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Masai Mara camp for single female - Freeman's Safaris?

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Mar 1st, 2013, 06:38 AM
  #1
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Masai Mara camp for single female - Freeman's Safaris?

Single female photographer planning trip to Masai Mara, Samburu NP, Amboseli. Looking for simple but comfortable camp, land rover with own seat (photog. needs), with no or low single supplement.
Am in contact with Brian Freeman (Freeman Safaris on the net), but see virtually no photos or info save his site, on the internet. Anyone know of this camp? What are the accomodations like, the food, etc.
Anyone know of another camp that would suit? No chandeliers necessary.
Thanks in advance, June J.
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Mar 1st, 2013, 08:03 AM
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"land rover with own seat (photog. needs)". I'm sure no camp would make you share a seat! Or do you mean a whole vehicle?

What time of year is this? Kicheche don't charge single supplements except during migration time (mid July to late October). You'll pay extra for a private vehicle though.
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Mar 1st, 2013, 08:15 AM
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Private vehicle costs - EUV, exclusive use of vehicle - range from about $250-500/day.

Besides Kicheche camps, say if traveling 'off-season' as in May/June, or after October, don't charge a single supplement; believe also Kichwa Tembo doesn't charge for a single and believe it's year-round. Know though that KT will be closing Nov '13 for complete/total refurbishing... new tents, etc. with scheduled reopening 1st July '14.

Single supplements where charged will vary depending on camp at which staying. It's not double the 'shared' price, but a good percentage based on what the actual shared rate is.

You don't indicate when traveling.
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Mar 1st, 2013, 08:31 AM
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Hi stokeygirl,
Thanks for reply.
Re: vehicle seat: the land rovers will have 2 or 3 rows of seat with typically more than one person per row. I mean to have that row so I can photograph from both sides of vehicle and have room for equipment bag, etc. I believe this has to be requested ahead of time, although, traveling with a photographer's tour, that is guaranteed. (these tours are, of course, more expensive).
I was thinking September, early Oct., so that's still high season.
Thanks again, June J
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Mar 1st, 2013, 08:38 AM
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Hi sandi,
Thank you for reply.
Looking at Sept/Oct. Yes, I've looked at many of the camps and see that ss vary, but the price is so high to begin, that the ss makes it a bit crazier than I can afford. Also looking to visit Samburu and Amboseli. Tricky trip to plan for a single.
I will look at Kichwa Tembo again...missed that about no ss.
Thanks much for advice, June J
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Mar 9th, 2013, 09:55 PM
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Hi June.

Does it have to be a "camp"? I ask because actually some of the lodges ae less $ than the upscale"camps" eg Mra Serena is less than the Kicheche camps, and Keekorok even less than MS!! As I read somewhere, the animals dont know or care where you stay, and tehre aer some perfectly wonderful places just a 5 min drive from the plains
I "feel your pain"having traVeled solo for almost a month last summer.
Another place which was surprisingly less $ was Royal Mara.

DO NOT assume the prices on their websites is what you will hAVe to pay. Both Mara Serena and Royal Mara are MUCH less when booking with a local travel agent, or a travel agent in your onwn country who contracts the work to a good in-=country company.
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Mar 10th, 2013, 09:58 AM
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Having a private/your game drive vehicle I've heard of, but never done.
Reserving you own row, never thought about that. My last safari in South Africa, Kings Camp, in South Africa the open Land Rovers (typically) have a seat next to the driver. That seat is in fact my favorite of all the vehicle seats. Because it puts me/camera down as a foot high position. That is, as if the camera were and I were on foot viewing the subject. This to me is 80% of the time the best perspective for photographing wildlife. (The exception could be a leopard in a tree with its kill). The other seats in back too often cause you to look down on the subject which I don't like (not natural).

The seat next to the driver can cause viewing difficulty with the driver in the way but the rangers/guides know that and position vehicle accordingly.

regards - tom
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Mar 19th, 2013, 04:47 PM
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Hi CaliNurse,

Only saw your reply now, March 19. What I need as a photographer is more flexibility with regard to getting out in the morning, staying with animals longer and not rushing off to see the next thing on the trail, stuff like that.
I'd say traveling as a single female and photographer cause me the most hurdles! I've traveled to Antarctica, Svalbard and the polar bears, Lofoten, Alaska, Galapagos...sometimes rooming with strangers to avoid the single supplement....steep! So yes, it's tricky!

Thanks for your reply, June J
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Mar 19th, 2013, 05:06 PM
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Hi Tom (cary999),
Thanks for writing! Africa is such a tricky trip to plan! If one joins a photographer's group, it's settled that you will have your own seat in the land rover, which, of course, is covered in the higher cost of the safari. Even more weight allowed in the small airplanes hopping from one reserve to another, sometimes it's unlimited what you can bring, because you're actually paying a higher price to fly that way, and photographers DO carry an awful lot of stuff!
My trip will be Kenya and Namibia, and now I know that different types of vehicles are used in different locales....so much to research and learn!
Thanks again!
June J
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Mar 20th, 2013, 12:46 PM
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Even if you got price at Kichwa Tembo without single supplement, unless you arrange for EUV (at whatever their daily rate), otherwise, they may have total 6/paxs in vehicle which wouldn't be ideal for you.

And don't assume as a photographer you can take whatever weight on those small bush planes. These planes not only transport paxs and their belongings, whether checked or carryon... also transport items for the many lodges/camps throughout the country. And if the plane is overweight for whatever reason, some items have to be paid for or go out on the next plane. You might be able to have liberal weight allowances if traveling specifically with a photog group, but as an individual... get hit with overweight charges.

Have no idea what Freeman is offering, type of accomm, etc... but for specifics, best get the info from him - where they visit, how many days, type of accomm (tents and what kind), whether providing a 'share' option to avoid the SS... and I'd ask for names of previous travelers you can contact by email or better yet, by phone.

Also, are you being realistic with your budget as a solo traveler whether a photog or not. Prices in Kenya will not come down somewhat until 1st Nov. and generally isn't that inexpensive regardless time of year, even if less costly than would be Tanzania.
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Mar 23rd, 2013, 07:00 PM
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Hi sandi,
Yes, I've been researching these things for a while; weight allowances, single supplements, all the stuff BEYOND which country to visit and when, and I actually have been in contact with a traveler who's gone with Freeman, and feel confident to join their group. No ss at Freeman's since he has smaller tents...what a blessing. Now to find the flights that work with the dates, give or take a day going and coming home.
Thanks for the reply!
June J
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Mar 24th, 2013, 08:40 AM
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No Single Supplement - good.
Am sure you'll be able to find flights as there are many carriers in/out of Nairobi.

Note: While Turkish Air has very tempting fares, they arrive NBO 1:30am (you won't be at your hotel before 3am earliest) and depart about 2:30am which will incur extra nt hotel costs, thus discount any flight costs savings.
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Mar 24th, 2013, 06:56 PM
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What month are you intending to travel?
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Mar 26th, 2013, 02:07 PM
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June J - I completely understand as a fellow photographer. Not certain of your budget but have you checked out a dedicated photo tour? I have used Laurie Excell for grizzlies in Katmai, polar bears for Churchill, Bosque, etc and she is doing a Kenya tour this year. On Laurie's tour there would be 1 person per row like a Van Os tour. Laurie is actually using a great local company to set up this safari and both guides that she will use are excellent. If I wasn't already going with a mutual friend this June I would sign up. http://laurieexcell.com/lauries-blog/kenya-calls/

Cheers,
Sallie Jo
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Mar 27th, 2013, 12:13 PM
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Hi georgennganga,
September.
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Mar 27th, 2013, 12:28 PM
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Hi sperraglia,

Thanks for the reply and referral. I have been researching for a long time, I look at many websites and many of the photog. leaders are friends on facebook, so I see pics from trips.

Friends have gone with Eyes on Africa, Andy Biggs, Atkinson, and so on. I've been with Nat Geo photogs twice, but I won one of the trips. Sweet.

Is your trip this June with Laurie Excell? I will look at that website later, thanks for the heads up.
First I figured out which countries I'd want to see in Africa, then what month, then who to go with. The dedicated photo tours are perhaps 8-12 days or so, and I want more time there. I'll be getting the price from Freeman's soon. I have a tentative itinerary and once I have that price I'll adjust accordingly.

Might add a trip to a mission...am in contact with folk on that end of it as well. So I guess it's my own doing to complicate matters!

I went with Adventures for Singles to Antarctica, Lindblad to Svalbard and Galapagos, Katmai with a friend, all great trips. Africa is proving trickier.
Again, thanks so much for writing!
June J
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Mar 27th, 2013, 12:59 PM
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June J - No, this June is with a mutual friend of Laurie's and mine that I met on one of Laurie's workshops. We have a great guide and a private landrover with a row for each of us - 2 of us serious photographers and 1 non photographer and will be going to Rwanda for a few days prior for gorillas before the Kenya portion starts.

I agree my trips to Antaractica were easier to plan. Another thing to think about is if you can find a photo tour not only will you get a row to yourself, but typically we pack breakfast so we can stay out a bit longer instead of having to rush back to the lodge for the breakfast spread. Not as delicious but photos over food. Also, I find non photographers are sometimes a little more check the box and next so a photography group is a little more forgiving. Good luck with your search.

Cheers
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Apr 10th, 2013, 06:15 AM
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Hi sperraglia,
Not sure what I wrote last, but decided to go with Freeman's, no single supplement, will be in Sept., got flight tix, and he and his crew are all about photography it seems, even adapt land rovers for the cameras and us. As far as staying out longer, that's also in the deal, so am looking forward to a great trip, three and half weeks.

Will still look at Laurie Excell website. Have been burried with other photo stuff: PhotoNortheast this past weekend, and giving a workshop at my studio this coming weekend. But very relieved to have finished the main part of A-trip planning for now.

Enjoy your trip, let us know where we can see your images from the trip. I'll check in to this page from time to time.

Cheers! June J
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Apr 11th, 2013, 01:20 PM
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Norskye - I am sure you will have a great time. I will try to post to the website, but last time I posted was actually Kenya 2011 and I haven't even finished editing that trip!
www.gritsphoto.com
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Apr 18th, 2013, 08:18 AM
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Hi sperraglia,

Wow, just looked at some Kenya pics on your site. Just lovely...and the camp, I guess Mara Intrepids it was, looks great. Mine will be simpler, hope it's ok, but is near the Intrepids I was told. Will look at more of your images later.

Thanks for adding your site address. Mine is junejacobsen.com. Mostly portraits all these years, but added countries about a year ago.

cheers!
June J
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