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Kenya Safari Sept 9th - 24th 
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:08 pm Reply with quote
Shazzo1
Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 13
We travelled with Kenya Airways to Nairobi, I have to say, I have travelled with better, but to me its just a means to an end.

We arrived Nairobi at 6.30 am and was met at the Airport by a Somak rep, who then bussed us out to the Somak lounge, so we were able to freshen up (shower) and a well needed Cuppa, we dropped off our luggage for our weeks Beach Holiday and around 9am we all met our Drivers for the next week, His name was Douglas on our vehicle we had another couple Jayne & Martin who also was celebrating their 30th Wedding Anniversary, and an elderly lady who always holidayed alone Sad she was lovely - Hazel, and there was Hubby, me and Daughter.

So off we went on our first of many 4hrs+ journeys across sometimes rough terrain Shocked Our first stop was the Outspan Hotel in Aberdares, we arrived around 1pm just in time for our lunch, and a well earned rest.



The Hotel was where Lord and Lady Baden Powell spent their last years, their bedroom, has now been turned into a museum.

This is the back of the Hotel - our room is the one with the door open, the room was massive, enough room for a King Sized Bed, a Single bed and a 3 piece suite, it had an open fireplace, and still had enough room to have had a disco with room to dance Shocked


Next morning at 7 am we were back on our bus for our next 6hr + journey to Samburu, we were staying at Ashnil Samburu camp, which I have to say was my favourite - we arrived around 1pm just in time for lunch, and to sort out our camera equipment before our first game drive.

We had our first encounter with the wildlife here, all the Tents were along the riverbank, and as we were sitting on the terrace before our gamedrive, I could see just in the distance, just on the riverbend what looked like a grey mist, so out came the binoculars and to my horror it was hundreds upon hundreds of Baboons heading our way, I called Pete and Jayne to come look, and he told me not to worry, as there was an Electric fence around the perimeter of the camp Laughing

Well all I can say is they hadnt told the Baboons Shocked


They were all shapes and sizes, but luckily they didnt try to come on the terrace, infact they ignored us, it was the little vervet monkeys that were the sneaky thieves, and there was plenty of them in and around the camp, breakfast time was amusing, whilst the staff were clearing tables, the cheeky little devils were pinching the packets of sugar off the table.

So off on our first Gamedrive, we saw most of the big 5 over our first two days - Elephant, Lion, Leopard:

I want one - he looks cute enough to cuddle



The terrain in Samburu was very arid and he/she looks like they could do with a good feed



We were on our way back to camp after our drive, when Douglas had a message over the radio, in a flash he turned the bus round, and we were dashing across the rubbled terrain, and he had received word that a Cheetah was on the move



The next day was our 30th Wedding Anniversary, so we started early 6.30 with a morning gamedrive, then back for our breakfast, the rest of our group went out mid morning to a Samburu village, but Jayne had booked us in for a Massage, so we stayed behind and watched the wildlife around the camp, we had a herd of elephants visit us



And watched the many types of birds that were trying to pinch the biscuits that were out for the guests



That evening Jayne had organised us a Bush Dinner for our Anniversary, it was amazing, and we were escorted by a Samburu warrior, who gave us a very informative insight into his life in Samburu, it would make your toes curl especially the guys Shocked They made us an Anniversary cake, and they did a song and dance for us around the table - Manager, Chef, Waitresses, Security guard Laughing and of course Pete the Samburu warrior.



Next morning we were up at around 5.30am ready to be on the road around 7am to head back to Aberdares and Mountain lodge.

Mountain Lodge was not one of my favourite places, we were 9000ft above sea level, and the altitude affected me really badly, I just thought it was caused through my blood pressure, I just couldnt breathe, as there was less oxygen in the air, on returning to the UK, I have found that Altitude sickness is an illness on its own, and can be serious - I suppose ignorance is bliss, I spent most of my time (Luckily only there for one night), in the bedroom lying down, I felt like my head was going to burst.

This hotel was made of wood and arked around a watering hole, we saw more Warthog and Buffalo another of the Big 5



They provided us with Hot Water Bottles in the evening as it was very cold being that high up.

I was glad the next day when we left and started our descent into the Great Rift Valley.

Next stop was Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru.

Lake Naivasha is famous for the Pink Flamingoes, it was a very nice park, although I did feel that it was heavily managed, the animals still ran freely, and I would imagine still hunted, but you just got that feel that it was just a very big oversized Safari Park with lots of trees, plenty of foliage (which was good), here we saw the last of our Big 5 - Rhino - see if you can spot the bird on his head (just above his 2nd horn)



I had quite a hairaising experience here, we were taken up to a look out point, so we could take some pics of the lake below, so I was standing in this look out point, when I heard a commotion behind me, well when you are looking through a viewfinder, you seem to be oblivious to everything else, so when I moved my eye away, and turned to my left, he was less than 2 foot away from me Shocked This shot was taken by my Daughter, because at this point I had made a sharp exit Laughing all I could hear in my head was my Dad saying to me - they carry disease.



I do have one of him sitting there having a wee, but I thought I would spare you from that, It was actually a Picnic area and they came to see if they could get some scraps, not off me he couldnt, I`ve seen programmes with these monkeys and I know what they are capable of, so I kept my distance, everyone was laughing at me.

Flamingoes in flight



We travelled further on down back to the lake, and came across these bundles of fun, with their mothers, I cannot describe the scene, but we were in a bus with all the windows open and the roof, and the grassy bank on either side which was higher than the road, infact the bank was in line with the window of the bus and at one point a lioness walked passed the window less than 1 foot away from me, its not till after, you realise that she could easily have jumped in the bus Shocked



I`ll just keep an eye on you, just in case you try to pinch one Smile



Then onto Lake Nakuru to see the Hippos, we were on the lake only feet away from them



We stayed at Lake Naivasha Simba Lodge overnight, it was set in a wooded area where the Deer walked freely along with the odd monkey.



Up early on Thursday morning for the last trek of our Safari onwards to Masai Mara, we travelled for 3 hours solid across rubble, I think everyone had a headache by the time we had our stop at our umpteenth Curio shop of the holiday - they are another story.

On our way we stopped off at a Masai village, as I had taken gifts for the children, books, pens, calculators, rubbers, rulers, pencil sharpeners and socks - white socks !! well on advise of websites they requested sports socks, let me set the scene - these camps are built in a circle, and in the middle of the circle they keep their cattle - and what do cattle do, yes you get the picture, and so did most of us on the bus when they stepped in it, thankfully I managed to keep out of it, I dont know how though, all I can say is I didnt enjoy the experience of the visit, at times I did feel intimidated by the men, dancing inches away from your face, and the stench of the houses made of cow dung was pungent, it stayed with me for days, but i wouldnt have missed the looks on the kids faces, when they started handing out the gifts

The higher they jump depends on how many girlfriends they can have



The Children waiting for their gifts



One little boy pleased with his gift



Inside a Dung Hut with the Chiefs Son



Then off to our last destination Ashnil Mara, a very nice camp again set on a riverbank, however I much preferred the Samburu camp.

Just a collection of the animals we saw on our gamedrives, we were there in the middle of the Wildebeast migration, and Douglas informed us that Lions just killed for fun at this time of year, as food was in abundance

This was one of 3 Lionesses stalking a field of Wildebeast, luckily we missed the Kill although we did pass through on our way back, and they were all on the side of the riverbank tucking in to it









This poor Deer was just feet away from them, I tried to tell it to run, as they were feasting on the Wildebeast, it was like a Rabbit that was stuck in headlights







My Favourite shot of the holiday



Fish Eagle



The next day we were up at 4 am ready for our Balloon Safari, It was an experience, we saw the Sunrise, and could see the vast space of the Masai Mara as far as the eye could see, but as for animals, we didnt see anymore than what we saw on our gamedrives, so I`ve done it now, and probably wouldnt spend the money on it again





When we landed, we were served a Champagne breakfast, and then headed back to camp, on our way back we stumbled across a Lioness with her 3 cubs sleeping under a bush



When we arrived back at camp, we just had time for a toilet visit, and then we were back out on an all day gamedrive 10am - 6pm (our last), not going to bore you further with animal photos, just a couple, on our way back to camp in the evening, we chanced again across the Lioness with her cubs, she had since made a kill and dragged the Wildebeast into the bush for the cubs to eat, I havent posted the graphic ones you`ll be pleased to know, mother has to make the first incision, as their jaws are still not strong enough



We stayed for about 30 mins watching their antics, and when they had finished, they found Mom for a cuddle and a drink



So that`s the end of the Safari what a week we have had, to say I wasnt looking forward to it, all my fears were shattered, and I really enjoyed it.

Next day, on our way back to Nairobi to get the flight to Mombasa, just outside the camp gates we came across this sight, and what a way to finish the week.



The Gang at one of the many Curio shops we had frequented during our week



A weaver bird



We arrived at The Voyager Hotel Mombasa about 9pm on 17th, first impressions Wow, however they slipped slightly over the week, its unfair of me to say I didnt like the hotel, because it was and is a lovely hotel, but it just didnt live up to my expectations.



The first disappointment was they put Jayne in our Superior Pool view room, and they put us in her standard Garden view room - which we named the cupboard, we hadnít the heart to uproot her, and we are used to having nice holidays, she doesnít (only when Mom & Dad pay).





And the view from our room



The people and staff were lovely, friendly and couldnít do enough for you, and the rooms, toilets, hotel and grounds were spotless, however, It was rather a large hotel and that meant lots of people, and I suppose thatís where Meeru spoils you, I like my own space, and like the quietness that Meeru offers, weather was the same as Meeru Hot Hot Hot.

Pete had a few nasty Mosquito bites whilst we were there, this one being worse than the rest, at one point he thought he would have to have his ring cut off Shocked



The Hotel is based on a ship, and each day you docked at a different country, Portugal, Libya, Mexico, Hawaii & Canada were just a few, the food offered in the Restaurant reflected the countries - all I can say is they must all have Curry as this was offered every night, I was not impressed with the food, in fact we ate better on Safari than in the Hotel, again you should not compare, but considering that this was supposed to be a 4* hotel, and Meeru is a 3* you would think it would come up to some sort of expectations, but it did fall a little short, there were times when we arrived at the Restaurant, and were seated at tables that were not laid, or tables that had dirty table cloths - yes it was noted on the questionnaire when I left.



We spent our evenings around the quiet bar, simply because we donít do entertainment, and like to have a quiet drink, rather than shouting to make yourselves heard, also we met a couple that were on Honeymoon that I work with, so we sat with them most nights, I`m sure the shows that the Animation team put on were of good standard, as we did see them practising during the day.





All good things must come to an end............





Thanks for reading Smile

You can view all the Pics here:

https://picasaweb.google.com/104122644851180726884/KenyaSafari2011?authuser=0&feat=directlink

https://picasaweb.google.com/104122644851180726884/Samburu110911?authuser=0&feat=directlink

https://picasaweb.google.com/104122644851180726884/MountainLodge130911?authuser=0&feat=directlink

https://picasaweb.google.com/104122644851180726884/LakeNaivasha140911?authuser=0&feat=directlink

https://picasaweb.google.com/104122644851180726884/MasaiMara15091102?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMX2u8mUkNaYAw&feat=directlink

https://picasaweb.google.com/104122644851180726884/MasaiMara150911?authuser=0&feat=directlink


Last edited by Shazzo1 on Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:36 pm Reply with quote
ivorfatarse
Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 795
Some cracking photos, you were really lucky with the amount of wildlife.The shot of the leopard is amazing.We went in 2001 also with somak and our driver got into trouble trying to find a leopard at nakuru he stayed out after sunset which they were not allowed to do!!Did you get to ali barbours restaurant? The steaks in there are top notch. I must say i felt my holiday finished when we left Nelson our driver for the trip to the hotel for the beach stay much preferred the safari. Thanks for taking the time to bring some fond memories back!!

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:56 pm Reply with quote
Shazzo1
Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 13
ivorfatarse wrote:
Some cracking photos, you were really lucky with the amount of wildlife.The shot of the leopard is amazing.We went in 2001 also with somak and our driver got into trouble trying to find a leopard at nakuru he stayed out after sunset which they were not allowed to do!!Did you get to ali barbours restaurant? The steaks in there are top notch. I must say i felt my holiday finished when we left Nelson our driver for the trip to the hotel for the beach stay much preferred the safari. Thanks for taking the time to bring some fond memories back!!


Yes you are supposed to be back at camp for 6.30pm, we cut it really short the day we went racing across Samburu to find the Cheetah. No we didnt get to Ali Barbours.

And I agree, I felt our holiday was over when we left Douglas at the Lounge, we much preferred the Safari and to say I was looking forward to the week at the beach more........

Next time, If there is a next time, I will see about doing a week Safari, and a week in the Maldives seeing as it is so close.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:55 pm Reply with quote
Pauline10253
Joined: 12 Dec 2005
Posts: 707
What a brilliant report

We went Dec2002 i had also been a few years earlier with my ex

The 1st time we visited Tsavo and did not see any cats. on the second trip we saw everything execpt Rhino.

My favorite place was when we stopped at Tree Tops for the night.
You are so lucky to see all the five at close quarter.

What stands out apart from the animals, was crossing the equator with the bucket of water and the stick being straight and then move it to the left and right and watching it rotate the different ways.

Also as you said the many curio shops, the masi village which i felt was slightly commericalized. We took one step into one of the huts and quickly retreated.

I think the one think that will stay in my mind was when driving along the rough roads is seeing a pothole coming and bracing yourself for the bump. I think our driver was rally driving.

Like you the beach holiday was ok but when you have been to Meeru its a hard act to follow, and i did not like the husle and bussle of the hotel at tutrle Bay.

I have often thought about going back but the maldives always pulls me.

Thanks again for the report amd phots

Pauline
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:18 pm Reply with quote
Shazzo1
Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 13
Pauline10253 wrote:
What a brilliant report

We went Dec2002 i had also been a few years earlier with my ex

The 1st time we visited Tsavo and did not see any cats. on the second trip we saw everything execpt Rhino.

My favorite place was when we stopped at Tree Tops for the night.
You are so lucky to see all the five at close quarter.

What stands out apart from the animals, was crossing the equator with the bucket of water and the stick being straight and then move it to the left and right and watching it rotate the different ways.

Also as you said the many curio shops, the masi village which i felt was slightly commericalized. We took one step into one of the huts and quickly retreated.

I think the one think that will stay in my mind was when driving along the rough roads is seeing a pothole coming and bracing yourself for the bump. I think our driver was rally driving.

Like you the beach holiday was ok but when you have been to Meeru its a hard act to follow, and i did not like the husle and bussle of the hotel at tutrle Bay.

I have often thought about going back but the maldives always pulls me.

Thanks again for the report amd phots

Pauline


Thanks Pauline.

Yes we too stopped off at the Equator and witnessed the water and the matchstick, it was just amazing.

I wanted to stay at Treetops, but it was closed for renovation........so perhaps we`ll do that next time.

Next time I want to start at Tsavo, they reckon there are more Elephants in Tsavo, we were speaking to a couple who were on their 13th year, I dont think that a Safari each year comes up to likes of wanting to return to Meeru for 13 yrs.........no comparison in my eyes.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:12 pm Reply with quote
helen m
Joined: 30 Oct 2005
Posts: 633
Location: Liverpool
Thanks for a great report.
Your photos are fantastic-you were so lucky to see so much.
Thanks for sharing Very Happy

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:44 am Reply with quote
Shazzo1
Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 13
Thanks Helen - we had a wonderful time.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:56 pm Reply with quote
littlelef
Joined: 20 Feb 2009
Posts: 58
Location: Exeter, Devon
What a wonderful report and your photos are amazing!

I would love to go on safari to Kenya - my husband isnt so keen - think I will have to try to convince him by using your trip report!!!

In meantime we are off to Meeru again in Feb 2012!

Thanks again for a lovely read!

Heidi
x Very Happy

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:45 pm Reply with quote
Shazzo1
Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 13
littlelef wrote:
What a wonderful report and your photos are amazing!

I would love to go on safari to Kenya - my husband isnt so keen - think I will have to try to convince him by using your trip report!!!

In meantime we are off to Meeru again in Feb 2012!

Thanks again for a lovely read!

Heidi
x Very Happy


I was the same Heidi, it just wasnt my kind of holiday, and I had convinced myself I wasnt going to enjoy it - but I did, and I certainly would do it again, although not next year but in the future.

In the meantime, I cannot make my mind up for next year, there are so many other places to visit, and we have been to Meeru 2 years running now, so I am undecided whether to do a 3rd yr or try another Island, or even another Continent, or Country, we quite fancy Singapore.......so the dilemma continues, but one thing is certain - I will or should I say, we will be back on Meeru at some point.

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Sharon
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Kenya Safari Sept 9th - 24th 
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