Kenya and Tanzania Mini-review
We took this tour starting on August 22, 2018. I meant to post a review previously, as this forum was very helpful in preparing for the trip. Better late than never!
We flew on KLM through Amsterdam and opted to spend one night in Amsterdam at an airport hotel. We took the train into town, did a walking tour and a canal tour, had dinner and then took the train back to the hotel. A great way to break up the flights.
We had one extra evening in Arusha and had arranged for a safari of Arusha National Park the next morning. It was an excellent tour - we saw lots of giraffes, monkeys, baboons - and got into safari mode. The Tauck representatives that drove us and others from the airport upon arrival sort of talked this tour down, and we were happy that we did not opt out of it.
I will not go into detail about hotels, but will mention that the Serena hotels were my favorites - very authentic, excellent staff. My least favorite hotel was the Four Seasons - Serengeti. I know that others would disagree, but I thought it was very corporate, and the service, especially bar service in the pool area, did not meet expectations. Their safari guides, however, were excellent.
Food - we were very careful about what we ate - followed the boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it rules, and drank only bottled water. We did not have stomach or other problems, but quite a few others on the tour did have issues. This is not a gourmet food tour. For dinner, I more often than not ate the Indian food.
All of the game drives were spectacular. We saw all of the big five and more. The lions, including families, were plentiful. We did see Cheetahs too.
The balloon ride was great. Because of the time of year, we saw the front end of the Great Migration - lots of zebra and wildebeast. We did wait at a river for a possible crossing, but the animals were too skittish to make a move across the river. There were very large crocodiles waiting for them. That was a long day.
Clothing - we brought the typical travel pants and shirts in the recommended colors. We avoided blue, but the only place that the flies were an issue was near the Four Seasons. I was comfortable with a fleece jacket and a light weight windbreaker (which can be layered). I brought light weight walking shoes, and was happy with them, but most people wore gym shoes. We did bring buffs and used them, as that was a dry, dusty time of year.
I was happy to have a small travel flashlight with me. I wish I had brought (and have now added to my travel pack) a night light. It would have been useful at the Fairmont Mara and one of the Serena hotels.
Flying out of Nairobi was my least favorite part of the trip. While all of the security is appreciated, it also adds to the stress levels. The traffic to the airport is terrible.
The trip was outstanding and very well planned. Our tour guide was very organized, which is important for a trip such as this.