Help us plan Kenya Safari

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Aug 7th, 2007, 08:52 PM
  #1
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Help us plan Kenya Safari

We're narrowing down our choices for our upcoming safari (Oct.13-Oct.18).It's been great reading all of your posts, so helpful since this is our first safari. We'll have a private tour so I know we'll be able to be more flexible but I have some questions. If we start from Nairobi and want to go to Masai Mara (at least 2 nights) Lake Nakuru (l night) then which other place should we visit, Amboseli or Samburu? Also, if we want to fly to any of these places (since it seems like the roads are all pretty bad)which ones should we fly to and in what order. Folks said the Masai Mara should be the last stop as it is the best but is it logistically better to leave it for last? We haven't made a final decision on what company to use but it looks like Good Earth might be the one. Anyone able to recommend a good guide (he may not be available but at least we can try)? Thank you for your time...I know I'll definitely share our trip in this forum once we return.
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Aug 8th, 2007, 03:56 AM
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With only 5/days you don't have much time to think driving except for the trip to Lake Nakuru as there is no scheduled flight here. And, once here, if only 1/nt you don't get the benefit of the stay here. Also, the Mara deserves more than 2/nights.

Even with flying to avoid the long and lousy roads, this too takes times.

With only 5/days, you can comfortably do only two parks/reserves:

13 Oct - Fly to Samburu - o/n
14 Oct - Samburu - o/n
15 Oct - Fly to Masai Mara - o/n
16 Oct - MM - o/n
17 Oct - Fly to Nairobi; afternoon touring - o/n
18 Oct - morning visit Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, afternoon flight to Mombassa

or replace Samburu with Amboseli

I'd choose Samburu, though Amboseli might be a bit less expensive as the flight cost is lower, but not by much.
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Aug 8th, 2007, 07:00 AM
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Sandi, do you mind posting your email address?
Thanks,
Jane
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Aug 8th, 2007, 07:30 AM
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gypsysoul,
At the very least, I'd fly back to Nairobi from the Mara if you end your safari there. What time does your flight depart Nairobi on the 18th? If you have a late flight, you could maximize your time and spend the 17th on safari.

JaneB,
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Aug 8th, 2007, 09:49 AM
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I could be wrong, but I believe Good Earth mostly works out of Tanzania!
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Aug 8th, 2007, 10:02 AM
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Yes, Good Earth operates in Tanzania. I believe Safariline is their partner operator in Kenya.
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Aug 8th, 2007, 06:32 PM
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Latest update....
10/13 leave Nairobi airport 9am.Drive to Samburu.Arrive for lunch & game drive.Spend the night.
10/14 Full day Samburu.Spend the night.
10/15 Drive to Lake Nakuru & spend the night.
10/16 Drive to Masai Mara. Spend the night
10/17 Full day Masai Mara. Spend the night
10/18 Another game drive.Flight to Nairobi about 4pm. Flight back to San Francisco 10:00 p.m.
I'm waiting for a quote from Good Earth and Graduate Tours. Should know by tomorrow...Good Earth does both Kenya & Tanzania altho I don't know what operator they use in Kenya. Both companies have been very helpful on the phone. We were wondering about the baggage restriction (33lbs.)for the small plane and both companies said they could store our suitcases (we'd just take a small duffel bag)while we do the safari.Then we'd pick them up in Nairobi before our flight.That was music to my husband's ears because, believe it or not, it's Him that wants to take alot of clothes (since we're spending 2 weeks in Mombasa first). I'd be fine with just a duffel bag for the whole trip.Thanks again...
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Aug 8th, 2007, 08:54 PM
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Some of you (us) spend so much time getting between camps and so little time at the camps and game drives. Four-five days, three camps. I just don't understand it. Just my 2 cents.
regards - tom
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Aug 8th, 2007, 10:09 PM
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We flew but I believe takes 6-8 hours to drive from Nairobi to Samburu. I would fly.

Would stay three nights in the Mara and skip Lake Nakuru. Would fly, not drive.

Best prices would most likely be Southern Cross (we used), Eastern and Southern or African Serendipity.

Kevin from California
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Aug 8th, 2007, 10:09 PM
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I guess the reason we've chosen 3 camps is to be able to see something different in each one and get a feel for the country. Since this is our first trip...maybe the next time we'll allow more time or visit less places. I feel like any time I spend there, whether it's on the road or at a camp will be something new and exciting.
To TOM: How many days have you spent at each camp & which ones have you stayed in? What's your favorite? Just curious...Thanks...
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Aug 8th, 2007, 10:55 PM
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gypsysoul - well, now you're going to think I'm looney . I like to maximize my game drive time which usually means staying at camps a few days. The LEAST time I've spent in a camp was four nights my first time at MalaMala. Almost always I stay 5 nights in each camp. When I go back to MalaMala this Sept I will stay 6 nights. Mala is my favorite. But I have been to maybe seven other camps. The only camp I have been to in Kenya was Little Governors for 5 nights. Loved it, want to go back. I have three safari trip reports on the board, you should be able to find them with a search on my name above (cary999). Here's a link to the one last Sept - http://tinyurl.com/3783zv that includes Little Governors. Note the photos from it are no longer at the Kodakgallery, the new location is at the end of the trip report.

regards - tom
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Aug 9th, 2007, 06:00 AM
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It's one thing to "try to see the country" but I can assure you that after 6+/hrs on the road to Samburu, you won't be all that impressed. And, may never want to return.

This coming from someone who has done drives and flying in Kenya.

You'd be better with less places visited and more time at the parks and enjoying the reason you're there... game viewing and scenery, than bumping along the lousy roads.

With the short time, I'd take advantage of the best with the least amount of discomfort. You'll be so exhausted when you get to those three stops, you may not even want to go out on game drives.

Besides the 6+/hrs to Samburu; it's another 5/hrs to Lake Nakuru and then 6+/hrs to the Masai Mara.

I'd rethink driving vs flying.
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Aug 9th, 2007, 09:38 AM
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You mentioned that you're spending 2 weeks in Mombasa first. Could you possibly reduce that by a couple of days and add it to your safari portion? You could then break up the driving a bit and have a less rushed itinerary. Doing back to back 6 hour drives with one overnight in between can be pretty exhausting.
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Aug 9th, 2007, 03:28 PM
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I'm starting to have second thoughts about the long drives. Maybe visiting only Lake Nakuru and the Mara is our best bet. Or just the Mara...I keep changing my mind based on different things I'm reading. The reason we're spending 2 weeks at Mombasa is because we have that time on our "time share", so no we don't want to cut that short. But I feel 6 full days for the safari is not bad at all (of course if we could do more that would be great, but not this time around)but maybe it's not long enough to do the 3 stops. Sounds like the road is not only long but pretty bad, altho I heard the roads to Samburu and Lake Nakuru are paved. Is that true? Also, they were supposedly working on expanding the road to Masai Mara back in April so maybe they've made it better?
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Aug 9th, 2007, 03:40 PM
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Nairobi to Samburu is mostly paved and OK up until Isiolo. After Isiolo, it becomes a pretty rutted, washboard road but this is just the last hour(?) or so. Coming back it's the same thing until Isiolo and although I haven't done the drive all the way to Nakuru from Samburu, from what I've read, this section is also OK. The worst roads are the ones going to the Mara unless you're going to the camps located to the west in which case it's really bad until Narok but improves substantially after that. If you're staying on the east side, from what I understand, it's just more of the same bad road all the way to the reserve. I'm not sure how much road work has been done but I wouldn't expect quick progress
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Aug 10th, 2007, 05:48 PM
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Once again, I've revised our itinerary based on all your good suggestions. We agree it would have been too much driving in too short a time. So here it is:
Day 1-Leave Nairobi @ 7:30a.m. Drive to Sanburu with our guide.Afternoon game drive.Samburu Serena Lodge (2nights)

Day 2- Samburu. AM & PM game drive

Day 3- 9:15 am. flight to Massai Mara. Arrive at 10:45am. Meet new guide & have game drive in afternoon. Saravo Mara Tented Camp.(3nights)

Day 4- AM & PM game drives in Mara.

Day 5- AM & PM game drives in Mara

Day 6- AM game drive, lunch, another game drive. Take 5:15pm flight to Wilson Airport in Niarobi. Meet guide & transfer to Nairobi airport.
Catch 10:15 p.m. flight for San Francisco.

Quote from Good Earth tours: $2,360 per person.(of course this includes 3 meals a day)

What do you think?
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