First Safari in Kenya 6 nights with kids 14 and 12

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Mar 26th, 2013, 10:25 PM
  #1
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First Safari in Kenya 6 nights with kids 14 and 12

We are planning on taking a 6 night/7 day safari with our kids (daughter 14 and son 12) the last week of July this summer. We are looking for help in deciding where to go.

We are more interested in mammals than birds and want to see a variety. We are willing to do some flying to reduce travel time. We do not need the fanciest of lodgings and are attracted to the Porini style - (more) eco-friendly and smaller scale approach.

To save time and see a greater variety of places, we are also willing to fly to get around more quickly. But we would consider road transportation for some shorter distances.

We are pretty sure we want to go to Samburu and Mara, and wonder if it makes sense to try to fit in another location as well.

For our six nights itinerary we have been thinking about:
Option 1: Samburu 2N - Ol Pejeta/Sweetwater 1 or 2N - Mara 2 or 3N
Option 2: Samburu 2N - Laikipia 1 or 2N - Mara 2 or3N
Option 3: Samburu 3N - Mara 3N

We are not really wanting to go to Amboseli this trip, but is there an different place we might consider in addition to Samburu and Mara?

Also, is there any particular order that would make the most sense logically?

Thanks for your help!
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Mar 27th, 2013, 09:58 AM
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Porini has camps at Amboseli, Ol Pejeta/Laikipia and Masai Mara. They're all good, and though eco-friendly aren't the only camps that are and these camps do not come cheap, though if visiting all three might be entitled to some discount. None of their camps though do provide in their price for laundry, or for that matter - do laundry.

As you don't want to visit Amboseli, but Samburu instead, you certainly cannot get between Samburu and the Mara by road... this will have to be flights to/from.

For the Mara, wherever you stay I'd suggest minimuum 3/ns... 2/nts is just too short. And, the only place I would stay 'only' 1/nt would be at Sweetwaters, as all the rest need at minimum 2/nts or more.

You could consider:
Fly to Nanyuki - o/n Sweetwaters 1/nt
Fly to Samburu - o/n 2/nts - consider Intrepid's Lodge, Elephant Bedroom or Larsen's Camps
Fly to Mara - o/n 3/nts Porini Lion or others

OR
Fly to Samburu - 2/nts
Fly to Mara - o/n 4/nts (here you might want to split with 2/nts different camps, one inside the Reserve, the other on one of the adjacent conservancies where bush walks, meals and night game drives can be done that are not permitted inside parks/reserves.
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Mar 27th, 2013, 10:39 AM
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Thanks, Sandi. This is very helpful.

I like the idea of 2nts Samburu and 4 nts Mara at two different camps (one inside park and one in a conservancy).

It was reading posts by atravelynn and her strong advocacy of Samburu that put it much higher on our list than Amboseli and the virtues of flying to a place that would be a bit less crowded in high season and with somewhat different terrain and some variation in sub species.

Back to Mara, given all one can do in adjacent conservancies to and the ability to drive into the park, what is the advantage of staying in the park?

Do you have any thoughts about what a good combination might be so that there is variation in experiences, where we would go and what we would see, etc.

Helpful comments about Porini - we are not committed to them. No doubt more than we need in terms of luxury and happy to put money into air travel to be able to see different regions. Porini is very good at marketing and very visible to a newbie bangs around trying to get oriented and find possibilities. Other suggestions are very welcome.

Thanks!!!
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Mar 27th, 2013, 12:03 PM
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Yikes! More information to confuse the direction things seemed to be going.

I have heard that at the end of July, Amboseli might be better than Samburu, because the river in Samburu is small to dried up by that time in the summer. Consequently, Amboseli would be better for animals. If we stayed at Proini Amboseli we would have time in the conservancy to see animals without as big a crowd as well as access to the park.

If we did this, it would be 2 nts Ambosilie and 4 nts mara.

What do people think about the trade offs?
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Mar 27th, 2013, 12:06 PM
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I have heard good things about the Porini camps for folks with children although we did not stay there. My kids were a few years older than yours when we went to Kenya and Tanzania in 2010.
I thought I would jump in and tell you one of their favorite parks was Amboseli. Seeing Elephants and other game juxtaposed in front of the snow capped summit of Killimanjaro is quentissentially the East Africa safari experience/ photograph. We also managed to fly non stop from the Mara to Amboseli on Mombasa Air saving half a day.

Not having been to Samburu I cannot comment but a Mara / Amboseli safari is one I can definitely endorse. You can search for my trip report on this board from 2010 and also if you care from last month in the Mara.
Best of luck. Your children are just the right age to enjoy a safari. I suspect they and you will be hooked like so many of us.
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Mar 27th, 2013, 12:29 PM
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Maybe if you do decide on Amboseli, check out KIbo slopes camp, its outside the park though.
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Mar 27th, 2013, 02:15 PM
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TracksBerg2013 -

Nice that you just joined Fodor's but you forgot to read the rules/regulations that do not permit touting or self promotion which your posting shows 'suggested routings, where to stay' and then concluding with your website. Not good!

As to the routings shown, On Opt. #1 & #3 why would you send a guide/vehicle from NBO north to drive one segment when driver has to depart the day prior, o/n somewhere, for early drive south for just that stop? And, then the driver heads back to NBO empty? My figuring is that client pays for guide both days when deadheading.

As to the Ashnil Camp in the Mara - there is no way, as I believe, will any who post here on Fodor's will stay at this camp that was illegally built at a rhino mating area. Bad, bad!

And, with all the other properties offered, where did the very expensive Elsa's come into the mix? Of course, we have no idea the OPs budget, and if they have the funds, of course this is wonderful, but they only have 6/nts, and there is no way should anyone spend less than 3/nts in the Mara, leaving 1/nt somewhere???? Except for where I showed Ol Pejeta as an option above, only as the Nanyuki airstrip is nearby.

bhobie -

Amboseli vs Samburu in July - I've never seen at Samburu a dry Ewaso Nyiro, more often too much water. And while Amboseli does NOT have any rivers, there is the swamp at the western end, served by water off of Kili and where the ellees hang. However, big difference between the two parks besides the unique species at Samburu and diverse landscapes... Amboseli is flat and come the dry season, not only rather crowded, but also very dusty.

What I can advise though, if this safari is scheduled for July 2013 (peak season at peak prices), and as many properties are already booked, you get moving on contacting a few tour operators/outfitters to put something together and verify availability for your specific dates of travel.
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