Date of Trip: November 2013
We went to 7 National Parks in Kenya, including Aberdare, Samburu, Lake Bogoria, Lake Naivasha, Lake Nakuru, Masai Mara and Amboseli. Each is unique in its own way. Aberdare, Samburu, Masai Mara and Amboseli for animals. The lakes for birds. I would skip Lake Bogoria as it is flooded resulting in fewer birds and the hot springs are under water. You can see more birds at Nakuru including flamingos. During our visit we saw the big 5 in addition to leopards, cheetah, hippo, hyena, etc..
Our driver/guide, William, was amazing at spotting animals and we felt a kinship after our 13 days with him. With 20 years experience we would highly recommend him and he works for several tour companies and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. We considered renting a car and driving ourselves. Bad idea! With driving on the left, maneuvering around bikes, pedestrians, animals and motorcycles, all of which are on the road, it would have been nerve wracking and more expensive not to mention getting lost in the parks. Tourism is way down due to the mall bombing in November 2013. At no time did we feel threatened and the Kenyan people were very warm and friendly. One thing that is unpleasant is everyone is selling something and tourists are the ones they are drawn to. Whether you are on the street on in a stopped vehicle there is always 1 or more people hawking something and they do not take no for an answer.
We went during the short rainy season of Mid Nov. to Mid Dec. which made for a greener country but is somewhat more difficult to see animals. Most of the rain is at night. We only had 2 days when it rained, lightly, but did not limit our safari. One problem with our tour operator, Brogibro is that when providing the itinerary they listed a game drive in the morning at the current park and then an afternoon game drive at the other park not realizing that it can take the whole day to go from 1 park to another. This happened twice with a 11 hour drive between Samburu and Lake Bogoria and an 12 hour drive between Masai Mara and Amboseli. We left at 7:00 AM and arrived around dusk. Some safari companies only take cash. We ended up going through Pesa Pal to pay for the safari. Half down and the other half in cash when we started the safari. Credit card fees (3.5%) that Pesa Pal charges will be passed along to you. If we had thought we would have taken small token items to pass out to kids I.E pencils, Obama stickers, etc.. Bottom line make the trip to Africa.