Kenya with Christine
Date: November 2007
Trip Location: Eco Safaris, Kenya
Overall Impression: The Eco Camps are all located in park conservancies, which are areas right outside the actual parks. The conservancies are full of almost every animal you will see within the parks themselves, but staying in a conservancy, does have a very positive side. You can take part in night game drives which you cannot do in the parks as they close between 6-6.30pm and guests staying in the park cannot leave their resort after this time.
All accommodations were in large, spacious tents with regular beds, solar lighting and private bathrooms with flushable toilets and running water. Shower tanks were, however, filled by our Masai guards when requested, and the 20 litres were more than enough to have a nice warm, relaxing and comfortable shower when one wanted. In the mornings, you were served a pre-breakfast coffee or tea and biscuit in your tent to start the day.
The food was fantastic. All north American type dishes for the guests they were accommodating and while, at times, there were slight language barriers, and the omelette you requested might appear as scrambled eggs….the staff at all the camps were some of the most friendly I have met in all my travels. They couldn’t do enough for you and they always had a smile on their faces.
The evenings in November were chilly but camp staff were attentive and ensured that every evening hot water bottles were placed under the bed covers to keep us warm. Lying in your tent, in a nice warm bed, and listening to the hyenas, lions, elephants and the hundreds of other wildlife roaming the land outside was truly an experience I will never forget.
The Porini Rhino Camp Located in the ‘Ol Pejeta Conservancy
This Camp is north of Nairobi and definitely had the coolest temperatures. The landscape here is lush and green. There is no shortage of vegetation in this region. It was here where you can visit Sweetwater’s where Morani, a tame rhino lives. You can actually get up close to touch and interact with her. We also went on a walk with Masai warriors, who did mock demonstrations of spear fighting and hunting practices.
Amboseli Porini Camp – Amboseli Park and Selenkay Conservancy
I felt like I was actually watching the animals getting ready to enter Noah’s Ark. It was surreal. The backdrop of this park is Mount Kilimanjaro. The landscape here is wide open and basically flat with mountains in the distance. Thousands of animals gather here, all together during the day to enjoy the cool waters. It seemed like they all lived in harmony, no one the other’s enemy….like they all converged for a day at the beach. It was here too that I was able to visit an actual working Masai village. The Masai are one of the largest tribes in Africa and still live a very tribal life in small communities, in houses made with wood and cow dung, raising herds of cows and goats and very much still living off the land.
Porini Lion Camp – Masai Mara National Reserve
This is the most well known of all the national parks with the safari landscape you so often see in documentaries and movies. The camp name is very appropriate, as this is an area where you are guaranteed to see lions. We followed a lioness searching for the rest of her pack, calling out with a moan that echoes for miles in the hope of receiving a reply from the males she was searching for. We found her and her brothers the next day after a fresh kill. It was also here we were fortunate to see the migration of the wildebeest, crossing the Masai River from Kenya to Tanzania that occurs every year between September and November. A deadly crossing where not all wildebeest survive because of the crocodiles that inhabit the river. I am happy to say, that even the smallest, last little wildebeest made it across safely…even though it was within inches of a crocodile that day. The crocodiles were apparently full enough from various crossings… the crossing we saw was likely one of the last of the season.
I have to say this was truly an experience of a lifetime. When you wake up at 1:00 am in the morning to elephants plodding along through the grass and snapping and eating tree branches only feet from your tent the reality kicks in that this world has so many wonderful things to experience and…………… so much beauty
Travel Tips: Most information sites recommend that you obtain a visa for Kenya from the Kenyan Embassy, but this is not necessary and it is much easier to obtain at the airport in Kenya. The visa is US$ 50 per person for a single entry visa. When travelling to Tanzania/Kenya, if using US dollars, all bills must have been issued in 2001 or later. The banks in Tanzania do not accept older bills.
What to Bring: Binoculars are a must and you will have no chance to buy them once the safari has begun. Light cotton tops and trousers, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and good walking shoes are recommended as are long sleeved blouses or shirts for the game drives to protect you from the sun and insects, and a warm sweater for night drives. Camera, extra film, memory cards and batteries are also recommended. These are difficult to find outside major cities and can be very expensive.
Best Time to Travel: There are two rainy seasons in Kenya. The first begin in the end of March and continues into May and the other one is in November. You can usually see more animals during the dry season. The migration of the wildebeest takes place beginning of July and through September and is a very popular time to visit but be warned, it is very busy in the park during this time. If you want to see the tail end, no pun intended, of the wildebeest migration, I would suggest October to avoid the crowds.