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The Safari Collection

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I will be spending 20 days in Kenya in the August - September timeframe. I plan on staying at the Safari Collection Hotels and Camps: Giraffe Manor, Sasaab, Solio and Sala's Camp. Does anyone on the forum have any experience with theses hotels? Any great experiences you could recommend? I am signed on for fly camping, hot air balloon and a couple of private vehicles. Is there anything I might be missing? Also will be staying in Diani Beach for 5 nights at the Maji Boutique Hotel. Would love advice and thoughts as I am finalizing my itinerary in the next month.

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    Hi dld0121

    Wow, lucky you, how exciting to be able to get away for almost 3 weeks, and Kenya should be truly amazing in August!

    I have visited the camps in the Safari Collection as Craig had mentioned, and am happy to share my thoughts and feedback with you.

    Giraffe Manor is a very special treat like no other, and having breakfast with the giraffes is one of the most memorable of my many African experiences and the perfect way to kick off your safari.

    All of the properties of the Safari Collection offer a high level of service, great food, and very comfortable lodging with plenty of amenities. I enjoyed my stay at Solio Lodge, located in a private reserve outside of Nanyuki, Kenya. They offer safari game drives in their reserve along with some additional optional activities such as horse riding, mountain biking, and excursions to the Aberdare Mountains to keep you active and engaged during your stay. Sasaab Camp is located just outside the Samburu National Reserve, and you can drive to the Reserve for your safari experience but it is around an hour’s drive each way which felt a little long to me. in addition, since Samburu is a National Reserve and not a private game conservancy, it tends to be more crowded, and I tend to like the private conservancies more for this reason.

    The Lewa Conservancy in northern Kenya in another great option and it has several different lodge options, such as Lewa Wilderness and Sirikoi. What I love about the private conservancies is that they offer you greater flexibility and variety for your game-viewing experiences. On the private lands, you can view game on guided walks, and by horseback or camel, as well as enjoy traditional game drives in the day and at night. There are also cultural visits to a nearby village, day trips to the waterfalls and canopy walkway in the Ndare Ndare Forest, and a scenic helicopter or plane excursion to Mt. Kenya. I absolutely love the variety of activities available here! Lewa has a great rhino population since once of its main objectives is rhino conservation, and you can view northern species here such as reticulated giraffe and Grevy’s zebra (which are different from the Masai giraffe and Burchell zebra that you will later see in the Masai Mara).

    The Masai Mara has some of the best game viewing in Kenya, and travel in August might provide you with a great opportunity to catch a glimpse of the annual great migration, where more than a million wildebeest, along with zebra, come to graze in the Mara. Sala’s Camp has undergone some renovations since the time that I visited, which was in October 2013. At the time, it had a more traditional look and feel, which I understand has now been updated with a slightly more contemporary feel. This camp is located in the southern part of the Mara Reserve, which should be a very good area for game viewing in August-September as the migration moves through. How many days are you planning to stay here? Are you also considering adding on any time in one of the nearby Mara private conservancies? I love to combine two different safari experiences in this area, one inside the Reserve and then a second stay in one of the surrounding Private Conservancies which will offer you quieter and less crowded animal viewing (since only guests of the camps within each Conservancy are permitted to drive there, whereas anyone can visit the National Reserve and so it tends to get quite crowded, especially during the peak months when you will be visiting). Something to think about!

    I love the idea of a Hot Air Balloon Safari in the Mara to cap off your trip -- a perfect end to your safari adventure before heading to the beach for some R&R time!

    I hope that this information was helpful to you, and good luck planning your upcoming adventure!

    Rose Loggi

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