Thrilling ex­pe­ri­ence

The African sa­fari is a travel ex­pe­ri­ence in which cheap­ness is def­i­nitely bet­ter

Truro Daily News - - SPORTS - BY ARTHUR FROMMER

To many trav­ellers, in­clud­ing my­self, the African sa­fari is one of the top travel ex­pe­ri­ences. There is some­thing mystical, in­deed mind-chang­ing, about see­ing the world in­hab­ited by an­i­mals, as it was be­fore Earth was pop­u­lated by hu­man be­ings.

But not all African sa­faris are equal in bring­ing that vi­sion to you. Upon look­ing for a sa­fari to book, you of­ten are in­un­dated by mar­ket­ing ap­peals from nu­mer­ous African na­tions whose wildlife is rel­a­tively small and oc­ca­sional. I’ve heard of par­tic­i­pants on a sa­fari who wit­ness a hoof­print in the ground, and then spend the en­tire day fol­low­ing that hoof­print un­til it brings you to a soli­tary an­i­mal peace­fully graz­ing.

This doesn’t hap­pen in Kenya. There, you are vir­tu­ally guar­an­teed to see hun­dreds and hun­dreds of an­i­mals in the course of a sin­gle day, and that num­ber rises to many thou­sands dur­ing mi­gra­tory pe­ri­ods in the spring­time.

On my own re­cent sa­fari, we wit­nessed not only peace­ful wilde­beests in gi­ant herds, but sim­i­lar groups of ele­phants, gi­raffes, rhinoceroses, mon­keys, jaguars — and, most thrilling — prides of lions that oc­ca­sion­ally would rouse them­selves from their day­time slum­bers to race af­ter an­other an­i­mal to eat.

Be­cause a Kenyan sa­fari is so full of an­i­mals, the travel in­dus­try bring­ing you there is a big one, in­volv­ing nu­mer­ous ho­tel re­sorts from which the sa­fari is op­er­ated. And be­cause it is a big in­dus­try, its prices for these ob­jec­tively bet­ter sa­faris are among the low­est of all sa­faris of­fered in Africa.

That price ad­van­tage for a bet­ter sa­fari has just been im­proved by the startup of non­stop flights from the U.S. to Nairobi, the cap­i­tal of Kenya, by Kenya Air­ways.

Un­like most other African air­lines that bring you to their des­ti­na­tion fol­low­ing an awk­ward ini­tial flight to a Euro­pean cap­i­tal in which you change planes for an on­ward flight to an African cap­i­tal, Kenya Air­lines now flies you non­stop from New York.

You un­der­take one flight — and one flight only — from New York to Nairobi, and upon land­ing in Nairobi, you are met by your tour op­er­a­tor and taken by bus to a re­sort ho­tel on the out­skirts of the cap­i­tal city. The next morn­ing, you are flown by air on a smaller plane to a land­ing strip in the mid­dle of the Ma­sai Mara Na­tional Re­serve, where you are taken to your lodg­ings (with din­ing halls) set in the wilder­ness. From there, you are taken the same day to the lo­cal cen­tre of sa­fari ac­tiv­ity, where you climb aboard an open-air jeep or other view­ing ve­hi­cle to glimpse the world as it was be­fore hu­mans — sans roads, sans build­ings of any sort, sans power lines. It is an im­mense thrill.

Kenya Air­lines is ap­par­ently do­ing so well with its non­stop ser­vice from New York to Nairobi that it is con­sid­er­ing adding an­other non­stop flight to Nairobi from At­lanta, and a third flight from Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Next time you crave a thrilling travel ex­pe­ri­ence, you might want to con­sider this op­tion.

Arthur Frommer is the pi­o­neer­ing founder of the Frommer’s Travel Guide book se­ries. He co-hosts the ra­dio pro­gram, The Travel Show, with his travel cor­re­spon­dent daugh­ter Pauline Frommer. Find more des­ti­na­tions on­line and read Arthur Frommer’s blog at from­mers.com.

RAY IN MANILA/FLICKR

The south­ern white rhino is just one of many species of African wildlife that can be seen while on sa­fari in Kenya.

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