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Please don't underestimate the power of the sun in Kenya as it is situated on the equator. You can get very badly burnt if you are not careful.I will now talk more specifically about my experience of Kenya.
***WHERE I STAYED***As I mentioned above, I visited Kenya in the month of August and stayed for a fortnight. I stayed on the coast (Diani beach) just south of Mombasa. I stayed in 'Safari Beach Hotel' where I spent 11 nights; 3 nights were spent away on safari.
Safari Beach Hotel is situated in tropical gardens which are home to small white thatched two-storey cottages. I thought it was nice staying in these little cottages, it felt a little more private. And I liked looking in the gardens and seeing the tropical birds and the monkeys roaming about.Overall the hotel was in lovely grounds and had great facilities including tennis, swimming pools, lovely eating areas, and gardens which lead on to the beautiful beach. The food was great with lots of choice.
In addition to all of this there are two other hotels a short walk up the beach. If you stay at Safari Beach Hotel you can also make use of the facilities (including food) at these two other hotels (Jardini and Africana Sea Lodge).Safari Beach Hotel is situated south of Mombasa. If you do not stay south of Mombasa, I would definately recommend you take a trip down there just for the ferry experience. You have to take a ferry to reach the coastal area south of mombasa. You will take this ride with the locals and it is definately an experience. The ferry however will probably be very crowded and I would advise you not to have any valuables on show (in fact if possible do not take any valuables to Kenya at all) - apart from your camera of course.
I have not gone into great detail about the accomodation as this is not what you go to Kenya for.***WHAT I DID IN KENYA***
Visiting the locals
It is definately worthwhile talking to the locals and finding out about their life. Too many tourists just stay in the hotels. I found that during this visit I was not hassled at all and was made to feel very welcome. This is in contrast to meetings with locals on the beach. You will not actually see many Kenyan's on the beach. In fact you will not see many people at all on the beach (in my experience). I found that it was rare to see tourists on the beach as they would be hassled by beach sellers.Trip to Wasini Island
I would definately recommend this. First of all I travelled by Dhow to Kisite Marine National Park which is home to the best reefs in Kenya. I snorkled and the wildlife was amazing. If you are lucky you might see dolphins during your journey to the reef.I then visited the main island (Wasini). This is home to a Muslim village and the locals are very friendly especially the children. The island is also home to strange coral gardens which you can explore.
The hightlight of this trip however was definately Kisite Marine National Park. This was the first time I had been snorkling and actually seen something which was worth seeing! It was amazing.Safari
I spent three nights away from the coast visiting Tsavo West National Park and Amboseli National Park. I experienced safari in the heat of the day, the morning and early evening. All were amazing. I will now discuss the national parks I visited and will undertake a comparison of the two.Tsavo West National Park
Tsavo West has a scenic hilly landscape. You will see plenty of wildlife here, however they are often difficult to spot as the vegetation restricts vision. The elephants and giraffe are the easiest to see due to their size.What really makes Tsavo West worth a visit is the Mzima Springs. Mzima has crystal clear water and it is lovely to watch the animals here. There were lots of Hippo's when I visited and some Crocodiles. You can even watch the Hippo's moving about under the water from an underwater glass tank. You have to take a walk in order to get here, however I felt pretty safe as I was well looked after.
Amboseli National Park
It is much easier to spot wildlife in Amboseli because there is very little vegetation. You can see for miles and miles. I did not see Lions in Tsavo West, however I saw 7 all at once in Amboseli. My main complaint with Amboseli was that there were too many vehicles. I barely noticed any other vehicles in Tsavo West (may have been due to the vegetation). However there were probably four or five other vehicles watching these Lions and I have to say this ruined it. However, this was the only time on safari that I felt that the animals were not given enough space.In addition to Giraffe, Elephants, Zebra, Impala, Wildibeast etc... I also got to see Hyena's, a Black Rhino Vultures and WartHogs during my trip to Amboseli (animals which I did not see at Tsavo West). You definately get to see more wildlife at Amboseli. However the Hippo's, Leopard, and Crocodiles which I saw at Tsavo West were probably my favourite memories of safari.
Now I will briefly discuss other relevant information for those visiting Kenya.***ADDITIONAL INFORMATION***
* Always take care in the sun as the power of the sun in Kenya is deceiving.* There are a high level of muggings in Kenya so always take care.
* See your doctor before your trip to find out all you need to know about health issues e.g. which jabs you need.* If you would like to give some of the local children gifts then take some pens with you. They are always received with a big smile.
I will finish off with a lighthearted but perhaps useful tip.....Always go to the toilet before venturing out (especially before your long journey to the National Parks). I would not recommend using the toilets on the stop-offs to your safari destinations, you can smell them a mile off!
If you are lucky enough to experience Kenya you will not forget it. It is a beautiful and interesting country to visit. There is lots to do and much to see. I would definately recommend Kenya.
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