Next Meetup

Kenya Like a Local
This will be an authentic experience, skipping the tourist traps. We'll use our group size as well as my many local Kenyan friends to keep prices down as much as possible. Good friends will travel with and drive for us, and my sons (who are Kenyan and live in Kenya) will be our trip assistants – it doesn’t get much more local than that! February is a great time to visit - low airfare, no tourists, not much rain. We’ll be meeting in Nairobi on Sunday, Feb 3rd, and flying home on Saturday, Feb 16th – taking advantage of the Monday, Feb 18th President’s holiday to give you plenty of time to get over jet lag before returning to work on Tuesday. This event is open to 12 attendees, members may bring 2 guests. Prior to this event we will have 3 group Skype video calls to discuss needed vaccinations (spoiler alert, you just need one!), cultural norms, accommodations and travel arrangements, practice basics of the Swahili language, and answer any questions. Attendees will also be mailed a welcome package that will include a full-color, hard-copy Swahili language and cultural norms study guide to help you prepare for this trip. If you are interested in this event, go ahead and RSVP and don’t worry about fees yet. In 3-6 weeks, I’ll ask for the first deposit for this trip, which will be $1,000. This amount will be 50% refundable for a 2 week period. 4 weeks later I’ll ask for the final deposit of $2,500, though if you need more time for this second payment just contact me and I’ll work with you. Don't worry if you are on the waitlist, I'll accept those that cover their fees first. The total of $3,500 will cover nearly everything except your flights – it will cover all accommodations, all local travel other than our flight to Lamu (about $150 round trip), game park fees, guide fees, permits, driver’s fees, dhow sailing boat fees, 2 cooking lessons, welcome & farewell dinners and drinks, and all snacks, coffee/tea, sodas, bottled water, and fruit juices while traveling and at our accommodations. The only things not covered are flights (which should cost you no more than $1400 total, with a bit of care closer to $1,100), meals, alcohol, nightlife, souvenirs, and tips (perhaps $200-$250 per person in total). I figure we’re able to save about $1,750 per person over typical prices given our very extensive itinerary. If for some reason we do not get 8 attendees, all fees will be 100% refunded well before the end of the year. The great thing about a larger group is not only discounts, but unbelievable accommodations at what you’d expect to pay for a very mediocre hotel. For example, in Nairobi we’ll be staying in a huge mansion or penthouse, suitable for 15+ guests. In Lamu, we’ll be staying in an absolutely jaw-dropping traditional Swahili island mansion, with architectural influences tracing back over well over 1,000 years. We’ll explore Nairobi – a city of nearly 5 million people – including Nairobi’s incredible night life. We’ll go hiking with a private Maasai guide, and visit a local Maasai village in Hell’s Gate National Park. More very challenging hiking at Elephant Hill, where we’ll likely encounter big game while on foot! World class white water rafting on the Tana River. Self-driving safari (the most fun kind) in Masai Mara National Park, arguably the world’s premiere game reserve. Fly to Lamu Island, and experience the 800 year old buildings and largely unchanged culture of a place that is like no other on this Earth. Travel by tuktuk, donkey, matatu, foot, private vehicle, local planes, and traditional dhow sailing boats. Visit bustling African outdoor markets and practice your bartering skills. And most importantly, spend lots of time hanging out with and developing lasting friendships with the very friendly and outgoing Kenyan people. Please see the comments section for our day-by-day itinerary. Feel free to reach out with any questions!

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    What we're about

    This group is all about cultural and adventure tourism in Africa. If you're looking for a 5-star, luxury travel experience this isn't the right group for you. This is about developing a real understanding and appreciation of the culture and people in the places we visit, as well as enjoying the amazing outdoor adventures and wildlife Africa has to offer.

    My background is that I'm a US citizen, but my sons (21 and 23) are Kenyan and live in Kenya, so I'm very familiar with travel in Africa. We'll use my network of personal friends and guides (I'm a member of multiple African mountain and adventure groups) during our trips, so you won't ever be receiving a 'curated-for-tourists' experience. Nightlife in Africa is off the hook, and we'll be invited to hang out with the locals to dance, listen to live music, etc. While I can't and don't want to guarantee a luxury experience, what I can deliver on is having a very authentic African experience and the best of both the urban and outdoor sides that Africa has to offer.

    Ever wanted to climb Kilimanjaro or Mt. Kenya? Go to the Masai Mara for The Great Migration safari? Visit the 1,100 year old island culture of Lamu, where cars aren't allowed and you'll travel by donkey? Spend time with local Samburu and Masai people and learn about their culture by living with them for a few days? Go trekking with mountain gorillas in Rwanda? White water raft on the Tana River? Or experience the bustling nightlife of cities like Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kigali, or Cape Town?

    If these are the types of travel experiences you're drawn to, you're in the right place. 5% of all trip fees go to support local African charities involved directly in education and economic development. Come experience authentic Africa, challenge yourself to new adventures, and develop friendships with people from other cultures. This is a people of color, woman, LGBT, and refugee-friendly organization.

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