The year was 1996, the location Kenya. Possibly one of the best holidays I’ve ever had (and I only went on 2 dives!).
August (again) is the middle of winter in Kenya and the locals are wrapping up in woolly jumpers! If you are British the 20 - 25C temperature is just like a nice warm summer’s day at home. Add to that friendly people who (thanks to old Empire ties) speak English, it’s smart!
You do get this close.
After a nice relaxed start in a Nairobi city centre hotel you get on your safari bus (open topped mini bus, for want of a better description) and head for them thar hills. There is a lot of driving between sites on this safari which lets you get to see some of the real Kenya (nice, if bloody poor by 1st world standards).
Once at each park site, the routine was; up at dawn for a drive round the game park looking for beasts, back for a day lounging round in the pool, the sun or your (usually) air conditioned room, then back out for an evening safari.
Take at least 400ASA film, the combination of early starts, and long lenses makes a fast film a must. Oh, and take lots! I like to think I’m a good photographer but trying to frame a moving animal in a 500mm lens whilst standing on your seat in a mini bus is not an easy task.
To all sorts.
The surprising thing about this was just how impressive proper wild game animals are, and just how close we were sometimes able to get. Whilst the 500mm and 210mm lenses were a must for good close up and personal animal shots, sometimes a 50mm was all you needed. Real HUNGRY lions a mere 5m from you are impressive and quite scary.
We followed the safari with 3 nights on Zanzibar for a wind down on the beach. All very tropical mangroves, palm trees and white sand. Wouldn’t object to going there again.
We finished our holiday by spending four nights in Diani at the Safari Beach resort. Very nice resort. Good rooms with air-con, nice pools, good food, a resident Baboon troop (always chased by the grounds men), with a good SSI (German run) dive school.
This was a Kuoni holiday if you want to try it yourself.