The lucky winner of our Give More, Get More Natural Calm Canada contest will have a few decisions to make about their trip to Kenya, not least of which will be who to bring.
If we were to dole out advice, we’d say to make it someone adventurous. Here’s why:
1. GETTING THERE
Direct flights from Canada to Kenya are few and far between. If you love Europe, you’re in luck. Chances are good that you’ll get to see the airport of at least one exciting European city. If you fly Air Emirates you can stop in Dubai, but that makes for one of the longest routes available.
How long are the flights? Typical duration is at least 18 hours – ranging up to more than 30. If you win the contest, there’s no need to shop for the bargain basement extra-long-haul flights.
But it’s not over when you get to Nairobi. There’s still the last leg.
From Nairobi, you’ll take a small plane (bumpity bump) – or if you’re in no hurry, a coach bus – to Kitale.
At the end, whew, breathe a big sigh of relief – you’re ‘home’: Kitale is where the winner and guest will have accommodations at a beautiful guesthouse.
2. SAFARI = ADVENTURE
Now, safari experiences range from obscenely luxurious to very basic. For the prize trip, we’ll be aiming for something in-between: a reputable, high-quality, comfortable adventure.
It will, nevertheless, be an adventure. Three days in the wilderness can be a big change for city slickers. In ‘the bush’, and miles from civilization, there are none of the reassuring sounds of traffic and sirens at night: only the night creatures.
Safaris.com nicely sums up what to expect from your safari accommodations:
“Accommodations on safari are usually a combination of lodges and permanent or mobile tented camps. Lodges and permanent tented camps have complete bathroom amenities. Mobile camps, can have either private en-suite facilities or shared bathroom and shower tents.
Unless you are in a major city, there will be no TV’s or phones with outside lines. Electric lights, running on generators, are generally lit for a few hours in the early morning and from dark until 10 or 11 PM.”
If you love camping and rustic cottage life, you’ll love safari.
3. IT’S JUST DIFFERENT!
First, about the food, which is something people always notice when they travel.
At the guest house we serve healthy, homemade meals, provisioned by our own gardens. The safari tours tend to cater well, too, but some people find that everything just tastes different abroad. And you’ll be hard pressed to find restaurants like the ones at home.
You should also be prepared for the inconveniences that come along with underfunded infrastructure: the electricity may go down; roads may flood and you’ll need to take a longer route. Adventurous people and seasoned travellers take this all in stride.
More unsettling is the poverty. Kenya’s GDP is high for Africa, and yet you’ll see poverty everywhere – from the city slums to the villages. It may break your heart.
We hope the winner of the contest will be uplifted by our Organics 4 Orphans work. There’s no obligation to visit the school, the gardens and communities, but we’ll be thrilled to show them off. O4O gives us great hope for what can happen in Africa.
We know this: visiting development projects is not your typical vacation. Many would rather plant themselves on a pool chair and sip frozen drinks for a week. But we also know that visiting the real Africa has changed us forever. Sure, we still love a cushy vacation when we can, but the real Africa is what makes us come alive.
Are you still with me? Does that safari still sound like the trip-of-a-lifetime?
Make sure you fill in a ballot at participating retailers – and while you’re dreaming of the savannah, pick your sidekick.