I've been on safari dozens of times, and I know the best way to go is with a 4x4 and a good guide (not a minibus). While I appreciate a tasteful lodge, I love sleeping under canvas. I prize the chance to interact with local cultures, especially if the encounter has a good dollop of authenticity to it. I like to stop in towns and visit markets in smaller places, away from the tourist route, so I usually try and find a car/driver to go off and explore my own itinerary for a few days. I believe in spending as much of my tourist dollars in the country I visit, so I prefer to book with a locally based eco-friendly tour operator.
I travel alone so I like to have some sense of security when I plan my trips. This usually translates into booking a trip a few months in advance with the same company. If something happens, the itinerary can be changed out of one office, and if my family has to get in touch, they know who to call and exactly where I might be.
The last time I was in Kenya was thirty years ago, when my family lived in Nairobi. We left after being robbed rather violently by a dozen men who smashed their way through our home wielding axes. We were lucky to survive. None of us have gone back since then -- I'll be the first. I'm looking forward to "burying the hatchet" (pardon the pun).
You can imagine it took me quite some research to find a company that I could feel safe with and also one that could meet all my demands. I'll be traveling with Gamewatchers Safaris, who own the award winning Porini Camps. Their camps operate from conservancies in some of Kenya's most pristine and beautiful wildlife areas. They are Kenyan owned and operated, and committed to conserving wildlife in partnership with local communities. They are all that and more, and I can't wait to enjoy Kenya once again. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.
Image © Gamewatchers Safaris -- Porini Amboseli Camp at Night