Nightmare in Kenya!
Or how our dream honeymoon ended in the worst possible way…
Although we still find it hard to believe, these things happen, and you better have a good insurance and be ready to face the unexpected.
We have yet to deal with the consequences (both physical and legal), but that didn’t take our love for travel away! Here is our story.
We got married in October 2017, and decided it was the perfect occasion to finally go on our dream trip. A once in a lifetime trip, mainly because of the price tag, but also because we had never traveled using an agency before. We usually organize everything ourselves, but this time we were exhausted from putting the wedding together, so we felt like we deserved to just rely on someone else to take care of it all.
Well… it turned out to be the worst experience of our lives, which could have very well ended in a river bed in Kenya. So if you are in Spain, here are the names of the agencies to avoid: TandemTours (Tandem Luxury Travel) and mostly, avoid at all cost travelling with Ratpanat Luxury and Adventure. These guys are basically pirates who won’t respond if there is any problem at all… they’ll lie, evade their responsibility, write fake statements on your name and steal from you even if you are lying in a hospital bed because they hired a driver with no license!
Sounds crazy right? Well, keep reading and you’ll understand.
BEFORE THE ACCIDENT
Our surprise was huge when after half an hour driving towards our camp, we crossed paths with a massive rhino, and shortly after saw a leopard’s tail hanging off a tree and were able to contemplate it from just a few metres while it woke up from its nap!
SOME TIPS: If you decide to stay in a tented camp, which is a great option if you want to feel closer to nature than being in a Lodge, be aware that hot water, electricity, etc. are not an easy thing to get.
Bucket showers need to be filled with hot water right before you use them, so you’ll have to let the staff know when do you want it ready.
Charging your phones, camera, laptop… can be even harder! At some of these camps, you’ll only find a few places to do it, mainly on the common areas. All the other guests will be trying to charge their stuff too, and some of the sockets may not even work very well! Avoid sour surprises like what happened to us on day 2!
Day 2. First ever hot air balloon ride.
Early wake up call, still pitch black outside. Something we’d been wanting to do forever. Our first hot-air balloon ride, at sunrise, in Maasai Mara… what else could you ask for?
Even before arriving at the take off spot we were able to see, blinded by the car’s headlights, many animals including a couple leopards, proving that they are way more active at night than during the hot days in the savannah.
While we waited for the balloons to be ready, we sadly found out that our camera batteries hadn’t charged at all during the night… 🙁 One of the coolest experiences of the trip, and we wouldn’t even be able to take a picture of it! Once we came to terms with it, we realised that this could be one of the experiences where you can fully enjoy without having to worry about photos or videos, and so we did!
We took off on a clear morning, and the sun rose mid flight. The calm up there is only interrupted by the noise of the burners. The long shadows of the trees, the savannah waking up under our feet, thousands of wildebeest (some of the lasts herds making their way south to the Serengeti), families of elephants or giraffes, a few cheetas stalking their prey… It was simply an awesome experience and we totally recommend it.
Landing in the middle of nowhere and finding out that a whole breakfast and champagne buffet has been set up for us in the savannah only made it more memorable.
Back on our jeep, along with our driver Kantai and our guide Mike, we spent the rest of the day on the lookout for amazing animals and landscapes. We even did a walking safari along the edge of the Mara river, where 5 metre Nile crocodiles and massive hippos make you wonder if the gun that your guide is carrying would be enough to even scare one of them.
We had lunch near a small river after checking there were no dangers around in what made us feel like a movie scene, and then continued our game drive.
ECO REFLECTION: Although the excitement of being right next to these animals in their own environment doesn’t allow you to instantly reflect on what our presence’s consequences may be, we realised that having tens of vans and jeeps around a leopard struggling to hunt its weekly prey makes it nearly impossible for them to succeed.
Are we just another (foolish) animal they need to work around? Or are we fully disrupting their ecosystem?
We later found out that drivers are far more respectful towards the animals in Tanzania than they are in Kenya.