We traveled United business class from the US but had economy seats on KLM for the 8 hour flight to Nairobi, paying extra for economy comfort which provides a little extra leg room; however, once we settled in, it was pretty apparent that the extra legroom wasn't all that generous. It certainly was a far cry from business. Then the most amazing thing happened.
As we settled in with our luggage stowed overhead and seat belts fastened, an attendant came to us and asked: "Are you the Parker party?" We confirmed that we were. She then handed us new tickets, saying "you may move to the next cabin." So, we found ourselves in the totally lush setting of KLM World Business class which is a blend of what would be business and first on a United 747. We still have no idea why we were so lucky. We have no history with KLM, no miles, no nothing. We were having one of those serendipity events that sometimes happen just when they are needed. Lay flat seats let us get some needed sleep--after enjoying a pretty sumptuous meal.
With this great windfall, we arrived to the sultry African air feeling much more refreshed than we might have. Our luck failed a little at this point as our luggage was about the last off the plane--a 747. We had a long wait for it and were just beginning to worry when our two lonely duffels came into view. Loading them on the dolly along with our carry-ons, we pushed through customs and found our driver/guide Andrew waiting for us.
From there was a 45 minute drive through Nairobi to the lodge where we were staying that night before beginning our safari adventure. This was our first introduction to Kenyan roads which can be pretty harrowing. If you have driven in Naples or have been to China, you can then have some appreciation of how they work.
The Safari Park Hotel was lush and beautiful; although, since we arrived there at 10:30 at night and had our wake up call at 6:30, we really didn't have a chance to enjoy it. After a good, huge breakfast, we climbed in the vehicle that became our home for the next 13 days and began our relationship with the man from Mombasa who became our guru and keeper and friend.
Next: The road to Samburu National Reserve and what we found there.
And...a sneak preview