Operator for solo travel in Kenya

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Aug 25th, 2005, 03:45 AM
  #1
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Operator for solo travel in Kenya

Hello,

I'm trying to put together a flying visit to the Mara for about a week in September 2006 -- right now I'm looking at 3-4 days in the 'central crossing area' and 3-4 days over near the Musiara Marsh.

I've looked at some of the operators listed on this board (e.g. E&S) and found that they only schedule safaris for a minimum of 2 people (why?). I'm travelling solo, so this is a problem...anyone have a recommendation?

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 25th, 2005, 04:21 AM
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I have been dealing with Serah at essafari.co.ke all this last week. I am solo, but only want single accomadation not a private game drive. She has been very helpful.
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Aug 25th, 2005, 04:29 AM
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Hello Lyban,

Thanks for your post -- I'll get in touch with E&S. I don't need a private game drive, just single accommodation, so hopefully they can put something together for me. Have you had a good experience with them so far?

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 25th, 2005, 04:58 AM
  #4
sandi
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jasher -

Another contact for Kenya:

[email protected]

I'm sure they'll be fine with booking a solo traveler. Just advise Joyce of when, where (accom. preferences) and your budget. You can mention that I suggested you contact them, though don't know what that will get you. It's a shot. I've used them for portions of my Kenyan itineraries.

 
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Aug 25th, 2005, 05:00 AM
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Hi Julian and others - I am planning my solo trip as you may know and I am sort of irritated by the whole single supplement thing. Why are we discriminated against for neing single or traveling alone?!

I wish companies could maybe prepare a couple of smaller tents or something for folks like us. These trips are expensive enough as it is! Just venting a bit. My plans are so in flux for 2006 - anyone want to join me or need a travel buddy to offset these damn charges??!! ;-)

Thanks for letting me express myself!
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Aug 25th, 2005, 05:35 AM
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Hi Cooncat,

The single supplement really annoys me as well -- being single doesn't make someone 30 or 40% richer than being half of a couple ( in most cases it makes them poorer as there is only one income).

This is one reason I love CCA -- in addition to having great camps and great guides, they are the only company which does not charge a single supplement as standard. Otherwise there is no way I could have afforded to visit a place like Londoz.

Seriously, maybe some of us single Fodorites should get in touch with one another and see if we would be interested in travelling together. If I recall correctly, you're looking at Tanzania for 2006 whereas I'm already booked for Botswana for my big trip that year, and since I plan on doing the Mara as a short one-week trip it's probably not practical to join up with anyone other than someone who is based in the UK or Europe -- Kavey, you interested ; ) ?

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 25th, 2005, 05:45 AM
  #7
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Sandi,

Thanks for the rec - I've sent an email to Joyce.

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 25th, 2005, 06:22 AM
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Jasher, I canít recommend any operator since the ones Iíve recommended in the recent past, for some reason, don't feel like replying to emails. Lyban, I emailed Basecamp Travel in Stockholm on Friday evening asking why the Nairobi office doesnít reply to emails. On Monday I got an answer saying that they didnít know, that Nairobi usually answers very quickly and that they ASAP would send me a programme and prices for my ďfriendĒ (Iíd told them there was a Canadian lady on an Internet forum who had been waiting for a week). Iím still waiting. Have you heard anything from Melinda at Eco-resorts? I can still warmly recommend the camp Basecamp Masai Mara.

I abhor the single supplement as well though sometimes you can get around it. In June, Lets Go Travel charged me less than other operators for a flying safari to Samburu and I think it was because they didnít charge a single supplement, but Iím not sure Ė I didnít dare to ask in case theyíd just forgotten it. Cooncat, smaller tents is a very good idea though it wonít solve the cost for road transport. I think you miss a lot by flying, but having a driver and a car for yourself is even more expensive and most places want to charge you as much for picking you up from a place where you can go by public transport as the cost of a flight ticket.
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Aug 25th, 2005, 06:42 AM
  #9
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Hello,

Anne from Eco-resorts rang me (in England) yesterday and we talked for a bit about my trip. I received an email from Melinda at Eco-resorts this morning. Unfortunately, the prices quoted from the US operators are busting my budget!

In terms of the single supplement, I understand that there are some fixed costs which remain the same regardless if one is a single or a couple. However, I would expect that there are some cost savings associated with having a single guest since they are per-person -- only one seat on a plane, only 1/2 the food is eaten, etc. It would be fair if prices quoted by the operators would reflect this.

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 25th, 2005, 07:11 AM
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Nyamera,
Thanks for thinking of me. I never received anything from Basecamp after I emailed them directly. Never received a reply from Melinda either.
Gladwell at lets go wrote once that there email had been down but nothing since. Ihave been dealing with Serah now at ESSafari and so far so good. I am looking at flying into NBO from Entebbe. only a 3 day safari at Governors camp and a few activities the day I am in Nairobi.Plus one overnight in NBO and then back to Entebbe for my flight back home.Short, but really all I can afford at this time. I do not mine being with other people since I am travelling alone and enjoy meeting others.
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Aug 25th, 2005, 07:14 AM
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Sorry, not ignoring you - hadn't read the thread before as the title wasn't one that I had any insight on.

I think it's a great idea for Fodorites to consider joining forces - I do think it would be practical to do so even if some travellers are coming from the US as many fly through London en route to Africa anyway!

We're still not sure on what we'll be doing next year - chances are it will be East Africa because of cost but there's a very slim chance we may be able to do a deal and provide some of our IT services in exchange for free or low-rate accommodation in which case we may opt for Zambia after all... We just don't know yet and our decisions will also depend on whether we can visit with our Kenya friends should we go to Kenya - if they aren't free that may influence our decision.

I wonder if Fodors would mind a thread where Fodorites could post potential travel dates/ destinations and see if anyone else wanted to team up with them?

Might be worth a try?

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Aug 25th, 2005, 07:36 AM
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Lyban, I just got an email from Basecamp Travel Stockholm confirming availability on the 30 and 31 October. Basecamp is fully booked on 1 November, but then you can stay in their ďDorobo Bush CampĒ that sounds even better. I didnít get any prices. Eastern and Southern are probably better to deal with than Basecamp Travel Ö

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Aug 25th, 2005, 08:04 AM
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Julian, Kavey...all good thoughts. Julian, out of curiosity what is the cost of your Bots trip? I am still waffling on my destinations, and have a request floating for a Zambia itinerary as well. I am weighing all the options. I imagine your Bots trip is out of my price range, but worth a shot at asking, realizing lots of other things would have to be discussed if one were to try such a thing!
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Aug 25th, 2005, 08:49 AM
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Hi Cooncat,

For a single person, not including international airfare or Air Botswana flights, it's (make sure you're sitting down) a bit more than $12,000 (I don't have the quote on me right now).

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 25th, 2005, 08:51 AM
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Julian,

Oh My God.

I looked at your itinerary on your other thread--I'm sure you will have a wonderful time. Worth every penny and more.

But I'm sure glad I was sitting down!
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Aug 25th, 2005, 08:55 AM
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Julian - Would that come down much if you subtracted the single supplement?

I'm sure, as I said, this is out of my league. Can't hurt to have dreams, though, eh?!
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Aug 25th, 2005, 08:59 AM
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Hi Leely,

I'm glad I was sitting down when I received the quote! It's actually a lower than my initial quote, which was truly coronary-inducing, because I switched Duma Tau and Little Vumbura to June to get the low season rates.

What's worse...the single supplement accounts for roughly $2800 of that amount. For someone travelling as part of a couple, the trip would be about $9,200.

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 25th, 2005, 09:03 AM
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I've assumed a smaller single supplement of about 30% for the above calculation -- it may in fact be closer to 40%, in which case $3400 of that amount is single supplement, and the trip would be about $8500 per person sharing.

I'm using FF miles on Virgin to pay for my international flights, which helps some. And needless to say, I'm really hoping for a good deal on Kenya.

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 25th, 2005, 09:08 AM
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Cooncat,

In case you're curious about Botswana pricing in general, I did a very similar itinerary this year (at the very end of June). It was

3 days Duma Tau
4 days LV

This cost about $5,000. So a 2-week trip using five-paw camps would run about $10,000. Spending 5 nights at Mombo bumps it up to $12,000.

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 25th, 2005, 09:52 AM
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Hey Julian~ Thanks. I am somewhat familiar with the pricing. Bots was where I wanted to go when I started all of this. I was pretty shocked at the prices, but as I understand, these higher-end camps are worth every penny. They must be wonderful. Funnily enough, I've got an itinerary for East Africa right now that is just over $8,000. It includes three nights at Mahale, which is what's sending it over the top!

I hope this doesn't sound too weird, but consider e-mailing me at [email protected] - if you're interested in saving some money and sharing the trip it might be worth a conversation at the very least. If not, please...no worries at all, I completely understand!

Sharon
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