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Hilton Salt Lick Lodge {ZAF} (no longer Honors)

Hilton Salt Lick Lodge {ZAF} (no longer Honors)

Old Oct 3, 98, 8:44 am
Original Member
Original Poster
Join Date: May 1998
Location: atlanta,Ga,usa
Posts: 1
Hilton Salt Lick Lodge {ZAF} (no longer Honors)

would be interested in hearing from anyone who has taken the hilton safari package out of nairobi. [email protected]

Barry is offline  
Old Mar 31, 01, 9:17 am
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Oregon (DL and Marr Lifetime plat. etc.)
Posts: 1,273
Hilton Salt Lick Lodge Safari SAF8 Awards and Trip Reports: The Definitive Thread

There are some old posts regarding the 250,000 point Kenya Safari reward, and I would very much appreciate any more current information. Has anybody been there lately? How did you like it, and would you recommend it? What is the best time of the year to go? Who to fly (I'm thinking of SA using DL points)? Any safety issues (traffic, crime etc.)? Innoculations? Does anybody have a basis for comparison to the 5 star safari lodges in South Africa? Thank you in advance for any and all input.
PIONEER is offline  
Old Apr 2, 01, 11:21 pm
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Columbia, SC
Programs: a little here, a little there
Posts: 1,272
Pioneer - Sorry that I can't help you, but I am also saving my points hoping to get to this award.

Come on, Flyertalkers, don't let us down! Someone must have been here in the last year!
johnndor is offline  
Old Apr 2, 01, 11:55 pm
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Sweden
Posts: 5,645
I am also intrested in this award. So far I have 1/3 of the miles that are necessary for the award.

My biggest problem right now is that * doesnt fly into NBO
kempis is offline  
Old Apr 3, 01, 12:05 am
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: nurnberg, germany
Posts: 286
Doesn't Lufthansa fly to Nairobi? I was planning on using them to get there. I know they felw there until very recently at least
wormwood is offline  
Old Apr 3, 01, 9:04 am
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: california
Posts: 241
I asked Hilton Honors about this reward last week and requested they issue it to us this Summer. I was informed that the Nairobi Hilton is still part of the Hilton family but the other two hotels that are part of this package, left Hilton last year. This award is still being offered but it may be phased out very soon. We are going to Kenya using a Latin Pass KLM award, and are interested in any comments about this package as well. Has anyone used it? We have not had our package confirmed yet and were told that someone from Hilton Honors would contact us shortly.

[This message has been edited by cy-gone (edited 04-03-2001).]
cy-gone is offline  
Old Apr 3, 01, 11:14 pm
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: bay area, ca
Programs: UA plat, spg plat, aa plat, marriott plat
Posts: 3,266
I was in Kenya to about three years ago. I stayed at the Nairobi Hilton for a few nights and it was a real dump - I wouldn't stay there again (even for free). Of course things could have changed dramatically since I've been there.

Nairobi has extreme crime problems -- since the economy has gotten worse since I was there I can only imagine how bad it is now. I was warned by a nice hotel as I was leaving to take the watch off my arm (a three dollar Bangkok bargain) because of the possibility that I would be seriously hurt in an attempt to steal it. in fact two people were seriously injured in the parking lot of this hotel (not the Hilton, one of the best in Nairobi) a few days later and ended up in the hospital -- even though the parking lot is "guarded". I can relate other incidents of this kind but you get the idea. So many people are so extremely poor that they are really desperate.

I really enjoyed seeing the wildlife, but had some real problems with a number of issues (lodges that charge us $500 and locals $50 - too much difference for me to be comfortable, the exploitation of the poor people in ways that are not uncommon but overwhelmingly apparent here, real concerns about safety issues on a variety of levels besides the one mentioned above). I won't repeat the trip until conditions change.

clearly these are value judgments within my own particular frame of reference and yours may vary. this is the only place I have visited where I felt really unsafe (and I would not have except for multiple warnings by Kenyans, reading the English language paper, and seeing stores with the boarded up windows as the result of rocks thrown through them (at that time a fairly common occurrence). As a frame of reference I have traveled in Thailand, Indonesia, a variety of small islands in Micronesia, India -- well you get the idea.

I am so sorry to have to post this because I love travel and enjoy unusual places (as well as usual) -- but had I known the real situation I probably would not have gone.YMMV
estnet is offline  
Old Apr 4, 01, 11:23 am
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Oregon (DL and Marr Lifetime plat. etc.)
Posts: 1,273
Thanks estnet. That's very helpful. Any other input?
PIONEER is offline  
Old Apr 4, 01, 7:27 pm
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Join Date: May 1998
Location: Pasadena, CA. USA
Posts: 1,438
Fter Karen2 has taken this award. See http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/Forum57/HTML/000240.html
kyklin is offline  
Old Aug 9, 01, 3:19 pm
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Posts: 20
Kenya Safari Report!

My spouse and I have just utilized the Hilton Kenya Safari Package and in every way the reward exceeded our expectations. The booking of the package by Hilton Honors team was effortless, and the date changes, we requested were handled efficiently by an expert staff in Scotland.

Upon arrival a representative of the Nairobi Hilton was waiting at the Airport to take us to the hotel. We were whisked to the fifteenth floor executive check in and informed that the lounge was open from 9AM to 11PM and complimentary beverages including full bar service was available during those hours. We were also invited to play golf at the Nairobi Country Club, as the guest of Hilton for free. We were than assigned to a suite on the top floor of the hotel. The suite was a one bedroom, with a living - dining room combination and two full baths. Two bouquets of flowers were in the room, a letter greeting us from the manager, and a complementary fruit basket was also in supplied. Needless to say, our initial impression was one of surprise and delight.

Breakfast the following morning was provided in the main dining room, it was a buffet but you could order the eggs or whatever you wanted as you liked it. The food was quite good and both or us enjoyed the meal. We were than driven to the Salt Lick Safari Lodge in a new Land Rover; by a friendly driver, named Dennis who worked at the Hilton in Nairobi. Dennis was originally from the Taita Hills area, a member of the Taita tribe, and offered valuable insights about the area. The five-hour drive to Taita over some very bumpy roads, gave us time to appreciate the country but also to experience some of the poverty. The drive is long and rough, but Hiltons Land Rover was air-conditioned and very comfortable.

Along the way Dennis explained to us; we really did not have to spend two nights in the Salt Lick and two nights in the Taita Hills Lodge as the brochure proclaims. Our driver told us that if we wished to stay in one property or the other for the entire time, it was really our choice. Dennis explained that most of the clients on this Safari choose to spend the entire time at the Salt Lick property but the decision was up to us.

We were driven first to the Taita Hills Lodge where a very good lunch was prepared. The Taita Hills lodge has a nice swimming pool and impressive lobby. If you are going on a golf vacation however, you may be a bit disappointed. The Lodge does have a nine-hole course but it is in great disrepair. The greens are the worst I have ever seen and the fairways are mainly dirt and ant-hills. On the plus side playing 18 holes (nine holes twice) with club rental and caddy fees (a caddy is required) cost only about seven dollars.

After a quick tour of the Taita Hills property we were off to the Salt Lick Lodge (about five miles away). Taita Hills is actually outside the game park, but the Salt Lick Lodge is located in the center of the game reserve. The unique looking hotel is elevated about twenty feet above the ground and many animals surround the establishment. The rooms (we had one on the second floor) are extremely unique. The rooms are circular with a great twenty-five foot high, African thatched roof. They are a little on the small side (no suites here) and lacked most extra amenities. A fruit plate and a small bouquet of flowers were in the room.
What this hotel does have that distinguishes itself from most properties in Kenya is its unique architecture and location. There are no fences to keep out the animals out; they pass under and around the hotel. Last week (while we were there) most of the other water sources in the park had dried up, so the animals sought out water at the water holes around the hotel. At one time we counted over one hundred elephants outside our room. A family of Lions walked thru the property and cleared all the other animals out of the area. We saw Giraffes, Waterbuck, baboons, constantly during our stay and were awoken many times at night by the howls of different animals.

Every morning and evening we were taken for a game drive by our driver and Hilton even supplied a Park Ranger to ride with us. On the game drive even more animals were pointed out to us. It was great!!!!! We also went with our driver to his home area in the Taita Hills and met the people of the area. We spent all four nights at the Salt Lick Lodge and can not tell you about the rooms of the Taita Hills property, although we ate lunch there everyday and swam in the pool a couple of times.

The food was always good; drinks were not included in the package, but were still reasonably priced. A 500ml bottle of beer (the big one) cost about two dollars. The last night we spent there was my birthday and the hotel supplied a cake and bottle of wine at its expense after our dinner.

The final and biggest surprise came our last night in the Nairobi Hilton. After driving back to the hotel we were placed in the biggest suite either of us had ever seen. It was called the “Lamu Suite” a guest book in the room was signed by visiting dignitaries, including the Presidents and Vice Presidents of a few nations. This suite was at least 3000 square feet, again we could use the golf course and lounge. Bouquets of flowers that were bigger than my Grandmothers funeral flowers were positioned around the room. Of course there was a fruit basket.

We used some of our Latin Pass miles from the million mile bonus to get there on KLM in Business Class; it was a cheap and very enjoyable vacation. I can tell you that we really enjoyed our stay, and if you have the points, we would highly recommend it.
linbe is offline  
Old Aug 9, 01, 4:13 pm
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX - AA ExPlat (1.4MM); Hyatt Plat; Hilton Dia; SPG Plat; National ExecElite, Hertz 5*
Posts: 183
WOW!! Thanks for such a detailed trip report/post! Very nice to hear that this is a great vacation and that there are some very redeeming qualities to the HHonors program after all the complaining done here (including by me)! Has it been confirmed that Hilton is nixing the Kenya award?
IAHRoadWarrior is offline  
Old Aug 9, 01, 5:04 pm
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 452
Your report is very interesting, especially as this is an award I am considering. My real concern is about the current problems with security that I have heard quite a lot about in the last year (or more) about. In particular I have heard of attacks on tourists in broad daylight occurring in Nairobi. How safe did you feel on this trip?
vindesante is offline  
Old Aug 9, 01, 5:46 pm
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: nurnberg, germany
Posts: 286
Wow, tre cool. I have LP miles too but had thought Hilton had pulled out of Kenya (maybe it was Starwood?)! How was KLM biz class as that is how I would like to go as well.
wormwood is offline  
Old Aug 9, 01, 6:12 pm
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 2,098
Great post. For years, I've been interested in redeeming HH points for this award but felt that the trip/tour would feel too "packaged". After the Hilton part of the trip was over, did you venture on your own? Was it easy to get around if you did? Although I've been tempted by this reward, I've found it difficult to justify the distance only to stay for less than a week on this award, comments?
raffy is offline  
Old Aug 9, 01, 6:12 pm
Original Member
Join Date: May 1998
Location: Pasadena, CA. USA
Posts: 1,438
Thanks for such a detailed report!
kyklin is offline  

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