Migration in July - Porini or Governors?

May 14th, 2010, 12:16 PM
  #1  
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Migration in July - Porini or Governors?

I'm thrilled to report that I have just booked flights for our first safari and we'll be traveling the third week of July. We're a family with two teen boys, 16 and 19. Those of you who know me from the Asian and Latin American boards know we have a history of planning distant vacations at the last minute.

Sadly we have just 11 days total for this trip, which means only 8 days/7 nights in Kenya and a quick stop in London for a meeting, but considering all of our schedules, it's a miracle that we're managing to pull this off. The Porini camps sound perfect for us (small, authentic, community-oriented) and we're thinking 1 night Nairobi, 2 nights Amboseli Porini, 4 nights Mara Porini. But.....I just looked at a map and I'm a little concerned that the Mara camp will be too far from the migration, and that if we stayed at Governor's (or Lion Porini?), our game drives would be a lot shorter.

Would appreciate the opinion of someone who knows both camps - Is Governors too big and impersonal? Is Mara Porini too far? And will the migration even reach Kenya by late July?
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May 14th, 2010, 12:34 PM
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I'd go for Porini Lion over Mara Porini. It's anybody's guess where the herds will be. Maybe take a look at some place even further south (Entim, Sala's?). But if you can get a deal by combining the Porini camps, I'm sure they'll take you wherever the migration has reached. Good luck and have a great trip whatever you decide!
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May 14th, 2010, 12:36 PM
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The migrating herds "may" arrive by late-July... some did show up by that time last year. And, they do arrive in the south of the park. Farther south than even Lion Camp, more in the area of Keekorok Lodge.

Lion Camp is closer to crossing point on the Mara River, but unlikely herds will have arrived or even crossing... but one never knows. Mara Porini though is a smaller camp with only 6/tents and I'm sure your game drives will take you wherever best game viewing. Besides, at this time of year there is game everywhere and wildies that never migrate - resident herds.

Governor's, as you state... has about 40/tents, are a bit worn, though they claim the tents have been refurbished which I can't confirm.

Don't concentrate on the migration, but the entire experience. This way you're pleasantly surprised and not pre-disappointed!
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May 14th, 2010, 12:51 PM
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Here's a map that might help in case you haven't come across it yet http://www.go-safari.com/Masai%20Mar...araApril09.jpg

There are also the Loita herds which come from the north. They're smaller in number though. "Migration" generally refers to the much larger herds that travel between the Mara and Serengeti.

You should have great game viewing, migration or no migration.
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May 14th, 2010, 02:35 PM
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Thanks for the prompt responses. Have either of you stayed at the Porini camps? The map is awesome, Patty.
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May 14th, 2010, 03:57 PM
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I haven't stayed at Porini camps but have heard very good things about them. You could try checking in the East Africa Trip Report Index http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...port-index.cfm
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May 15th, 2010, 11:58 AM
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Help, everyone! Gamewatchers says that Lion Camp is indeed a better spot for the migration. But the only way we can get into Porini Lion to spend an extra night in Nairobi at the end - pros: cheaper; cons: 2 nights out of 7 in Nairobi seems silly.
1-Nairobi
2-Amboseli
3-Amboseli
4-Lion
5-Lion
6-Lion - leave at 5pm
7-Nairobi (day tour to giraffes, carnivore, etc.)

We could try to switch to a different camp in the Mara...However, I have a great feeling about Gamewatchers and the Porini camps. Opinions appreciated.
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May 15th, 2010, 12:22 PM
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What are your dates? Try Kicheche Bush Camp which is also located on Olare Orok same as Porini Lion. I've stayed at Kicheche main camp and liked it very much but Kicheche Bush is in a better position for late July. They have an online available calendar you can check www.kicheche.com. Good luck!
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May 15th, 2010, 12:46 PM
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Looks incredible...and I like the way you can just book online - removes the mystique from safari planning. Unfortunately they are booked for our dates, except for the fly camp (how is that?). There is availability at the Mara Kicheche, but I don't think the location is as good.
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May 15th, 2010, 01:10 PM
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If you click on Fly Camp from this page http://www.kicheche.com/camps-bush-activities.shtm you'll see a picture and description. It's very simple and used in conjunction with a walking safari. I've done it as an overnight and it's a good experience but it's not meant for a longer stay. Are all 4 nights at Kicheche Bush booked? Maybe you could do the fly camp for 1 night?

Or how about Offbeat Mara? http://www.offbeatsafaris.com/mara.html
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May 15th, 2010, 02:01 PM
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3 of our 4 nights are booked. However, I was so impressed with their camps that I just emailed them to find out about doing 3 nights at Bush, then 3 nights at Mara (are the two camps too similar?)....That would mean cutting out Ambeseli, but that would save us a lot on travel time and we could do our village visit with Kicheche.
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May 15th, 2010, 02:39 PM
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Personally, I wouldn't split my time with a few days each at only one camp - Kicheche - though different locations. If you want 4/nts, then do 1/nt at fly camp as suggested.

And, being such a short visit in total, I'd keep Amboseli in the mix.

If at Porini Amboseli, it's on a private conservation, so remote and very eco-friendly, though they don't do laundry at this camp (won't waste water). Game drives are done on the private lands and also into Amboseli proper.

With the itinerary above, gather the first nt NBO I is on arrival departing for AMB next morning. And on the last day, you can do the sightseeing, have dinner and then (depending on flights most of which depart from 10pm on) direct transfer to JKIA for home. No need for a 2nd overnight NBO.
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May 15th, 2010, 03:00 PM
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Thanks, Sandi. What you described is exactly what we want to do (1 night NBO upon arrival, 2 nights Amboseli, 4 nights Mara, last evening in NBO) - however, Lion Porini has no availability our last night, so Gamewatchers suggested we spend that night in NBO. Any ideas? Your suggestions are much appreciated.
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May 15th, 2010, 03:51 PM
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Can't do much with 1/nt... maybe at Porini Mara? Or did you check that (might have missed in my reading) out and "no room at the inn!" Hey, they may have a cancellation. Ask to be waitlisted which can be difficult needing 2/tents, but you never know.

Porini does have a camp at Laikipia/Ol Pejeta, but can be a long haul for 1/nt

Since this is all last minute the fact you got 3/days, is a miracle and that's what most visitors spend in the Mara. Don't knock yourself out about it... remember: "any day on safari, gives you longer life" ... you'll have more than most!
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May 15th, 2010, 04:32 PM
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Okay - great advice (and wisdom). There is room at Porini Mara...Also at Kicheche Mara and Governors. We could also shorten our stay at Porini Lion and do 2 nights Amboseli/2 nights Porini Lion and 2 nights Kicheche Mara or maybe even a larger camp closer to the migration. Thoughts?
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May 15th, 2010, 04:49 PM
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Splitting your stay in the Mara would work. Keep in mind there may be a transfer fee between the two.

Or if you prefer not to split, would reversing your itinerary work in terms of availability? Normally I'd do Mara last but if availability is problematic...

I believe you could take the Mombasa Air Safari flight from the Mara to Amboseli. I also came across mention that Safarilink will start afternoon flights to Amboseli in high season http://www.eturbonews.com/15534/safa...w-destinations but can't find it in their schedule. You could check if it's a go (sandi, do you know?). Good luck!
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May 16th, 2010, 05:51 AM
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If you split time in the Mara with two different camps - Porini/Kicheche - as Patty mentions, a transfer fee, but it's "per vehicle" (to drive to and return empty), maybe $150-$180.

I do believe in "save the best for last" so while you can switch routing, if space available at the Mara Porini camps earlier, it's an option. And, then from the Mara, there is the Mombasa Air 2pm flight to the coast that stops at Amboseli. If choosing this, know that as camp check-out is 10am, some do assess a surcharge for late-departure and cost for lunch.

Patty - heard about the Safarilink plans to schedule an afternoon flight to AMB, CHY & TSV... we'll see; it's certainly a good idea and expands options.

crisscross - if reverse routing works to get you the Porini camp on your dates, this would be your option, so ask your agent.
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May 16th, 2010, 05:53 AM
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... sorry, that's crosscheck!!! my dyslexia kicked in!
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May 16th, 2010, 08:27 AM
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No worries...crisscross more accurately describes our style of travel. The reverse trip is an option, but I would rather be in the Mara on the later dates - better chance of seeing the migration. What do you think of driving back to Nairobi and stopping at Sunbird Lodge for the last night?
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May 16th, 2010, 08:45 AM
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I don't know anything about Sunbird Lodge specifically but driving back via the Rift Valley would be a possibility. It'll be a 5-6 hour drive on Day 6 and your driver will probably have to drive out to the Mara the previous day.
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