Late July Africa Trip

Old Nov 6th, 2023, 03:22 PM
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Late July Africa Trip

Hi all,

I am planning a family safari with my kids (ages 17 and 19) in late July 2024. Looking for a highly engaging experience that includes animals, cultural activity, ​​​and some level of physical participation (walks, bikes, etc). We opted to stay in one country to keep it on the 'simpler' side. A travel agent suggested the below - - which looks pretty lovely to me, but I am interested in any additional feedback.
  • 2 nights in Nairobi (Sheldrick, Giraffes, and more TBD)
  • 2 nights in Ol Pejeta at Ol Pejeta Bush Camp
  • 3 nights in Masai Mara at Encounter Mara Camp
  • 4 nights in Diani at Kinondo Kwetu
ALSO, a friend of mine recommended a lovely Airbnb in Naivasha - not sure if I should 1) add 2 nights to the trip from/to Nairobi (explore/bike Hells Gate and explore the Lake), 2) do that INSTEAD of Ol Pejata, or 3) not at all.

Any guidance based on experiences you may have had is welcome.

Thanks
jodileone7886 is offline  
Old Nov 7th, 2023, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by jodileone7886
Hi all,

I am planning a family safari with my kids (ages 17 and 19) in late July 2024. Looking for a highly engaging experience that includes animals, cultural activity, ​​​and some level of physical participation (walks, bikes, etc). We opted to stay in one country to keep it on the 'simpler' side. A travel agent suggested the below - - which looks pretty lovely to me, but I am interested in any additional feedback.
  • 2 nights in Nairobi (Sheldrick, Giraffes, and more TBD)
  • 2 nights in Ol Pejeta at Ol Pejeta Bush Camp
  • 3 nights in Masai Mara at Encounter Mara Camp
  • 4 nights in Diani at Kinondo Kwetu
ALSO, a friend of mine recommended a lovely Airbnb in Naivasha - not sure if I should 1) add 2 nights to the trip from/to Nairobi (explore/bike Hells Gate and explore the Lake), 2) do that INSTEAD of Ol Pejata, or 3) not at all.

Any guidance based on experiences you may have had is welcome.

Thanks
I would do first night in Nairobi and add a night to Ol Pejeta. Anything under 3 nights at a camp is too short. Maybe consider Kicheche camps as they have a special with Ol Pej and the Mara camps. They also provide a private vehicle for parties of 4 or more.

We have gone to Kenya twice with our kids and always stay at Kicheche camps. Fantastic guides, vehicles and camps. We have stayed at them all. Good luck.
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Old Nov 7th, 2023, 06:52 AM
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First, brace yourself for a bit of sticker shock because that is peak season in Kenya due to the migration in the Mara Reserve. Prices will be significantly higher than if you were there Nov-June.

I have stayed at Encounter Mara and enjoyed it. I was traveling solo and through a scheduling snafu by my agent, I ended up sharing a vehicle with a family with two young boys (probably 10 and 6 at the time) and the guide was wonderful with them. I learned a lot just from listening to their questions and interactions! I think you’ll find that at camps the caliber of Encounter Mara (it’s an Asilia camp so very well respected for high quality safari) they know how to entertain and engage with children of all ages very well. You can do walks there, tribal village visits and night safari.

The Mara is also arguably the best place in the world for big cats, and in Naboisho conservancy (where Encounter is) right now there are three massive (30+) prides of lions and several leopards. I was just there in Feb and returning in January. It’s a great pick. I also think you’re doing the right thing staying in a conservancy as you’ll avoid the utter mayhem of the public reserve during migration season, as well as the $200 per person per day Reserve fee they are going to start charging during migration season next year. The conservancies are much more chill and far more enjoyable for guests and the wildlife as the traffic there is limited to the camps int he conservancies. I would, if you could, give the Mara at least one more night. It’s that good.

I’ve not been to Navaisha but I do like Ol Pejeta (I’m returning there in January) and think the exposure to a different landscape as well as the ability to visit with the last two remaining northern white rhinos on the planet (literally, an almost extinct species) as well as visit the chimp sanctuary makes it all the more worthwhile. Nothing about Navaisha interests me, so I’ve just not included it, but your mileage and interest may vary. Ol Pejeta has a very healthy rhino population, which you are highly unlikely to see in the Mara (they are only in a very focused area not near Encounter) so if you want to see them in the wild, that is a very good place to do it.
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Old Nov 7th, 2023, 08:57 AM
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Thank you!
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Old Nov 7th, 2023, 09:06 AM
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I think plambers and I were posting at the same time...in fact, my last safari and the next one both include Kicheche camps. I'm combining the Kicheche camp in Laikipia/Ol Pejeta with the one in Mara/Naboisho in January. I think there is a long stay discount for 6 or more nights, not sure if that is available in peak season of July however. I cannot say enough about Kicheche. I loved my time at two of their camps in February. Top, top notch guiding and wonderful camps.

I also agree with plambers rule of at least 3 nights in any one place, so I'd be inclined to take a day from Diani to ensure 3 nights in Ol Pejeta and 4 nights in the Mara. I'm repeating myself, but yes, it is worth that time. You can do the beach anywhere! ;-)
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Old Nov 24th, 2023, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by jodileone7886
Hi all,

I am planning a family safari with my kids (ages 17 and 19) in late July 2024. Looking for a highly engaging experience that includes animals, cultural activity, ​​​and some level of physical participation (walks, bikes, etc). We opted to stay in one country to keep it on the 'simpler' side. A travel agent suggested the below - - which looks pretty lovely to me, but I am interested in any additional feedback.
  • 2 nights in Nairobi (Sheldrick, Giraffes, and more TBD)
  • 2 nights in Ol Pejeta at Ol Pejeta Bush Camp
  • 3 nights in Masai Mara at Encounter Mara Camp
  • 4 nights in Diani at Kinondo Kwetu
ALSO, a friend of mine recommended a lovely Airbnb in Naivasha - not sure if I should 1) add 2 nights to the trip from/to Nairobi (explore/bike Hells Gate and explore the Lake), 2) do that INSTEAD of Ol Pejata, or 3) not at all.

Any guidance based on experiences you may have had is welcome.

Thanks
Doing two nights in Nairobi is alot and would be prescribed if the first night you have a late night arrival flight so that you can just rest and spend the next full day exploring the giraffe centre,elephant orphanage,nairobi museum,karen blixen etc.
Ol pejeta two nights is ample time to explore the ol pejeta conservancy which in so many ways is different from most parks would highly recommend the two nights suggested,Mara 3 nights is sufficient time you can altogether decide to do your gamedrives at naboisho conservancy as the animal sightings there are pretty impressive and less crowding in the conservancy
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