TFI Friday! Why? Because it’s time for Ask the Experts, of course! Our weekly feature that sees our panel of Travel Experts giving you a few ideas and bit of inspiration as they answer your travel questions.
Have you got a question for our Experts? Great stuff! Let us know what it is, and our Experts will tackle it right here on the STA Travel Blog.
This week’s questions comes courtesy of Sioned up in Chester. Sioned’s off to Kenya, and she’s after a few ideas…take it away, Sioned:
This summer I’m travelling in Kenya. I have 2 weeks between volunteering in an orphanage in Watamu and flying home from Nairobi where I haven’t got anything planned. I was wondering if you had any suggestions? Thanks! Sioned in Chester.
Quite a specific question, but that’s great – the more detail, the better our Experts can help you plan a perfect trip! So, let’s see what they’ve got up their collective sleeve…
Paul Lindsay from STA Travel Dundee says…
Sounds like you’ve got a cool trip lined up, Sioned. I’m hoping that all the work in the orphanage won’t tire you out too much, because I have a cracking idea…
Why not jump on a cheap flight from Malindi or Mombasa out to Kilimanjaro, or even better, into Moshi, Tanzania. From here, get ready to gasp at the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro! With three volcanic peaks (or cones) and sitting at 19,340 feet above sea level, Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and climbing it is surely up there on the old bucket list!
Now, I know what you’re thinking…“You expect me to climb what?!” Hey, if Chris Moyles can climb it then anyone can, right?
There are three main routes on Kili: The Marangu Route – 7 days: gentle, forest walks then through snowy zig-zag routes; the Rongai Route – 8 days: short daily ascents, spectacular views and a night’s camping beside the only lake on the mountain; and the Machame Route – 9 days. This is the most popular route; it’s scenic, and an easier climb. Give yourself a day or so either side to begin to acclimatize, then head off!
After all that climbing, why not return to Nairobi and chill out for a day. Then let everyone else do the hard work by jumping on a Masai Mara adventure! Our 3-day trip out to the Masai Mara will pick you up in Nairobi before whisking you off to a safari lodge where you’ll spend the next 2 nights dining under the stars and listening to the sounds of the animals at night – enough to give you chills… in a good way of course. I wouldn’t be ‘lion’ about that, har-har! Sorry… did that give you ‘paws’ for thought?
Spend time with the incredibly welcoming Masai Mara people
Ok, enough of the puns. Seriously, this trip will not only relax you, but amaze you. You’ll be treated like royalty and treated to the hospitality of the Masai Mara people. Guided game drives in a 4WD will show you around the reserve, allowing you to get up close with the amazing array of wildlife within.
For me, this is a perfect mixture of different experiences that I’m sure will only leave you craving more. You’ll be planning your next trip to Africa in no time!
Claire Whittington from STA Travel Brighton suggests…
Since you’ll be making the most of the coast in Watamu, Sioned, I’d recommend seeing what else Kenya has to offer. I agree with Paul that doing a mountain climb could be pretty cool, but I’m going to opt for Mount Kenya.
Our 6-day Mount Kenya Trek offers abundant wildlife, cascading waterfalls and spectacular scenery. You’ll trek through forests, alpine moorlands and indigenous mountain rainforests. It might be tiring, but all your effort will be rewarded when, on the last day, you ascend to Point Lenana at 4,985m to watch the sunrise.
If mountain climbing ain’t your thing, you could hop on a bus or get a flight back to Nairobi to start the 14-day Kenya & Uganda Gorilla Adventure.
Experience the real Kenya on an overland tour
The first stop on this overland adventure is Lake Nakuru, home to millions of flamingos. Then you’ll avoid the crowds and go on safari in one of the lesser visited parks, the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.
Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for elephants, hippos, hyenas and those elusive leopards; and don’t forget to check the trees for the rare tree-climbing lions. Yes, really! Lions in this park have been found relaxing in the branches after a big meal and, let’s face it, who doesn’t want to see a lion in a tree?!
The next day, put on your hiking boots and go and find a family of the world’s most endangered ape – the gorilla. With only 8 people allowed to visit any given gorilla family each day, you can rest assured there’ll be no one there to spoil your moment with these majestic creatures (or walk in front of your photos!).
Get up close to gorillas in Uganda | Image by gudi&cris
After that? Time for some adventure in Jinta! Chose from quad biking, rafting, kayaking or mountain biking. Or, if that sounds a bit too much, just chill out in Jinta or take a picnic to Bujagali Falls with your new found group of over-landing friends.
All these ideas sound amazing, thanks Experts! Hope that’s given you a few ideas to mull over, Sioned. Let us know if we can do anything else to help!