Safari on your own

Oct 19th, 2003, 05:11 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 268
Safari on your own

My husband and I are planning a trip to Kenya in may 2004. Do you recommend a organized tour or can you book hotels and do it on your own?
My husband loves to drive. When you make arrangements on your own, can you arrive at Salt Lick Lodge for example and arrange safaris from there?
anitas is offline  
Oct 19th, 2003, 11:30 AM
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Regardless how much our husband likes (enjoys) driving, this is not the place to "love" it; he will probably never want to get into a vehicle again. The roads in Kenya are terrible, besides once in the National Parks it's not like there is a "map" for you to follow; nor are regular vehicles allowed in the parks. Besides I don't think hubby would want to have to change a flat tire in the middle of any of the Parks - are you going to be the "lookout"? and what are you going to do when an animal approaches? Big animals with big teeth?

Driver/guides are trained and licensed and know how to drive the rutted "roads" (if you can call them roads); they know what to look for; where to drive and not. Kenya is not one of those countries set up for "self-drives" - and do you want to be spending all that time hoping you don't breakdown or wind up in a ditch, when you can leave the driving to someone else and enjoy your safari and take lots of photos?

That said you can arrange a private trip where your hotel/lodges/camps can be booked as well as airport transfers, but it's best that you use a qualified driver/guide and vehicle for the driving. You can arrange a driver/guide for your entire trip or once transfered to a particular camp, use the driver/guides at the camp.

There are a number of tour operators listed on this board that can arrange an itinerary to meet your desired needs and budget.

Check out:

and check
for info on accommodations -descriptions, prices, etc.

If you want a self-drive safari, consider Namibia, where you can self-drive in Etosha National Park.

Unless someone knows of another area where one can self-drive, I'm open to new information.

Oct 19th, 2003, 03:17 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 592

Ditto to Sandi's note. I drive in Boston and used to think the Boston drivers were the worst in the world. However, you haven't seen anything until you see the Kenya drivers. I would not even dream of driving there. Your safety on the roads is the prime reason. Secondly, when you are in Nairobi or Mombasa no where do you see a road sign telling you which way to go to the Mara, Amboseli, etc. so you would end up driving in circles. I have been there four times in the last 3 1/2 years and I wouldn't dream of driving until I knew it much, much better.

You don't need to take a "set tour". There are many companies that will individualize your trip for you if you know what you want to see and where you want to go. Sandi mentioned a few. I have personally used Southern Cross Safaris in Kenya and they have done a superb job for me.

JanGoss is offline  
Oct 20th, 2003, 09:56 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 555
Hi There... I have to "third" the above.. we were in a rhetro-fitted steel underbelly, safari vehicle owned by our tour company and despite the highly experienced driver, had 3 flat tires and once hit roads so bad that the entire underbelly of the van was literally ripped off! My husband is a driving fiend (we live in L.A) and he was really glad we weren't driving. (many road accidents in addition to the rural area road conditions). As far as driving within the game parks.. I honestly don't know how you could. It's certainly not like a "wild animal park" type environment, where you drive around x hill and find where the lions hang out. It's a real game of hide and seek. A good guide can make or break your trip. All of the guides during our trip were contantly on the walkie talkie in swalhili sharing stuff.. like "lions around the white tree" they have a really functioning network. Furthermore, the one time we did get a flat there were three other vans there within moments, to assist, likewise we helped out a group or two. Our guide was a never ending source of info.. and all we had to do was stand up in the vehicle with our binoculars and watch animals.. I don't know how you could manuever, drive, and watch all at the same time.
Lastly, there were several times when we almost got charged by cape buffalo.. (really nasty looking things).. once going over a bridge, I didn't even see it, but this sucker reared up and our driver had to gun the engine to get away from it! Exiting, but I was really REALLY glad, we had a driver who knew what he was doing, and how to get the heck out of there!
Thyra is offline  
May 18th, 2004, 08:12 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 328

When we were on an evening game drive in Samburu, on our way back to the lodge we came across a family on a 'self drive' safari whose 4-wheel drive had broken down. They had been there about 30 minutes & it was about 30 minutes from sunset (living in a city in Canada, you can't imagine how dark it can be at night until your in Kenya).

Our driver radioed a few other drivers & they had the 4-wheel drive running in a few minutes.

Regardless of how much that family 'loves to drive', I can't imagine what they went through stranded there.

TravelMaster is offline  

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