Safari in the Masai Mara and diving with dolphins
At the end of March 2011, we went on a pretty spontaneous trip to Kenya; initially just to relax. After arriving at the airport, we organized our transfer to the hotel (by taxi).
The hotel at the southern cost (Diani Beach) of Mombassa - Leisure Lodge Hotel – was just amazing; a dream for all water lovers. Yet, after three days of sleeping, eating, and relaxing we were re-energized and ready for some action. Via Internet, we were looking for inexpensive Safaris to the Masai Mara National Park (Kenyan part of the Serengeti). That was not too easy, because the only way to get there is to take a plane.
After scanning and comparing numerous offers (which varied b/w 850 US$ – 950 US$), we decided for a competent and reliable Kenyian, who soon became more than just a travel agent for us. John was our first choice, not only because of his unbeatable price of US$ 750. John Kavivya himself has a long history within the tourism industry in Kenya. Therefore, he has the necessary connections to the local airlines, hotel industry, tour operators, etc. and consequently, he is in a good position to offer a budget yet, premium travel – with all its desired individuality and experiences. We had nothing left to wish for!!!
On our date of departure, we were picked up from the hotel, driven to the local airstrip and checked right in. Our documents, as e.g. tickets were directly there, so there was nothing left for us to take care of. Fortunate circumstances enabled John to accompany us, so we had the time to get acquainted with each other. Having arrived in the NP, our guide, a Masaai with the English name Joseph was already waiting for us, with a private Jeep. Within in the first 10 minutes in the Masai Mara we had the chance to see two lions, eating an ostrich, which has been killed about 15 minutes ago. Having arrived in the Olumara Tented Camp, we could barely believe the luxurious home we were staying in – especially for one of the cheapest accommodations.
The guides normally work for the hotel; that means that the quality is not standardized. Joseph from the Olumare Tented Camp knows the NP inside out. In addition his knowledge around the colorful flora and the wildlife was inexhaustible: Why are zebras black and white? What’s the difference between cheetahs and leopards? Why are the big fives called that way? What are the five biggest animals living on land? This questionnaire can be randomly extended; nevertheless, Joseph’s knowledge was endless.
John was with us the whole time and this gave us a very good insight in the Kenyan way of life.
A further highlight was the “early morning drive”; we decamped very early in the morning to catch the sunrise in the NP and to observe the awakening of the wildlife. We were rewarded with the sight of Hippos – walking on shore, with infinite grazing hoofed animals, spectacular scenery and many many more unforgettable impressions. During the three days in the NP, we’ve seen and observed a significant number of animals living in the wild (hippos, elephants, zebras, giraffes, hyenas, antelopes, jackals, vultures, crocodiles, many – most of the time sleeping – lions, cheetahs, warthogs (my personal favorites), etc.
Since we were so convinced from John’s organization and price – service ration, we booked the next trip with him right away – a boat trip to a shelf in the Indian Ocean with dolphins near to Shimoni. Once again, we were picked up directly at the hotel and enjoyed a competent tour guide throughout the whole day on the high sea. Our guide was fluent in Swahili and English (naturally) and in addition German and French. We can highly recommend this day trip to Shimoni. We swam with dolphins in the wild – a memorable experience. Afterwards we went to a shelf holding so many fish with incredible colors – from candy-striped to bright blue; corals in all kinds of colors as blue, red, violet, pink, yellow and green.
Thanks to John’s perfect organization these experiences were completely carefree.