Like everyone else on this thread, I'm so impressed with Natural Track Safaris that I must add my endorsement to this list as well.
I just returned from the most magnificent 11-day safari with my best friend and his 13-year-old son. I'd never heard of Natural Track Safaris before we booked our trip, but I'm so glad we went with them! We all had a spectacular time, and that's mostly due to Peter Philip and his talented, friendly and competent staff.
I'd never been to Africa before, so naturally I had many questions (and worries). For instance, my flight arrived the day before my friend's, and I worried about being alone in Nairobi, how I would get around, would I be safe, etc., but every worry I had was greeted by Peter with a "No problem!" and an easy, affordable solution. He was kind enough to arrange airport pick-up, accommodations and even a lovely driver named James who escorted me to a number of places around Nairobi the day before my friend arrived. (Go to the Giraffe reserve -- it's wonderful!)
Peter also planned a perfect itinerary and accommodations for our safari. To give you an idea...
We began our adventure in Nairobi. We visited the David Sheldrick elephant orphanage (again, wonderful!) and the famed Carnivore restaurant which is every bit as gluttonous and delicious as you can imagine! The next morning, we set off for Samburu, a place full of wild life and distinctive, enchanting landscapes. We stayed at the Sopa Lodge which was lovely. From there we went to Lake Nakuru, all pink with flamingos! Part of the reserve teamed with monkeys and we were able to walk around among them -- something I've dreamt of since I was a kid! We stayed at the Sarova Lion Hill Lodge -- charming accommodations and the food was out of this world -- best of the trip!!! The next day, after an an early morning game drive, another guide named Simon led us on a boat ride around Naivasha, and an afternoon cycling and hike at Hell's Gate. It was one of the highlights of our trip and, if you have the time, I recommend it highly. That night we stayed at the Sopa Lodge which, wait for it: HAD A BATHTUB! I forgive them their mediocre food because the room was so gorgeous I nearly cried! :) We ended our safari with 4 days in Maasai Mara which was the absolute standout in terms of beauty and wild life. We encountered a record number of cheetahs, lions and elephants, and we were even lucky enough to see the Wildebeast Migration. It was truly magical. To save money, Peter suggested we stay outside the reserve at Ol-Moran Tented Camps. The tents were great, complete with electricity (though just one outlet so bring a power-cord if you have lots to charge), bathrooms and showers, and the food was simple but delicious. All in all, we had a sensational time, and it was so lovely not to have to worry about arranging everything ourselves.
Gerald, our safari driver, is a remarkable man with an incredible heart and a deep love, knowledge and respect for wildlife. He's gifted with an eye that can (and did!) spot leopards and cheetahs in trees as well as a beautiful place to capture a sunrise or sunset. He made our trip... (oh dear, I'm running out of superlatives!) phenomenal! In fact, all of the drivers I had were kind, knowledgeable, really loved their jobs (who wouldn't?!), and really cared about providing you with the most fun adventure you'll ever have.
As for wildlife, we saw so many cheetahs, leopards, lions, wildebeasts, elephants, water buffalo, etc. -- I was blown away. During our last game drive in Maasai Mara, 6 cheetah cubs rested by the shade of our van while their mother looked for prey. One brave cub jumped up on the van to "explore". Gerald, of course, kept very calm, told us simply to stay quiet and assured us she wasn't a threat. I trusted him completely, and he was right. I was awe-struck to be that close to wild life, and I felt so safe because of Gerald. What a thrilling end to our adventure!
After one last trip to Carnivore, we dropped my friend and his son off at the airport. I remarked to Gerald that I never found a specific gift I had in mind and, without a second thought he said, "Let's try one of the shops in Nairobi!" Keep in mind, this was after an 11-day safari where I'm sure he wanted to get home to his wife and kids and just drop me off at my accommodations! But he insisted, picked up another driver, Mike, who escorted me into the shops. Mike was a riot and, within minutes, I found what I was looking for. Then off to my accommodations, and Peter himself took me to the airport the next morning.
These are all wonderful people who will make it their mission to give you the time of your life. I can't recommend them highly enough. If you are thinking about taking a safari in Kenya, please go! Do it! And book with Natural Track -- you'll be so glad you did.
Thank you, Peter, Elisabeth, James, Simon, Mike and of course Gerald for making this trip possible. It was by far the best vacation I've ever taken and I'll keep the memories of it forever.
With sincere admiration and gratitude,
Amy Montminy, New York, NY