Need help,Kenya Short Safari soon!

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Aug 12th, 2005, 01:00 PM
  #1
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Need help,Kenya Short Safari soon!

I am a 28 year old single lady travelling alone. I have no control over my dates because I will be in Uganda on business from the 22 October to 29 October this year. While in Africa, I would love to extend my stay for a 3-4 day safari in the Masai Mara area. I know the dates are a bit off for the best time but like I said not my choice. I could fly out of Uganda on the 29th to NBO. Then I have quickly looked at two different options.Both of these are from (go2africa)A 3 day land safari, staying at Siana Intrepids,transportation in shared safari bus with photo roof. About 590.00
I have another quote same company for a private safari, 3 day but flying in to Masai Mara instead and a choice of staying at Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp for 1030.00 or Mara Safari Club for 1008.00 or Siana Intrepids for 974.00.
I know there will be alot of extras because I would love a baloon ride, will have to stay 2 nights in NBO because of timing, plus taxes and tipping and incidentials. But the fact that I will be in Africa, makes me think that I shouldn't give up the opportunity. Can anyone offer me advice. My prices might be a bit higher than usual but don't forget that I am a single. So far this tour company seems very good, yet I am sure there are other reputable ones. I just don't have alot of time to look at too many options.
I have been reading all the other posts on here and since this is my first experience with anything like a safari, I am overwhelmed.
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Aug 12th, 2005, 02:09 PM
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Hi Lyban,

In June I paid $680 (plus 4 x $30 for park tickets) for a flying safari with 4 nights in Samburu Intrepids. November isnít high season and the prices youíve been given for flying safaris seem high. Especially as when travel agents talk about ď3 daysĒ they mean 2 nights or two 24-hour periods that fall on 3 different days.
I took a quick look at Lets Go Travelís webpage and found some flying safaris to the Mara. Not all of them show rates for November, but send them an enquiry and youíll get a reply on Monday. Some of the safaris are 1 night and others are 2 nights. Ask how much ďthis safariĒ with 1 or 2 extra nights would be for one person and exactly what is included.
Safari njema,
Susanna

Governorís

http://www.lets-go-travel.net/?q=node/view/452

Mara Intrepids

http://www.lets-go-travel.net/?q=node/view/458

Kichwa Tembo

http://www.lets-go-travel.net/?q=node/view/459

Mara Explorer

http://www.lets-go-travel.net/?q=node/view/12691

Mara Safari Club

http://www.lets-go-travel.net/?q=node/view/12691

Mara Serena

http://www.lets-go-travel.net/?q=node/view/461

Siana Springs

http://www.lets-go-travel.net/?q=node/view/462

Mara Simba

http://www.lets-go-travel.net/?q=node/view/592









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Aug 12th, 2005, 03:54 PM
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Nyamera,
Thanks for your reply and info. I did go to the links you kindly posted for me but only 2 or 3 of them out of all the links are available for when I am going. This is starting to worry me, will I be able to see any of the large animals during the Oct. 30th till Nov. 1st or 2nd. I will be sending an email to them anyways and seeing about the ones avalable. Thanks for your input.
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Aug 12th, 2005, 06:59 PM
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lyban,
All of the camps and lodges that Nyamera listed are open year round. I don't know why Let's Go Travel didn't list the rates for every period, but they're definitely all open in late Oct/early Nov. Let them know your dates and have them check availability and prices for you at a few different camps. You should be able to get better pricing working with a tour operator in Kenya, rather than an agent in South Africa. Good luck!
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Aug 13th, 2005, 02:00 AM
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Lyban, as Patty said, all the camps are open. I think that Letís Go Travel has just forgotten to update.

Donít worry about not seeing big animals. You might even be able to see the tail of the migration if it leaves the Mara late this year. Even without migration there are always lots of resident animals in the Mara and it will be easy to spot them because the wildebeest will have cropped the grass.

A camp I can recommend is Basecamp:
http://www.basecampexplorer.com/masaimara/en
You could send an email to their office in Nairobi. For one person, flying is less expensive than a road safari, unless thereís a group you could join on the date youíre able to travel.
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Aug 13th, 2005, 06:02 AM
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Thanks Patty for your info. I did send an email off to Lets go travel and hopefully they will get back to me soon. Nyamera, you mentioned basecamp. The thing I am having touble understanding is who has access to what properties. If I for example wanted basecamp would I not be able to use Lets Go Travel? This is so new to me that I am really confused. I do not necessary want to be alone. Because I am a single travelling, I think it would be fun if I could be with 2 or 3 others. Ideally, I would love to do a balooon ride, visit a Masai village and see a few large animals. Also sleep in a tent something like Kichwa Tembo, not roughing it yet not luxury. Fly in, if possible. about 3 days. Am I being realistic or am I being foolish?
Also you mentioned Samburu Intrepids. I cannot find that camp on my map of lodges and tents can you tell me where it is? Thanks
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Aug 13th, 2005, 06:44 AM
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Lyban, Lets Go Travel has Basecamp on their website, but not among their flying safaris. You could ask them if they can arrange a flying package with 3 nights in Basecamp and compare it with the price Basecampís own travel agency gives you.

Kenyaís tourism industry is busy this year, so I doubt there is a risk/chance youíll go on game drives alone. I didnít go on a balloon flight when I was in Basecamp, but they were doing them together with another camp. Over 90 % of the staff at Basecamp are Maasai and youíll have the opportunity to visit a Maasai village. Youíll see more than a few big animals. Like Kichwa Tembo, and others, Basecamp is a tented camp. Itís very comfortable Ė nice bed, your own bathroom at the back of the tent, good restaurant etc. Ė but others are more luxurious. I think Basecamp is better priced than Kichwa Tembo.

The reason you canít find Samburu Intrepids on the Mara map is that itís in Samburu National Reserve in northern Kenya.


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Aug 13th, 2005, 07:10 AM
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Nyamera,
Thanks again. I am learning alot from you. I have travelled a fair amount but have never gone to Africa. I guess the fact that I really do not have much time in preparing this trip is what has me so anxious. The more I read the more excited I am getting. I am awaiting my response from Lets Go and hopefully something can be worked out. You mentioned that you used them, can you tell me something about there travel vehicles. Is it wiser for me to arrange my own air travel from Uganda to Nairobi and my overnight accomadation in NBO or should I put all of that in the hands of the operator.
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Aug 13th, 2005, 11:22 AM
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hi lyban, i would second basecamp. i stayed there once. but i visit there every time i camp near the talek river gate.
have a couple of beers, see old friends.
as it turns out. i will be in the mara again between oct17 to oct22nd.
as i am being told, the animals are still crossing over from tanz. they should be around for some time.
if you only have a few days there. you might as well fly. try to spend as much time as you can there. even if you have to leave the same day you arrive in nairobi. even in june, all the migration was gone. the place seemed a little empty from what i am used to. it didn't matter for though. tons of lion. even the tall green grass was beauitful. either way & no matter what. stop in there if you can. if needed here is my e-mail:
[email protected]
cheers, david
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Aug 13th, 2005, 12:40 PM
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Ok, this is probably a dumb question but here goes anyways.
If I go directly to basecamp web site, are they also tour operatiors or do they just handle the camp. Do all other tour operators have access to every camp or are they limited to certain ones. Besides Letsgotravel. can anyone tell me the names of other tour organizers out of Kenya.
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Aug 13th, 2005, 01:48 PM
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hi, my tour op: eco-resorts booked it for me at the time. i found this on the basecamp web site. maybe you already seen this. they have a main office right there in the city. we've driven by it a number of times. might as well give this a shot. to be honest, if you start searching through many tour ops. your mind will turn into jello, lol. [email protected]
good luck, give it a try.
david
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Aug 13th, 2005, 02:25 PM
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lyban,
I've yet to run into a camp or lodge in Kenya that can only be booked by certain tour operators. Some operators may have better contract rates with one camp or another, so may try to steer you toward their preferred accomodations, but that doesn't mean they can't book other camps. If you're considering a fly-in safari to a single camp, you may also be able to book through the camp itself (many of them will take direct bookings). It's your choice who you prefer to go through.

On a fly-in safari, you'll be utilizing the camp's vehicles for your game drives on a shared basis with other guests (unless you choose to pay extra for sole use of a private vehicle or the camp occupancy is low), so more than likely you'll be with other people. You'll also meet other guests during meal times, etc. so I wouldn't worry about traveling alone.

I'm not sure how many nights you're planning to stay, but if it's only 2 nights, I wouldn't consider a driving safari. It will take approx 6 hours each way to travel by road between Nairobi and the Masai Mara, and if you want/need to join others, you'll have to find a scheduled departure that fits with your dates. On a fly-in safari, you can depart any day you like.

Here's another website that lists rates for fly-in packages from Nairobi to a number of game parks in Kenya including the Masai Mara, and it will give you a good idea of the cost of various camps -

http://www.porini.com/gamewatchers/home_index.html
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Aug 13th, 2005, 03:15 PM
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Lyban, Patty has written most of what I was going to reply and she has probably explained it better.
Iíve only used Lets Go for the flying package to Samburu. It was very convenient, but I never even saw anyone who works for them. As Patty said, on a fly-in you use the vehicles of the lodge/camp. Itís an advantage because they are usually better for game viewing than those used on a road safari.

You can arrange the flight from Uganda to Kenya with a tour operator, but you can also book the ticket on-line with Kenya Airways Ė and a hotel in Nairobi, though you have to fax or phone some hotels.

In Nairobi thereís a safari company at every corner. Here are some that do fly-ins:
http://www.africanjacana.com/index.htm

http://www.eastafricashuttles.com/ke...ing-safari.htm

http://www.essafari.co.ke/flyingsafaris.htm

Basecamp Travel Nairobi are tour operators. They deal mostly, though not exclusively, with their own Basecamp Masai Mara and Basecamp Lamu. Here is their web site: http://www.basecampexplorer.com/nairobi/en

When I decided to go to Samburu Intrepids I first emailed directly to Heritage Hotels, but I didnít get a reply. Then I contacted a couple of tour operators and Lets Go had the best price.



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Aug 13th, 2005, 06:27 PM
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Patty,Tuskerdave and Nyamera,
Wow! You guys are super..I am really getting answers to my questions and I think I am starting to understand this whole safari thing. I now have to go look up web sites that you were all kind enough to give me and figure out a few more ideas now that I am starting to see the light. I am sure that by tomorrow I will have more questions, for now though thank you all so much.
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Aug 14th, 2005, 03:05 AM
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lyban, if you are there anytime between oct 17-22.it would be very easy if you end up staying at basecamp. it is only about 15mins from my camp site. my driver & i will go visit there. we visit there any way. sometimes,a masai named big moses stops by our place. we can discuss the events of the mara . just a thought.
ok write if needed.
d
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Aug 14th, 2005, 07:43 AM
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Dave,
Thanks for that offer but I will only be leaving Uganda on the 29th Of October. So the timing is off. Nice of you to offer though.
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Aug 14th, 2005, 08:25 AM
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hi again, damn!! too bad you couldn't change to about 10days early.
keep us posted.
d
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Aug 15th, 2005, 11:41 AM
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Nyamera and others,
I saw your post on the other site with the up to date Migration Map.Because it is so heavy right now does that mean that by the first week of November there will be no migration left. You will have to forgive me, I did say this was all so new to me.I am trying to understand.
I received a reply back from Lets Go with my request and they have quoted me for a 3 night airpackage to Kichwa Tembo, 740.00 plus 90.00 park fees and then I would like the 390. Balloon ride. This baloon ride seems awfully extravagant but I do think it will be a once in a lifetime thing. I am a single so maybe the rates are a little higher than others quotes. If I were to write them back, what other within reason accomadation should I get a quote on. Plus they mention a single room at the Fairview for 85. or the Panafric for 90. What do all you experts think?
Thanks
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Aug 15th, 2005, 02:04 PM
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Lyban, I suppose the wildebeests will leave when theyíve finished off they grass of the Mara and feel the scent of rain in the Serengeti. I donít know if that will happen before or after your visit. Maybe someone can make a forecast from whatís happened other years with a mid-August like this one, but itís not maths. I wouldnít understand it even if it were maths. Consider it a bonus if you catch the migration.

Ask for a quote on Governorís and Mara Intrepids, though they might be more expensive. I think the best alternative would be Basecamp. Ask Lets Go if they can arrange that.

You can get a comfortable single room for around $ 15 at the Terminal or the Embassy. The Comfort Inn is a bit less basic than those two and priced somewhere between them and Fairview/Panafric
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Aug 15th, 2005, 03:55 PM
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hi lyban, i feel you will get lucky. even now, they are still coming. in june, that place was covered in green grass.
don't worry about what you may or may not see. take what the mara gives you.
a belguine family just came back a week ago. they just caught the beginning of the migration. BUT! they saw many many lions.
they couldn't believe all the lions.
so, just stay at basecamp. make it easy.
enjoy the mara,whatever she gives you.

cheers, david,
ps no way you can go there the 3rd week?
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