Exclusive Kenyan Safari Lodges...

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Mar 30th, 2003, 08:46 AM
  #1
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Exclusive Kenyan Safari Lodges...

King and others,

I have done a little research on Kenyan game lodges and they were surprisingly higher priced than I had expected.

While I didn't find any in the Mombo/Singita price range, I found plenty that were in the $800 - $1100 USD per night price range, far more expensive than South Luangwa and Zimbabwe (Hwange, Mana Pools, Matusadona).

Some of the Kenyan places I checked for high season, rates courtesy of www.e-gnu.com, unless noted otherwise, included the following:

Borana Lodge, Laikipia Plateau to the north of Mt. Kenya, 28km from the equator - $800 USD

Cottar's 1920's Camp, between the Masia Mara, Loliondo and Serengeti Reserves - $1,100 USD

Kichwa Tembo Bateleur Camp, Masai Mara National Reserve - $950 USD

Mukutan Retreat, western edge of Laikipia region - $810 USD

Loisaba Wilderness Lodge and Laikipia Starbeds, western edge of Laikipia region - $920 USD

Governors Il Moran Camp, Masai Mara National Reserve- $770 USD (rate on Governors' Camp site)

Tortilis Camp, Amboseli Game Reserve - ???USD

Has anybody been to any of the above places, and if so, what are your comments about the places you have stayed??? Did the game reserves have a large, exclusive area for their guests or were there vehicles from neighboring game lodges all over the place???

If there are other very exclusive game lodges in Kenya, please add them to this thread, along with the prices, if known.

Also, please let me know what convenient sidetrips may be taken from Kenya. Seychelles??? Zanzibar???

Thanks...just trying to get a better understanding of Kenya.
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Mar 30th, 2003, 11:54 AM
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Roccco

I am assuming the rates are for a double room. Singita price for double is around $1700. I am not sure of Zambia/Zim lodge prices but the air charter could be more expensive in Zambia/Zim.

I always book with a local operator as it is always cheaper.

The luxury lodges/camps of Kenya are divided into following areas:

Masai Mara - Il Moran, Bateuleur Camp, Mara Explorer, Cottar's 1920, Rekero (more rustic)

Samburu Game Reserve - Elephant Watch Camp

Laikipia/Mt.Kenya - Loisaba, Wilderness Trails (my favourite), Borana, Mukutan, Ol Malo. In fact the marathon that Kavey mentioned is run in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy where Wilderness Trails is located. The community lodges are available on exclusive self-catering or catered basis and include Il Ngwesi, Tassia Lodge

Naivasha - Loldia House (colonial-style), Olerai House, Hippo Point House

Tsavo - Finch Hatton's, Galdessa Camp, Kilalinda Camp

Amboseli - Tortilis

Chyulu Hills - Ol Donyo Wuas and Campi ya Kanzi(rustic but with spectacular views of Mt. Kilimanjaro)

Loita Hills - Shompole Lodge

Nairobi - Ngong House

You really need an expert to put the itinerary together as you have to get the routing correct. It is not as simple as Southern Africa.

The places I haven't visited are Loisaba, Cottar's, Mukutan, Shompole and the community lodges. I have visited the rest. i would not recommend Bateleur, although it is very luxurious. The reason is available on their website - they only offer 2 game drives per day, rather than 3. I know you like your luxury so Rekero tented Camp may not be your cup of tea. However, it is my favourite camp as it is modelled on the 'Out of Africa' style mobile camps of the mid-1900s and gives you that feeling of being on a real adventure and safari.
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Mar 30th, 2003, 11:54 AM
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None the of the Mara camps have private land of their own except perhaps Rekero Farm. If you want to avoid the 'traffic jams' then you need to be on the western side of the Mara which includes Governor's, Bateleur, Mara Explorer, Cottar's, Rekero tented. Here there are less no. of vehicles plying the reserve than the Eastern side. However, you will never completely avoid the vehicles from other lodges as they all share the same area for the game drives, but the area is vast. On the other hand, Wilderness Trails, Borana, Loisaba, etc. are all on private reserves but they do occassionally share the reserves with each other to offer guests a wider space to explore. Here, you will see very few vehicles on the game drives.

You can easily fly to Seychelles, Mauritius, Zanzibar, Mombasa/Lamu for a beach holiday. Zanzibar has two superb beach resorts - Mnemba Club ( I hear the richest man in the world has been here and loves the place) and Fundu Lagoon. Fundu Lagoon is on Pemba Island and the reefs around the island are meant to be the finest in the world. The deep seas fishing along the Pemba Channel is also excellent. I have been to Mnemba Club and it offers gorgeous bare-foot luxury.

In Kenya, the loveliest resort I have been to is Kiwayu Village which is built in the same style as Mnemba Club. The everday menu includes fresh lobster, crabs, tuna, red snapper...I did some game fishing there a few years ago and caught lots of yellow fin tuna.

There are other excellent resorts - Funzi Keys, Al Fajiri (available on an exclusive basis), Blue Safari Club, Kipungani. In Lamu there are private houses you can rent.

I haven't been to Seychelles so can't comment but there are lots of expensive resorts there - Fregate Island and there is a new Wilderness beach resort. However, I prefer to avoid the glitzy places and try to go for simple,luxury of Mnemba, Kiwayu...

Mauritius has lots of fine modern hotels. I have also been to Madagascar twice but I don't think that would interest you at all.

From Kenya, you can also do Uganda and Tanzania. Flying to Arusha, the starting point of safaris to Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, Serengeti, takes about 90 mins from Nairobi.
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Mar 30th, 2003, 02:27 PM
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King,

Thanks for the info...I think it really benefits the forum to have this recent Kenya info go into the database.

My feelings towards Kenya have completely changed. I am not saying that I will go there next year, but I will definitely consider it strongly in future years, coupled with a trip to Zanzibar or Seychelles.

Thanks for all the feedback.
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Mar 30th, 2003, 07:17 PM
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Hi Roccco!!

We stayed at Tortilis Camp for two nights. Technically, it is just outside the park lines.

Tortilis Camp was fantastic, from the views of Mount Kilimanjaro to the staff to the accomodations.

The "tents" are extremely luxurious. Each tent has a stone floor entry, with chairs and a chaise lounge. The inside of the tents have hardwood floors, ice boxes with wine, beer, etc., extremely comfortable beds and a large en-suite bathroom with Egyptian cotton towels, shampoo, lotions, etc.

The camp is surrounded by an electric fence to prevent elephants from entering the camp and the vegetable garden area. Very well tended grounds and a lovely pool area.

Just a story of our stay: During my dream trip, I came down with a downright nasty cold. Sniffle, sniffle, sniffle, cough, cough, cough. Anyway, we opted one afternoon to sit by the pool to write out postcards before embarking on an afternoon game drive. Out of nowhere a staff member appeared at the bar area just a few feet away from the pool. As I wrote out the postcards, I was coughing, sneezing, etc. Without any request, the staff person brought over a cold bottle of water and an entire box of tissues.

nother time, the main course for dinner was something neither my husband or I liked - seafood. Now, we would have been perfectly happy to just have the potatoes and vegetables that accompanied the fish, but the staff would not hear of us just eating potatoes and vegetables. They rushed into the kitchen and had the chef prepare some of the best tasting filet mignon steaks I have ever had.

It is well worth the money to spend a few nights there.

We were in Amboseli in September 2002 and did not experience major problems with loads of tourists. At one time, we did have two other vehicles in close proximity, but that was it. We did see quite a few tourist vehicles at the Masai village, but again, not out on game drives. FYI.
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