Home safely and finally a bit recovered and I wanted to let you know how fantastic our whole trip was. As we've been home a few days and begun to let it all "sink in", we realize that this truly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The people and the places were all extraordinary.
The Maasai Mara was especially wonderful, as was Tortilis Camp - Amboseli, of course (although we only VERY briefly saw Mt. Kilimanjaro our first evening; it didn't cooperate and hid the rest of our time there). A visit to a Maasai village, arranged by our driver/guide (Dominic -- more on him in a moment!), was an absolute highlight of the entire trip. It was fascinating (and humbling) to see how the Maasai live, to hear their stories, and to talk with them about their evolution into the 21st century. We were there well over 2 hours; Dominic said that surprised him as most folks he takes only stay an hour or so. We were fascinated and, again, knew this was a once-in-a lifetime opportunity we wanted to take advantage of.
The animals, of course, were amazing; seeing them in their natural habitat, day after day, was always different. The African people... in our many travels (literally world-wide amongst the 6 of us), we all agreed that we have NEVER met more friendly, polite, customer-oriented people. Ah, and our driver/guides... Dominic was absolutely outstanding! I have to ask if it was coincidence that he was assigned to us, or did you request him for us?! His deep knowledge and obvious love of his country, and his tireless efforts to get us to the best sites to see the best animals at the best times, made our Kenya trip wonderful. We were thrilled to see him again at the border when we returned to Kenya from Tanzania for our last couple of days. Please tell him we all send our best regards, when you are next in touch with him. He told us what good friends the 2 of you are. Charmi, in Tanzania, was also very knowledgeable and friendly (we told him his name should be Charming!), and went out of his way to do whatever we wanted. We thoroughly enjoyed him, also.
I must also make mention of Thomas in Kenya; he, too, was incredibly gracious, escorting us in Nairobi at both beginning and end, arranging for Nairobi activities on the spur of the moment for the other 4 when their plane to Zanzibar was delayed by hours, practically escorting us to our plane, etc. He gave me his email, so I have also emailed him directly with our gratitude.
Our only slightly unpleasant "surprise" was just how much time we spent driving from place to place and how bumpy the roads are. More than once, we drove on the shoulder for long distances because it was better than the "highway"! At one point, someone remarked, "Well, there's a little asphalt between potholes!"
So we kept good spirits about it, but were always very glad when the next lodge came into view! I never tired of looking out the window at the passing scenery, towns, villages, people, animals... but I did tire of the bumpy-bump!! And because of the sometimes very long days and very full schedule, the "girls" thought there should have been a bit more time for shopping! But we prevailed and managed to sneak it in a few times.
Attached are a couple of pix so you can see your friends and my friends! (I'm second from the left in both; not my best studio shot, but you understand! Hope they're not so large they crash this email.)
Kenneth, we are deeply grateful for your personal service in planning this adventure. If we are lucky enough to return, we will certainly use 2AFRIKA and will also widely recommend it -- and you! -- to many friends we know who long for an African safari. I personally have my eye on a Southern Africa trip, but my husband doesn't know this yet! So hopefully you WILL hear from us again!
All the best,
"Debby from Virginia, College Professor"
If you would like to comment on this Blog Post, please communicate directly with 2AFRIKA Founder & President, Kenneth R. Hieber, electronically via firstname.lastname@example.org