Spotlight on Kenya with Goway Destination Specialist David Kennedy Gale

Elephant with Calf in the Masai Mara National Park

Goway Africa destination specialist David Kennedy Gale recently returned from Kenya. We asked David to answer some questions regarding his experience and to share some tips and insight about visiting and selling Kenya to clients.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about Kenya?

I’d say the biggest misconception about Kenya is how difficult it is to get there from North America. In fact, it’s simple and there are plenty of options! I had the pleasure of taking Kenya Airways (part of the Delta/KLM/Air France coalition) from New York’s JFK airport direct to Nairobi!  They are using a new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft which is large and very comfortable, with excellent on-board service.  Clients also have the option of flying from most major US and Canadian airports with only 1-stop through one of many big European hubs.

What was your favorite hotel / lodge and why?

My favourite lodge on this trip was Mara Intrepids.  It’s perfectly positioned within the Mara, right on the Talek river, near the Mara triangle. The vehicles were great, the guiding very impressive, and being in such a great location, the resident game was incredible. I lost count after seeing 40+ lions over the course of only two days.

Reclining Lioness in the Samburu National Park

What was your favorite experience?

While we were in Samburu, the lodge surprised us with an amazing bush breakfast after one of our early morning game drives.  We were headed back to camp, and took a slight detour with our guide suggesting there was one more unique sighting we should experience before going back for breakfast.  To our surprise, there was a beautifully set table right along the river bank, and a full breakfast buffet setup for us, including an omelette and crepe station!  It was a wonderful surprise and typical of the Kenyan hospitality we received in destination.

As a Goway Africa Expert, was there anything that surprised you?

The only real surprise for me was how easily Nairobi, Samburu and the Maasai Mara connect via bush flight.  The aircraft used by the local flight operators are in good condition, not too noisy and the connections between the areas didn’t take nearly as much time as I had initially expected. In fact, we arrived back in Nairobi from the Maasai Mara in less than 45min!

What area would you recommend if clients want to extend into another country?

Kenya connects very well with many other countries in East Africa (i.e. Tanzania and Uganda), but I would certainly suggest a trip north into Cairo would make a great itinerary to include a full Africa experience, with some safari time and the wonderful culture and history of Egypt.

Lake Nakuru National Park

Are there any tips about travelling to Kenya that agents might share with their clients to make their trip more enjoyable?

My top-tip for people traveling to Kenya, especially for the first time, is to not pack as much as you might think you need. Most of the properties offer same-day laundry service, and to keep within the baggage allowance for many of the bush-flights, you don’t need as much clothing  as you may think before you go.  Pack light! You’ll thank me when you return. It also saves room for the amazing African crafts and curios you can find for very reasonable prices while you are there.

Do you have a favorite local dish?

The food was very good while we were at the camps and lodges.  In fact, the local beef, which Kenyans are known for, was delectable. Although you must also try some of the local staple, ugali, to ensure you get fully immersed in the local food and culture.

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