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quick trip -- help!

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Sep 6th, 2007, 01:17 PM
  #1
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quick trip -- help!

My husband was just asked to go to Nairobi and Kigali (Kenya and Rwanda) NEXT WEEK on business, and we're thinking of taking 3-4 days after his meetings to do a short safari. A gorilla trek would be great, but can we arrange one in this short a time? What other don't-miss things are there in vicinity of Nairobi and Kigali? Is there anyplace that doesn't charge a $500 fee to see the gorillas? I've never been to Africa, and we don't have much money to spend on this trip. Husband's business ocassionally takes him to emerging nations, so I'm used to roughing it, trekking, etc, and don't mind if things aren't of US standards. (Trust me -- I know people who think Holiday Inn is roughing it.) Husband works with Dept. of Commerce, so U.S. consulate offices will be helpful on city stuff. If you can recommend wildlife areas, guides, expected fees, etc. that would be very hepful.

Thanks!
Cynthiab
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Sep 6th, 2007, 03:17 PM
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You might find some last-minute space in the Masai Mara. At this time of year, the Migration herds are there and it's busy, but I would suspect there would be some cancellations here and there. You might check with some of the safari outfitters in Nairobi and see if they can find you space somewhere.

The government permits for gorilla trekking are $500, so the treks, transportation, lodging, etc. are on top of that.
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Sep 6th, 2007, 03:33 PM
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While in KGL you can probably find a quick 1-2/days Gorilla trip, at a reasonable price for transport to/from and hotel, but no getting away from the $500/person/day Gorilla permit. The other day or two can be used for local sightseeing around KGL.

You might, as Shay Tay mentions, be able to pick-up a visit to the Mara. By road drive would be least expensive, but it's a good 5-6/hr drive each way on lousy roads. Return air is about $260/person, then your room/board (which includes meals and game drives), daily park fees, plus gratuties to guides and camp staff. While a very busy time, I'm sure there is some lodge or camp that might have consecutive days available.

If not the Masai Mara, consider Amboseli (by road 4/hr, though you can also fly) - good for ellees and views of Kilimanjaro. Or Samburu, also for ellees and unique species as Grevys zebra, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, Beisa oryx, Somali ostrich. A much longer drive, so this definitely should be flying to/from.

Depending on who has space and where, this is peak season, so prices are high.

Good luck and do report back.
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Sep 7th, 2007, 08:29 AM
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If the Mara is full, or flying doesn't fit in your budget, consider a short safari to Lake Nakuru - it's not that long of a drive, and there are plenty of animals to see there (flamingos, leopards, rhino, etc).

You could spend a day in Nairobi, as there are plenty of good things to see there, and a couple of days at Lake Nakuru.

There is a thread on the benefits of Lake Nakuru in the recent postings, and it has me convinced that's one of the next places I'd like to see!

Imelda (a regular on this board) did just that last year, perhaps she can chime in with driving times, etc. She used Kennedy (a guide in Nairobi who many of us have used) to take her there as well as around Nairobi, we can post his email address if you are interested.
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Sep 7th, 2007, 08:31 AM
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oops, forgot to post the link to the thread I mentioned -

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35061548
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Sep 7th, 2007, 08:39 AM
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Thanks for your help. I'll do a bit of research on those leads.
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Sep 8th, 2007, 04:28 AM
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Hello Cynthiab,
How nice to be asked to go to Nairobi and Kigali! As youíre used to ďroughing itĒ, you should go on a camping safari to the Mara with Gametrackers that get good reviews on the Thorn Tree forum. http://www.gametrackersafaris.com/ Itís not really roughing it and itís considerably less expensive than visiting gorillas. For all the comforts of a luxury camp, but at a lower price, you could go to Bushbuck Camp with Bushbuck Adventures. http://www.bushbuckadventures.com/index.html Youíd probably get better guiding with Gametrackers though. http://www.bushbuckadventures.com/index.html

I donít find the road trip to the Mara a problem and a person with a serious back problem with whom Iíve shared the trip, said heíd return.

BTW, I suspect that people at consulate offices can be quite clueless about city stuff, exaggerating dangers and not knowing how to do things at a reasonable price.

Go to the Mara!
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Sep 8th, 2007, 04:35 AM
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I just noticed that Bushbuck have raised their prices!
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Sep 9th, 2007, 03:09 AM
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Hi Cynthia,
I'm Imelda that Lymda referred to. We stayed just one night in Nakuru last year. We hired Kennedy and drove to Nakuru (about 4 hours on pretty dusty bad roads) and stayed at the Sarova Lion Hill. IWhile the journey was pretty bumpy it was well worth it. We saw our first and only Leopard in Nakuru - it was practically our very first sighting on our first game drive and it was less than 5 minutes from the lodge. Nakuru is a different experience from the Mara (the only other park in Kenya we went to), in that the animals are VERY plentiful and seem more habituated. The flamingoes are an awesome sight and there is lots to see. The one small thing that I wasn't too overawed with is that when we were around the leopard we didn't get to stay very long as there were LOTS of other vehicles jostling for space BUT ... would I miss it ..NO. We LOVED the Sarova lodge too - it had the best food of our entire trip and the rooms were spotless albeit not huge, were well decorated and plenty big for two.

If I were doing planning my trip again I would do it the same way except to try to add a couple of days to visit Samburu.

Hope that helps.
Imelda
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