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Highlights and Photos: Self-drive Kenya & Tanzania August 2009

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Oct 27th, 2009, 05:49 PM
  #81
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Fourwheelinit: I agree with Tockoloshe entirely - being surrounded by the animals is one of the best parts of self-driving and being on your own. I loved the fact that animals were free to wander into our campsite at any time. With the exception of the campsite in the Mara, the sites were always strategically placed in open areas where we would have plenty of time to spot approaching elephants or predators. After dark, it was a bit more of a challenge and we had to be more on our guard, but there was a certain thrill in that. I never viewed having to keep watch as a chore.

For those of you who have been patiently waiting I have, at long last, added some more photos and text. Robin
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Oct 27th, 2009, 05:52 PM
  #82
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Here is the link again:

http://bert-and-bin.smugmug.com/Trav...38901400_BHybf
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Oct 27th, 2009, 07:25 PM
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I love "Classic" Serengeti.
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Oct 27th, 2009, 09:09 PM
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Your pictures definitely prove all of the wonderful opportunities that you had to witness all of that splendor.
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Oct 28th, 2009, 06:03 AM
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I just finished reading the first 36 pages - all I can say is WOW!!!!!! Really enjoying your adventures and the pictures are beyond words. Thank you for sharing.
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Oct 28th, 2009, 06:46 AM
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I am also keeping in touch here .
Thanks Robin
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Oct 28th, 2009, 09:55 AM
  #87
 
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Good - back on the road again!

Loved the pics and description of 'classic Serengeti' & those sunsets, how marvellous to have it all to yourselves.

Going back to the wild animals business, it may seem a strange thing to say but both myself and my husband have said that we would rather be eaten by a lion as part of the food chain than run over by a bus - hopefully neither will ever happen, but there's no point stressing about it!!

"For seven nights in the Serengeti, the permits and campsite fees totaled US$1820."
I guess that's where Botswana got its ideas for the new US$50 pppn Moremi/Chobe camping fees ... still waiting to hear what the park fees will shoot up to.

Thanks again for giving us all the details of your trip.

Not wanting to hijack East Africa, Robin, but I found a website you might be interested in for planning your next trip to Botswana - I'll mention it here because it's probably being read by some like-minded souls interested in self-drive ...
http://www.wilkinsonsworld.com/ about a couple who live in Windhoek and "with our 4X4 fully equipped for camping we spend much of our free time in the great outdoors and look forward to sharing some of our experiences with you through the medium of this web site." Specifically they did that drive through Grasslands and on through to Central Kalahari - kind of reassured us that we made the right decision not to have attempted it on that occasion!
http://www.wilkinsonsworld.com/categ...botswana-2009/
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Oct 29th, 2009, 06:50 AM
  #88
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If, in the future, your husband posts a message that Tockoloshe was eaten by a lion while on safari, I will take some comfort in knowing that this is the way you wished to go!! Better than a bus, I agree!

Camping in Tanzania is definitely not cheap - you certainly pay for the privilege of camping amongst the animals.

Thanks for the link - I skimmed through the report last night and will read it in detail tonight. What bad luck those folks seem to have! The road looks a tad treacherous - certainly not fit for towing a trailer. Robin
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Oct 29th, 2009, 11:51 AM
  #89
 
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Hi Tokoloshe
Thanks very much for recommending that others read our site trip on Botswana. We do appreciate the 'plug'. If we can be of any assistance to anyone about Botswana or Namibia, please don't hestitate to contact us.
Have been looking at your amazing photos and they have made us very jealous!
Best wishes
Jane and Rob
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Oct 29th, 2009, 01:27 PM
  #90
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Owlwoman - I can't believe you worked your way through all 36 pages - it must have taken you a while!
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Oct 30th, 2009, 08:38 AM
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It took me a little while, I come to work early in the AM, so it's nice and quiet for reading. Just finished the next few pages, loved the birds. How scary to be encroached like that at night, must of been terrifying at the time, but makes a great story now Glad it worked out alright. Looking forward to reading more.
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Oct 31st, 2009, 08:07 PM
  #92
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I am certain it did (take you a little while). I am afraid I have added some more for your to read. Enjoy! Robin

http://bert-and-bin.smugmug.com/Trav...38901400_BHybf
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Oct 31st, 2009, 08:27 PM
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Keep them coming

I won't get tired of looking !!!
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Nov 2nd, 2009, 05:30 PM
  #94
 
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Continuing to enjoy your wonderful trip report and photos.

Your memorable night with the hyenas in the campsite, and the lions just out of your view sounds oh so wonderful!

The photos are really wonderful. Did you/Robert use a monopod or tripod?

Looking forward to the next installment.

amy
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Nov 2nd, 2009, 06:56 PM
  #95
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Thanks Amy!

It was a most memorable, albeit sleepless, night - I loved that campsite.

The photographers among us will be horrified but, most of the time, the camera was hand-held (by my DH, who takes most of the photos - I am the scribe and keep a journal - the division of labour suits us both ). The only time he pulled out the tripod was when we wanted both of us in the photo - for the beginning-of-the-trip portrait, for example. For photos out the window of the vehicle, he does use a bean bag. Robin
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Nov 10th, 2009, 12:28 PM
  #96
 
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Still loving the report, Robin..Was Maji ya Nderge where Serian sets up their Mobile camp? We are thinking of spending 2 nights there and would love your thoughts. More game there than where Serian is located? Any thoughts are appreciated.

Thanks!
FP
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Nov 10th, 2009, 04:01 PM
  #97
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Hi FP!
Serian does use Maji Ya Ndege for their mobile camps (it is a favourite of Alex Walker), but they may use other campsites in the Mara Triangle as well. I am not certain.

Here is the answer I gave earlier when Danny1 asked a similar same question (whether we liked the site and would use it again):

The Maji Ya Ndege campsite was lovely but, if I were to go again, I would ask for the campsite about a kilometre south of there known as Ndovu. It is a fairly new campsite, so not marked on all of the maps. We ended up at Ndovu on the day we arrived in the Triangle, thinking it was Maji Ya Nedge. The sites are not marked in any way, so they are difficult to find, even with a GPS. Fortunately, the site was occupied and the folks on it were able to tell us that we were too far south. Both campsites are on the (Mara) river, but the actual clearing for the tents is closer on Ndovu. On Maji Ya Ndege, we had to be a little further from the vehicle when we sat on the edge of the river - trees prevented us from moving the 4x4 closer to the water. At Ndovu, the tents were right on the river's edge, so they had a constant and wonderful view of the river. We always felt a bit vulnerable when we were amongst the trees next to the river in our chairs - it would have been easy for a predator to creep up on us without our seeing them.

There were many more animals around the Maji Ya Ndege campsite than at Serian because the MYN campsite is located right in the Triangle. While there certainly were animals around Serian, and our guides found us plenty of interesting sightings (including lions), the Serian area did not compare to the Triangle.

I will be green with envy if you camp in the Triangle. I would highly recommend it - it was a highlight.

I hope to get back to the report soon - work has been a bit crazy of late. Robin
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Nov 11th, 2009, 05:53 AM
  #98
 
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Hi Robin,
Thanks for the reply..We are considering the mobile, although I am not a "basic" camper - that is why I was going for Ngare, haha-That sofa on the deck in your pics looked inviting by the river. And after an exhausting day of gameviewing I would look forward to reclining with a glass of wine in hand relaxing before my gourmet meal
Sure to get some feedback on that one!

Of course now I am wondering about the Serian area vs. just staying in Triangle, but I think everyone starts 2nd guessing their choices so I will just let it be.
We were thinking of switching to another camp altogether in the area (Naibor) but the Serian folks sent us quite a bit on their mobile camp and of course, DH thinks its great to camp out along a river. Well, what can I say - it's his trip too!

Thanks for your thoughts.. I will be sure to get specific about the area.

FP

FP
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Nov 11th, 2009, 06:28 AM
  #99
 
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Hi Robin,

So enjoyed your report and photos...really brought back memories. Never thought a self-drive in E. Africa was a possibility until now. Thanks again.

Deb
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Nov 11th, 2009, 08:32 AM
  #100
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Thanks Deb! I will be back at it shortly! Self-drive certainly isn't common, but it is possible.

FP
Yes, I readily admit that there were times when I wished that someone else was going to prepare our evening meal and that we had more time to relax. We were very thankful that we had thrown in a visit to a tented camp/lodge every few days. Hot showers and gourmet meals (and more time to relax) were certainly most welcome after a few days of bush camping.

I suspect that a Serian mobile camp would be far from "basic" - it would probably offer the best of both worlds - comfy tents, great food and service, and close proximity to the animals. You might want to consider a combination of the two - a couple of nights at Serian Ngare (the day of your arrival in and departure from the Mara) and the rest of your time with the mobile camp in the Triangle or Mara Reserve. Ngare was lovely - my DH and I fought over that sofa - but so was Maji Ya Ndege. The advantage of the MYN campsite was that, since it was so isolated, we didn't see any other vehicles for at least the first hour each morning. It took the vehicles from Serena and the other lodges/camps a while to reach our area.

From Serian, it took us about about an hour to reach the Musiara Gate of the Mara Reserve (6:40am to 7:30am to be exact, with stops for photos of the sunrise and many animals) - longer to reach the Triangle (it would probably take you less time to reach the Triangle with an experienced driver - he would do better on the rough road and not get lost in the village !). However, there is plenty to see along the way and, if you drive into the Triangle, you will have the opportunity to travel that wonderful road south of Mararianta! Our guide from Serian took us into the Mara Reserve rather than the Triangle because he knew we were about to spend 6 nights camping in the Triangle.

You could certainly ask where the mobile camp will be set up - Serian books its campsites months in advance, just as we did, so they will know (or you could look on the Mara Conservancy website and see what sites Serian has booked - they are booked under Alex's name - it may be a bit too early yet - we booked in November 08 for August 09 and were one of the first reservations - Alex confessed during our stay at Serian that he had wanted Maji Ya Ndege for a mobile camp when we were there, but we beat him to it).

When we were at Ngare the second time, a group had just returned from three nights on a Serian mobile camp (they raved about it) and they had camped in the Reserve not the Triangle. Either location would be excellent. If it were me, I would follow Serian's recommendation regarding the camp's location. Alex is a Kenyan, who grew up on a farm not far from the camp, so he knows the area incredibly well. I would certainly trust his judgement/recommendations - it is he who selects the campsites. It was Alex who told us to spend much time in the Mara Triangle Wilderness Area - one of the best recommendation of our trip.

I gather that Alex leads many if not all of the mobile camps, and I suspect that he would be a fantastic guide. Robin
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