Just back from Kenya after 7 day camping safari

Jan 29th, 2007, 09:05 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2
Just back from Kenya after 7 day camping safari

Fellow travelers, maybe my experience might be useful so here are a couple of comments about my trip to Kenya with my wife. We were limited by the time (8 days) so we decided to go just to national parks and skip the ocean (as advised on this forum - thank you). I was researching for a safari tour operator for a long time, almost ending with Mountsafaris as they communicated well and gave us what we wanted - at least in the email. But after reading fresh bad references about the company (thanks for that, tigerpride), we booked the Best Camping Tours. Our itinerary was Samburu - Nakuru - Masai Mara, 7 days mostly camping safari, one night in a lodge for 800 USD per person. We found some cheaper operators, but they could not guarantee us the departure date. But BC were very keen - they kept us informed, gave us detailed information about the trip - and stood by it without exception! free airport transfers, they also took care about our lost luggage and gave us an asylum in their office, when we had enough of Nairobi. On the arrival, the visas take a minute, donīt. After a night in 680 Hotel /double for 50 USD/ which is I think safe and good value and right in the center, we got picked up and headed for Samburu. We had a van, and very comfortable group of 3. It is a long way to Samburu, but the road is mostly the best you will ever see in Kenya and the landscape quite fascinating. Further you go, rougher it gets. Our driver gave us a lot of info about the things around and also the protection when necessary. The camp in Samburu was pretty basic, but right in the park. You donīt have to spend too much time for drives to see something and you get the good feeling of the place with all the baboons, big cats roars (crazy especially at night, when you need to loo.).
Samburu is a cozy place not as busy as Mara, but you can see different species and a bit less game than in other parks. It was our only occasion to see a leopard, anyway. We loved it there. Lake Nakuru is something completely different but worth a visit definitely (half day should be enough). There we stayed in a very decent lodge Graveland Place (or something), a good opportunity to recharge the batteries (literally). The way to Masai Mara was pretty bad, after the rains it was even closed a while a go. Masai Mara is a very special place. The animals concentrate in a relatively very small area so it is very easy to see a lot a small timeframe. Masai is especially good for seeing big cats and also much more.. Our driver was wonderful and he managed to find some things first, which is quite useful if you want to have some privacy during your observations. After a couple of minutes, the cheetahs eating wildebeest would be surrounded by ten vans - and that somehow destroyed the moment a bit - at least for me. We also visited Masai village (10USD each) , and although I did not expect a lot (due to tourist deformation etc.) it was actually quite good. We learned a great deal about their lives. Still I could not resist the odd feeling about the whole thing. Anyway I got some really cheap souvenirs from Mara (a lot when I was passing through the entrance) in comparison to other areas.
The Camp was just off the entrance, so we could enjoy all the roaring noises - nightlife wildlife (some of them pretty close) very intensively. The food during the whole stay was very good and we did not suffer (much). We spend just a few hours in Nairobi before our return flight and so I canīt comment on that. But because it is not considered safe, I would not bother to stay there longer.
Just to sum up: it was a shame that we could not stay longer, because Kenya is worth more than 7 days. However to get it might enough to get the feeling for the place. For a Third-world-country I found it rather expensive but only if you want see something. On the other hand the experience is unique. Best Camping provided us with a good driver, good food, decent accommodation and overall good service.(and I am not a tout..). We took Malarone but got bitten only once during the whole stay.. But still I would not take the risk.. Well, we would like to visit Kenya sometimes in the future but firstly I need to get some cash in..
thanks for the infos from this forum. Very appreciated.
All the best
mkinafrica is offline  
Jan 29th, 2007, 09:52 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 788
Thanks for posting your report! It's great to hear about a budget camping trip.
MyDogKyle is offline  
Jan 29th, 2007, 11:14 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,877
Thanks for your report! This is very timely as there are some recent threads inquiring about budget camping safaris.
Patty is offline  
Jan 29th, 2007, 11:21 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Thanks for the report. I can relate to hearing lion roars exactly when you want/need to leave your tent in the night.
Sounds like a fun trip at a very competitive price.
Leely is offline  
Jan 29th, 2007, 12:12 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
You covered a lot in a week! Thanks for the report.
atravelynn is offline  

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