Kenya Itinerary (short trip)

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Oct 9th, 2004, 12:00 PM
  #21
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Tere:

Glad the travelogue helped you visualize the trip. We met Sultana when we went to the Sun Trek office in Nairobi to finish up the paperwork for our safari and she was as nice in person as she appears in the e-mail exchanges. As for the Lake Nakuru Lodge, it was definately the nicest/most elligant accomidations we had.

Z

BTW - can you let me know how the Zanzibar portion of your trip goes, as we were thinking of another safari for July/August of '05 or '06 and were considering adding the Zanzibar option to wind down at the end and are you doing that through Sun Trek as well ?
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Oct 11th, 2004, 08:15 AM
  #22
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Has anyone stayed at Finch Hattons camp in Tsavo West recently? It looks great on their website but I'd like to get some first hand accounts.

Also any feedback on Eastern & Southern Safaris based in Nairobi? I got what I think is a pretty good quote from them.

Tere,
How long did it take for Sun Trek to reply to your emails? I emailed them last Thursday and haven't heard anything back.

TravelMaster,
Thanks for the link to your travelogue. I really enjoyed reading it.
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Oct 11th, 2004, 01:37 PM
  #23
 
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Patty, I also got a very good rate from ES Safaris and I've heard great raves about them. But Sun Trecks gave me a 200 USD quote less pp for the same itinerary. I think Sun Treck answered me the next day. Try and email them again, I am sure they will get back to you.
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Oct 18th, 2004, 03:50 PM
  #24
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I checked on my flights this morning and some additional dates have opened up for award seats on KLM, so by reworking my travel dates I'm now able stay a little longer in Kenya. I'll have an additional 2 nights and was considering spending them at Sweetwaters. How does that sound? Has anyone stayed there recently? Or should I just go to the Mara for 2 nights? I want to keep my arrangements at Tsavo/Amboseli (unless I hear back that there's an availability issue with my new dates) but want to add on a different area. Thanks for any suggestions!
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Oct 19th, 2004, 11:55 AM
  #25
 
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Patty

I retunred from Kenya last month and visited Sweetwaters amongst other places. We were incredibly lucky and saw a kill on a night drive but, if you are on a short trip, the Mara beats it hands down. We went to Mara Safari Club (also owned by Lonrho hotels) which is incredibly good value and a big step up in terms of luxury !

If you want to go somewhere north of Nairobi I would choose Samburu instead.
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Oct 19th, 2004, 12:48 PM
  #26
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philw,
How were the accomodations at Sweetwaters? Did you travel by road to the Mara or fly?
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Oct 19th, 2004, 01:15 PM
  #27
 
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Good accomodation but not quite as nice as Mara Safari Club. Mara food was also better. If you do go to Sweetwaters ask for one of the 'front' tents.

Don't get me wrong - it's still very nice but Mara is better ! In my opinion, the main reason to go to Sweetwaters would be night drives, a tame rhino and a chimp sanctuary.

Have been by road and flown to the Mara. Depends on where you are staying. Mara Safari's Club $120 per person per night includes all food and game drives - everyone flies there. We flew from Sweetwaters. Return flight from Nairobi is around $200.

hope this helps
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Oct 19th, 2004, 01:38 PM
  #28
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Thanks for the tip about the front tents. Do you recall if horseback riding was offered at Sweetwaters?

That price for the Mara Safari Club seems very good if it includes all game drives. Did you book it directly through Lonrho hotels? If so, did they also arrange your flights? From what I understand, the camp is located outside of the reserve. How long does it take to get to the reserve or does it not matter because there's game viewing all around?

Thanks again.
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Oct 19th, 2004, 01:39 PM
  #29
 
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Patty

Just read all the other posts. If this is your first visit to Kenya I would not visit Tsavo. Unless it has changed significantly since I last went there (admittedly some time ago), Mara, Samburu, the Aberdares and Amboseli are much better options.
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Oct 19th, 2004, 01:54 PM
  #30
 
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Didn't notice horseback - almost certain there wasn't as my wife would have noticed it !

I didn't book direct but wish I had. The Lonrho website shows the 2 night package flying in and out of NBO - the surcharge if you fly in from Sweetwaters/Samburu but back to Nairobi is $45.

It is around 90 minutes north of the park but in a conservation area that has the same sort of animals - no fences so the animals freely roam. We're going back next August and staying in the park at the Serena but this is only becaus the migration passes near the Serena in August. In February you're just as likely to see the game at the Mara Safari Club. If you do want to go into the park, you can go on all day drive for no extra cost - we did it and it was good fun.

The Serena costs is $30 per person per night more - I don't think you'll go wrong whichever lodge you choose in the Mara.

I forgot to add that the prices exclude $30 per day for park entrance fees. You pay this irrespective of whether you choose the all drive or stay in the conservation area.
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Oct 25th, 2004, 02:47 PM
  #31
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philw,
What type of vehicles are used for game drives from the Mara Safari Club and how many passengers in each vehicle? Was there an option for a night drive?
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Oct 31st, 2004, 10:47 AM
  #32
 
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Vehicles were four wheel drive landcruisers with big open hatch - they pull over a canvas cover if it rains.

No night drives I'm afraid. They;re quite rare in Kenya. I;ve only been on one at Sweetwaters.



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Nov 1st, 2004, 11:21 AM
  #33
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Thanks again, philw. I'm just waiting for a quote with next year's rates which hopefully will be very close to what they're offering this year.
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Nov 11th, 2004, 10:52 AM
  #34
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I'm still waiting for a firm answer from Lonrho but it seems (and this was conveyed to me by their US office) it's likely that the flying package listed on the Mara Safari Club website will not be offered in 2005. The reason given was that the package was introduced at a time when tourism was down significantly and they negotiated special rates with the airline. Occupancy has since picked back up, so they may or may not repeat it in 2005. At this point if I book, it would be at their standard daily rate + airfare. So now I have to decide if I want to spend the extra $ or just go to Sweetwaters.
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Nov 11th, 2004, 05:06 PM
  #35
 
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Patty,

I think it is doable to go to Amboseli first driving from Nairobi there and back and then fly to and from the Masai Mara. I wouldn't want to miss the Masai Mara. Lake Nakuru is nice but can't compare.

If I only had one park I could go to, I would definitely choose the Masai Mara. I've stayed at Kichwa Tembo and it is lovely.

I can also vouch for the Ol Tukai Lodge in Amboseli - it is very pleasant.

I've never stayed in the Sopa Lodges in Kenya but the two I visited in Tanzania were lovely.

Just my two cents....

Have a great time.
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Nov 11th, 2004, 11:35 PM
  #36
 
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One2travel,
I am also going to stay at Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp next August.
Did you stay at the Tented Camp or Bateleur? Is it really good? Are the tents great? Any feedback would be grately apreciated.
Thanks in advance.
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Nov 12th, 2004, 06:00 AM
  #37
 
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In august we made the following itinerary.It was fantastic:

1st day :Nairobi to Sweetwaters(west of mount Kenya),private game reserve with an exceptional chimpanze sanctuary.We saw lot of animals and made even a night safari where we followed a hunt done by 5 lions females

2nd dayweetwaters-Lake Nakuru:great safari all around the lake (more than a million of flamingoes).It is a rare place where you will see white rhinos and with chance (like we had) a leopard.

day 3 to 6:Nakuru-Masai mara:best place of course due to the variety and density of animals.We stayed 2 nights in Mara SERENA(the best location according to me with a 360? view because it is on a hill) and Siana springs(interesting if you want to make nigth safari,but is is outside the reserve).We even made a safari in the morning of last day as you have to consider minimum 5 hours to ge back to Nairobi.
Skip Amboseli except if you want to have Kilimandjaro as font of your pictures.For animals you will be deceived.

Good luck

Good luck
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Nov 12th, 2004, 08:00 AM
  #38
 
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Tere,

I stayed at Kichwa Tembo in 1990 so there was no Bataleur yet. The permanent tents are lovely. Each tent is divided into two rooms - the bedroom and the bathroom.

Each morning, you are woken up with tea/biscuits about 1 hour prior to the morning game drive. As I was a solo female, the waiter wouldn't enter my tent so I had to get up and bring the tea/biscuits into the tent quickly as the baboons steal the biscuits if they are left outside. Also besides zipping the tent flaps, you have to knot them (baboons cannot untie knots as they have no thumbs).

Also KT has a gorgeous pool where you can lounge during the hot midday hours and gaze over the plains. Especially watch the sunrises and sunsets - nothing beats an African sunset....

I enjoyed it very much and hope you will to.

Re: PATFOX's comment on Amboseli. I do agree that Amboseli is different and may not be the place of choice for a first safari or in this case, a short safari; however, I found it to be a very interesting environment with the backdrop of Mt Kili. One side of the road was a dust bowl; the other swampy. And the birds...incredible range of water birds. I also saw a gerunuk for the first time which I enjoyed as well as a ratel which I enjoyed as I hadn't seen them before.
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Nov 12th, 2004, 11:55 PM
  #39
 
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Thanks One2travel for the reply. Kichwa Tembo sounds so great and amusing with the baboons outside I can hardly wait for August to come! Thanks again
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