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My once in a lifetime safari in Samburu Kenya

A safari in Africa had topped my travel wish list for decades and with college tuition behind me I finally took my first African safari to Kenya. It was many hours and time zones from Seattle to Nairobi but the moment I arrived in Samburu and saw my first zebra I was spellbound by a world unlike any I’d ever known. In Kenya’s National Reserves it’s the people that are voluntarily put in “cages”, otherwise known as 4×4 vehicles and luxury tented camps, and the animals have dominion to roam free from human interference and predators.


Magnificant reticulated giraffes graze the tops of acacia trees, herds of elephants cross rivers filled with hippos and crocodiles and lions hunt freely. Samburu National Reserve in Kenya was the first of three game parks I visited on my Africa safari and the greenest and prettiest in my opinion.

My luxury tented camp was a fabulous combination of the “real outdoors” with monkeys cavorting in nearby trees (we were warned to zip the tent tightly and put something heavy on the canvas flap to protect against nimble fingers seeking food) and unexpected creature comforts like a walk in shower with solar heated water, writing desk, coffee and tea delivered before dawn and lovely restaurant and bar.

The animals are most active early morning and after sundown and we went out on safari twice a day for several hours. In between we did a guided walk and visited a local village where the colorful Samburu women greeted us with huge smiles and beaded necklaces they put about our necks before asking us to join in their dance. The memory will stay with me forever!

Please enjoy my visual safari and I’ll try to post more from the Masai Mara with its big cats!



Five Changes to Passport Services And Validity in 2018

If your passport has been gathering dust or if you travel often and have gotten lax about checking your passport, here are some changes that will be happening in 2018 that you should pay special attention to.

  • The U.S. State Bureau of Consular Affair will begin holding events around the country to help first time passport applicants with the passport application process. Look for those to pop up in your area, as they will walk you through the process and make it easier for you.
  • You will soon be able to renew your passport online (mid 2018)
  • Rather than checking new passport rules and requirements on the sometimes outdated website, starting in 2018 updates will come via mail and email.
  • Beginning on January 22, 2018, state issued driver’s licenses that don’t meet the REAL ID Act requirements will not be good enough to board domestic flights. Many states have been granted an extension, so it is important to check on your state.  For example, Washington State currently has an extension until October 2018.  You don’t want to get caught unprepared just flying to see Aunt Sue, so make sure you carry the appropriate ID.

The FIFTH change is really a heads up about the length of time it might take to get a passport or renew your passport in 2018.  The norm has been 4-6 weeks, but because the government made passports required for travel from the U.S. to Canada, Caribbean and Mexico back in 2007, the onslaught of travelers back in 2007-2009 rushed out get their passports are NOW expiring and requiring renewal.  So it will be a busy year in the passport office.

Give yourself plenty of time and also remember that most countries require your passport to be valid 6 months POST travel dates.

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