Kenya in June on a tight budget

Reply

Feb 19th, 2006, 12:54 PM
  #1
africa_lover
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Kenya in June on a tight budget

A friend of mine (22y) wants to visit Kenya with her father during the second half of June.
She would like to visit :
- Samburu (and visit a local village)
- Mombasa (don't ask why!)
- meet local people
- do some gamedrives.
Seeing all of the big 5 is not the most important thing to her.
Meeting and interacting with the people is.

She will travel on a very tight budget of not even 1800$ (excl. international flight) for 12 nights. Allthough she doesn't mind camping, I think her dad would like accommodations with private bathroom.

Is this possible?
Who can help me to put together a fantastic itinerary for her?



 
Reply With Quote
Feb 19th, 2006, 01:24 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,826
Hi Hilde,
How many days does she want on safari? Those days would take up the biggest chunk of her budget.

Staying in towns and on the coast can be relatively cheap. I think maybe 6 nights max on safari is do-able with her budget if she's not looking at camping options.

June is still priced as low season by many Kenyan operators, so I think a lodge based safari can be done for $200 per person per night or less for two people on a private all drive itinerary. In Samburu, I believe either the Samburu Game Lodge www.wildernesslodges.co.ke or the Serena www.serenahotels.com will be the least expensive choices.

I think taking the train (at least one way) from Nairobi to Mombasa would be an interesting adventure and even the first class compartments are pretty cheap.

She could also look into visiting Tsavo which would be on the way to Mombasa. She may even be able to take public transport from Nairobi to Voi and have a lodge or camp pick her up at Voi. I believe Nyamera has done this before with Tarhi camp (Nyamera?). Then after her safari, she can continue from Voi to Mombasa.
Patty is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 19th, 2006, 02:55 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,309
Patty, Iím here and thatís what I did with Tarhi Camp.

Hi Hilde,
If $ 1800 is per person itís more than doable. I noticed that you donít want to be asked why, but do you have any idea why your friend wants to visit Samburu and Mombasa? Thereís nothing wrong with those places, but Tsavo is easier to combine with Mombasa. But, the people that used to live in Tsavo were expelled and culturally assassinated in the 1950s. They are still around though and you could visit some Liangulos - and also the ďcompletelyĒ (according to my driver who was a Taita himself) westernised Taitas. But I suppose your friend would like to visit some Maa-speaking people like the Samburu. Last June I paid $ 200 per day for a flying safari to Samburu, staying at the expensive Intrepids in a single tent and game drives, park fees AND the return ticket from Nairobi are included in that price. I believe the bus fare from Nairobi to Mombasa is 700 shilling (aprox. $ 9). In Mombasa I can recommend the New Palm Tree - 1044 shillings for a single with breakfast. Meeting local people isnít difficult at all outside national parks and reserves Ė sometimes itís too easy.


Nyamera is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 19th, 2006, 11:40 PM
  #4
africa_lover
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thank you Nyamera and Patty,

Yes , the price of 1800$ is per person.

The reason why she wants to visit Samburu and Mombasa is because of the movie and book "The White Masai" (book by Corinne Hofmann). A true story of a Swiss woman who married and lived with a Samburu Masai in Kenya. She met him in Mombasa.

That is why Nele definitely wants to add Samburu and Mombasa in her trip .
 
Reply With Quote
Feb 19th, 2006, 11:49 PM
  #5
africa_lover
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Can you tell me the difference in nature, landscape, animals between Masai MAra and Samburu and Tsavo?
Otherwise she could maybe leave out the Masai Mara and just go for Mombasa, Tsavo (east or west?) and Samburu.
She has never been on a game drive or even in Africa, so she doesn't know what to expect .
Maybe she could split her time as follows:
6 nights safari & game drive
2 nights mombasa
4 nights ?
 
Reply With Quote
Feb 20th, 2006, 03:28 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,252
I came across some fairly inexpensive camel treks, which are accompanied by the Samburu (a good chance for meaningful interaction and village visits can be added to the itinerary). There are huts with private bathroom for Dad at the campsite the safaris start from, but she would have to either dump Dad at the hut when she went on the trek, or he would have to camp for at at least one night - it's not uncomfortable but on their budget it would be bedroll and not bed and short-drop rather than long-drop (I am not an expert on the difference but believe short drop involves squatting). I have never tried it and so I am am afraid I would be unable to give much reassurance to Dad
kimburu is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 20th, 2006, 04:10 AM
  #7
aby
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,490
hi africa lover:
$609 (min. 4 pax)7 days Samburu Mara & more with GameTrackers. they can have a private tour for additional cost
http://www.gametrackersafaris.com/tourdetails.php?id=31

$985 for 2 pax again 7 day
http://www.goodearthtours.com/mara_s...adventure.html
* i don't know this company
aby is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 20th, 2006, 06:19 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,309
Hilde,
Corinne and Lketinga first met on the Likoni ferry that takes people and vehicles to the coast south of Mombasa. Corinne was staying with her boyfriend at the Africana Sea Lodge at Diani Beach. Itís a bit expensive and Iíve read a bad report about its sister hotel, Jadini. Then she was staying in some small village of huts in the forest behind the hotels at Diani Beach. The only budget place Iíve found in the area is Tandoori Guest House (with private bathrooms, Lonely Planet guide). Iíve stayed at the very nice and not too expensive Boko Boko, but itís a couple of kilometres further south. Lketingaís village is Barsaloi, north of Maralal. But for a short trip maybe Samburu NR would be the best option to see some wildlife and Samburu culture.
The Iqbal hotel in Nairobi is also featured in the book, but there are no private bathrooms. Iíll have to reread the book to find more places.

The Mara is Maasailand, the classic savannah with incredible wildlife that you see in nature films and for most tourists the main reason to visit Kenya. The migration of wildebeests and zebras is not in the Mara in June, but itís still definitely worth visiting. Tsavo and Samburu are more arid than the Mara and both are very good wildlife areas. Youíll see some species not found in the Mara, like gerenuk, oryx and kudu. In Samburu there are some northern specialities like Grevyís zebra, Beisa oryx and the reticulated giraffe. Wildlife is denser and less skittish in Samburu than in Tsavo Ė and thereís a very good chance of seeing leopards, but itís also smaller and more crowded. In Tsavo East, in June, I saw very big herds of buffaloes and elephants. Though I saw lots of elephants and some buffaloes in Samburu as well Ė also in June. Your friend could combine Samburu with the Mara, but the Mara is out of the way if combined with Samburu and Mombasa, especially on a limited budget. Mara/Samburu/ Mombasa or Samburu/Tsavo/Mombasa, both would make a wonderful trip. Or, as the reason for this trip is Corinne Hofmannís book, your friend could combine one of Kimburuís camel treks thatís in the Maralal area with Samburu NR and Mombasa
3 nights Maralal area
3 nights Samburu
1 or 2 nights Nairobi
4 or 5 nights Mombasa
If she gets a good price she could take nights from Mombasa and add them to Maralal or Samburu.

Hilde, have you seen the film or read the third book?

Aby, those are very interesting links, but Africa Loverís friendís father doesnít want camping. Like me, he needs a private bathroom.



Nyamera is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 20th, 2006, 07:02 AM
  #9
africa_lover
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Nyamera,

Wow, what a helpful reply. This is definitely the answer Nele (my friend) is looking for.
I ,myself ,visited Kenya (samburu, Amboseli, Mara, Naivasha and Nakuru) in 1985 on my honeymoon and back in 1990(in combination with northern Tanzania). So my memories are not up to date any more. I have read the first 2 books by Corinne Hofman and am planning on rereading the first one. I was a bit disappointed by the second (mostly because the biggest part is situated in Switzerland) , but Nele told me that the 3rd book is definitely worth reading.

I think leaving out the Masai mara would be a the best thing to do.

I will have look at those camel treks, if this isn't too expensive and relatively comfortable , I am sure Nele will love your itinerary!!

The only problem will be how to combine Samburu with Tsavo . As I recall, the distance from Samburu to Tsavo cannot be done in 1 day? And what about Nairobi to Samburu?
Flying will become too expensive .

i am printing out your answer and will show it to Nele tomorrow.

Oh, and I haven't seen the film yet. I am a bit afraid of getting disappointed by the script. Allthough I might want to go and see it just to see the landscapes once more.

just wished I could be making plans for my holiday to Africa ...
 
Reply With Quote
Feb 20th, 2006, 11:15 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,309
Hilde,
There are lots of road safaris with direct drives to Samburu from Nairobi. I think itís about 6 hours. From Nairobi to Voi, near the Voi Gate to Tsavo East, itís about 5 hours and from Voi to Mombasa less than 3 hours. I havenít been able to find out how long it takes to get to Maralal.

Iíve started to reread the first pages of The White Masai and thereís a strange description of a short road safari to the Mara. It must have been Tsavo, even if they visit a ďMaasai manyattaĒ on their way there.

When Nele has decided upon her itinerary sheíll have to contact some safari companies for Samburu and some other park. The Mombasa part Ė and maybe Tsavo Ė can be done independently.

Even if you donít know when youíll have a holiday to Africa you can always start making plans.






Nyamera is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 20th, 2006, 05:21 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,252
For the camel treks you can go out of Yare Camp near Malaral or Bobong Camp near Rumuruti (north of Lake Baringo). It costs no more than 90$ per night for a private trip of basic but rather comfortable camping, if there are two of you. I have not contacted Yare Camp but am sure they can arrange anything you want since they have even more camels and handlers than Bobong (Yare is the center of the annual camel derby). There are much, much cheaper options out of both places - hire just a camel and handler - and much, much more expensive trips but this is the only thing I could find in between. Keep in mind the "short-drop" toilets - this has been a sticking point with my wife - and that the trips involve quite a lot of walking (e.g. going uphill or downhill on a camel may be too much for the beginner because of the steep angle you will be sitting at). My impression is that you can arrange anything you want (except a toilet in your tent) inexpensively e.g. a cook, additional guides - the more Samburu the better, no? If Dad were to get in touch with these places directly I am sure he could sort out details that satisfied him. You should probably budget 4 hours or so to Malaral, but the roads are pretty bad and so after the rains (when they are going) it could take any length of time. On a good road it would probably take less than two hours. Rumuruti is easier because you do not have to double back to go to Nairobi. Because of your friend's special needs, you should specifically ask for Samburu handlers - other tribes are used as handlers and staff on trips too.
kimburu is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 20th, 2006, 05:25 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,252
You better ask directly about the toilet facilities if this is important to Dad - remember I have not done this; it is just that I am thinking about it and so happen to have found out quite a lot about it.
kimburu is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 21st, 2006, 01:28 AM
  #13
africa_lover
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
You all have given me such great ideas and tips on where and how to stay.
But now is my next question :
how to book this ?
Which company would be willing to book this trip?
I could book Mombasa independently, but what about the overnight train from Nairobi to Mombasa and the transfer to Tsavo East out of Mombasa and back to Nairobi?
 
Reply With Quote
Feb 21st, 2006, 09:13 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,826
Any tour operator should be able to book a trip to Samburu or Samburu combined with somewhere else up north. They should also be able to reserve the train tickets for her.

As far as the transfer between Mombasa-Tsavo-Nairobi, if she is going to take public transport (bus), I imagine she can book this herself once she gets to Mombasa. She can contact the camp directly in advance and arrange for them to pick her up and drop her back off in Voi.

A tour operator can provide her with transportation between Mombasa-Tsavo-Nairobi but that would get more costly and I don't know if she will have enough left in her budget after visiting Samburu. But price it out both ways and see. The advantage of having her own transportation is that she could combine a visit to both Tsavo East and West.
Patty is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 21st, 2006, 10:12 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,826
Paul,
Does Bobong have a website? How did you get in touch with them?
Patty is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 21st, 2006, 10:16 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,309
I donít have a tour operator to recommend, but I know Patty has been happy with Eastern and Southern http://www.essafari.co.ke/ and Jan with Southern Cross http://www.southerncrosssafaris.com/

Corinne and Lketinga never took the train. I suppose itís an interesting experience, but the bus is cheaper and more in line with the book. There are lots of bus companies. Nele just has to ask where she can catch a bus for Nairobi (or Mombasa if sheís in Nairobi) and then buy tickets for Voi.

When I was looking for a Tsavo East camp that could pick me up in Voi, I first found Tsavo Park Hotel, in Voi, that has its own camp, Ndololo, but they didnít answer my emails. Then I contacted Tarhi Camp. Tarhi only had guests with their own transport, but they made a special deal with me. They could make a special deal with Nele and her dad as well. As Nele has read the third book, I suspect she knows German. On this website in German http://www.camp-tarhi.de/ it looks like Tarhi might have their own game drives now. Or, even more interesting, you can rent a vehicle and drive it yourself. Tarhi is better than Ndololo and I could stay at a cheaper hotel in Voi.



Nyamera is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 21st, 2006, 10:17 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,826
BTW "short drop" is I think what we had on our riding safari in Tanzania. You get used to it and it seemed fairly sanitary. A shovel is provided for "flushing"
Patty is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 21st, 2006, 05:11 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,252
Patty
That's what I thought about them short drops. It certainly is sanitary and eco-friendly (jackals and hyeans seem partial to a bit of dung sifting if there's not much else to eat). I got a very prompt reply from Bobong. They don't have a Web site but do seem to have a lot of flexibility - I will post all the info about my Kenya camel safari research once I get all my replies in, so that people can add to it. I think they sound great, but I would love to get some pictures of the place. The campsite is certainly "in the middle of nowhere".
kimburu is offline  
Reply With Quote
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:30 PM.