Amboseli-recent input anyone??

Jun 26th, 2010, 03:09 PM
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Amboseli-recent input anyone??

We are planning the Kenya portion of our Africa trip, which will include the Mara and one other area. We are trying to choose the "other area" from Amboseli, Sweetwaters, Samburu or Lewa Downs. Our first priority is photography. However, selecting the camp is a difficult decision! Amboseli is less out of the way and has great Kili views, which is very attractive. However, in researching Trip Reports, Patti wrote in 2005 trip report Amboseli was "the least favorite park" because of the number of people, vehicles and their exhaust fumes. Has anyone been there more recently, in September or October, and if so can you give me your impressions? I would greatly appreciate your input!!

We are also going to Tarangire and the Ngorogoro Crater in Tanzania, to round out the experience. Any feedback??
karn is offline  
Jun 26th, 2010, 05:49 PM
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I was in Amboseli last September , and the conditons were very dry and dusty.

There were quite a few dead Zebras and wildebeest lying about.

Many of the animals were literally starving.

I saw several Oryx that were very thin.

There was nothing wrong with the Lodges that I stayed at ,as there were both great.

We were lucky and got great views of Kilimanjaro.... but such is not always the case... so be aware that you might not see the whole mountain from top to bottom , like in those classic postcard pictures.

Since your first priority is photography, then other than Kilimanjaro , you will be disappointed ( in my opinion )

Samburu is nice but it is far away from where you will be in Tanzania.

I am sure other will perhaps offer you a better perspective than I have.
Percy is online now  
Jun 26th, 2010, 11:13 PM
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Bare in mind that this time you want to travel is a high season and expect rates to be very high.This is a good time for game viewing both kenya and Tanzania since its adry season.
calitop4 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2010, 05:16 AM
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Tarangire is good for the elephant experience with large herds during September. And, the park is lusher and more interesting than Amboseli which is rather flat and will be dusty; also an oft visited park by groups, thus can be quite crowded.

So if the choices:
- Sweetwater's at Nanyuki/Ol Pejeta (if by road will be the easiest to get to) and with lots of Grevy zebra and rhino, a good choice.
- Lewa, a bit farther north, with largest Grevy population and rhino and lots of Kory Bustards (as nanciej will attest, recall she mentioned counting 40+ in 1/day ).
- Samburu, is another elephant reserve and a favorte of many, but is quite a distance north (about 6/hrs from NBO).
sandi is offline  
Jun 27th, 2010, 07:25 AM
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Karn,you need to know how much time you have for the safari.If I was to recomend you depending on the time you have then day 1 Masai mara its graat right now migration of zebra and wild beasts millions of animal and expecially now crossing mara river,three nights will be worderful.the next a must first is lake Nakru with its millions of greater and lesser flamigoes and of course others animals Ryinos the easies to to see the next place a must see is Samburu to the north of the equater the only park with differece piecies of animals,mara,seregetti,taragire ,ngorogora,tsavo and Ambosli all to thesouth of the equater but samburu a park of its kind.Whilest I totaly disagre with percy amboseli at the time you are visiting the kili is very clear and is the only park in Kenya and Tanzania where you see largae herds of Elephants and very easy to see cause all animals stick to the swams
mwega is offline  
Jun 28th, 2010, 09:03 AM
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Thank you everyone for your input!! I really liked the pictures and descriptions I found of Lewa Downs, but when I looked in AAC brochure about what animals one could expect to see, Lewa didn't have as much representation as the others, so we will look into the others. I really appreciate hearing your opinions everyone-thank you!
karn is offline  
Jun 28th, 2010, 11:10 AM
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karn, We haven't gone to Kenya yet, but in addition to the Mara, we have chosen to stay in the private (no crowds) Selenkay conservancy, which is adjacent to Amboseli. Selenkay has the iconic Kili views, plus opportunities for cultural interaction and bush walks with Maasai warriors. We're staying in tented camps at Amboseli Porini, which gets great reviews, offers reasonable rates, are eco-friendly and co-owned by the local community. Going in mid-July and will report back.
crosscheck is offline  
Jul 5th, 2010, 04:47 AM
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Crosscheck, My son and I are booked at the Porini Amboseli in mid-August. In fact, we are taking the Wilderness Safari with Gamewatchers, staying at 3 Porini camps. Can't wait to read your report. Good luck with your planning, Karn.
sillysue is offline  
Jul 6th, 2010, 12:52 PM
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Lewa is one of the best places anywhere for rhino, which are not that easy to see due to how endangered they are. The general atmosphere at Lewa is outstanding, secluded, not a lot of other vehicles, great hide/blind in camp and others along the water, and you can see some of the northern species. I've seen them all there except gerenuk--Grevy Zebra, Reticulated Giraffe, Somali Ostrich, and Beisa Oryx.

I would choose either Sweetwaters or Samburu for the area along with the Mara. Samburu has a little more prolific wildlife viewing in my experience, but also more people.
atravelynn is offline  
Jul 7th, 2010, 09:29 PM
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Having been to Sweetwaters and Lewa I'd vote heavily in favour of Lewa. I've seen lots of of the brochures lists on animals which can be seen in various parks and find them quite inaccurate. Lewa has a large variety of species and specimens. I haven't been to Samburu so can't add that comparison to the mix but would go with atravelynn's assessment of the Reserve.
twaffle is offline  
Jul 7th, 2010, 09:51 PM
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e are planning the Kenya portion of our Africa trip, which will include the Mara and one other area. We are trying to choose the "other area" from Amboseli, Sweetwaters, Samburu or Lewa Downs. Our first priority is photography.
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proximityinfotech1 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2010, 05:29 AM
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proximity -

If only two (2) areas, then I'd visit Samburu for it's diverse eco-systems and unique species not found elsewhere: reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, Grevy's zebra, Beisa oryx, Somali ostrich and even wild dogs.

But realize, Samburu is up north, a 6/hr drive from Nairobi while the Mara is southwest of Nairobi, a 5-6/hr drive. Getting between the two is way too long to drive (at least not in 1/day), thus most visitors fly to Samburu, to the Masai Mara and then back to Nairobi.
sandi is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 10:30 AM
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Karn and sillysue,

I'm topping this thread to put in a tremendous plug for Amboseli Porini - iconic Kili views, expert guiding, a stunning all-day hike with Masai warriors from treehouse to treehouse, a non-touristy visit to the extradordinary village where the staff lives, and a wonderful international group of fellow guests.

The game drive in Amboseli was also fantastic, with hundreds of elephants, plus amazing birds, baby baboons, hyena cubs, etc., etc. But the outstanding aspect of the Porini camp is the remote Selenkay conservancy, which you will have to yourselves. And it is an easy, fun road trip from Nairobi (from there we flew to the Mara). I will cover more in my trip report, probably early next week.
crosscheck is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 11:06 AM
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I forgot to mention that there were not nearly as many vehicles in Amboseli as Patty observed in 2005. We did see a few others, but there were certainly no exhaust fumes, and even at our lion sightings, we were the other car present. It was dusty (with photogenic dust tornadoes in the distance), but it was still scenic...very green in certain areas, no carcasses and thankfully no other signs of the drought.
crosscheck is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 12:22 PM
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"photogenic dust tornadoes"

more "dust devils" are evident in Amboseli than most any other park in Kenya.
sandi is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 12:35 PM
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haha - thanks for the terminology, sandi. my kids loved them...very surreal landscape in general, with the majestic kili in the background (referred to as "the mountain" by the masai guides, and mirages near the swamp. In general, it actually felt more dusty in parts of the Mara - whole clouds of dust there, rather than concentrated dust devils.
crosscheck is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 10:19 PM
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karn, thanks for asking this question. I will be in Amboseli in a couple of weeks. Was worried about the potential scenerio as described by Percy.

crosscheck--Nice to hear your postive remarks! Thanks for sharing..
live_aloha is offline  
Aug 8th, 2010, 10:07 AM
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Well elizabethj,.....

I hope that for you Amboseli is not as dry as it was for me last September.

Also that you get some clear views of Mount Kilimanjaro.. it is nice to take pictures of elephants ( or any animals for that matter ) , with Kilimanjaro in the background.

Have a nice trip, Good Luck
Percy is online now  
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