Traveler Spotlight: The Schlanger Family Enjoyed a Kenya Safari

August 27, 2019 • By Amy Jo Robertson


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ThirdHome Member, Allison Schlanger, traveled with her family to Kenya. They booked a Kenya safari Curated Journey through ThirdHome Custom Travel.

What ThirdHome Custom Travel experience did you book and what appealed to you the most when choosing your destination?

 We just got back from three of the most incredible weeks we have ever experienced as a family in Kenya. Out time there felt like 3 different trips – each so special in its own way. Our first week was spent on safari – first in Lewa Conservancy and then the Maasai Mara during the great migration, our second week was spent in Nairobi and our last week we traveled to Watamu on the coast. In each location we stayed in a ThirdHome property.

What were some of the adventurous or cultural highlights of your Kenya safari Curated Journey? What did you see and experience?

Our safari was completely planned and arranged by Liz Bates at ThirdHome – and it was true perfection. Our first 3 nights were spent at Lewa House – a safari camp that has been in the same family’s hands for 5 generations. Once we landed on the airstrip at Lewa Conservancy we were picked up by our safari guide, Jimmy. We quickly realized that Jimmy was about to make our stay magical. Every day we were immersed in herds of elephants (which we could swear Jimmy communicated with), giraffe, lions, rhinos, buffalo and zebra. Jimmy got us so close to the animals there were a couple of moments where we were so locked into their eyes we forgot to lift our cameras to capture their gorgeous faces. While at Lewa, we jumped at the chance to horseback ride through the bush to get even closer to the giraffes and zebras.

Our second stop was Cottar’s. Liz had booked us a family tent at another camp that has also been in the same hands for 100 years. Upon arrival we were told that Cottar’s had over-committed the family tents and that we were going to be upgraded to The Bush Villa. The management team apologized for the inconvenience of having to stay in a fully-staffed house with this view!!!

We happened to be at Cottar’s during the great migration and we were able to see thousands of wildebeests, eland and zebra during our stay, but the most special part of staying at Cottar’s is their partnership with the Maasai tribe in the area. Our guides, Enoch and Salasch were both Maasai warriors. Enoch spoke perfect English and became our professor of sorts – answering every single question about Maasai culture we could think of on a minute to minute basis. They took us to visit a Maasai village and Maasai school. We spent hours at the school playing with the students and getting to know the teachers – one of which we are still in touch with. The day we spent with them will not only stand out as one of the most impactful of this trip but one of the most impactful of our lives. 

Was there one specific “wow” memorable moment that you enjoyed most?

Our biggest wow moment of the entire three weeks happened in Nairobi. When we called Liz (ThirdHome’s Director of Adventures and Custom Travel) to help us plan a safari we told her that our only requirement was that it had to be in Kenya. After 11 years of a long-distance relationship with a student (her name is Winnie) we met through an incredible organization called Kenya Education Fund, we were traveling to Nairobi to meet her in person. The first moment we saw each other was the wow moment of this trip. After 11 years of getting to know each other through letters, emails, texts, pictures and video chats – we were finally face-to-face. It was a moment that will stay with us forever. Finding so many places to stay through ThirdHome allowed us to spend two unforgettable weeks together. For that we will always be grateful to ThirdHome. 

What did you like most about your accommodations during your Kenya safari?

At every stop on our trip we stayed at a ThirdHome related property. It would be hard to top the bush villa/private chef at Cottar’s but here is a rundown of our other accommodations…
In Nairobi we stayed in The Tribe Hotel. We traded 1 Key per room. The Tribe, and its sister property, The Trademark (also on ThirdHome Exchange) are known as top places to stay in Nairobi. The Tribe staff could not be friendlier or more accommodating. Their restaurant was terrific. The Tribe has the feel of a business hotel and is adjacent to the Village Market Mall – shopping and upscale restaurants. The Trademark is connected to the Village Market. It appears to be the newer/younger property. Next time we will try The Trademark.
At our next stop, Watamu, we traded for a ThirdHome property. We stayed there 4 nights and then checked into the Medina Palms. The Medina Palms was top notch all the way. The accommodations were simply gorgeous, the pool never-ending and they are a short tuk tuk ride from one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever been on in our lives.

Where would you like to go for your next trip?

I have a running bucket list…The Azores, Boliva salt flats, Faroe Islands, Banff, Seychelles, Thailand, Galapagos, Morocco, New Zealand/Australia, always ready to return to Israel…and now Kenya…again and again.

What would you like to share with other members about your experience using ThirdHome Custom Travel?

We started planning our journey to meet Winnie one year ago with Liz Bates, ThirdHome’s Director of Adventures and Custom Travel. She immediately understood the significance of the trip and set out to make it special in every way. We are physically back in the states but emotionally still very connected to Kenya. This was a trip of a lifetime for many reasons. Liz helped to make the vacation part of it truly spectacular. 

How would you rate this travel experience?

5 stars!

Is there anything else you would like to add or comment on?

Kenya Education Fund ( was founded by our friend, Brad Broder. Brad joined the Peace Corps after college and was struck by the fact that half of all kids in Kenya could not afford to continue their education after elementary school. In 2006, he joined forces with local community leader, Dominic Muasya and started Kenya Education Fund (KEF). Their goal was to provide scholarships to students across Kenya so that they could stay in school through high school (and hopefully beyond). They wanted to help break the cycle of extreme poverty in Kenya and they strongly believed that starts with providing an education to all children. Click here to learn more about the Kenya Education Fund.

Interested in booking your own Curated Journey like this Kenya safari? Contact ThirdHome’s Director of Adventures and Custom Travel, Liz Bates, at or click here to browse destinations for travel inspiration.

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