Africa Kenya

A 12 Day Action-Packed Safari Trip to Kenya

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag

Sontag didn’t get it right this time – we went to many places that weren’t on our list during this trip! That’s to say, our Kenya trip started out with a BANG.

Quick note: It’s difficult to concisely share about our twelve day trip, and I realize this post is a bit long, so I wanted to give you options here! If you are interested in reading the whole story, please proceed on with this post. If you are interested in only reading about certain locations, I’ve separated these out for your convenience below.


SHORTENED KENYA POSTS FOR A BUSY BROAD



Okay, let me take a step back real quick, and we can start from the very beginning! I was on a work trip in Seattle, when a colleague and I got to talking about traveling; he shared about a bucket list trip to Kenya, specifically to Maasai Mara, where he had taken his father.

I love traveling and hearing about other people’s travel stories, so I was instantly engaged in the conversation and excited to learn more. He showed me some awesome photos they had taken and highly recommended the trip and the Enkewa Camp, where they stayed.

A couple of days later, I met my boyfriend, Tim, in Los Angeles for a wedding and shared with him my newly formed interest in taking a trip to Kenya, to which he kind of brushed off. But one night at dinner, I decided to put some feelers out with a friend of mine, Allison, who we had traveled with several times before.

I casually mentioned to her that I was considering taking a trip to Africa – maybe to Kenya and eventually to Egypt in the more distant future. To my delight and surprise, Allison and her husband, Ryan, indeed were interested in traveling to Africa and had actually always wanted to go but would’ve felt safer traveling with another couple like ourselves. Of course, this initial conversation was merely to discuss future trip ideas, like one or two years out, allowing for several months of research and planning.

As luck and fate would have it, Allison and Ryan were back home in Maryland – where the three of us grew up – catching up with a friend, Emily, when they mentioned that we had discussed taking a trip to Africa. As it turned out, Emily and her husband, Bryan, had been planning a trip to Kenya for over a year by then and invited us to tag along.

Wait, what?!

Yes, I am for real. This news came to us around Thanksgiving when Allison reached out to get trip proposals and quotes through Emily and Bryan’s travel agent. The quotes took some finagling, but right around Christmas, all three couples were locked in and had accommodations booked. We were all set to join on all the travels!

Wow; talk about crazy! Allison and I joked about how whatever we wished for would come true, clearly; should we wish to win the lottery too? What else did we need? Ha!

We put down the final payments at the end of December, and we were beyond excited to begin our travels just ONE MONTH later.

There was just one more thing we had to do. We needed to adopt an orphan from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to claim our spot for our Nairobi Nursery visit. Tim and I adopted the cutest of all rhinos, understanding that we wouldn’t get to meet him, since he was being raised in a different location. See Apollo, the cutest rhino who ever lived, below.

Photo sourced from: Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/orphans/apollo. Accessed December 19, 2019.

Later, we were advised to choose an orphan that would be at the nursery, so we changed our adoption to an adorable elephant named Kiasa – more on her later!

Travel Days: Saturday & Sunday, February 1st & 2nd

The time had finally come! We drove to the international airport in Houston where we met up with Allison and Ryan, who had flown from Baton Rouge that morning – we would all be on the same flight to Frankfurt.

Everything was going off without a hitch until mid-flight when the flight attendants asked for all medical doctors to present themselves to help with an in-flight emergency.

This could not be good news! It seemed as if hours passed before we heard another announcement over the loudspeaker announcing that now, no more than a couple of hours out from Frankfurt, we would be turning back to land in Iceland, as the patient needed immediate medical attention, and he or she couldn’t wait any longer.

Because Iceland technically had the closest airport, mind you still 40 minutes or more away, the pilot had no option but to land us there. Little did we know that we were now in Keflavík; there was practically no communication, and we assumed that we landed in Iceland’s largest airport, Reykjavík.

Wait – this doesn’t look like Kenya!

Upon landing, the patient was SLOWLY escorted off the plane. While we still thought we may have a chance of making our connection, our hopes were soon shattered as we were told the plane was first refueling, then the crew needed 10-15 minutes to investigate things, and finally, it was decided that we would be unable to depart until a maintenance technician could come to sign-off on our plane for departure.

This all sounds well and good, but unfortunately, Lufthansa, the airline we flew, didn’t have a presence in Keflavík, and there was supposedly no one in the vicinity capable of performing the appropriate checks. So, they literally had to fly someone in from Frankfurt, our flight’s original destination, and it was going to take A LOT of time.

The technician wouldn’t be in Iceland until around 2 PM; mind you, we landed around 6:30 AM and had been sitting around waiting for this news. Our flight was set to depart from Frankfurt shortly after 11 AM, so clearly that wasn’t happening for us.

After waiting for several hours on board for the patient situation, for the crew decision-making nonsense and for shuttles to arrive and drive us to the airport (and for the crew to serve us breakfast – OMG get me off this plane!!!), we finally deplaned and sat for several hours waiting to hear our fate and frantically working to rebook ourselves on any potential flights later that evening to Kenya.

Allison waited on hold with the Lufthansa helpline for 30-45 minutes when I decided to call on the Iceland-specific Lufthansa helpline – luckily, both of us had access to international roaming plans which allowed for us to take matters into our own hands, since there were absolutely no Lufthansa representatives to help us in this airport. The agent answered my call almost immediately and worked to rebook all four of us onto another Star Alliance flight, free of charge and within minutes.

A Broad Recommendation: Get an international cell phone plan or see if your company will pay for one for you. You never know if or when you’re going to end up in a situation like this and need to call someone to sort things out.

We were each given a couple of vouchers and used them to buy lunch, a couple of mimosas, and snacks before heading back to our gate for boarding.

We totally had to take at least one picture in Iceland during our unplanned diversion!

Okay so, the boarding process was literally insane; it was done via paper and a highlighter as people entered the loading zone to be shuttled back to our plane, where we sat even longer for the plane to be “de-iced”. Could they not have done this before we all got on the plane? Sheesh!

Due to the incredible amount of time it took to board, we ended up departing Keflavík around 4 PM, instead of 3 PM as we were “originally” scheduled, and with the time difference, that delay pushed us very close to our new flight’s departure time.

A Broad recommendation: The four of us luckily made the most of our unexpected diversion and joked around a lot versus getting upset, which really lightened the mood and alleviated some of the stress of potentially missing a full day of our trip. Remember to stay positive and try to have as much fun as possible when things go wrong because there’s not much else you can do!

When we arrived, the four of us sprinted across the airport, through security, and to our gate where we were disappointed yet again. Tim arrived first, and when he went to check-in, he was told that he and I did NOT have ticketed bookings. Um, excuse me; what?! I’m the one who called Lufthansa in the first place; how in the world did we not have tickets?

So now we’re standing at the gate, and I’m frantically calling Lufthansa over and over again – and, they’re not answering. The people at the gate were being rude and unhelpful. So, we were forced to go back out through security to the Lufthansa service desk, all while Allison and Ryan turned out to have confirmed tickets and were forced to board or potentially get kicked off of the flight.

This was honestly the most ridiculous situation I have ever experienced on any flight with any airline in my entire life, and I fly between 20-30 times a year, so that’s definitely saying something!

When we checked in with the service desk, it turns out that we had been booked, then somehow, either through human error or a system glitch, our entire leg of the trip to Nairobi had been deleted from their system, to include our original booking.

THIS CANNOT ACTUALLY BE HAPPENING. At this point, it was becoming quite clear that Tim and I were going to miss an entire day of our trip.

The woman at the service desk was kind, fixed the error and booked us on the flight, but it was already too late. Despite the fact the gate attendants were jerks (they basically were ignoring us and laughing at our efforts, hung up the phone on the Lufthansa service lady helping us after she rebooked us, etc.), we had to make it back through security, and our only hope at that point was that two people hadn’t shown up to claim their spots, since they had overbooked the flight. This sadly wasn’t the case, but I’m positive either way, the gate attendants wouldn’t have let us on.

Now, we had to go back to the service desk YET AGAIN. Since I had found this flight, I was positive there were no other flights out that evening, and when all was said and done, we ended up booking a 7 AM Lufthansa flight to Rome where we would have a very short layover before flying to Kenya with a completely different airline. Man, talk about stressful! I never book flights with only an hour layover, but it was honestly our only option now.

Defeated, upset and exhausted – yeah, there were no more positive vibes at this point – Tim and I caught the shuttle to the hotel that Lufthansa had set us up in to for the night and had a quick buffet dinner on their dime – it wasn’t great is all I’ll say.

I couldn’t sleep and felt anxious from not only the day’s events but also from researching the Rome airport and reading reviews to see if it was even possible to deplane, get from terminal 1 to 3 and through customs/passport control in the limited time we had between flights. Oh, and did I forget to mention that we were originally supposed to be watching the Super Bowl with our friends in Kenya right now?

Unplanned Travel Day: Monday, February 3rd

We “woke up” just a few hours later and were transported back to the airport via shuttle, and everything went exactly as planned! On our first flight, we were able to re-seat ourselves closer to the front, so we could deplane quickly. We had an on-time arrival, got through the terminals and passport control in a breeze, i.e. with a bit of hustling and full-on sprinting at times, and arrived at our gate with five minutes to spare before boarding – just enough time for us to confirm our tickets (they were actually booked this time, thank goodness!), and we were FINALLY on our way to Nairobi!

A Broad Recommendation: We really enjoyed our flight with Kenya Airways. We had a row to ourselves and plenty of legroom. The flight attendants were kind, and I was so thirsty that instead of refilling my single cup of water, one of the attendants kept giving me an extra cup and eventually just gave me an entire liter all for myself.

We, of course, were pretty upset to have been delayed so much – what had started as a twenty or so hour journey had turned into more than forty hours of travel, and we ended up missing an entire day of activities. That being said, we were very grateful that we hadn’t missed another day, since we were set to embark on our first game drive the next morning and had group transportation booked.

Kudos to our travel agent on this one; she planned a low-key first day to account for issues like this, and this saved us, as well as Allison and Ryan, who still ended up getting in around midday after their flight change.

Tim and I arrived in Nairobi shortly after 7 PM, completed our immigration and customs formalities and were met outside, after a bit of confusion, by a representative from Sense of Africa.

We enjoyed learning about Elizabeth, the woman who coordinated our pick-up, and Dennis, who would be our driver for the entire trip, as well as a bit of Swahili. Swahili is the official language of Kenya, but it’s not indigenous to the area. Here are a couple of phrases we learned:

  • Jambo – Hello
  • Asante Sana – Thank you very much
  • Karibu – Welcome
  • Hakuna Matata – All is well

We also learned that approximately 10% of Kenya’s population, i.e. 4.4 million people, live in Nairobi, and there are 44 tribes in Kenya alone. Nairobi is East Africa’s most cosmopolitan city and is Africa’s 4th largest city, serving as a great starting point for African safari trips around Kenya (yes, that’s a lot of 4s!).

When we arrived at the Nairobi Serena Hotel, we checked in and immediately headed to dinner to meet our friends. We had finally made it, and we spent the entire dinner catching up, joking and laughing about all that had ensued on our journey so far. After dinner, we split a bottle of wine that our travel agent had left us and then finally went to bed for some much-needed, real sleep.

Unfortunately, we just got to see one restaurant and our room here, but we were told that the Nairobi Serena Hotel is nestled among lush gardens at the edge of Nairobi’s Central Park. The room itself was beautiful and included satellite TV, a minibar, a coffee/tea station, free newspapers, and free WiFi. The hotel also has three restaurants, a coffee bar, a pool bar, a heated pool, and a spa.

Although we can’t provide our recommendation, more information about the hotel can be found here: Nairobi Serena Hotel.

Driving Day & Samburu National Reserve: Tuesday, February 4th

Since we had booked a double standard room with full breakfast, we all met around 7 AM for a smorgasbord of anything and everything your heart could desire – bread, eggs, bacon, baked beans, potatoes, fruit, yogurt, tea/coffee, etc., you name it! Then, we met in the lobby for our safari briefing and for the rest of the group to meet our driver.

Cool thing to note about Sense of Africa is they provide you with a hat, wallet, a reusable water bottle for the car rides and a long piece of fabric/robe worn by the Maasai people.

A Broad Recommendation: I brought an insulated, reusable water bottle from home, which I filled before leaving the hotel for each excursion. This was nice to have despite the ones that were provided for us because in some cases, one bottle of water was just not enough, and Allison likes to remind us that her bottle tasted like “poison water”; they were market testing different water bottles on us, and clearly that one received a poor rating at the end of the trip!

We were out the door and on our way to Samburu National Reserve by 8:30 AM.

During the drive, Dennis told us lots of interesting things; he talked about the many farms that make Kenya a leading producer of coffee and tea around the world. He shared that folks grow a lot of rice and sell fruit like pineapples, mangoes and watermelons, as well as coal on the side of the roads.

Motor bikes are fairly new to Kenya, coming from China about ten years ago. We heard stories of a man in Tanzania who had nine wives and forty kids and started his own village and school. After that story, we learned that Kenya has female doctors and teachers, and unemployment is around 39% across the country. 

We learned the River Tana is one of the longest rivers in the country, Kikuyu is the largest tribe, made up mainly of farmers, and Nanyuki is a town that cuts across the equator. And, the Ewaso Ng’iro River, which means the river of brown or muddy water, serves as the main watering hole for wildlife in northern Kenya.

After an interesting lesson, we stopped mid-morning at a little shop full of homemade goods where we had the opportunity to run to the restroom and check out a small cafe. Note: the folks here were a bit pushy about buying things, and most of us were convinced to get at least something small to support the local community.

After another couple of hours, we stopped at the Trout Tree around noon for lunch, and this place was so adorable!

It’s basically a tree house restaurant built around a large tree trunk and has a trout farm behind it.

So, naturally, half of us ordered the trout! The set menu also had steak – which I went for – and vegetarian curry options, and we were served an appetizer and dessert as well, followed by some tea and coffee.

The food was amazing (and apparently, it was included in our package – we only paid for drinks!), the vibe was great, and how neat is this kitchen?

We even got to see some cool, endangered Colobus monkeys with their babies outside the restaurant!

After lunch, we embarked on our first game drive through Samburu National Reserve on the way to our lodge. Again, so thankful that we made it in time for this. Phew!

To give some context, Samburu National Reserve is a game reserve on the banks of the Ewaso Ng’iro River; in fact, it’s the most popular park in Northern Kenya. It’s known to provide some of the best and most colorful game viewing in the country, to include gerenuks, Grevy’s zebras, oryxes, Reticulated giraffes, lions, cheetahs, African leopards, elephants, Cape buffaloes, hippopotamuses, Olive baboons, warthogs, Grant’s gazelles, Kirk’s dik-diks, impalas, and waterbucks. Black rhinoceroses were reintroduced after a twenty-five year hiatus due to poaching, and there are more than 350 species of bird in the park as well.

We were all very excited to see a troop of Vervet monkeys, a.k.a. “blue-balled” monkeys, lots of elephants and their babies, and a beautiful, lone giraffe, all of which were practically an arm’s length away from our vehicle.

A Broad Recommendation: Don’t over drink at lunch because there’s only one more bathroom break on the way to the camp. Ladies, it would be smart to invest in a female urinary device not only for the long car rides but also because on some stops, there are only squat toilets available. Check out our Kenya: A-Broad Overview for more on that.

Around 7 PM, we arrived and checked in at Samburu Intrepids Lodge, a camp that offers 27 tents overlooking the river and a charming, open dining area to relax and enjoy a meal. The camp also had a swimming pool, a boutique for souvenirs and safari essentials, massages, and access to email, fax, telephone, WiFi and postal service.

Basically, we were glamping (or camping on steroids) in the middle of the reserve. Our rooms were legitimately tents but also had two beds, surrounded by large, hanging mosquito nets, a sink, a toilet and a shower. It’s notable that there was no fridge, television, WiFi, or heat/AC in the rooms, and the power was conserved between the hours of 12 PM and 3 PM and again from midnight to 5 AM each day, so that meant no overnight phone charging!

A Broad Recommendation: It’s always a good idea to bring along a portable charger on any international trip, but it would be especially useful to have one for the long car rides and overnight camp stays where charging your phone isn’t possible.

For dinner, we had several options for salad/soup, aperitif, main course, dessert, cheese and crackers, and coffee or tea, and again, everything was included with our package other than drinks (this means you’ll be paying for water, which you’ll need to stock up on constantly because you can’t drink the tap water). We were surprised to find that curry was an option for many of the meals on this trip. Allison and I are both big curry lovers, so this was a true treat for us!

Unfortunately, due to all of the traveling, I started feeling pretty bad by the end of the first full day and matters only got worse at night. Luckily, I had brought basically an entire medicine cabinet with me, so I was well-equipped with Mucinex, DayQuil, NyQuil, cough drops, and the works to ward off some of the respiratory symptoms I was having.

A Broad Recommendation: Always come prepared with first aid and any medicine you are accustomed to back home in case you get minor cuts, bites, etc., or sick. This includes bringing feminine products, ladies! Being sick or uncomfortable can ruin a trip of a lifetime, so it’s always best to be prepared.

The rooms got a little toasty at night, so that made for some pretty miserable sleep while I was sickly; the hot water also never heated up in the shower the next morning, but in this case, I actually didn’t mind, since I had been burning up all night.

Samburu National Reserve: Wednesday, February 5th

We headed to breakfast around 7 AM to fuel up before our morning game drive, and it was truly a treat! They had an omelet station with all kinds of yummy toppings, and there was a buffet of eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, baked beans, fruit, bread, etc. 

Excited for our first morning game drive!

Once we got out there, we almost immediately ran into a troop of baboons in the middle of the road. Our group kept joking about wanting to see baby animals, and this sighting certainly did not disappoint! There were tons of adult and baby baboons, and they were RIGHT next to our vehicle.

A Broad Recommendation: you actually should be very careful around monkeys, as they are smart and can get into just about anything; they also carry debilitating diseases like rabies, so steer clear of touching any of these guys.

Then, we saw this little guy (or gal) with his (or her) momma. How adorable! We were all obsessed. I’m sure Dennis explained to us whether the baby was male or female, but I can’t remember, and it’s hard to tell since all African elephants have tusks. I had learned in Thailand that female Asian elephants don’t have tusks, so that’s how you can tell them apart.

Emily also took this opportunity to take the world’s cutest selfie with the momma and baby elephant!

The Ewaso Ng’iro River, which cuts through the otherwise dry country, acts as a magnet for thirsty animals, and several herds of elephants were gathered along the riverbank when we passed by. We watched them play and bathe here for a good while, and then, we even spotted a crocodile!

Dennis let us know that over time, an elephant’s tusks will get worn down from so much use like the elephant shown here.

We saw many more elephants, giraffes, impalas, dik-diks, antelopes, and various species of birds, to include an eagle, before heading back to the lodge for a break and some lunch. And, we obviously needed a group giraffe selfie!

After another amazing, several-course meal, we enjoyed some much-needed relaxation time at the lodge’s pool before washing up and getting ready for our afternoon game drive.

We made our way back out into the park around 4 PM. Not only were all of the animals incredible, but the scenery around us was also breathtaking with mountains in the distance and unique trees speckling the landscape.

It was basically the day of elephants and baboons because we ended up seeing a ton more of them on this game drive, including some babies – our favorite! And, naturally, we took one million pictures.

Oh, and did I mention, there were hundreds of billions of locusts swarming around everywhere we went? At the time of our visit, it was the beginning of the worst locust infestation across East Africa in more than 70 years, devastating crops and increasing fears about food security across the country.

What was fun about these little guys though was that every time one would get into the vehicle, Bryan would freak out, and we would all start laughing. He hated them so much that we even had to close our windows at times!

Back at the camp, we took some cute couple shots before heading back to our rooms to shower and freshen up.

Before dinner, we were able to snag some appetizers and drinks in the bar area, while watching a short presentation given by a Samburu Warrior. The Samburu people are Nilotic, meaning they are indigenous to the Nile Valley, and nomadic. They herd mainly cattle but also some sheep, goats and camels. The Samburu tribe speaks a version of the Maa language distinct from the Maasai people in Southern Kenya.

We had another wonderful, wine-filled dinner before calling it a night. Tim accidentally ordered a drink with ice, which he had to slurp down as quickly as he could because he forgot that he shouldn’t drink the water! Don’t worry; he was totally fine afterwards, but just remember this when ordering mixed drinks.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling too great afterwards, and the evening only got worse for me. I ended up sleeping off a chilling fever and woke up the next morning with a pretty bad cough. At this point, Allison was also having sinus issues and feeling terrible, so I’m assuming we may have caught something on the flight over or were both just struggling from lack of sleep.

Driving Day & Mt. Kenya National Park: Thursday, February 6th

The next morning, we enjoyed our fancy buffet breakfast, grabbed another group shot with our Samburu Warrior friend, and loaded up the car around 8 AM to begin our four to five hour drive up to Mt. Kenya National Park.

To my surprise, I had officially lost my voice, so I tried my best to get some extra rest during the long car ride, hunkering down in the back seat next to Tim. At times when I did wake up, we passed by small stalls on the side of the road where folks were selling various things, as well as a lot of beautiful scenery. At one point, we even got out to take a few photos!

We arrived at the Serena Mountain Lodge mid-afternoon, and we were pretty giddy to check this place out, as you can probably see from Allison’s face below. It was quite different from the camp we had come from.

When we walked inside, we spotted a monkey roaming around the lodge; it must’ve gotten in somehow!

I was quickly disappointed to learn that the porters had broken my suitcase – man, it was just one thing after another on this trip! So, I asked them to take a look to see if they could track down the missing part while we went off to lunch at the tree-top-level dining room.

The dining room was surrounded by windows and sat on stilts, which gave the illusion of us floating above the forest and provided some nice views. Here, they came to tell me that they couldn’t find the missing leg from my suitcase, and I must’ve broken it off myself – okay, so not quite the top quality customer service we had experienced before LOL.

After lunch, we paid $30 per person (a little pricey in my opinion) to go on a two-hour guided nature walk through the Mt. Kenya forest. We were equipped with rain boots, rain jackets and an armed companion for protection from the wildlife, along with our guide.

A Broad Recommendation: you should bring along a TON of bug spray, sunglasses, binoculars, a hat, hand sanitizer and your phone to use as a camera on a trek like this. I don’t think they would even let you go out without a guide, but either way, we highly advise using a guide.

We learned a bit about Mt. Kenya, its history and the wildlife that’s nestled within the rainforest. Mt. Kenya is Kenya’s highest mountain and Africa’s second highest mountain. Both Mt. Kenya and Mt. Kenya National Park are revered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. The mountain is sacred to the Kikuyu tribe; members of the tribe keep their doors open to face the mountain and some come to pray to the throne of Ngai, their old high god.

Although we spotted and learned of many trees and vegetation along our hike, we didn’t see many animals. Near the end of the walk, they had set up an adorable surprise “Dawa” treat, and we used logs as seats and tables and drank tea and coffee as if we were at a small outdoor cafe.

Shortly after, we made it back to the lodge to hang out for the remainder of the evening. The Serena Mountain Lodge is known as the only “tree hotel” ever to be built on the slopes of Mt. Kenya, located at an altitude of 7,200 feet and overlooking a watering hole that provides exciting game viewing opportunities.

When we arrived back, there were lots of Cape buffalo posted up napping and hanging out by the watering hole.

We spent much of the evening sitting on the open-air bar deck watching small animals come and go to drink from the watering hole.

The gals split a bottle of champagne (except for me because I wasn’t feeling up to it), and the guys grabbed a few rounds of Tusker beers, their obsession throughout the trip.

Our favorite sighting was a super playful monkey that kept running back and forth across the ledge of the deck right in front of us and was stealing food from some of the rooms! 

A Broad Recommendation: don’t leave anything out on the bar ledge that you don’t want a monkey to steal and/or eat or drink; they will come and grab your stuff and you likely will never get it back. We kept a close eye out on our phones, Kindles, beers, etc.!

Once it got dark, we decided to head to dinner where we enjoyed another several-course meal. They had found the missing piece to my suitcase and awkwardly handed it to me while we were eating – at least I could fix my bag when I got home from the trip, so it was much appreciated.

After our meal, we were asked to complete a form that specified which animals we would like to see. If we had a particular animal checked, and one of the hotel staff saw it around the watering hole that night, they would come and knock on our door to wake us up to check it out!

Before bed, we were offered an informative power point presentation that Emily was interested in checking out. With the lights dimmed for the show, half of us fell asleep during the presentation. Whoops! We ended up needing to cut this one short and headed back to our rooms.

The rooms had a cabin-y vibe with thick-pile, locally woven rugs, African design-printed comforters and turn-down service where they added heated warmers under the sheets. Each room also came with its own adorable balcony for private game viewing.

Unfortunately, none of our must-sees made their way to the watering hole that night, and we were only woken up once for the sunrise around 6:30 AM, which was the final option on the list. That being said, this was probably for the best, since I was still feeling awful and unable to sleep through the night as it was. And, it was quite a beautiful sunrise!

Note: the lodge also offered a bar with central fireplace, gift shop, business center, spa, board games, wedding venues, and a special animal-viewing bunker in addition to its forest trails, moorland hikes and mountain climbing opportunities.

Driving Day, Lake Nakuru National Park & Lake Elmenteita: Friday, February 7th

We had a buffet-style breakfast – to be honest, this was probably the worst breakfast of the trip for me because I’m not big on pastries and the like – before leaving around 8 AM for yet another long drive to Lake Nakuru National Park.

Around 10 AM, we stopped for a bathroom break where I bartered down to $15 USD for an authentic beaded necklace, which I later found out was still overpriced…oops.

A Broad Recommendation: You will be tempted to buy souvenirs throughout the trip. If you are heading to Maasai Mara, you could wait to purchase small souvenirs like jewelry, magnets, etc. there because in our experience, they had the best deals. Keep in mind, they will still be quite pushy, and they came right up to our car, but they offered as low as $5 USD for three necklaces vs. the $15 USD I paid for one.

We also got to see an equator demonstration during this brief stop; a bucket of water was placed north of the equator and then south of the equator, and depending on which side it was sitting on, the water would rotate in a different direction. When sat directly on the equator, the water stood still. This is due to the earth’s polarity and was super interesting to see. The demonstrator also mentioned that boys’ cowlicks go in opposite directions depending on if they are north or south of the equator, but he may have been joking about that.

Here, you also had the option of paying for a certificate that stated you had been to the equator, which Emily and Bryan opted for.

Continuing along on our drive, we spotted this cutie in the brush.

We stopped around 12:30 PM at Sarova Lion Hill Lodge for lunch, which was buffet style and had beautiful views.

We had a huge meal, full of more curry, and were particularly impressed with the lion-shaped bread sculpture in the dessert area.

After lunch, we did a game drive through Lake Nakuru National Park, which is home to thousands of lesser and greater flamingos, black and white rhinos, lions, leopards, hippos and the endangered Rothschild’s giraffes. Due to rising water levels back in 2014, many flamingos fled but some have since returned, and the lake is now surrounded by drowned trees.

We saw lots of baboons again and lots of adorable babies.

Then, we couldn’t have been any happier when we saw two lions shading themselves under a tree right next to the road! We literally pulled up right next to them, and I thought I was going to start crying I was so excited. We had been waiting for this moment the whole trip!

Dennis mentioned that he noticed the lions seemed to be monitoring the area, meaning there may have been cubs hidden down below. Given the amount of flies and that these lions looked pretty young themselves, he predicted it was probably a fresh kill instead. Unfortunately, we didn’t spot any cubs – that would’ve been incredible.

Of course, we needed to remember this moment with a selfie of us and the lions. Ha!

After that, another one of my dreams came true and I actually did start crying. I was so sick and couldn’t speak at this point, so crying was the best way to express my excitement…haha. We came upon a crash of white rhinos, and there was even a baby rhino!

If you read up until this point, you know I adopted a baby rhino from the Sheldrick Trust, and unfortunately, didn’t get to meet the little guy, so this definitely made up for that. This little guy was very cute.

Here are some quick, fun facts about white rhinos:

  • The white rhino is one of Africa’s two rhino species.
  • They are grazers that need to feed daily, but they can survive for up to 5 days without water.
  • Female rhinos often live in groups called “crashes”. Males, who are typically solitary, will often be seen following a crash of females.
  • In the late 1800s, the white rhino population was as low as 100, but this has luckily improved to a current population of more than 18,000!

After driving away from the rhinos, we hopped out of the vehicle – which typically isn’t advised, and Dennis snapped a few shots of all of us in front of the beautiful setting.

Around 4:30 PM, we made it to Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp and were promptly greeted with glasses of champagne all around – Dennis included. What a special welcome treat!

Located in Kenya’s Soysambu Conservancy, the camp offered stunning views and overall was absolutely fabulous. The rooms were massive with king beds, decks, showers that could fit like 10 people, etc., and there was a huge outdoor swimming pool. Massage services were also available on-site, and again, breakfast, lunch and dinner were all included with our stay.

I mean, c’mon you guys – look at this place!

And, look at this incredible pool! We spent the rest of the afternoon here, popping bottles of champagne and taking in the breathtaking views, before getting ready for dinner.

This was by far my favorite lodging of the entire trip, and I just couldn’t get over how beautiful everything was. Elmenteita, which means ‘place of dust’, is a small soda lake which attracts flamingos and 400 other bird species. It’s a World Heritage Site and is where Kenya’s most famous settler Lord Delamere lived and did most of Kenya’s early agricultural experimentation. The shores are often alive with wildlife like eland, kudu, zebra, gazelle, and warthog families.

Dinner was, again, a set menu with a few options for appetizer, aperitif, main course, cheese and crackers, dessert and coffee/tea, and we were practically the only group there by 8 PM.

From our table, we could see zebras grazing and drinking from a watering hole just outside the camp boundaries. How neat!

Driving Day & Maasai Mara: Saturday, February 8th

The next morning, we had a surprise breakfast planned. Some of the hotel staff walked us down a grassy path into the bush where the most adorable table was set up overlooking the lake and all the flamingos.

We were served champagne, and the staff was practically waiting on us hand and foot.

Everyone was having an amazing time, but by this point, as Allison would say, I was basically a walking “medicine cocktail” from all of the Mucinex, malaria pills, DayQuil, NyQuil and now antibiotics I was taking, so I was not feeling well at all.

The service was so impeccable that at one point, one of the waiters came over to check on me to see why I hadn’t finished any of my breakfast – to this, I immediately responded by standing up, turning around and running approximately two to three steps before projectile vomiting everywhere. OH MY GOSH. So embarrassing!

A Broad Recommendation: Malaria pills and antibiotics can mess with your stomach during your travels. Make sure to eat first before taking medicine. I was feeling so bad that I took my medicine upon waking up, and this clearly didn’t not pan out well.

Side note: this was the only time on our trip that anyone was given free water – I guess I earned it!

The staff offered to take me to the hospital, but I was feeling much better after throwing up and was able to finish eating my breakfast. I was even able to muster a couple shot in front of the beautiful backdrop before we headed back up to the camp.

Originally, the plan was to be picked up by 8:15ish AM, but we ended up leaving around 9 due to unforeseen circumstances and drove for an hour and a half before stopping again for a bathroom break at another local shop. Here, I purchased some cute homemade earrings for $12 USD; note: many of the items at these shops are overpriced, but purchases go back into the community, so I didn’t negotiate too much further down from their original asking price.

Another two hours into the drive and a couple of us girls couldn’t hold it anymore; luckily, we had brought along our handy female urinary devices! This made it much less embarrassing to use the restroom on the side of the road (behind a bush still, of course).

After another hour and a half or so, we stopped at Sarova Mara Camp for another buffet lunch; again, everything was included except for drinks, and we only paid 400 KES (~$4 USD) or so for bottles of water.

The afternoon entailed a super cool Maasai village tour where we got to practice high jumps, a very important cultural competition among the men.

We also got to sing and chant with both the men and women and to go inside a typical Maasai home, all while learning about the culture.

Women are in charge of building the homes with each move, which happens frequently, as the Maasai tribes are nomadic and move with the weather. This is something we had previously learned about the Samburu tribe during the presentation we saw at the Samburu Intrepids Camp.

Men can have many wives, which they pay for with cattle to show status in the community, and they are allowed to sleep with other men’s wives. Men are also able to leave and go to school and work, after which they are welcome to come back to their tribe. Maasai people eat the meat and drink the milk from their cattle, and on occasion, they drink the blood as well. 

To contribute to the village, we all purchased ornaments and some other small souvenirs. Tim and I spent $18 for an ornament and a magnet.

As we continued on our way, we drove through the Maasai Mara National Reserve, the only region in Kenya where it’s still possible to see the same amount of animals that existed a century ago. A photographer’s paradise, the reserve has an abundance of elephants, giraffes, lions, buffalo, and cheetahs; leopards and the endangered black rhino hide in the dense forests, and hippos and crocodiles swim in the Mara River.

Situated in the southwest of Kenya, the reserve covers about 583 square miles and has breathtaking vistas and endless plains. The concentration of game is prevalent year-round to include the more than two million wildebeest, zebras and antelopes that make up the famous Great Migration.

Dennis, who was extremely articulate in African wildlife, spent some time teaching us the various “fives”, and we even came up with some of our own.

Big Five: Lion, African Elephant, Rhinoceros, Cape Buffalo, and Leopard

Small Five: Elephant Shrew, Ant Lion, Rhinoceros Beetle, Buffalo Weaver, and Leopard Tortoise

Shy Five: Porcupine, Bat-eared Fox, Aardvark, Meerkat, and Aardwolf

Ugly Five: Hyena, Warthog, Marabou Stork, Wildebeest, and Vulture

Samburu Special Five: Grevy’s Zebra, Somali Ostrich, Gerenuk Antelope, Beisa Oryx, and Reticulated Giraffe

Scaly Five: African Rock Python, Black Mamba – any Kobe lovers out there? RIP, Green Mamba, Crocodile, Puff Adder – the snake that kills the most people in Africa, Vipers, etc. (okay, I guess there’s more than five of these, and luckily, we didn’t see most of them – I hate snakes!)

Along the way, we also ran into a bunch of giraffes and impalas, a boa constrictor, a hyena, a black-back jackal, hippos, zebras, elephants, lots of birds, and a Topi, a.k.a. the Blue Jeans antelope. 

And this guy came right up to the vehicle! Shall we name him Geoffrey?

We arrived at the Mara Serena Safari Lodge close to 6:30 PM, and once again, we were totally stunned by its beauty. I mean, look at this place, you guys!

Located deep within the Maasai Mara National Reserve, the lodge is set high on a bush-covered hill, overlooking the rolling grasslands of the savanna, and during the summer months, it serves as an epic viewing spot for the legendary wildebeest migration. Embracing Maasai cultural motifs, it boasts a cluster of domed, mud-colored huts decorated with vibrant colors and Maasai art. And, each room has its own balcony with views of the breathtaking vistas.

A Broad Recommendation: heed the warnings about keeping the balcony door locked at all times. Baboons can and will open the door and get into your room! You can even ask Allison and Ryan about this one, since they caught a baboon red-handed trying to slide their balcony doors apart. Thank goodness for the lock!

Unfortunately, keeping your doors locked won’t keep out the lizards; Allison and Ryan had a lizard friend living in their room for several days at this lodge…haha.

The lodge also had another gorgeous swimming pool overlooking the savanna, a large restaurant, a gift shop, a spa, a gym, and a bar area/lounge.

We met for a lovely dinner on the back patio of the restaurant around 7:45 PM. We were served drinks and soup by a waiter, but there was no set menu here, so it was a free-for-all in the buffet lines.

Note that there was WiFi in the common areas and in the rooms, but it was quite slow in the rooms if it even worked at all, so most of us were catching up on missed messages during dinner.

After dinner, we grabbed some drinks and enjoyed another Maasai tribe demonstration, similar to the one we had seen earlier in the day, before calling it an “early night”. All of the long drives and early mornings were tiring, so we found it difficult to stay up too late throughout the trip.

Maasai Mara: Sunday, February 9th

The next day was one we had anticipated for quite some time. Drum roll, please! It was SHIRT DAY!

Allison’s friend had custom made us girls tank tops and the guys short-sleeved shirts that all said “SAFARI SQUAD”. I mean, how cute are we? We obviously had to take a bunch of pictures throughout the day in our shirts!

We started the day very early with a 6:30 AM pick-up, and I caught a shot of a hot air balloon going up from the viewing deck before meeting up with the group. Just stunning!

The sun was just rising as we made our way through the reserve, and we spotted some giraffes right away.

Next, we saw a couple of lions hanging out in the tall grass and watched them for a bit until they walked into the abyss.

We definitely took our time to get to breakfast, and the views were just so pretty along the way! When we arrived for our “Hippo Breakfast” – don’t worry guys; we didn’t eat any hippos – we were again greeted with some champagne and set up at a nice table underneath the trees and overlooking the river where a bunch of hippos were hanging out.

I posed the question, “on a scale of 1 to hippo, how hungry are you guys right now?”, since it was getting late into the morning by now, and I was starving. Anyone get my reference and remember the game Hungry Hungry Hippos?

Breakfast, of course, was delicious, and we spent time after snapping some pictures of a pile of hippos that were hanging out on the riverbank.

Note: there were bathrooms here, and they were nicer than some of the others we had encountered on our long drives, so it’s totally okay to go all out on the champagne and various juices they offer at breakfast.

On our way back to the lodge, we did another mini-game drive, and spotted some tommys, ostriches and zebras.

Our afternoon was spent lounging by the beautiful pool where we tried the infamous Husker Cider – it was only okay; a little too sweet for our tastes, but it grows on you a little bit with each sip!

With all of the travel, being sick, etc., most of us ended up falling asleep for a bit, and I woke up with a killer sunburn. Being near the equator is no joke! I typically don’t burn at all, and I had sunblock on, so here is your reminder to wear sunblock and reapply frequently to ensure you don’t burn up.

After the pool, a few of us went for lunch before getting ready to go back out for our afternoon game drive. Typically, the gals sat up front because some of us get motion sickness, but we decided to let the boys sit up there this time, and naturally, they had the time of their lives!

We were all excited to see yet another lion and to finally see some hyenas, one of which was in the middle of the road right in front of us!

Funny story about these cuties! Allison and Ryan were walking back from dinner one night when they “almost got eaten by a hyena”, as they remember it. But seriously, it was a pretty traumatic experience because the hyena was literally right next to them. I guess all the animals just love them, since this was the third animal encounter by their room.

We also were lucky enough to see a lone, endangered black rhino.

We came back to the hotel for our buffet dinner before calling it an early night, after waking up so early that morning. We had another early morning planned for the next day, so we really needed to rest up. There was only one last thing we needed to do, and that was for the fake Iceland crew to take some shots with our “I was in Iceland” bag in our Safari Squad shirts!

Maasai Mara: Monday, February 10th

Talk about a case of the Mondays! We had an early pick-up time, so we woke up around 4 AM to load up on sunblock and bug spray in anticipation of our hot air balloon ride and our champagne breakfast to follow. We had all been super excited about this – except for maybe Bryan – and couldn’t believe this day had finally come.

We loaded up into a jeep-like vehicle (we had a different driver and vehicle for this excursion), and it was a chilly, hour-long drive to the take-off location. On our way there, we stopped in the middle of the road, shut off the lights, and watched two lionesses walk directly by the side of our vehicle. This was a little nerve-wracking considering this particular vehicle had plastic flaps for windows vs. our normal vehicle, which was fully enclosed, and the front of the vehicle was completely open with the windows down.

Luckily, they walked right past us without a care in the world. That all would’ve been fine if we hadn’t gotten stuck in the mud about thirty seconds later. Not gonna lie – this is when we all started panicking and thinking that the lionesses would come back to eat us.

We were stuck for a couple of minutes, and our driver even had to get out of the vehicle to put it back into four-wheel drive. We all assumed we weren’t going to get out of the mud at this point after several minutes of him trying, but luckily we did. Phew! That was a close call.

And for what? We arrived and were informed that the wind was just too strong for us to go up in a hot air balloon that morning. Wow. Clearly, we were all very upset by this and frustrated, especially since we had basically risked our lives to get there…LOL.

Epic hot air balloon fail!

Although definitely not at fault, our driver felt bad and took us on a lovely game drive to make up for what we had missed out on, as we made our way back to the hotel.

We even saw the same two lionesses from earlier, and now, they were hunting for prey. We sat here for quite a while before we had to head back to the lodge.

By 9 AM, we were back at the hotel for a late breakfast, and by 10 AM, our OG driver, Dennis, was back to pick us up for another late-morning game drive. This was particularly amazing, since we ended up seeing two cheetahs hanging out in some bushes. They were pretty tricky to see, but luckily, with our binoculars and Emily’s camera we were able to spot them and take a couple of photos.

Because Dennis is the man, we stopped at the stone splitting Kenya and Tanzania where he let us get out of the vehicle to take some pictures and lots of selfies – we even got one with Dennis!

If you’ve ever seen the movie A Walk to Remember, you may recall when Landon helps Jamie cross “being in two places at once” off her bucket list by taking her to straddle the state line; well, this totally reminded me of that! We straddled the line between Tanzania and Kenya and were technically in two countries at once – how cool!

We had to snag a couple selfie with the vehicle too, since we didn’t have any! Luckily, no animals came after us…haha.

On the way back to the hotel, it was really hard to keep our eyes open; half of us fell asleep, so it’s hard to tell what we may have missed. I did capture a pic of the beautiful landscape at one point. Can you imagine waking up to this every day? We were certainly going to miss these views!

We headed straight to lunch when we got back, since it was nearly 1:45 PM, and lunch ended at 2. By 2:15 PM, Tim and I were back outside to read and animal watch from the outdoor bar area, while the other couples went for naps and massages. Here, we spotted this little warthog friend.

Around 4 PM, we headed back out for our final official game drive. We saw lots of giraffes doing some peculiar things, which we all found pretty hilarious to watch.

Our last full day also afforded us the best sunsets we had seen so far on the trip, and we were all caught up in taking pictures when out of nowhere, a leopard dashed right in front of our vehicle!

Dennis was brimming with excitement and probably thought we were crazy for almost missing this for a sunset picture. Leopards are quite elusive, and he was shocked we had seen one; he told us we were very lucky, which is pretty funny considering all of the things that had gone wrong on our trip…haha.

And, back to the sunset! But seriously, you guys! Aren’t these sunset photos breathtaking?

Since we had taken so long on our game drive, Dennis was zipping around trying to get us back before his curfew. At one point, we literally had to drive through a mini-lake.

Then, going like 70 MPH (this may be an exaggeration…haha), Dennis slammed on the brakes because he had spotted a Dung beetle in the middle of the road, rolling up a ball of dung.

Clearly, Dennis has stellar vision! This little guy was tiny and hard to spot, but he knew that Ryan had been obsessed with hearing stories of Dung beetles throughout our trip, so he just had to stop for us! Ryan may have been more excited for this than the leopard but not sure.

Sadly, Dennis may have gotten a slight reprimand for coming back in late, but we really had the time of our lives and appreciated him taking the risk on us. After seeing a leopard, we were able to say that we had seen the “Big 5” – how neat!

We had another buffet dinner and headed to bed after an exhausting, animal-filled day.

Maasai Mara & Travel Day: Tuesday, February 11th

Because Dennis is the coolest guy ever, he had called the balloon place for us to reschedule our ride. Once again, we woke up at 4 AM and were picked up by yet another driver to attempt our journey back to the hot air balloon place.

Upon arrival, close to 6 AM, we had a glimpse of hope when the pilot notified us that the weather was looking MUCH better today, and we saw one of the balloons start to go up. In the distance, we also saw two other balloons make their way into the sky just around sunrise. We were getting really excited now but trying not to get our hopes up.

Closer to 7 AM, the pilot tried to inflate yet another balloon due to technical difficulties with the first balloon and eventually came back to break the bad news that yet again, we had missed our window, and he had tried his best, but we would not be going up in the balloon again today. WHAT A BUMMER! This was one of the things some of us were most looking forward to, so it was a huge let down.

Despite our momentary heartbreak, we had an eventful game drive back to the hotel where we saw a hippo on land right by our vehicle, as well as some more giraffes, elephants and Cape buffaloes.

We grabbed some breakfast, then started the long journey back to Nairobi where we were all slated to eat at the Carnivore restaurant, which basically is a smorgasbord of meat.

Since we had missed the first day, Tim and I (again, thanks to our great driver and a little extra money) were able to visit the Giraffe Centre and the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which the other two couples had already done, instead.

Created by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, a Kenyan non-profit organization, the center serves to educate Kenyan children about wildlife and the environment and to give local and international visitors an opportunity to come in close contact with giraffes and even feed them.

We had lots of fun feeding the giraffes, but it was extremely crowded and a bit claustrophobic considering there were only three or four giraffes we could interact with.

Originally, we were set to spend one or two hours at the Giraffe Centre, but due to timing constraints, we spent around 15 minutes here. The cost was $15 USD per person and was paid at the entrance. More information can be found on the Giraffe Centre website if you are interested in planning a visit here.

Next, we zipped on over to the Daphne Sheldrick Wildlife Trust & Elephant Orphanage for our small adopter’s group tour, for which all three couples had adopted elephants.

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world and one of the pioneering conservation organizations for wildlife and habitat protection in East Africa. Their mission is as follows: “Working across Kenya, our projects include anti-poaching, safeguarding the natural environment, enhancing community awareness, addressing animal welfare issues, providing veterinary assistance to animals in need, rescuing and hand rearing elephant and rhino orphans, along with other species that can ultimately enjoy a quality of life in wild terms when grown.”

To date, the trust has hand-raised over 244 infant elephants and effectively reintegrated the orphans back into wild herds, claiming many healthy wild-born calves from former-orphaned elephants raised in care. More information can be found on their website, including how to adopt an elephant, rhino or giraffe for yourself! 

Although, my most favorite adopted animal ever, Apollo the rhino, wasn’t there, there was a resident rhino named Maxwell that we saw right when we walked in. Maxwell hung out by himself, and we learned that he was blind.

We waited in the hot sun for a few minutes before we saw a stampede of elephants racing back from the forest. How neat!

After going over some basic rules, we got to visit our second adopted animal, Kiasa, and she was absolutely beautiful!

We were able to see all of the other elephants that were at the nursery, and we could hear a giraffe, who was actually in timeout, from his room. Because I was obsessed with this before the trip, I recognized most of the elephants by name and recalled seeing a video of this particular giraffe being saved and airlifted to the nursery.

The whole experience lasted just under an hour, but we were so grateful we got to visit with and pet some of the animals; we were lucky they had allowed us to reschedule, since there is a limit on the number of people allowed in each day.

A Broad Recommendation: a trip to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a must for any visit to Nairobi. It doesn’t take much time, and the animals are wonderful. We also recommend doing some research beforehand, so you know more about the animals you will be visiting with. It was like placing a face with a name for us, and we were so excited to see these cute friends!

Unfortunately, there were some things we weren’t able to do but would recommend checking out if you have time on your trip:

  • Giraffe Manor: an exclusive, beautiful boutique hotel set on 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of indigenous forest. It’s referred to as one of the most instagrammed properties in the world, and given that it only has twelve rooms, it’s typically booked out for years in advance. A resident herd of Rothschild’s giraffes will visit throughout the day, poking their long necks into the windows.
  • Karen Blixen Museum: one of the National Museums of Kenya, which was previously the centerpiece of a farm owned by Danish Author Karen Blixen and her husband, Baron Bror von Blixen Fincke. It gained international fame with the release of the movie “Out of Africa”, an Oscar winning film based on Karen’s autobiography, and is open to the public daily from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM. 
  • Karen Blixen Coffee Garden & Cottages: a cute lunch spot we had planned for our first day.

We headed back to Carnivore to pick up the rest of the group and then were dropped off at the airport where we said our goodbyes to our man, Dennis. Dennis was an exceptional guide and driver and went above and beyond to make our experience one of a lifetime. We would highly recommend Sense of Africa, and Dennis in particular, for any safari in Kenya!

The Kenya airport was very odd compared to what we are normally used to. We had to exit the vehicle with just our purses and go through a metal detector, then reenter the vehicle before being dropped off at the entrance. Here, our bags were checked multiple times before we could go through.

To our dismay, there was no AC in the airport nor could we find any restaurants, which Tim and I had planned on doing since we had skipped our dinner. I guess this is why the restaurant staff was so concerned when we said we wouldn’t be staying for dinner, but that hadn’t been clearly explained to us, so we had no idea.

Our flight wasn’t set to take off until a bit after 11 PM, and now Bryan and Emily were also feeling bad, and I was still not well and coughing up a storm. I will say that we got super lucky on this trip because we got back right before COVID-19 started becoming a serious issue, and with how sick we had all become, we may have had trouble making it through various airports due to testing that was later required.

We sat for several hours until we were allowed through to our gate. Here, we discovered there were no bathrooms or water (you couldn’t bring water through, since our bags were checked once again), and we sat and waited for a lengthy amount of time before boarding our aircraft. And, some of our group had to go through yet another security scan. Sheesh!

We finally departed and arrived late into Germany, where Emily, Bryan, Allison and Ryan had to sprint to their connecting flight to Amsterdam – don’t worry; they made it! Sadly, Tim and I had chosen to opt out of this part of the trip due to vacation time constraints at Tim’s job.

We had more than a four hour wait for our flight back to Houston, and we ended up getting delayed a bit; basically, Lufthansa sucked this this entire trip. They even ran out of food for economy passengers on this flight! You just gotta laugh about these things – what a mess!

After a total of 24 hours of travel, we made it back to Houston and through customs when we ran into one of our friends who also happened to be friends with one of the couples on the trip – how funny! We shared a quick chat and then caught our respective Ubers back home.

Wow, what an adventure! A huge THANK YOU to Emily and Bryan for planning out this trip alongside their travel agent and to the rest of the group for contributing their beautiful photos for this post. Our trip to Kenya is one we will certainly remember for a lifetime, and we were so blessed to be able to experience it with some great friends!

For more information on required travel documents, what to pack, how to dress, and other important things to remember when booking a trip to Kenya, check out our Kenya: A-Broad Overview.

Feel free to let us know if you have any questions in the comments below, and don’t forget to pin it and check back in soon to see where we traveled to next!

XOXO Travel A-Broads

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Kris Satterthwaite
Kris Satterthwaite
1 month ago

Thanks for sharing your awesome Africa experience! You did an amazing job capturing each leg of the adventure, including awesome pics and videos. You have a gift for writing in a conversational style that is informative (and fun)! Keep up the great work!

Roozbeh
1 month ago

Great story telling and nicely organized. I enjoyed reading this article.