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A Must Have,
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Kenya (Paperback)Don't even think of going to Kenya without this guide. In addition to the fount of information given the author will reply to any e-mail sent him. He also has thousands of posts on Tripadvisor.com and Fodors.com.
Be forewarned. On the last page of the book is the following ".......the most hardened independent travellers suddenly find themselves booking through a travel agent". Kenya is expensive!!!!!!! There are many hundreds of tour operators, lodges and camps. Dozens of parks, reserves and conservancies. You really have to do your homework if you do not want to get fleeced.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 19, 2011 5:12:35 AM PDT
Many thanks for the very kind comments. One point of clarification: the text you quote from the last page is an advert, not my words. Kenya can be expensive, as you say, and you can pay over the odds if you don't choose wisely. But it's perfectly possible to get a good deal, and you don't *have* to book through a travel agent - lots of people travel independently.
Posted on Aug 17, 2012 8:51:11 AM PDT
Melinda J. Irwin says:
Wow you make it sound like booking through a travel agent is an awful experience. As with any profession there are good and bad, and as a travel agent myself I look forward to using the knowledge I have gained over the last 15 years in the business making everyone's vacation memorable and organized whether it's an African Safari or a family beach vacation. Obviously you haven't had the oppportunity to work with a good travel agent!
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 17, 2012 10:12:41 AM PDT
Last count I have been to 60+ countries. At 67 yrs of age I remain an independent who does a tremendous amount of research before I go anywhere. I have traveled solo, with family and with friends. I am their shepherd (travel agent). They never seem to remember names of places, or how we got from one place to the other. At least they do not wear name tags. The catalyst to my post was not to bad mouth T.O.'s but to point out Kenya is extremely challenging to put together a detailed full itinerary transportation, connections, lodging and costs for the otherwise independent traveler(s). On Safari we had our own open sided Land Rover and guide. The bulk of people we met were packed into vans with drivers/guide out of Nairobi who did not know the reserve and were unable to transit places we got to. I dare say most are unaware of the difference between a lodge and a camp. Doing your own research is priceless.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 17, 2012 1:50:19 PM PDT
I agree with you both.
Melinda, I've been a travel agent myself (for STA Travel) and may well be again, and obviously in my work I've had occasion to use the services of many travel agents and operators over the years. I simply wanted to clarify for anyone reading that last page that it's an advert. I don't think the majority of people reading my comment would agree with you that I "make it sound like booking through a travel agent is an awful experience". I agree with you there are good and bad agents. Many people choose to travel in Kenya with one, and many do so without using an agent. With enough research, it's perfectly feasible and safe either way.
Dialist, many thanks again for your feedback - I think there are increasing numbers of smart and experienced travellers helping friends and family to achieve trips they wouldn't tackle on their own. But there are always going to be people who'd rather leave the planning and the itineraries to a good agent. Their call.
Whatever you choose, you can't really do too much advance research.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 17, 2012 3:15:43 PM PDT
Advert or not, Kenya did in deed prove to be the most challenging adventure I have ever put together. It was also perhaps the most rewarding experience my wife and I have ever known. We have toured Europe, Asia, Latin America. We loved the architecture, food, history of those foreign lands. Kenya on Safari is a totally different experience. It is pre Adam & Eve. It is all about life/death, it is sex, it is the balance of nature. It is life staring you in the face. Black & white.
I found the Kenyan people to be perhaps the warmest, friendliest people I have met on this planet. Christ, they apologized if it rained. At no time did we ever feel threatened or insecure.
We spent 28 days in Kenya. We flew rather then spending time on the pot holed, dusty, diesel fumed roads with dare devil drivers. We arrived at our destinations with energy to pursue the next adventure not rattled bones. We totally enjoyed sitting in a small plane behind the pilot, watching the GPS and the landscape below. Landing on a dirt field piloted by a black fKenyan emale was memorable. Being met by real warriors was something Disneyland cannot re-create.
Arrival and departure Nairobi we stayed at Wildebeest Camp. Unbelievably cheap, unbelievable food, fantastic international guests. No Travel Agent lists this as a potential NBO lodging.
The safari was extremely expensive about $800 per nite (It was first class). But then we went to the coast for less the $30/nite lodging. Took the overnight train from NBO to Mombassa. What a great experience at the station, having dinner w/wine, then an excellent breakfast in the morn with fresh brewed coffee.
I could go on and on. Our last days were spent in Lamuu.
In short if you buy an off the rack Kenya experience without doing your homework you can say "been there, done that" but not really.
The west lives in a world of instant gratification. Dial 1-800-###-#### and make your reservation. I suggest you do as explorers, adventurers of old did. Know as much as you can about your destination. Richard Trillo's book is a great start.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2012 1:51:37 AM PDT
Music to my ears Dialist... Glad you had such a fantastic time! It is a very vital, earthy, grounded part of the world.
Glad you liked Wildebeest Camp so much - amazing value.
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