Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page >

Flight options from SFO to NBO for JUL-SEPT '10, fav agents?

Flight options from SFO to NBO for JUL-SEPT '10, fav agents?

Feb 18th, 2010, 02:27 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Believe of the properties (camps) on the private lands, include in their daily park/conservation fee, 1/day to go into the Reserve/Triangle, especially during the Migration months. If you wish to visit back/forth, then you'll have to pay each time.

If on private, to reserve/triangle - addt'l park fee and vice versa.

As you're looking at June, and spending 10/days... split the time between both areas. No worry about missing a river "crossing" most of which are in/closest the reserve/triangle. These won't happen, if fortunate to experience, till late-July-Sept/Oct.
sandi is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 02:33 PM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,846
Musiara and Sekenani are both part of the Narok County Council side. There should be no separate fees for these sections.

The Triangle is the Trans Mara County Council side. The Serena is on this side.

I don't know if currently 1 fee covers both sides of the reserve.

Separate from the above are private lands outside of the reserve which may have their own fees.

I would definitely get clarification from your tour operator on these issues.
Patty is online now  
Feb 18th, 2010, 02:48 PM
  #23  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 266
Ok, thanks !!
I see a $80/pppd fee for the "park". I assume that probably is for all the 3 sections. Is that a correct assumption ? So, If I want to go see the "big cat diary" Lions in the Musiara section up north...and then go down south to Sekenani section,all while staying at the Serena....there shouldn't be any extra fees for travel in between these regions, right?

Yes, I will definitely get it clarified before I book anything.
TigerPhotog is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 03:16 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,846
I agree with splitting your stay, particularly if you decide to spend all of your time in the Mara. From the Serena, it's not so easy to leave the Triangle as there are only two bridges to cross the Mara River, neither of which are close to the Serena.

For easy access to the Narok side, if you want an economical option, you could look at the Talek area just outside the reserve. I don't think there are any additional fees here since it's not in a conservation area. You just pay the reserve fee when entering the reserve. The downside of the Talek area is that there's a sizeable town nearby and many find the area busy. However when you're in camp, you don't really notice this and the camps are located across the Talek River from the reserve (so your view looks into the reserve). For your game drives, you'd go inside the reserve which is a short drive.

If that doesn't sound good, you could stay at another camp inside the reserve on the Narok side.

For conservation areas outside of the reserve there's Olare Orok adjacent and to the north (though I'm not sure if you can bring your own vehicle to any of the camps here) or Koiyaki/Mara North further to the northwest. These areas will have their own fees and you can do game drives within their area or opt to go inside the reserve (for an additional fee).
Patty is online now  
Feb 18th, 2010, 03:27 PM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,846
Where are you seeing the $80/pppd?

It's hard to say what that covers. The fee for the Triangle is $60/pppd http://www.maratriangle.org/park-fees/
Patty is online now  
Feb 18th, 2010, 03:56 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,525
TigerPhotog, I am about to hijack your thread for a minute. My apologies in advance. Maybe the info will be helpful to you!

Patty, I cannot recall: have you stayed in the conservation areas--think the answer is yes, Mara North...? What did you think and what was the fee situation at that time? Whom did you pay and where, or were the assorted fees included in the overall cost of your safari?

I know you and Mark aren't Mara-crazy but which areas did you prefer?
Leely2 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 05:18 PM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,846
Yes we stayed in what's now Mara North. The reserve fee was $30 then and I'm pretty sure we didn't pay anything on top of that (though the cost was all bundled). We hadn't discussed what areas we'd visit beforehand and there wasn't any mention of additional fees when we were there.

I hate to extrapolate from one experience but have to say that I slightly prefer inside the reserve due to better overall sightings and it felt more "wild". Keep in mind that my experience was 5 years ago and I'm sure a lot has changed.

If I were to go back, I would probably choose a small camp inside the reserve or on Olare Orok. That's the fantasy anyway! The reality of budget constraints might mean I stay in the Talek area instead. I really didn't find the area to be as bad as sometimes portrayed.
Patty is online now  
Feb 18th, 2010, 08:32 PM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 624
TigerPhotog, just a few comments on the tricky subject of the conservancy fees and the Mara.

I visited the Mara Triangle in June 2005 and it most certainly wasn't dry, dusty or devoid of animals so I think you should be optimistic. In some areas the grass was quite high which isn't much help for photography, best to keep that in mind.

On a practical note, the Triangle is becoming more and more strict about access to its' areas which is a very good thing as far as preservation of the area is concerned, but be prepared to be a little frustrated if your main interest is photography. Many of the roads have been closed and the rules about off-roading are very strictly enforced.

When I return, especially if I were to return for longer than 7 days I would split my visit between one of the private conservancies and the Narok side near the Mara river. Because I've just returned from the Mara North Conservancy and have seen how well it has progressed I would probably choose that location again. They have a very high density of lions and of course have the famous Leopard Gorge. They also have the Loita herds of wildebeest and zebras which have their own migration through that northern area. The herds of cattle are/have left and are now mainly in surrounding areas (at least that is what I experienced).

The Mara Triangle is easily accessed from where we were in the MNC, and there are other camps along the Mara River as well but some would be too far to visit the triangle easily.

There are any number of camps along the Mara River in the Narok side so it depends on your budget. This area is rich pickings for photographers.

The Serena's strength lies in the view it has over the main crossing points of the river and if you are not visiting in migration time, I don't know that it would provide much advantage to you and it certainly isn't in a great position to access other areas of the greater Mara area.

Of course, that is all my opinion only.

The fees: because I was there for such a short time (6 nights) and no other safari time I paid up in advance for access to the triangle, NCC, and the MNC. That way I could chose which place I went to depending on weather and whatever else might be happening. In the scheme of things it didn't seem to be so much money and if it helped preserve the Mara Reserve system, well that was a good thing.

Each area has it's own fees and whilst we were viewing lions in the MNC, rangers pulled up a vehicle from the Reserve because they had snuck in without paying. I'd say a bit embarrassing for the camp concerned because the tourists in the back looked a little non-plussed.

If you went into the Olare Orok conservancy then you would be up for another fee, but I didn't head that way. It is all a pretty large area when the outer conservancies are included.

Probably just confused you even further, good luck and thanks for the kind words on my report.
twaffle is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 08:34 PM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 624
Just a thought, if you plan to go in June, check out Serian's rates as they are offering 7 nights for the price of 5 and you get a private vehicle (open sides and top for ease of photography) and easy access to the reserve and the triangle. Not that I'm spruiking for them, but if you are serious about photography it may suit.
twaffle is offline  
Feb 19th, 2010, 05:33 AM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,846
Twaffle,
How much did you ending up paying per day to access MNC, NCC and MT? Is Serian about an hour from the reserve?

I was also thinking of some of the camps just outside the northwest corner of the reserve like Kichwa Tembo, etc (I don't think this area is part of Mara North). They would have good access to either side and might be another option in lieu of a split stay.
Patty is online now  
Feb 19th, 2010, 07:29 AM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Most of the changes in park/conservation fees happened starting with the '07 (maybe '08, who can remember ) season. Though some properties did have combo fees prior depending on where located. Prior then, fees overall were simply lower (believe $50/person)... and park/conservation fees not much of an issue back in '05. When we first visited, 16/yrs ago, the fee was only $20/person/day.

as twaffle mentions - Serian's "stay 7, pay 5" is a pretty good deal, though you do pay for 7/days park/conservation fees. Their regular daily fee for MMNC, where they are located is $95/person; $140/person to cover MMNC, Narok and Reserve. They have a single season rate year-round which at "rack" is $595/person/sharing or $620/person/single. An agent, at contract rates can probably save you $100+/- person/day.

Sekenani is to the northeast of the Reserve, not south of Musiara.

Patty - Kichwa Tembo is outside the reserve and not part of MMNC. Their daily park fee is $60/person which only covers the Triangle.

Drive from Serian to Olonana which is the camp right before reaching Kichwa Tembo was about 1/hr.
sandi is offline  
Feb 19th, 2010, 08:10 AM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,846
Thanks, Sandi. Seems like Serian's long stay discount is a good deal for single travelers wanting a private vehicle.

To clarify, I've been using the term Sekenani to encompass the entire area to the south of the Talek River and east of the Mara Rivers on the Narok side (not referring to Sekenani gate in the northeast).
Patty is online now  
Feb 19th, 2010, 08:13 AM
  #33  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 266
Leely, np, post away...

Twaffle, good idea about Serian.

But, honestly, looking at the price quotes that I am getting ($3500+) for 7 days in mara....for a mid-season like June, I am seriously giving Bandhavgarh a though now (in the same time frame). Too many tiny tiger cubs are present there currently and that trip will be much much cheaper including airfare.
Am confused like Sonali, I guess ...decisions, decisions.
TigerPhotog is offline  
Feb 19th, 2010, 08:14 AM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,846
Oh and if $140 covers all 3 areas, then apparently you're not paying the full daily fees for each area?
Patty is online now  
Feb 19th, 2010, 08:22 AM
  #35  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,846
Is the $3500 per person? How many people traveling? Staying where?
Patty is online now  
Feb 19th, 2010, 08:54 AM
  #36  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 266
Patty,yes, ~3500 pppd (including meetn greet, room in nairobi(2 times),airfare from wilson to mara and back , private 4x4, fees, food,lodging). I am still waiting for quotes from the smaller providers. These (2,3) quotes were from the bulk/bigger operators.

Wow, 15KG limit on internal air baggage allowance, insane !!!! My gear weighs that much...besides, the wife is not coming this time(no baggage to share/splilt), if I go .Lions roaring outside the Ndutu Lodge and Sopa (early mornings) made her decide that . hehe.
TigerPhotog is offline  
Feb 19th, 2010, 08:57 AM
  #37  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 266
Patty, sorry, missed the other questions. 2 people, Mara Serena (but I am sure if I go, I will split the stay in 2 locations (inside/outside the triangle) as per the advice you folks gave, and I agree).
TigerPhotog is offline  
Feb 19th, 2010, 09:55 AM
  #38  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,846
If by bulk/bigger operators you mean like Go2Africa, you should be able to do better than their pricing.

You could always drive to/from the Mara. Yes it's long and bumpy but will save you about $300 plus the transfer costs to/from Wilson. The pain is not so bad spread over a week

Or fly one way back. They don't have scales at the Mara airstrips

Good luck!
Patty is online now  
Feb 19th, 2010, 01:35 PM
  #39  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
$3,500 or $350/nt for single in June is a darn good price. When peak season "sharing" can run in the $450-600+/person/nt. at lux properties. The Serena is probably charging a chunk of $$$ for the private vehicle x 7/days.

The return flight WIL/MAR/WIL is about $300. But having a driver/vehicle to drive you to and return to NBO empty (leaving you at camp to then fly back to NBO at end of safari*) can cost more than half-that.

*and if you change camps, you'll have to pay a transfer fee which varies depending on from where-to-where!

Even if you have to pay overweight when departing Wilson, the fee is per Kg and not much per. Just pack your camera gear as compact as possible and not even present it at weigh-in, you might get away with it. Only put your clothing duffle on the scale and as Patty says, they won't weigh the stuff on the return from Mara... no scales, but the pilot does know from experience what weighs what. Realize that besides paxs and their luggage, the planes also carry provisions for lodges/camps.

The $140 multi-area reserve/conservancies is a good deal especially if you want to stay out all day. However, it's rare to cover that wide an area in one-day unless it's a straight on drive, not if game viewing and clicking away.
sandi is offline  
Feb 19th, 2010, 01:56 PM
  #40  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,846
I was assuming a private guide/vehicle from Nairobi to accompany throughout in which case the vehicle is paid for either way and the flight costs are simply on top of that. I think this would work out less than paying a daily private vehicle supplement to the lodge/camp plus transfer costs between the 3 Mara locations.
Patty is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:19 PM.