Tuesday, June 10, 2008

IN THEIR OWN WORDS – ‘Just back from East Africa’



We returned from our trip "The Grand Circle" last night at 10:15 PM. To say that it was a magnificent trip would be an understatement. Your help, email answers to our innumerable questions, advice and patience are so very much appreciated. We want to let you and 2AFRIKA, INC. know that you did a superb job putting together an incredible experience that we will never ever forget. It was as close to a trip of a lifetime that we can imagine. That is not to say that there were no problems because there were blips here and there - but if you don't expect any problems you shouldn't travel. We would like to let you know what we thought of several aspects of the trip and so we have done so as succinctly as possible in the following paragraphs. I will start with the negative situations and get those over with first so you don't wonder when the complaints begin.

Corruption - We were greatly disturbed and very uncomfortable that uniformed members of airport security, police and employees asked for (I.E. demanded) "a show of appreciation" for doing what they were supposed to do which is handle passports, inspect bags, or answer questions. This happened in the Nairobi and the Zanzibar Airports. On the other hand, there were at least as many very helpful and professional employees that seemed to go out of their way to be helpful and then didn't stand there with their hand out or ask for a tip. We have traveled in many parts of the world and have not experience the level of shake downs that we did while passing through these two airports. We felt very comfortable when our guides were with us and saw numerous cases where they seemed to say something or make a gesture and the "helpful" persons bothering us seemed to disappear. This gave us a high level of comfort that we appreciated.

Well, that's all for the problems and now for the good news.

Airline travel - Worked great. No hitches. Layovers not too bad! Virgin Atlantic Airways or Kenya Airways lost one bag but got it to us the next day.

Sarova Hotels - Nairobi - Adequate. These were the level of quality that I expected. Lake Nakuru - Adequate. Nothing special! No problems with either place.

Serena Hotels - WOW!! These were great. Substantially better that we expected. Each was very unique and the locations and views were amazing. Example - Serena Mara Safari Lodge. From our room at the same time I could see: baboons, warthogs, giraffe, impalas, three hippos, and an African buffalo. The food at each was great. The service was excellent. Really impressive. These lodges added VERY substantially to our experience.

Tembo Hotel - This hotel had a good bit of character. The service was quite good. The food was good. The food prices were reasonable and we ate all our meals here because of the quality and price. Good job. The entire islands electrical service from the mainland has been disrupted and everyone that had electrical service has to use generators. The hotel turned the generators off twice a day but it did not impact us much - one of those problems you just deal with and get on with life.

Our guide, Muro, was absolutely wonderful. Because he was with us the entire time, he knew what we had seen and wanted to see. He tailored the game drives to our wants and desires. He did an outstanding job. I hope that you let him know that we appreciate his services and that he was hugely responsible for the tremendous success that we had on this trip.

Zanzibar - Their guides did a very good job. We used them for two other trips and we were very pleased. We would certainly recommend them.

Last but certainly not the least:

The parks and the animals - It is very difficult to put into words our feelings and experiences concerning what we saw and felt while in these incredible, special places that God created and man has been smart enough to set up and protect. We have dreamed of going to Africa for so many years and we were so afraid that we might be disappointed. You, your team and those two countries have put together such a special experience that we will be reliving our trip for the rest of our lives. We were overwhelmed with the beauty of the land, the sheer number of animals and the amazing diversity of the species that we saw and felt so close to that we could almost touch. I won't take the time to tell you of the many special encounters that we had but know that we have a number of exciting stories that we will be able to tell our friends and relive in our memories. We didn't get to see a leopard but we did see so many other animals that we stopped counting after 12,623 (just kidding).

Your package included six totally different parks and we would be hard pressed to pick one to leave out. Your package included about fourteen game drives and I couldn't imagine leaving one of them out. This was an amazing experience and we will never forget it and feelings that we experienced. Thank you so much for all that you and 2AFRIKA, INC. did to add to our lives with this trip of a lifetime.

For further information on this informational Blog post or any other Safari in the Original 2AFRIKA Collection, visit us on the web at http://www.2afrika.com/

The Original 2AFRIKA, INC. remains committed to Corporate Social Responsibility in Tourism.