Chasing the Great Migration

 
 

TRIP REPORT:

Chasing the Great Migration

The safari of a lifetime in Kenya with Outside GO


By: GUEST CONTRIBUTOR, JAKE HOFFNAGLE

 
 
 
PHOTOS BY: Jake Hoffnagle


So on to Africa. When Jamie and I decided to go, I did an incredible amount of research. The first thing I discovered was that we needed to hire a company to book our trip. Although Jamie and I always plan our own trips, research itineraries, and book our own hotels, the logistics of traveling deep into Africa requires a professional. Every move needs to be planned. As just one example, every time you transfer from one camp to another, you're flying in a very small plane that flies you from one dirt runway to another. Then someone from your camp has to drive across the bush through miles of dirt roads to have a Jeep waiting to pick you up at just the right time. In many cases, when the plane leaves, you're the only person standing at the airstrip. If there's one mistake or you forgot to coordinate one detail, you could easily find yourself standing in the middle of the bush surrounded by thousands of miles of savannah, with no cell phone coverage, no car, and no way to communicate. You get the idea. 
 
Looking for a safari operator isn't much easier. I did extensive research on nearly a hundred safari operators, including the big name companies. After reading every review I could get my hands on, I narrowed our choices down to about 10 companies and called and had lengthy conversations with all of them. One company really stood out – Uncharted Outposts, now known as Outside GO.  Sandy Cunningham, the President, spoke with me personally to discuss with Jamie and I our expectations of the trip and what we hoped to experience in Africa.

They had copious amounts of local boots-on-the-ground knowledge.  

 
 
 
 

Although Uncharted Outposts (Outside GO) is based out of Santa Fe now, Sandy and her husband ran a safari camp in Africa for many years. This gave them intimate knowledge about every location we inquired about – and their resulting selections for our trip were absolutely spot on. Aside from attention to detail, a few other things set them apart. They actually send their employees to Africa to experience the properties and locations they book, again, adding to their first-hand knowledge base. Not only that, but they books safaris of all price ranges, locations and types – meaning you have options. There was no bootstrapping us into the one price/country/trip that the big name agencies usually sell.
 
One important example of Uncharted Outposts' amazing knowledge and service is as follows. Jamie and I really wanted to see the great wildebeest migration, which happens every year. When we booked, I explained this to Sandy and their team. They told us up front that they would book us where the migration usually is at that time of year, but that it's not a science, and the local weather and other factors really impact when and where those millions of wildebeest decide to migrate. When we got to Kenya, everybody was talking about how it had been an unusually dry summer and that the migration was far behind where it would typically be at that time of year (i.e., not near us). We went ahead through our planned itinerary and had an amazing time. We saw all of the "Big 5", watched lion hunt and kill prey, enjoyed amazing scenery, met incredible people, had so much fun. During the trip we really didn't think much about not getting to see the migration.
 
 

 
 
 
 


However, a couple days before we were planning to leave Africa and head home, we wanted to give the migration another shot. After a brief Skype session with the Uncharted team, they extended our trip by a week and relocated us right next to the migration. Needless to say, we were very impressed.
 

Not just any travel company could've pulled it off.  

 
 
 

Uncharted Outposts had to utilize their intimate knowledge of the area, coordinating charter flights, guides, and camps to book everything within a matter of days. Oh, they also had to find the giant herd of wildebeest. We later found out that there were no guides available on such short notice, so they had booked a friend to drive almost 20 hours in the bush to make it happen. He ended up being our favorite guide of the trip.
 
Our camp was about a 90-minute drive from the bulk of the migration, and we almost immediately saw the animals go by. To get a better look, our guide rushed ahead and scouted out about four spots where he thought the herd might cross the river. The location he picked was absolutely perfect. We waited for a few hours, and just as we began to doubt his choice, the entire herd of wildebeest crossed directly in front of our parked Jeep.

 
 
 
 

Outside GO is an adventure travel company with decades of experience. We'd love to help you plan your next trip. Rest assured it will be authentic, stylish, and built around your wildest dreams.


 
 
 

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Chasing the Great Migration

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