Robin & Sam – Kenya (Oct 2016)

Robin contacted us to help him plan a surprise safari for Sam who had always wanted to go to Africa … we helped Robin prepare his ‘secret’ holiday booking including visiting a baby elephant he adopted for her and meeting the residents of Giraffe Manor! Here is his feedback and some photos of their trip of a lifetime

Considering this was our first safari and we had no idea about where to visit, duration, activities, etc. we were totally reliant on the recommendations provided by Travel with Jules. I am delighted to say that the result of every single recommendation went way above our expectations and we had the most incredible holiday ever! It was great to know that every step of our holiday was taken care of right from the transfers between airports, camps and activities, through to booking the one-off activities such as visiting our fostered elephant and meeting the last male Northern White Rhino on the planet.

The entire holiday was just one huge highlight and we cannot praise the accommodation, food and service at Giraffe Manor, Kicheche Laikipia and Kicheche Valley highly enough. Both of our guides (Albert and Francis) were exceptional and we saw everything we wanted to see and more! We now plan to do a safari holiday every 4 years and would probably add a few nights at a beach resort to the end of the holiday next time as it was pretty full on! 

The holiday was just incredible and couldn’t have been any better in our wildest dreams. I’m going to struggle to remember everything but will do my best… (by the way, any suggestions or negative feedback is purely given to help improve experiences for the future and in no way had any negative impact on our experience!) Our driver provided by Somak was brilliant and really friendly and attentive.

Giraffe Manor was exceptional and even now feels like we were in a dream. All the staff were really friendly as were the giraffes! The food was also amazing as were the spa treatments. We are pleased we stayed 2 nights rather than 1 as it gave us enough time to relax after a long journey and get acclimatised before the long and tiring safari days. The only area for improvement I could give is perhaps to have some snacks available throughout the day, as we often found ourselves quite hungry between main meals where the gaps could seem quite long.

Kicheche Laikipia was probably our favourite part of the entire holiday, although it had the advantage of being our first safari experience of course so everything was new! We were fortunate enough to have the entire camp to ourselves most of the time and, most importantly, a jeep to ourselves which made everything seem that extra bit special. Our guide Albert was so good and friendly and kept us laughing and on the edge of our seats throughout. We loved how flexible everyone was at the camp, much more so than the Valley camp where everything seemed a little bit more rigid and it seemed a bit more of an inconvenience to do things outside of the set itinerary. We kept Albert extremely busy with game drives from 6 am usually through until 8.30 pm – only coming back for a quick lunch! Even when we returned late in the evening it was never a problem and we would find a candlelit dinner had been set up in our tent for us. I cannot speak highly enough of all the staff at Laikipia without exception. Andy and Sonia were great for the first 2 days and then Andrew was fantastic for the final day. They all kept us entertained at meals with fascinating stories. Being able to do the experiences like Lion tracking and meeting Sudan and Barak at the Rhino enclosure were the icing on the cake. Again, all the staff at the conservancy were so amazing and made us feel like VIP guests. It was amazing to see how passionate they are about the animals and James had us in tears when talking to us about the problems of poaching and what they are doing to save these defenceless animals. We are making this cause top of our list alongside the elephant orphanage for our charitable donations!

Kicheche Valley Camp in the Masai Mara was also fantastic although notably much busier, which we also liked as it gave a different dynamic and was good to hear everyone else’s stories from the day.  The service at the Valley Camp was also amazing and we had fun trying to learn Swahili with the waiters, who were very persistent in teaching us! The food at the Valley camp, just like Laikipia, was plentiful (and extremely excessive for a lot of people but you’ll never hear me complaining about that!) and tasted delicious. We found both our guides, Albert and Francis, to be incredibly knowledgeable, friendly and funny. We became very attached to both and could have good conversations and jokes. Their understanding of the animals’ behaviour meant we were in the best positions to see them at the height of their activity and they also ensured we were best placed for taking photos and videos. We would definitely request to have them guiding us again in the future! I realise I haven’t mentioned the animals much but that is because we could write an entire book on all the animals we saw and some of the amazing things we experienced! It was so powerful and at times emotional and we know that we have only scratched the surface compared to what others have seen on subsequent holidays.

I’m sure there are many things I have forgotten to mention – it already seems like months ago – but it really was the most amazing experience we have had and we can’t wait to beat it next time around! Thank you for all your assistance and your genius in putting this itinerary together for us to perfectly match what we wanted. Also for your amazingly fast response times even when I sent you annoying questions late in the evening or at weekends! We will definitely be booking with you again 🙂