Travel to Kenya – Episode 347

categories: africa travel

Hear about travel to Kenya as the Amateur Traveler talks to Gretchen about her two trips to Kenya.

Gretchen’s husband is a wildlife photographer and they both are birders. Their first trip to Kenya was with a friend who had served in Kenya with the Peace Corps. They went on a wildlife photography safari that emphasized bird watching and fell in love with Kenya. Getchen has just recently returned from her second safari to Kenya.

On this visit, Gretchen timed her visit (August to September) to be in Kenya during the annual migration of the large herds of wildebeests, zebras and other grazing animals between the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara.

The predators also migrate with their prey as they circle around in Kenya and Tanzania looking for green grass. With much of the grasslands at 4500 feet in elevation, Kenya can be surprisingly cold on the savannah at night. Combine that with sleeping in a tent with an armed guard outside to fend off predators and you have a quintessential Kenya experience.

Gretchen visited three major game parks starting in Samburu, which is North of Nairobi, then moved on to visit the vast flocks of birds at Lake Baringo and then ended up at the Maasai Mara. They traveled on both trips with a safari group called Bird Watching East Africa. She trusts their guides literally with her life. “That’s one thing about being in Kenya. You are suddenly part of the food chain and you are not at the top of it.”

right click here to download (mp3)
right click here to download (iTunes version with pictures)

Show Notes

Preparing for Your Trip to Kenya
Kenya Safari Tours
Samburu National Reserve
Born Free
Kenya’s Solio Rhino Reserve
Maasai Mara
Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge
Kazuri Bead Factory
Nairobi Giraffe Center
Bird Watching East Africa


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Annette called and wrote. She loved Travel to New Zealand’s South Island – Episode 341 but not so much the recent episode
Travel to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Western North Carolina – Episode 345.

I enjoy listening to your podcast.

Currently, I live in Orlando, Florida but used to live in Riverside, California.

One of my favorite places to travel to is The Great Smokey Mountains National Park. With delight, I saw that this was to be the next podcast. With horror, I listened to your podcast. Did this individual drive through the Smokies once and said that he saw it? Boy! Was he wrong on so many levels? The only thing that I agree is Gatlinburg is a tourist trap.

First off Gatlinburg is in Tennessee not North Carolina.

Cherokee is not a quaint little place it too is a tourist trap. For goodness sake, there is a glaring huge casino with flashing lights that glare throughout the area. There are Indian tourist things throughout. It would never be labeled as quaint.

If someone wishes to truly discuss these ancient mountains then discuss the history of the Trail of Tears and the civil war.

To see there are so many waterfalls and named hiking trails it is incredible. The beauty and solitude of these mountains are unparalleled. There is white river rafting, horseback riding, hiking, car hiking, and camping.

Please interview someone else for this lively location as this interview talked way too much about Asheville and other places then the park! I was extremely disappointed with his blasé attitude about this magnificent area! And by the way, a Californian should see this park for the sheer green and lush beauty. These ancient mountains will thrill you with their diversity.



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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

8 Responses to “Travel to Kenya – Episode 347”



That was interesting and depressing.
It was interesting to hear many details on the tourism, daily life and development of Kenya seen through a comparison between two trips in very short time span in recent years.
It was extremely depressing to listen the patronizing and egoistic (hypocritical) tone of your guest explaining their disdain with the development of the country-side, the leasing of the agricultural land etc. while having pictures taken with camera lenses on their shoulder running into thousand of dollars. Not to be omitted from the shock was the joy of your guest to have visited “stone-age” villages before they got destroyed. 
Worst kind of tourists – wishing for the poor to remain poor while they could take THE picture. 
Chris, is not possible to bring some non-US travellers to the show? Usually, Dutch and German travel very well, usually before graduating – meaning on a very tight  budget – and speak better-to-understand non-accent English.

Chris Christensen


Well, I think that is a bit harsh. I think the concern she expressed with the development of the countryside is who is getting the money. That is a valid concern.
Most of my guests come on the show because they pitch me ideas. We have had on guests from a variety of countries, but a majority of listeners come from North America and therefore also a majority of the guests.



Hi Chris,
I enjoyed podcast #347 on Kenya and there was a lot of crossover with what I did a few years ago.  One crucial ‘must take’ which seemed to get overlooked was a pair of decent binoculars.  I’m guessing that as Gretchen is such a seasoned birder she would feel undressed without them so that’s why binoculars were never mentioned. However for anyone considering such a trip I would recommend decent binoculars over a camera any day. 
One other thing I would recommend doing is a balloon trip over the Masai Mara, it’s expensive but well worth the money.
Thanks for a wonderful series of podcasts



I enjoyed the podcast though there was too much criticism about the country side which is still lagging behind in development.



thanks for the feedback Charlie



Why are costs never discussed in the podcasts?



We sometimes talk about costs, but maybe not often enough.

Margaret Wanjiku Kago


First of all,I am Kenyan.
Glad to hear her speak about her visit here.However,things to correct;Kenya isn’t as bad as somehow put here.Different cultures especially Samburus love their culture.Sad that not everyone is privileged to have a good home,but DON’T say that they make their homes with clothes donated from America.
There is a difference between Restaurant and Hotels,next time try to go luxurious and maybe you will understand that some are even chains of hotels.
Southern part of kenya is our Kenyan coast,for the major part which is pretty warm and humid for the most part.
I like her advice. Very useful and tourists should obey park and reserve rules.
We have modern train FYI,we are not using the old train anymore which is at RAILWAYS MUSEUM,Nairobi and had toilets(not sure which one used to have a hole)

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