Kenya Expresso Tours and Safaris (KETS)
About Kenya Expresso Tours and Safaris (KETS)Kenya Expresso Tours and Safaris Ltd offers Safari package, Holiday Vacation in Kenya and Africa at Large. we have a great team just for you. A team that wishes you nothing but the best safaris and holiday Vacation. taste of luxury and budget with a commitment to quality. Besides tailor-made safaris, we have a great collection of itineraries that suits family, honeymooners, private groups, singles or couples, and KETS collection (New). All these itineraries are custom made by our specialists and approved by the counsel. This is done to ensure that there is the flexibility to fit your requirements and to ensure there is a balance between family time and yourselves. CHECK COVIN-19 OFFERS ALREADY REDUCED PRICE
We had previously been to Kenya with Kuoni but this time I wanted a more personal experience so looked at arranging things myself. Having seen the glowing reviews of KET Safaris on this site, I decided that they were the right company for us - my husband, sister and her partner. I did get quotes from others, but Paul was quick to respond and answer my many questions. I outlined the parks I wanted to visit and this included Serengeti, and Ngorogoro in Tanzania. Between us, we worked out an itinerary which was realistic distance wise and included all the parks we wanted. Whilst I think we are all a little nervous about sending deposits to people we don't know so far away and paying the balance in cash when we arrive, you shouldn't worry as it was fine.
When we arrived at Nairobi in the evening, a driver from the Meltonia Luxury Suites collected us and we stayed there overnight. Paul arrived at our hotel on time in the morning and introduced us to our first driver Benedict.It was a long and dusty drive to the Mara, but we had a couple of comfort breaks en route and when in the park Benedict took the longer route to the hotel to see some wildlife on the way. The Mara is one of the best places to view game and again it didn't disappoint. The Ashnil Mara was wonderful, very luxurious, great food and the staff couldn't do enough. I will review all the lodges and hotels individually but they were all good.
Day four, we crossed the border at Isebania which was chaotic with laborious form filling but didn't really take as long as we imagined. A word of warning, don't use the loos here as they were not very nice and they charged both men and women 200 shillings. After saying our sorry goodbyes to Benedict who we were really fond of, we were introduced to Jeremiah (Jerry). He was younger and initially a little quieter but soon learned to understand our sense of humour and joined in the jokes. He was an excellent driver and spotter and clearly passionate about his job. We stayed at the Mbalgetti Lodge in the Serengeti which had fantastic tented lodges overlooking the countryside and was not fenced so was very natural. I do have reservations about this lodge because it took over 30 minutes to reach the other roads every time we went on a game drive which meant an hour of our drive over the same area (see separate review).
After two nights, we then drove on to Ngorogoro which I have to say in itself was a little disappointing. Due the vast area in the crater (caldera) we mostly viewed game from a distance. However, Jerry did anticipate the destination of two black rhinos and drove round to enable us to watch them coming almost directly towards us before they headed off to the water. Rhino lodge was wonderful with open fires in restaurant and even in our rooms.
Back to Kenya and our third and last guide Bryon. He had more long distance drives as we had to go to Amboselli, the next day Tsavo and finally Watamu. Whilst he did drive faster than the others we still felt safe and he found us lots of elephants in both these parks. He dropped us off at Watamu having bought us (courtesy of Paul) a final lunch in a restaurant in Malindi. We stayed at the Ocean Sports which again I will review separately.
I would like to thank Paul publicly for a wonderfully arranged safari. Everything went like clockwork and all three drivers were exceptional. I would recommend KET Safaris for anyone wanting to take book their holiday independently.
Finally, an update on Nairobi Airport. We flew from Mombasa to Nairobi on 22 Sept 2013, after the awful terrorist attack at Westgate Mall, for our onward flight to Heathrow. If you have unfortunately booked with British Airways be warned. The airport is totally chaotic. When we finally found out which building we should be in (having joined two queues into buildings which were not the right ones), we had our hold luggage manually searched despite it having just been scanned. The hand luggage was then rescanned and we were then ushered to the tents outside and BA had the only tent which you could not enter with any refreshment as they were scanning hand luggage yet again. This, apparently, had nothing to do with the terrorist attack. Then, as if to add insult everyone had to have the contents of their bags emptied and they made us switch all our cameras on and off before roughly trying to cram the equipment back.
There is no duty free, restaurant or bar - just a small tent offering coffee and sandwiches etc. in which you have to stand to eat or drink the meager offerings. It was pouring with rain when we were there and we huddled under the canopy. The portable toilets are all outside the tents so you have to go through the security again to go to the loo and then back again. We were there for three hours and it was not fun. No other airline tent had this ridiculous extra security.
15-day Kenya-Tanzania Safari
We completed a 15-day Kenya-Tanzania Safari in August, 2015.
After witnessing the Great Migration in Masai Mara on Day 2 of the safari, it was easy to think it couldnt possibly get any better. But it did repeatedly.
This was our second safari with KETS, so we had the highest expectations and werent disappointed. In Tanzania, we followed the northern circuit: Serenageti (Western Corridor and Seronera), Olduvai Gorge, Ngorongoro Crater & Lake Manyara. We returned to Kenya via Amboseli, then spent the final 5-days in Tsavo East, at Bigi camp on the Galana River. For elephant lovers who enjoy being in the middle of remote wilderness, Bigi Camp is for you.
A few highlights: spent 2-nights at Sarova Mara. The buffet alone would make this a destination, but add Masai Mara and brace yourself for stellar experiences. In the Serengeti, we stayed at Mbalageti Lodge. The sweeping views across the plains of Serengeti are unbeatable. A lion spent the night under our cabin, and its low rumblings kept waking us up but we didnt complain! At the Bigi Camp, we loved observing tuskers wandering around the tents. As vegetarians, we were pleased to see that most of the buffets at the lodges we stayed were free of animal products.
Video 1 captures the Great Migration and Tanzania:
Video 2 includes Bigi Camp and the elephants of the Galana River:
As an initial matter, Paul (whom I believe is the owner and operator of KETS), is one of the most responsive people on e-mail I've met - which is saying a lot given that I'm an attorney in NYC. This was very much appreciated as my wife and I planned our honeymoon and constantly changed the accommodation and route we wanted to take.
KETS is very flexible in that respect as well. We spent two nights in Maasai Mara in Kenya (at Ashnil Mara Lodge), two nights in the Serengeti in Tanzania (Mbalageti Lodge), one night in Ngorongoro (the Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge) and one night in Amboseli back in Kenya (at the Ol Tukai Lodge).
In Maasai Mara, we had Daniel as our private driver/guide. He was very easy to speak with, knew the animals and where to find them, and was generally a great guide. Maasai Mara is significantly smaller than the Serengeti, but is beautiful and less regulated than the Tanzania parks - allowing us to get closer looks at the animals. That's not to say that KETS did any off-roading or anything, just that there are more off-trail roads that get you closer to the animals.
We saw a cheetah with a young one, a leopard with a young one, a lion pride resting after a kill, hyenas and jackals finishing the kill, another attempted kill by a lion at sunset, and huge numbers of elephants. We didn't see tons of wildebeests or zebras, but that came later. And Ashnil Mara lodge was beautiful. A perfect view over the river where you could watch hippos as you ate/drank. And the staff was beyond generous. The food left something to be desired, but not a whole lot KETS can do about that one. One note, and this will be common throughout this review - the drives are long. So be prepared. From Nairobi to Ashnil Mara took us about 6-7 hours. But the last 2-3 hours there is at least animal viewing. There are also a couple of stops where you can look at some African crafts if you're so inclined.
The drive from Ashnil Mara to the Mbalageti lodge in Serengeti was the longest drive. It was a full day. Although we stopped for lunch across the Tanzania border that was probably unnecessary (and I think KETS recognized it too, as Paul mentioned that for future tours they would not be making that stop). Without that two hour stop, we would have been in the park much earlier. Also of note, Kenyan drivers are not allowed to drive in Tanzania (well, they can, but it's a ridiculously expensive process). So we switched from Dan to Oswald (Ozzie) at the border. Ozzie was phenomenal. Very personable and again very good with the animals and working with the numerous other safari cars to do everything they can to show you the animals you want to see most.
For us, that was cheetahs and Ozzie went out of his way to find them for us (four of them in fact...). The Mbalageti lodge is the most beautiful one we stayed in with views that can't be matched. And the western part of the Serengeti park is really beautiful with thousands of wildebeests and zebras. Can't say enough about that lodge and well worth the long drive from Maasai Mara. Even with the drives, we would strongly, strongly recommend seeing both Maasai Mara and the Serengeti.
After our second night at Mbalageti, we had a long drive to Ngorongoro (probably another 5 hour drive). But this one is the easiest drive as it's all in the park. And the central part of the Serengeti is a great chance to see leopards (we were lucky enough to see two). The arrival at Ngorongoro is incredibly impressive. And the crater offers your best chance to see the elusive rhino. The Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge left quite a bit to be desired, but I'm not sure what KETS can do about that. There are only a couple of lodges there and it does have an incredible view - the rooms are just very outdated and not the most comfortable. That might be an area where you look to fork up a bit more money for a four-star lodge if that's the kind of trip you're looking for.
Amboseli could probably be skipped. Ol Tukai is a gorgeous lodge, but if that's your last stop, you'll have already seen most everything that Amboseli has to offer except views of Kilimanjaro. It breaks up the drive a bit from Ngorongoro, but I think if we did it all over again, we might have skipped that stop. Ol Tukai is gorgeous though - so definitely not a bad place to just relax after a long safari. We switched drivers again at the border (from Ozzie to Duncan). We didn't have much time with Duncan since we were winding down and largely chose to relax instead of go on game drives in Amboseli. But he certainly seemed knowledgeable of the animals/area and fell in line with the other KETS drivers we had.
Long winded, I know. So to summarize, KETS was everything we had hoped for and could have expected. We would strongly, strongly recommend KETS to those of you looking for a Kenya and Tanzania safari!
Ithumba & Tsavo: Elephant-Palooza
We recently returned from a 10 day safari in Tsavo, including 4 days at Sheldricks Ithumba camp.
If there are 11,000 elephants in Tsavo, it felt as if we encountered nearly all of them. In an 8 sq km area west of Luggard Falls, we encountered 10 families in quick succession. Driving along the Galana River at sunset, our driver needed to brake repeatedly as waves of elephants crossed the road. On a continent where ellie populations are plummeting, to see such large concentrations of pachyderms was exhilarating.
We spent 5-nights at Epiya Chapeu (Bigi Camp) on the Galana River, an ideal base camp. In addition to frequent elephant sightings in the Galana region, we encountered large concentrations of wildlife near Aruba Dam, and Pipeline Rd by Voi.
We were very fortunate to have Ithumba to ourselves. We joined the elephant orphans for breakfast, mudbath at noon, and pre-bedtime routine. Lead keeper Benjamin and staff were kind and attentive. Ithumba must be the only place on the planet where one can be surrounded by huge numbers of elephants, a combination of orphans, ex-orphans, and wild pachyderms
We stayed at Ithumba Camp. The accommodations were very comfortable, and the staff of 3 met our every need and made us feel right at home. We bought our groceries in Voi, and delivered them to the kitchen upon our arrival. We requested vegetarian meals and the cook worked his culinary magic .finest cuisine in Tsavo.
We toured the nearby Hill Camp, which is more upscale and has a pool. It offers a stunning view of the plains and Yatta Plateau.
Our safari van and driver, Daniel, were provided by Kenya Expresso Tours (KETS). The van was in excellent condition, and Daniel is a superb guide. This was our 3rd safari with KETS. Paul, the trustworthy manager, is a whiz at handling all details and communicates well. Whether youre a safari veteran or timid first-timer, KETS will provide intimate experiences with wild Africa the stuff of dreams.
Logistics: We flew San Francisco-Nairobi redeeming United Airlines frequent flier miles, paying $38 in taxes. Flying time SFO- Nariobi was 20 hours, with a short layover in Frankfurt. We also redeemed miles returning from the Seychelles: SEZ-ADD-CDG-SFO. Flying Ethiopia Air was a positive experience. We spent a total of 42 hours in the air, and it was literally smooth sailing the entire way.
We were glad we added the Seychelles to our trip. Kenya Air flies NBO-SEZ 4x weekly, RT ~$500.
We just returned from our safari in Kenya with KETS, and it was incredible. Specifically, our package included Tsavo East & West, Amboseli, Lake Naivasha and Masai Mara. Our driver Sammy was clearly very experienced, informative and genuinely wanted us to have a great time. He definitely made the trip as great as it was. I have wanted to come to Africa; Kenya specifically for most of my life, so it was a dream come true. When planning the trip, you won't have a better contact than Paul! He was always quick to respond, organized and helpful with any questions we had.
Thanks KETS, we'll definitely be back to Kenya someday!!
We had a great time in Kenya and all because of the wonderful safari we booked through KETs. We booked everything online and were on constant touch with Paul on whatsapp. He willingly answered all our queries and also was happy to offer extra services we asked for.
Our safari was very comfortable and our Tour Guide Sabby was amazing he took extra efforts and drove the vehicle on off beaten routes where we could see animals from a close proximity. We saw so many vehicles were lined up at one corner and we were the lucky ones who went further for better view. We saw all big 5s and were fully satisfied.
Landcruiser was well-kept and clean, we had a very comfortable ride. (Book Landcruisers only, as only these vehicles can go on off beaten paths, with Matadoors you would be stuck on set paths)
Paul also went extra miles to help us with sorting out payment issue we had with the most terrible hotel 'Hotel Central Park' we booked ourselves in Nairobi. Most helpful and courteous person I've met.
Make sure when you do the booking leave end to end with KETs (do not repeat our mistake).
2 hotels which they booked for us in Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru was amazing and we were able to get good vegetarian options.
To summarize our experience with KETs/ Paul & Sabby: perfect, flawless and awesome.
We travelled to Kenya as a couple in October 2017. We started planning for this trip just a month in advance. After doing research in the internet for various safari operators in Kenya, we zeroed-in on KETs and found them to be very cost effective for a 4 night - 5 day safari. Our point of contact was Paul (the owner of KETS) and we had all communication through email and whatsapp. We found him to be very prompt ,quick and very clear in all his replies to us. He had lots of patience and had clarified all our queries throughout the one month before our trip. Not only that, he had tried the best from his side to provide the best discounted rate possible for our trip. He provided us 3-4 star category hotels at the best possible price. Once we were in Kenya, we were picked up from Nairboi JK Airport by our driver/guide Richard and he was very friendly and helpful throughout our trip. On the first day, during our meeting with Paul in the office (before the start of our safari), he offered us an up-gradation to stay at Sarova Mara Game Camp, a 5 Star resort, which was beyond our expectation.
Overall, all the hotels they chose for us were absolutely top notch and all had superb locations, hospitality and great food options.
Our itinerary included 1N in Amboseli, 1N in Nakuru and 2N in Masai Mara. Now, coming to the game drives, our guide Richard was very knowledgeable about the jungles and the animals and he took us to the correct spots for the game viewing. He really loved the wildlife and we were lucky to spot the "Big 5" along with a variety of other animals with his help. We were also lucky to witness the wildebeest river crossing during this time of the year. So from our experience, we highly recommend Kenya Espresso Tours for any safari trip.
We give a 5 stars for their wonderful service.
We can highly recommend KET Safaris - Paul Mwendwa.
Everything went great, from the booking and preparation to the end of our trip. We have seen many beautiful places and animals of course - hiking in Mount Kenya NP, game drive in beautiful Samburu NP and Sweetwater's Wildlife Sanctuary, relaxation and recreation on Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha, and finally the magnificent Masai Mara.
The accommodations were all very good and the food was excellent. A big thank you to our super driver/guide Patrick, he has kept calm in all situations and always brought us safely to the destination. We will definitely come back as soon as possible, there are still many places to visit in Kenya after our second trip, but above all the warmth and kindness.
Thanks again to Paul, Patrick and the whole team. Best regards from Switzerland - Zinedin, Esma and Jan
We have just had a fabulous fortnight in Kenya organised by KETS. I gave Paul an outline of all the parks we wished to visit and he organised everything. Lodges were fantastic and the whole trip made so memorable by our wonderful driver and guide Benedict. We particularly requested him as we had such a good time in the Mara in 2013 with him. Thanks to Benedict we saw a kill, chases and the elusive leopard, apart from all the other wonderful sights you would expect to see in Kenya.
A wonderful safari and, if we were to return, we would definitely be contacting Paul again.
He is actually arranging a trip for my sister's friend in December and I am sure he will have a great time, like we did.
I have been in Kenya with KETS in 2011 and 2018. Thinking of next adventure, there is no question in our mind about which agency to contact: Paul and KETS will always be our choice.
Paul is always helpful with any questions you may have and flexible to organize trip you want. Both times drivers were absolutely great, teaching you a lot about all the animals and parks.
In 2018 Paul made our honeymoon absolute dream! Camp rooms were beautiful, WE DID SEE A BIG 5, we enjoyed different scenery (Nairobi, Tsavo east, Aberdare, Masai Mara, Amboseli, Nakuru, Naivasha, Taita hills). In my head I am already planning for a next trip :)
Thank you Paul and KETS!
Cleanliness of vehicle
Meet and greet team
Quality of itinerary
Responsiveness of staff