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Old 09-28-2011, 01:07 AM   #1
The Drifter
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Going to Kenya in Feb.

I am part of a group that helps orphans in Africa, Me and my wife have been talking back and forth, and we have decided that we are going to try and go to Kenya, Africa for at least two weeks in Feb.
Has anyone been to this part of the globe? What can we expect, and what can we see and do during our time off?
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Old 09-28-2011, 07:44 AM   #2
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Yes. And it depends on roughly where in Kenya you are. Details please.
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Old 09-28-2011, 08:22 AM   #3
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Had a girlfriend from Kenya, steer clear of Mount Elgon if you can!
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Old 09-28-2011, 08:30 AM   #4
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Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania is a popular add on to Kenya trips. Right next door, and filled with wildlife. (I'm guessing you'll be right there, as Serengeti National Park is is both countries, and Ngorongoro Crater is just outside of the park.) My wife and I went on a four or five day safari in Tanzania. Part of that trip was a jaunt down into the crater.

If you go on a camping safari, be prepared for hours of bumping along waiting to see something great. (Well worth it, by the way, but you have to be prepared for the waiting. It's not like going to Disney's Animal Kingdom.)

But down in the crater, the wildlife is abundant. Elephants, rhinos, lions practically everywhere you turn.

I've also been on day-trip safaris in South Africa. You can pack a dozen or more people in the big truck. Paved roads and a couple of hours of driving. You see lots of wildlife in the game parks, but it's not like the experience of a camping safari with a guide/driver and cook. You're in a Land Cruiser or something similar, perhaps with another couple. And the companies have all the gear you need, including sleeping bags. They set up and break down the tents, do all the cooking, etc. Lifetime memories.

Let me also suggest taking as much as you can for the kids you're going to see. Little toys, stuffed animals, candy bars, t-shirts and other clothes. The kids have so very little that I've seen them thrilled to get a broken McDonalds toy. (Personally, I go for better toys than that, but they're happy to have anything.) Most only have one set of clothes. So take donations from friends, family, and church before you go. Maybe go to a thrift store. I've gotten bags of Matchbox cars for a few dollars. AND, max out your pieces of luggage. You'll want to buy more masks, statues, carvings, and other souvenirs than you can imagine. Cheap prices, you're helping local craftsmen, and you'll have plenty of Christmas gifts for people back home.

Have a great trip!!
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:58 PM   #5
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AND, max out your pieces of luggage. You'll want to buy more masks, statues, carvings, and other souvenirs than you can imagine. Cheap prices, you're helping local craftsmen, and you'll have plenty of Christmas gifts for people back home.
Good advice, Goodeknight. Another alternative is to mail things back to your home address which is what a friend of mine did with some shields and several spears.

A couple of friends of mine have been to both Kenya and Tanzania (one of them went last year) and each of them said that, apart from a safari of course, visiting a Masai village was a highlight. If you're into mountains, you can also check out Mt. Kilimanjaro on the Tanzanian border. It's the highest mountain in Africa.

Drifter, I will be very jealous if you manage to go!
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Old 09-28-2011, 01:03 PM   #6
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Thanks for that information Goodeknight! The camping safari sounds wonderful and and really something we'd love to do! We plan on bringing those kids a lot of treats. They're also really into soccer and we're gonna try to find something related to that as well.
We'll be arriving in Nairobi and staying there for a day and traveling to Bungoma to the orphanage.
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:15 AM   #7
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They're also really into soccer and we're gonna try to find something related to that as well.

Very true. Check out this story. Orphan's Promise builds a new children's home in Sierra Leone. Very nice place, but the standout moment is at the very end when the kids get a new soccer ball. For them the soccer ball out shined the new building!



So if you can swing it, I might suggest a bunch of deflated soccer balls and a matching number of little hand pumps.
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Old 09-30-2011, 05:13 AM   #8
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There's some good advice here. I hope you find it useful for what is, I hope for you, a fantastic trip!

To this list I would like to add my standard bit of advice: Leave all electronic -- iPods, laptops, cell phones, etc -- devices safely stored back at home. You don't need them. Some people have taken this as some sort of safety warning, but the reasoning is more prosaic -- you're in someplace new and unfamiliar; you'll want to experience it with all five of your sense. No need to pollute your ears with the familiar when you're trying to discern where that lion's roar is coming from.

The word "safari", in Swahili, means "journey"; it has nothing to do with animals. Someone "on safari" is away and unobtainable and out of touch.

Two weeks is too short in my opinion. With the amount of wildlife activity going on, you could fill up two weeks without breaking a sweat. I'm going to suggest four-to-six weeks to a.) fulfill some of your dreams while this trip and b.) provide slightly more than a cursory impact on these orphans' lives.

I'll second the thought of bringing gifts. In my brief time in Kenya, the people were just as interested in where I came from. I'd suggest bringing some pictures of your home area to show off what life is like. You can compare and contrast, and be prepared to answer dozens of questions.

I was going to recommend The Carnivore in Nairobi, but it's now against Kenyan law to eat game. South Africa doesn't yet have this concern, but that's a different story. The most exotic thing you'll find nowadays -- from what I've read -- is ostrich. Gone are the days of impala, antelope, crocodile, etc.

Everything goodeknight mentioned, I agree with. To that I would add: day & truck safaris suck. They amount to so many trucks & guides swooping from water hole to water hole attempting to get you the quickest views of the Big Five. It's not uncommon for fifteen trucks to be parked around any given waterhole.

Do the camping safari. I'd tell you to look into a horseback safari -- I did one in the Okavango Delta -- but I don't think they have them in Kenya. Too many big cats, and it's forbidden to get out of the truck because of this. Still, it might be worth looking into.

And while they're no specific dates, you'll be arriving smack dab in the middle of calving season. There's bound to be scads of animals about. Be sure to ask the difference between a reticulated and maasai giraffe.

I am, unfortunately, unfamiliar with Bungoma. I was glancing at my map, so I know it's in Eastern Kenya, but that's about it. The good thing, however, is it's very near to Uganda. Uganda, as you might know, is prime gorilla viewing territory. The city of Jinja, on the banks of Lake Victoria, has some spectacular whitewater rafting on the White Nile.

There are far cheaper local operators out there, but I have always wanted to try out Abercrombie & Kent's Mobile Camping Safari. Then check out the prices to see why I've never tried them out! I could spend six months on the continent for that kind of money.
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Old 09-30-2011, 01:52 PM   #9
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Great advice all around, Saboteur. And a fascinating tidbit about the word "safari." That will work its way into my conversations for years to come.
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