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Back from my first ever safari. Thank you all!


californiagal1017
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Just got back yesterday from our first safari to Kenya and it ROCKED!! And you all were so helpful in the planning process, a BIG shout of heartfelt thanks all the way from Southern California!

I just need a few days to get over jet lag and get some work done but will post a detailed trip report soon. For starters:

I took my 2 kids(10 & 8) and we stayed 2 nights in Macushla at the beginning.

3 Nights at Kicheche Laikipia ( flew safari link Wilson to Nanyuki)
3 Nights at Sabuk ( 3.5 hour drive from Kicheche on bad roads)
2 Nights Elephant bedroom camp, Samburu ( Tropic air charter)
3 N Kicheche Bush camp, Olare orok conservancy (safarilink flight to Ol Kiombo)

Afternoon flight back to Wilson for late night departure back home.

Planned the trip with Enchanting Africa which is based in Nairobi and they were fantastic. Except for one game drive in Samburu we had our own private vehicle the whole time.

November travel was great, hardly had any rains except for a couple of hours of thunderstorm one afternoon in the Mara. But wouldn't have traded that African storm experience with anything, it truly was a sight!!

More to follow....

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Great!!! Can hardly wait to hear all about it ............

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And I bet you won't want it to be your last safari, especially since the weather stayed good for you. Look forward to hearing about it - It'll be interesting to hear how these places were for the kids too. Did the "beach bums" use the pool?

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Great! Can't wait to read the report. had I known you were going to Kicheche Laikipia and Bush camp, I would have sent you with a prank for Andy and Sonja, and Darren and Emma. Maybe some strange dietary requirement that you spring on them during the briefing. I used to work with them.

 

I hope they're all well! And glad to hear you had a good trip. now we need details.

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Welcome back, looking forward to reading the details and seeing the pics :)

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Welcome back, so glad that you had a good time.

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It's 1am and since I can't sleep anyway might as well do something useful....

 

I won't bore you all with packing lists etc but must say that we looked like clowns with each of us carrying just a gym bag kind of thing and a backpack. Others we saw had everything from suitcases to even those trunk kind of cases Karen Blixen might have used..:-)

 

Macushla House was a lovely haven and food was fantastic. It's poor on room lighting(forget about reading a book) and shower pressure(good intro to those bush showers) but I would stay here again. Did the usual Sheldricks and Giraffe centre but highlight for my family was the Mambo village.. The kids really enjoyed holding baby crocs, tortoises etc. it was very kid friendly and with hardly anyone else around it was a good leisurely way to spend the afternoon. And the extremely friendly reticulated giraffe here put the Rothschild giraffes at GC to shame!!!!

 

Absolutely loved Kicheche Laikipia!! Andy & Sonja were great and I would have been happy doing nothing but eat Sonja's food. Our guide was Jackson a Bronze level guide and he was excellent. And because of low capacity I guess we had our own private vehicle for the whole time which was great.

 

A CAVEAT, I like animals but didn't know dikdiks were animals before I started researching this trip. And much to my kids disgust I still have trouble sometimes telling the difference between Thomson and Grant Gazelles!!

 

My kids requisites for this trip were:

1.see the Big 5

2. Must see a cheetah running

3. Can't leave Kenya without seeing Atleast one Kill. What can I say...I raised kids who are beach bums AND monsters!!

 

We saw all the Big 5. Except leopard. We even went on a night drive but no luck.

I remember reading Pault's report on his stay at Kicheche and his wonderful photographs and was very thrilled when we got to see the Cheetah brothers too. And we were also lucky enough to see a Cheetah and her cub attempt to get a gazelle but the poor kid was a little too enthusiastic and was spotted too quickly. Live and Learn!!

 

And never realized how lazy those lions can be. Spent all that money and travelled thousands of miles and spent an hour waiting for a pride of 8 lions to wake up but no luck. And they were even blocking the road.....:-P

 

We had Andy(silver) for one of the game drives and he was great too. Obviously very knowledgeable and a photography fanatic so a mine of information. I still preferred Jackson though, not as much for his guiding skills but for his attitude towards kids.

 

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Pault, the kids used the plunge pool at elephant bedroom in Samburu but only because it was soooo hot!! Didn't even ask to get into the one at Macushla and I think the obligatory 5 min they spent in the Sabuk pool was more for my benefit than theirs....

 

Armchair bushman, so bummed I didn't drop a note here before leaving. Would have loved to hear about the pranks.

Darren & Emma were on vacation when we were there so we were looked after by Cat who is the manager at Kicheche Mara camp. She was great too.

But 10 days prior to our trip, Darren dropped me a line to let me know that he and Emma were not going to be there but we'd be we'll looked after, how sweet is that!

 

ZaminOz, you've got to be kidding me if you think I'm going to post my photos here among all the pros. Didn't get past using the AUTO setting on my SLR but extremely proud to announce that thanks to Andy at Kicheche I did attempt a couple on Aperture setting!!!

 

Twaffle, I showed my 8 y.o daughter your childish trip report pictures before we left and also watched Gods must be crazy one day. Poor thing was disappointed to see that there are no more topless women and loin clothed men in Africa!

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"ZaminOz, you've got to be kidding me if you think I'm going to post my photos here among all the pros. Didn't get past using the AUTO setting on my SLR but extremely proud to announce that thanks to Andy at Kicheche I did attempt a couple on Aperture setting!!!"

 

 

 

Don’t be shy; it’s all about sharing the experience not competing on photo quality and we would love to see them. No one will judge or criticize and I bet they are a lot better than you give yourself credit for. Also, did you see many rhino in Laikapia?

 

Cheers from the east coast.

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Glad you had a great trip! :)

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Echoing the others - we like nothing as much as we like TRs, so looking forward to reading and admiring whatever you choose to share.

 

Like you, I am petrified of posting photos here, but when I finally did pluck up the courage, all the pros here were very, very kind and unlike you, I didn't get beyond P mode ever!

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if I can put my photos on so can you, no photos means poor trip report, no excuses please, good or bad get them on and if you want the clever photographers on here, of which there are many, will give you tips which will prove most useful next time you go and believe me there will be a next time!!!!

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Alright, let's see if this works

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Yay....I did it!! And now you will rue the day you asked me to post pics.

 

While staying at Kicheche we also visited the Chimp sanctuary and Rhino reserve. The chimps came out for a few minutes and disappeared so it was a pretty quick visit. It was a little disconcerting to see several rhinos without their horns but can understand why they feel the need to do it.

 

A highlight of our stay in Laikipia was the walking safari we did with Kicheche Manager Andy. It was a nice change from the usual game vehicle adventures and Andy made it extremely interesting for the little ones. Their favourite part: poop identification.

 

Which animal has white poop.....?

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Just caught up with your thread.

 

We have another convert to the wide open plains of Africa and it's wildlife. :D

 

Glad it was so great and................. when is the next trip?. It am sure that this will not be 'a once in a life time only trip', even if you do have to wait a few years. Your enthusiasm shines through and the children must have loved it too.

 

Your images are great, we are not all experts in photography (including me) but neverthelees you got some great shots- love the nuzzling lions..............and just seeing them makes us all jealous that we were not with you.

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There you go, nothing wrong with those. They are your memories. In fact, my pics are so bad, I'll probably not even take a camera next time, just a pair of binos. Thanks for taking the time. Now, you need the trip planning subforum for your next trip :)

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Our next destination was Sabuk in Northern Laikipia. It was a 3 hour very bumpy ride from Nanyuki. Not much wildlife here, some elephants, zebras, water bucks, rock hyrax etc. Wild dogs were spotted pretty regularly but were missing during our stay there.

This was our chance to do something off the beaten safari track: camel riding, river swimming,fishing etc.

 

The manager of Sabuk, Verity Williams was I think the first female guide in Africa but she was away for a trade show so our hosts were Nicky and Tim who at times even host at Sarara I think. They were a delightful couple and we couldn't have asked for better hosts. I highly recommend Sabuk for a slightly different African experience.

 

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:D Well, you didn't take much convincing to post your photos! Good. Great to see those cheetahs and Andy guiding you on a walk in wellies. We never got to wear the wellies while we were there. I also like the rhino party - if you'd gone a little to the right you could have got Mount Kenya in the background,no? Or perhaps it was hidden by clouds anyway.

 

The Sabuk rooms are completely open?

 

Taking photographs from the back of a camel is challenging.

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Dont you dare say you cant take photos, they are great, I wish mine were half as good. I would also like to know if the Sabuk rooms are completely open!!

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Thank you everyone for the kind words :)

 

I promise I will finish my trip report soon but meanwhile to answer your question: Yes, Sabuk rooms are completely open on one side. It also has a starbed on one side which I did use one day. The bath area is open too. It was great sleeping with the view of the hills and sound of the river right below.

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Thanks for sharing the report and the pictures. Like everyone said, it doesn't matter what the picture quality or framing is, as long as we get to see some WILDLIFE :)

Sucks that you didn't get to see a Leopard. Wait till your kids see one in the wild, and their requisites would just stop at that!

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Nice Job - on report and pics.....I love Kenya and it brought back precious memoires. I came by today to read up on how to load my pics..hopefully as well as you....Now I want to go back to Kenya....darn....where is my lottery win!

 

It does seem everyone takes all pics amateur and professional with the same enthusiasm!

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"ZaminOz, you've got to be kidding me if you think I'm going to post my photos here among all the pros. Didn't get past using the AUTO setting on my SLR but extremely proud to announce that thanks to Andy at Kicheche I did attempt a couple on Aperture setting!!!"

 

 

 

Don’t be shy; it’s all about sharing the experience not competing on photo quality and we would love to see them. No one will judge or criticize and I bet they are a lot better than you give yourself credit for. Also, did you see many rhino in Laikapia?

 

Cheers from the east coast.

I agree californiagal. don't be put off. Although I am notoriously slow at putting mine up, I will do so, even though they are nowhere near the quality that some others here have. But the good photos that I enjoy seeing here just inspire me to try and be better with mine!

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I would love to hear more about what your kids thought about Sabuk. Any special activities that they really enjoyed here compared to regular game drives elsewhere? Have they come back converts too? Love to see that when it happens :)

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