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Anyone take Kenya safari through Serena hotels - or have an opinion?

Anyone take Kenya safari through Serena hotels - or have an opinion?

Old Nov 4th, 2010, 03:12 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2010
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Anyone take Kenya safari through Serena hotels - or have an opinion?

Planning a safari in Kenya next July with two friends. While looking at the endless possibilities, I noticed Serena hotels books their own safaris. Prices seem reasonable. Anyone have an experience with them booking tours?
jprothn is offline  
Old Nov 5th, 2010, 07:55 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Serena is reputable and if you wish to stay ONLY in their properties, then go with them.

Other options, a bit more expensive would be Heritage properties (Intrepid's) www.heritage-eastafrica.com/, where they have a lovely tented camp (vs Serena which are lodges) in the Masai Mara and at Samburu (up north, known for large elephant herds and species not found elsewhere.

Fairmont can also book their properties, at the Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi, Mara Safari Club in the Mara, Sweetwater's at Nanyuki/Mt. Kenya, etc. is another.

For how many days total in Kenya? Just to visit the Masai Mara or other game reserves/parks, as Samburu (above), maybe Amboseli (also known for ellees), Lake Nakuru (for flamingo), etc.

Know that if you go with either of the two names companies direct, they'll charge at the "rack" (highest) rates, whereas if you use a tour operator or in-country outfitter who get contract (reduced) rates, offered to clients, you can probably save a few dollars.

You can check the www.kato.com site for list of "in-country" outfitters, send the same details - when, total # days, where you wish to visit, type of accom, estimated budget - to 4-5 of these listed in Category A, and see their offerings. Be sure you're comparing apples-to-apples when suggested proposals received.

Good luck!
sandi is offline  
Old Nov 5th, 2010, 02:14 PM
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I have stayed at the Serena Lodges on a Safari but I have no experience with them booking Safari tours.
Percy is online now  
Old Nov 5th, 2010, 04:14 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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First, Serena properties are quite lovely and nicely dispersed throughout the popular safari destinations and I am sure you'd be happy with them. If pricing is too high, you could even downgrade from Serena and still be thrilled with your trip.

Do check how direct rates compare with an agent that specializes in Kenya/Africa. My own experience and that of others points to agents getting a better rate, like Sandi states. Seems odd, I know, but do check it out.

Good luck planning and have a wonderful trip.
atravelynn is offline  
Old Nov 5th, 2010, 05:13 PM
  #5  
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Thank you for your replies. Sandi- I will look into the other hotel options as well. We are three female friends looking to travel 7-9 days. Masai Mara, Amboseli, lake nakaru. The usual touristy things in Nairobi, and a hot air balloon ride. We may splurge one night for Giraffe Manor. Trying to keep it under $5000 each including air.

Oddly enough, the hotel has not gotten back to us yet. Steenbok safaris did quote a slightly better rate than the hotel for what we want. I will contact another company or two as well.

Thanks again
jprothn is offline  
Old Nov 6th, 2010, 07:25 AM
  #6  
 
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Serena has properties at the Mara and Amboseli, well positioned; another option at Amboseli would be Ol Tukai Lodge or Porini Camp.

Heritage/Intrepid's has properties in the Mara and Samburu, both well positioned in the reserves.

Sopa has properties at the Mara and Amboseli (neither ideally located as a distance outside the parks), also at Samburu; and while not at Lk. Nakuru, do have a lovely lodge at Lk. Naivasha 1/hr south of Nakuru. If using Sopa at Naivasha, you can arrange a day-trip to Nakuru.

... or if wanting to stay at Nakuru, look at Lion Hill or Lk. Nakuru Lodges or Flamingo Hill Camp.

Giraffe Manor is a "budget buster" - also the 6/rooms book up quickly far in advance. Macushla House right around the corner from GM is a lovely small property with "right" price where a walk can often have you face-to-face with the Tall Blondes. Many solo travelers, especially women choose this boutique hotel.

Balloon safari will set you back between $450-$500/person.

Consider:
Day 1 - Arv. NBO - o/n Macushla House, Fairview Hotel or Country Lodge
Day 2 - NBO; sightseeing - o/n
Day 3 - Drive (4/hrs) to Amboseli - o/n Serena, Ol Tukai or Porini
Day 4 - Amboseli - o/n
Day 5 - Drive (4/hrs) to NBO; lunch; drive (2/hrs) to Lk. Nakuru - o/n Lion Hill, Lk. Nakuru Lodge or Flamingo Hill Camp
Day 6 - Drive (5/hrs) to Masai Mara - o/n (your choice)
Days 7 & 8 - Masai Mara - o/n
Day 9 - Drive* (5/hrs) to NBO; dayroom; homebound

*you can choose to fly back if budget allows
sandi is offline  
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