Kenya - 2010

Oct 30th, 2009, 02:27 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 6
Kenya - 2010

I am planning a holiday to Kenya with my family next year in July or August. According to what I have read, migration starts in July, I really want to see the migration (7th wonder of the world).

Please advice when is the best month to go July or August. What will the weather be like? When is the right time to book the safari and the best operator we can book with?

We are planning a 10 days safari and 7 days at the beach. We have not decided weather to go to Mombasa or Zanzibar. I would like your advice here too.
Honer is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 05:54 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Because we're dealing with animals, there is no exact time. While some years the herds start to trickle into the Mara by mid-July, other years, it can be August. So I'd suggest August for your safari.

Located on the Equator, weather year-round is mild even though August is one of their "winter" months. By winter, it means the mornings/nights are colder than rest of the year when it's just cool during those times. Daytime temps can range from hi-60s to lo-80s. 70s. For mornings/nights, it's suggested you have some outerwear - sweater, jacket or fleece; maybe a thermal-t; layering is good which can be peeled off as the sun warms by 9am. Socks, scarf and gloves are a good idea if your safari vehicles will be open as the wind can chill you to the marrow.

If not Mombasa or Lamu on Kenyan coast and you choose Zanzibar, you'll have to purchase another visa - USD$100 for US passport holders; USD$50 for others. And, need a Yellow Fever inoculation and proof of same for entry to Tanzania/Zanzibar.
sandi is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 09:52 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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August would be better.

If the migration is very important, I'd spend most of the safari days in the Maasai Mara. You may see sample itineraries with 2, 3 days and occasionally 4 days. But the Mara is where the action will be, so even 5 or 6 days would be good. I do that myself. In fact, anything less than 3 nts in the Mara in Aug is a flawed itinerary in my opnion.

If you are going with your family (assuming some minors), a private safari will be economical. If it's just you in the vehicle, then you can spend time watching or seeking out the migration and perhaps waiting for a river crossing and no one will object or have other priorities. With kids, a private vehicle is ideal.

I was just asking the same booking question you are for Kenya in 2010 because in this economy things are a little different than past years. The info I received from others was 6-8 months in advance is the latest they'd book, maybe even into March for a Sept departure. There may be an extension on some of the 2009 deals into 2010. If you are staying at small exclusive camps in the Mara, then I'd book earlier than 6-8 months out. Some of them were already filled for Aug of 2010 when I was investigating around July of 2009.

Here is a chart on weather and best wildlife viewing in different months.

If you check out "perfect safaris" for Aug, you'll see some sample itineraries here.

Best companies: If you mean best at any cost, that might be a different list than best value. When kids are involved, I understand best at any cost, though, for the most reliable, respectable, formidable, stable presence with lots of contacts in case something goes amiss.

You could get Fodor's "The Complete African Safari Planner." On p. 25 they have a whole list.

Here is an extensive Index of trip reports compiled by LyndaS that includes the operators used.

From my own experience:
I did a brief excursion with Eastern and Southern Safaris last August. They did good job at an economical price and I'm in contact with them for future travel and their pricing is quite good. Others on Fodors have used them with success. They are located in Nairobi.

I have traveled with The Africa Adventure Company in Ft. Lauderdale, as recently as 2009. I believe they send more people to Africa from the US than any other company. Their trips for me to Kenya and elsewhere have also gone well. One of owners of the company, Mark Nolting, is the author a helpful book, "Africa's Top Wildlife Countries." The first weather/wildlife chart, above is on AAC's website.

When there have been problems that arose for me in the past, just because travel in places like Africa can pose some unique glitches, AAC has been helpful in fixing things up either just prior to departure or while I was still on the trip so that everything continued smoothly.

Quite a while back, I used Adventure Travel Desk in MA, which gets little mention here, and they were very helpful in dealing with a cancelation and rescheduling of a trip that ended up being 9 nights in the Mara at a camp no longer in existence, or I'd recommend it.

There are many other quality and reliable agents but those are the only 3 I've had personal experience with.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 09:57 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Oh, are you sure you want an entire WEEK on the beach? Usually beach time can be arranged closer to home, but the other aspects of Africa travel cannot.

If you think the kids (again assuming youngsters are part of the family) need some time to let off steam, there are itineraries designed for kids that include active time on the safari. Those "active activities" would appeal to most adults as well, it's not just running around. It includes bush walks, cultural interactions, etc. Granted, I'm not a beach person, but a week seems too long. Most itineraries do 3, 4 beach nts. not a week.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 10:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
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- August would mean more "certain" for the migration
- as migration is mentioned as a kind of "MUST" I would definitely spend more than 3 days in the Massai Mara in order
to make sure I also see a River Crossing.
- being extreme and based on the fact that it takes ages to reach Kenya (from the States) I would definitely spend my time in the bush instead of beach - which might even "better be in the Bahamas" ;-)

Happy planning!

spassvogel is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 01:50 AM
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I have seen this while browsing the net Looks like a good itinerary.
Honer is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 06:15 AM
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Honer -

That itinerary is "all driving" and some of those distances are horrendous - long, bumpy, dusty and tiring. Visitors can do better and spend more time in parks/reserves with game drives rather than all that transport between.
sandi is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 09:25 AM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 168
Maybe I will see you at a crossing - I'll wave! I'll be wearing the " WARNING: Blonde Thinking " cap..
Apparently ,I have really been thinking TOO much about little things on this trip and driving everyone crazy - even the TO's, hahaha, considering the postings I've submitted!

flowerpower is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 05:28 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
I'll look for the cap, FlowerPower I'm a brunette in a Tilley. That's not very unique.

The itinerary you linked gets you to many of the key places, but Sandi's warning on driving is one to heed.

Here is a link of drive times, though not all of yours are on there. These are only estimates.

I'd request the drive times be included by any operator you send this itinerary to. Then post those here because often the times are underestimated.

You can fly some of the distances in scheduled flights, but that adds to the cost of the trip.

One way to save time and money is to go to either the Maasai Mara or the Serengeti, not both. Choose depending on where the migration is most likely to be. On my 1st trip, I did not follow that advice because I wanted to see both.

If you start by listing what you want to get out of your African safari, then you can build the itinerary around that.

You have a start, by knowing you want to go to the beach. If you just want to see a nice variety of animals, then you don't need to visit that many distant parks. You don't generally see wildlife while going from park to park, you mainly just see animals within the parks, so 4 hours on the road is basically 4 hours of lost wildlife viewing.

If those locations and their unique features are important to you then, the effort to get them may be well worth it.

A big flaw in the itinerary, which you can fix, is 2 nts Mara. You stated you want to see the migration and 2 nights is not sufficient to enjoy this spectacle. I'd stay at least 3 nights in the Mara in July or Aug.

My 1st safari was similar to that itinerary, with no beach and 6 nts in the Mara and 4 in the Serengeti in July-Aug.
atravelynn is offline  
Mar 11th, 2010, 03:54 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 6
After exchanging several emails with our operator we have come up with this itinerary: We are now finalizing and we are yet to send our 20% deposit.

Question – I would like to know if the hotels/lodges stated are recommendable.
Is it OK to wire the 20% deposit at this time or is it too early?
Is there anything we will miss in Samburu?

Day 1: Arrive – Nairobi (Nairobi Safari club)
Day 2: Nairobi – Maasai Mara (Sarova Mara)
Day 3: Maasai Mara
Day 4: Maasai Mara
Day 5: Maasai Mara – Lake Nakuru (Flamingo Hill)
Day 6: Lake Nakuru – Amboseli (Oltukai Lodge)
Day 7: Amboseli
Day 8: Nairobi
Day 9: Fly to Zanzibar
Day 10- 15 Zanzibar (Pongwe beach hotel)
Day 16: Zanzibar – Nairobi – Leave

Thank you all for the suggestions and answers, we’ve finally decided to go with Way to Africa Safaris ( We are looking forward to our first trip to Kenya and Zanzibar.
Honer is offline  
Mar 11th, 2010, 07:28 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Hate to throw a kink into the routing, but as visiting July/Aug, when the migration is in the Mara, I'd suggest you "save the best for last."
sandi is offline  
Mar 11th, 2010, 07:33 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
... sorry, about that

Consider instead:
Day 1 - Arv. NBO
Day 2 - Drive to Amboseli - o/n
Day 3 - Amboseli - o/n
Day 4 - Drive via NBO to Nakuru - o/n
Day 5 - Drive to Mara - o/n
Days 6 & 7 - Mara - o/n
Day 8 - Fly to NBO to ZNZ

Re deposit... absolutely, once your agent has confirmed your space and holding as Provisional Reservations, wire your deposit. If agent doesn't receive, your space will go bye-bye. Then, as agent requests, wire final amount due.
sandi is offline  
Mar 12th, 2010, 05:06 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
It's not only for grand finale sake, but your Mara experience on Day 7 vs. on Day 2 could be better as later in the season improves. Granted 5 days is not that much, but I'd definitely do what Sandi suggested unless somehow the other itinerary offered a big discount.
atravelynn is offline  

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