Elsa's Kjope vs. Loisaba?

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Nov 9th, 2005, 10:21 AM
  #1
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Elsa's Kjope vs. Loisaba?

Hello

My husband and I will be enjoying a 10-day safari on horseback around the Masai area in January. Since we'll be doing the bucket shower/tent thing for 8 days of it, we decided to end our trip with a couple days of luxe. I know that that there are fantastic lodges in and near the Masai, but we decided that we should see a different area (first trip to Africa), and we were looking at either Elsa's Lodge or Loisaba.

What can you tell me about them? We'd be looking for wildlife and scenery different from where we'd just been, self-indulgence (after 8 days of bucket showers and cots), privacy (after 10 days with the same 10 people), and good food.

Many thanks!

P.S. Eco-Resorts might have gone away. An e-mail to them was sent back, and their phone number doesn't seem to work. I'm working with Sandy at Africa Serendipity, who I found via this site. Great!

Cheryl
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Nov 9th, 2005, 11:06 AM
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Elsa' Kopje is in the Meru National Park, which is behind Mt Kenya. The lodge itself is nestled around an outcrop with each suite afforded glorious views of the wilderness. Over a deccade ago the game in the region was heavily poached and thin, however in the past years it has rebounded and is reasonably plentiful, although it can be sparse at times.

The lodge is really a spectacular experience. Whe I stayed there (same trip as my adventure to Lisaba, 18 months ago) I was wrote in my journal of the overwhelming sound of birds in the morning.

The food was good and if erred on the side of variety. Service was outstanding and the camp management very thoughtful.

Loisaba, which is in the Laikipia Wilderness is another equally stunning property. The lodge, similarly to Elsa's is perched cliffside overlooking the wilderness with views from the mathews range to Mt Kenya. With some $$$'s this property is set to become the Singita/Sabi/Londoz of Kenya. The decor is simple, the beds comfortable while the bathrooms offer hot/cold showers and amenities to comfort your stay. What I enjoyed most about Loisaba was the walk down to the Starbeds (run by the samburu) and a night there.

Game viewing was great, I saw huge herds of elephant, heard leoprad at night, saw lion and a variety of plains game. I herd that wild dogs had been seen, but missed them during my trip. A friensd who returned from L/saba last month had an excellent sighting of around 15.

Sorry, but I guess I haven't assisted you with your choice as I really couldn't set one apart from the other ITO appeals etc. Maybe budget will dictate your final choice. Loisaba is a little more expensive to get to as it requires a flight from Nanyuki. Meru has sheduled flights from Nairobi daily from December.
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Nov 9th, 2005, 11:38 AM
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Wow, some who has actually stayed at both!

Actually, you've already helped a lot! It sounds like you saw a lot more wildlife at Loisaba, and abolutely loved the starbeds (we'd get one night there). It sounds like your 'regular' room might have been more amazing at Elsa's; are the 'regular' room at Loisaba detached/private/with great views?

How was the food at Loisaba? Finally, three days in Kenya.... Which would you go to?

Cheryl
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Nov 9th, 2005, 01:20 PM
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Ouch, tough question.
But based on the starbeds and variety of activities offered at Loisaba that would be my choice of the two.

Food was good. We ate in a variety of venues, lunch besside the pool, dinner in the dinning room, breakfast on the deck and so on.

rooms as I recall it were individual, however somewhere lurking in my memory there could have been two aside.....

they also have a manor house and a cottage, for private use, I believe that a minimum of two and maximum of four required for either. Yes the view is quite simply spectacular....nothing but Africa as far as your eye can see.
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Nov 9th, 2005, 01:34 PM
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sandi will probably give you the benefit of her knowledgeable advice as well--but in the meantime look for her trip report --I remember that she stayed at Loisaba and described the starbed experience
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Nov 9th, 2005, 05:40 PM
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CherylC:

When I said that you would "probably" hear from sandi I meant as a post here--forgot that you said that you are working with her. So you have her considerable advice. Still, I would recommend that you read her report about Loisaba and starbeds. It is wonderfully descriptive and evocative. It put them on my wish list. Put sandi starbeds in the search box and you will pull it up.
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Nov 9th, 2005, 08:40 PM
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Hello

I received a link from Sandi later on today with a BUNCH of photos from Loisaba. They were a HOOT, especially of Sandi and her travel partner on the camels. Unfortunately, she was only able to get pics of the starbed rooms, not the regular rooms. I did see a bunch of wildlife photos, too.

Since Jeff and I will have just been off of 8-10 days on horseback, we're probably not going to be too interested in either horseback or camelback riding. Instead, we'll be applying Desitin to various places and taking advantage of the bathtub. (Grin)

So.....ANY pic files out there of Elsa's would be greatly appreciated. My biggest concern would be that mentioned by mkhonzo. Even though we're primarily going there for some R&R, we still want to see things. I've tried searches here on Elsa, and nothing seems to show up.

Cheryl
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Nov 10th, 2005, 05:29 AM
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Here's a trip report that includes Elsa's -

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34540562
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Dec 21st, 2005, 10:03 AM
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Cheryl,
Did you decide to go to Elsa's or Loisaba? I'd be interested to hear about Elsa's and Meru if you go there. Meru is on my list of places to visit next time. Also very interested to hear more about your horseback safari in the Mara. Which operator is organizing this? Will you be traveling in a group or is it private? We just returned recently from a riding safari in the West Kilimanjaro area of Tanzania.
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Dec 23rd, 2005, 09:43 AM
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Hi Patty

I just read your great trip report a day or two. I eagerly went to the photos section; let me know if/when you post some of the riding photos! We used "Equitours" to book our trip with Offbeat Safaris; they're an equestrian-focused agency that's been around for years, well-respected for picking relibable quality partners, with packages available worldwide. The downsize is, since they offer packages worldwide, they're not really a country specialist, so I used Africa Serendipity to book at Elsa's and set up transportation to and from. I'll definitely try to get some pics on-line!

I chose Elsa's because all of the motorized items there appeared to be at Loisaba (dirt bikes, helicopters, etc.) don't really agree with me.

Questions for you, Patty: Where did you keep your camera during the horseback ride - in a very large fanny pack? It seems like the cantle bag would be awkward to get to on a regular basis for quick shot, and, if galloping, I don't want it hanging around my neck.....

Thanks!
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Dec 23rd, 2005, 10:32 AM
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Cheryl & All

For interest I don't think that Loisaba ever really had dirt bikes for client use. Tom, the owner, has one which he used to use to accompany groups when they went out on quad bikes. But I think they don't use the quads like they used to. They're certainly not advertising them on the website any more.

As for the helicopter, it hasn't been there for a couple of years. I did know at one stage where it had gone, but I can't remember (not that useful eh?)

Hope this helps clarify the issue of noisy things with engines at Loisaba.

Yours, Richard
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Dec 23rd, 2005, 02:09 PM
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Cheryl,
Here's the link to my album with our riding photos - http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=...&x=0&y=-dle0fg

What kind of camera do you have? I have a Canon S1 IS and bought the Canon PSC-70 that fits very snugly around the camera and has a belt loop in the back. I wore that on my belt and some days I also wore a pair of compact binoculars on the other side of my belt. The only problem I found with this was I had to keep opening and closing the small velcro flap at the top of the case to access the camera and animals don't like the sound of velcro! This caused me to lose a few shots in the beginning

I then started wearing it cross style across my shoulder when we were actively game viewing and this seemed to be pretty stable (but may not work if you have a large camera). Other times when we were riding to/from camp, I'd store it in the case. This ended up being the best compromise.

I think a fanny pack would work well provided the camera didn't move around too much and you could access it relatively quietly.

I don't think storing it in the saddle bag would've worked. As you said, it would've been awkward to get to and ours had an even larger velcro flap. I only used it to store water and small items like chapstick, tissues, etc.

Hope this helps. If you discover a great system on your trip that allows quick access, is stable, and doesn't scare the animals, I'd love to know! This was our first time viewing game on horseback so it was a bit of an experiment.

Hope you have a wonderful trip and I'm looking forward to hearing all about it and seeing your pics when you return.
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Dec 23rd, 2005, 05:09 PM
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Thanks, Patty! Your pics have me dreaming of four weeks from now!

My camera's a Panasonic FZ5. Based on dpreview.com, it would be almost exactly the same size as yours, and I liked the look of the Canon bag; it also didn't look too bulky in your pics. (I was planning on wearing my riding tights, so I won't have a belt, but I could just run it through my regular fanny pack.) The issue is this attachment Panasonic includes for sun - maybe 2 1/2" long. Would there be that in the Canon bag? I'll call the local Canon dealers to see if they're in stock, since I don't have enough time right now to order one and find out it won't work.

The way you got around the velcro issue was........?????

Gotta ask: Weren't you hot wearing both jeans AND full chaps? I was just planning on bringing some riding tights, a seat saver, and stirrup strap leather covers.....

CC

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Dec 24th, 2005, 11:13 AM
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Cheryl,
Surprisingly, it wasn't that hot where we were riding (in the foothills of Kilimanjaro) and I was comfortable wearing jeans and full chaps. Also since we stayed at one camp, we rode mostly in the morning and late afternoon avoiding mid-day. If you're moving from camp to camp, I'm guessing you probably don't have much of a choice as to what hours you ride. When we were there, it was also hotter during the day in the Masai Mara than around Kilimanjaro, so I'd just stick with what you were originally planning to bring.

I never really found a good solution to the velcro. I probably could've covered the velcro with something as the case also has 2 side zippers, so I think it would've been secure enough. The case fits very snug around my Canon, so I don't think there would be any room for an attachment. The only other thing I could've put in there was a memory card or two.
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