Backpacking in Kenya

Apr 7th, 2006, 02:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 27
Backpacking in Kenya

I'll be volunteering (teaching) in Maasailand for 9 weeks with weekends free to travel/explore and then i'll be backpacking across Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda for 3 weeks afterwards. I was wondering if anyone could point me toward any good websites/books regarding backpacking in East Africa (i've already checked out and I'm going today/tomorrow to check out "East & Southern Africa: The Backpacker's Manual" buy phillip briggs which hopefully will help clear things up...but if you have any PERSONAL EXPERIENCE BACKPACKING IN E. AFRICA, I'D LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT IT!!!).

I have some generic questions, like is it better to bring a tent and camp or to find a cheap hotel? (i looked at LP's guide to E. Africa and hotels were like $3-4, which i could afford. I didn't know if it's easier when in a nat'l park to camp or to find a cheap hotel...i'd rather not have a tent for weights' sake in my backpack).

What were the coolest things you guys have done in E. Africa
On a tight budget i still want to pick a few of the coolest things to do on the weekends (while volunteering) and then on my 3 week adventure. So far, i have white-water rafting on the Nile, scuba diving (i've heard about something where you get to be with great whites...might be cool), skydiving, and bungee jumping.

btw, a 4 day safari is included in the volunteer program.

**Sorry for all the questions, i leave in 3 weeks and couldn't find specific answers after looking in the FAQ section for a bit. thanks again.**
koreansteve is offline  
Apr 7th, 2006, 03:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Hello Steve,

Have fun teaching and on your trip. You may get a better response to your post on Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree -- not too many people here tend to do much backpacking.

jasher is offline  
Apr 7th, 2006, 04:27 PM
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I guess I'll rephrase my main question to hopefully get some answers here:

Which 5 parks/sights would you most recommend and why?

and i realize i probably won't be able to backpack all 3 countries, just trying to see what the most exciting route would be. thanks again.
koreansteve is offline  
Apr 7th, 2006, 04:42 PM
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jasher is right. The people with the experience to give you the best advice for backpacking are on
Click on the Africa branch.
Good luck and have fun!
Apr 7th, 2006, 04:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501

A lot of the adventure acvities you've mentioned are actually more common in Southern Africa (bungee jumping at Victoria Falls, diving with great whites off the Cape). Have you considered doing part of the Cape to Cairo route (starting in Nairobi rather than Cairo)?

I think Bradt may publish something on backpacking in Southern Africa.

jasher is offline  
Apr 7th, 2006, 05:31 PM
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Please someone correct me if I'm wrong, but when in a national park (as opposed to near or adjacent to one), you are very unlikely for find a "cheap hotel." In those cases, I would think camping would be your best bet. Also, I've read (must be from LP) that in other cases, your tent is likely to be cleaner/nicer than a cheap hotel.

But yes, by all means, hit up the Lonely Planet Africa board.

And, quite generally, don't miss the Serengeti and/or Maasai Mara depending on time of year. Not cheap, and I haven't yet done it, but if you're in Uganda and you can possibly swing a visit to see the gorillas, GO go go.

Have a wonderful time!
Leely is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 04:48 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Hi Steve,

Maasailand is a large area. Exactly where are you going to teach? I wouldn’t bring a tent. I’m not a backpacker but I know that in smaller towns you can get a nice room with bathroom for $ 6-7, cheaper if you’re a true backpacker and don’t mind a shared bathroom.
You can’t visit national parks on public transport and with a tent in your backpack. And, just paying park fees puts parks out of reach for a backpacker budget – and then you need a vehicle. The cheapest alternative would be to join a budget camping safari out of Nairobi. Though I can’t see how any serious company could do that for under $100 pppd, but maybe someone at the LP Thorn Tree knows more about it. Anyway, the safari company will provide tents. I’d recommend visiting the Mara and Tsavo or Samburu.
Your weekend activities depend on where you’re staying. I don’t think you can go white water rafting on the Nile (Uganda) from anywhere in Maasailand, but there are other rivers There’s no diving with great whites for tourists in East Africa and I wouldn’t go to South Africa for that. Kenyan beach places are protected by reefs, but people have been killed by sharks in Mombasa harbour – if that’s what you’re looking for There is bungee jumping in Kenya, but as you’re going to stay for 9 weeks with local people – just ask them what they do to get an adrenaline rush. The Maasai will have just as many ideas, or even more, as any young men in the world. Remember to write a trip report.

Safari njema
Nyamera is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 04:55 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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No Great Whites... but you can see white tipped reef sharks and if you're really lucky gigantic basking sharks.

For the real adrenaline rush, take a Matatu during rush hour in Nairobi.

Pumbavu is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 04:56 AM
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Nyamera -

You beat me to it, with the Savage Wilderness site. But it is rather costly.
Apr 8th, 2006, 05:14 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,309
The “coolest things” I’ve done in East Africa are solo game walks. If you’re staying somewhere in the countryside with good wildlife you could just sneak away on your own. Though you’ll probably have kids following you everywhere.

I’ve hade worse experiences with taxis than matatus.

Nyamera is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 09:04 AM
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nyamera, i think that's more of what i'm looking for (solo game walks).

I get a 4 day safari in Kenya (with volunteer group), so that'll be cool, but i'm just trying to figure out what do to for 3 weeks on a small budget. I really wouldn't mind just walking around some parks, seeing Mt. Kililmanjaro, going on a few solo game walks, and soaking up some African culture.

I don't know how feasible this is (seems like i'd just need to pay for transportation sometimes and cheap hotels and park fees) but i looked up prices for climbing Kilimanjaro (~$1000) and other safaris ($100+ per day) and rafting (not too bad at $95 per day), and i'm just hoping i can find some cool stuff to do for less than a fortune
koreansteve is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 10:45 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 175

I don't know your exact budget but how about Mount Kenya or Mount Meru instead of Kili.They cost a third of what Kili costs.You could take a bus to Lushoto and go trekking in the Usambaras,or go to Lake Eyasi and spend some time with the Hadzabe.In Uganda you can raft and quad bike at Bujagali falls.There are also a lot of forest reserves to go walking in Uganda and the Sesse Islands and Lake Bunyoni are popular backpacker hang-outs.In Kenya you also have Hell's gate for Mountain Biking.
dlo is offline  
Apr 10th, 2006, 11:24 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Hells Gate is great! Especially for the Hyrax around the rocks. Last time I was there (about 4 years ago) we took a walk down into a valley. When we came up we asked a Game Warden where all the Zebra and Giraffe were.. "Oh they've moved to the other side of the park... since the lion came" Gulp!
Pumbavu is offline  

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