AmyT

Q: Who Gnu that Kenya is so delightful?

178 posts in this topic

A: Everyone!

 

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My daughter has been the punniest person around while on safari. Who knew became who gnu? Likewise, the lions laying under a bush were waiting to AMbush....

 

Many thanks to the SafariTalk community for endless recommendations.  Our two week trip was beyond measure.

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That's great to hear!  Looking forward to your trip report!

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I gnu you would love it. :)

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I don't know why so many people put down wilderbeest , they have a very important function in the ecosystem

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Posted (edited)

Q: How do you eat an elephant?

A: One bite at a time.

 

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And so I will get started with my trip report.

 

We were a party of 4... my 19 year old daughter and I, and my coworker with her 16 year old daughter.  I planned our two week trip, and then Maria and Olivia decided to join us a month before we left for Kenya. We spent two days (three nights) in Nairobi and then the rest at Porini camps. Conservancies were an important consideration for me, with income for the local land owners and low vehicle density at game sightings. In hindsight, I would have heeded the advice of @ExtraordinaryAlex and planned some down time mid-trip. 12 days of safari is exhausting for teens and their mothers.

 

Two days after school got out, we were on our 26 hour series of flights to Nairobi. Los Angeles to Toronto > Frankfurt > Nairobi. Olivia had a terrible cough left over from a previous cold. I emailed our travel agent (Wayne from Gamewatchers) who arranged a trip to a health clinic upon our arrival in Nairobi. Soon enough, we were on our way to the Eka Hotel for our first two days in Kenya.

Edited by AmyT
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11 minutes ago, COSMIC RHINO said:

I don't know why so many people put down wilderbeest , they have a very important function in the ecosystem

 

We had a fantastic time watching the wildebeest. They are among my daughter's favorite animals (with warthogs and baboons.)

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without them eating the top grass layer, zebras could not get to lower layer

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28 minutes ago, COSMIC RHINO said:

without them eating the top grass layer, zebras could not get to lower layer

 

Huh. I'm pretty sure that my guide said the exact opposite; that zebras come first in the migration to eat the top layer and that the wildebeest eat lower down. There was a lot of information flowing so I could be wrong, but there were far more zebra than wildebeest in the Mara last week.

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I actually have more energy on safari

 

I usually have bad fatigue, one doctor tested me for vitamin D which came out as undesirably low, so I now take pills  

 

perhaps being out in the sun and fresh air instead of inside all day makes a difference

 

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Day Zero. The Eka Hotel is a pleasant place to stay.  Room service was pricey and dicey: our Chinese duck salad was delicious except for the duck, which appeared to be a semi-reheated hockey puck, cooked well done but somehow cold. The bar manager wanted to replace the salad, but at 11:45 p.m., I wasn't prepared to wait another 40 minutes. He agreed to remove the item from our bill.  The room was comfortable otherwise, although daughter Katy was unhappy about the frosted glass doors leading to the shower and toilet.  Breakfast was delicious and varied day to day.

 

Day One. Our first morning was meant to be spent at St Lazarus School in Kibera, delivering the 50 hygiene kits that Olivia created for young women to stay in school during their menstrual cycle. (More about the Days for Girls Organization: https://www.daysforgirls.org/)  Unfortunately, the trip was cancelled due to security restrictions because of the upcoming elections.  Instead, we stopped at Love Birds Curio Shop (recommended by @COSMIC RHINO and our driver) and picked out treasures to bring home. I have given up all pretense about shopping for small items, so approved a drum for Katy and a walking stick for my hubby. We planned to ship these items and was "forced" to return the next day since the shipping agent wasn't on site.

 

Next on the agenda was a trip to the Giraffe Centre. The girls were thrilled to feed lucerne to the giraffes, while I discovered that I left my camera batteries back at the hotel. After a quick detour back to the hotel, we went on to enjoy a lovely lunch at the Tamambo Karen Blixen. 

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20 minutes ago, COSMIC RHINO said:

I actually have more energy on safari

 

Teenagers need more horizontal time than me.  However, the 5:30 wake up call and 10 p.m. showers started to take their toll after the halfway point. Plus sitting in a vehicle all day instead of walking my 10k steps added to my fatigue.

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We had planned to go to the Bomas of Kenya for their afternoon show but by the time we were finished with lunch, we were late.  Instead, we headed directly to Nairobi National Park for our afternoon game drive. We enjoyed our preview of safari sightings although I struggled a bit with my camera/lens setup. I'd changed my settings at an evening graduation and hadn't had time to reset them back to the default settings suggested by @Alexander33.  Katy struggled with the binoculars and instead, picked up my backup camera (and refused to return it!)  ^_^

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Posted (edited)

Giraffe nursery

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black rhino, unhappy to be greeted by squealing women (our first rhino!)

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Nairobi as seen from Nairobi National Park

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Lion missing part of his tail, due to clumsy photography

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Note: @Game Warden, is there a way to intersperse comments with photos without having to go back to edit the post?

Edited by AmyT
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Posted (edited)

Day Two. We were greeted by our driver and taken on an unscheduled tour of downtown Nairobi. He warned us to close our windows and not take photos as there are "bad boys" who will open the windows and snatch phones and wallets out of hands.  Traffic was heavy and the van was stifling. After about an hour, I asked how much longer it would be because we were very uncomfortable in the heat. He looked back and saw that there were no windows open; he'd just meant for us to close them mostly, not totally.  Oops! Windows opened again made for a pleasant breeze as we finished up our tour.

 

We made our way back to the western side of town and asked to visit the Utamaduni Craft Centre before returning to Love Birds; we had a few more people to shop for and wanted to see an alternative shop. It proved to be an excellent decision; there were a wider variety of options although fewer in quantity.  Prices at Utamaduni are fixed and I was pleased to discover that my negotiated price at Love Birds was equivalent to the posted price at Utamaduni. After finishing up there, we returned to Love Birds to pay for shipping.... $300!!! Ouch!  We had our canes wrapped instead and Katy's drum was eventually stowed in a carry on duffel bag.  Everything arrived home safe and sound, and I was able to purchase an additional couple of rosewood carved masks for much less than the price of shipping.  

 

Next up was a visit to Kazuri Beads, where we went on the brief factory tour and then picked out more treasures. By this time, our schedule was completely blown and instead of going to either Habesha (an Ethiopian restaurant, my first choice) or Carnivore (second choice) for lunch, we returned to Tamambo for a very quick bite before our 3:00 p.m. private visit at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Edited by AmyT
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Hooray on the rhinos!  Great start.

 

So glad you had a good trip and that you have already started your report.  That's very impressive -- I'm already 2 reports and a year behind. 🙁  I can't wait to hear all about how things unfolded for you all. Unfortunately (or fortunately, actually), we depart for Rwanda tomorrow, so I won't be able to follow along "real time," but that will just give me an opportunity to binge read after we get back!

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Posted (edited)

Is it possible to peak too early in a trip?  The private visit at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was amazing. 

 

We were a few minutes late, so after signing the injury release (!!!), we hustled to the feeding area and commenced with the festivities.  We met famous Edwin!!  Swoon!  We watched 26 orphaned elephants run to the clearing, flapping their ears and searching out "their" keeper for their treasured bottles of milk.  

 

Warning: 5 minute video of baby elephants. You may perish from cuteness overload.  https://youtu.be/vWPDlZUAyiw

 

 

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Edited by AmyT
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Sweet photos!  Did you sponsor an Ellie or pay for the private visit?

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Oh I loved the video. There was a little one in the background not paying any mind to the bottles and just loving the dust/dirt and rolling around in it. Do you know who that was? And the Giraffe Center really is fun. What a great start to this report!!!

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1 hour ago, Tulips said:

Sweet photos!  Did you sponsor an Ellie or pay for the private visit?

@Tulips

 

We have three sponsored elephants, but intend to sponsor Enkesha too. The 3 p.m. private visit is paid; the 5 p.m. foster parent visit is "free" but much less satisfying for us.  All of the tiny babies were already in "bed" when the parade of ellies was finished.

 

1 hour ago, lmonmm said:

Oh I loved the video. There was a little one in the background not paying any mind to the bottles and just loving the dust/dirt and rolling around in it. Do you know who that was? And the Giraffe Center really is fun. What a great start to this report!!!

 

@lmonmm

The little ellie might have been Enkesha. Believe me, all of the babies had their bottles before rolling around in the dirt!!  Did you hear the one off camera, complaining about the delay in the second bottle??  :D

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More ellie video, from the "parade".

 

 

 

 

We were particularly smitten by a new arrival, just 4 days before. He was in his stockade but was willing to make friends when we stopped by.

 

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Posted (edited)

Enkesha, scratching her trunk on the side of her stockade.

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Someone already fast asleep!

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Edited by AmyT
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You made!  You did it!  And you made it back.  All the planning, date swapping, etc. worked out.  Those baby jumbos can really hustle along in the parade!

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so things turned out well and you had a great  time

 

Africa  is the only place I go on holiday to

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@AmyT I edited your giraffe photo from a later post into post #1 so as it will show up on something special I am working on... hope that's okay and stay tuned for an update re. the something special...

 

Matt

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1 minute ago, Game Warden said:

@AmyT I edited your giraffe photo from a later post into post #1 so as it will show up on something special I am working on... hope that's okay and stay tuned for an update re. the something special...

 

Matt

 

Oooh a surprise!! I love surprises!! :D

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