How to choose a safari company in Kenya
When we started looking at booking a safari I never considered going with a Canadian company. I wanted to book locally so that all of the money goes to the local guides and local business and not just a percentage. That carried a certain risk because all we had to base our decision on was on-line reviews and should things go wrong once we got to Kenya, I don’t know who we’d turn to. Luckily none of the negative scenarios ever happened and we are beyond thrilled with the choice we made in the end.
I contacted 2 safari companies based on hundreds reviews I read on Tripadvisor and any and every other website I could find but ended up continuing my communication only with Anne from Amazing Memories Safaris.
We changed our plans a few times in the 30+ emails we exchanged and Anne was very understanding and very accommodating every time.
She sent me a draft itinerary 1st and then we continued making adjustments to it as we went along. What you’re sent at 1st is exactly that, a DRAFT and it’s up to you to research a bit more and see what you like or dislike. I noticed straight away that the difference between a group safari and a private one was $150 per person and I thought that to be very reasonable. As mentioned in one of the previous posts a private safari allowed us to have more flexibility and to customize our plans on the go.
We also had the choice of the van versus the jeep. The driver we wanted, Daniel has a van so we booked him for Amboseli and went with a jeep for the Masai Mara since we flew there from Nairobi. I highly recommend the jeep for the Mara, I don’t know if we missed out on much of the scenery while in Amboseli because of the van but I know there would have been areas of the Mara we couldn’t have seen or approached if we weren’t in the big jeep. Amboseli seemed mostly flat and the van was really comfortable and Daniel is incredible at getting you to the best viewpoints and photo angles.
I looked up the accommodation we were offered in the draft of our itinerary and I found some more appealing places in the Masai Mara so I reached out to Anne to see what an impact that would have on the price. We also added the flight to the Mara making our original itinerary a bit more expensive but not by much because the flight meant we wouldn’t be paying for a nights stay at Lake Nakuru. We knew right away we wanted to spend as much time as possible in the Mara and that was a great decision in the end because it was truly the most mesmerizing place. I will never forget the vast green savannah opening up after we left Nairobi and the mountains behind. Landing at Keekorok was such a treat, I don’t know if we would have had such an intense feeling of remoteness and wilderness had we driven in.
Tailor your own safari
Our original draft safari ended up being changed a lot when I look back now and it was everything we wanted and we were so happy to be able to make all the customizations and end up with a package that fit our wishes and budget.
To show how flexible Amazing safaris have been with us, these are some of the things we changed:
- The original plan was a driving safari for the duration of the trip but we added a flight to the Mara
- Adding the flight and changing to the jeep in the Mara meant we got to have 2 different drivers and that was such an incredible experience. Both Daniel and Steve were
fantastic, and we’re so lucky to have had the opportunity to spend time with them both.
- Adding the flight meant we wouldn’t be going to Lake Nakuru and would instead go directly to the Mara
- We changed the original accommodation suggested for the Mara to Sarova Mara that I felt was one of the best and yet decently priced properties in the Mara. Ann confirmed she loved the property too and that it would be a great choice to make.
We will be using Amazing Memories Safaris again when we’re back in Kenya and we will continue to recommend them to all of our friends.