Patty, more info on Finch Hatton's please?

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Feb 14th, 2006, 01:01 PM
  #1
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Patty, more info on Finch Hatton's please?

Hello Patty,

My husband and I really enjoyed your posting on your trip and we too are interested in Finch Hatton's. We'd like to spend at least three nights there, flying in to their private strip nearby. Your description of the camp as an "oasis" and your feelings about it really struck a chord with us - for us it is not just about the animals but the ambience, setting as well.

Questions for you: do all the tents face onto water? Is there privacy between the tents? Is there a view of Kilimanjaro from the camp, or at least from the game drives(very important for us)? Also, is the cost of the game drives included in the rate or are they charged extra on site? This will be our first safari, a special trip for us and we have so much to learn! Thank you so much for your posting and for any extra advice you can offer!

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Feb 14th, 2006, 02:04 PM
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Hi carolines,

Not all of the tents at Finch Hattons overlook the hippo springs directly, so I would specifically request one with a good view. We had tent #7 which I thought was great. Tents 1-7 are in one cluster with tent 7 being the last tent at the end. 6 would also have a good view over the hippo springs but 7 is more private. It's still not totally private as you can see your neighbor's tent from your verandah, but I thought it was private enough. Across the springs from these tents is the dining area/main lodge. The other tents are located on the other side of the main lodge and also overlook springs but they sort of face each other being situated on both banks.

We didn't see Kili from Finch Hattons or on our game drives but we weren't really looking either since we were headed to Amboseli next and knew we might get a peek there. I think it would have to be a very clear day to see Kili from Tsavo West.

Game drives should be included in your rate if you're booking a flying package but confirm this with whoever you're booking through. Also if I recall correctly, the upgrade charge for a private vehicle at Finch Hattons is not that much, so you might consider this option for a few of your game drives as well. Or you might find that you just want to sit on your verandah and watch the hippos all day when you get there

Drinks and laundry are extra but very reasonable.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Patty
(posting from Big Sky, Montana)

Sorry, Paul. I'll get to your post later this week. Having too much fun here!
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Feb 15th, 2006, 07:47 AM
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Thanks, Patty! (Sorry to interrupt your holiday!) We will definitely specify a tent with a view. The website mentions a view of Kili from the terrace (?) but also mentions optional Sundowner's in the Chyulu hills for views of the mountain. I am just dying to see Kilimanjaro and won't be happy unless I do. So I suppose a day excursion to Amboseli from Finch Hatton's is a must.
Is the drive very long? Would you recommend it?

We loved your photos! You appear to have come really close to the animals. So glad you took a photo of your Finch Hatton vehicle, too. Looks comfortable! Thanks so much for your postings.
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Feb 15th, 2006, 08:29 AM
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No problem, carolines! If I recall correctly, the drive from Finch Hattons to Amboseli was about 3 hours or so. If you're traveling both ways plus game viewing, it will be a full day's outing. The landscape in Amboseli is a complete contrast to Tsavo West, very flat with low vegetation. The game is plentiful and easy to spot due to the terrain and vegetation. Lots of elephant herds. One plus with being there mid day is that you'll encounter less vehicles while game viewing (a problem in Amboseli) as early morning and late afternoon are the busiest times of day.

The vehicle in my Tsavo album is actually our tour operator's. I don't think I have a photo of a Finch Hattons vehicle but the one I recall seeing appeared to be a Land Rover with a fold back roof hatch. They may have other vehicle configurations too. I wasn't paying too much attention.
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Feb 15th, 2006, 01:03 PM
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Carolines-
You don't have to go all the way to Amboseli to see Kili. The Chuylu Hills offers spectacular viewing of it.

I've stayed in the Hills at Campi Ya Kanzi on my last two trips to Kenya and all I can say is when your sitting on a hill sipping sundowners looking at Kili, there ain't much that can beat it. Magical views!

Chuylu is in between Amboseli and Tsavo. I've actually been picked up at Hatton's airstrip to be driven to the hills. It was about an hour drive so I had a mini-safari from the landing strip to Ya Kanzi.

And parts of "Out of Africa" were filmed in the hills so it does have a small claim to fame.

Go to www.maasai.com and view the pic of Kili and the hills if you're interested in seeing a little of what I'm describing.

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Feb 16th, 2006, 07:10 AM
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Divewop, please tell us more about Campi ya Kanzi! I'd not heard of it, but checked the website and it looks absolutely fabulous! It might work well after a stay at Finch Hatton's!
Patty we really appreciate your advice. I will no doubt have more questions for you!
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Feb 16th, 2006, 09:57 AM
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Carolines-
I first went to Campi Ya Kanzi in 2003. I have since befriended the owners, Luca and Antonella who are a lovely Italan couple. I went again last Feb and hopefully will get back yet again this June before my gorilla trekking in Rwanda.

The game reserves in Chyulu Hills are very different type of places as opposed to other areas of Kenya.
Campi Ya Kanzi encompasses over 400,000 acres of Maasai owned land and Luca is working with them trying to teach them the value of eco-tourism and preserving the wildlife.
For example he has a project called the 'Simba Project' where if one of the Maasai's cattle are killed by a lion, he will reimburse them for the loss and the Maasai will not kill the lion.
Since it is so vast, the wildlife is a little hard to spot and lots of the animals go back and forth from Tsavo to there.

I have done the flight over the 'green' hills and done extended bush walks and jeep safaris. Breakfast in the bush and dinners in the bush are a fun part of the experience as well.

For me the ambiance of Campi Ya Kanzi is spending time w/ Luca and Antonella and their staff, being spoiled rotten by the food and going on the afternoon sundowners on a hill with incredible views of Kili.

I have not been deep into Tsavo so I don't know how similar the ecosystems might be if at all. I don't want you to duplicate your camp choices when there is so much to see in Kenya.

I think the Chyulu Hills are a great place to begin one's journey in Africa or to end one's journey. And I also have a fond friendship with Luca and Antonella so I am a little biased. ;-)

If there are any other questions I can answer, let me know.
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Feb 16th, 2006, 11:04 AM
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Thank-you, "divewop". I think we will be driving our agent crazy soon as we suggest one camp after another, thanks to this forum! It's so difficult for us to choose so I guess the only alternative will be to plan to return to Africa. It looks from this site that once the bug has bitten the longing does not subside!
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