Kenya Schilling (73 Kenya Schillings to 1 US dollar)
Ugali and Sumawekee
Pilau (Rice, chopped meat, cabbage, carrots with caradaram seasoning.
Krest and Stoney’s soda
Cost of Goods and Services
Double room in Nairobi with 3 meals per day: 31 US$
Taxi fares one way to downtown area: 6 US$
Internet: $1.50 USD per hour
Cup of Coffee:
Bottle of Tusker Beer:
7 day/6 night Budget camping safari to Samburu, Lake Nakuru and 3 days in Masa Mara:
550 US$ pp (includes everything)
Public bus ticket from Nairobi to Uganda border: 9 US$
Dinner for family of 4 in restaurant: 12 US$
Preparing meals our self for family of 4 per day: 7 US$
Large bag of fresh peanuts from vendor: .40 US$
*Nairobi is much more expensive than the rest of the country. Negotiate hard with taxi fares to keep costs down.
Being constantly vigilant about security and needing to take taxis in Nairobi became wearisome; having passports and wallet stolen in Nairobi was a headache in trying to replace them; our safari to Samburu, Nakuru and Maasai Mara was worth every penny; watching 3 cheetahs playing with my dropped camera lens cover; being 2-3 meters away from animals and the shear number of animals in Maasai Mara; 3 days and 2 nights was perfect to see the eastern part of Maasai Mara. Seeing a leopard, elephants, 3 lions and two water buffalo within two hours at Samburu national park; Sampuyli, our guide/driver for our safari really made this trip. He did not follow all the other guides and his persistent energy and desire to see animals and his knowledge of their behavior did make this one of those once in a lifetime experience; the countryside of western Kenya with rolling hills, tea and coffee plantations and rural farms is exquisite; the early morning and late afternoon light in Kenya is very powerful and beautiful; our 12 day stay and volunteer work on the water project in the small village of Enoosaen will forever be in our hearts and memories; getting to know the people of Kenya with their warm and caring personalities; Paul's 12 birthday party in the village in which the village slaughtered a goat and provided Paul with a Maasai ceremony and traditional clothing was an incredible experience.
Nairobi: Flora Guest House on 5th Ngong Road is a gem! Very secure, clean, exceptional people, able to store luggage during safari. A double with 3 meals per day is $31 US. Nairobi is known on the independent travelers’ circuit and to locals as “Nairobbery”. We took taxis from Flora Guest House whenever we needed to go somewhere, especially the bank. Do not carry valuable documents, excessive money, watches or a daypack (which marks you as a tourist who may have money) when venturing around town. Some people enjoy Nairobi, but I wanted to leave as soon as possible and see rural Kenya and the national parks.
Our safari was a 7 day/6 night affair to three different parks – Samburu, Lake Nakuru and Maasai Mara. Samburu is located in the northern area of Kenya in a harsh arid and scrubland environment about 6 hours north of Nairobi. The park does not have the numbers of animals, but a wide variety and with species found no other place in Kenya. We stayed in the public campground, which was in the middle of the park and very nice, and went on a full day’s game drive. We saw elephants, a pride of 10 lions with cubs, cheetahs stalking Thomson’s gazelles, leopard, Oryx, Grevy’s zebra, impalas, reticulated giraffes, ostrich, African buffalo and a wide assortment of colorful birds. In fact, I do not believe we went more than 10 minutes without seeing some type of animal. Samburu was well worth the days ride to get to the park. Lake Nakuru is a small soda lake located in the Rift Valley. We went on only 1 afternoon game drive, because the park is small, the animals easily located and we wanted more time to explore Maasai Mara. Lake Nakuru has 3 major attractions Flamingos, white rhino and the Rothschild’s Giraffe. We were not disappointed. When you enter the park, the first thing you see is pink. This is from the estimated 3 million migrating greater and lesser flamingos standing on the shore line. We saw a solid pattern of pink for as far as we could see along the shore. After this we immediately saw 5 white rhinos, including a newborn, grazing near the road. Half hour later we saw a couple more rhinos. We also climbed a mountain to get a great view of the entire lake. Right before we were planning to leave, we saw 5 Rothschild’s giraffe grazing on the yellow acacia trees. Next was Maasai Mara, next to the Serengeti, the Mara, is the most famous and has the most abundant wildlife in Africa. During August and September, the massive migration of Wildebeest descends upon the Mara in what is called “The greatest animal show on earth”. Mara lived up to everything I ever read about. The shear number of animals that call this savanna plains home is staggering. Instead of 8-10, as in Samburu, we would see many hundred zebra, wildebeest or buffalo. Also, gazelles and impalas and Elands were throughout the park. We also enjoyed watching two herds of Elephants each day, along with numerous giraffe sightings. We started noticing on day two that ever type of animal we saw had newborns. Then there are the lions and cheetahs. We saw about 15 lions, including cubs, males and females, and 5 cheetahs. The cheetahs were amazing. We saw one eating a gazelle, came 1 meter away from one searching a high hill for a snack and watched a mom and two cubs play with my accidental dropped camera lens for an hour. Lastly, we saw a rare black rhino for 5 minutes late in the evening as he ventured out to graze then rapidly disappeared. We stayed in a semi-permanent Maasai camping structure about 1 kilometer away from the park entrance. Most important, the level of enjoyment far exceeded our expectations because of our guide/driver, Sampulyi, and the cook, Alex. At the end of the safari, we were all friends and really enjoying each others company. Sampulyi knew that we wanted to find the animals too and be by ourselves and not with all the other minivans searching for animals. If you are interested, please drop me an email for more information. If you love wildlife, Africa should not be missed.