Kenya safari feedback


From: Chris Pernick
Sent: Friday, October 31, 2014 3:42 AM
To: enquiry@intoafrica.co.uk
Subject: Review of our: East Africa Explorer trip Oct 5-19th

Dear Chris, 

We are back in the States and still dreaming of our Holiday.  

We can't thank you and your entire team enough for a wonderful and life changing holiday.  We have traveled quite a bit over the years, but often left a place without completely knowing the place.  We would get bits and pieces, but often you knew the local guide was just telling the tourists what they wanted to hear or what they were instructed to say.  We left both Kenya and Tanzania knowing the place and its wonderful people.  Thank you for that authentic experience.  

We had been on a previous safari trip in South Africa and although a great experience, I would have to say that what Kenya and Tanzania offer in wildlife viewing exceeded my expectations.  There is life everywhere, and it's such a gift.  I could not have imagined a place where the "wildlife" isn't fenced in.  It's magical to be driving any road and you look to the right or left and see giraffes eating from the acacia trees,  next to them is a herd of cattle with the Maasai tending,  then come the Thompson gazelles, and then the thousands of colorful birds.  The national parks and reserves are even more spectacular.  

The wildlife was incredible but the people of IntoAfrica and the local guides made the trip.  
A special thanks goes to Patrick and Lydia at the Rock House for treating us like family. To our terrific safari team Elijah (Guide), Samuel (our driver), and Daniel (our cook) for our week in Kenya, Many Many Thanks.     They worked so many long hard hours to give us a holiday to remember.  They were always happy to answer our crazy questions and were genuinely interested in our lives too. This made for great conversation at dinner.  Elijah and Samuel were so knowledgeable about the animals and Daniel's soups and evening meals were delicious.  I was constantly amazed of how Daniel could put together a great meal with very little facilities.  Open fire was all he really needed.  

In Tanzania, Dennis was our Guide and sometimes driver and was incredibly knowledgeable.   Besides being a great guide, he is also a wonderful and humble human.  Dennis is very active in helping the people of his country, although it's difficult to get him to tell you all that he does. I was also amazed at his resourcefulness.  He literally it seemed, out of thin air, had 3 new tents for us when the rains flooded our first set-up while camping in the Serengeti National Park.   He always had our comfort in mind. 

I would highly recommend IntoAfrica for anyone with a sense of adventure and a desire to not just see the incredible wildlife, but meet the people and embrace their culture.  

Christine Pernick 
California, USA 


From: Sally Ford
Sent: Monday, October 06, 2014 1:23 PM
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Subject: Re: Kenya Insights feedback

Hi Chris,
Unfortunately we are both back home and trying to adjust to the rain and the return to work. The memories of Kenya though will remain with us forever.

We both enjoyed our trip very much. We have nothing but good words to say about Elijah and Samuel and their expertise and enthusiasm about the animals and wildlife. They were always helpful and cheerful and were happy to answer our never ending questions about Kenya. It was my dad’s birthday during the trip and Elijah and Samuel with the assistance of Patrick arranged for him to be given a cake which came as a great surprise to him. Samuel also deserves a lot of credit for his driving skills. We always felt he was in control despite the potentially dangerous conditions on some of the roads. Not forgetting a big thanks to Daniel for his delicious cooking and we missed him during the second week.

We were very lucky in seeing some of the amazing things we did during our safaris but the trip was not all about the wildlife and we enjoyed meeting the Kenyan people and the trips to the villages and schools etc. However, the only negative comment we have to make about the trip was the visit to the Samburu village. Whilst we enjoyed meeting the villagers and learning about the way they live, there was some pressure put on us to give them money as we were asked to donate in front of the school teacher and the children and this somewhat spoiled what otherwise would have been a very enjoyable and educational visit. (I have taken this up with the community rep there and he has apologised profusely. My gut feeling is that with very few people visiting this village these days, some folk have (to some extent understandably) tried to maximise what they might be able to get from visitors – as they might see it, they only get the one pitch. It is a difficult trying to get the balance right on these cultural interaction visits, however your feedback is just what we need to present to the relevant members of that community so we can get the experience right and meet the expectations of both our guests and the locals.)

We enjoyed all the other visits and particularly enjoyed spending time with George and Florence at their farm and also with James at the beautiful coffee plantation. It was good to visit projects that were helping women and we enjoyed learning about the widow’s project and watching the processes involved in making the products at the spinning and weaving centre. It was also a privilege to be able to visit the schools and to meet the passionate and devoted teachers and of course to meet all the children. Listening to them singing and giggling was a joy for the whole group.

The accommodation was of a good standard. Everywhere we stayed was clean and had hot water. We particularly enjoyed the first night where we camped and would have loved to have had the chance to repeat that experience somewhere else during the trip. We also enjoyed the luxurious accommodation in Samburu and would have appreciated perhaps a second night there ........

Kenya is a beautiful country full of friendly people and it seems a great shame that due to recent terrorist activities etc that there are now far fewer tourists visiting. At no time during our trip did we feel concerned about our safety and we felt nothing but warmth and friendliness from the people we met. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend IntoAfrica to other people and would like to thank everyone that was involved in making our trip such a success.

Thanks again Chris for all your help

Sally
London, UK


From: CharlotteStanley Surridge
Sent: Friday, August 08, 2014 10:48 PM
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Subject: Re: feedback

Hello Chris.
Sorry that we didn't get back to you sooner.  We were out of town for a couple of weeks.

We both had a wonderful time on the "IntoAfrica" 14-day Kenya Insights Safari !!  We are both very impressed with "IntoAfrica" and would highly recommend it to other people from the U.S. and Europe!!  The four staff John, Elijah, Samuel, and John Cagy took great care to provide us with a safe, delicious, healthy, fun, and interesting, 14 days !!

The concerns regarding personal safety expressed by the U.S. State Department for tourists traveling to non-coastal areas is a little over done based upon our recent trip.  We both felt completely safe from when we arrived in NBO and traveling through the major parks and reserves throughout the county.  The information and responses  provided by you to us  regarding safety and travel were accurate and correct.  We appreciate that.   Talking to staff, U.S. travelers bookings are down since the shopping mall incident.   It is a shame what potential  visitors are missing out on, in a land with much diversity, more than wildlife.

General comments:  We are car tent campers in the States and therefore,  would like to have the bush  camp experience extended to two nights.  Many other travelers would be happy with the single night.

The vehicles were clean often of the dust and in good repair.  Only one minor wire issue on the road with the governor on the Toyota Landcruiser  and was rewired in a short time and we were on our way.  As you know, most of the roads are very rough and hard on vehicles.  Toyota Landcruisers are an excellent choice for traveling instead of the 4wd mini van.  John is an excellent professional driver.  We felt completely safe when driving through towns, major/minor country roads, and roads within parks and reserves.   He could drive in any major city in the U.S., including NYC  and LAX, and the traffic/road conditions are not as challenging as Kenya. 

We saw a number of companies where the driver and wildlife guide are one the same person.  We appreciate having two separate people. We would not suggest that this be changed.  The result is a better experience for the traveler and people are focused on what they do best.  Elijah and John Cagy (college student) were extremely knowledge about wildlife, habitat, cultural, and Kenya society.  We appreciate Elijah's honest discussions regarding women's roles, education, resource development, touristy,  foreign investment, etc.  It is refreshing to have honest/real world assessments instead of the standard western tourists' response and avoiding anything else. 

These guys, as a matter of fact the entire safari staff, are extremely passionate of what they do and really enjoy showing and talking about the animals, people, and  their country.  Most of the animals will be there to see, but the real difference is the people.  Into Africa has realized the importance of having talented and quality people.  This is the big difference between your small company and many of the larger operators.

One thing we really appreciated was that we all  traveled together and ate together, even the week when  Samuel was not cooking for all of us.  We saw other companies (higher price tours) that the staff was often separate from the travelers, even during lunch time.  While Samuel was somewhat quiet, his cooking and meals were wonderful and we all looked forward to them.  With our western digestion systems, there were no problems from the food that was prepared by Samuel and cleanliness of the bush/lodge facilities.  We wished he was along for the second week.  There was more than enough to eat, especially during lunch.  Elijah always ensured that we have sufficient amounts of bottled water and reminded us to use the bottled water for brushing teeth.  

The itinerary /schedule was just right for us.  A good balance between driving, walking, boating, and free time.  Kenya, as you know is more than wildlife and one of the highlights is spending some time  in the Maasal, Kikuyu, and Samuru villages.  These subsistence based communities are absolute fascinating how they balance their traditionl of livestock grazing communities  and the cash economy that we live in. We realty enjoyed visiting a number of schools and the interaction with the kids and the staff.   Education is the great equalizer.  One of the small and wonderful moments was the school kids along the road waving to us as we drove by.  They don't see many white folks on some of the roads we traveled on.

I think, I know so, that we have discovered one of Kenya's best safaris operator.  Your Company and your partners further exceeded our expectations.   If one wishes to discover the other faces of Kenya, "Into Africa" is the company to seriously consider. 

Finally, please feel free to include any of our comments in material to future clients.

Best regards,

Charlotte and Stanley Surridge, WA, USA


From: Greg Peters and Sara Rosenbloom
Sent: Monday, July 21, 2014 7:26 PM
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Subject: Re: feedback

Chris:  Actually, we owe you an apology.  Getting back to you has been on my "to do" list for way too long.  We had a wonderful time.  Everything went well.  Elijah, Samuel (driver) and Samuel (cook) were great on the safari portion and Francis and the trekking staff were wonderful on our Mt. Kenya trek.  The Mountain House and the trek arranged by Patrick also worked well.  Everyone was flexible when we were undecided about our plans.  Without exception everyone was friendly and helpful.  We were very impressed with how knowledgeable Elijah and Francis were as our guides.  It really added to the experience to have so much information available and they struck just the right note between being available and letting us have family time.  We were so glad we did the trip and never felt insecure or threatened.  We liked the mix of activities on safari as we had been worried about just driving around for days on end.  Seeing the Maasai villages and schools was really interesting, and we liked meeting the farmer near Nakuru, the coffee and tea plantation, as well as our outing on Lake Navaisha.  We also enjoyed the quick climb just outside the Maasai Mara camp.   Samuel did an exceptional job of driving on roads that could have been terrifying as well as dangerous.  All of the accomodations were good:  we liked camping the first night near the Maasai Mara, and enjoyed the other accomodations as well.  All of the food was abundant and good and when we stayed with our relatives in Nairobi and Nyeri, the food they served us was very similar.  
For our family, the Mt. Kenya trek was a great choice.  It was so beautiful and we got lucky with the weather.  You were right to raise questions about the day we spent at Shipton's Camp while the boys climbed Bation.  They didn't return until well after dark and those were some of the worst hours of my life as we waited, not knowing where they were or why it was taking them so long, and of course imagining the worst.  Francis and Samuel (apprentice guide) went above and beyond in waiting at the foot of the technical climb in the cold for hours for them (apparently Francis and Samuel could hear the boys, but couldn't tell how far away they were so stayed partly because they expected them to arrive any minute, while we couldn't see or hear any of them).  All worked out well although the boys didn't quite make it to the top.  They turned back about 30 meters short when lightning began.  It was definitely a great experience for them and they have no regrets.  I just don't want to be waiting at the bottom while they adventure!!   The trekking staff was very enjoyable to be around and made us feel comfortable. 

It really is hard to put into words how much the whole experience meant to us.  We have been overwhelmed with all the things we saw and did and are still processing them.  Thank you so much for arranging the trip for us.

The only problem we had was nothing to do with IntoAfrica but it's possible that you would have had some advice.  Despite my best efforts, my local bank failed to authorize cash withdrawals in Kenya (probably due to geographic ignorance) so getting cash while in Kenya was more difficult for me than it should have been.  I hadn't wanted to carry much cash with me and Kenyan cash is more bulky than American.  I also didn't realize that outside of cities, credit cards aren't that valuable either.  According to the guides, locals use Mpesa and I'm not sure if that's practical for tourists but if I went back, I'd try to handle monetary issues differently, although I'm not sure exactly how.

Without hesitation we would recommend IntoAfrica to other travelers.

Once again, my apologies for being so slow to respond.  I hope the tourist season improves and good experiences can drown out the bad press from Kenya.

Sara Rosenbloom & Greg Peters, New Hampshire, USA


From: Etain Murphy
Sent: Friday, April 18, 2014 7:15 PM
To: enquiry@intoafrica.co.uk
Subject: Thank you!

 
Dear Chris,
We have just returned from Kenya. Our safari with your company was a fantastic experience and we would particularly like to thank our guide Nicolas, our driver John, and our chef Samuel. They are three great guys who were unfailingly friendly, courteous and helpful. Nicolas as a guide was exceptional - it seemed to us that what he doesn’t know about Natural History isn’t worth knowing. He was spectacularly good at recognising birds and both of us enjoyed this particular aspect of the safari as much if not more than the larger game animals. His expertise extended to trees, flowers and even Irish History – we were amazed at his knowledge about Martin McGuinness, Gerry Adams, etc. On the first night of the safari, all three crowded around our tent door, while John attempted minor surgery on Etain’s heel! (His miner’s torch strapped to his head, good eyes and gentle hands made him the most suitable to try to get the long acacia thorn out). Next morning, two Maasai warriors had a further look and advised we leave well alone; they said that this was a frequent occurrence with them and the thorn always extruded itself in the end. I’m still waiting! John is also brilliant at mimicking bird songs.

We were very impressed by the fact that we experienced no tummy upsets at all, whereas this was an ongoing problem in the 5star hotel we stayed in for the wedding on the coast. So Samuel should be complemented on his obviously high standard of hygiene.

We also enjoyed the other aspects of the safari, the visits to the Maasai tribal villages, the smallholding farm of the Kikuyu, the visit to the co-operative coffee and tea plantation, etc. Raymond would have enjoyed a visit to a plantation that is still managed by settlers, to see how similar or different they might have been and also to talk to settlers to see how life in Kenya is for them. (This was tipped by a friend lending us ‘White Mischief’ to read on the plane!) However, we realise that there simply wouldn’t have been time for anything else.

The boat trip on Lake Naivasha was particularly beautiful - the morning was lovely and we saw a spectacular number of birds, including a fish eagle and three types of kingfishers as well as a family of hippos.

I think all these visits gave us a little insight into life in Kenya that we otherwise would have had great difficulty seeing or understanding. The week was packed with interesting, eye-opening, shocking and fascinating experiences.

We were impressed by the friendliness of Kenyans, throughout our 3 week visit. The children, despite their poverty, were absolutely delightful, often running up to the van and waving as we passed by, while those in the schools would steal anyone’s heart. We were impressed by the dedication of the teachers and by beautiful, articulate young women like Rose and Florence.

We have taken lots of photos of the children in the two schools and the Maasai village and we promised to send copies to them in due course. I presume the best way might be to send copies to Rock House to be given to John who could distribute them on one of his next safaris, or we could email them to you. Or is there a better way? If you sent us the names of the schools (which I forgot to write down) and the addresses, we could send them directly by post.

While in Nairobi, we visited the Elephant Orphanage (and adopted Zongoloni), the Giraffe Sanctuary, the National Museum and the Karen Blixen Museum, which gave us further insights.

Yours sincerely,

Raymond and Etain Murphy, Birmingham, UK


From: Judy Gill
Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 3:30 AM
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Subject: Appraisal of our Safari

Hi Chris, I've spent some time thinking about, sifting through memories, and absorbing the experiences we had on your safari and have finally put pen to paper for your website:

Re:  East Africa Explorer (Kenya and Tanzania)
        28th July – 10th August 2013

It is extremely difficult choosing safaris in Africa from afar as so much depends on the itinerary, the quality of guides, the reliability of transport, and the accommodation chosen and comparisons are hard to make.  I chose to make enquiries from IntoAfrica based on the recommendation in Lonely Planet.  Consulting the website I was impressed with the ethics of the company and the cultural aspects of the itineraries.  I then contacted Chris Morris directly, (I especially liked dealing with the owner) and every e-mail we exchanged concerning the safari re-inforced my feeling that my husband and I were going to have a good experience in East Africa.  Chris was fast to reply to all my queries and I especially liked his pre-safari information and his specific e-mail concerning the political situation following the recent elections.
We spent 7 weeks in Africa and participated in a 3 week luxury-accommodated safari through South Africa, Namibia and Botswana prior to travelling to Kenya.  Chris was concerned that the East Africa safari would be a letdown after the earlier one.  Far from it!
To a greater or lesser extent, you can see animals on every safari you go on in Africa. Neither safari disappointed us in this regard.  On our first safari we also saw some other amazing sights, but after years of travelling I’m more interested in having experiences and connecting with the people of a region than just “seeing”.
The East Africa Explorer gave us an opportunity to meet people, discover some of the issues facing Kenya and Tanzania and make connections that I wouldn’t have been able to make otherwise.  The experiences I had during the safari have formed the lasting memories I have of Africa and the reason that I would someday like to return, which is telling because there are still so many countries on my wish list I’d like to explore.
Some of these lasting memories are of:

As others have said, the drivers and guides were fantastic and we really appreciated Elijah’s frankness and ability to talk about issues facing Kenya.  We did not expect the food and accommodation to be to the same standard as the previous safari as it was clearly stated on the web what it was going to be like.  I must however, compliment David, who produced amazing and very plentiful meals on the Kenyan safari. 
Of course, seeing the Big 5 and the other animals, so well-spotted by the guides and drivers, and gaining so much knowledge of their behaviour and habitats, was a highlight of the safari but the experiences I had with the people have created the most lasting memories.

Judy Gill,
NSW, Australia


From: Lisa Glastonbury
Sent: Thursday, January 09, 2014 10:18 AM
To: enquiry@intoafrica.co.uk
Subject: Trip feedback

Hi Chris,

At last some feedback on the wonderful safari that we did with you late last year!

Feel free to incorporate my comments on your website.

East Africa Explorer Safari (Kenya and Tanzania) Aug/Sept 2013

Choosing an African safari was difficult for us without much prior knowledge of the countries we were planning to visit.

Three of us were travelling together and none of us had ever been to Africa before.

We had some real concerns about personal safety and definitely weren’t interested in either a 5 star luxury tour or a budget camping tour.

We wanted something in the middle – an authentic experience, an ethical operator, value for money, plenty of wildlife and opportunities to interact with local people and experience the real Africa .. with no compromise on safety.

I remember that after my first contact with IntoAfrica (via a recommendation from Responsible Travel), a wave of relief swept over me .. I felt that our search for a tour operator was over.

Chris Morris personally and promptly answered our many queries, and dealing directly with the owner of the company gave us a great deal of confidence that we had selected the right company to travel with.

Our African trip started with a stay at Rock House.

Patrick and his staff organised a range of activities for us around Nairobi prior to the start of our safari.

Nothing was too much trouble and this was a great introduction to Kenya.

The Giraffe Centre, Nairobi National park and a meal at nearby Talisman are especially recommended.

Patrick also held our excess luggage for us whilst we were on safari, and generally did everything he could to ensure our stay was spot on.

The safari itinerary that we had pored over when looking for an operator proved to be a super combination of wildlife and culture.

We were amazed at how close we were able to get to big game animals and tiny birds alike, and my great wish to experience the wildebeest crossing of the Mara River was fulfilled.

These experiences were facilitated by our professional team of drivers and guides. They were passionate, knowledgeable and great ambassadors for Kenya and Tanzania. These guys really made our trip memorable.

Elijah was a standout guide and his knowledge and insight into local flora, fauna and the traditional customs of Kenya was incredible. Thank you Elijah for sharing so much with us.

We were also humbled by the genuine welcome offered to our group from all of our local hosts, and the opportunity to interact at a personal level rather than purely tourist level was appreciated.

It was particularly pleasing to see the support provided by IntoAfrica for the Maasai and Iraqw villages, schools, homestays and families we visited. It made me feel that we’d chosen our safari operator well.

In summary, our safari with IntoAfrica was brilliant. I would highly recommend the company to others seeking an authentic and ethical safari experience in Kenya and Tanzania.  If time is limited I would choose the Kenyan trip over the Tanzanian, simply because of the wonderful staff who went out of their way to ensure our trip exceeded our expectations.

 Kind regards

Lisa Glastonbury, UK


From: Kristin Sherwood
Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2013 3:13 AM
To: IntoAfrica Ltd
Subject: Re: feedback

Dear Chris,
Of course I would be happy to provide feedback, and you're welcome to post my comments on your website. I'm also happy to have prospective travelers contact me. It's the least I can do given how much you did to make this trip happen!

First of all, I was extremely impressed by the level of service received, starting from the moment we started emailing and continuing until I was dropped off at the airport for my return flight. From our first contact you alleviated my fears about traveling in Kenya. Not only did you answer all my questions promptly and thoroughly, but you also arranged for a car to take me to and from Marigat to meet my friends after the safari and even set up a SIM card so I would be able to stay in contact with family. Your willingness to go above and beyond in this way gave me the confidence to make the trip a reality.

The rest of the staff was equally helpful. Elijah was an excellent guide, patient and knowledgeable. I was impressed with our driver, Duncan, particularly his knowledge of the myriad of unmarked roads through the Masai Mara and the way he drove for hours along difficult roads without seeming to tire. Our cook, Dimitrius, was outstanding - every meal delicious, with a healthy balance of protein, carbs, vegetables, and fruits. I particularly appreciated that he accommodated my preference not to eat red meat. All three of them took care of us in many small ways as well: making sure there was always plenty of fresh bottled water, washing the car every time it got covered in dust, setting up our tents and tending the fire at the campsite.

The nicest surprise was when, after sadly saying good-bye to my friends in Marigat a week after the safari ended, I found that Elijah - on break between safaris - had accompanied the driver to pick me up and bring me the 5+ hours to Nairobi!

The safari itself was an amazing experience. I loved the way it interspersed cultural and wildlife experiences and gave us the opportunity to interact with so many local people. Moreover, the fact that IntoAfrica supports the projects we visited made me feel proud to be part of the organization. I also loved the diversity of experiences and environments; the first and second half of the trip were both wonderful but felt completely different from one another. I do think that knowing the second half would be much more green might have made it easier to get used to the dust and dryness of the first half!

I've posted my favorite photos on Flikr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/84653284@N06/sets); the sets entitled "Maasailand," "Masai Mara," "Lake Elementaita Homestay," "Mugunda House," and "Lake Nakuru National Park" are from the safari. I'm also planning to write up my notes and post narratives on my blog and will send along the link if/when that happens.

Thanks again for all your help making this trip happen.

Kristin
MA, USA


From: Smith, Pat {PI}
Sent: Monday, August 12, 2013 8:46 AM
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Subject: Feedback for Kenya Insights Tour-30/06/13

Dear Chris and everybody at IntoAfrica

We are not really quite sure where to begin....but simply this was one of the best trips we have been on. We chose the tour specifically because it seemed to offer such a varied and comprehensive itinerary. It certainly delivered. The wildlife was spectacular at all locations-though I do think we were particularly lucky in some of the things we saw. What also impressed were the visits to the projects that Into Africa supports and meeting the inspiring people who have made them happen. And the visits we made to people's home for tea and snacks-the conversations were illuminating and inspiring. The balance between wildlife and getting a picture of the 'real' Kenya is superbly done. I'm not sure any other tour we looked at managed to do this. The accommodation offered was always clean and comfortable with universally friendly and helpful staff. We would like heap praise on Elijah, our guide; Samuel, our driver and David who was, all too briefly, our cook. We came home well informed, safe, very well fed and very happy. We were so sorry to see them go. Indeed we could have turned round and done the whole tour again.

A couple of suggestions for future clients to make the most of the tour:
-come out at least a day early. Rock House, IntoAfrica's guest house in Nairobi, is ideally situated to visit the Elephant Orphanage, Giraffe House, the Karen Blixen Museum and Nairobi National Park. The staff at Rock House are happy to help you visit any of these
-bring more money than you think you will need. IntoAfrica make use of many local guides who are all excellent and there are so many lovely hotel staff. You will want to show your appreciation. Nor is Kenya a cheap country.
-read the pre-trip notes you are sent when you confirm a booking. They are very helpful.

We are struggling to think of any improvements that could be made without compromising the value for money we felt we received. We would have liked more time in the Maasai Mara, particularly at this time of year when so much is happening. I think I would have preferred another game drive rather than the walk. We would have also liked more time in Samburu (particularly as there are so many elephants)-this might be achieved by spending one less night at Naivasha but we appreciate this was an opportunity for Samuel and particularly Elijah to have some well-needed 'downtime'. One other suggestion is perhaps to offer travellers a bit of help and guidance in buying souvenirs and perhaps stopping somewhere on route where the prices are guaranteed to be fair-possibly a community-run operation- and letting us know when this will be so we can save our souvenirs budget for that moment! We really had no idea of we were paying the right price for items-though maybe we should have checked with Elijah. He was so well informed and ready to help with anything. We did also feel obliged to buy something at the Maasai & Samburu villages despite assurances to the contrary. But please be assured we had a fantastic time and wanted to make the most of every precious moment. We hope to return to Kenya one day but I'm not sure we will find a tour that will match up to this.

I know we left you with some of our photos/videos at Rock House but here are links to our final albums-you may need a while to go through them all! Please feel free to use any and also to put any would-be (and lucky) future travellers in touch. Lots of friends who have already seen the pictures have asked who we travelled with. I have gladly passed your details on.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/20189445@N00/sets/72157634981516751/

https://picasaweb.google.com/107867976396784288718/KenyaVideos?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCJSW6MexxILFkwE&feat=directlink

It was an absolute pleasure to travel with you (and to meet you, Chris). We are so fortunate to have found you.

Pat & Mick
Reading, UK


From: dbrown1722@aol.com
Sent: Sunday, July 29, 2012 12:52 PM
To: enquiry@intoafrica.co.uk
Subject: thank yo
u

Dear Chris, 
I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated the time and effort that went into planning and creating our wonderful safari.  No detail was overlooked.  The itinerary was varied from observing different  landscapes and animals to experiencing different cultures and meeting so many warm and caring people.  I also liked the fact that there were only 7 guests traveling and that you cap the number at 12.  We saw some of the mega-buses and felt very glad not to be on them.

The leader of a safari can make or break the experience. Elijah is the perfect leader for such travel.  His knowledge and enthusiasm and ability to lead, made us feel safe and well cared for. No question was too trivial for him to address. He is a great ambassador for Kenya.

All of the gentlemen worked as a great team. I know they worked very hard, but they always seemed patient and ready to go above and beyond. We  so enjoyed meeting Daniel, Duncan and David.  The 3-D plus E team is terrific! Thank you very much for creating a great way to get to know more about a country so far away from our home.

Sincerely,
Debbie Brown
Illinois, USA


From: Pui-yi Cheng
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 9:15 AM
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Subject: Re: Feedback

Hi Chris, 

Apologies for my delay in getting back to you, but as promised, here is some feedback from our trip. Do feel free to use it on your website.

I couldn't be happier with what was a near perfect trip to Kenya with IntoAfrica. We did encounter a few minor glitches which I'll get out of the way first. Camping on the first night under the stars next to a Maasai village was certainly very fun, but mum was quite disappointed by the absence of shower facilities available. Though it wasn't too much of a problem for me, putting it down to part of the experience, it might be good to just note in the itinerary there aren't water facilities for that first night? Also some of us did fall ill with stomach problems on day 5. None of us could pinpoint where it came from - but I guess it does happen from time to time.

Now on to the good - which absolutely outweighed the not-quite-so-good. The highlight for me was definitely the cultural aspects of the trip. I was humbled to have the opportunity to see how the Massai live and I think this part of the trip provides a really valuable point of difference for your company. In my eyes it would be disrespectful to go to a country just for one aspect (ie the animals) and not pay attention to the people. I applaud IntoAfrica's philosophy of giving back to communities rather than operating a mass tourism business. Being able to visit those you support really put a personal touch to the trip.

The crew (Elijah, the two Samuels, Emmanuel and Samson) were all fantastic and I have to say, I could not have been more impressed with Elijah. His passion for his land and his people really shone through and he pretty much managed to answer all the questions we threw at him - whether they be about animals, history, politics or even his own life.

Other points you've really nailed - the itinerary is a great balance between safari and culture; our group was a perfect size of 10 - not too big or small; there was always plenty of tasty food and Elijah even went out of his way to pick up some bread on the day we just wanted to eat dry toast; and the crew were all highly experienced who took brilliant care of us for 7 days.

I'm really pleased you provided us with not just a holiday, but an adventure. I'll happily be recommending the Kenya Explorer tour as an inspiring insight into the heart of Kenya. Thanks again for exceeding our expectations and providing a trip of a lifetime.

As an aside, I'm potentially looking to spend some more time in Kenya and was wondering if you could share some advice with me? I currently work for a human rights NGO but would like to move into development work. From September my partner and I will embark on a 1-year backpacking trip around the world and after that I wouldn't mind spending 6 months to a year volunteering in Kenya. I would of course be doing my own research into this, but if you have any personal suggestions of where to start, please do let me know.

I have also attached a few of my photos which you might like to pass on to the schools and villages.

Thanks again for everything Chris, and well done on such a well-oiled ethical operation you've got going on - if only more tour operators could be like yours!

Kind regards,
Pui-Yi Cheng


From: Alex Edwards
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 1:59 PM
To: enquiry@intoafrica.co.uk
Cc: Melanie Bishop
Subject: Fwd: feedback

Chris,
Sorry for the delayed response. We only arrived back in Sydney Sunday afternoon, as we had another few weeks traveling after Kenya. We successfully climbed Kilimanjaro and went on safari in Tanzania but with another tour company which made us realize how good you are!

We were looked after very well by Elijah, Samuel and Demetrius on the safari (and on Mount Kenya by Cesar, Peter, Sammy, Joseph and John). On both trips we saw lots of amazing (and strange) animals and birds as well as spectacular scenery. We also met some interesting locals particularly Hellen from the Enkiteng Lepa School who is quite amazing. The campsite (a patch of grass by a small waterhole) on the first safari night was one of the most beautiful I can remember camping in ever.

For both trips the special thing for me was that the guides were not just showing you the sights but were passionate about their homeland and keen to share their knowledge. We especially liked the bird-life that Elijah was able to point out and the plants and their medical uses that Cesar showed us.

Attached are a few images I took on the trip. I am happy for you to forward these (and this email) to prospective clients or put them on your website. We very much enjoyed ourselves with IntoAfrica and would happily recommend you to anyone looking to travel in Kenya.  If people want to hear of our trip first hand we are happy to tell them our stories and show them our pictures.

Alex & Melanie
Sydney, Australia


From: Harter, Paul R.
Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2012 2:22 PM
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Subject: RE: feedback

Chris,

Herewith a short “testimonial” as promised.

On our safari with IntoAfrica we saw Kenya as few tourists ever see it. We did enjoy the game parks (Maasai Mara and Nukuru), and saw the “big five” and dozens of other amazing animals in their natural habitat. But for us the “cultural” part of the safari made it truly special. We visited Maasai villages, towns and a farm. In many cases, we knew that while visiting tourists were welcome, they were far from an everyday occurrence. The highlight for us was our time at a girl’s school that is at the forefront of the fight against female circumcision and pre-mature marriage. The headmistress was one of the most inspiring people we have met in our lives.

IntoAfrica delivered on its promise of safety, cleanliness and good, healthy and plentiful food. While our accommodations were not 5-star, they were always clean and comfortable. The staff (driver, cook and guide) accompanied us throughout, and were always friendly, professional and helpful. We are an active family, and appreciated the ability to tack on several hikes in the mountains and around the lakes. We moved at a relaxed pace throughout our journey, which we found ideal. In short, we enjoyed high quality family time in an environment filled with learning and new experiences. Our safari was truly amazing and we are already talking about our next trip to Africa.

All the best.

Paul R. Harter
GIBSON DUNN
Dubai, United Arab Emirates


From: Stivers, Mark
Sent: Monday, November 21, 2011 8:40 PM
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Subject: RE: feedback

Chris, We had a wonderful tour and especially enjoyed all three of the staff, Samuel, Demetrius, and Nelson. They were a great team. It was also quite inspiring to see and hear of the good work IntoAfrica and you directly have done in the communities we visited. I felt proud to be associated with you. And while it was very brief, it was a pleasure to meet you. I hope your stay in Africa was productive and enjoyable. I would be happy to have you post my comments and use me as a reference. I also thought I would mention that I found you on a list of reputable safari companies in the Lonely Planet guidebook. Then we compared the different options via the internet. For the American market, I do think Lonely Planet is a very valuable place to be –
Mark Stivers, Sacremento, CA


From: john stonestreet
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2011 8:53 PM
To: enquiry@intoafrica.co.uk
Subject: Re: feedback

Dear Chris,
Brilliant! Though a week in Kenya only afforded us a glimpse of your operation there, it's clear you've established something really special.

We've enjoyed previous trips to Africa but they've tended to be tarnished by a sense of underlying resentment - however well disguised - from the support staff. With IntoAfrica we felt 'part of the family' from the outset. Rock House was charmingly eccentric but run like clockwork, and that sense of efficiency - such a precious commodity in Africa - certainly extended to the five-man team that took care of us on our week-long trek to the Maasai Mara, Nakuru, Naivasha and the native villages. 'Singalong' (aka Elijah) was an absolute treasure. As head guide he kept us constantly and succinctly informed about what we were seeing and what would happen next, often beat the other jeeps to prime game viewing sites and held us - and his staff - to a tight schedule. He has the ambition and talent to run his own firm one day, so if he asks for a pay rise, don't say no! The cook Dimitrius did a great job to keep us well fed and watered with limited equipment and we had some great laughs with Jackson, who fluttered a few female hearts – smart move to hire a 'looker' - and went to the trouble of staying up late to welcome us with a big hug when we got back to RH from our Tanzania leg. Priceless. Alternating the game viewing with visits to Maasai communities worked really well, and another abiding memory was meeting Hellen at her school for girls she's rescued from genital mutilation. Even though she sold us the most expensive T-shirt in Kenya, her courage was truly inspirational.

We're also glad we added a second week of safari in Tanzania, where the game viewing was even better - lions 'in action', cheetahs close to the jeep and an awesome permanent camp in the Serengeti (the game location par excellence). Minor caveats there would be the vehicle - it felt like it might break down at any time - and a guide in Godwin who, while being an excellent spotter and tracker, seemed to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to his clients that, in our case, would have benefited from a little fine-tuning. Maybe a week shadowing Elijah to see an expert in action? (we are orgainsing a guide training fortnight in Nov 2011 to harmonise all our guide's performances - problem is Elijah is a very hard act to follow. CM)

This trip will live long in the memory for all the right reasons, and we wish you every future success with a business model that others would do well to copy. Meantime, please use our comments as you see fit on your website.

Warm regards,

John & Rachel Stonestreet
Hemel Hempstead, UK


From: Michelle Thoumine
Sent: Thursday, August 11, 2011 4:17 PM
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Subject: Re: feedback


Dear Chris,
We've had the most amazing time - waking on our first morning in camp to monkeys playing in the trees near us, giraffes walking across a Masai Mara sunset on our second evening as we left the park and our week got better and better!
Staff at Rock House and on the safari were so helpful. Elijah is just 'the best' guide, pointing out all the animals and birds and showing his knowledge and enthusiasm for all things conservation and nature related. Our 2 teenagers have come back so full of wildlife facts gleaned from him that they can name every animal and bird in all the thousands of photos that we've taken!
When the other 4 members of our party were unwell he went the 'extra mile' taking them to hospital to be 'checked out' and monitoring them in their hotel rooms throughout the day to see they had everything they needed. We all felt very safe with him. Both Samuels - the drivers seemed to know the best vantage points to take us to get the greatest wildlife shots and Demitrious kept us constantly fed and watered whilst on safari.
George and his family at the farm made us very welcome as did James at the coffee plantation. The Masai people were equally welcoming and we all felt very humble after visiting the school and widows village that IntoAfrica supports. I think we might have brought more educational toys for he school rather than just clothes if we'd realised it was a primary school before we went.
We were a little disappointed by the quality of the rooms at the Nakuru Lodge. The grounds as you walked in looked fabulous but the rooms were a bit 'tired'. Apart from that we had a fabulous holiday and we've already been recommending it to our friends.
We'd be happy for you to post our comments and to talk to anyone who'd like to know more about the trip.
Thanks Chris and keep up the good work.
Best wishes
Michelle, Chris, Eilish and Matthew
Harrow, UK.


From: Gerald Moreton
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2011 9:56 PM
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Subject: RE: feedback

Hi Chris
Sorry for the delay in responding - we were straight back to work and our feet haven't touched the ground yet!!! As for our holiday - if it had to be summarised on one word, it would be impossible.

Before we went, we had some slight concerns about the security aspects and also about food as I'm a veggie. Neither was a problem at all - we were looked after brilliantly by your team. Elijah, James, Emanuel were amazing. The finest guides and a chef extrodinaire. Their knowledge was sensational - they looked after us every step of the way and provided an insight we couldn't get from a book. As for Emanuel - how he produced the standard of food from a calor gas ring and charcoal was incredible. We had great drivers as well - Samuel, Benjamin and in week 2 Samuel 2. They ensured that we were able to get great photos of the amazing wildlife as well as making sure that we moved away quickly enough when required. As you can probably guess - we had a ball.

The itinerary for the trip was perfect - we saw changes in environment and different animals as well as having the opportunity to learn about the differing cultures in the parts of Kenya we visited. The group mix worked really well also - Jane and Bill were only with us during week one - Wade and Geoff were with us for the 2 weeks. I hope they enjoyed our company as much as we enjoyed theirs.

If any potential clients want to speak to us for reference purposes - that's okay by us. We have the highest praise for IntoAfrica, the team and the projects it supports. If we are ever fortunate enough to visit Kenya again - we would do that with your company - we were really impressed and happy withy our stay. Many thanks for the trip of a lifetime

Very best wishes,
Mo and Gerry Moreton
Wrexham, UK


From: Robyn Fredregill
Sent: Monday, January 31, 2011 10:24 PM
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Subject: Re: feedback

Dear Chris,
The trip was fantastic. I saw other tours with people crammed into small vans, so this was good because there were only 3 of us total.
My favorite parts were the cultural experiences, such as visiting the school and Maasai village. However, the tour was front loaded with cultural activities. The first two days were the best, and then there was less and less culture.
All the locals spoke highly of IntoAfrica, especially because of the contributions to the school. The guide, driver, and cook were excellent.
I did think the tour was a little on the expensive side though, but I'm glad part of the profit goes to the locals. I don't mind having my email on the website. I definitely recommend IntoAfrica for people who want a quality, cultural experience (not too "touristy"). And thank you for the great communication throughout the process!
Robyn
Oregon, USA


From: Daniel Bernstein
Sent: Monday, November 08, 2010 3:11 AM
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd ; Grace Yu
Subject: Re: feedback

Hi Chris,
We had a great time and are more than willing to provide a first hand account of our trip to any of your prospective clients. I am also happy to provide the following review for your website:
My wife and I did a private, 7 day Kenya Explorer safari with IntoAfrica and we had a stupendous, fabulous and most likely once-in-a-lifetime experience. Hands down the highlight of the trip was our team: Kassim (guide), Samuel (driver) and Demetrius (our chef). They were professional, organized, informative windows into life in Kenya and most important, we got along really well with them and they were a lot of fun. We started calling Kassim our walking Wikipedia because of his depth of knowledge. We're pretty sure that if Kassim lived in the US, we'd be good friends with him and his family. Samuel was a very skilful driver on the rough, bumpy and occasionally risky roads and we found our ride to be very comfortable with him the entire time. He takes very good car of the vehicle as well. For example, when my chair flew out of the window of the car on a big bump he ran out and put it back in before the lions ate him (just kidding of course). Demetrous was an excellent chef and we felt lucky to be enjoying his tasty and BIG meals several times a day. Indeed, I just finished cooking dinner and I long for having a personal chef again. It is quite a treat.
Some of our most memorable times on the trip include an evening game drive in Masai Mara (the sunset, the lions, the giraffes and elephants combined to offer a magical feeling) our homestay in a Kikui farmhouse (we spent a night of our honeymoon learning about the challenges of daily life as well as life and death issues in Kenya with a wonderful local family and we topped it off by sleeping in a "dung hut." It's quite a memory.) and the night camping out in the bush near a special Masaai village (a night not to be missed).
IntoAfrica really seems to find a good balance between seeing the animals and seeing the society and culture. We felt the approximately 3 days of game drives that we did on the trip to be about right (we saw everything close up except for dinosaurs). The website mentions "safari fatigue" and it is really true. We wouldn't have wanted to a trip that spent 7 days in a row looking for animals.
Two things that we were very curious about before the trip were the food and the lodgings. The website has some info about them but we still felt a bit in the dark until after we arrived. Here is my summary for future potential customers.
Food is very plentiful and diverse. Pretty much every meal starts with tea/coffee/cocoa and drinks that can be purchased either in the lodges or at campsite vendors. Breakfasts usually had tasty pancakes, eggs or omelettes, toast, potatoes on occasion and several types of fruit. Lunches more often than not were in bags or boxes and included fried chicken, veggie and meat sandwiches, nuts, cookies, a fruit drink and enough other stuff to keep you stuffed and then some. Dinners always started with soup as is indicated on the website. We'd usually have three follow up courses- some sort of veggie dish, some sort of meat or pasta dish and something else. The dessert again was fruit. They don't seem to eat too much dessert in East Africa. Our team provided us with water bottles everyday (I brought a purification kit with me but had no use for it). A lot of visitors to East Africa probably are very worried about stomach problems. We had no problems whatsoever and were happy about that.
The lodging varied. Camping was quite comfortable- more comfortable in fact that my own tent that I use in the Sierras every year. The old colonial estate is very nice and comfortable as well. The homestay was a unique experience and although on initial appearance it didn't look very comfortable, it turned out to be fine and highly memorable. The bungalows by Lake Elementatia weren't our favorite unfortunately but with the homestay we only spent one night there. The permanent tented camp by Masai Mara was fine as well. We had a huge tent with built in shower/toilet. We didn't have hot water while we were there but we came to learn that in East Africa the hot water isn't reliable anywhere- be it a $400/night hotel or a tented campsite in the middle of the bush. No doubt on any safari you will be giving up on some of the creature comforts. Safari-type travel is rigorous and dusty but it's well worth it.
In conclusion, IntoAfrica seems to be a special sort of small company and if you've found this website and decide to go with them, you'll be part of a self-selected few who really luck out. My overwhelming feeling now that the safari is only in my memory is that we were lucky to have found IntoAfrica.
Thanks, Chris.
Dan & Yu
California, USA


From: Perkins, Gavin
Sent: Thursday, September 30, 2010 11:04 AM
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Cc: Bielecka, Anna
Subject: Feedback

Chris,
I wanted to drop you a line and express my appreciation for what was, for us, the trip of a lifetime – so far! Patrick, Elijah and the guys were fantastic hosts. Not only were we expertly taken care of, but we genuinely enjoyed their company and really felt like we learned a lot about the country and its culture. We couldn’t have been luckier with the animals, seeing just about everything, and having some truly special moments with leopards, elephants, lions and hippos. But for me, the outstanding highlight was the chance to meet with Hellen at her widow’s village and school. I can’t tell you how much of an impression this day made on both of us, and how full of admiration we are for her abilities and commitment. An amazing woman.
Consequently, when she mentioned that it is possible to sponsor one of her girls through school for a year, and that you could give us details of how to make that happen, we couldn’t think of anything we’d rather do to help. Any chance you could point us in the right direction?
By the way, Hellen made us promise faithfully to pass on her huge thanks for the support that you and Into Africa have provided. She made a point of showing us all sorts of water tanks, desks and so on which have now been branded with your logo! So good to see tangible, practical contributions like those, which are really making a difference on the ground. Ania also has photos to forward, so keep an eye on your inbox…
In summary, we looked pretty hard to try and find the right package for us. And we’re delighted with the choice we made – you really delivered an unforgettable experience. Many thanks, more power to your elbow, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with Hellen and her work – and visiting Kenya again some day!
Gavin Perkins
Regional Initiative Manager
Jones Lang LaSalle, a P&G GBS partner


From: Stephen Pickering
Sent: Monday, August 23, 2010 7:36 PM
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Subject: Re: feedback

Hello Chris,
Nice to hear from you again.
First, thank you to everyone at IntoAfrica, for helping us to have an absolutely amazing experience. We are still recovering as it was a tiring trip but it was well worth it.

What was amazing, (at least to a sceptic like myself), was that everything that you said would happen, as regards pick ups, drop offs, guest houses etc., did happen. I was always a bit worried, (especially as every other company that we have travelled with has always managed to miss something or other, like being abandoned at Naples station for example), but you guys didn't miss a thing, (and I was really worried about being met at either end of the Impala shuttle).

Also, all of the advice about immigration and border crossings was spot on. I know all of that sounds like a mundane thing to comment on but, if it went wrong, it could have been very worrying for us. So, thank you for delivering.

We have no problem with being available to give first hand experience to others if it would help. Certainly, we are busy telling all our friends, relatives and colleagues about what an amazing time we had, until they beg for mercy!

As far as feedback, it's pretty much all positive and we won't go on about what you already know about your trips but we do have a couple of comments that we'd like you to consider. They are not meant as criticisms, because we had an amazing time, but they may help to make the experience even better for future travellers.

Whilst we enjoyed staying at Rock House, we felt a little bit unsure at times. Specifically, it was not often clear what was expected and what was available. The house staff were lovely and, after a while and a few questions, we eventually figured things out but, if you are a little nervous, it could lead to confusion and uncertainty. The staff were really trying to be attentive and helpful but perhaps clearer description of checkout / check in, what facilities are available, (travel, food, bar etc.),when they can be had would make things so much clearer and smoother? Certainly, we had lovely meals at Rock House, (far better than Ranger's Bar at Nairobi national park), but it took a bit of effort getting to that point.

Our trip in Kenya was done in reverse order to that advertised, (Patrick did discuss this in advance so it was ok), and we feel that it may work better that way. The reason for this is that we felt that we were gradually immersed into Africa and the culture and it gave us time, as a group, to get to know each other better so that, by the final bush camp, we all felt real comfortable with each other and it felt like a marvellous finale to the trip, (camping in the open with Massai guards and those stars!). Also, after all the wonder of plantation, the national parks and the homestead farm, it was a big reality check, (and a moving experience), to visit the village of protection and meet Helen. Because the group had all meshed by then, we also felt that we could share our feelings and thoughts better then.

Finally, we hope that you take the above as suggestions for improvement and not complaints. We had an amazing time. The blend of wildlife and cultural insights was just right and we feel like we learned a lot. The staff were amazing. Skilful drivers, knowledgeable guides, what the cooks were able to produce in such limited conditions was astonishing and no-one had any problems with stomach upsets and all the staff were helpful and courteous. The sights were fantastic, we saw all the big five animals and so much, much more than that and saw such fantastic scenery, sunsets and sunrises. The facilities were.......African, (which helped to make the experience feel very authentic).

Also, from talking amongst our Kenyan group, about why we were on the trip and why we chose this trip and your company, a couple of things quickly became clear. First, we all wanted our trip to be a fair trade trip and that something would go to the community as fair payment for our experience. Second, we were all impressed by your feedback and responses to enquires.

So, thank you for your professionalism and courtesy. It made booking and organising a big trip much less hassle and gave us much more confidence such that we could really look forward to the trip without too much worry. You guys delivered on everything that you said that you would and so much more. We will remember this experience forever and will not hesitate to recommend your company whenever the opportunity allows. Good luck in the future!
Feel free to use any of our comments on your web site if you wish to.
All the best,
Stephen and Lynne
Coventry, UK .
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Kate McKenna
Sent: Sunday, August 22, 2010 8:36 PM
To: enquiry@intoafrica.co.uk
Subject: RE: feedback

Hi Chris,
Apologies for the delay in getting back to you with some feedback.

I would just like to begin with a big Thank You and to everyone involved in IntoAfrica for making the safari one of the most exciting, interesting, educational and enjoyable experiences of my life. I really mean that. It was incredible from start to finish. The whole set up is extremely professional and expertly executed there is very little to say in terms of areas of improvement.

Elijah, our guide was wonderful. Really fantastic. He knew Everything! And he was wonderfully patient with our millions of questions and requests to spell certain things for those of us nerdy enough to want to know. Yes, I was one of those people!

In terms of any constructive criticisms I just have the following to suggest about the timings. I think it might be a good idea going forward if the groups were told in advance that if they spend longer in one place then there may not be enough time to do everything on the itinerary and for that message to be made clearer to the group. There were a few times where we ran out of time at the end of the day and didn't get to spend as long at one of the items on the itinerary as some of us would have liked. I know that's a really difficult thing to pull off with in a group situation but without being overly military about it, it would be good if those situations were spelled out more clearly to the group so that some parts of the group don't get too aggrieved about missing out on certain things and can voice their concerns earlier on. I hope that makes sense.

All in all Chris, it was a fantastic experience. I would say this though. I would have loved perhaps to have had 2 full days of game drives in the Mara but that's probably not possible with the rest of the itinerary to fit in. I loved meeting Hellen and the widowed women. I thought that was a fantastic project as well as the school. It was a huge insight into the culture of the Maasai tribe.

I'm delighted we chose IntoAfrica and would be more than happy to recommend you guys to anyone in the future.

Thanks again Chris and the very best wishes to everyone at IntoAfrica. It was a pleasure to have gone on safari with you.

Kate McKenna,
Dublin, Eire


----- Original Message -----
From: Ellenbecker, Robert
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 7:26 PM
Subject: RE: feedback

Chris,

Colette and I can't say enough positive things about our experience. If you want to use us as a reference, we would be happy to have comments included on your website and/or correspond with prospective clients.

A few specifics:

1. The itinerary was diverse and very interesting. We enjoyed the balance of nature/wildlife and cultural experiences. We are very much interested in perhaps visiting the Maasai school we visited as volunteers in the future, if that would be possible. If you could pass along contact information we would appreciate it.

2. The family homestay was a fascinating opportunity that we really enjoyed.

3. The accommodations were good overall. The campsite the first night was magnificent. Of the others, the coffee farm was by far the best of the lot. James was a very interesting, attentive host, the property was beautiful and the food and drink top-notch!

4. Your staff were terrific. Duncan was a terrific driver and Colette and I came to spend quite a bit of extra time with him during rides to and from the airport, plus two extra days of toting us around town. He is a great guy.

Elijah is a very knowledgeable, engaging and patient guide. I especially appreciated his help with bird identification.

The name of our cook is escaping me at the moment, but he also did a great job and was very pleasant and helpful.

One thing that comes to mind as an area where the staff could lend some guidance at the beginning of the trip, and that would be some advice regarding the aggressive nature of hawkers, sales people and scam artists. Some of us were less experienced world (Africa at least) travelers and could have used it. For example, within seconds of walking out the front door of the airport, a guy swooped in and grabbed my suitcase from me. At first I thought he was with Into Africa, but quickly he began telling me how I was going to be giving him a tip when we got to the vehicle. No big deal, but he was pretty insistent. Also, advice on haggling would be appreciated right from the start. These were really fairly minor annoyances and were similar to experiences we've had traveling in other parts of the world, but advice from local experts on these types of things is always helpful.

Again, Colette and I loved our trip and I would like to thank you in particular for all of the quick and thoughtful responses to my many questions leading up to our trip. We will heartily recommend Into Africa to anyone we know considering a trip to Kenya or Tanzania.

Sincerely,

Robert Ellenbecker
St Joseph, MN, USA


----- Original Message -----
From: john flood
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Cc: Mary Ann Flood
Sent: Friday, April 16, 2010 5:00 PM
Subject: thanks

Dear Chris,
I got Doug's email to you and it was a good impetus for me to do what I have been meaning to do for a long time - give you some feedback on our trip.

I have told a lot of people about our time there and I find myself saying over and over (to my surprise) that the most powerful thing about my trip to Africa was the people. I was so very glad that we were with native Kenyans in every aspect of our time there. I was so glad to have people we were with, who we learned from) who we were friends with, and who benefited from our being there financially, be native people.

Elija as our main guide / contact was very good for me. He was generous with his incredible knowledge, always thoughtful of us and our needs, and willing to share parts of himself and his views on Kenyan culture when I asked. He was at times difficult to understand and he was always willing to repeat for me and slow down what he said. He was dependable and I always felt that he knew what we should be doing and not doing. I felt we were in good hands. Duncan was also an important part of my experience - quiet and thoughtful. It always felt that he could manage whatever came up.

If we had not had the connection with the people, meeting them, camping with them, going to homes, holding kids, meeting Hellen, I would have not felt I had even scratched the surface of Africa. Seeing the game and the preserves was powerful and being with the people made the trip.

Your name came up several times as the kind of architect of the approach we experienced. The time in camps with native people, the connection with Hellen, the approach to safari that was about connecting with people and seeing the beauty of wildlife. I commend you for that and the gift it brings to those of us who get on a plane and go to Africa. We leave much richer than if we had not set in a hot springs at dawn with Maasai, met George and George Jr. in their living room, had a warrior stand outside our tent all night with a spear, and seen animals with people that respected them and their right to not have us intrude into their immediate space in order to satisfy a tourist's desire for the close-up.

I too hope to meet you at some point. I appreciate your vision and how it helped us have a rich experience.

Best,

John Flood
Marshall, NC, United States.


----- Original Message -----
From: Meredith Krugel
To: Chris Morris
Sent: Friday, April 02, 2010 4:12 AM
Subject: RE: feedback

Dear Chris,
Yes, we are home and getting settled back into our time zone and work life. The memories of our trip are fresh and wonderful!
We had a very special trip. Our hosts at Rock House were warm and welcoming. Our guides, Elijah and Nelson, were very responsive and informative. Elijah was amazing on the game drives, spotting animals we would never have seen without such an astute guide. He was also like an encyclopedia of facts, as well as a most gracious host. The cultural aspects of the trip were most enjoyable for us - visiting the villages, schools, and farms and meeting local people, including Hellen, at the Masai camp was so memorable.
We were also pleased with Patrick in that he was able to modify our trip to our request, and he did it quickly and at no extra expense. After that, he was able to modify again after an unexpected cancellation of one of our activities, and the alternative of a visit to the coffee plantation and visiting with James there turned out to be one of the absolute highlights to our trip.
We would be happy to be a reference for anyone considering this tour.
Thank you Chris for all your assistance in creating this wonderful opportunity to tour Kenya.
Warmly,

Meredith and Woodie Krugel
Oregon, USA


From: Marika Depooter
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Thursday, January 14, 2010 7:44 AM
Subject: RE: feedback


Hi Chris,

Thanks for your email. We just arrived back in Kiev on Sunday, after 10 wonderful beach days in Lamu to end off our trip to Kenya. We really enjoyed our trip! The vehicles, drivers and guide you provided were excellent - knowledgeable, kind, patient, friendly, flexible, and helpful. I think our favorite night was the first night in the Bush camp. The atmosphere was great. There was a security issue at teh Mara camp but it was nice to see that Patrick came out the next day to address it. Also, Kyle lost his headlamp in the dark one evening, and I was disappointed that it was not recovered and returned to us.
The parks were amazing, the wildlife, and the trips to see Helen in her village, the school and all the other cultural stops - they were excellent choices and we were really happy. It is great to see Into Africa involved with such a worthy cause. The kids really enjoyed playing soccer with George's family in Nakuru.
The Rock House was nice, great to have internet, and the breakfast was good.
Perhaps your company could make a link into Lamu - as the only way to do anything there is bargaining with the "beach boys". If there was someone there who could arrange day trips etc., it would be good as well.
Oh ya - the birthday party your guides, drivers and chef put on for James was great - a super memory! So was Christmas dinner!
We would definitely (actually already have) recommend Into Africa for our friends. Feel free to use us as a reference.
Cheers,

Marika Depooter & family
Kiev, Ukraine


----- Original Message -----
From: Lizzie Offredi
To: enquiry@intoafrica.co.uk
Sent: Thursday, October 22, 2009 1:34 PM
Subject: Re: feedback

Hello Chris,
I hope it's not too late to leave feedback.
I had an absolutely fantastic time on the trip, from the moment I arrived in Nairobi to the day I sadly had to say goodbye. I have so many wonderful memories and I fell in love with Kenya.
One of the highlights for the trip for me (and there were many!) was seeing the various projects that IntoAfrica supports, such as the great work that Hellen does with supporting the Maasai widows and at Enkiteng Lepa school. Our school visit was magical, the children were amazing and their singing was fantastic, I doubt we would have had a chance to have this same experience on another Kenya trip, it was very special.
From the moment we began the trip our group immediately bonded and, along with the staff, we became a little family for the next week! Elijah and Nelson were fantastic guides and had an amazing knowledge on just about anything related to Kenya and its wildlife. They were able to answer all of our questions and were very informative throughout the trip. Nelson has a particularly good story about an experience he had whereby he learnt that an elephant never forgets! Our safari adventure was incredible - how wonderful it is to see these animals roaming their natural habitat, and not within the confines of a zoo - it is an experience that gives me goose bumps just thinking about it now. On our first safari game drive we saw a group of cheetahs, a mother lion and her cubs, a family of elephants and a giraffe framed by the setting Kenya sun, it was the most exciting three hours I've ever had!
Our stay by Elementaita was equally very special. One particular fond memory I have is of getting up for an early morning walk to see the Flamingos which appeared like a giant pink cloud when they flocked to the sky, it was beautiful. I also opted to do the home stay which I'm so pleased I did; it gave me a great insight into family life in Kenya and I was made to feel really welcome.
I will never forget my stay in Kenya, and what made it so special were the staff and superb organisation, advice, enthusiasm and friendliness which has meant this is one adventure that I will cherish forever!

Lizzie Offredi
London UK


----- Original Message -----
From: Eva Melbø
To: enquiry@intoafrica.co.uk
Sent: Sunday, May 31, 2009 10:00 AM
Subject: Feedback from Eva and Per Martin

Hello Chris,

We had two fantastic weeks on safari. The first week Kenya Explorer and the second week Tanzania Explorer. When we planned the trip we could not decide to go to Kenya or Tanzania so we did the both. And we don't regret that.

And a bit about the service from Patrick and the firm in Nairobi. We got to Nairobi two days ahead of the safari. That was my idea to get acclimatized before the safari. Thought that might been good leaving Norway in -15 C. The first evening Patrick came to visit us at the hotel to ask if he could help us with anything. If we had made any plans for the next day. So together with Kenny who came late that day we got a car and a driver for the next day. We went to David Sheldrick wildlife trust, and Langata giraffe centre The last part of the day we spent at The National Museum. Lunch were at the Rock House, were we also met our guide for the safari. We had a fantastic day as a start on our journey. So a lot of thanks to Patrick

The first week in Kenya. When I read what John and Kenny wrote at Your client feedback and we do agree with them.

The first day spotting the first antelopes, first wildebeests, the first of everything. Having a guide and a driver that stopped 100 of times so we could look and enjoy all the animals we saw. I felt like a child on Christmas Eve.
The first night tenting with nobody around was fantastic. Visiting the Masai village, all the nice children. Learning about their life, how they build their village, how they live. It was very interesting. To fall asleep to the sound of the hyenas knowing that the Masai was there. The sunrise the next day.....beautiful. The first morning brushing my teeth under a tree, looking out and what did I see? A Vervet monkey watching me. Walking at the savannah with the Masai, giraffes and wildebeest in the distance. In Masai Mara all the animals. The lions eating the buffalo, with the hyenas and jackal trying to get a bit of it. The lion with the cobs. Being the first ones to spot a cheetah before anyone else came along. Lake Nakuru with the White Rhinos. Watching this big animals, ohh.. At Lake Elmenteita the Flamingoes and Pelicans we could watch from our balcony. To walk along the lake, seeing people washing their clothes in the hot springs as a part of their daily life. Visiting the primary school with almost 560 pupils. All the smiling children dancing for and with us. The head teacher speaking with his heart about the school, the pupils and to work as a teacher. Visiting a family at home. All this made this a fantastic week. Without the fantastic staff this had not been possible. If I would do it again? Yes! What made it fantastic was the staff, and the people we met. We have a diary, written day by day, and thousands of pictures and videos. So this will never be forgotten. (for Tanzania Explorer feedback see Tanzania section)

Brgs

Eva & Per Melbø,
N- 2615 Lillehammer,
NORWAY.


----- Original Message -----
From: John Worroll
To: enquiry@intoafrica.co.uk
Sent: Sunday, February 15, 2009 2:46 PM
Subject: Feedback

Dear Chris (see John's comments for his Mt Kenya trek on our Mt Kenya feedback page)

We finally made it! It was a fantastic experience (much more than just a "holiday") and we are happy for any comments to be put on your website and for you to put occasional potential customers in touch with us. One great advantage of going with IntoAfrica is that your fair trading and ethical stance are clearly implemented in practice. This meant that wealways felt very comfortable with your people who were so helpful to us as it was quite clear that they were very happy to work for you and were being fairly dealt with.

On the Kenya Explorer, Elijah and Samuel were a dream team at finding hidden animals and Elijah (like Solomon on Mt Kenya) was a mine of botanical etc information. Last and definitely not least, Patrick ...... What a man! What a cook! (This isn’t to denigrate David the week before – because of the altitude or whatever, our appetites were a bit off, but his food was great and he was always kind and sympathetic.)

Camping and walking through the Maasai area was unique - animals seen while on foot are much more "real" than when seen from inside a Landcruiser.

The school (Kikoypke??) was a magical experience including having the kids sing and dance for us and then dance with us. They were lovely and we could have spent much longer them, but clearly this was not possible given the schedule. The teachers were very interesting to talk to and the assistant head even offered to have us stay at his house for a period in order to give some lessons! It seems that schools and educational issues are the same in UK and in Kenya (resources, class size, teacher pay etc) although obviously the scale of the Kenyan issuesn was larger. Does IntoAfrica sponsor the school in any way? Can we make a donation (charitable or otherwise) or help in any way?

Thanks again for everything,

With best wishes

Pat and John Worroll,
New Barnet, UK


----- Original Message -----
From: Kenny Klassen
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Saturday, February 14, 2009 2:17 PM
Subject: RE: feedback



Dear Chris,
I was very impressed with the safari. It exceeded my expectations.
Below, I've pasted a group email that I sent out to about 70 of the closest people in my life. Feel free to cut and past the recommendation and/or other parts from the email for use on your website.

Cheers, and thanks for a great trip.

Kenny Klassen,
Abilene, Texas, USA

I'm currently on a wonderful vacation in Africa and just thought I'd share the details with you. I flew into Nairobi for a seven day Safari in Kenya. It was a pre-packaged deal with everything included. It was the first time I booked a package tour for longer than three days. I went with a couple from Norway and a couple from England.

Our first day we drove out into the bush and camped in tents under the beautiful flat-topped trees that Africa is famous for. We saw groups of impala and gazelle very close to our camp. The next morning we woke up to white monkeys with black faces hanging out in the tree above the camp. During breakfast, the monkeys started circling closer and we knew it wasn't a coincidence they chose the trees over our tents.

We took a tour of a local Masai village where many of the people were dressed up in traditional African costume. Many of the Masai cover themselves with bright red cloth and wear multi-colored beads. It appears to be their trademark. We went inside one of their mud huts where one of the two villagers that spoke English told us a lot about their way of life. We also got to ask a bunch of questions. For example, the guide told us the Masai never take people to a hospital. If someone gets sick, they boil various herbs in milk and give it to the victim along with shaman type ceremony. We started asking about the success rate of these procedures and he told us they had an effective cure for malaria among other things.

When lions come around, they threaten to start eating the villager's livestock of mostly cows and goats. So, the Masai men go out with spears and kill the lion. One of our Masai guides had personally killed two lions. After asking for a spear demonstration, we decided that we believed him.

The next day, we had a nice hike through the bush. The highlight was watching a group of giraffes moving across an open plain. Even at a distance, the graceful way they move their necks somehow invokes a sense of peace and tranquility.

From there, we drove on to the Masai Mara National Park which was the best part of the Safari. Whether your in the Masai Mara or the Serengeti depends what side of the border your on. If your in Kenya, it's the Masai Mara. If your in Tanzania, it's the Serengeti. The Masai Mara is greener than the Serengeti and has a larger concentration of animals. But the Serengeti is much larger. We actually drove across the border for a few minutes just to say we'd been to the Serengeti. There are no fences or border crossings so, of course, the animals go back and forth between the two parks whenever they feel like it.

On our first day in Masai Mara National Park, we saw three hyenas challenging a lion for a freshly killed buffalo. At first, the lion was keeping them away, but eventually the hyenas were stealing meat from the carcass. As another lion approached the scene, the first lion gave up and walked away from the buffalo. The three hyenas were all over the dead buffalo like a swarm of ants. A minute later the new lion came up and chased the hyenas back to a safe distance. Two jackals and some vultures were watching the scene and patiently waiting for their turn.

We also saw three cheetahs at different times, over a dozen lions, lion cubs and a six meter (18 foot) crocodile. Animals we saw a lot of included zebras, giraffes, hippos, elephants, wildebeests, gazelles, impala, topi, buffalo and monkeys. On the second half of the Safari, we would drive by some of these animals like they were cows on the side of the road. We had seen so much.

Our next stop on the safari was Lake Elementeita. We stayed at a nice lodge where all the rooms had a cliff-side view over the large, shallow lake. The surface of the lake was covered with hundreds of flamingos, pelicans and other birds; including a few kingfisher. We wet swimming in the hot springs at the edge of the lake where the locals were washing their clothes. At night, after an excellent dinner, we'd sit around, drink beer and play cards.

Our guides took us on a tour of a local primary (elementary) school. Most of the school rooms had dirt floors and some of the corners of the rooms were piled with broken furniture or a pile of rocks. However, most of the children appeared really bright and happy. The teachers genuinely cared about giving the students a well rounded education. We also saw well conceived lessons written on the old fashioned chalk boards. It really underscored the fact that there are far more important things than money. The kids sang a song for us that made us feel quite welcome. It was absolutely precious.

The next stop was Lake Nakuru. Many of the animals we had seen already, but the large family groups of baboons were new and quite entertaining. The young ones were really funny. The park was filled with tons of zebras and pelicans. We also saw some hippos, rhinos, buffalo and some cool looking lizards. On the way back to Nairobi, we took a boat out on a different lake with lots of hippos and birds. We also saw a python.

The food on the Safari was excellent; lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Patrick is an excellent chef. I'm not a vegetarian, but I liked that it was a lot of fruit and vegetables as well as meat. Everything except beer and cola was included in the initial price. We had our own chef that traveled with us, and he was good. We stayed in tents half the time and lodges the other half. If anyone is interested in a safari, I would recommend this company. They were completely professional. It's an English company called IntoAfrica, www.intoafrica.co.uk

Tomorrow is my last day - one more day in the sun before returning to the cold. Well, that's my latest adventure. Best wishes for this coming year and be sure to keep in touch.

Kenny


----- Original Message -----
From: Phil McClarey
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 2009 2:40 AM
Subject: Re: feedback

Chris,

Job losses, financial meltdowns, walking the dog morning and night, getting the kids off to school . . .life slapped us in the face quickly upon our return from Africa!

The safari was all we had hoped for, a splendid trip. All the connections and other arrangements went very smoothly. Even though it was all so well planned, there was enough variety, choice, and sense of adventure to accomodate all the different ages represented within our group. The kids on our trip had a terrific time together, often choosing to have a "kid's only" vehicle, which, I might add, was just fine with the adults. Opportunities for interaction with local people was handled in a very thoughtful and considerate manner. These occasions were highlights for us and one of the main reasons we selected IntoAfrica, along with the fact that (you'd arranged) that our safari group had other families with children. Our daughter now wants to visit the countries of the other kids on the trip. Thanks to you and all your staff at IntoAfrica for a wonderful and memorable trip.

Chris, of course you may post our comments and invite other people to contact us with questions they may have .

Phil, Angel, and Breanna McClarey
Madison, Wisconsin, USA


----- Original Message -----
From: Joachim Colaris
To: 'IntoAfrica UK Ltd'
Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2008 6:20 PM
Subject: RE: feedback

Hello Chris,

First of all I would like to apologize for waiting so long before replying. I started travelling again for work as soon as I arrived home in Belgium.

We had an excellent time during the trip in Kenya. I must say that the staff was exceptional, Elijah, Joseph and Patrick… Great people. It is amazing to see how much Elijah knows about birds and animals. He could really spot them from very far away. Patrick’s food was delicious; we could hardly wait for the meals to come. And we wish we had Joseph’s driving skills! We got along very well with the other tourists; I think we made a nice group.

Regarding the trip itself, I don’t have much to comment because we pretty much enjoyed everything: camping near the Masai village, meeting the people at the village, the kids at the school, the landscapes, the animals… We really have nothing to complain about. But if I wanted to find something, I would only say that the shower at the lodge near lake Elementaita could be improved. We stayed in the lowest cabin and we hardly had (cold) water. They told us it should be coming, but it never came… They were trying to repair some of the pipes at the time... Besides the great staff you have, the best thing about the trip is that it is very complete: nature and culture, not too much time on the road, time to see the places we go to at ease (we wouldn’t have minded staying a bit more with the children at the school) and a good variety of lodging options during the week.

My wife Maria has a blog and she started to put some comments about the trip. Here is the link. Don’t hesitate to put it on your website if you wish… It is in Spanish, but it can be interesting for some of your potential customers.http://www.mariaenbruselas.blogspot.com/ She wrote a post about IntoAfrica and one about the first day of the trip. I think she’ll go on with the following days when she gets some time… We will definitely recommend this trip!

Thanks again, we had a great time!
Joachim


----- Original Message -----
From: Mike Bridle
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Saturday, September 27, 2008 8:55 PM
Subject: Thanks!

Hi Chris,
Just a short note to say thank you for a wonderful safari! Sorry I've not written sooner, been a bit busy getting back to work and sorting pictures on the PC.

Elijah Patrick and Joseph did a wonderful job keeping us all well informed fed and on the right track, clients and staff all got on very well. Must be a worry sometimes wondering if all the clients will get on. Maybe I'll see your team again next year!
Regards,

Mike Bridle,
Worthing,
UK


-----Original Message-----
From: raymondmcevoy@………………
Sent: 18 August 2008 19:26
To: Chris Morris; Patrick Wanjohi
Subject: Trip Feedback


Hi Chris & Patrick,
We finally got back to Waterford, Ireland last week after what everyone in the family agreed was our best holiday ever! As you know, we spent the first week on safari with yourselves and then
spent five nights in Diamond Beach Village, Lamu Archipelago and two nights in Malindi.

The whole safari week was excellent. Samuel our driver was not only patient with us, but could drive the Land Cruiser while missing the worst of the potholes, spot an ostrich amongst the zebras at least a kilometre away and always knew exactly where the lions would be resting. Dimitrious, our cook, never ceased to amaze us with the variety and extent of the menu as well as his ability to rustle up a 4-course meal when we were many miles from the nearest habitation. I can honestly say that I have never eaten such good and wholesome food on a holiday. Nicholas our guide was tremendous: part time botanist, zoologist, ornithologist, anthropologist and philosopher. We wish him every good luck since by now he should have started his degree program in the university. We have brought home several folk-tales from Africa and he also learned a few Irish myths and legends.

We really enjoyed the visit to Jonathan's Maasai homestead, Kekopey Primary school and George's Kikuyo homestead. It really opened the whole family's eyes to the many different lifestyles that people follow. The people we met were all without exception kind, friendly, hospitable and very open about their lives. I admit I was a bit concerned beforehand that some of these meetings could be awkward, but they weren't in the least.

The kids really enjoyed it as well. They will go back to school saying that they heard the lions roaring in the middle of the night while they slept in a tent, with the Maasai Jonathan and a colleague asleep on the ground outside, which is worth a lot of street-cred! None of them are dedicated bird-watchers nor budding zoologists, so they did get a bit bored on one or two full-day game-drives. This didn't cause any problems, but I could see how a mixed group of adults and someone else's kids could get a bit frustrating.


A few minor things that we would advise anyone else travelling with kids in our age range, particularly since we are not a family of committed campers:
1. We only brought a single jumper/fleecey each and underestimated how chilly it gets in the bush once the sun goes down. we probably should have brought two each, (a light and heavy one) so that one could be worn over the other if necessary and select them for warmth rather than fashion.
2. Luckily we had brought several wind-up torches (available in Lidl for about E10 each) that would stay on the complete night. Our kids are not used to sleeping in complete darkness and it was useful to have a little torch that could be left on all night. However, we should probably also have brought at least one very good torch or lantern.
3. I don't know if it was deliberate or not, but the level of comfort/convenience increased with each successive night (bush-camp to tented village to bungalows to Rock House) which is probably better than going the other way.
4. We found that we were pretty tired at the end of the 7-day safari. We met other people who were just returning from a 2nd week and there is no way that our family would have managed a 2nd week.
5. When we booked into the Heron Hotel, we found we were in the older rooms. We paid for an upgrade to the new rooms, as we were staying 2 nights. The older rooms were functional but definitely a bit "tired". You might want to highlight this option to people when recommending it.

So, overall we are thrilled with the holiday; it exceeded our expectations and we would be happy to exchange info & opinions with anybody else considering such a holiday, especially with kids.
Thanks again,

Raymond McEvoy
Waterford City,
Eire


----- Original Message -----
From: GordIRIS
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 3:52 AM
Subject: Re: feedback request

Hi Chris,

My family and I just returned from spending almost 3 weeks in Kenya during which we took a 7 day safari with IntoAfrica (December 30 to January 5) and we couldn't have been more pleased with all aspects of our safari and our visit to Kenya. We had an absolutely fantastic time - the most wonderful and interesting vacation that we've ever had! We travelled along the coast, staying at Lamu, Malindi and Diani Beach, spent some time in Nairobi, and took the safari.

A huge part of what made our trip to Kenya and our safari so fantastic was the wonderful IntoAfrica staff, but firstly, as you specifically asked, a comment on the political situation in Kenya while we were there. We felt totally safe while on safari, as we were in the National Parks or outback of Kenya, away from almost all other people save for safari operators and other tourists. Also, before our trip, we had been told by you (Chris) that if there was a need for us to change hotels in Nairobi, IntoAfrica would move us from our downtown Nairobi hotel to another hotel away from the downtown area. That was comforting to know, but there wasn't a need to change hotels. In fact, the signs of post-election unrest/violence were barely evident to us (although we had seen a newspaper so knew about the violence in Eldoret and certain other locations).

For example, one morning in Nairobi, we saw about a dozen flak-jacketed policemen walking along a downtown street and on another street, a truckload of men in military clothing. We guessed that these were not usual occurrences, but we didn't know for sure. We also saw a small group of individuals shouting at one another. Some people in front of a hotel about a block away seemed to be worried by this group, but the gathering didn't seem to us to be something to be overly worried about, and my daughter and I watched for a few minutes from a block away. In addition, we guessed that the streets of Nairobi were quieter than they might be at other times. We were also advised by our waitress at breakfast to take a taxi rather than a matatu, and were told by a taxi driver that the matatus were not running because of the post election situation, although we saw for ourselves that the matatus actually were running. The waitress at the downtown restaurant also told us that while we were away on our safari, the restaurant had been closed for a week because of the post election chaos a few blocks away. These were the only signs of unrest that we noticed. In fact, on our last day in Nairobi, we walked from one end of the downtown to the other and shopped along one of the main streets at the street sellers' sidewalk stands, and felt very comfortable in doing so. And, in fact, my 18 year old daughter continues to live in Nairobi, volunteering at an orphanage there, and I feel fine about her remaining there despite the post-election unrest.

Anyway, the details:

Joseph, our driver, drove exceptionally well, slowing down just the right amount where the back roads were rough so that we had a very comfortable ride at all times. While sticking to the park roads, he got us very close to the animals for lots of fantastic wildlife shots. I was also convinced that he was attune to my digital camera 'on' sound, as he always seemed to stop the vehicle for us to observe and take a picture immediately after I turned on my camera for a picture. And, not least, we felt very safe at all times with his driving (and not speaking for other family members, I can be a bit of a worry wart when I'm not driving myself).

Cecil, our cook, was amazing. We felt like kings and queens knowing that he got up at 5am to prepare our breakfast and lunch. When we saw what he had prepared for us each day, we knew why he had to get up so early - essentially, a buffet at every meal. The food was delicious, healthy, with loads of variety, and he even catered at every meal both to our son's carnivorous tastes and our daughter's vegetarian diet. And there was certainly plenty of food too. We felt a little guilty about not eating all of the delicious food that Cecil had prepared until we realized that he'd never know the smaller quantity that would have satisfied us if we always tried to finish every last morsel. My husband and I definitely put on a few pounds on Cecil's cooking

As for our guide, Nicholas, we can't say enough good things about him - simply put, we cannot imagine a more perfect guide. He was such a personable young man that my husband and I would have liked to squeeze him into our suitcase and taken him home with us. He was polite and professional, always concerned about our welfare and also had a great sense of humour so was a lot of fun to be with. In addition, he was extremely articulate and had an incredible knowledge of absolutely all things Kenyan. There wasn't one question we asked about Kenyan animals, birds and plants, history or politics that he couldn't answer. We'll really miss him.

The office staff both in the UK and nairobi was also great. Chris answered all my emails promptly and fully, and Daniel and Patrick were available by phone to deal with our change of arrival in Kenya and saw us off on our safari to make sure that everything was just right.

As for the safari itinerary - it was terrific. We were especially pleased that the IntoAfrica company has a fair trade policy and that its safaris benefit the communities that are visited - and we could see those benefits for ourselves (the school near the Maasai village for example). As for specific highlights, there are too many to mention them all, but some of my favourites were the gorge walk at Hell's Gate - it was the most exciting walk I have ever taken; the white rhinos and pink flamingos at Lake Nakuru Park; being taken by Jonathan, a Maasai man, to his home in the Maasai village; watching a family of 12 lions from a few feet away as they walked along the road; and my most favourite experience, hearing the lions roar during the night at the bush camp guarded by several Maasi warriors with spears, clubs, and bow and arrows (I wasn't nervous at all, just excited to hear the night noises). It was an amazing week that we'll never forget.

So, my husband and I heartily recommend to any readers that they should take a cultural safari with IntoAfrica, and that in the short term, provided the political climate in Kenya doesn't escalate from what it was a week or so ago, from our perspective, there is no reason for travellers to postpone their plans.

My husband and I would be happy to receive phone calls or answer emails from anyone with questions about our IntoAfrica safari or our 3 weeks in Kenya.

Iris Allen,
Winnipeg, Canada


----- Original Message -----
From: vanessa sprague
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Monday, August 06, 2007 9:01 AM
Subject: RE: feedback


Dear Chris
Yes, we are back safe and sound after a tiring long journey. It was good to meet your wife en-route, she certainly has contrasting life styles and weather!

Thank you to your company for organising such a good week. We thoroughly enjoyed all of it. It was good to have a variety of activities, with animal safaris and cultural visits. I enjoyed our visit to the boma and seeing a different life style. Buying bead items from there was rewarding as I knew who had made each item and the money paid was chalked up for that family. That was something I found hard on the trip: my western standards of life are very different from Kenya and I didn't know if help/presents would be appreciated and if the person concerned would really pass it on to those who would appreciate it. IntoAfrica safari allowed me to take some help without causing offence so thank you for your guidelines.

All the staff on our trip were excellent, very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. I was impressed on our late arrival at Lake Elementaita after a gruelling journey when Patrick looked quite disappointed that we did not want him to make us spaghetti! He was up for creating a 3 course meal.

It was also great to have a local contact number as Daniel was able to help us out with transport on our last morning. I thought that we would have time to visit the giraffe sanctuary on arrival from Mombasa over night train before needing to be at the airport. Instead a driver was able to meet us at a station prior to Nairobi as the train was running about 6 hours late and we were getting into danger of missing our flight!

All 3 of us had a good week. Tasha enjoyed all the company and doing the hokey-cokey at the school. Phil really enjoyed walking across the plain from the Maasaai boma with Jonathon. That was more of a bonus we had really thought, actually getting out and walking in the environment.

I will certainly recommend IntoAfrica to anyone for a fantastic trip. We saw and experienced more than we had expected in an informative and sensitively managed manner.

Please feel free to use us as a source of recommendation and thanks again for a great week. It was rather surreal being in Kenya and reading about red-cross food parcels being delivered 30 miles away from my own home in England because of the floods!
Have a good summer
Vanessa


----- Original Message -----
From: ann.menard@..................
To: enquiry@intoafrica.co.uk
Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2007 8:04 PM
Subject: RE: feedback

Chris,

Thank you for the opportunity to express our appreciation for the amazing IntoAfrica Kenya Explorer trip. The itinerary, logistics, and expert staff made this an unforgettable and truly enriching experience.

From the moment we met Peter and Daniel and Nairobi, we knew we were in good hands.

First and foremost, Nicholas was an amazing host and teacher. Nicholas’ engaging and intuitive personal style and his wealth of knowledge and experience amplified the beauty and richness of the country, the wildlife and the people of Kenya. It was such a pleasure to meet him and to experience Kenya with him as our guide.

Linus and Patrick are true gems as well. They are great at what they do and we were lucky to have them as our driver and cook. For anyone considering the Kenya Explorer trip, I would hope that they are lucky enough to experience it with this expert team!

The diversity of the Kenya Explorer itinerary truly set this safari apart. The combination of game drives and cultural interactions provided new wonders each day. The multiple locations that we visited and the various accommodations added to the adventure. Meeting the Masai community and the home stay with the Mikemyi family were the absolute highlights of the trip!

Also, thank you for all of the pre trip assistance. Your regular communications, willingness to address our questions and the pre trip guides were greatly appreciated.

I would be happy to be a reference for any prospective travelers and I have already recommended IntoAfrica to family and friends!!

Many thanks and kind regards,

Ann Menard


----- Original Message -----
From: Susanna Cockburn
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2007 9:25 PM
Subject: Re: feedback

Dear Chris,

I apologize for the late response; although I didn't actually get back from Kenya until April 4.

I did indeed enjoy my safari with IntoAfrica. I had been a little apprehensive about the first night's camping but in fact I think if I had to choose it would be my favourite evening. Having the Maasai start our campfire and then later sing and dance for us and hearing about their culture from Ntutu; meeting and talking with Hellen about her project to help young girls and widows; visiting the school where we got such a fantastic welcome from the children was all very special and an experience that will stay with me for a very long time. I felt as if we were getting to know these people and their community on a far deeper level than "tourist seeing colourful native culture".

Next, I can't say enough good things about Elijah (guide), Patrick (cook) and Samuel (driver). They were all great at their particular responsibilities and also very enjoyable company. In particular, Elijah's knowledge of the many different birds we encountered was quite incredible - even replicating their calls. We had some terrific animal encounters in both the Maasai Mara and Lake Nakuru parks - saw all of the Big Five without it even being a priority (at least for me)! Do please pass on my best wishes to them.

One minor comment would be that it would have been useful to know a little more detail of potential additional costs ahead of time - e.g. the fact that there would be beadwork crafts available for purchase to help Hellen's project (with a guide as to prices) and the cost of our swim at the lodge in the Mara - so one could be better prepared with respect to the amount of local cash to bring.

I would be pleased to act as a reference and if you would like to post these comments, please do so. Kenya was as beautiful as I remembered it from my childhood and I've decided I will simply have to get back for another visit some day, hopefully with my daughter next time.

Susanna
Edmonton, Canada


----- Original Message -----
From: Oscar Jacobs
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2007 6:46 AM
Subject: [RE]feedback

Hi Chris,

Below as promised is a bit more feedback for you, from Hannah and from me. Thanks again for an experience we will never forget. I feel like we got much closer to the Kenyan landscape and people in one short week than I would have ever expected. Camping in the bush the first night with Ntutu and company keeping watch by the fire was amazing, as was following a group of over 40 giraffes on foot. The school visits were equally amazing. Really everyone was amazing - Patrick for his cooking, Samuel for his driving and Elijah and Nicholas for being extremely knowledgeable, patient and entertaining guides.

A suggestion for you: On your FAQ you mention concerns over children, but not teenagers. I think for a kid like Hannah, a teen with a social/environmental activist bent, your trips are pure gold. Not sure how many other teens you have had but maybe worth tapping that niche a bit more?

When I have described our trip to friends who gone for a fly-in/luxury lodge experience they have responded with envy. Thank you so much for that wonderful opportunity! Asante sana!

Oscar & Hannah Jacobs,
London(UK)


Original Message -----
From: Strosch
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2007 8:15 PM
Subject: Re: feedback

Hey Mr. Morris -

Thank you for asking for my feedback. I have many wonderful things to say about your company and all the employees and an item to comment on.

The three guys that were with us for the week were wonderful and they all need a raise. Great crew. Daniel at the Nairobi office was particularly of great service to me. As you know I did not have much time to plan this trip and Daniel really helped to put together my second week. I cannot thank him enough for getting things together and minimizing my time in Nairobi. Could you please send me his email address so I may send him a thank you. I also loved the homestead stay and am grateful that that was an option! Amazing family!

Additionally not enough good things can be said about Ntutu! What a great tone he set around the campfire and allow me the opportunity to ask any question about his culture without feeling ignorant or embarrassed. He seems to be a great warrior as well.

The comments I have is that I understand cell phones are a way of life and that is how people stay in touch. When we are on game drives, parked in front of any magnificent animal, bird, or scene it is nothing shy of horrible to hear one of those terrible ring tones going off. Could you please require that phones be put on off, silence, or vibrate while on game drives and safari walks (Yep we've done this CM).

Hope that this was helpful. Lastly I need to extend a special thank you to you for all of your assistance in getting me on this safari and all the last minute work you did.

Many thanks, Lauren


----- Original Message -----
From: Peter Robson
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2006 12:32 PM
Subject: Thank You from the Robsons

Chris,
Jane and I want to thank you for giving us such an excellent trip in Kenya. We want to say just how good our guide, driver, and cook (Nicholas, Joseph and Demetrius) were, with no effort being spared to make sure all went well and to make sure we were happy and informed. Their knowledge of the game parks, the animals, and local customs was a real bonus and their good humour set the tone throughout.

All the IntoAfrica arrangements went like clockwork including our trip to our old VSO school. Here we were treated as celebrity guests and met some old friends from 38 years back, as well as addressing all 350 pupils about their school.

Thank you once again.
Regards,
Peter Robson


----- Original Message -----
From: Nina Loechte
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 4:30 AM
Subject: Re: feedback

Dear Chris,
We had a very good holiday. Very different from anything else we have tried, but that was what we were looking for.

The most exiting part op the trip was probably, besides watching the nature and the animals, travelling on the dirt roads. After a lot of rain some were in very bad condition, and we got stuck in the mud once. We got out of the mud by pushing the 4wd ourselves (in Masai Mara park, very exiting!) But also visiting a local farming-family and the Masais was a very good experience. And we got a good, broad impression of life in Kenya compared to just a safari trip.

Other tips for people booking this holiday: Come with an open, positive mind and you will get a lot of adventure.

Impact on environment: I suppose we only made a little impact on the environment, and benefited the population by being tourists and buying their services and goods.

Rating: Our holiday was very enjoyable. Though I would consider to whom, I would recommend this holiday.

Best regards,

Nina Loechte,
Belgium


----- Original Message -----
From: Christine Wahl
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2006 8:34 PM
Subject: Re: feedback


Dear Chris,
Just last night I finished printing out all 300 pictures from our Africa adventure! What a marvellous time we had, full of wonder and awe and unbelievable adventures!

First, let me start by commenting on the remarkable staff you have in your Nairobi office. From the meeting at the airport to the travel arrangements to the shipping arrangements of souvenirs, we were treated like VIPs and were personally attended to by everyone in the office. In particular, Daniel and Patrick were most helpful, and Joseph was an excellent tour guide for the time we spent in Nairobi.

The safari itself was more than we ever expected. Our guide, William (whom we nicknamed "The Warlord" because he seemed to know people everywhere we went) was fabulous. He was very friendly and established a good rapport right from the beginning. He was very knowledgeable about the wildlife and the people, and never seemed to tire of my endless questions about various cultures. He introduced us to so many people, people we would never have been able to interact with otherwise. He understood our desire to be as "African" as possible and helped us understand various cultural practices, etc. He acted as as intermediary many times, and we always felt very comfortable with him escorting us around (even when we were the only wazungu in sight!). He taught us many Swahili words ("nyama choma" was one of the first!) as well. He brought Scrabble and we brought Backgammon, and we had many good times playing games before dinner. It's because of him that we felt at home so far away from California.

Isaac and Simon were very friendly and accommodating as well. As a driver, there is NONE BETTER than Simon! The horrendous state of the roads was quite a shock, but Simon negotiated them very well and we had the utmost confidence in his driving (especially when we compared him to the matatu drivers, bus drivers, and other safari tour drivers we encountered on the road!). He was patient and helpful and a very good wildlife spotter as well. And Isaac's cooking was delicious. We ate so well, we were afraid that we wouldn't fit in our clothes later! Indeed, there was an abundance of food at every meal, and we didn't want for anything.

We thoroughly enjoyed the game drives and even the brief visits to towns like Narok, Gil Gil, Nakuru, and Naivasha. The highlight for us, as I'm sure it is for many others, was the people we encountered. Jonathan and his village were very kind and we were pretty much in awe during our visit. It was completely out of our realm of experience, and we enjoyed interacting with the people and distributing our tokens of appreciation. I'll be sure to send along the pictures we took.

The family in Gil Gil were truly some of the sweetest, most generous people we've ever met. We had a delightful visit, with a nice meal and stimulating conversation afterwards. We were able to experience things we had never done before (milk a cow, make "mokemo" (sp?), sleep in room with a mud floor, etc.). The homestay with them was a wonderful experience, and we now feel we have friend in Gil Gil.

The accommodations all were quite satisfactory, especially the bandas at Lake Elementitia. We were quite surprised by the relative luxury of the place, and George was a very friendly host who made sure our every need was met. We were very impressed, and if we come back to Kenya, we will most certainly want to stay there again.

We had a superb trip and are thinking now about trying to take our kids (all five of them!) back next summer. I highly recommend your company to anyone thinking of a safari, and after discussing other tour operations with people we met during our stay in Mombasa, I have concluded that we really found the best one.

Again, I will be sending photos to your office since we did not get Jonathan's address. And we'd like to send a backgammon set to William so he can have one on future safaris. We also have a thank you package for your office staff. We very much appreciate all the effort they put forth making us feel like we were the only clients you had!

Christine Wahl,
California,USA


----- Original Message -----
From: Michelle Saldivar
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Saturday, April 01, 2006 12:58 PM
Subject: Re: feedback


Dear Chris,

We are indeed all back home safe and sound and thinking about the great time we had in Kenya. Thanks to you and all the IntoAfrica staff for making it a really good experience.

We initially thought a week would be a short trip but it was actually perfect as it gave us an opportunity to get close to the people, culture and natural beauty of such an amazing country. Our crew became our friends. When we arrived in Nairobi, a group of people travelling with another company, told us that they had a great time but that we should prepare to eat beans on toast for the week. Fortunately, we were blessed with the company of Samuel, a superb chef who worked wonders over a camp fire. We still think about his fried bananas! Samuel the driver was incredibly skilled at navigating rough roads and spotting wildlife; always getting into the right position for us to admire and take pictures. Elijah is a walking encyclopedia and a wonderful guide. His love for and knowledge of the natural world was contagious. The skills and qualifications of all the staff far exceeded our expectations.

Our favourite night was the first night camping under the acacia trees. The sounds of the African night made an unforgettable impression. We had great conversations with the Maasai warriors who guarded our camp and a very enjoyable visit to their village. Overall, the animal sightings were varied and exciting. At times, however, we felt rushed and under a very tight schedule. We understood we had a lot of ground to cover but given the poor condition of most roads, getting in the car after the last bite of lunch and spending many hours in a rough road was exhausting. We also had an unfortunate breakdown of our first vehicle and we got stranded for half a day waiting for a replacement; this made the rest of the trip even more hurried. In a second car incident we got stuck in the mud after a torrential rain but had a fun time pushing and ultimately walking back to camp. Our advise would be to alert prospective tourists to the fact that there will be many hours spent in the car on very bad roads.

We have left a part of our hearts in Africa and look forward to many more visits in the near future. We have already referred IntoAfrica to many friends who are also taken by our experience. Feel free to share our comments with prospective visitors.

Thank you and best wishes,
Bill, Michelle (USA) and Carlos (Mexico)


----- Original Message -----
From: Dr. Karen
Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2006 5:46 PM
Subject: greetings from north carolina


Chris,
Hope all is well with you and your family.

I have been meaning to write to tell ya'll what a fantastic time we had on safari. Every day was amazing and wonderful, we couldn't believe sometimes at the end of the day that all these experiences and moments and scenes had been in one day.

We totally enjoyed Patrick, his cooking was delicious and always a delight. I loved the fresh veggies and soups and little touches he added. He was also good company.

Really enjoyed my time with Simon too. He is such a quiet and kind man and his driving very skilled and careful. The roads were horrible but he navigated them with patience. I sat in the front with him many days and enjoyed my visits with him.

The absolute gem of Kenya for us both was Rebeccah. She was incredible. Not only did she know every bird, animal plant geography politics and culture, but she has a darling personality and great sense of humor and also very consciencious and responsible too. We felt like three girlfriends on vacation together. She is also very clever and an amazing story teller. I give her my highest, highest recommendation and thank you so much for having her be our guide, she was our greatest treasure.

Even though I thought I went to Africa to see the animals, I found the people the most moving experience. The animals were fantastic and totally satisfying, however the interaction with the Maasai and the school kids and your staff made the greatest moments for me. My hightlight I love to tell patients and friends most was the night we camped and I got to sit up with Jonathan Kiserian for hours under the stars by the fire and visit with him about his life. One of my most magical moments of my whole Africa trip. Also the visit to his village was very touching and I treasure the bracelets I got from the village women. We enjoyed giving them red shirts and glasses too and donated to their school and some money for food. Thank you for creating relationship with them so we felt like their welcomed guests.

Your whole safari was done with real integrity and beauty and style. Yes I am spreading the word, I hope you enjoy all the success you deserve for enriching people's lives here and there by your company.

I took some great pictures I would love to see get there successfully. The best is of your wife's sister at the market. It is such a great close up of her beautiful face, I have a friend who wants to paint it.

Also have a great picture of her family and also of the Maasai village women and kids. They said they'd like to see them when I took them. Jonathan said he' like the picture I took of him too.
Also have great pictures of your staff I'd love for them or you to have.

Also of the Mt. Kenya school kids and principal. I'd also love to send them a map of Africa and the World and maybe some pencils, at least the map and pictures.

Is it possible to send these to you and you could distribute them next time you're out.? I don't want to hassle you but I would love for these to actually make it where I committed to try and return them.

Sure do hope the rain comes for you soon. It is in the news here about the drought there and I am grateful to have a real heart sense of what that means for Kenya.

Karen



From: jose luis
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 1:30 AM
Subject: kenya explorer review

Hi Chris, William, Nicholas, Samuel and all the staff!!!!

Greetings from a cold winter day in Spain…Sunny at least. Sorry for the delay.
Here are my comments about the trip.

Well…It is difficult to summarize all my impressions in short, but I will try.

The company and the crew deserve the best marks, You have a concept of tourism that makes us all feel involved with the country and its people and at certain times you felt like a local… visiting a lively maasai market, or chatting with locals in a riverside of a maasai village. The camping night in the wilderness was a great start, chatting at the bonfire with thorough explanations from William about the Kenyan culture…In the middle of the night a stampede just a hundred meters away…Unfortunately I could not get a real rest because of my back stiffness. Early morning, taking a walk through the savannah spotting animals was a good way to realize that this is the no man’s land…you feel vulnerable. I keep in my mind the visit to the maasai village, fortunately unspoilt by tourism, and how they are happy to get by with a subsistence economy (meat, milk and blood); we western people should learn about them.

The visit to the National Parks were superb, they were not crowded, and apart from that we took our time to enjoy all the places: Imaging us having a sundowner with the sole company of a rhino in Lake Nakuru!.

Ah! Going back to the permanent tented camp in Masai Mara we were startled by an elephant feeding in the middle of the track…What a view!.

The cheetah was the missing one in the games.

Visiting the school was very enjoyable and rewarding as well…very cheerful children.

About the accommodations, they are good.

The staff was very attentive and friendly. Translate my congratulations to all the staff.

My highlight: the Maasai People.

José Louis Sánchez,
Ávila---Spain.


----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Busschots
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2005 5:33 PM
Subject: Re: feedback


Hi Chris, sorry it took a while to write back to you. Yes, we had a wonderfull time in Africa. We are big fans of east africa and your organisation too. Joseph, Dimitrios and Nicolas were fantastic. No remarks, only praise. The only slight detail that went wrong was that there were no sleeping bags for us when we arrived.... the guides found us 3 instantly.... incredibile. We'll make publicity for your organisation of course!!!!!!

Thanks a lot and hope to travel again with you soon.
cheers
Paul
(from Belgium)


----- Original Message -----
From: Paddy Heron
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Monday, October 31, 2005 11:51 AM
Subject: RE: feedback


Hi Chris,
Have been very busy since got back. Sorry I didn't get back to ya before now.
The Safari was amazing. The guides were excellent the food was great and the scenery stunning. We especially liked the fact that the Masai village we went to was not overtouristised (I'm not sure if that's a real word but I'm Irish so I get away with it!).Yes we just felt it was very authentic and at times felt like we were in the way which is a good thing as they were just going about their normal routine. William and Nicholas were excellent guides, very helpful and friendly and they really knew their stuff.

Thanks for running a conscientious company very well.

Paddy Heron.


----- Original Message -----
From: LindyAHenry
To: enquiry@intoafrica.co.uk
Sent: Sunday, October 02, 2005 3:29 PM
Subject: Re: feedback and school support


Dear Chris
Sorry to take so long to reply but with regards to my comments on my holiday:
I had the most wonderful experiences during my time in Kenya. The safari far exceeded my expectations and we were so lucky to see almost every animal there was to see. To watch two lionesses stalking a zebra was the most amazing sight and something I will never forget!

Our guides, drivers and cooks were brilliant. We were given so much information on the animals and the people of Kenya, the drivers ensured we had plenty of time to stop, watch the animals and take photos (how they can drive and spot a leopard in the grass is beyond me but they did!) and the food was lovely, particularly our last meal of a typical Kenyan's fare.

Amazing as seeing all the animals was, which is what a safari is all about really, my best memories will be of meeting the local people on our journey. From the Masaai in their manyatta's to my homestay in the Kikuyu village and our trips to markets, villages and the school. This was the real Kenya and I cannot put into words how grateful I am for the pleasure of meeting these people. They were informative of their own culture and enquiring of ours. They have given me a totally new perspective of Africa and more importantly made me appreciate just how lucky I am. They are an amazing people who are so full of hope for their future and grateful of what they have that I felt humbled by them. I hope one day to go back and see the improvements they are making. If I had a million pounds I wouldn't want to go the "luxury" route! Kenya is its people and its wildlife when they are truly in the wild, and unless you can get to see this you would be missing the heart and soul of it and only seeing the body.

If anyone would like to email me I will be happy to respond.

Finally, thank you for your information on sponsoring a child. By the time all the extras for uniforms etc are added to the school costs I am afraid this would be more than I could afford. I am however, happy to donate £100.00 which is only about half of what is required. Perhaps you could let me know then if you are happy enough to take this amount and use it as you best see fit?
Thank you again Chris and I look forward to hearing from you about my donation.

Regards
Lindy (and Stephen, who is back at University now and had a fantastic trip to Mt Killimajaro)


---- Original Message -----
From: Lee Hearson
Sent: Wednesday, August 24, 2005 1:47 PM
Subject: Aug 7th safari


Hi there Chris,
Just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed the Kenya Explorer safari that we have just been on. In fact this is my second attempt at writing something, the completed first one at the touch of the wrong button got lost! One huge success for us about the trip was that our 16 year old daughter, despite our considerable misgivings/doubts etc. really enjoyed all that we did - even admitted as much! She had been studying Kenya at school & it really brought it all into perspective/reality for her. We were really impressed with William & Nicholas, the guides who were knowledgeable, resourceful, helpful & cheerful. Their eye sight was amazing, so good at seeing & identifying the numerous animals & birds that we saw.

We all had 'best bits' of course. Bev’s was visiting the Maasai village & seeing their kids but mine was using my binoculars to see the fantastic views & sights - the broad panoramic expanses of the Mara - magnificently unforgettable. The organising, food, vehicles, the mix of culture & animals/game parks that you set up was just right. I also greatly enjoyed the organic farm visit & the school at Mt Kenya. So to see a little of what life was like for the people was just as important to us as the wildlife & countryside.

I was very glad that we had taken as much as we could carry in the way of clothes bric-a brac etc. to give away to the community at large. We had just experienced at home the G8, Live8 etc. & it really made us realise just how much we in the West have that we dump without a second thought but would be so valuable in Africa.

A big thank-you to you & the team for giving us a superb insight into Kenya, its problems & beauty, memories & experiences that will remain with us for a long time. The game drives were amazing, and its incredible how close we got to the animals, at one point the giraffes were walking towards us! These last lines from Libby who we have to thank for urging us for so long to go!

Best wishes Lee Hearson & family,
Twickenham, London, UK


----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Smith
To: enquiry@intoafrica.co.uk
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2005 2:26 PM
Subject: Kenya 7-day safari 24 July to 1 August


Chris,
I am just writing to let you know how we got on on our safari to Kenya. The whole trip was completely excellent. I had no preconceptions whatever. I have been so busy at work that I had not had time to do any preparation or research and so had no expectations.

Elijah and Rebecca were fantastic guides. Cruelly in our jeep we tried to find more and more difficult questions about the wildlife or the people or the habitat but they were able to answer everything. They were both such fun and so friendly but made sure that we really did understand the dangers that could occur if we did not follow their advice.

The food was great. I don't think that we could possibly have expected to eat so well and so much, all cooked on camp fires and stoves. Of course the game drives and walks were amazing - that goes as given.

Probably the things that made the most significant impression on us were the visits to the Maasai village and to the school. My great fear was that we rich Europeans would arrive, be performed to, pay and depart - something that would have given dignity to nobody. I know that our whole group felt strongly how powerful a part of the trip these visits were. I think that we all felt really privileged to have been invited into Jonathon's home in the village and into the classrooms and the staff room at the school. I think that Brian Green has already been in touch about our proposal to sponsor a school pupil at the school we visited and I know that we would like this to be the start of an ongoing and sustainable relationship.

We met some fantastic fellow travellers and between spotting amazing wildlife, we had no end of fun en route. One of the biggest worries I have now is whether to go on another similar trip in the future - I would be anxious that our experience would be almost impossible to live up to.

In a single sentence I would say that this was the most positive holiday I have ever been on.

I remember when we booked up with you, a group that we had stumbled across on the web, I was nervous about contracting with someone I had never heard of. If ever you wanted to refer people to me for an honest reference, please feel free.

Paul Smith,
Head of Compliance Monitoring
The Banking Code Standards Board,
UK



---- Original Message -----
From: Joshua Christopher Wilson
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Tuesday, July 26, 2005 5:53 PM
Subject: Re: feedback


Chris,
Having never been to Africa and holding many reservations about tour group travel, Elisha and I had our concerns about taking our honeymoon in East Africa. After only a short time into the East African Explorer trip I made a mental note that I needed to email you as soon as we returned home. Everyday, multiple times a day, I found myself thinking, "This is simply amazing." Our experience with IntoAfrica was phenomenal in every respect.

The staff, from the guides to the drivers and the cooks, were not only well informed and highly skilled at what they did, but they were so friendly, accessible, and such characters that they were more like traveling companions than anything else. It immediately seemed obvious that they enjoyed their jobs, one another, and meeting new people that it made us feel instantly welcomed and part of the group.

In addition to the staff's contribution to making the trip distinctive and memorable, the cultural components of the trip were outstanding. As opposed to being taken to any of the made-for-tourism villages that collect around places like the Maasi Mara or Ngorongoro Crater, each village, school, or women's collective visit over the course of the two weeks felt genuine and helped create the feeling that we had visited East Africa and not just a series of national parks. We are grateful that IntoAfrica provided the means for us to see aspects of East African life that would largely be inaccessible or missed if one were traveling independently or with another tour company.

Finally, while you have no direct control over this, we also really enjoyed the company of our fellow travelers. Something about IntoAfrica seems to have attracted some people who we would be friends with if we met them at home. Luckily, two of the others on the trip live near us and so we will see them again. Our time with IntoAfrica stand out as one long two-week highlight of our month in East Africa. I have trouble thinking of any way that the experience could be improved upon. Thank you for making it possible.

- Josh Wilson & Elisha Larez
PS Feel free to post this if you would like.


----- Original Message -----
From: Stephen Burns
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Monday, April 04, 2005 8:01 PM
Subject: Re: safari


Dear Chris,
Though Emma and Georg are still in Kenya, Kimberley, Janet and I have been safely back in Halifax for some time. Not long enough to have sorted out all the photographs, perhaps, but surely long enough to write to tell you that we had a splendid trip. Everything happened as promised. We learned a huge amount. Elijah and Patrick and Joseph were efficient, friendly and enormously skilful. We want to thank you, and all who helped, for making this visit to Kenya an exceptional adventure.

Sincerely,

Steven Burns & Janet Ross

Steven Burns
Professor, Department of Philosophy, Dalhousie University
HALIFAX, N.S., CANADA, B3H 4P9


From: Sarah Hickson
To: enquiry@intoafrica.co.uk
Sent: Saturday, March 19, 2005 1:38 PM
Subject: RE: feedback


Dear Chris
Sorry not to have replied earlier.

I enjoyed the Kenya trip very much. Rebecca, Joseph and Patrick were great, and very professional and knowledgeable. I would happily recommend Into Africa to other people, and thought that the relationships with the local school, village, environmental programme etc were excellent, and sensitively handled.

The only negative thing I would say is that for me it was a disadvantage joining a trip where everyone else in the group had just done a safari, albeit in Tanzania. I got the impression that the other three all felt that they were 'repeating' certain experiences, which had been exciting for them first-time round, but now felt rather 'routine' - camping out in the wilds, seeing certain animals etc. They spent a lot of time comparing the two trips, which inevitably had an impact on my own experience.

Hope this is helpful.
Best wishes
Sarah

----- Original Message -----
From: Lise Ørskov
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Sunday, January 09, 2005 9:39 PM
Subject: Re: feedback


Dear Chris and everybody at IntoAfrica

We are indeed back from Kenya ( and Zanzibar ) after 16 wonderful days in Africa - and we only have positive feed back to give to IntoAfrica: to you, Chris, who gave good advice before going; to Daniel and Patrick at the office ( both of whom came to say hello and goodbye to us when we set out and came back from our trip which was very touching ) and who found a very good solution to our wish to add an extra day to our Safari. And above all to our tree companions on the Safari in Kenya: Joseph, Demetreous and Elija. They gave us great experiences with the animals, with the nature and with the people of the places we visited. Joseph is a skilled an experienced driver, and although we did have a few starting problems with the Landrover we felt perfectly safe with him by the wheel - even on the very rough roads here and there. Demetrious treated us like kings and queens. We're not used to that kind of service and 3 course meals both for lunch and dinner, but we really enjoyed it. And Elija... what an extraordinary young man. He seems to have read about 20 books on flora, fauna, people, culture, landscapes etc. and he seems to know every information in them by heart; on top of that he is a very pleasant guide who is always trying to get the very best out of every minute, every hour and every incident. Indeed an extraordinary young man. We're sure he has a great future within guiding and wild life protection.

We were very pleased with the places that have been picked for lodging - both the hotel, the campsites and the bandanas. There seems to be a perfect balance between natural beauty and tranquillity, reasonable pricing and clean and comfortable beds and rooms. A very good balance actually.

So for the time being we have no suggestions when it comes to improvements as we are totally satisfied. In fact we are quite sure that many more Danes would be interested in the kind of safari profile and services that IntoAfrica offers. Please, don't hesitate to contact me for further discussions on this matter if you're interested on expanding to a Scandinavian clientele.

1000 thanks - and if we go to East Africa again we'll get in touch :-)

Friendly regards Lise and family


----- Original Message -----
From: Andy Ward
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 2:42 PM
Subject: Re: feedback


Dear Chris

I'm sure you've been given all the superlatives before but we would want to use all of them to describe our trip with IntoAfrica. Less than 24 hours from London Heathrow and we were camping in the wild with a Massai guard! from start to finish we had an amazing experience.

All the guides drivers and porters were exceptional, Rebecca, Samuel and Patrick were incredible and fun to be with. we felt very privileged to have our own safari experience. Rebecca was very knowledgeable and interested in what she was doing, Samuel is a great driver on those roads with an amazing ability to see very small animals from a great distance... and the food was just great.

We're really glad you persuaded us to do the safari in Kenya for many reasons but the wildebeest migration was quite a sight to behold.

All the connections seemed to work well and we felt very looked after. Once again thank you for all your help and all your people in Africa.

Can you let Rose in Arusha know that we got on the plane fine and thank her and the taxi driver for making it happen! ( nothing to do with IntoAfrica, we were given the wrong airport to go to : Arusha instead of Kilimanjaro, and we had a hair raising taxi ride from one to the other to get our plane to Zanzibar! ) But it's all part of the experience.

I'll get on with writing something on the website... Keep up the good work... If ever you're in Bristol give us a call

cheers
Andy ward & Hannah

ps we've got a fair few photos as JPEGs i don't know if you might be able to use some for promotional purposes etc...?


----- Original Message -----
From: Pat Bailey
To: 'IntoAfrica UK Ltd'
Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 2004 6:10 PM
Subject: RE: feedback



Hi Chris. Apologies for the late reply but we only got home last Friday ( spent a week travelling slowly back to Cape Town from Johannesburg).

In summary, it was an absolutely great trip which both Felicity and I thoroughly enjoyed. We wanted a true African experience and we certainly got it!! Our first surprise was when we were picked up at the Boulevard Hotel at the start or the trip. We were met by Elijah at reception and assumed that he was going to be our guide, driver and chef all rolled into one. Parked outside was this loaded Toyota where we were then introduced to Joseph the driver and Muli the chef. THREE people looking after just the two of us!! And looking after us they certainly did!! Elijah was an excellent host and a very knowledgeable guide. Joseph handled the sometimes horrendous roads with great skill ( we didn’t even get one puncture) and Muli was a relevation, serving up top-class 3 course meals for breakfast, lunch and supper. Together, they really were an excellent team and we cannot speak highly enough of them.

The highlights of the trip were the stay in the bush on Day 1 and the visit to the Maasai boma, the Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru ( both awesome!). Lake Navaisha was nice but one needs to spend more time exploring more of the lake to get a full appreciation. We would rather have spent more time at Lake Nakuru or Mount Kenya. The visit to the local Kikuyu villages was very interesting and informative, but the walk there was quite long ( although Elijah kept us fascinated with his knowledge of the plants and trees in the area and their medicinal properties). The wool-spinners visit was very worthwhile. If we had to do it again, we would suggest possibly a shorter walk/visit to the Kikuyu villages but to include spending time exploring parts of Mount Kenya which we didn’t do.

All in all, we had a fantastic time and we will certainly be visiting Kenya again. Thank you to you and your team in Kenya.

Regards

Pat and Felicity


----- Original Message -----
From: Yatin & Tom
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Cc: Zambito, Thomas F (BearingPoint)
Sent: Sunday, August 01, 2004 1:30 AM
Subject: Re: feedback


Hi Chris,

We know this e-mail is long overdue, but unfortunately soon after returning from Kenya/Tanzania, we got caught up in too many things at the same time and have had no time until now to unwind and catch up on our trip and all the pictures that we took there. Anyway, here finally is our feedback from the trip.

Our trip to Africa was one of the most fun and exciting that we have ever taken. The powers of the Internet were extremely valuable in organizing and planning for our Kenya excursion even before we got to Nairobi. You guys were great in terms of setting things up.

Overall, our Kenya adventure was wonderful. It was thoughtfully planned out and the people on your team were very knowledgeable and helpful. The trip was a great balance of wildlife safari and cultural experiences. Getting to understand the local culture and interact with the people is something that both of us were looking for from our trip.

We were quite disappointed when we were researching into safari companies in Kenya and were having a hard time finding a company that would give us something better than the typical "westernized" safari tour. That is, until we found IntoAfrica! Visiting the village of Olanganaiyo and interacting with the villagers in what was clearly not a "tourist village" was amazing. We loved the opportunity to visit the primary school and hang out with the kids. It was great to see a tour company that was doing so much to help and benefit the local community.

Kassim, our guide, was a lot of fun and very patient with our numerous questions. Both Samuel (our driver) and Patrick (our cook) were great too. Patrick's cooking skills, especially the range of local Kenyan cuisine that he dished out, kept us satiated throughout the trip. Sitting down with Kassim at the end of the day and going through our set of digital pictures and labeling them with the names of the many different species of birds and animals we saw was quite useful when we returned home and put together our photo album. The only thing about having such a helpful group of people with us was that it was sometimes a bit disconcerting was that there were three people helping out a tour group of two! We're not sure there is anything you could have done about it though.

The guys were quite flexible in moving plans around a bit when we happened upon something that wasn't on our schedule, but we wanted to explore nonetheless. For example, in Naivasha we came by a group of kids off to Sunday school. We ended up following them to their school and got a wonderful serendipitous experience of watching the kids sing and dance! Even though it meant having to push the rest of the schedule for the day off by an hour or so, we were happy to note that everyone was quite amenable to it.


Finally, our pictures are online at http://yatin.chawathe.com/photos/2004-03-Africa/ As we'd promised, we will mail a CD of the photos to you. Please send us a postal address where we should mail the CD.

--Yatin and Tom


----- Original Message -----
From: Elaine Griswold
To: IntoAfrica UK Ltd
Sent: Saturday, January 03, 2004 5:33 PM
Subject: Re: feedback

Dear Chris,
Yes, we are back home, but, no, Kenya does not seem far away! I am there everynight in my dreams!
We four all had a WONDERFUL time. The plan of starting on the slopes of Mt. Kenya and visiting the Kikuyus there at the beginning and moving south to the Mara was an excellent one. It gave us a chance to get our "clocks" on African time, to exercise, to get to know some of the plants and birds, and to concentrate on the people, before we were overwhelmed by the wildlife at Lake Nakuru and Maasai Mara. And overwhelmed we were!

But, I get ahead of myself. Mountain Rock Lodge was lovely except that we were exhausted from travel and a warm/hot shower would have been welcome, but the water never reached above room temperature. (sorry Elaine - there was a boiler problem and we've fixed it now by installing electric water heaters in each room) I don't think that this would be a problem during most of the year, but it was pretty chilly in Nov. and we had been rained upon for 24 hours while taking "our leisurely stroll" up Mt. Kenya. Otherwise we enjoyed our stay there very much-- the food and service were excellent, and waking up to baboons playing on the lawn and swing set was very exciting. William and Solomon were so knowledgeable about the wildlife and people of the area that our learning curve was steep. Duncan was a terrific driver-- under amazingly difficult conditions-- the traffic in Nairobi makes Manhattan's look tame, and the muddy, steep two-track up and down the slope of Mt. Kenya was very exciting. Patrick's cooking was amazing (typical meal: soup, bread, chicken, 3 kinds of vegetables, rice, fruit/dessert); all made from scratch in the bush!

The day that we spent with the family of my Kikuyu friend around their village (Mukurweini) was wonderful. We are so glad that it was possible to arrange this. We got to see the lovely small city of Nyeiri; drive (with my friend's sister-in-law directing) through gorgeous countryside to their village; have a typical Kikuyu meal (in their very nice, westernized home); pick coffee cherries; see how the coffee is processed (sorted, hulled, dried etc.); visit a traditional home/hut of an old Kikuyu woman who showed us how she lives; visit the primary school where my friend had gone to school; and visit a nature center to do some bird-watching! What a day! It was great to have Duncan and William with us as the mother didn't speak English, and they could help us communicate with her. Also they made all of the arrangements on the phone with one of the brothers ahead of time.

Our stop at Lake Nakuru NP was too short! When we arrived it was late afternoon, so we went for a game drive before dinner. Spectacular! We saw thousands upon thousands of birds and at least 30 different species in a very short time. Then on the way back to our bandas we came across three leopards! They were moving in and out of the woods, and settled by the edge of the road to drink out of the ditch. In the morning we saw both black and white rhinos, more birds, lots more mammals etc. The only negative about the place is the bandas where we stayed. They need a "woman's touch."

Long, beautiful, rough ride to Maji Moto-- lovely place to camp, lots of Maasai to greet us, and wonderful large tents. Duncan, Patrick, and William made camp efficiently while we took a short walk to see our first spoonbill in the reservoir. Later, we visited the hot springs. They were really, really hot! We could have used some of that hot water at Mtn. Rock! When we returned, Patrick had a feast waiting for us. The next day was a very long, very interesting, very hot walk with Jackson, our Maasai guide. We met lots of Maasai along the way, and saw quite a few antelopes of various kinds-- nothing threatening-- and a ton of new birds. One of the women carrying a load of wood on her head strap allowed me to try it on my head! We were tired by the time we got to our campsite, but revived to go visit the nearby Maasai village.

Moses, our guard and guide for the next 36 hours introduced us to his cattle, wives and children. We were invited into the hut of one of the wives so we could see how they live-- very interesting, very smokey (but not really smelly). They were lovely people-- attractive in appearance and welcoming. Again, it was great to have William with us-- he was able to interpret and accept the offered honey beer while we were a bit apprehensive about our G.I. systems. (BTW, we had NO problems with intestinal upset etc. Another very positive comment on Patrick's cooking!)

The next day we spent "lolly-gagging" across the plain (bird watching). It took the 4 of us about twice the usual time because we wanted to identify every bird we saw. William didn't seem to mind this-- he liked using our books to make sure he had the exact species right. He also liked our word for this slow movement: "lolly-gagging." That afternoon we were greeted by another group of Maasai men. They wanted to dance for us-- so we agreed (small sum of money); an audience of 4 with 7 performers! Then they wanted our men to join them! "White men can't jump!" But, the Maasai certainly can! The next morning we walked a bit as Patrick and Duncan broke camp and met up with us, and then on to Maasai Mara NP. We saw everything we had hoped to see there and then some. William couldn't believe how lucky we were! Cheetah chasing gazelles and coming back to her two cubs! Lions, herds of wildebeests, zebras, elephants, tons of various kinds of antelopes, monkeys, baboons, lots of new birds, spotted hyena, black backed jackal, hippos, crocodiles etc., etc. Marvelous! We were like kids in a candy shop. Oh, I forgot to mention the stunning landscape! Our accommodations on the edge of the park were fine-- roomy tents, bathrooms with flushing toilets and hot water. Although rustic, there was the "woman's touch" here, and the view from the open-air dining room was beautiful.

All in all, we felt very well-cared for, very safe, very stimulated and entertained as well as "educated."

We have hundreds of wonderful photos (mostly digital), and Joe is out having some of them printed to send to William who said he would make sure that they made it to the right people. If we can figure out how to compress the files, we'll e-mail some to you as well.

Suggestions:
Encourage people to go to the Nanyuki Spinners and Weavers for the tour and souvenirs. This is a great project and a wonderful place to support. I wish that there had been a few more such places included in the itinerary-- we really didn't like buying things at the typical souvenir shops or from the women who surrounded us at some of the park gates. We did buy some stone and wood carvings, but would have enjoyed visiting the craftsmen working and buying from them more. (In Uganda we bought some items from a shop that benefited the Bwindi Orphanage-- that was a better experience also. Actually, in Uganda, the souvenir "hawkers" are much less aggressive, and we appreciated that.)

On the packing list, I would add a plastic cup (with a lid) for teeth-brushing and for the occasional drink bought while in transit. We also wished that we'd brought along some decaf coffee ("singles") and some decaf/herbal teabags. We finally found a jar of Nescafe decaf at a supermarket and had that after dinner the last few nights. With all of the excitement of the days we wouldn't have slept at all with the added stimulation of caffeine. We were glad that we'd brought along several packages of "Wet Ones," and "Kleenex." We'd brought several items (sweatshirts, ponchos, leathermen, backpacks, extra binoculars etc.) to give to staff as well as school supplies (especially for the schools we visited in Uganda), but the extra luggage and weight was a big bother, and, when we flew from Nairobi to Entebbe, a big added expense. Is there any reasonable, dependable way to ship things to Nairobi?? I will ask the same question of the folks in Kampala.

I suspect that this is more feedback than you'd asked for! I guess once I got going it was hard to be very general. We LOVED our trip, can't stop talking/dreaming about it, and would recommend IntoAfrica to anyone who wants a "real" experience. I only wish that more Americans would make the journey. A big "Thank you" to you and all of the IntoAfrica staff!

Best regards from,
Elaine in NJ where the wind is howling and the temp is 4 degrees C.


----- Original Message -----
From: elise&jason jones
To: enquiry@intoafrica.co.uk
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2003 12:15 PM
Subject: Re: feedback


Hey Chris
Currently in Poland and about to step into Russia but definately wont be forgetting our time in Kenya.

We had an absolute ball on the safari. We've been recommending Into Africa to everyone we have met as an alternative to the usual "see-all-the-parks-and-drive-around-all-day-looking-for-animals" Safari. It was the right balance of animals and culture and meeting the Maasai & Kikuyu people really rounded out the experience of Kenya as an amazing country to visit. The crew were fabulous and so helpful - Demetrios cooked such amazing and yummy food especially the banana's & custard, Duncan was a great driver & leopard spotter (Jason was very impressed about the use of Landrovers!), and William & Nicholas astounded us with their knowledge especially of birds.

From my side only (Elise), The trip would have been better over 1 or 2 extra days just so you can relax a bit more in places like the first campsite, mountain rock lodge & lake navaisha. But Jason thinks it was just fine.

Anyway, hope this helps a bit, and yes we dont mind our comments going
on the web site.

Thanks Chris

Elise & Jason


From: Roger Schmidgall
Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2002 3:45 PM
Subject: Safari feedback

Chris, we just arrived last evening from Africa.

Yes, I do have some feedback-- extremely positive!

My son, Matt, and I thoroughly enoyed our safari. It was a perfect match for our interests--cultural as well as wildlife.

William is an expert guide. He knows the country and the wildlife and gave us a good education on both. He is also an expert "spotter" of hard-to-see game. One of the highlights was his spotting a flock of vultures devouring a wildebeest carcass. We never would have seen it ourselves. He also spotted the black rhino and gave us a few seconds for photos before it disappeared.

Joseph is an expert driver. We marveled about his concentration and skill in traversing often-hazardous roads. He also rescued several other safari vehicles that had unwisely ventured into muddy areas. Joseph made us feel safe on roads where other drivers needed to be more cautious.

Duncan is an expert chef. We exclaimed over virtually every meal--the diversity of the menu and the excellent taste of the dishes, prepared outdoors and timed perfectly for our schedule and needs.

You have an excellent group of folks and a great itinerary. We especially enjoyed our visits with the Masai/Kikuyu villagers and schools.

We felt well-provided for and cared for. Thanks for your excellent safari!

Bravo!

Rog and Matt Schmidgall


From Paul Wardman & Maryann Brown, Kenya Explorer, 2nd February 2002

Thanks Chris for setting things up this end but a special thanks to Patrick Wanjohi in Nairobi for going that extra mile to accommodate all our personal wishes and interests. Its this personal attention that stands IntoAfrica out of the crowd and Patrick excelled our already high expectations, especially in the revised arrangement at the end of our safari to take on more time at Samburu.

For us, the IntoAfrica experience hit the spot perfectly - close enough and intimate with genuinely unaffected indigenous people, the 'raw feel' of bush camping but with the luxury of a brilliant chef, warm and friendly driver and the tales of two guides.. every night! More genuine than the packed luxury lodges and more personal than the Overlanders, excellent!

Of course the first night camp and our time with the Maasai walking to his cattle, in their boma and the market will all be etched in our memories forever. They are indeed an incredible people, it was just amazing how untouched those that we saw were (through Kimeli we learnt that two Maasai women we met were mocking us for "wearing funny clothes" (ie not a red blanket) and "carrying water" (when they are so many streams around). It’s very easy to be cynical about meeting so-called genuine indigenous locals but this was unquestionably the real thing. Credit to you for going to the effort of going so far off the beaten track (though at times I had to wonder where on earth we were going!!).

Also we very much wanted to mix and involve with the team, rather than a stand-off colonial experience and we certainly got that. I want to make special mention of Linus our driver, and part time guide. The most genuine person you could hope to meet, as well as doing his job tirelessly, offered so much more of an insight, gave time to talk to us about anything and everything that makes up Kenyan life for him. Which mostly revolved around Ugali!! We lose count of the funny stories we relate down the pub now, most of which stem from Linus. Keep hold of him, he's a star! Patrick our chef was also brilliant, worked so hard every day and very sincere. His ugali feasts are something to behold, and his passion fruit salads have yet to topped. Jimmy (trainee guide) came out of his shell towards the end of the trip and we had many a laugh during our quizzing of each other of various bird types. Finally, there is Kimeli of course. Kimeli's animal and plantlife knowledge is impressive but most impressive of all is his knowledge of birdlife. Over the course of the week I found myself subconsciously getting much more drawn into the birdlife, and with so much variety there is never enough time. Testimony to both his and Linus' expertise came when we stopped overnight in Treetops, it was just amazing how much of this had sunk in, and just how little other tourists get told. And also comparing stories with friends and family who have gone with other tour operators. Quite an eye opener..

So, our experience was nothing short of FANTASTIC. And I chose the word experience carefully - way way much more than a holiday, and much much more than just an adventure. Thanks!

Paul Wardman & Maryann Brown, Kenya Explorer, 2nd February 2002


-----Αρχικό μήνυμα-----
Αποστολή: Παρασκευή, 4 Ιανουαρίου 2002 10:45 πμ
Προς: Razi Izabelle
Θέμα: Kenya feedback

Dear IntoAfrica,
Yes we are now back and we had a really very good time.

Franklin is a great guide. Congratulations. The cook was also good especially when considering the conditions under which he had to cook!

What could be improved? The time of departure for the safari. We arrived to Nairobi very early in the morning and left to our first camp site around noon only. Also, you should always inform your clients that there is no electricity to some of the camps. Unfortunately, we had no battery in our video camera once we arrived to Masai Mara !

Anyway, these are small details! It was really an unforgettable experience ! I hope we will be able to travel with you again !


Dear Chris,

Beverly Ingram had a wonderful trip to Kenya this past August. She had only great things to say about the staff, Linus and David the drivers, William the guide and Daniel to cook. She ran into trouble at the Boulevard Hotel in Nairobi which was pre-booked and Patrick came to her aid and worked out the problem. She will not stay or recommend the Boulevard hotel however.

The people she met, especially in the Loita Hills villages were a highlight, the food was fresh and varied throughout the tour and well prepared. Overall, she was very satisfied and would like to return in the future, and has stated she will use your company again. The staff made her trip special and she felt safe and well cared for.

Thank you for taking such good care of her, and I as well look forward to working with you again.

Louise

CTC, Rancho San Diego Travel, Inc.
3733 Avocado Blvd, La Mesa, Ca 91941


Chris,

Thanks for such a great trip. We had an amazing time. Here are some more specific thoughts for the future:

What Worked Well
1) Loved the Mara - full day there was a good change to the original itinerary
2) Loved the variety of camping in bush, in campsite, lodge, etc
3) Loved the homestay and the visit to the Masai - great culture
4) Our guide Franclin was awesome!

What Could Be Better
1) Spread out the fun - felt like the first day or two was so full because
everything was so new to us (We did 3 Mara drives, hippo pool, swim at
lodge, outside camping, and Maasai visit all in the first two days).
2) A few beers and sodas on the bush safari sections.

Please feel free to use us as a reference.
Thanks again,
Julie Woffington
Procter & Gamble
Brand Manager - Cheer, Dreft, Ivory Snow
Envelope-to: enquiry@intoafrica.co.uk
From: “Marc Spee” Subject: Re: Kenya feedback
Date: 8 Aug 2001, 21:51:15 -0200

Hi Chris! To tell you the truth, I am still on holiday, and had thousand and one experiences, but Afrika is not at all out of my mind, on the contrary, I will never forget my time in Kenia and Tanzania, because it was so intense and fantastic. My safari was truly a great and fascinating start. What I liked so much, is that we didn't go directly from Nairobi to the Masai Mara reserve, but we went from Narok through the bush, crossing beautiful areas and landscapes , visited fascinating Maasai villages, had a warm contact with them and sometimes a lot of fun, they guided us on several beautiful walks in their area, I had three times a day a fantastic meal, a very good driver and a friendly and professional guide (William, Linas and I am sorry I forgot the name of the cook, David?). I liked to be alone, because I really felt in Africa . The Maasai mara was so beautiful, so green and fresh, and although we didn't see so many predators, we DID see them . The camping in tents I liked because it was more real than in the lodges, overprotected and with indifferent and spoiled tourists. I by the way, also went to Arusha National Parc:FANTASTIC, what a beautiful (moutaineous?) forest and landscapes, also with your organisation Through Emmy Moshi, a lovely person)- It was definitely not the last time for me in Africa, and I hope I will see the Ngorongoro crater one day.

MARC SPEE, Amsterdam, Netherlands


From: "Joanne Miller"
To: "IntoAfrica UK Ltd"
Subject: Re: Feedback request
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2001 09:36:59 -0700

Dear Chris,
Sorry I am so slow at answering but the real world hit us squarely between the eyes after our return. We loved our safari!. William, Simon, and Kassim were wonderful! We were so lucky to find you! To have our own vehicle was great. To go off road was great! I keep raving to our friends that we were the luckiest people on safari. I think you are very fortunate to have guides like William and Simon. They made our trip so special. Margaret's food was great and we certainly never were hungry.

Please use us as references and I hope I will be able to send some business your way. Tell William that the pictures will be coming. I'm slow at getting the reprints made.

Sincerely,

Joanne, Greg and Linnea Miller



Chris, sorry it's taken me so long to write you.

My message, though, is unequivocal: the trip you took us on met and surpassed my highest hopes for what we could do on a short trip to East Africa. As a faculty member in an academic program, my worst fear was that the trip would be nothing more than a lark for the students. Instead, they got a most substantial introduction to the culture and social life of Kenya - and had a lot of fun doing it to boot. The range of Kenyan life that we saw was remarkable. And, we had a day to see animals; it would have been a shame to go all the way to Kenya without doing that.

Your tour leaders were knowledgeable, friendly, and very capable. William in particular was excellent. Please don't hesitate to pass this message to other potential customers. You may also have them contact me directly if you like.

Jonathan Sadowsky, Professor of African History, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio, USA


From: Barbara Klante
Subject: IntoAfrica Inquiry

Dear Ms. Metcalfe,

Chris Morris of the IntoAfrica tour company has given us your name as a reference. We are preparing to send a group of our students from Case Western Reserve University into Kenya with his company, and would like to ask you about your experience as a former client.

I realize that you are leaving soon for Tuscany (one of MY favorite places in the world!) If you have a moment before departing, could you please send a short message letting me know when and where you travelled with IntoAfrica, and what you thought of their logistical arrangements? Our particular concern, of course, is the safety of our students. Were you satisfied with the precautions taken by your guides, the information they provided, and the contingency plans they had for any emergency situation?

We would appreciate any information you could provide.

Barbara Klante,
Assistant Dean and Manager of Special Programs, College of Arts and Sciences
Case Western Reserve University, Ohio, USA


From: "Penny Metcalfe"
To: Ms Klante
Subject: Re: IntoAfrica Inquiry
Date: Sat, 23 Sep 2000 08:55:25 GMT

Dear Ms. Klante

I have travelled twice with IntoAfrica - this year and last. They are a great outfit, with strong commitment to putting something of their tourist operation into benefiting the local people.

Logistics run very smoothly. We had three different drivers during our trips, and I was impressed by their competence and safe driving. Their guides are friendly, knowledgeable, well-trained and speak excellent English. If any of your group are birders (feathered variety!) try and get William as a guide - he is an expert. Last year we did a guided walk in the Loita Hills, with William as guide, Daniel as cook (he is an artist in his craft, and can apparently produce three course meals high on Mount Kenya, as well as in the lower lands of Loita).

Chris is very highly thought of by the local chief and his people. Security at overnight camps was excellent with local people providing guards, very reassuring as we were two women travelling alone (if having an entourage of guide, cook,and driver can be described as "alone"!). This year we did a tour including walking in the foothills of Mount Kenya, at Lake Bogoria, camped at a game ranch, and at Lake Naivasha. We were introduced to local people and toured a local school, and the William Holden Centre for environmental experiments. Everything went smoothly, and there was obviously good support between different groups - they have full radio contact most of the time, reception conditions permitting. We felt safe at all times.

Hope this is useful to you.
Yours in haste
Penny Metcalfe


From: "justin | klubnik"
To: "IntoAfrica UK Ltd" <enquiry@intoafrica.co.uk>
Subject: Re: Kenya feedback
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2000 08:57:15 -0500

Dear IntoAfrica,
First off, the trip was absolutely terrific. I believe everyone in our group thoroughly enjoyed their trek through Kenya. I thought you did a fabulous job of taking us to locations of cultural interest (the schools, markets, villages). Our group was really interested in getting past some of the tourism and seeing how life really is in Kenya and we got to do that. I was honestly suprised (and delighted) to see how far off the beaten path we got when we went out to the Loita hills.

The guides were all very friendly, helpful and timely from the moment they picked us up at the airport until they dropped us off. I also thought they did and excellent job of getting us to so many places in such a short period of time.

As far as suggestions, I would put two people per home on the homestays instead of just one. It was very exhausting, and kind of unnerving being alone in an environment like that. I know some of the other people who participated in the homestays felt the same way.

Aside from that I thought the trip was terrific. All the hotels and lodges we stayed at were great, or at least suited our needs, and places we camped were beautiful. The game drive in the Masai Mara was better than I could have ever imagined. I had no idea we would see that many animals, and be that close to them. The guides did a fabulous job that day. They knew where to find all the animals, what they were, and interesting facts about them. All in all, I was quite pleased with the tour, and all you managed to pack into our relatively short trip.

Justin Klubnik,
Case Western Reserve University, Ohio

Site updated on 2nd Dec 2018

© 1998 to 2018 IntoAfrica UK Ltd