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Kenya: The pristine beauty of nature would make a believer of you, yet....


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We had recently installed a home theatre in our house and it was during the beginning of May this year when we happened to watch the old John Wayne film "Hatari". While watching the film and seeing the unspoilt, vast expanse of land as well as the wonderful animals; we decided that we should go to Kenya, and particularly the Mara National park, for our annual holiday during July/August. Our son was visiting us from the US after taking a break and we thought that it would be perfect to have a family vacation. Our daughter who lives in Chennai readily accepted. Thanks to the helpful reviews and experts that we could in a short time plan our trip.




Remember, the famed "migration" happens during end July/August beginning ( more or less) and we were anxious not to miss it. So did a couple of thousand people around the world, it seems! It is the busiest season in Kenya for wild life viewing in the Mara. Any way, thanks to the experts in various forum; we decided on a 9 day trip only to Kenya since combining Tanzania and Kenya would not allow us to do justice to either country. Our Itinerary was to spend two days at the Ol Pajeta conservatory, a night at the famed "Ark" in Aberdare National Park, 3 days in the Mara and then on to Amboseli for 2 days; while spending a couple of days at Nairobi to rest between game parks and on the final day.




We arrived at Nairobi airport early morning from Mumbai and were met by our travel agent after immigration and customs. (Be prepared to wait at least an hour to clear immigration) After breakfast and freshing up at the nearby Panari Hotel; we drove down to Sweetwaters tented camp some 250 kms away. (see my review on Sweetwaters) Wild life viewing was great here. In the morning of the next day at around 6:30 am when we came out of the gate of the camp, we were greeted by 3 lions majestically sitting and looking towards us!! i managed to get some excellent shots with my 600 mm. a perfect start to a wonderful holiday!




The next night was spent in Mount Kenya safari club, a country club reminiscent of the colonial era. (see my review on this club) We transferred to the Ark the next evening after enjoying lunch at The Aberdare Country Club.


The Ark was disappointing. Maybe we expected too much. Maybe it was over marketed. Maybe it was due to over crowding and the incessant chatter and bored children. (actually children below 7 years are not allowed in the Ark, but maybe hard times have made the management make exceptions) The buffet both at tea and dinner was crowded, the food ran out, replenishment took ages and the staff looked harried and sullen. Must not be easy- Managing a crowd of probably more than 240 people along with 2 dozen children in a small confined space. To compound our woes, the fog rolled in at around 9 pm, effectively ruling out any game viewing at the waterhole.




We had done the wise thing and took a flight to the Mara, which allowed us to be comparatively relaxed and fresh when we arrived there. This was the tour highlight and i would not mind visiting this heavenly place again. Truly one of God's creations yet unspoilt by man! We were lucky to have a Masai as our driver and guide and had requested a separate vehicle for ourselves. This was more from the concern not to impose my photographic equipment and urges to others, rather than be unsocial! I had lugged about 13 kgs of equipment for the trip and needed space to keep them in the jeep. Secondly, it would not have been fair to make others wait indeterminably for the lion to yawn ( so that i could capture that moment), while it seemed a couple of minutes to my newly acquired creative instincts. I got my best shots here, including those of lion, leopard, cheetah, giraffe, and of course the teeming wildebeest, gazelle, etc. (see my review of the Fairmont mara Safari Club)




We took a plane back to Nairobi and after a night's rest drove down to Amboseli national Park to view the elephants and the shy mountain- Mount Kilimanjaro. ( see my review of Serena Safari Lodge) After Mara, Amboseli is a bit of a dampener, except for the elephants. It is extremely dusty due to the volcanic ash deposited by the eruption about 200 years back. We should have done Amboseli in the earlier part of the trip and saved the Mara for the end. Mount Kilimianjaro did not show its face for 2 days and on the last day when we had all but given up, there she was... in all her crowning glory! Just for 10 minutes or so, but we saw her!


It was back to Nairobi and some shopping and then headed for home.




All in all, it was a wonderful holiday, allowing for some quality interaction with family, understanding the depth of God's creations and some inspiring ideas.










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Hey Eartian, you made it! Welcome to the forum and thank you for taking up my invite to share your report and pics with us here at ST.


Great start :)

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Agreed! This is the way to introduce yourself. Welcome to Safaritalk @Eathian. Enjoyed your report and pictures.

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Thank you, Super, Pault, and Rainbirder. What a warm welcome. Look forward to more interaction.

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Beautiful photos - and welcome to Safaritalk!

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Nice juvenile (?) hyena!


Another warm welcome to ST, @@Earthian - thank you for sharing.

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Great photos @@Earthian, I love the Hyena shot especially and thanks for posting a great trip report, welcome to ST :D

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