The doctor had flown into the examination room with all the energy of a first year medical student and had enthusiastically asked my husband and I about our travel plans. "Kenya!" we chirped, enthusiastically. He told us he'd visited Kenya once, about a decade before. "Did you like it?" I asked. "No. I hated it," he replied nonchalantly and busied himself with his stethoscope.
My heart sank. What kind of trip did we sign up for?
Turns out, we signed up for a great trip.
Over the five days of the Kenya portion of the trip, we had once-in-a-lifetime type experiences, like seeing rhinos grazing, lions playing with their cubs, hippos sloshing around in the water, elephants walking the plains together, and giraffes picking at leaves. We snapped photos of a cheetah right alongside a National Geographic truck. We watched monkeys dart through the trees (and occasionally irritate the people around us.) We also met the people of the Masai Mara and were invited into the home of the chief's son. Traveling around Kenya was a beautiful experience that I'm still processing even to this day.
Traveling to Africa is definitely a big decision and it requires what feels like a zillion vaccinations and many hours on a plane, but it is one of the most amazing experiences you can have. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
If you plan on traveling to Africa, I would recommend finding a vaccination clinic that takes insurance. It definitely saved us a lot of money. One vaccination can cost a couple hundred dollars. I would also recommend a good tour company- they make getting around so much easier, and with years of experience, tour guides can spot the wildlife rustling through the bush. (We went with Pride of Africa tours.) I would recommend a really good mosquito repellent and if you're traveling during the summer, a jacket to wear when it gets cooler at night. You don't need to go decked out in safari gear- clothes and shoes you can walk comfortably in are important. If you're looking for a great place to stay, I would recommend the Sopa Lodges- they have several locations. And here is my biggest recommendation: bring a great camera- you won't regret it.