Kenya by myself and the Masai Mara?

Jun 30th, 2009, 08:32 PM
  #1  
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Kenya by myself and the Masai Mara?

Hi all

I'm going to be in Kenya and Rwanda in September for work, and want to take the opportunity to do a short trip to the Masai Mara at the end of my work stuff. My question is, I'll be by myself so is it possible to join a group safari type thing? I've never been to Africa so this is all brand new to me and I'm a bit lost as to where to start to be honest.

I looked at Intrepid but the shortest safaris they do are 7-8 days, and I probably will only have about 4 days.

Is is also possible to just a safari specifically for the Masai Mara? I noted some recommendations for Kennedy from Waymark Safaris but wasn't sure if he required group bookings?
Also, at an average, what would I be looking at in terms of price?

I'm Australian by the way

Thanking you for any assistance you can provide
Cheers
aarathi23 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2009, 01:54 AM
  #2  
 
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Dear aarathi

OF COURSE you can do a safari only to 1 camp in the Massai Mara!
Frankly - it's THE ideal destination for being on your own in a nice camp doing game drives being not obliged to cope with groups and all that is involved as you do game drives in the mornings and evenings and in between you might do a bushwalk or do whole day drives to the crossing points if your camp of choice lies outside the reserve.

Sep: The Wildebeest/Zebtra migration will be in full swing so staying in a camp within the reserve makes perfectly sense and offers a great beginning to any safari career! You most probably will be spoiled for all the rest of Africa.

Go ahead and ask Gamewatchers to put together an itinerary with only Mara Intrepids plus the return flights Nairobi-Wilson plus the transfer from Intl. airport to Wilson airport vv.
They will put together a nice package.

Or if your budget is tight(er) you can contact http://www.entim-mara.com/
an intimate camp just at the banks of the Mara river inside the reserve. They have a special running incl. Sep for 230US$ pppd plus reserve fees of 60$pppd.
I don't think the charge you single suppl. if they are not fully booked yet.

Just try.

Entim also books the flights from/to Wilson for you.

If you don't need a transfer arranged by a TO you can contact Kenatco taxis (a very reliable taxi comp which also has his cars in front of prestigious hotels in Nairobi) which do the transfers for approx. 1500 Kenya Shillings - a bargain compared to the 40US$ the TO charges.

They wait for you at the airport with a name plate and take you from one airport/hotel to the next. Completely hussle free!

As you are working in Africa you should be comfortable with a taxi ride.

If that's an option you can contact one of the drivers (my favourite driver. We use him all the time!) directly because Joyce in the office is a bit on the slow side with her responses:

carlos Williams [[email protected]]

Happy Planning!

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Jul 1st, 2009, 02:15 AM
  #3  
aby
 
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hi aarathi23

you did not mention if a simple camping safari is an option;
if it is then try Game Trackers http://www.gametrackersafaris.com/
you can join one of their regular tours 3 or 4 days Mara only
They also have lodge tours - e.g. 3 day Mara

or take SV advice, go by tourself to a camp (a "Camp" means luxury as opposed to "camping" which is budget. Camps are usualyy more expensive than lodges))

anyhoe it sure will be great joy

aby
aby is offline  
Jul 1st, 2009, 04:46 AM
  #4  
 
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Ilkeliani just released a new special:
2 nights incl. flight wilson-ol kiombo airstrip, game drives, night drives, bush walks, full board and airstrip transfers for the whole of August and July

41.500KES - approx. 550US$

additional night 10.500 KES$ - approx. 140 US$

Ilkeliani is a nice camp outside the reserve but of course does offer game drives to the crossing points as well.
Ilkeliani does not charge a conservancy fee - only the reserve fee of 60US$pppd.

http://www.ilkeliani.com/index.php?fname=home

Ilkeliani is a sister camp of Entim.

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Jul 1st, 2009, 05:59 AM
  #5  
 
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You can certainly do a safari as a solo. It's really the best way to go. Depending on budget, you were provided some great options. Ilkeliani if not much $$$ or the lovely Entim for somewhat more $$$, though their "special" is very tempting. Entim is a small 5/tent camp and beautifully sited at a bend of the river. The hippos come out to graze at night, when you're tucked warmly into your bed.

A driving safari (5-6/hrs each way) to/from NBO can be somewhat less expensive, but with the offers being shown at some camps... I'd choose the short 1/hr flight to/from.

Go for it!
sandi is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2009, 08:52 PM
  #6  
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Thanks so much everyone! This is very helpful indeed! There is soooo much information out there, that its hard to wade through everything sometimes.

Thanks as well for describing the difference between 'camping' and 'camp'. I'm going to look @ both. I'm probably leaning towards being inside the reserve as I don't really have that much time and will probably do a flight to the camps as well.

SV thanks for the recommendation on taxi 's - thats a great idea, and I'll write to Carlos now as I will need some transport around...

Thanks again and will keep coming back with more questions I'm sure!
aarathi23 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2009, 10:26 PM
  #7  
 
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aarathi23 - Kennedy from Waymark will indeed put together a safari for one person (or two or however many you want) - he will do transfers, etc for you too.
LyndaS is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2009, 11:00 PM
  #8  
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Hi Lynda - I did email Kennedy earlier this week actually but hadn't heard back from him So I'm not sure whether to keep emailing or not?

I got a quote from Gamewatchers, for full boarding, flights etc for 3 nights/4 days
Mara Intrepids - US1990
Entim Mara - US1350

Does that sound reasonable?

Cheers
aarathi23 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2009, 06:04 AM
  #9  
 
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Entim is a great deal. Considering the return air is about $260-$275, the remain is for your 3/nts room/board, meals, park fees, game drives and airstrip transfers. Good deal at this small 5/tent camp.

Intrepid's is lovely but also a much larger camp (25/tents) and as you show, more expensive.

I spent a few days at Entim... as the one/only guest (in early June '08) and was very well taken care of, always felt safe, great guide/s. The views here are outstanding.

Go for it.
sandi is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2009, 07:45 AM
  #10  
 
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That's what you pay when you book directly with Entim - "migration special" for September:

2 nights incl. drinks, game drives, meals, transfer from/to airstrip, flights Nairobi Wilson-Mara-Wilson:

749$
230$ additonal night
140$ + 20 % single supplement (if applicable)

979$ respectively 1119$

IF park fees must be paid extra (it's nit clearly stated) you have to add 180$

1159$ respectively 1299$

I would book direct if park fees are included in the special!!

SV

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2009, 04:40 PM
  #11  
 
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Ilkelani was really really awesome, I spent 2 days there a few years back. Highly recommend!
waynehazle is offline  
Jul 4th, 2009, 09:54 PM
  #12  
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hi again

am trying to work out what days to do this...

I fly from rwanda to nairobi on friday the 11th of sep. i was initially going to spend the weekend in nairobi and then the mon-wed to do work in our nairobi office, and then from thurs to sun do the masai mara.

my question is, is it worth spending a whole weekend in nairobi? the other alternative i was thinking about was flying back from rwanda, and then heading straight to the masai mara on the friday lets say...spend four days, back to nairobi on the tuesday, work in the nairobi office from wed-friday then fly back to australia on saturday.

what does everyone think?
aarathi23 is offline  
Jul 5th, 2009, 05:09 AM
  #13  
 
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Any sightseeing - Karen Blixen House, Giraffe Center, Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage (to name a few) - in Nairobi are open on weekends. If on return from Rwanda trekking you wanted to take a day to recoup and take in some sights might be a good idea. Then on Sunday fly to the Mara for as many days as you wish and then head home.

Alternative if you'd like to see another area - fly to Naivasha in the Rift Valley for 2/days. Arrange 1/day to go to Lake Nakuru for flamingos, other water fowl, Rothschild giraffe, rhino; 2nd day in morning take a boat to Crescent Island for walking safari amongs tame game, then afternoon flight to the Mara and spend your remaining days here. Then back to NBO and homebound.

Fri - arv NBO from Rwanda - o/n
Sat - NBO - sightseeing in morning; 3pm flight to Naivasha - o/n
Sun - Full-day to Lk Nakuru, back to Naivasha - o/n
Mon - Boat ride to Crescent Island in morning; 3:20pm flight to Mara - o/n
Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri - Masai Mara - o/n
Sat - fly to NBO; transfer to JKIA for homebound (of course depending on departure time of flight to OZ).

That gives you 5/days in the Mara. If you absolutely must do work at the office , you can take 1/day from this to do so.
sandi is offline  
Jul 5th, 2009, 08:18 AM
  #14  
 
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aarathi, just wondering if you did hear back from Kennedy yet?

Thanks!
Lynda
LyndaS is offline  
Jul 5th, 2009, 09:47 AM
  #15  
 
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waynehazle

Glad you enjoyed Ilkeliani.

Some people find it apalling that Talek town is so close which did not bother us at all.

We spent 10 days at Ilkeliani in 2007 and our guide was Edward; we made sure in advance we get a guide who is very much into whole day drives ;-). We had our own car and left the camp at 06.30am and got back around 07.30pm. We had a fantastic time incl. 2 mid-size crossings, several sightings of leopards (incl. Bella), mating lions all over the place and 2 serval sightings: mom with 4 kittens which we "met" 2 mornings in a row at 08.00am right in the tracks. We watched them for 30+ min. each occasion - and then the other cars arrived.
That memory will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

We did not really like the food there (we are vegetarians and that seemed to be something new(er) to the chef). But we did not starv and at these favourable rates (it was also favourable in 2007) we rather opt for the game and sole use of vehicle than the food ;-)

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Jul 5th, 2009, 07:01 PM
  #16  
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Hi Lynda

Yes I just got an email from him! He said he had to send it twice, but thankfully it has come through. He's put together quite a lovely package of 4 days/3 nights @ the Sarova Mara tented game lodge and inclusive of flights, transfers, full board accomodation, park fees = USD1270. I think this sounds ok actually?

I looked up Sarova Mara and it looks loovverrrllyy. Anyone have any experience here?
aarathi23 is offline  
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