Amber, Alex and I went to Kenya over winter break this year. We flew via Zurich to Nairobi. Then we went on a safari in Masi Mara and then climbed Lennana on Mount Kenya.
The animal orphanage in Nairobi National Park was a bit like a zoo but it was still very neat to see big predators up close, such as this leopard. We also saw cheetahs, lions, hyenas, jackals, and wild dogs.
The giraffe center was pretty wild. There is a platform where you can feed them. This was right next to Giraffe Manor which looked pretty swanky.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust runs an orphanage for elephants, where the focus appears to be on reintroducing them to a herd of wild elephants, which is pretty cool. It was pretty fun to watch them run around and drink milk from a bottle.
This jerk bit my arm. Flightless birds generally are pretty weird.
We stayed at Crocodile Camp (TripAdvisor). It was pretty fantastic. We hired our driver through them. We stayed in swanky "tents" which had running water and a bathroom with a shower. We were right near the Mara River and the last night heard hyenas yipping. There was also a hippo in said river. The camp is very close to the southern gate entrance though I don't think the proximity to the park matters that much as long as it is pretty close.
A quintessential African savannah landscape.
Elephants are pretty cool. There were a lot of them in Masi Mara. It is a shame that people still buy ivory.
Lions, like other cats, mostly sleep (at least during the day). These ladies were camped under a tree and cared little about our presence.
Later we saw lions protecting what we think was a hippo that they had killed the night or day before. It was pretty gnarly.
Vehicles in Kenya seem to be capable of a great deal more than their American counterparts. We drove a Land Cruiser over the jeep tracks in the preserve.
A cool lizard.
We also took pictures of the cheetah, leopards, giraffes, etc. that we saw, but without a telescopic lens they are not that exciting to look at.
You are required to go with a guide in the park. We used Trek Mount Kenya. All of the guides worked together so I don't think who you go with matters so much. Our guides were very nice. It was a bit uncomfortable to have such an entourage (porters, cooks, guides, 6 in total for the 3 of us) but there isn't an alternative I am aware of. We took 4 nights and 5 days, all at huts in the park. All were fairly comfortable I think (dorm rooms with flushing toilets). The first day we hiked about 3 hours up a steep road. The second day we hiked to the base of the mountain.
The third day we did an acclimitization hike, and the next morning we left at 3am for the summit. It rained for around 2 hours at the lower elevations and was all snow/ice at the summit. We were in a cloud but I think the view would have been amazing from the summit. Apparently you can see Kilimanjaro on a clear day.
The hike down took another 8 hours or so, covering around 15 miles in total. We went through the Gorges Valley which is the most beautiful place I've ever seen. Naturally the pictures do not do it justice.
If you have the means I highly recommend it.