Complicated Kenya planning. Need ideas.

Apr 18th, 2005, 10:46 AM
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Complicated Kenya planning. Need ideas.

Iím going to Kenya in June and Iím still clueless about how to do the safari. My plan is to stay for 3 weeks. As Iím travelling on my own, a private safari is too expensive and I donít want to go on a group safari because I prefer a longer stay in one park to just one or two nights in a couple of parks. Last year I went to Voi by bus and was picked up by a very nice tented camp in Tsavo East where I stayed for 6 nights for $ 720. This year I thought I could do the same in Samburu and then go to Lamu and maybe Naivasha. Iíve emailed Intrepids and Larsens, but they havenít replied. Maybe I had the wrong addresses. After consulting a competent and quick replying travel operator in Kenya, I was told a pick up in Isiolo would be considered a ďgame drive, exclusive useĒ and that itíd be as expensive as going by plane. A flying package to Samburu staying at Intrepids for 4 nights is $ 1,195 and I would like to stay for a bit longer than that!

My question is if anyone knows how to stay in a tented camp for at least 5-6 nights in an area with great wildlife Ėother than the Mara and Tsavo East where Iíve already been (I want to see more places and become a Kenya expert before going back) Ė for around $ 150 per day (including park fees and game drives)?

If anyone could recommend good hotels in Lamu or bandas with bathroom around Lake Naivasha for approximately 1,000 shillings per night Iíd appreciate that too.

Natanguliza shukrani
Nyamera is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 02:12 PM
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I would suggest you check the back packer sites - Thorn Tree Lonely Planet - more likely to get ideas/links/contacts in the budget range you're considering.
Apr 19th, 2005, 06:08 AM
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Iíll ask about hotels in Lamu and Naivasha on the Thorn Tree, but I donít think Iíll get any safari ideas. Iíll be recommended a scheduled group camping safari. I find this forum more wildlife orientated, and if I mention a bathroom on the TT Iíd be told to keep away from Africa if a canít go without a shower for a couple of months. I donít dare to think about what Iíd be called if I mentioned that I appreciate a mirror, a lamp and some water to get my hair and face in order at 5 AM before the early morning game driveÖ Last year I did actually manage to get a luxury safari for $ 120 per day. I suppose I was very lucky Ė not that itís inexpensive; most people think Iím mad to spend that kind of money. Last year I did post some questions on the TT, but what helped me was search engines and email bargaining. Thereís not that much time left and I have to try everything, so I appreciate all ideas.

Nyamera is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 08:52 AM
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I don't have any suggestions for you (I wish I did) but just wanted to say that I hope you find something that works. I agree with your observations about the TT board. Most posters there will tell you to join up with others for a camping trip which is clearly not what you want. If you don't mind me asking, which camp did you stay in Tsavo East last year?

Good luck with your plans!
Patty is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 09:04 AM
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Unfortunately I don't have any ideas, though if you come up with something I'd certainly like to hear about it.

It's true the Thorn Tree is heavily skewed towards budget/group camping (and even overland tours), but I still think you should post a query there. You never know, right? A very wide range of people do use that board.

On this board maybe if you occasionally top your post someone will think of something.

If it were me, I'd make my compromises in the accommodations and not in the group-or-private choice. But of course ultimately it's up to you.

Good luck!
Leely is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 10:27 AM
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I stayed in Tarhi Camp Ė an amazing place with elephants and buffaloes almost inside the tents.


The problem with compromising on accommodation Ė apart from me not being a natural beauty - is that a private safari for one person with a driver/guide is expensive even with the cheapest camping. Not because of salaries that are shockingly low, but because of bad roads, high maintenance and expensive spare parts. I think the best idea is to go by cheap transport to a tented camp and then use their own game drives ďnon-exclusive useĒ. Usually I end up having the Landcruiser/Land Rover for myself anyway. Not that I mind sharing game drives. I just donít want to go on someone elseís itinerary thatís always a lot faster than my own pace.

Iíll write something for the TT.

Asanteni sana
Nyamera is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 10:39 AM
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LOL about the "not a natural beauty" part. I am almost glad I can't "afford" to go to East Africa until 2006--gives me time to grow my bangs out. Me + bangs + safari = the unspeakable.

Re: Larsen's address, etc. I believe Patty had posted the URLs on her Kenya itinerary question. You probably have the right e-mail, but you can double-check.

Best of luck, really!
Leely is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 12:26 PM
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I didnít know what bangs were, so I had to look it up to see if it was something Iím suffering from as well. I donít, but I did as a child. I usually cut my hair to a manageable safari length before going to Kenya Ė just long enough that I can sit on it. Normally I put it up, but on safari I just plait it. Iíve had Maasais threatening with cutting it off with a sword. I think theyíre envious because itís longer than their hair when they were warriors.
Nyamera is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 05:14 PM
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Hey Nyamera - it sounds like you are in a similar position that we are in!

I realized after working with Melinda at Best of Kenya (she's great) [email protected] - that it's likely for us to be just as cheap to fly from Elsa's (our splurge) via Samburu (intrepids as well?) to the Mara (we'll do basecamp). We're going in June too so timing is tight - I'll post our final itinerary when we get it. You probably already have - but I might check out Air Kenya to see where they go, and then look for camps around there. It seems a lot of the camps will pick you up from the airport and include it in their fees - so no transfer cost.

Ngoronogoro has priced out well for us $575 each for two nights, with private driver - but it's staying in a lodge of course.
bigredoso is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 06:52 AM
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Yes, if I find some reasonably priced camp I could fly with Air Kenya. The problem is that there isnít anything reasonably priced and it seems impossible to save money by taking the bus Ė costs almost nothing Ė and be picked up in a nearby town or village instead of from the airport. I think Iíll just have to spend less time in national parks and more on the coast and on the shores of Lake Naivasha.

Maybe I should go to Basecamp Masai Mara again Ö
Nyamera is offline  

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