Advice on Porinin camps?

Reply

May 23rd, 2013, 05:59 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,692
Advice on Porinin camps?

I'm finalizing an itinerary for Kenya in Feb. going through Gamewatchers using their Porini camps, Amboseli, Lion and Mara. The initial itinerary has us starting 2 nights in Amboseli. As this is my second safari (first was very successful in Big 5 viewing in TZ and an incredible elephant experience in Tarangire) I sort of want to focus on what interests me, which is the big cats which is why most of our stay will be in Lion or Mara. But the Rhino camp looks wonderful and the opportunity to see both black and white rhino in that area as well as chimps which I'd not seen before both weigh heavily in the "plus" column.

Any thoughts on pros/cons on either, given my interest? Any logistical issues either in getting between the camps or being in any of them that time of year?
amyb is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 23rd, 2013, 06:00 AM
  #2
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,692
I mean Rhino instead of Amboseli...
amyb is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 23rd, 2013, 10:58 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
I would do 2/nts Amboseli/Selenkay conservancy; then Rhino for 2/nts and conclude at Lion.

Lion camp is on the Olare Orok conservancy, where the Mara camp is farther west on the Ol Kineyi conservancy... thus both technically in the Mara area. Granted the landscape/scenery is different, but if you wish to see rhino, I'd visit their Rhino camp along with that at Amboseli and the one camp in the Mara at Lion.

Doing these three camps, flying between them is the best option as the distances otherwise are simply too great for driving.

Inasmuch as you are traveling during Feb and the 'migration' isn't an issue*, doesn't really matter much where you visit in the Mara area and Lion is perfectly situated regardless time of year... there are no fences and game wander freely.

*the majority of the herds themselves are in the very southern Serengeti 'calving' their young; still there are resident herds in the Mara that will also be calving their little ones.
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 23rd, 2013, 12:30 PM
  #4
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,692
Thanks Sandi, good thoughts. It is hard to know how close the camps are exactly.

Yes, I've "done" the migration in TZ this year, so seeing the masses isn't as much a priority for us now.
amyb is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 24th, 2013, 02:34 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 37
I've stayed at the Porini Rhino camp and it was great. We did see several black and a couple of white rhino. A couple of points to note:

- Chimps are in a fenced wildlife sanctuary (for orphaned or displaced chimps) as they are not naturally occurring in that area.

- Porini has a set program with set daily schedules which include visits the chimp sanctuary and Ol Pejeta conservation headquarters where you can speak with rangers and see a black rhino up close.

- The Laikpia plateau is on a higher elevation and it can get a bit chilly during early morning and evening game grives - bring a fleece jacket.

Have a great time - mixing the Mara and Laikpia is a very good idea given the different topography and the unique species found in the north (reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich, etc.).
PT123 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 24th, 2013, 04:44 AM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,692
Thanks, PT123. Re: the "Set program" did you find that it was too stringent or didn't allow for spontaneity? As in, if we're watching something that may turn into a kill or something interesting, the schedule had to be followed no matter what? Were you happy with the amount of game rides? Ideally I'd go out all day every day, perhaps some days with a siesta mid-day but I don't want a game ride from 6-8 am and then nothing again until 3 pm.

The reviews are pretty spectacular for all the Porini camps, I just need to nail down which I do. Lion and Rhino are a given. I just don't want to re-do the Maasai visit or focus so much on elephants at Amboseli, as we did that in Tanzania.
amyb is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 24th, 2013, 08:57 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Re 'set program' = most are set assuming first time visitors. Guess then if you don't wish to do visit to chimps and rangers, you say so... even discuss such with Gamewatchers during the booking process. As to actual game drives, though most are mornings and afternoons, it's not alway so strict that changes aren't made or if you wish a full-day, again discuss now during the booking process of what is/isn't doable.

Do remember that for travel in Feb which is a 'summer' month when midday temps might be awfully hot, you'd prefer not to be out on the plains as I'm sure even the game will be looking for shelter.
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 25th, 2013, 03:36 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 28
The Porini camps are my favourite camps. Porini Rhino is nice but since the whole of Ol Pejeta is in an enclosed area it doesn't have the same feel as the Conservancies in the Mara.

However, if you want to see Rhino then this is a good option. You don't really need to go to the Chimp Sanctuary if you don't want to. Porini Rhino is a great camp and there is a salt lick that you can view from your tent. I believe that the predator density is high at Ol Pejeta but in my three trips there I have focused on rhinos and some of the other herbivores that are not really seen elsewhere - such as Jackson’s hartebeest, Reticulated Giraffe and Grevy’s zebra. I am told that there have also been sightings of wild dog. Having said that one of my best lion action (5 males trying to bring down a buffalo)was at Ol Pejeta on a night drive.

For Big Cats the Mara camps are outstanding. I was at Porini Mara and Porini Lion four times last year and saw 4 leopards at Porini Lion on several ocassions. There is a resident female that is very relaxed.

As camps go Porini Mara is more intimate but the big lion prides are easier to see at Porini Lion. Night drives at Porini Mara are great. I tend to do both camps and game drive between the two camps as a transfer (couple of hours). We also saw Hyenas bringing down a wildebeest and a leap of 4 cheetahs bringing down a Grant's Gazelle and stayed with them whilst they ate it.

If you are at Porini Lion for more than a couple of days then a day trip into the main park and a lunch picnic by the river is quite usual.

If you want some diversity and want to see rhino then visit Porini Rhino. - if you just want to max out on big, big areas of bush and free ranging herds and predators do both Porini Lion and Porini Mara. Last April we saw a herd of over 80 elephants.

If you like walking you have the opportunity to do this at either camp.

Porini are constantly bringing new areas into the conservancies and on my last trip I spent the day in the Mutarogi area (Porini Lion). Quite spectacular.

Feb is hot so avoid too much time on road transfers. If yo go to Ol Pejeta I presume you will fly between Nanyuki and the Mara.

Enjoy - I am sure you will have a great experience with Porini - I have never been disappointed.
Peshf is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 25th, 2013, 05:10 AM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,692
Thank you both Sandi and Peshf for your feedback. I had been undecided about keeping both Mara and Lion along with Rhino, but I think I will.

I'm not as concerned about what extracurricular activities we do as long as they do not cut into game drive time. I'd prefer not to do another Maasai village visit, as we did that in TZ, so if there's a way to opt out if it were on a schedule (and it is only at Amboseli), I'd appreciate that. The chimp sanctuary interests me, but again only to fill down time between drives, not instead of.

I know Feb. is hot season, but in Tanzania we were out 6 am to past noon on days where we did two drives, and we saw plenty. Our lunch/siesta went from about 1-4 then we'd head out again. I liked that schedule and would hope that we'd follow something like that, not something drastically shorter like I'd read from other tour operators. It sounds though from what I've heard from Porini guests to this point that they're very happy with the game viewing.
amyb is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 26th, 2013, 04:58 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,463
Amy, my daughter and I went to Mara and Lion Porini last June. We scheduled to stay 3 nights at Mara and 5 nights at Lion but ended up asking to go a day early to Lion. I loved the camp and food at MP but it took awhile to get to the gate at the Mara game reserve, we had to wait for them to go sign in (or whatever they do) and we were bombarded by the people selling the necklaces etc. And once in the reserve it took awhile to drive to where we saw many animals. I much preferred the game drives at LP. This is just my opinion and others may feel differently and it may have been the time of year. Whatever, we wish we had spent all 8 nights at Lion Porini. But - it sounds like Peshf enjoys the game viewing at both camps so who knows!

There weren't many people in LP camp when we first got there and we left early and always took breakfast. A couple of days we took breakfast and lunch. And the one day I promised my teen daughter we would go in early for lunch, have a good nap and go back out in the afternoon was the day we started following a cheetah with two 3-month old cubs. We ended up not going back and they brought lunch out to us and we stayed with the cheetah until she made a kill and then we found a leopard with a cub and stayed with them until after dark. And then !! we got stuck in the mud going back to camp. They tried and tried to get unstuck but ended up having the camp send a bunch of the guys and they were able to pull us out with another vehicle. I think it was close to 8pm when we got back. The day I promised to make it a short day turned out to be the longest.

Also, they suggested going to visit villages and ??. I don't remember what was suggested because I told them we were only there for wildlife and photography and didn't want to take any excursions. They never mentioned it again so I believe it's an option.

I would happily go back to Lion Porini. And would love to one day make it to Amboseli. Unfortunately I don't have the time or money to go as long and often as I would like so I tend to go for the best bet when I go.

I'm sure you will enjoy any of the Porini camps you choose to go to.
sundowner is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 31st, 2013, 07:03 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 28
Sundowner's comment on getting to the National Park from Porini Mara is correct.

I suggest you let them know that since you are going to Lion you don't need to visit the Park from Porini Mara. The conservancy that Porini Lion is in abuts the National Park and you cross a watercourse which is the boundary - no gates, no queues!
Peshf is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 31st, 2013, 09:14 AM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,692
Thanks for the feedback. The itinerary I've put together with them only has us visiting the National Park from Lion, not from Mara, because they say logistically that makes more sense (which is obvious from Sundowners post). When staying at Mara, we're game riding in the conservancy.

So other than the distance to the NP, there isn't much of a "problem" with Mara in the itinerary?
amyb is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 31st, 2013, 11:09 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 28
Amyb, It not a case of not much of a problem - I would say there is no problem with Porini Mara in the itinerary.

I reread Sundowner's post - Cheetah and cubs making a kill and Leopard and cub quality time - So it looks like Porini Mara did well!

You can actually game drive in two conservancies when based at Porini Mara. The terrain is varied and different to Porini Lion. Many of my more interesting sightings have been there - Aardwolf, massive herds of elephants, resident hippo, cheetahs on kill etc.

If you have the time, I would certainly recommend both Porini Mara and Porini Lion.

When I get "bush withdrawal" they are the camps I head for! I can leave London at 8PM and be watching lions 12 hours later!

You will have a great time - the staff are great and the two camps have quite a different feel. Porini Mara is more intimate and smaller - I think 8 tents as against 12 at Lion

Let us know how you get on.
Peshf is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 1st, 2013, 02:09 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 28
Amyb, In my last post I mentioned that Porini Mara visitors can now drive in two conservancies. This means you would have full access to the 50,000 acre Naboisho conservancy in addition to the almost 18,000 acres of Ol Kinyei so definitely no need to go into the National Park.

I am a real supporter of the conservancy concept for what it is achieving with conservation and community involvement. I suggest you look at http://www.maasaimaraconservancies.com and go to the interactive map you can then see the location of Ol Kinyei and the adjacent Naboisho conservancy. you will also see the distance to drive to Porini Lion.
Peshf is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 1st, 2013, 02:38 PM
  #15
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,692
Hi peshf...I just had a very similar conversation with Julie at Gamewatchers who said much the same thing. I've decided on Rhino, Mara, Lion, finally. Now February just needs to hurry up and get here! Thanks for your feedback, it makes a lot of sense. I too agree with the conservancy concept and I think it'll be a great experience.
amyb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 1st, 2013, 02:39 PM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,692
BTW, I'm jealous you can be there relatively fast, I'm looking at about 17 hours to get there and 22 to get home!
amyb is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:19 PM.