I rarely travel, but when I do I appreciate a great trip.
Mild Moses, what a trip !!
Written on: September 09, 2014
I visited in August 2014
To my faithful readers, dearest audience, incredible president: Companies either become their name or a parody of their name. In this case, Big Time Safaris has become their name. In July, I was given the task by my boss in Denmark (Mr. Nielsen, Kairos Ltd.) said that he wanted to celebrate my 50 year anniversary by coming to Kenya with his brother and take me with them for a safari. My PA went ahead and researched thoroughly on the topic, and after some meetings with some of them, and phone conversations with others she visited Big Time Safaris, met with a lady Martha, who took her through, and together with Martha, we composed a 4 day safari to Masai Mara, Narok, Nakuru. We were picked up by tour guide Stanley, and we sorted out some practical things before the departure, including that we requested Big Time Safaris to getting maps prior to the tour, such that we could see where we were to go, we took off in a typical tour van - though - not a 4 wheel drive - and I shall come back to this with my appraisal of a rally driver turned tour guide - Mr. Stanley - and an impressive trip through the Mara, up and down mud, holes, bumps etc., on 2 wheel drive, while others having 4 wheel drive - got trapped, stuck etc...
This good Mr. Stanley involuntarily became a great center of the trip, with his ever active search for wildebeest, rhino, lion, elephant, buffalo, and not only the big 5, but also the medium 5, and the small 5 and other 5's and what have you. This Mr. Stanley was a living encyclopedia in African wildlife, not only theoretically - but practically, hands on, hands off, hands on the gear rod, hands on the steering wheel. That guy ... TSK TSK TSK ... was HOME in the wild.
We were entertained thoroughly, professionally, we were driven here and there, and this both on track and off track. He drove with care and sensitivity to the wild environment. He could tell about every species, every wild animal, with warmth, knowledge, intensity, as if it was the first time he was narrating this. We learned how the lions mate, he took us to a sacred little place where he found a male and female lion making out with each other, we saw them playing while he explained how they go on honeymoon for 14 days, etc.etc. - I will certainly not tell you all the details - because I would be a faint shadow of what you would get, if you do what we did.
In order for you to get top service, you must naturally also pay top dollar, at least that is what you think. But we had deliberately agreed before we went, that we would take good care of our driver and tour guide and the people around us, so we had set aside funds to ensure that they were also pampered. There is nothing as motivating as getting acknowledgement beyond the natural thank you - and I must say that the positive attitude of Mr. Stanley (and later Mr. Jackson 5 on our Nakuru trip) indeed opened our pockets to pay them good round tips for their exclusive services...
I was also - initially - very positively surprised about the pricing level of Big Time Safaris. And now a hint for you: If you want the real thing - live it! Don't go to stay in a lodge or hotel, when you have the chance of a tented camp. Indeed, if you are a type for makeup, high heels and such stuff, its time for down dressing :-)... If you can't live without your Rolex watch, four wheel drive and bags full of gadgets, maybe this is the learning trip for you - please please please - for yourself and your guests - do the tented camp. Indeed on the last night, we had chosen to be staying in a hotel - and posh it was, beautiful - but we were now in the city of Nakuru, instead of the tented camp, and yes indeed the services in a hotel are naturally of another standard than in a tented camp - but if you have your experience of a safari dear - you choose the tented camp.
Imagine that out here in the wilderness - only a few thousand meters from the gate of Masai Mara - Big Time had apparently set up a tent camp with tents - joined with a bathroom /toilet - such that we could experience the sounds of the night in Mara while we would still be able to have a hot shower when ever needed.
Therefore, the luxury of their safaris shall in my view be seen in that you have the luxury of being intimately close to the wild life throughout all the days, while the most basic things we appreciate from our so called civilized lifestyle - a hot shower and a water closet - are there...
Now to the complaints:
This is almost a joke - but nevertheless: We request that they hang up some better mosquito nets, and that these are of the rectangular full bed size, full height style, thereby covering the beds all the way to the floor.
That was it. No more complaints. Now, when there are no more complaints it is not because of that we didn't have issues - indeed there were many smaller issues - but imagine: The tour guide works so well with his colleagues, with the main office, so we felt that we were in very good hands. The issues were minor - insignificant - for instance; We were missing water - and WOOOOPS - the tour guide organized it. We were nervous about a particular way the tour van reacted while driving, and WOOOOPS - he took care of it, between 11pm and the next morning 5:30am. Imagine; He found a mechanic, dealt with the issue, fixed the problem - so if I complained, when the service is of such a standard - I would be a bastard!
Now, if this sounds too good to be true, then here are my credentials: My name is David Svarrer, I am Danish, live in Kenya, and have never been on Safari before now.
I have taken my time out of my very busy schedule to write this review, because they deserve it. Apparently they have an ability to work together. Apparently they have a sales department (Martha), who honestly sells a safari product which they afterwards do deliver - in plenty.
So - you just refer to me, and get hold of Martha, I don't have their number here - but surely you can do what I did - look for Big Time Safaris, and check them out - their offices are in Nairobi. Their office is not one of these posh million dollar offices - it is a normal, relaxed office in the city, nothing to write home about - but indeed - their safaris are fantastic.
Oh, evidence? Google+ has automagically made an excerpt of the trip - see this one: https://plus.google.com/108222403525240327845/stories/3551cfd3-e24d-3819-b616-600f5bb3928a1482f13f9b5?authkey=CPqPnamE7cq2Tw
We recorded more than 3,000 pictures and 4 hours of video...