First Time Safari! Help pls!

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Sep 8th, 2005, 02:09 AM
  #1
J_A
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First Time Safari! Help pls!

We are planning a safari for 3 adults in August 2006. We are having a hard time deciding between the Maasai Mara and Sabi Sands. We would like to go for a week or so, but are having trouble finding lodges or camps with rooms that will sleep 3 adults. The only ones we have found so far are Mara Intrepids and Samburu Intrepids. Does anyone know of any others? My husband and I are taking my mother, so I really don't want her to have to sleep alone in the bush! We prefer the luxury camps/lodges like Kichwa Tembo, Londolozi, Sabi Sabi, Ulusaba, etc so if anyone has any suggestions that would be great! Also, if you have been to them that would be a bonus.

Thanks!
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Sep 8th, 2005, 03:04 AM
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I doubt many of the favoured, smaller camps have many tents that sleep more than two since the main reason to have such might be families and many such camps don't take small children.

Larger lodges would be the best bet as these do take kids and therefore may have family rooms.

However, you can always opt for two tents and instead of leaving your mother alone, you share with her and your husband takes the single.

I don't know about your husband but I know that I'd NEVER ask mine to share a room with my mum nor would I ever want to share a room with one of his parents. There's some aspects of sharing that only work between blood family, not in-laws!

Good luck!

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Sep 8th, 2005, 03:20 AM
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sandi
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J_A -

First, August would be the perfect time to be in Kenya for the Migration in the Masai Mara.

Kavey provided an excellent solution for tented camps in East Africa. Generally, (with the exception you've determined on your own that can) tents just aren't large enough for a third bed for an adult to sleep (exception: three women in a King size bed - maybe if very very good girlhood friends), comfortably, but more then sufficient room for two people to be very comfortable. The rooms in the lodges tend to be larger and can probably accommodate three adults.

If you choose two tents you can specifically request they be next to one another.
 
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Sep 8th, 2005, 03:58 AM
  #4
J_A
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Thanks for your replies. If anyone can recommend which are the best camps I would appreciate it!

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Sep 8th, 2005, 05:02 AM
  #5
sandi
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Do you want to spend the entire week in the Mara or visit another park? You mention Samburu and you can visit both, with 2-days Samburu an 4-days in the Mara and 1-day in Nairobi visiting some of the sights - Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Center, Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Kazuri Beads - have lunch or dinner at The Carnivore Restaurant (or other - there are some excellent choices here). What's good about these three stops is that there are scheduled flights between each. This would be necessary as the distances are long and roads are pretty lousy.

Or you can split the 7-day in the Mara between two different camps and a day in Nairobi; also with scheduled flights between NBO/Mara/NBO.

Be aware that August is high-season, so you'll find high prices. What kind of budget are you working with (per person).

If you know that Intrepids can accommodate 3-adults, each with about 25-30 tents - go with these camps. Both are lovely.

In the Mara, the tents at Kichwa Tembo are large, but you'd have to check whether they'd accommodate a 3rd adult. KT though is a larger camp with about 40-tents, each group of tents with a separate dining area. But has the advantage of being on the west side of the Mara River, where the Mara Intrepids is on the east side.

Also, depending on from where and when you arrive in NBO, you may require a hotel the first night - here, too, you'll have to ascertain a hotel for 3, though here you'd probably be more comfortable with two separate rooms.

Hope this helps.
 
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Sep 8th, 2005, 05:03 AM
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"Best" depends on what you are looking forbr />
Do you prefer smaller camps with fewer fellow guests or larger lodges with more facilities?

What wildlife/ birds/ terrains most interest you? This is a KEY question as many of us make choices based more on what we want to see (and the quality of guides available) than on the accommodation itself.

Are you intending to do mostly game drives or do you also want to do bush walks, canoe or mokoro rides, boat trips, elephant safaris?

How long will your safari element be and would you like to combine it with other things such as city visits?

How important is good food and wine?

What kind of budget are you considering and for how many nights and is it including or excluding international flights?

Have you been on safari before?
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Sep 8th, 2005, 05:06 AM
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bwanamitch
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I remember that we, 3 adults, stayed at Governors' Camp (Masai Mara) in one tent. That was in the 1990s, but maybe they still offer this service, and maybe it's also available for the better option, Little Governors.

Mitch
 
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Sep 8th, 2005, 05:17 AM
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Hello,

I've stayed at Londolozi several times, and I wholeheartedly recommend Londoz for superb guiding and great game-viewing -- particularly for leopard. I've stayed at Bateleur Camp and Tree Camp -- personally I prefer Tree Camp, but Bateleur is also a good option if the price for the suites at Tree proves painful to the budget.

To my knowledge there aren't any 3-person rooms at Londoz (though some of the suites are certainly large enough!). However, Londoz has chalets (little cottages) with solid walls and thatched roofs rather than tents, and your mother might feel comfortable sleeping alone if she was in a chalet.

The Sabi Sands is the best game-viewing area in South Africa. You'll see antelope and predators galore. That being said, it doesn't have the massive herds you'll see on the Mara.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 8th, 2005, 05:27 AM
  #9
J_A
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This is our 1st safari so we really want to see the Big 5 and go on game drives. I've read pros/cons about small v. large camps. We don't want to be stuck with lots of children, but sounds like that could happen at both small and large camps.

If we stay in the Massai Mara, we will probably do 2 camps a 3/3 or 3/4 night split. If we go to Sabi Sands, we would probably stay 4 nights and then spend 3 in Cape Town.

Thanks for the tip on Governors, Mitch. Il Moran is another camp we like, so I'll ask them too.
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Sep 8th, 2005, 05:29 AM
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Hello,

If you don't want to be surrounded by children (something I dread) avoid places which bill themselves as 'family friendly' or 'child friendly'. Many of the smaller, more exclusive camps have a 'no children' policy, so the families with young kids gravitate to the few that will have them.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 8th, 2005, 02:44 PM
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If you dont fancy tents then Julian is right on, most accomodation in the Sabi Sand is real buildings, a plus for some a minus for others. I sleep with the door open and the screen pulled so I can hear the sounds of the night.

I wqould recommend Mala Mala and Londolozi over the camps you mentioned. Ulusaba and Sabi Sabi have horrible geographic and overcrowding issues that Londoz and MM dont. MM has a couple of family bungalows that may well work out for you.
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Sep 8th, 2005, 11:39 PM
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Hi There

Take a look at www.exeter-lodges.com (in the Sabi Sands)- either Dulini or Leadwood Lodge - both awesome with wonderful game viewing and fantastic staff. In my opinion Londolozi is looking a little old and really needs a revamp to its accomm in order to come back in line with these new camps. If it was up to me, I would choose Dulini over Londolozi. Also might be worth having a look at Lion Sands!!
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Sep 9th, 2005, 01:01 AM
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Hello,

Personally, I prefer tented lodges -- if Londoz had a tented camp, I'd be in heaven! Like Matt, I sleep with windows open and the solid doors open (Tree Camp has 'double-layered' doors with one solid set and one screened set). However, for your mother, the security of solid walls may be a big plus.

I have to disagree with Bushmad over the state of the accommodation at Londoz -- I was there in July 2005 and Tree Camp still looks brilliant. However, Londoz is aesthetically 'classic safari' rather than 'designer safari' like some of the newer lodges -- it's a matter of taste. I prefer a more classical safari look.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 9th, 2005, 08:12 AM
  #14
J_A
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Thanks everyone.

For South Africa we have found out Mala Mala has some family rooms that connect which may be a good option. However, their website isn't showing available dates of 4 days together.

Does anyone have any travel agent recs?
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Sep 9th, 2005, 02:45 PM
  #15
sandi
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mkhonzo -

Sorry that Roccco isn't here to say this, but it's interesting that your first post was only yesterday. Where have you been?

Apparently, you haven't read the Rules & Regulations of Fodor's - you're not supposed to be advertising your services or soliciting business.
 
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Sep 10th, 2005, 08:21 AM
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I have been very impressed with my agent, Tricia Townsend of Protravel in NYC. I found her because she was listed as a top agent in Conde Nast's travel magazines. They charge a $250 fee, but it is well worth it for the service she provides. Do a search on Yahoo and her number will come up.
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Sep 10th, 2005, 09:38 AM
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Andrea,

To be honest, you really don't need an agent for a South African itinerary -- you can often book directly and save a bit of money. You should look into this option once you settle on a lodge.

Cheers,
Julian
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