Booked online whilst still in UK for 3 separate 1 day trips from tiki beach hotel to Tsavo East. Tsavo West and Shimba Hills. Travelling to Kenya in dec 2012 for a week long combination of relax on the beach and safari in the hills.
Decided to try and use a local company and thus ensuring the money stayed within the country and not lining the pockets of some big corporate.
Driver arrived exactly at times stated. Even with a 4.30am start on one day!
Both John and Peter (our drivers) were excellent, polite, pleasant, well presented, fully conversant in English and extremely knowledgeable about both the local environment and especially the animals in the national parks.
Tsavo East is a fantastic reserve and in our opinion the better of the two parks for seeing animals. Sadly we didn't see the big cats, but plenty of elephants, adorable baby ones and even a herd of over 70. Zebra, buffalo, mongoose, antelope, gazelle..... The list is endless.
Tsavo West by comparison is very very pretty and totally different in its environment being more scrub land and hence more difficult to see animals unless they are very close to the tracks. Hence we saw relatively fewer animals, but in the other hand the scenery was spectacular. Again no big cats, but this in no way reflects on the guides, we simply arrived in the park about 830am by which time the cats had hunted and since it was over 30 degrees they were holed up under a tree somewhere keeping cool. In such a large reserve it is often pot luck if you actually see the cats. An early morning dawn game drive would probably give you a better chance but then you must be staying at the lodges within the parks.
Shimba Hills again a different environment, more rain forest areas, again a good selection of animals to be seen, but no big cats in the reserve even though they advertise they do have lions and leopard!!
Regarding costs, we decided to make a 50% online deposit payment as suggested by Humphrey and pay the balance direct when we were in Kenya. We actually paid the rest in cash when we finished the first day safari, but a credit card was equally acceptable subject to a handling charge if course, We made a short detour on the way back to the hotel and popped into the offices and met Humphrey and his staff. Felt very welcome, and it was very nice to actually meet the faces behind the names in the emails.
Meals provided at 3 different safari lodges each day, excellent food, stunning locations, only be aware that drinks are always chargeable as extra.... but expect to pay between 150 and 200 Kenyan shillings for a coke etc. obviously slightly more for alcoholic drinks but all in all very reasonably priced.
A very professional company, giving a very high level of service. Reasonably priced when compared to the same trips offered via the rep in resort.
Just the two of us on the safari which was brilliant as we were able to control when we went where, what we did, and so on. Drivers John and Peter were very professional, spotting animals that we simply didn't even notice. Vehicles provided were very good, and entirely suitable for the parks. A land cruiser for the Tsavo East and a Nissan minibus with extending roof for the other parks. Personally found the Nissan preferable as it provided overhead sun shelter whereas the land cruiser was more comfortable but no overhead cover, hence a hat is essential to prevent sun stroke.
A huge huge thank you to Humphrey, Peter, John, Sharon and all the other staff for a very prompt email response, detailed itinerary, putting up with my endless questions and a greatly enjoyed safari experience.
Hope to use you again .
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.