Mobile tented safaris, Kenya in June/July 2011

May 11th, 2011, 07:57 AM
  #1  
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Mobile tented safaris, Kenya in June/July 2011

With significant Virgin air-miles, I am looking for best safari advises for June/July in Kenya, from arriving at Nairobi onwards. Focus on wildlife, secluded location and basic but fully serviced accommodation.
I am looking for an off-the beaten track, mobile-camp safari but in Kenya? This would be similar to the Wilderness Safari Migration Routes style in Botswana (wilderness-safaris.com/botswana/…).
The idea would be to spend 2-3 days any one location, sleeping in a pre-prepared "mobile" non-participatory campsite, before moving on in-situ to a different location. In other words, an intensive on the ground experience, and with the key focus on the environment, ecology and flora & fauna.
There may be a need to stay in a more permanent & luxurious lodge/tent for the 1st & final nights, but I'm really after location, wilderness, bucket showers & drop-hole loos!
Similar to: flickr.com/photos/…set-72157624343915697 & flickr.com/photos/…set-72157624343774177 & flickr.com/photos/…
HELP, PLEASE ?
DRJO is offline  
May 11th, 2011, 08:22 AM
  #2  
 
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Hi DRJO.
I haven't explored this option for Kenya, but am going on exactly the sort of safari you're describing in Tanzania this July. Mine is going to be in the Serengeti, so not exactly off the beaten path, but within the Serengeti we've tried hard to focus on the more remote portions of the park. This is a mobile that will travel with us and we change campsites every 3 nights. It is non-participatory and uses mini-Meru tents with attached facilities - bucket showers and chemical toilets - long drop loos are becoming rarer these days .
I am using The Wild Source for this safari, You may want to chat with Bill Given and see if he can come up with something similar for Kenya. I'm sure there are local Kenyan operators who can do this as well. For Tz, it was surprisingly hard to come up with something that met all my requirements, because I wanted a mobile that fit somewhere between the luxury mobiles and the basic dome tented mobiles.
One other point, you may hit a snag with booking the special campsites since your trip is right around the corner. We booked our campsites almost a year ago and were still not able to get precisely the sites we wanted, although we came pretty close.
Best of luck with your plans.
sangeeta is offline  
May 11th, 2011, 08:38 AM
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Oh, and I forgot to mention - this sort of safari comes at a pretty hefty price because the logistics are quite complicated, We are a group of 6 so the prices were okay. But for a solo or a 2-person mobile, the price tag can be quite daunting!.
One other company that I came across during my research and that offers very interesting mobiles is Natural High in the UK. You may want to check them out as well. They have some interesting off the beaten path itineraries.
sangeeta is offline  
May 11th, 2011, 08:59 AM
  #4  
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Great stuff and thanks Sangeeta. Your trip is exactly what I am after, but Virgin air restricts me to either Jo'burg, Cape Town or Kenya.
I will be on paid leave for June/July, so subject to flights, I am hoping to be flexible enough to squeeze in during that period.
I would love to hear more of your itinerarly.
DRJO
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May 11th, 2011, 09:10 AM
  #5  
 
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Even if you arrive Nairobi/NBO, you can easily get to Tanzania by road ($40/person o/w) 5-6/hrs or air (about $250/person o/w) 50/min. And, return to NBO for homebound Virgin flight.

Shuttle bus departs 8am and 2pm; flight would depart 7:30 or 8am, with next flight about 12N.

Mobile camping of actually moving your tents every few days is more easily (usual) done in Tanzania than Kenya. But can be arranged in Kenya.

However, if traveling June thru early-July, I'd suggest visit to Tanzania. This is peak season with prices to match. June is still mid-season in Kenya, then goes into peak-season in July.

So, Tanzania is doable even if arrival NBO, which many visitors do.
sandi is offline  
May 11th, 2011, 10:07 AM
  #6  
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Sandi, brilliant stuff, what a great idea! With sat-nav and a good 4X4, is the drive worthwhile/an adventure? I might have enough time to do it plus an 8-10 nighter on the ground. Where would the border crossing be and where would my target drop-off be?
I'm being very greedy this year as I'm 9 nights in Selous during October. I've been turned off by the North because of how busy it seems (compared with Bots or Selous), but a mobile type trip, earlier in the season may well be the answer.
DRJO is offline  
May 11th, 2011, 01:16 PM
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9 nights in Selous in Oct. should be fantastic. Lucky you.

I'm not sure how remote even the very northern reaches of the Serengeti are going to be given the pretty large number of seasonal camps and even some new permanent camps that have sprouted up over the last couple of years, but I'm crossing my fingers.

We spend 3 nights each at 4 campsites in the western and northern areas of the park. Hopefully not too crowded, but I don't think it's going to be as "wild" as it's reported to have been just a few years ago. The upside of the increased tourist presence has been decreased poaching in the area, so that's a good thing.

Have you read Atravelynn's Kenya report from last year? She describes vehicle numbers at sightings and surprisingly, except for the Mara crossing points, those numbers were not bad at all. So you may indeed be able to put something together that takes you off the beaten path in Kenya.

Natural High offers a dome tent mobile in the north-eastern section of the Serengeti eco-system (perhaps in Loliondo?) that looks like it would be a wonderful way to connect with the wilderness exactly as you're imagining. I would have done that one in a heartbeat, except that the bathroom facilities were not attached to the tent and I didn't fancy stepping out of the tent at night.

I think you have quite a few options, actually. Perhaps Sandi herself can help you with this?
sangeeta is offline  
May 11th, 2011, 02:07 PM
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Loliondo is a bit too far north for June.

Yes, more camps (some permanent, others being seasonal... here for a few months, then they move on) have opened in the Northern Serengeti over the past 3/years, but still too few to consider it near crowded.

If staying at a camp here, you're only likely to see another vehicle or two from any of them. It's not the Masai Mara at crossing points, and as pointed out above... away from wildie crossing points it's not all that crowded.

As to drive from Nairobi into Tanzania, besides the shuttle bus, cheapest, 5-6/hrs, you can take a private vehicle transfer. However, this cost is almost as much as the flight and saves maybe 30/min off the drive time. Nothing much exciting on the road via the Namanga border to Arusha in Tanzania. Even if flying into JRO, it's a 1/hr drive to Arusha.
sandi is offline  
May 12th, 2011, 02:58 AM
  #9  
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Many thanks Sandi & Sangeeta. Some more homework needed by DRJO!
I'm a little obtuse in that using airmiles means spending that money on the rest of the trip, rather than reducing the overall cost....
If any other thoughts come up, please let me know.
DRJO is offline  
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