Help with Kenya Safari Itinerary - 2025

Old Feb 19th, 2024, 08:29 AM
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Help with Kenya Safari Itinerary - 2025

I have been reading trip reports and planning threads, and am cautiously ready to ask for advice from the many helpful forum members.

I am a 70 year old female and an enthusiastic (hobbyist) photographer. My favorite subjects are wildlife and landscapes. An African Safari has long been on my bucket list but my husband has had no interest. I have found a new travel partner, and am now ready to book this first African Safari. And no, I did not dump my spouse of 45+ years; my adult stepdaughter is eager to join me and we travel well together.

I originally thought we should go to Kenya and Tanzania, and try to experience as many different environments as possible (we started our investigations by looking at the beautiful full color brochure from one of the high end operators, and most of their classic itineraries switched locations every 2 nights). Research now makes me think we can better use our time by sticking to one country, and Kenya seems to be a popular pick for first timers. Also, I prefer 3 night stays when possible.

We are thinking 10-12 days for safari. This does not include international travel to/from the West Coast of the US. Our budget is about $15k per person, again excluding international airfare. I prefer flight transfers from camp to camp, unless driving distances are short. I have put a sample itinerary together:

Night 1,2 - Nairobi (possibly Nairobi National Park, we will be arriving very late Night 1)
Night 3,4,5 - Lewa Conservancy
Night 6,7,8- Mara Reserve
Night 9,10,11 - Mara Conservancy (is this too much time in the Mara region?)

Our preferred travel time is June of 2025, although we are flexible. I have ruled out going during Migration time. While I am sure it is a wonder to see, the crowds and being in the midst of high season donít appeal.

We donít need the most luxurious accommodations, and prefer camps based on tents
instead of lodges. Most important to me is good guiding and the feeling of being out in the wilderness. I would be happy to have animals and birds near the camp. However, I would like to end our trip with a stay at a higher end luxury property, as a reward to my travel partner for putting up with my photography focus for most of the trip.

One more thought - animals are the focus for me (especially cats, but I will be happy seeing a wide variety). My travel partner is also interested in the cultural experience, and would appreciate opportunities to walk or horseback ride.

This is a lengthy first post, but I wanted to provide enough detail for people who take the time to answer. Thank you in advance.
SharonD is offline  
Old Feb 19th, 2024, 02:31 PM
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There are several well-recommended safari companies mentioned frequently on this forum. I can only speak to the one we booked, The Wild Source, which I found very easy to work with. We had a similar itinerary and to yours which worked well for us. We stayed in a nice hotel in Nairobi, two tented camps and one more luxurious camp in Lewa. Our safari coordinator encouraged us to switch our plans (we were also going to initially end in the more luxurious accommodation) in order to take advantage of the schedule availability of a highly recommended guide. Gamewatchers is another well reviewed agency here and there are others you will find in trip reports (I can't remember their names offhand.)

I recommend contacting a few agencies to get a feel for what they suggest and then focusing on working out a detailed plan with one. We revised our initial plan several times and ended up with an excellent trip.

Happy planning!
KTtravel is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2024, 06:29 AM
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Thank you, @KTravel

i will do as you suggest and reach out to a few of the companies I have seen referenced here, including The Wild Source. Your excellent trip report was one that helped get me to the idea of three nights at a camp where possible.

SD
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Old Mar 20th, 2024, 07:11 AM
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For our first safari in 2017 we were to start at Sosian, which has horseback riding and other activities. There was a tragedy there and we ended up switching to Ol Lentille for our first 4 nights. While there were some animals there, it was really for our cultural immersion and quite a bit of luxury (unlimited spa treatments!) and butlers and valets. We loved it here-we visited our guide's primary school, went on a camel safari with our guide and his son and nephew, visited a Masai village where we stayed for hours. My teens and I asked if we could take pictures on our phones and cameras to show them to the children and before we knew it everyone wanted pictures taken. We went on ATV rides and met the locals, ate fantastic meals in our villa, swam in the pool, enjoyed the fantastic vistas and gently eased into our safari vacation. Talk to your planner-Sosian is again open and might be a good idea, as might Ol Lentille.
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