do. We built a great relationship with them that I even cried when it was time to say goodbye. We loved them!
At the end of our trip, it was such a wonderful surprise that we got to have lunch with Alison Nolting (co-owner of AAC) at the Kahawa Cottage. We loved hearing her safari stories and experiences. The Kahawa Cottage was an absolutely gorgeous place to relax and enjoy a delicious dinner before our long journey home.
In the Serengeti, we stayed at Asanja Moru but this was not exactly ideal during the rainy season as you had to cross a river to get to camp. The camp was absolutely beautiful and really perfect except for our adventure each time trying to get back and forth…
The food was fantastic at every one of our accommodations. We just would have liked to have an option at least once or twice to try what they would typically eat in Kenya and Tanzania to experience a little more of their culture.
Thank you Szilvia for telling us that November is one of your favorite times to go. We loved it… everything was so green. We might want to try to go in August/September one day to see the river crossing and see a different season. And thank you for all your communications pre-trip to make everything go so smooth. We can’t say enough wonderful things about AAC and will highly recommend them.
Stay safe and healthy.
Daileen Britton and Robin Kolvek, Dec 2020