Flights from Mara to Wilson

Aug 23rd, 2008, 10:36 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 337
Flights from Mara to Wilson

With a little more than 4 weeks before we leave for our trip to Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya, we have hit a few snags (I'll save that for a later post).

But, because of some of the scheduling problems we've had so far, it's making me re-think our arrangements on our last day.

We are supposed to do a morning game drive in Maasai Mara. After lunch transfer to the airstrip for our flight to Nairobi - Wilson Airport departing at 16:00 hrs and arriving approx. 17:30 hrs. Then transfer to the Int'l airport for our flight home departing at 23:50 hrs.

But that is the last flight from the Mara to Wilson of the day.
And we absolutely MUST make our flight back to the U.S. that night.
So, I was wondering if we should change to the earlier flight from Mara to Wilson (departs at 11:00 hrs to arrive Nairobi - Wilson Airport approx 12:15), just to be on the safe side.
We are feeling a bit burned since we've already had some flight changes that have messed up our itinerary.

This would give us 12 hours in Nairobi...which wouldn't normally be a bad thing, except that due to one of our snags, we already will have a full day in Nairobi earlier in the trip, which we will fill by visiting the Giraffe Center and Sheldrick Orphanage.
We don't eat meat and are not interested in going to the Carnivore Restaurant.

We will be flying in business class on Kenya Airways.
Does anyone know what their business class lounge is like? Is there free high speed internet, showers, etc?
If so, we could certainly have lunch somewhere in Nairobi, then just chill out at the airport lounge.
But I can't really find any info on the amenities at the airport online.

Should we just take the last flight out of the Mara, or is it too risky?
I guess since I know that we'd both be nervous about it, then I know the answer to this question.
But my husband pointed out that it is probably the same exact plane that's used for the 11:00am flight as for the 16:00 flight.
If there's a mechanical problem, would they get another plane or would they say, "Come back tomorrow"?

Also, if we take the earlier flight, it seems like we will get jipped out of one of our game drives, and I'm guessing we will NOT be reimbursed for that?




luv2globetrot is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2008, 10:54 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 253
There is no reason you have to miss the morning game drive. Just go to the airport immediately after and skip lunch in the Mara and do that in Nairobi.
aowens is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2008, 12:03 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Even if you take the 11am flight, you'll have your morning game drive, breakfast then transfer to airstrip.

Even if the 4pm flight departing the Mara is late, it won't be so late that you still won't have to sit at JKIA (in the lounge or elsewhere) till departure at 11:50pm. If late or a mechanical, they'll send in another plane. They know some paxs are scheduled for homebound flights out of JKIA.

If you'd prefer not to chance the 4pm, then take the earlier and arrange a hotel day-room - Fairview or Machushla House - nice and reasonably priced, with 8-9pm transfer to JKIA for your homebound flight.

If you adopt an ellee at Sheldrick, you can arrange to visit at 5pm, then have a leisurely dinner... plenty of cuisines to choose; then transfer to JKIA.

Your agent should be able to work out any of these options/changes.
sandi is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2008, 02:20 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 76

All of this took place on Sun. June 22, 2008. I have no idea what outbound traffic from Nairobi on any other day is like.

We, DH, me & our 2 travel buddies, just took the same flight that you are questioning. It was a little?? late but this was no problem. You have to understand that I am, as my DD says, am a very anal retentive person.

The trip from Wilson to NBO is not much of a problem as everyone is coming into Nairobi and you will be headed out.

Going through security at NBO was fast and with no glitches. We had checked luggage, only had backpacks & carry-on duffles. I always like to make a fashion statement. LOL

I do want to advise you that we found only sandwich type fare at NBO unless we missed an actual restaurant?? The sandwich was ok and the beer was cold, so all was fine.

Personally, I would not have wanted to have missed the morning game drive in the Mara, as I as usually want to do on vacation want to stay "just a bit longer".
llorear is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2008, 03:24 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 337
Thanks for the replies

It wasn't that we were worried so much about being delayed, as we would have almost 7 hours to play with.
It's more a worry of the flight being cancelled due to a mechanical and them saying, "You'll have to catch the flight tomorrow."

Really good to know that we'll still get to do the morning game drive even if we opt for the earlier flight!

I do like the idea of adopting an ellee and visiting him/her.
I'll have to look into that.
Do you actually get hands on time?
I'll ask about a day room at Fairview.
That is where we are staying earlier in the trip on our way back from Rwanda before we begin our Kenya portion.

I'm still hoping to hear from anyone who's been to the Kenya Airways Business Class lounge....anyone??


luv2globetrot is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 03:31 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 343
There are 2 lounges: 1. for Sky team elite members flying on Economy and the Simba lounge only for pax holding a business class ticket. Both lounges are nothing special. Simba lounge better but is very small, limited seating and no views as there are no windows. Drinks ok.
Alejandra is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 04:55 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
If for some unforeseen reason the 4pm flight is canceled... would mean that all who were scheduled would have to be returned to the lodge/camp where they just gave up rooms and hope they could be re-accommodated. That's unlikel to happen. The air carriers - Air Kenya or Safari Link - have more than 1/plane. Often they send a few planes from NBO to pick up from the various Mara airstrips.

If you take t he 4pm to WIL, not arriving till after 5:15pm or later, it might be too late to visit at Sheldrick. The ellees come in from the field at 4:45-5pm, and those who do visit with the handlers and their chubbette do have hands-on time.

Why, with the 11am flight, you'll still have the early morning game drive, another drive on way to airstrp; get a day-room, relax, have lunch (Fairview gardens are lovely); arrange to visit Sheldrick late-afternoon, have dinner somewhere (lost of choices) - then head to JKIA.
sandi is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 05:20 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 337
Thanks for the ideas, sandi.
I'll have to think about all of that.

Alejandra, thanks for the info about the lounges. Sounds like they're pretty basic.


luv2globetrot is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 12:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 76
Sorry, previous post should have read, no checked luggage.
llorear is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 12:20 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,232
if i were terrified to miss the long-haul i would book the morning flight leaving the mara at 11.00h

you don't miss anything at camp except the lunch and then hanging around till 16.00h except you would do a game walk which i doubt.

following sandi's advise i would have a relaxed lunch and visit the animal orphanage (despite i hate how they accommodate the animals) followed by the afternoon visit to the sheldrick foundation - if you adopt an elephant for 50$/year which is very good investment!
both venues are quite close together located! so make it one trip.

divine54 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 01:26 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
The Sheldrick Orphanage viewing is open only 11am-12N daily. For those who adopt an ellee (USD$50) can visit late afternoon, but you do have to advise them in advance, so you are permitted entry.
sandi is offline  
Aug 26th, 2008, 07:58 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 509
It only took us a simple email to Sheldrick to arrange the afternoon 5:15 pm visit for sponsors -- check in was very relaxed and we enjoyed seeing "our" baby Dida plus two newcomers that arrived after we left the US. Note: the ellies are very intent on getting their evening feed, so don't expect ANY interest in you until that is accomplished!
skibumette is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 06:37 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,986
The Simba lounge does have showers (2 I believe). They're located between the men's and women's restrooms. There are also two free computer terminals with internet access in the lounge at least in theory I've only seen them work once. Every other time they've been on the fritz. The lounge is quite small and can get crowded when there are several flights departing like in the late evenings.
Patty is offline  
Sep 1st, 2008, 05:52 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 337
Thanks Patty,

We'll be there for about 6 hours before our flight.
We'll have our laptop and were hoping for free wifi.
Do you know if they have that?
Or are there places to plug in a laptop so you could watch a movie or something?

luv2globetrot is offline  
Sep 1st, 2008, 06:32 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 295
As previous posters have noted there is no reason to miss your morning game drive. No issues with traffic.

IMHO, Nairobi International Airport is a place to spend the mininum amount of time. WiFi - free or otherwise is non-existent in my experience. I fly F on BA and dread my time in even BA's "lounge". You will be lucky if the A/C is even working.
AlwaysOnTheRoad is offline  
Sep 1st, 2008, 06:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 185

just came back last Friday with the 4 pm flight from Mara to Wilson and had International flight back to Europe 11.45 pm.

The flights were - as always with Kenya Airways - delayed, so we took off in the Mara 6.20 pm instead of 4 pm. But you will have enough time anyway.

As I was told, Safarilink is the better company, they are on schedule and do not cancel flights. Price is pretty much the same.

As to Nairobi Lounges: we were in both lounges, completely crowded this time (last time it was slightly better), no showers and no internet available. So we had to stay in our safari clothes... Anyway, we slept in the plane and arrived early in the morning so we didn't care much. Lounges are inside, so after check in of the luggage. Not a place where you want to stay more time than necessary. Drinks were ok, no food.

Dayroom: Fairview and others give day rooms until 6 pm, if you are lucky until 8 pm, so with our delay from the Mara (which seems to be normal) we couldn't use day room at all.

Hope this helps.
steffid is offline  
Sep 1st, 2008, 12:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,986
Sorry, Lisa. I don't know if they have wifi or any place to plug in your laptop.

Were you in the Simba lounge? There's no signage for the showers but they do exist (at least they did in Feb) and there are usually some finger sandwiches and snacks.
Patty is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2008, 12:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 185
Patty, yes we were in Simba Lounge and you're right, there is a shower but is was closed (under construction?). Lounge was very crowded and food was eaten up except for some nuts and chips. Drinks were very much ok.

But anyway, this is the sadest time of holiday and I do not care much about these waiting hours...
steffid is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Africa & the Middle East
Aug 27th, 2010 12:00 AM
Africa & the Middle East
Nov 14th, 2008 10:21 AM
Africa & the Middle East
Aug 22nd, 2007 03:34 AM
Africa & the Middle East
Dec 2nd, 2005 09:06 AM
Africa & the Middle East
Jul 26th, 2004 05:37 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:41 PM.