Help with Kenya Itinerary

Old Sep 14th, 2006, 07:00 AM
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Help with Kenya Itinerary

My wife and I are considering a trip to Kenya with Elderhostel in August (14 nights), hopefully to see the Wildebeest migration. It would be our first African adventure and we would appreciate some feedback on their published itinerary, hotels, and cost. Thanks in advance.

Los Angeles to London 1 night (Holiday Inn Heathrow)
Arrivals Nairobi, 1 night (Nairobi Serena)
Safari van to Amboseli National Park, 3 nights (Ol Tukai Lodge)
Flight and safari van to Lake Nakuru National Park, 2 nights (Lake Nakuru Lodge)
Safari van to Sweetwaters Game Reserve, 2 nights (Sweetwaters Tented Camp)
Flight and safari vehicle to Masai Mara, 3 nights (Mara Serena)
Fly to/departures Nairobi (dayroom accommodations at the Nairobi Serena Hotel)
Cost, including airfare, meals, gratuities is $5897 per person.
Tour uses pop up vans which accommodate 6 participants. Each of the seats has a window view.


martinlevine is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2006, 07:29 AM
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to me (two trips to kenya) that pricing seems high, unless it includes your international airfare.

but does elderhostel also provide interpretive programs/lectures?

by comparison, on my own, last minute, i organized 1 night lake nakuru, 3 nights masai mara and 2 nights amboseli with flights (not drives) and a night in nairobi for under $2000. i added the beach for an additional $250 which was all meals included, so, to me it seems high. but i'm no expert, just an independent traveler.

what about oats, do they go there?
kerikeri
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Old Sep 14th, 2006, 07:52 AM
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Even with international flights that seems high to me for a group safari.

Are you interested in going with a group or would you prefer a private safari (your own guide/vehicle)?

If I were you I'd contact some local operators and see how they can price it out for you and also look online for flights. I used Gamewatchers Safaris for our safari this August to Kenya and was very happy with their service.

Also, this is just personal preference, but I think your safari is a little long. You definitely don't need two nights in Nakuru (one will do nicely). Also, since you're there to catch the wildebeest migration, I'd add at least another night to the Mara.

Good luck!
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Old Sep 14th, 2006, 09:03 AM
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Martin


Quite a long first time safari but provided you're up for it I would personally try to fit Samburu in for 2-3 nights keep Nakuru down to one night and eliminate Sweetwaters (which is nice but in my opinion there are better places). If you are driving I would reduce Amboseli by a night and break the Nairobi to Samburu drive up with a night at an Aberdares tree lodge. I also agree with the previous poster that, if migration is your objective, go to Mara for 4 nights.

Phil
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Old Sep 14th, 2006, 06:11 PM
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Another vote for 4 nights in the Mara in August. I've stayed at Serena and it is a good lodge in a nice central location. A better option in the Mara would be a tented camp in my opinion.

Another Fodorite and I were just discussing how we each had only 1 night at Nakuru and would have liked 2. But 1 night is typical of most itineraries. I stayed at Nakuru Lodge and it was very nice. It is on the lower end of the available properties.

Three nights in Amboseli may be more than you need and I'd certainly trade one Amboseli night for a fourth in the Mara. Maybe you are doing special elephant activities here that require 3 nights. Ol Tukai has gotten great reviews.

Phil's Samburu suggestion is a good one in my opinion, maybe in place of Sweetwaters. (Sweetwaters is the only place on your itinerary I have not been.) You can see the northern species at both Sweetwaters and Samburu.

What you'd be giving up at Sweetwater's is a tented camp experience. It is the only tented camp in this itinerary. However, if you booked with an agent, you could design your own itinerary and do 4 nights in a tented camp in the Mara. You could also do a tented camp in Samburu, if you went there.

Without Sweetwaters you'd also be giving up the opportunity for night drives. None of the other properties listed do them. You could stay elsewhere in Amboseli and the Mara and do night drives there.

Sweetwaters also has a good population of rhinos. Nakuru has rhino too. I think a slightly better chance to see rhino is Sweetwaters.

Finally Sweetwaters has a Jane Goodall Chimp Sanctuary with rescued chimps that live in a wild setting but are not wild. I've been to other JGI chimp sanctuaries and have really enjoyed them. Another Fodorite just posted that the chimps at Sweetwaters were the only disappointment of the safari. Too zoo-like.

As far as the itinerary being too long, since you have several 3 night stays and are seeing different regions, it is a nice number of days.

Have a great trip whatever itinerary you end up with.
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Old Sep 15th, 2006, 04:46 AM
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I just thought of something else. If you wanted to do the Elderhostel plan you could just stay on another day or two in the Mara at the end. I've done that on other group trips (not to Kenya) a few times and always was glad I added days.

In fact my first trip included both the Mara Serena and then on to Little Governor's, a tented camp in the Mara.
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Old Sep 19th, 2006, 07:45 PM
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We were in Kenya for 10 days. We paid $6000 per person but that did include our international air and 4 local flights. Also, we stayed 2 nights Amboseli Serena, 2 Sweetwaters, 2 Samburu Sopa and 2 nights at the Governors Il MOran.
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Old Sep 19th, 2006, 11:02 PM
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hi martinlevine

as others have already wrote, i too am for Samburu instead of Sweetwaters (been a number of times in Sweetwaters& many times in Samburu).
like Phil i recommend a night viewing lodge (like Ark or Mt, Lodge)

finally my view is that a fresh-water lake is close to a "must see"

aby
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Old Sep 20th, 2006, 08:06 AM
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That price is rather high. Check out goaheadtours.com based in Boston. Their concept is somewhat similar to Elderhostel. They have a 13 day tour for $4074 per person. That includes int'l airfare with Los Angeles as the departing city.

I was going to book with them initially but I opted for a private safari instead.
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Old Mar 6th, 2007, 05:15 AM
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Have already booked the same trip you are considering with Elderhostel for October. We priced and priced and priced out many companies and for what we wanted to see it wasn't the cheapest but did have many of the things we were looking for. The people we have dealt with have been very helpful so far. We have already booked a stopover in London and are thinking about add-on. If you do book your trip with Elderhostel please let me know your opinion of it.
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