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May Kenya Photo Safari - Conservancy Recs Needed

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Nov 12th, 2016, 08:23 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 81
May Kenya Photo Safari - Conservancy Recs Needed

We are planning our first Kenya safari in May.

We are seeking advice from experienced, private individuals who have been on a min of 3 Kenya safaris. [Please no replies from those employed - directly or indirectly - by any of the safari tour operators and/or safari travel planners]

Specifically, which 1 or 2 private Kenya Conservancies will give us best chance to achieve our safari goals? What, specifically, will we likely NOT be able to accomplish with your recommendation?

Safari Goals:
1. Max 6 nights in camp.
2. High frequency, close encounter photography of Africa's Big Wildlife.
3. MUST SEE - Elephant, Big Cats, Rhino, Hippo, Giraffe, Zebra, Gazelle, Impala, Wildebeest).
4. Classic African panoramic vistas and landscapes (especially sunrise and sunsets).
5. Off-road, private game drives (day and night) in open-sided vehicle.

Thank you and we look forward to reading your feedback!
dmiclat is offline  
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Nov 12th, 2016, 02:14 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 8,176
I don't meet your exacting criteria for responding, but we had a fabulous safari using EASY TRAVEL to visit the Northern Circuit National Parks in Tanzania: Tarangire, Arusha, Manyara, Central & Northern Serengeti.
abram is offline  
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Nov 13th, 2016, 09:08 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,463
I've stayed in Olare Motorogi, Ol Kinyei and Naboisho conservancies and my next is planned for Mara North. That's all big cat country, so you won't have too much trouble there seeing them. Plains game aplenty (Impala, zebra, etc) and decent elephant and hippo sightings. I've never seen a rhino in or around the Mara nor do I know many who do with any frequency. You'd have better luck at Nairobi National Park for those (I saw 12 in one game ride!) or up near Mt. Kenya where they are more commonly seen.

Six nights in one camp may help you reduce cost. Many camps offer "stay for 3, pay for 2" specials, or the like. I'd stay in any camp AT LEAST 2 nights. You lose the better part of a day changing camps and settling in to a new one.

The landscape is everywhere, so there's that box checked.

Depends on the camp how open the vehicles are, but most I've seen do have open sides, some also have open topped. I'm mixed on night drives. I've not had great results when I have done them, bush babies and hyena and elephants. But most camps seem to do that en route from your sundowner back to camp for dinner. I haven't gone out again after dinner if that's what you're hoping for. This is something your safari planner can help you sort out.

You are wise to focus on conservancies, as I find the game drives are better there, less heavily trafficked and with the ability to go off-road. The guides seem to know the conservancies they are based in and the local animal residents extremely well and can find them usually based on their usual patterns of behavior. My best game viewing has been in the conservancies as opposed to the Mara Reserve itself, hands down.

You might want to dig a bit deeper on Safaritalk.net than here. The focus is less on tour operators stumping for business and more on quality trip reports with details on sighting and photographic proof from veteran fellow safari goers (as in they've been on dozens of safaris over many years). There is an entire sub-forum on trip reports to Kenya and the Mara. A few hours clicking through there will give you a lot of the answers you need and more. You'll likely come away with more destinations than you expected!
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Nov 13th, 2016, 09:09 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,463
Meant to add...May is considered rainy season in the Mara and many/most camps close down for April and May. So I might rethink when you go.
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