Help with Kenyan safari itinerary

Old Apr 22nd, 2010, 08:09 AM
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Help with Kenyan safari itinerary

Hello,

My family of 6 adults will be arriving in Nairobi on May 26, 2010 and I am presently researching some safari packages. First off, has anyone heard of African Horizons? They've put together the following package which is appealing to us:

Day 1 26/05/2010 Nakuru National Park
~Met by African Horizons at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport upon arrival by our safari driver guide
~Drive to Lake Nakuru National Park famous as the home to thousands of lesser and greater flamingo. This park also provides sanctuary for Rothschild giraffe, rhino and leopard.
~After noon game drive in Lake Nakuru National Park
~Overnight at Lake Nakuru Lodge (Lunch, dinner, bed & breakfast included)

Day 2 27/05/2010 Masai Mara
~Drive via Narok to the Masai Mara National Reserve offering wonderful scenery and plenty of game. It is perhaps the only region left in Kenya where the visitor may see animals in the same super-abundance as existed a century ago.
~Lunch at the Lodge
~After noon game drive in Masai Mara
~Overnight at Masai Mara Sopa Lodge (Lunch, dinner, bed & breakfast included)

Day 3 28/05/2010 Masai Mara
~Early morning game drive before breakfast (optional no extra charge)
~Day spent game-viewing in the reserve.
~Morning game drive in Masai Mara
~Lunch at the Lodge
~After noon game drive in Masai Mara
~Overnight at Masai Mara Sopa Lodge (Lunch, dinner, bed & breakfast included)

Day 4 29/05/2010 Masai Mara
~Day spent game-viewing in the reserve.
~Morning game drive in Masai Mara
~Lunch at the Lodge
~After noon game drive in Masai Mara
~Overnight at Masai Mara Sopa Lodge (Lunch, dinner, bed & breakfast included)

Day 5 30/05/2010 Nairobi
~Morning game drive in Masai Mara
~Drive to Nairobi, Kenya's colourful capital city. (Lunch under own arrangements in Nairobi or take optional picnic lunch from the lodge)
~Afternoon at leisure in Nairobi
~Dinner at Carnivore Restaurant
~Transfer to airport

End of services:

All this for $710 pp!!

Has anyone stayed at either of these lodges? Can you suggest anything that we might be missing? Some tour operators suggest flying from Nairobi to Masai Mara, but we can't afford that.

Will we see any migration at this time of year?

Any thoughts/suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Thank you, Patti
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Old Apr 22nd, 2010, 08:46 AM
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It's only 4/nts and May is low-season so prices is at your advantage. And, with 6/pax, the cost of guide/vehicle is divided by all. The price averages $178/person/nt; when considering that the daily park fee is $60/person... you've got a good deal.

The accommodations are fine. However, the Sopa Lodge is located outside the Reserve which entails quite a drive, thus I'd would suggest you inquire about one inside, such as the Serena or Keekorok, which prices will be slightly higher. Unless, of course, your budget will allow for a tented camp, as Kichwa Tembo.

Flying would cost about $300/person/return, so guess that won't work.

During late-May is NOT the time for the migration which doesn't arrive in the Mara before late-July earliest, but there are resident wildebeest herds that never migrate, besides plenty of other game... the Mara is always good.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2010, 08:10 PM
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Ok Sandi, now we are looking at something else. It looks like Amboseli National Park is the second favorite park in Kenya (second to Masai Mara). Could you tell me approximately how long it would take to get between these three two parks and back to Nairobi via road? (Nairobi to Masai Mara to Amboseli back to Nairobi). Can it be done in 4 nights and 5 full days (driving)? Can you recommend camps/lodges in each park?

Thanks much,
Patti
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Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 04:59 AM
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Drive time
Nairobi/Amboseli = 4.5/hrs
Nairobi/Mara = 5-6/hrs

If visiting Amboseli first, on your return trip it's 4.5/hrs back to Nairobi. Hopefully, a stop for lunch. Then 5-6/hrs to the Mara, not arriving till dusk when the park closes. So a full day wasted traveling.

If visiting Mara first, on the return from the Mara you encounter the same distances/time and waste a day in transit.

The Mara will provide all the game you need, including elephants which Amboseli is known for. But if you want something different and a shorter distance, consider visiting Lake Nakuru (known for flamingos, Rothschild giraffe, rhino sanctuary) north of NBO. It's only a 2.5hr drive.

Day 1 - Drive (2.5/hrs) to Nakuru; game drive - o/n
Day 2 - Early morning game drive at Nakuru (if you wish), then drive (5/hrs) to Mara; game drive - o/n
Day 3 & 4 - Masai Mara - o/n
Day 5 - Drive (5-6/hrs) to Nairobi
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Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 05:34 AM
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Hmmm.........good information. Maybe I need to reconsider our first option. Thanks for the input. I'm sure I'll be asking you more questions as I get further along.

Patti
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Old Apr 28th, 2010, 11:12 AM
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Sandi,

We are now considering staying in the Mara for four nights. 2 nights at the Serena and 2 nights at Kichwa tents. Can you tell me these two things:

1) would we have to pay for entrance in the reserve each day
while staying at Kichwa since it is outside of the park
(what is the park fee?)

2) Are these two sites far enough apart to see a difference
on game drives?

Thanks,
Patti
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Old Apr 28th, 2010, 01:01 PM
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1) The reserve fee is $60 per day.

2) I believe from both Serena and Kichwa Tembo you would do game drives on the Mara Triangle side.
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Old Apr 28th, 2010, 02:38 PM
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Ditto Patty's comment.
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Old Apr 30th, 2010, 07:35 AM
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We will definitely be staying at the Serena at least for 2 days (possibly all 4). Is there a disadvantage to staying here the 4 days? If so, what other part of the Mara would you suggest we look into for 2 nights? Also, how far would that be?

Thanks,
Patti
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Old Apr 30th, 2010, 09:48 AM
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Are you skipping Nakuru and spending all 4 nights in the Mara?

In May I don't think it's really critical where you stay. Are you still planning to drive there with your own vehicle/guide? There are many other options though some accommodations can only be booked on a game package basis using their vehicles/guide.

Have you seen this map? http://www.go-safari.com/Masai%20Mar...araApril09.jpg

With your own vehicle, you don't have to limit yourself to the Triangle even if staying at the Serena (you actually have to traverse other areas to get to/from the Serena if driving from Nairobi) but there are only 2 bridges to cross the Mara river, each about an hour away from the Serena.

You might find this thread where various options/opinions are discussed helpful http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...fav-agents.cfm
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