1. What was the highlight of your trip?
I: There were two. I would say the wildebeest crossing and, without a doubt, Giraffe Manor. The wildebeest crossing is a very emotional experience. You feel like you are a part of it, and you understand the danger on the other side, but you want them to succeed. The noise, the experience, you never know what to expect.
R: For me, I’ve always loved any ethical interaction with wildlife, and here in the States, we don’t typically have that opportunity. I love the freedom of the giraffes at Giraffe Manor, and it felt like it was their choice to come and visit us!
2. What surprised you the most?
I: The number of animals that we saw was incredible. We didn’t expect to see as much as we did. To the point that at the end of our trip, when we saw another group of lions, it felt common.
R: I didn’t realize the wildebeest migration was an all-day affair that required a commitment. A river crossing starts with one taking the lead, and then the rest of the group follows – it can occur in an instant, so you need to be on stand-by for when that happens. Fortunately our safari camp was kind enough to drive out lunch to us when we were not ready to leave the action.
3. How was traveling in this period?
R: It was shockingly easy. Wearing the mask on an international flight wasn’t bad. Everything was smooth and went seamlessly. Since there were a lot fewer people, we breezed through security and passport control. We felt VIP the whole time.
I: If you are well-traveled, it felt fine. There was a lot of prep in advance (test, documents, etc.), and although there is an element of uncertainty, Alluring Africa checked in along the way and daily, which put us at ease. We felt confident because Alluring Africa was confident. This is not a trip I would want to do on my own.
4. How did you find the enhanced screening and safety protocols in international airports?
R: I felt safe. The only time that it was a bit disorganized was in Amsterdam on our connection to Nairobi, but I think it’s because the enhanced protocols were so new at the time. When flying business class, we had our own space, and since the cabin was only 25% full, I didn’t feel like I was in contact with people other than the flight attendants. I appreciated that the Nairobi Airport had handwashing stations outside, something we don’t even have here in the US. At the camps, there were also handwashing stations, health reminders, and sanitizer everywhere.
I: You’re outside almost 99% of the time, so you never feel confined. While on safari, you’re in open-air vehicles, and the tents are private (you don’t share with any other guests).
R: It felt like one of the safest vacations you could take right now.
5. How were the transfers on arrival?
R: The first transfer was a big van with plenty of space and we all wore masks, so we felt comfortable.
I: Having someone there to meet us on arrival helped us feel safer and more prepared, especially after traveling for 20 hours.
6. What was flying between the safari camps like?
R: The flights were quick, and while it did feel a little crowded at times, I felt more comfortable knowing the other travelers on the plane were required to go through the same testing as us.
7. Did you feel that the extra precautions taken by the lodges impacted your experience?
R: There wasn’t much interaction with other guests; however, the staff still set up the campfire with spaced out chairs and did special sundowners.
8. Any advice for people thinking about taking a safari now?
R: It’s such a rare opportunity to go on safari without all the crowds that you probably won’t get again. So if people are comfortable with the idea of traveling right now, it’s the perfect time to go.
I: In Kenya, the staff was very welcoming and accustomed to tourists. If you work with a tour operator, then it will help you feel even more prepared and comfortable. It might be trickier to travel with children so we wouldn’t recommend that.
9. Was there any negative impact to your trip from traveling at this time?
R: We loved visiting the villages and schools on our previous trip, and we missed that, but there are so many other reasons to visit Africa.