Instead of a game drive, suggest a walking safari. // © 2018 Getty Images
Feature Image (above): See Kenya's plains from above during a hot-air balloon ride. // © 2018 Getty Images
Calling the East African country of Kenya “diverse” would be a massive understatement. Its varied terrain — which includes lakes, deserts, highlands and valleys — is a playground for safari-lovers, while its many tribes and traditions provide a fascinating look into the country’s rich history. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to selling this destination to adventure-loving clients, according to these experts.
Hot-Air Balloon Ride
Janell Crookston, an agent for Santa Ana, Calif.-based World Travel, fell in love with Africa after her first visit — and has sold trips to Kenya ever since.
For a bird’s-eye view of the destination, suggest a hot-air balloon ride at dawn, she says, and watch the Maasai Mara National Reserve “wake up and come to life.”
“This activity offers such a different perspective,” she said. “You see the scenery, with the Mara River snaking through the terrain, and the abundance of predators you may only have the chance to glimpse from above.”
Safety First: Personal safety is of the utmost importance in Kenya, Crookston says. She recommends to stay hydrated and enlist the help of a local guide who can “keep the adventure fun, but not too adventurous.”
After graduating college, Diana Lopez-ruiz wanted to work for a company that cared about travel, land and animal conservation. She found all of that and more with Adventures in Africa, a tour operator in Denver. Then, Lopez took her first work trip — to Kenya.
The country is known for its stellar game drives, but Lopez suggests hopping off the Land Rover and continuing on foot.
“You get to be so close to nature during a walking safari,” Lopez said. “You see paw prints you would normally miss on a game drive, and when you come across big game, the feeling is unexplainable.”
Qualify the Client: Adventure opportunities in Kenya are seemingly endless, she says, so it’s important to invest time in learning a client’s tastes and preferences before booking.
As the daughter of tour operators specializing in Egypt, MIRAYE SADDIK’S relationship with Africa runs deep. Then, when Saddik lived in Kenya doing missionary work in 2012, she began her love affair with the country. Now, she’s a sales and marketing executive for Kenya Tourism Board.
Kenya and wildlife go hand in hand, but Saddik recommends a more hands-on approach when interacting with animals.
“Riding a camel on Diani Beach is a must,” she said. “There’s nothing better than riding a camel by the water, next to one of Africa’s top beaches.”
Go Beyond the Safari Experience: Saddik urges clients to explore outside of game reserves and lodges. See the coast, she suggests, or spend a night with the Maasai Mara tribe people.