Review by: Susan Frampton

Overall Impressions

I'm sure you're familiar with Ricky Gervais' Idiot Abroad series. That said I could've easily played the role of Carl Pilkington. You had your work cut out for you and you performed pretty much flawlessly. In the 1950s, NASA sent chimps into space, getting them all back happy and healthy. That said, NASA could take lessons from Mahlatini after our successful holiday roundtrip. We could not have been better provided for, from departure baggage check in Charleston, SC, to baggage claim on our return. Special, SPECIAL thanks to Donna Armstrong, who helped us clear a MASSIVE documentation hurdle, involving our Kenya e-Visas. Without Donna's kind and expert assistance, we'd be looking at someone else's photos of a trip to Kenya. Our Delta ticket agent, et al, also went far beyond what would've been expected to help us aboard. Customer service IS NOT dead, but alive and well in Belfast and Charleston. Meet and greet at NBO was a life saver. From wheels up, CHS, to wheels down, CHS, we had the time of our lives.

Countries Visited

Kenya

Urban Nairobi was a sensory firehose. A true example of what happens when two, or three worlds collide. I am struck by the fact that 90 years ago, Karen was a coffee plantation. The contrast today, between poverty and prosperity is stark. There appears to be a rising middle class and no lack of ambition, with examples in the native and e-patriate communities. It is my hope that Kenya will have the wisdom to bring itself fully into first world status, joining progress, tradition and opportunity. There is still a vast country, relatively unpopulated that could support the teeming masses of Nairobi and other urban centers. Once out of Nairobi, the frontier of Kenya is much like the frontier of North America, the main difference being the presence of its mega fauna. I can see parallels between the life of the American "Sodbusters" to the lives of Kenyans in "The Bush". We, of "The West" see Africa and Kenya at once, as a land of opportunity and a resource/concept that must be preserved. Again I hope and pray that there is a balance.

Accommodation Visited

Ole Sereni Hotel

Though our stay was only from the wee hours of the night, to early morning of the next day, it was a welcome and comforting break from the 20 hours or so of transit. The accommodations were excellent and the breakfast we had was just what we needed. A smooth transition into Kenya, for all.

Saruni Samburu

We could not have done better. The staff was warm and welcoming. We were cared for as though we were honored family. Our villa was spacious and the views from the 180 degree deck was priceless. The walk, up the hill to our villa, though it provided a great view and time for considering the adventures of the day, presented a bit more exercise than some of our number had anticipated. Villas 5 and 6 should come with the admonition to train for strenuous activity. The pool at the top of the hill was spot on, if a little chilly at first splash. Reports on the massage by Wicki were five star. Food and service was exemplary. Special nods to our Samburu hosts Yousef, Kennedy, Benson and to Emma, our driver/guide.

Saruni Mara

Right out of "Out of Africa". A beautiful blend of native wood, imaginative architecture and hospitality. Cicely, James and the staff made us feel right at home and our chef kept the Saruni standard high. We even got help with out tech problems when we were loaned a current converter. Thanks upon thanks. Again high marks for the masseuse at Mara. Our Guide/Spotter duo Daniel and Joshua should have a place in the Hall of Fame. They learned our special interests, put us on spot for viewing and photography, all the while being peppered with questions on animals, animal behavior and Masaai culture. there patience knows no bounds

Saruni Wild

Though the bar had been set very high by Samburu and Mara, Chris, William, James (our watchman) and staff made the Wild tent camp as luxurious and comfortable as Ole Sereni. William arranged for a Kenya night menu for me and it was delightful. Daniel and Joshua delivered us from Mara to Wild and continued their fatherly care their babes in the wild. If there is a better ONE-TWO team in Kenya, I don't think I shall ever meet them. We were immediately friends and we all miss them as the parts of our day they became.

Staff Review

Who on the planet would guess that four people from South Carolina could: 1. Find 2. Communicate regularly with 3. Turn their lives and fortunes over to 4. Be so happy with The services of an individual and as it turned out, a team of people they'd never met, across the Atlantic , in Belfast, to arrange a 12 day junket to KENYA? We did, would again and will encourage all similarly inclined individuals we meet to do just what we did. Thanks upon thanks upon thanks. Just for fun, we would like to dispel the apparent myth that black, blue and white are functional and fashion faux pas. All the local giggled at us and we saw lots of visitors who appeared to survive, unscathed while wearing such. We even saw some "camo". That said, we were attired in comfort and proper style. Should your travels ever include a visit to the Low Country of South Carolina, we will, as we say, "Keep our porch lights on for you." You are welcome in our homes and we look forward to the chance to show you true Southern Hospitality.