African Safari with Expedia and Dave & Deb, ThePlanetD
An African Safari with Dave & Deb, ThePlanetD
We recently sent travel bloggers Dave & Deb of ThePlanetD on a trip of a lifetime to Kenya on an African safari. Read their full report below:
An African safari is a dream trip for many people, but sometimes it can be overwhelming when trying to decide how to plan it. Africa is a big continent and there are many places that a person can view big game. So how do you choose? One of the best places to start is Kenya. It’s where our safari vacation began. Step into history where early colonials gathered, epic stories were written, and a country was born. The Norfolk Fairmont Hotel is a stepping-off point for safaris in Kenya and has been the gathering place in Nairobi since 1904, just five years after the city was founded. We had the chance to relax and enjoy the hotel’s tranquility before and after our safari and it is a great introduction to the country. Just a short walk from city centre, the Norfolk Fairmont is convenient to vibrant nightlife, making it easy to get back for drinks at the Cin Cin Wine Bar before retiring to your luxury room overlooking the gardens.
But we’re here to talk about safaris. When visiting Africa, you can’t leave without taking a trip to view the wildlife. The big game hunting days are over and now tourists come armed with long lenses and binoculars to hunt for snapshots of the most magnificent creatures on the planet.
The first stop that should be on anyone’s list when going on safari is the Masai Mara. It is on these plains that the Great Migration happens each year. Two million animals migrate from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Masai Mara every July to October facing dangerous predators. It is a spectacle to see. However, you don’t have to visit the Masai Mara during the migration to enjoy the reserve. It is home to one of the densest big cat populations in Africa and no matter what time of year, you’ll have a chance of seeing all the African wildlife, including lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos and rhinos, aka The Big 5.
If you have your heart set on seeing a rhino, Lake Nakuru is the place to go. Known for its flamingo population, it is also a place to spy the endangered white and black rhinoceros. Due to the threat of poachers, Nakuru is one of the only fenced parks in Kenya. The fence is not to restrict the movement of animals, but to keep the illegal hunting of rhinos at bay. Because Lake Nakuru houses the largest population of rhinos in the country, it is a target for poachers seeking to sell horns on the black market.
The rhinos are a new introduction to the park but people have been coming to Nakuru for decades to witness the millions of flamingos who gather on these waters to feast on the abundance of algae.
Amboseli National Park
Straddling the border of Tanzania, it is at Amoseli National Park where you can witness the most spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro. But that's not all, as Amboseli is also famous for its elephant population. Imagine watching a herd of elephants grazing in front of the picture-perfect backdrop of the snow-capped Kilimanjaro. While Mount Kilimanjaro was covered in clouds during our visit, we couldn't help but reminisce about our time climbing the highest freestanding mountain on earth on an earlier trip to Africa. We are grateful to have the opportunity to see it not once, but twice in our lifetime.
A safari may be about the wildlife, but travel is also about making friends with the local community. It was at the Selenkay Conservancy that we had our most special moments in Africa. It is a place where the Masai people still live, as they have for centuries, and welcome guests into their homes to get a glimpse of life on the African Savanna. It was at the Selenkay Masai Village that we met Leonard, a Masai man who started the Selenkay Masai Camp to help local villagers make a living. They are a proud and strong community who are balancing modern world conveniences with their cultural values and ancient traditions. Visiting a Masai village on a safari itinerary can acquaint you with the warmth and generosity of a people that is hard to rival.
So start planning your African safari. Step out of the ordinary and step into a vacation that’s extraordinary.