First trip to Kenya: Is this a good intinerary?

Jan 23rd, 2007, 05:35 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 6
First trip to Kenya: Is this a good intinerary?

I am going to Kenya for the first time, with my boyfriend and my grandmother We are about to book a 12 day program with safari and some relaxing in Mombasa. What do you experts think of this suggestion: (I've been reading a lot on these pages and have gotten many good advices already..thanks!) Here is the plan:

Day one: arrive in Nairobi late in the evening, stay at Fairview Hotel.
Day 2: Visit Karen Blixen house, dinner at Carnivore
Day 3: drive to Aberdares, stay one night at The Ark
Day 4: Nakuru, stay at Sarova Lion Hill
Day 5: drive to Masai Mara, stay at Sarova Mara Game Camp
Day 6 and 7: Masai Mara
Day 8: depart from Masai Mara via Nairobi to Amboseli (will this drive be too long to do in one day??) Amboseli Logde
Day 9: Amboseli, Amboseli Logde
Day 10: drive from Amboseli to Nairobi, then flight to Mombasa, stay at Sarova Whitesands
Day 11 and 12: Mombasa
Day 13: flight back to Nairobi for departure home late night

I am a bit worried about the long drives, especially since I am travelling with my grandmother who is 72 years old (but healthy and tough Anyone know how long the drive from Masai Mara to Nairobi is, and Nairobi to Amboseli? Are the roads good?
If you have any suggestions on how to improve this intinerary I would be very thankful. The trip is planned for beginning of march. Any comments on hotels is also appreciated. Thanks!!
phink79 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 05:58 PM
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The drive on Day 8 will be around 10 hours total not including a lunch stop in Nairobi. I think it's much too long to do in one day.

You could fly back to Nairobi, then drive the 4 to 4.5 hours to Amboseli or you could try a different combination. The roads to/from the Mara are really bad, particularly to the eastern side where you'll be staying.
Patty is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 08:10 PM
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The itinerary has too much going on, and you will be spending half your time driving. The road from Nairobi to The Ark is excellent. About 3 hours to the Adebrdare Country Club, from where you will be taken to The Ark.

The Ark - Nakuru will take around 4 - 5 hours, and the 2nd half of the road is in a terrible state.

Nakuru to Masai Mara - the 1st half of the road is under repair, so most of the driving is done on the shoulder of the road. It is a hrad drive. From Narok to the Mara is on a non-exsistant road. This will take you 5-6 hours.

If you can, cancel either The Ark, or Lake Nakuru National Park. There are flights from Nanyuki (The Ark) to the Masai Mara daily, and only take 45 minutes.

The drive on day 8 is very long. The road from Mara to Nairobi will take at least 5 - 6 hours. Lunch in Nairobi, and then another 4 - 5 hours to Amboseli.

The lodges are good choices. Mid level, but the important thing is that they are in areas where the game viewing is excellent. Whitesands is a great hotel - nice place to chill.

With your grandma, the roads hurt. Even for us in our 30'2, when we drive on these roads, you feel very tired and jarred at the end of the journey.

Have lots of fun
roadwarriorafrica is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 05:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Painful though it might be, perhaps your grandmother would appreciate it if you reduced the trip to three destinations. You'll often be out on game drives 4-6 hours a day as well as the driving between parks and grandma will almost certainly want to rest up. Ark-Nakuru-Mara in three days would be exciting but quite an endurance test.

Perhaps it's a non-starter for you, but what about using your flight to go to the Mara and then driving to Mombassa via Amboseli and Tsavo - have you considerd Tsavo? Then fly back from Mombassa. I heard in December that thanks to the Chinese?! the road to Mombassa is mostly in very good condition now (although where it isn't I believe it is very bad indeed - so perhaps someone can tell you how much of it is still bad now?).

Anyway, lucky gran.
kimburu is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 06:48 AM
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If you have to drive to save money, it's doable with shorter drives. And instead of Amboseli, consider Samburu. You can do:

Day 1 - Fairview
Day 2 - Sightseening in NBO - Elephant orphanage, Karen Blixen, Giraffe Center, Carnivore - o/n Fairview
Day 3 - Drive to Mt.Kenya - o/n The Ark, Serena Mountain Village
Day 5 - Drive to Samburu (in place of Amboseli) - o/n
Day 6 - Samburu -o/n
Day 7 - Drive to Sweetwaters - o/n
Day 8 - Drive to Nakuru; afternoon game drive - o/n
Day 9 - morning game drive; drive to Lake Naivasha; flight to Masai Mara - o/n
Day 10 & 11 - Masai Mara - o/n
Day 12 - Fly to Nairobi, fly to Mombasa
Day 13-14 Mombasa
Day 14,late - fly to NBO, connect to homebound flight.

Shorter drives, a few flights, an extra day or two, but will be much easier on grams and everyone else! God bless her! You go grams!!!!

Jan 24th, 2007, 11:32 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,448
yeah, if you are short on time and trying to cut driving, the FIRST thing I would do is cut Aberdares. ( I think I would do that even if I wasn't short on time)

Makuru was cool & you will be staying inside which is GREAT, but to save grandma you may need to cut that too.

waynehazle is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 12:48 PM
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i was at the Ark in Dec for one night. From reading this forum i thought the Ark would not be much fun. I was pleasantly suprised and would say that it was one of the highlights of the trip. Maybe we just got lucky but we had an amazing amount of elephants around the watering hole. We drove to Nakuru the next day and the drive was only 2-3 hours. the road was fine the whole way.

our safari to the Mara we flew back and forth from Nairobi and would recommend that. I hear the drive is really bad.
joeyi is offline  
Jan 30th, 2007, 04:33 PM
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Thank's to you all for great help! Looks like we'll be able to make some changes to the itinerary so that the drives will be ok for my grandmum. We're now going to stay in Nairobi 1 night after arrival, then drive to Amboseli for 2n, back to Nairobi and dinner at Carnivore, next day visit Karen Blixen house, then drive to Aberdares (the Ark) one n., Nakuru next day for one n, Masai Mara 3 nights and then fly to Mombasa for three days stay before heading home. It is still a lot of driving but we'll be able to rest some in between so I hope it will be fine. We really did'nt want to cut out any of the destinations.. We'll be leaving 28th. of february...looking sooo much forward to it!! I will write a trip report when we get home.
Btw: Has anyone stayed at Fairview Hotel in Nairobi or heard anything about it? Thank's again!
phink79 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2007, 05:37 AM
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The Fairview is a lovely family owned hotel. They've added on over the years, since first establishing the place, I believe in the 40s. Their gardens are great and a perfect place to take your meals. It's a nice alternative to the usual Intercontinental, Norfork, Hilton, Serena, etc.
Feb 2nd, 2007, 01:37 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 22
Glad to hear you’re on our way to Kenya.
Just looking through your itinerary there’s a lot going on. You could still do all the parks but I would suggest Starting from Masai Mara to Nakuru....
The road to Amboseli is pretty good so would suggest doing that last.
Amboseli lodge has shut down for the moment so confirm that with your operator in Kenya, as all the other lodges are much higher priced.
Something you might want to consider is going to Tsavo West instead of the Ark. The lodge concept is the same however with Tsavo there is the Mzima Springs and you can do a couple game drives. So for the final part of your safari you could do the Amboseli / Tsavo section and the tour operator normally drops you off in Mombasa for a small fee.
imi is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 06:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
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We stayed at the Fairview last summer. Very nice place with lovely gardens and comfortable rooms. Excellent food. Ask for an inside room (away from the street) if you decide to stay there.
Calo is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 05:48 PM
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We had a "day room" at the Fairview at the end of our Kenya trip. The room was large and comfortable. The grounds were definitely beautiful, and my husband enjoyed the pool.

I was "sort-of-hoping" for an iron/ironing board to prepare for our trip home, but instead, they had a pressing machine that did not work. But no matter, I just wore wrinkled pants.

They had a hair dryer in the bathroom and it felt wonderful to dry my hair after two weeks of an air-dried mess. ;-)

There was a standard hotel coffee maker in the room, but we didn't use that.

The hotel is across from the Israeli embassy, so there is excellent security around the hotel. The road to the hotel is partially blocked (forcing the vehicles to do S turns) and a Kenya guard checks the vehicles that proceed on the street. This has to be one of the safest places to stay considering all of the security.
Amunah is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 06:06 PM
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While being near the Israeli embassy may insure you are safe from many threats, if someone tries to attack the embassy with rockets or mortars, both not terribly accurate, you might rethink that "one of the safest places" comment.

tuckeg is offline  

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