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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mrs K & 5 from Maryland

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

5

Excursions taken

2

My Aug 2019 trip

Kenya between 10 Aug 2019 and 26 Aug 2019

Trip rating: Excellent
"Fantastic - we've been singing the praises of Expert Africa since we returned. Everything was seamless and we didn't worry about a thing from the moment we arrived in Kenya. We had no idea what to expect on our first trip to Africa and this was the perfect introduction. I don't think we would have done anything differently.

We did go to Karen Blixen's home and while interesting - it isn't worth a stop if under a time crunch.

One of the reasons we loved Il Ngwesi so much was because of the community involvement in the lodge. It meant a lot to us that the money was going back to the 7 villages, who sat on the board of the lodge. We spent a long time talking to the staff at Porini/Gamewatchers and while their arrangement with the company and the villages is better than most, it is still not owned by the Maasai. It would be wonderful if there were more lodges and guide services owned by native Kenyans.

We had mixed feelings about the village visits. The one at Il Ngwesi was better because it was presented as "traditional" while acknowledging that things had changed. Yes, they use matches and cell phones and dress in tshirts, etc. The one at Selenkay seemed a little more artificial. While it was really good for us to learn how the Maasai have lived traditionally, we were really interested in their lives today. How have things changed? What do they see for the future? Our guides were willing to discuss it, but it would have been nice to talk to some of the villagers about it as well. For instance - none of our guides had multiple wives and almost all of them chose their own. One didn't own any livestock. Quite a few lived in more modern homes. We felt like it was perpetuating a view of Africa that was not up to date.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

Recommend some more trips for us!

Also, I didn't see any multi-country trips on the website. We asked everyone where to go next and some recommended Namibia, Botswana, Victoria Falls trip.

Would be lovely to see an itinerary for that."

Feedback response

We're delighted these travellers enjoyed their trip so much. To the best of our knowledge at Expert Africa, all our village visits in Kenya visit ordinary, inhabited village compounds. They can sometimes feel rather empty, especially if people are out during the day, with the livestock, or otherwise at work, but there's nothing artificial about them, and people with mobile phones often live in traditional dwellings, with a motorcycle parked outside. We asked the owners of the camp at Selenkay Conservancy – Porini Amboseli Camp – to confirm that their local Maasai village is indeed a normal village, and they confirmed that indeed it is. As these travellers noted, matches and t-shirts have been part of local life for many decades, but traditional clothing and cow-dung walls are still very much part of the mix. They also confirmed that villagers and Maasai staff would be very happy to discuss the way Maasai life is changing, and they would not wish in any way to perpetuate traditions that are naturally dying out. They also pointed out that in fact the Selenkay area is somewhat more traditional and rural than some of the Maasai communities in the Maasai Mara region.

On the subject of multi-country itineraries, we are delighted to book them, and often do so. An example itinerary, including 21 nights in Namibia, Botswana and Victoria Falls would be our Rock Hare self-drive trip, and there's an almost infinite number of other options. Please call Expert Africa to find out more.

Arranged By Richard Trillo


Four Points by Sheraton

Four Points by Sheraton

"Four Points by Sheraton review"

1 night Arrived 12 Aug 2019
"This was a great hotel to start our Kenya trip.

The staff was waiting for us at the airport and quickly called for a second car when they realized we wouldn't all fit in one with our luggage. It is very close to the airport and within minutes we were checked in and relaxing in our rooms. Several enjoyed the pool for a few hours.

We ate dinner in the hotel restaurant - which was delicious and easy. A wide variety to appeal to different tastes. The following morning, the staff had packed breakfast bags to go for our early flight."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Nairobi Elephant Orphanage visit

Nairobi Elephant Orphanage visit

"Nairobi Elephant Orphanage visit review"

12 Aug 2019 • Afternoon excursion

We were so happy to be there for the 5:00 pm visit. Watching the elephants run back for their dinner and then spending time with our adopted orphans was the best way to start our trip. Highly recommend reading Love, Life and Elephants before you go. You will appreciated the facility and hard work even more. We had more than enough time to interact and ask questions and it wasn't as crowded as we heard the 11 am visit time was.

(We also happened to meet a man waiting for our Safarilink flight from Lewa who has a mentee of Daphne Sheldricks and knew her daughter. He was an anthropologist and now works for one of the conservation trusts. It was so interesting to talk to him and have him confirm how special she was.)
Excellent
Selenkay Adventure Camp

Selenkay Adventure Camp

"Loved Selenkay and the staff"

3 nights Arrived 13 Aug 2019
"We had no idea what to expect, but the minute we saw the staff lined up to meet us upon arrival, we knew we were in for something special. The tents were minimal but very comfortable. (They could get very hot during the day due to lack of shade, but cooled down at night.) The bathrooms were fine and the showers quick, but hot. Just enough to get the dust off! We did have a problem with water the last day, but it wasn't a big issue. You have to realize where you are and the effort it takes just to get water to the camp.

Meals were delicious - a nice variety, excellent soups, fresh vegetables and fruit. They did a fantastic job providing gluten-free for one of our group. We appreciated the coffee and tea and snacks on our game drives.

It was the staff that made this camp really special. Our time around the campfire at night was enlightening. They were willing to answer so many questions and we appreciated them wanting to ask us some too! Our guides Daniel and Jackson were knowledgeable but more importantly fun. They were patient when waiting for us to take lot of pictures and made sure we had the best views. We had the reputation as the "lucky Americans" around the camp because of what we were able to see, but it was all because of them.

We also really enjoyed the fellow guests - all interesting, well-traveled and fun. Great dinners discussing our day, our other trips, our homes. We were with several at two camps, so it was nice to see them twice.

Appreciated the charging stations in the main tent area. We were able to keep all batteries charged. The chargers in the safari vehicle we had did not work, but it was not a problem."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Ol Kinyei Adventure Camp

Ol Kinyei Adventure Camp

"Ol Kinyei Adventure Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 16 Aug 2019
"Wow - the game drives around Ol Kinyei were amazing. I think we had seen everything but rhinos within the first 24 hours at the camp. Watching the pride of 10-12 lions and the cheetah mom and cubs was really special.

Very similar to Selenkay, but we did like the solar lights hanging in our tents every evening when we came back from dinner (Selenkay should add this.) It was also shadier, so we weren't as hot in the tents napping during the day. We appreciated the buckets, soap and drying lines for laundry. The water pressure in the showers was also a little slower, so our showers lasted a little longer!

Nice big meal tent with charging table and assorted magazines and guides to read. We took full advantage of those. Meals were very good.

It was a busier camp than Selenkay with more guests coming and going, so the staff was busy. We didn't feel as connected to them as we did to the Selenkay staff. We did enjoy our time with them, but just felt like we didn't get to know them as well. However, the service, game drives, etc were all excellent.

One thing missing from Ol Kinyei - there was no village visit and no beading or anything available to buy from nearby villages. This was not a problem - just something to be aware of when planning what to buy where."
Excellent
Macushla House

Macushla House

"Macushla House review"

1 night Arrived 19 Aug 2019
"Due to a late arriving Safarilink plane, we didn't get as much time at Macushla House as we were hoping. We had really looked forward to some relaxing by the pool and on their patio.

What time we did have there was lovely - drinks in the bar shooing away the monkey, a HUGE dinner which was very good, a HUGE breakfast and a nice chat with other guests. The beds were comfortable, the bathrooms large and nice and the showers long! Just wish we had had more time to enjoy the property, the little boardwalk to watch the monkeys and the pool.

The location was not ideal if you wanted to go back out for a meal. Once we got there, we decided not to leave."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Image alt

Nairobi excursion

"Nairobi day"

19 Aug 2019 • Afternoon excursion

Our flight from Maasai Mara was late so we didn't have the time we wanted in Nairobi. We were very hungry by the time we landed, so Ruben took us to Roast which is one of Carnivore's smaller restaurants. We got a sampler platter which was the perfect size. We were glad to experience Carnivore, without actually going to the more touristy restaurant.

We decided not to go to the Giraffe center, having seen our fill of giraffes on safari, but instead went to Kazuri Beads and Ocean Sole. Two very special places and we were happy to buy souvenirs at both places knowing that they were employing local artisans. Thanks to Ruben for making sure we saw the factory at Ocean Sole. We loved it.
Excellent
Il Ngwesi Eco-Lodge

Il Ngwesi Eco-Lodge

"Very special place"

3 nights Arrived 20 Aug 2019
"Wow - we can't say enough good things about Il Ngwesi.

It is a beautiful eco-lodge, but it is the people that make it so special. Jackie, Lawrence, Sam, James and so many others were just the best staff anywhere. Our rooms were wonderful, the food was fantastic. But our chats at dinner with Jackie and sitting in the main house talking with everyone was what we loved most. Our walk to the rhinos was great - it felt good to get out and walk for awhile after sitting for so long on game drives. Our beading class was fun and gave us so much appreciation for their works for art. Another family (another Expert Africa group) asked us to join them in a goat roast. What a magical evening - the goat was delicious and the traditional dancing and singing was so special. The visit to the local village was well-done.

Because they did not get April rains, they are experiencing a drought. The number of animals in the area reflects this, but we didn't mind at all. We were ready for some downtime by the pool and a less intense schedule. The staff convinced us that the green season is the time to visit and we can't wait to go back.

Note: it is a long drive from the Lewa airport. (We did learn quickly in our trip that one hour "African" time was usually double that.) It was about 3 from the airport on our arrival day and about 2 to return. There is a private airstrip and we might have considered that! It would have meant not seeing Lewa Conservancy and some of the villages along the way, so there is a trade-off for flying right in."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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