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I am not your typical Ciao reviewer, as the really long winded reviews bore me a little. So I find it easier just to tell you how it is with a few helpful pointers. I had planned a safari into my travels in 1998, but hadn't booked anything until we actually got into Nairobi. A bit of a scary place if you arrive with a backpack on and have no idea where you are going. Anyway we booked into a hotel and went for a wonder around the city. You must be on your guard at all times though. We kept on getting mobbed by touts trying to sell you their safaris, obviously on a commission. All you have to do is use your instinctives and go for one that you feel comfortable with. We were very picky and finally chose to go with this guy called Charlie who showed us a brochure and lead us into the tour operators office. The operatour was very helpful and gave us all the information that we required and offered us the right safari for our budget. Now this is where things start to get vague,
it was around $300, remember this was back in 1998 so this may have increased considerably for a 7 day safari in the Masi Mara, all transport, camping and food included. Camping you say, well we were on a budget. We came back the next day to meet out tour guide called Paul who spoke good English and had a friendly face. We all piled into a mini bus, me, Kiwi girlfriend, three young blokes from Oz and a French couple. It was a bit crowded but you had to become friends quickly, luckily enough we seemed to hit it off straight away. It is a long trek from Nairobi to the Masi Mara by road, but you see so much more of the local villages and their way of living, that it makes it so much more worthwhile putting up with the bumpy roads. It took us the rest of the day to reach the edge of the park, where our driver paid the entrance fee. He then made for our first nightly stop over. Although very basic, the tent was large with a bath area attached at the back. The only downside being that it was solar generated power, which also heated up the water. Being out of season there was little sun, therefore little hot water and electricity. So a good torch and plenty of deodrant would be advised. This sort of accommodation was pretty much the norm for the rest of the week. The food was hot and edable, usually rice, beans and some sort meat dish. Sitting around a canteen table under a canopy by torch light reminded me of my days in the Cubs, playing cards and swatting away those darn mozzies. It was such an awe inspiring experience seeing our first lot of wild animals, zebra, antelope and wilder beast being the most ubundant. Then you get the big 5, elephant, cheetah, lions, rhino and leopard which all take your breath away. ANother little tip for you, if you show willing to your driver he will venture off the beaten tracks to hunt these down for you. By willing I mean willing to get stuck in the mud and to get out and push....believe me it was thrilling trying to get the bus out of the mud when you know that there is pride of lions just under that tree. One of out off the road experiences was following a hunting cheetah and actually seeing him chase and kill an antelope, absolutely a must experience....hearing those bones cracking...not for the faint hearted. This trip lasted for 7 days and was so worth putting up with no hot water, electricity and camping....for $300 what a bargain. Our driver was our friend and it was sad to say goodbye to him, we gave him a tip each, all down to your descretion. We made friends in the Ozzy guys and got some great pictures. My moral of the story is dont be frightened to Safari without pre booking, follow your instincts and go with your heart, this could save you £100's and dont be frightened to slum it a little as you do get more out of it. The 7 day safari was plenty for us, I wouldn't recommend any longer as it does get very manotonous seeing the same animals every day. Bored you for long enough, so bye for now and I hope I have been of some inspiration.