Kenya Itinerary: Could Use Advice

Jul 28th, 2007, 03:00 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
The 1:45pm flight from Arusha/Wilson arriving 2:45pm is specifically for the connection to the Mara. Ground personnel escort deplaning paxs thru immigration, those going into NBO collect their bags and go on their way. Those going to the Mara will have their bags transferred to ongoing AK or SL 3pm flights.

Paxs from Arusha arrive on either 19- or 12-seater planes. It's all very smooth.
sandi is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 06:40 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 161
Patty, ShayTay, Nyamera -

Thank you for your input. And, thanks for asking the question about the flight connection, which Sandi answered. I had over looked that tight connection.

My 7 day week still hasn't ended, so i had not time for enjoy Fodor's these past few days.

Patty - have been considering Tortillis, but like the smaller Ndolwa, plus all the rescue animals they work with - kind of a weak spot for me.

Aby - again, thank you for the elevation info. Good information.

Nyamera - please give me your thoughts on an itinerary for less. This is for future planning for me, when traveling without my mom (she is sensitive about her age, so let's just say i turned 40 this year, and she did not have me when she was young).

At this point, our hearts are really set on these lodgings and locations, but i am already planning the next trip. After several camps confirmed there 08 price increase, i understand why i thought we could bring this in for about 1000K less. I can't imagine being able to do this trip in 3 or 4 years, at 20% increases per year, it will be out of my reach.

I am just excited to be able to sit and read a whole book, while a giraffe walks by (not just two pages every three days as happens right now, and only the neighbor cat walks by). That sounds like heaven to me. Mom and I are both working too hard this year.

Here's a final question - Olonana is on the river. I really liked this idea. Which of the other camps mentioned above are on a river?

Again - thank you. This makes the planning fun.
Local2542 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 09:12 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,309
Local, the going rate on the streets of Nairobi is $90 pppd for a camping safari and $170 pppd for a lodge safari. These are group safaris in minibuses and I wouldn’t like it, but it’s certainly better than no safari at all. Then, “the rates” are not set in stone, as many Fodorites seem to believe. You can almost always get a better price if you deal directly with the camps. If you’re annoying enough you can get a significantly better price.
I paid $1095 for a 6-nights road trip to Bushbuck Camp (in the area of Saruni) everything, even group ranch fees, included. That was in June and I didn’t even haggle. It’s less than $183pn.
In July, that’s high season, I paid about the same (7517 Swedish kronor were taken from my account = aprox. $1100) for a 4-nights air package to Mara Intrepids, after haggling. That didn’t include park fees, so it was really $1260. It’s extremely expensive, but not if compared to the “rack rates”. On Eben’s website they’re shown as $385 + $180 (single supplement) in July and that doesn’t include flights and park fees. To compare, I have to take away $220 for the flight and $160 for the park fees. That’s $220pn compared to $565pn for the rack rates – and I just happened to see that the rack rates are for 2006.
In 2004 I paid $120pn, everything included, for a very nice camp in Tsavo East (in how many posts have I repeated this?)

I worry all the time about where the safari prices are going, and over where they already are. But, if you can even consider a safari with private charters and the kind of accommodation you’re mentioning, I think you can feel safe about being able to go on more moderate safaris for a couple of years more.

RE. river location. Intrepids is on the Talek River, Serena is on a hill above the Mara River, Kichwa Tembo “overlooks the Sabaringo River”, and some of Governor’s tents “line the riverbank, with uninterrupted views over the Mara River”.

I don’t know if Little Governor’s is less expensive than Olonana, but it would be my choice of the camps mentioned. For a super luxury camp, I’d choose Rekero instead of Olonana.

BTW, I’ve never even opened a book on safari.
Nyamera is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 11:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,966
Just to add to Nyamera's comments, the view of the Mara river from the Serena is a very distant view. I think your best bets for "on a river" would be Intrepids or Governors main camp (you'd need to request a river side tent), although my top choice would be Little Governors as well. But if you already have your heart set on your current camps, I say go for it. Changing your 2 nights at Olonana alone probably isn't going to make a significant difference in price anyway.

For your next trip, there are a number of ways to reduce your cost (you have one of the highest priced Kenya itineraries I've seen). Pick one or a combination of the following:

Plan your itinerary so that you can take scheduled flights instead of charters

Plan your itinerary so that you can do more driving or plan an all drive itinerary

Go in low/shoulder seasons (for Kenya, that would be April through June or November through mid-December, generally speaking)

Choose less expensive camps on safari

Choose a less expensive Nairobi hotel

By doing the above, it's very possible, even in 2008, to have a private 2 person driving safari in Kenya for 1/3 to 1/2 of your current per night cost. So I don't see a problem with being able to afford to return over the next few years as long as you're willing to adjust your travel style accordingly.
Patty is offline  
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