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only private conservancies or can i add in a national park

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Nov 12th, 2015, 01:02 PM
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only private conservancies or can i add in a national park

For our first 10-11 day family safari in June 2017 in Kenya, do I want only private conservancies or can i throw in a national park? Late June should not be super crowded, should it?

also, am focusing on Laikipia and 2 locations in Maasai Mara. Good choice or should I add in Amboseli or Samburu too?
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Nov 12th, 2015, 04:17 PM
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If you stay in a conservancy, you can daytrip into the national reserve. The entrance fee will need to be paid. So for example I stayed at Porini Mara and one of my days there we spent in the Masai Mara National Reserve, despite the fact we were in Ol Kinyei Conservancy. It's up to you whether you want to do that or not. When I stay near Amboseli in a conservancy, I'm still going to do a day trip into Amboseli NP itself.
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Nov 12th, 2015, 07:34 PM
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I don't think I would try and do 4 locations in the time you have. I haven't been to Amboseli, but I loved Samburu and I think it would be a good alternative to Laikipia- both are excellent. For a family trip I'd lean towards Laikipia myself, because of the range of activities available in some of the camps on private ranches (like Laikipia WIlderness). If you're looking at Ol Pejeta though, that's more of a traditional game drive type experience and I'd consider Samburu an equally good (if not better) alternative.

In the Mara, I wouldn't rule out the reserve if you are planning on two stops. For example Asilia have camps in the main reserve (Rekero) and Naboisho (Encounter and Naboisho camps). Especially if you are hoping to get lucky with an early migration.

If you are looking for June 2017, it's worth waiting a bit until you commit to anything, as it's probably too far ahead for special offers to be announced. June isn't going to fill up, and a bit closer to the time you will probably start to see offers like 4-for-3 etc.
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Nov 13th, 2015, 04:34 AM
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Amyb, did you like to Porini safari. Their quote was alot less than the others I have - but the others are quoting me Asila camps.

Stokeygirl, wasn't considering 4 spots-maybe 3 and trying to figure out which one. Laikipia and Masai Mara are definite - trtying to figure out the 3rd spot.

We are getting the 4 for 3 rates.

Thanks for any comments.
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Nov 13th, 2015, 05:02 AM
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Yes, plambers, I did like the Porini safari. I stayed in the Porini Rhino, Mara and Lion camps. Lion is one of the best experiences ever. From both Mara and Lion you can day trip into Masai Mara NP, but my opinion was the game viewing was far better in Olare Motorogi Conservancy (where Lion Camp is) than in the park. I was there in February, so your mileage may vary, but I didn't have any crowds in the park at all, it was just that it was a lot more work to find game than in the conservancy. We had lions, leopard, Cape buffalo, cheetah right outside our door at both Mara and Lion Camps. One night at Mara Camp when we returned from a game ride, the staff were shooing elephants away from the firepit area! And at Rhino Camp there were giraffe, hippo right next to the mess tent every morning and night. I don't think you can go wrong with the Porini itinerary, if it meets your needs. That said, I'm staying at an Asilia Camp in February! (Next safari, I forced myself to try something new rather than re-do perfection, so I picked two new to me camps and conservancies)
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Nov 13th, 2015, 07:07 AM
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Amyb, that is why I am so confused! The woman I am working with in Porini wants 2 nights Amboseli, and 3 in Lion and Mara. She is NOT recommending Rhino. Are they rustic?
Amboseli looks alot nicer but that comes with a price..
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Nov 13th, 2015, 07:45 AM
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I would ask first what you're looking for.

Rhino: interesting terrain and very different from what you'll see in the Mara area, more low trees, shrubs, rockscape. Rhinos aplenty (not as much anywhere else) in the wild. Chimp sanctuary with Baraka the blind rhino (you can pet and feed him) and the last 3 northern white rhinos in the world (outside of 1 in San Diego). The chimp sanctuary is a nice trip middle of the day between game rides. I really liked Rhino, can't understand why she'd be talking you out of it.

Mara and Lion: access to Mara NP and lots of cats cats cats, very similar terrain between the two

Amboseli: known for its elephants and access to Amboseli NP, Mt. Kilimanjaro if it's not cloudy.

That said, I found all three Porini camps I stayed in to be the same in terms of tents, layouts, and how the camps work. You could blindfold me and drop me in a tent and I'd be hard pressed to tell you which is which. They are all very similar. The guiding is excellent across all three. Camp staff all treated me like royalty, which I loved! I haven't been to their Amboseli camp but know people who have and said it's quite similar. I'm not sure what makes Amboseli more expensive other than location?

If anything if you're in a time crunch, I am not sure you need both Mara and Lion as they're both pretty similar. The price might go up if you drop one though (I'd drop Mara, Lion was a better game experience) because getting between them is just a 90 min to 2 hour drive, not a flight. You'd have to fly Rhino to Amboseli to Lion.

I would try to maximize the number of nights, so at least 3 in any place if you can. Figure out what you're looking to get out of the camps, and if Rhino interests you, ask her to factor that in. This is YOUR safari, don't let anyone talk you out of what you're interested in.
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Nov 13th, 2015, 11:53 AM
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Amyb, never have done a safari before, I feel like I am flying blind. I am reading a ton and feel slightly more knowledgable than a month ago.

meant Asila is alot more $. I am awaiting Chalo Africa's pricing. I am not sure if I like that all camps are the same. Did that bother you at all?
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Nov 13th, 2015, 04:44 PM
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Ah, ok. I misread.

The tents/operations are the same but the surroundings are different, one had a watering hole, one had a really big fire pit, one had the dining tent up on a hill over the camp. It didn't bother me or impress me either way. Given that it's your first safari, you don't know any different. I liked these tents better than where I was in Tanzania, so I was quite pleased.

Don't stress over this. You have tons of time to sort this out. Like stokey said, you might want to wait until closer to June 2016 to book for June 2017 and just spend the next several months researching. It helps to talk to the safari planners. I spent a couple hours on the phone over several weeks with my first safari planner, and at least an hour with the second. It's easier for them to get info out of you verbally than you both trying to determine where you want to go over email. See if you can set up a call, make a list of all your questions/concerns and spend some time getting them answered. Ponder the answers and set up a follow up call if you need to. My planners were completely agreeable to talking, so don't hesitate to ask for that. We're here to help as are the folks on Safaritalk forum. Ask lots of questions, just don't panic. You can do this!
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Nov 14th, 2015, 10:22 AM
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June isn't busy and the less visited parks/reserves like Meru, Shaba, Aberdare, Tsavo, etc. are never busy. Parks/reserves with the highest visitation are the Mara, Amboseli, Nakuru and Samburu but June shouldn't be bad. Amboseli and Samburu are both very different in environment from Laikipia and the Mara. We had better game viewing in Samburu but that could be due to luck/timing. I'd be more inclined to return to Samburu.
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Nov 14th, 2015, 11:21 AM
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Haven't been to Laikipia so unable to comment but loved Samburu.
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Nov 14th, 2015, 02:12 PM
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Am eagerly awaiting trip agendas from Chalo Africa. I must say they have been wonderful to deal with. She is recommending Laikipia due to animal density and Mara and maybe one other spot. She is getting us 2015 rates for 2017 with BOGO if we book trip this year.

Amyb, was it you that recommended them? I love supporting all women businesses.

I spent a long time on the phone with a few of these agencies-I learned alot.
I must not be using Safaritalk properly-I am not finding much info on that at all.
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Nov 14th, 2015, 02:21 PM
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Sosian and Offbeat Mara are first ideas from Chalo Africa for 4 nights each. Thoughts?
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Nov 14th, 2015, 02:33 PM
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Yes, Chalo Africa booked my trip for Feb 2016. If you can get 2015 rates for 2017, then maybe it pays to book now! I just made my last payment with them and every transaction and interaction has been simple and enjoyable.

Go to Safaritalk and the Forum area there. There is a section for Trip Resources, with Trip Planning (including reviews of camps) and Trip Reports, where you can search for both Offbeat Mara and Sosian. I've not heard of Sosian (although I have heard of Serian, did she mean that?) but have heard very good things about Offbeat Mara. I'd highly recommend reading trip reports for the areas you're interested in at the times of year you want to go and trip reports that mention your camps, that may help you firm up your decision. I spend a ridiculously embarassing amount of time reading trip reports there and looking at all the photos other travelers post, even when I'm not in trip planning mode. I find them to be an incredibly useful resource.
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Nov 14th, 2015, 07:03 PM
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Sosian is a ranch in Laikipia. I haven't stayed there but they offer a variety of activities. They're marketed by Offbeat Safaris and often included on riding safaris.

There are a lot of places to stay in Laikipia of which Ol Pejeta s considered the southern boundary.

What specifically are you not finding on safaritalk? I find it to be a wealth of information. Here's a report that includes Sosian http://safaritalk.net/topic/12328-sa...an#entry122514
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Nov 14th, 2015, 07:11 PM
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Offbeat has a camp bordering Meru if you're still considering a third location but 4/4 is a good split and not rushed.
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Nov 15th, 2015, 05:03 AM
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Patty, I can't figure out how to search.
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Nov 15th, 2015, 07:59 AM
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plambers, in the upper right corner of Safaritalk site there is a SEARCH box.
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Nov 15th, 2015, 08:25 AM
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Did you create an account? You have to be signed in for the search box to appear.
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Nov 17th, 2015, 06:53 AM
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Hello,

Having a choice for Laikipia, I would suggest you visit Samburu instead of Amboseli. With that, you can then manage Masai Mara. In June, Masai Mara starts crowding up...so I cannot rule out huge numbers of tourist but you will still have an unforgettable experience.
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