A while back I asked for a review of an amazing experience I wish I could have been a part of because well – time and planning are ever crucial when going to Africa and who better to ask then another passionate traveller and Vice President, Norm Feferman, of my affiliate agency, New Wave Travel.
Norm Feferman’s Experience in Africa with Micato Safaris
Micato is very proud to have been named “World’s Best Tour Operator and Safari Outfitter” by the readers of Travel+Leisure an unprecedented 7 times! The Pinto family has lived in Africa for several generations and run safaris for the past 2—actually 3 generations, if you count the young Pinto grandchildren who are already experienced safari hands! Suffice it to say that Micato has a long family history of safari, and of treating guests, as Travel + Leisure put it, as “well-loved, out of town relatives.”
#1. Name the top 3 things about your experience with Micato Safaris?
#1 Service excellence. The Micato experience starts from the moment you make your reservation. The pre trip planning is extrodinary: from guide books, a DVD (Out of Africa), reading material, gifts, and even a duffle bag for travelling. They were in constant contact to answer any questions you had.
The Micato team made this trip personal. With photos of the family, an invitation to have cocktails and dinner at the Micato family home in Nairobi and their ever presence during the stay. The properties we stayed at were the best of the best, and because we were Micato guests, we experienced a special warmth and hospitality.
#2. Would you do the trip again? Would you add more or less to the experience?
#2 On-site excellences. From the moment you arrive in Nairobi, you are greeted at the airport and your luggage magically gets into your transportation to the hotel. You are greeted with both car and driver and a tour escort. In a matter of minutes you feel comfortable (even after a very long flight). Arrival at the hotel and check in is seemless. You are escorted to your room in minutes. In your room, once again, a welcome gift, and a refreshment.
Next morning, is the Micato briefing, a day at leisure, then the following day-the safari. Each jeep has a driver and licenced guide. Vehicles are stocked with ice-cold water, soft drinks and beer. And a selection of dry snacks. Only 4 guests to a 6 passenger vehicle, so you have lots of room for extra clothing and camera equipment.
Guides are well educated and exceptionally knowledgeable about the history, culture, language, flora and fauna, and most importantly the Big 5 animals we are about to find and photo. Because all the jeeps communicate with each other, if one spots a leopard, for example, the others will redirect to that place.
The guides are most eager to share their knowledge and they have some facinatinating stories about what they have seen and experienced.The accommodations used by Micato were excellent: the Fairmont Norfolk in Nairobi, the Fairmont ‘tents’ at Masai Mara, and the historic Fairmont Mt. Kenya Safari Club which sits on the Equator.
#3. Micato cares about the poor. They partnered with AmericaShare to build a school and create a food program in the Mukuru slum just outside of Nairobi. In a country struggling with AIDS and disease, there are over 100,000 children orphaned or living in abject poverty. Micato has been a leader in trying to help educate as many on these children as possible, most between the ages of 6-13. to enable them to get jobs and find new opportunites outside the slums.
And they have been successful. Micato also makes a donation to the Mucuru Project on behalf of every guest they have. And, through AmericaShare, match all donations made by guests. It is a truly amazing effort: I was there, at the school, feeding the children, seeing the slum conditions and leaving, thinking how blessed we all are for what we have.
Would I do this trip again?
Yes: I would go in a second. This is truly a life experience and each day, you see diffferent things. I might just be something simple like an elephant staring into you eyes. Every day is a diifferent and wonderful experience. My only regret is that we did not plan to stay longer on safari and visit the other areas of Kenya and Tanzania
Would I recommend this trip?
This trip should be in the top three on the “Bucket List”. It will change your life: inspire you, help you understand your relationship with nature and this planet. and evoke the best feelings inside you.
The Pinto Family & Their Sustainability Ethos – The Pinto’s respectfully and proudly takes a stewardship role in the land they love. They are committed to protecting Africa: the breathtaking landscapes, the remarkable creatures and cultures. The Pinto Family wants all future generations—including the many generations of the Pintos to come—to experience the wild beauty & incredible awe and majesty of the land they call home.
How they give back:
Micato’s new initiative One for One Commitment, 1 book = 1 child’s education
AmericaShare is changing outlooks—and lives—in the slums of Nairobi
Harambee Centre for Women and Children built by Micato Safaris and AmericaShare and a generous donation from Micato travellers Bernard Wharton and Jennifer Walsh
Lend a Helping Hand on Safari Program
Download the current brochure for these amazing, life-changing experiences from Micato Safaris here: http://www.micato.com/images/stories/pdf/MicatoBrochure2011_02.pdf