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Bernard1948 Feb 13th, 2007 08:37 AM

Safari In Kenya August September
Please advise,

We are taking our family of four to Kenya in August and this is the proposed intinerary. Any obersvations would be appreciated as this our time on Safari.

The trip is with Suntrek Safaris

Day 1: Arrive and transfer to Nairobi Safari Club for your overnight

(no meals included on this day)

Day 2: (Nairobi - Masai Mara Game Reserve)

Depart Nairobi Safari Club at 0800 hrs on a scenic drive to Masai Mara Game Reserve - the land of vast migrating herds. Arrive in time for lunch. In the afternoon, embark on a gamedrive to get a closer look at the Mara. Return to the Mara Simba Lodge for dinner and overnight stay.

(breakfast,lunch, tea/coffee & dinner shall be provided on this day)

Day 3: (Mara - Masai Mara Game Reserve)

Early morning and evening game drives to absorb the enormity of the Mara. In this country of breathtaking vistas, view its vast assemblages of plains game together with their associated predators: Buffalo, Black Rhino, Hippopotamus, Leopard, Cheetah, Lion, Common Zebra, Coke's Hartebeest, White bearded Gnu, Oribi, Warthog, and Thompson's and grant Gazelles.

All meals and overnight stay at Mara Simba Lodge.

(breakfast, lunch, tea/coffees & dinner shall be provided on this day).

Day 4: (Masai Mara - Lake Nakuru National Park)

Depart after breakfast on a scenic drive to Lake Nakuru National Park, where milloins of Flamingoes turn the shore of the lake to pink. Arrive the lodge in time for lunch. Evening game drive, in this beautiful park which boasts Kenya's first Rhino sanctuary, home to rare Black Rhino.

Dinner and overnight, Lion Hill Lodge OR Lake Nakuru Lodge OR Lake Naivasha Simba Lodge.

(breakfast, lunch, tea/coffees and dinner shall be provided on this day)

Day 5:(Lake Nakuru - Aberdare National Park)

After breakfast proceed to arrive intime for lunch at the Outspan Hotel. After lunch you will be entertained by some traditional dancers before being transfered to the Treetops Hotel (located inside the Aberdare National Park) where it faces a floodlit waterhole and the animals come to saltlick.

Dinner and overnight at the Treetops Hotel

(breakfast, lunch, tea/coffees and dinner shall be provided on this day)

Day 6: (Aberdare - Samburu National Park)

Depart Nairobi at 0700hrs heading north to the dramatic semi-arid scrubland of the northern Frontier" Samburu National Park". After lunch, an afternoon game drive to sight resident wildlife species like the Reticulated Giraffe, Grevy's Zebra, Beisa Oryx and the blue-necked Somali Ostrich that are rare elsewhere in the country. Dinner and overnight will be spent along the banks of the Uaso Nyiro River at the luxurious Samburu Serena Lodge OR Samburu Sopa.

(breakfast,lunch, tea/coffees & dinner shall be provided on this day)

Day 7: (Samburu National Park)

Further exploration of this fascinating reserve awaits you. Early morning and afternoon game drives give a chance to travel over some of the world's most spectacular and exciting terrain. Meals and overnight at the Samburu Serena Lodge OR Samburu Sopa.

(breakfast, lunch, tea/coffees & dinner shall be provided on this day)

Day 8: (Samburu - Mt. Kenya National Park)

Depart after breakfast, driving back south towards Mount Kenya National Park. Arrival at the Mountain Lodge in time for lunch. Mountain Lodge ( a dramatic wooden lodge) built deep within the forest. The floodlit waterhole & saltlick are in full view from the comfortable lounge area, giving guests the chance to watch animals at any time of the night. Elephant, Lion, Buffalo & Rhino are common visitors at Mountain Lodge.

Dinner & overnight, Mountain Lodge.

(breakfast, lunch, tea/coffees & dinner shall be provided on this day)

Day 9: (Mt. Kenya - Amboseli National Park)

After an early breakfast depart for Nairobi. Stop for lunch in the city, and proceed on to Amboseli National Park , situated at the foot of towering Mt. Kilimanjaro ( the tallest Mt. in Africa). This park is best known for its abudance of Elephant. Arrive with a via evening game drive.

Dinner and overnight, Amboseli Serena Lodge.

(breakfast,lunch, tea/lunch & dinner shall be provided on this day)

Day 10: (Amboseli National Park)

Enjoy the thrill of pre-breakfast game drive, an excellent time view game when the snow clad peaks of Mt. Kilimanjaro are at their most spectacular.

Early evening game drive includes a visit to the swamps which teem with all sorts of wild life & an amazing assortment of birds. Dinner & overnight, Amboseli Serena Lodge.

(breakfast, lunch, tea/coffees & dinner shall be provided on this day)

Day 11:(Amboseli - Nairobi)

After a leisury breakfast proceed back to Nairobi

On arrival drop Nairobi Safari Club

(only breakfast shall be provided on this day)

Day 12:After breakfast transfer to airport for your flight out.

(only breakfast shall be provided on this day)

Would we be better doing a extra day at Maasie and dropping one of the others?

Best wishes B

waynehazle Feb 13th, 2007 09:25 AM

I did something similar.

Nakuru is great, but if you need to leave Nakuru and head to Naivasha, it will really really mess things up for you. Naivasha is several hours from Nakuru, on ABYSMAL roads. So unless you are staying at Nakuru, what could end up happening is:

You leave Mara, get to Nakuru around lunch-ish, have a short amount of time at Nakuru and then have to rush out to Naivasha, arriving in the dark, too late to enjoy Naivasha and then leaving Naivasha early in the morning. So you could get shortchanged on Nakuru and miss Naivasha. Tell your people to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to make sure you stay at onwe of the Lake Nakuru places, then you don't have to rush out.

And I have made no bones out my lack of excitement over Aberdares in general. And I would ABSOLUTELY skip Aberdares & Treetops for more time in the Mara. Watching four or five elephants and a few buffalo hang around a salt lick is VERY VERY BORING. You will see awesome elephants in Amboseli. In theory there is a leopard or two that sometimes comes to that salt lick, but just work extra hard to see leopards in the Mara. And unless Treetops has made massive rennovations since I was there (and they haven't) the accomodations are ... less than great. ;)

Of course it is just opinion.

atravelynn Feb 13th, 2007 10:13 AM

I really liked my one night in Aberdare and had great action at The Ark's salt lick/water hole. Even so, I still agree with Wayne to trade that night for another in the Mara. In Aug or Sept, any itinerary that does not spend 3 nights in the Mara is falling short.

I think you'll have a lit waterhole in Mt. Kenya for your night time viewing enjoyment.

Have a wonderful trip.

cary999 Feb 13th, 2007 02:48 PM

Just curious, how many hours is the drive from Nairobi to the Mara Reserve?
regards - tom
ps - and is it a scenic drive?

sandi Feb 13th, 2007 02:59 PM

cary -

From NBO/Mara is about 5/hrs, then depending how far into the Reserve your lodge or camp can add 1 - 1.5/hrs.
Scenic? Some places, others not, as you're more concerned with the condition of the road, which isn't ideal.

waynehazle Feb 13th, 2007 03:48 PM

Yeah, hmmm, the drive from Nairobi to the Mara.

Leaving Nairobi is OK
that view when you are about to start descending into the Rift Valley... incredible

Then about 1/2 hour to an hour of the African countryside is OK & then LOTS of time bumping and banging and rattling your teeth on the road.

No shame in flying into the Mara if you have the cash

atravelynn Feb 13th, 2007 03:53 PM

Awhile ago I found this helpful link on distances all over East Africa. I cannot vouch for it's accuracy, but it's a start.

Re: Lodging choices in Lake Nakuru. I think staying there over Naivasha is an important suggestion to heed. Lion Hill is supposed to be the best. I stayed at Nakuru Lodge and it was very nice.

Maximizing your time at Lake Nakuru is especially important since the drive from Nakuru direct to Samburu is 6 hours.

With that in mind, the stop in Aberdare may become more attractive. Iíd say drop Mt. Kenya but you cannot drive from Samburu to Amboseli reasonably in a day, I donít think. A more drastic revision would be to drop Amboseli and keep Aberdare for driving logistics and gain two more Mara nights. A total of four nights in the Mara is not too much at this time of year. I would never want under 4 nights in the Maasai Mara at the time of year you are going. That will be where the most action is.

Are you number of days fixed? If you could add one day to the Mara, then that could solve your problem, giving you a respectable 3-night Mara stay.

Finally if the itinerary could be reversed, that would be better. You are starting with the highlight as it is.

Bernard1948 Feb 14th, 2007 05:06 AM

Thanks to ALL of you. I have had conficting reports as to fly/drive between camps.Last year we did Sri Lanka and my wife was kaput after two weeks travel..

The more I hear it seems that more time in the Mara is a must?

What about cameras? I have used an Cannon DSLR with 28-300 Tamron and a 17-? Image stabil Cannon for a few years and have 1.75 gig card plus a little Nikon with 3 gig.

If I was to buy another lens for trip what should it be? The Tamron is a bit old and heavy now.

I also have have an EOS 1 BUT DO NOT WANT TO GO BACK TO FILM...



atravelynn Feb 14th, 2007 07:24 AM

I prefer to fly. The downside is it costs more and it is easier to have a private guide/driver with you throughout the trip when you drive. Driving also gives more of a perspective of the area. A mix of flying/driving is good. If you add flights, this might mean your itinerary should be re-ordered.

Here is a link to some scheduled flights.

sandi Feb 14th, 2007 07:41 AM

This itinerary gives you only 1/full day in the Mara, when in August, 3/days would be minimum. Then on Day 9, the drive from Mt.Kenya to Amboseli is basically a travel day, not arriving Amboseli till dark, then just the 1/day after. If visiting Samburu, it's not necessary to also visit Amboseli.

If there is anyway you can modify this "set" itinerary, I'd add more time to the Mara and visit only Samburu or Ambosel, not both.

There's an easier and smoother way to visit these places of interest and cut time on the road - have more time for game viewing.

Day 1 - Arv. NBO
Day 2 - Elephant Orphanage, Giraffe Center, Blixen Museum, meal at The Carnivore or other - o/n NBO
Day 3 - Drive to Mt. Kenya - o/n The Ark, or Serena Mtn Lodge.
Day 4 - Drive to Samburu - o/n
Day 5 - Samburu - o/n
Day 6 - Drive to Sweetwater's for o/n
Day 7 - Drive to Lake Nakuru - o/n
Day 8 - Drive to Masai Mara - o/n
Day 9, 10, 11 - Masai Mara - o/n
Day 12 - Drive to fly to NBO; transfer to airport for homebound.

You can do the itinerary in reverse, visiting the Mara first, then head up north to Mt. Kenya, Samburu, Lake Nakuru and back to NBO for sightseeing at the end of your trip.

waynehazle Feb 14th, 2007 09:22 AM

yes, as much as I may seem to gripe about vehciles breakdown and long drives.

I am glad for at least some of the drive time. Driving through areas were I saw open countryside, people farming, kids playing, women going a bout their daily lives with large baskets of fruit on their heads, truly gave me the "real spirit" of Africa.

but 6 to 8 hours of reality in one day is a bit much ;)

Bernard1948 Feb 15th, 2007 01:36 AM

Many thanks Guys,

It the first time I have used this site and it has helped more than you know. Your experience and input are really valuable to us.

Our itinerary is up to us really. As we have sole use of the guide and vehicle for the full twelve days we can make any adjustments but I suppose we have to do it asp so that the lodges can be booked etc. The suggested itinerary by Sandi looks much better. Any further input before I finalise? We can arrange the odd flight once there if needed.

Best regards Bernard

Bernard1948 Feb 15th, 2007 01:38 AM

PS. Any thiughts on lenses?

cary999 Feb 15th, 2007 05:42 AM

Lenses, get a Canon zoom lens. Sorry, but I have non in particular to suggest, but, probably one with the long end at 300 or 400 mm. (I'm a Nikon kind of fellow). You may still need another lens for the wider end, 18-70mm. Just get a Canon lens, the best made (after Nikon).
Also, obviously more memory cards. You are in luck, memory cards prices have and are dropping faster than a lead ballon. 2 gig cards are now in the $30-$50 range. With 1 gigs around $20. Both SD and CF type cards.
regards - tom
ps - come on guys, he is begging for another camera/lens discussion, let's have at it :-)

stakerk Feb 15th, 2007 06:16 AM

I suggest you shop around your exact itinerary to a few tour operators. I saw quite a variation when we planned our trip last year. Best prices and service in my opinion were Southern Cross, African Serendipity, and Eastern and Southern.

good luck, Kevin from California

sandi Feb 15th, 2007 07:06 AM

Just because you'll have your own guide/vehicle, doesn't mean you can go wherever. The guide has a preplanned itinerary that you have approved, where reservations have been made for particular day/nights. As to flights, likewise, if needed, have to be prearranged. We're not talking about large 100/seat equipment, rather 12-19 or 40-seats only, for the number of pax they plan to fly in/out of any particular park; there aren't airstrips at each place on your itinerary.

atravelynn Feb 15th, 2007 08:07 AM

I'd like to go on Sandi's trip.

Bernard1948 Feb 15th, 2007 08:21 AM

Hi again,

They have told me, (Sun Trek) that the final decision on Itinerery rest with us. but we have to let them know asp. Is this a con?


PS Canon just have the edge over Nikon! Don't they?

sandi Feb 15th, 2007 09:52 AM

Bernard -

For August, no con... the truth. It's high season and space is disappearing as we speak - for Aug, Sep and even Oct.

Finalize the itinerary, however, you wish, considering comments above; have Suntrek confirm the space, and pay the deposit.

atravelynn Feb 15th, 2007 12:33 PM

Not a con! Don't delay.

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