Governor's Camps

Dec 13th, 2007, 01:01 PM
  #1  
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Governor's Camps

Okay, so I promise we will soon decide what we're doing for vacation and stop asking all these stupid questions!

First off, we've decided against Tanzania in favour of the Mara in September. We're leaning towards the Governor's camps and wondering if we'll be in the middle of all the migration activity or if we should be looking somewhere else. For the price they charge, I want to be right in the thick of it! And what do you think of Governor's vs. Little Govenor's. As well, any thoughts on the new Silverback Lodge in Rwanda as well as what conditions are like in September. Many thanks again!
loru100 is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 01:27 PM
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Questions are fun - keep them coming!!!!

We were at Little Governors for five nights in mid Sept 2006. It was a very nice smallish camp and I would like to go back. But have not been to Governors for comparison.

As for migration then, it was going on some, but, not the huge herds. We did see one river crossing involving about 50 zebras and 100 wildebeest. Did have many other good sightings of cheetah and lion.

Anyone else out there who was in Mara Sept 2007? How was wildebeest migration thing?

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 01:57 PM
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I liked Little Govs. Who knows exactly where the migration will be in Sept. Depends on rains and the wildebeest, but I think the Gov location is a good one.

If you are considering a balloon trip, they leave from Little Gov. You may want to request a tent far from the balloon activity, which starts about 4:30 am.
atravelynn is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 02:13 PM
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I must confess that I felt that 17 tents (Little Governor's) was really rather a lot to be calling the camp "little" given the many camps that offer just a handful of tents. But I know that 17 is certainly little when compared with the 30-something tents at the main Governor's Camp.

Both have lovely settings, I particularly like the outlook from the main camp over the river from both the tents (not sure if all or just some) and the public areas. We had some truly magnicicent elephant viewing from the public area as well as some close hippo encounters!

Personally I just found the camp a little large and were it not for the fact I was attending a special wildlife festival thing where the entire camp was booked out to our group, I think I'd have found it less than ideal.

Be aware that most tents have no electrics and are therefore lit by paraffin lamps. This sounds wonderfully romantic but means that, when you wake in the dark mornings, or get to bed after dark, you have a real job trying to see what you're doing in terms of searching your luggage for clothes or other items and so on. Even with torches it's difficult; next time I'll remember to pack the torch which I can put onto my forehead which should help.

They do have a handful of tents with electricity I think.
Kavey is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 02:15 PM
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I was at Governor's (Il Moran) in late July this year. The migration was not at its peak, but it was certainly going on. One day we just sat in the midst of a wildebeest herd -- maybe 5,000, maybe 10,00 -- for an hour or more, just watching (with increasing admiration) as these noble creatures meandered, grazed, galloped, socialized, and did whatever else wildebeest do.

Governor's camps are very well located. It was probably no more than a 10- or 15-minute drive to the migration routes, and maybe another 10 or 15 minutes to some of the more likely river crossing sports. I found all of the staff at the camp to be personable and helpful -- the camp absolutely met or exceeded all my expectations.
DonTopaz is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 02:16 PM
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Last time I was at Governors' Camps they had 3 camps.

Main Governors Camp had 38 tents
Little Governors had 17 tents and their up market camp Il Moran had 10 tents.

I have stayed at all 3 camps and my favourite by far was Little Governors.

I have read that they have also opened a fly camp which is outside the Game Park and so it is able to offer night drives. I have not stayed at the fly camp, but I did once have breakfast there after an early morning walk with the Il Moran camp manager.

I stayed at LG four times, once during the migration in September, but the rains failed that year and so unfortunately most of the plains game stayed in the serengeti that year.

We always use to stay in tent 17 (the honeymoon tent), it's the furthest from the river and baloon activity.

Hope this helps you
briggsy is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 08:16 PM
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We stayed at LG a year ago August. Just loved being on the marsh. Elephants in camp fairly frequently. (Our adult kids were stuck in their tent for a couple of hours when they did not go on a game drive with us.)

Highly recommend.

Kevin from California
stakerk is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 09:09 PM
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Have we answered loru100's question? Is the migration usually in the Mara, Governors camps specifically, in September? I'd like to know that also.

rizzuto - your visit in late July 2007, do you think you were a bit early or late for the migration?

Also I forgot, yes, Lil Gov "tents" do not have electricity. Battery charging etc was done in a special room near the office setup for such. We really didn't miss the electricity, the lanterns were fine, went to bed soon after dinner and got up at sunrise for the game drive.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 01:25 AM
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loru100,

We stayed at Lil Governors back in 2002. Was fantastic gameviewing ....... infact, the plane could not land on their airstrip as the migration was right there that particular week. I think it maz have been right at the end of August or thereabouts ....

Rgds
Hari
HariS is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 02:33 AM
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Tom, I must admit, I didn't think I'd miss electricity in the tents at all (during my visit in early April) but because we did some veeery long days to make the most of the festival it was pitch black when we went back to tents and dark when we woke and I really did find it hard to find clothing and toiletries etc. in my bags...

But it was certainly not a major deal and I'll simply take better torch lights for similar situations in the future including one or two of the small ones that can be stood on a surface and used as lamps and my head torch as well.
Kavey is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 04:24 AM
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Tom, late July this year was just a bit early for the peak of the migration. The migration was late in getting to the Mara this year: the guides were thinking that it might have had something to do with the above-average rainfall. They were surmising that the rain kept the grasses growing longer than normal, thus the wildebeest weren't so anxious to move. Of course, that's only a theory, and none of the wildebeest that I spoke to was willing to give a full explanation.
DonTopaz is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 06:43 AM
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Thanks for the replies...keep 'em coming!

Now your thoughts on Mara Serena or Intrepids. Serena is obviously larger (and cheaper)...do you know if you can book a private vehicle there? Do any of these camps do night drives? You have to be out of the park for the night drives, correct?

Rizzuto, did you happen to get the name of a wildbeest you were speaking with?

loru100 is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 07:10 AM
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We stayed at Mara Explorer in October - lots of Wildebeasts, Cheetahs and Mating Lions. Only saw a minor rivercrossing. Mara Explorer is small and intimate. Great food. Great Tents. Hippos walking through camp at night - a little scary! Would definitely return.


Cheweyhead is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 08:04 AM
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I can't comment on either of the Governor's camps you mention. I think Governor's and Little Governor's are on different sides of the River - anyone?? I have stayed at the Serena twice back in '95 (June) and '97 (July) and can't remember much about any migration activity I liked the rooms which I understand have been re-done with a little balcony (with French doors) off the room. The Serena is in a good location for the crossings that occur practically in their backyard. The Serena caters a lot to tour groups (which I was on), but I prefer to stay now at tented camps not doing tours anymore.

I have been staying at Kichwa Tembo tented camp since 2003. Here is my remembrance of the migrations during my stays.

2003 - August (8/12-8/26) - Very decent-good action around the Fig Tree area and Serena

2004 - August (8/16-9/3) - Decent - especially around the Serena

2005 - August (8/4-8/25) - Very good - around Kichwa Tembo and Serena

2006 - Sept (9/4-9/22) - Excellent - wildebeasts/zebras all over the place-you could hardly move around (I mean tens of thousands)-Some of the best crossings ever at all the major crossing points. The only downside was that there were SO many wildebeasts around that the ellies hardly ever came down from the escarpment. Since ellies are my favorite I was disappointed in that. To comment on cary999's statement about not seeing huge herds. The herds started coming in around 9/9 or so and continued on thruout our stay, so don't understand how you missed the big herds as I'm pretty sure Little Governor's is on the same side of the river at Kichwa Tembo?

2007 - Sept (9/5-9/23) - So, So - Some good crossings, but the wildebeasts were really spread out all over the place and couldn't decide if they wanted to stay in Kenya or Tanzania. I was a happy camper 'cause there were lots and lots of ellies around.

So, to make a long story even longer, I prefer visiting the Mara in September - whether the migration is there on not. They is a lot other 'stuff' to see.

Who knows what the wildebeasts will be doing September 2008!


DanaPhx is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 01:20 PM
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Loru, his name was William, and his companions called him Will Da Beast.
DonTopaz is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 01:23 PM
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Yes we had to cross a river when travelling from G's to LG's.
Kavey is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 02:56 PM
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When we were at Lil Gov (Sep 2006) we crossed the Mara river by small boat to get to our game drive vehicle and then drove on that side of the Mara. (Same side that Gov camp is on). Here's about 30 photos from Lil Gov part of the safari.
http://tinyurl.com/34j2yg
Note that photo number 2 is of the boat crossing and walk up about 40 steps. Same thing on other side of river. Photo no. 3 is of our "tent".

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 05:15 PM
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Tom's pictures are great!
We were at Little Governors in September -- tent 17. We particularly seek out camps without electricity -- Little Governors was the only one we had this time! Our guide, Samuel, was great. The game was great. I did think the camp staff was a little impersonal, probably because of the size of the camp -- the largest camp we stayed at during our trip -- Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia. It was our second stay at Lil Govs -- I'd been to Main Govs twice before. We also stayed at Governors' Loldia House at Lake Naivasha -- our first nights out of Nairobi. It was a great place! Have fun on your trip!
Samcat8
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Dec 14th, 2007, 09:06 PM
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samcat - did you find any difference between the Gov camps? which did you prefer? Our guide at Lil Gov was just ok. He did what we asked him to do but that was about all.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2007, 07:21 AM
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Amazing pictures Tom...especially the zebra and the croc.

Thanks again for the replies. Still in the early planning stages when you have a destination in mind but can't seem to get it all together! Will continue to do some more research.
loru100 is offline  

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