Small Tented Camp under $350USD in Kenya??

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Aug 29th, 2014, 12:36 PM
  #1
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Small Tented Camp under $350USD in Kenya??

Time to start planning my next safari which will be a return to Kenya!

This will likely be another solo trip in Oct 2016 and I'm looking for recommendations for small tented camps under $350 pppn in Samburu, Laikipia & Mara or ?? (some other must see spot!).

Wishlist includes -

- Camp with under 10 tents
- Ensuite with shower - no bucket showers
- Good guiding
- Decent food
- Open 4x4 vehicle - pop up land cruiser would be ok.
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Aug 29th, 2014, 12:40 PM
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Oops my preview turned into a submit!!

Anyway if you've stayed at a camp you would not hesitate to recommend that fits the bill please let me know.

Thanks!
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Aug 29th, 2014, 12:42 PM
  #3
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Oh and no single supplement would be a definite bonus but not a must.
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Aug 29th, 2014, 08:07 PM
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You're 2 years away and prices will only escalate of course. But, there's a camp in the Mara called Entim. I haven't stayed there but it was one I looked into. Seems pretty nice. The cost now is ~$420 sharing but I see there's a Stay 3 Pay 2 deal running into 2015 that would bring per day cost down. Don't have any idea what'll be in 2016.
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Aug 30th, 2014, 10:51 AM
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Oh I know it's a way's away & prices will undoubtedly go up but planning is half fu
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Aug 30th, 2014, 10:52 AM
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Under $350/ppnt for a solo... really?
Besides, of course, rates for '16 won't be published till May '15 earliest and any 'specials' are rarely issued till a few months after rates comes in.

Oct is still also 'peak' season most properties, though the Cheli & Peacock camps have these past years reduced to 'mid-' season as 1st Oct... but still the price you're seeking is a bit low.

I stayed at Entim the year they opened (early June), when only 5/tents (now 10/tents), well sited on a hill overlooking a bend in the river likely good for 'river crossings.'

Kicheche Camps where they have one in the Laikipia area and their Mara Camp (on MMNC) does not assess a single supplement, but their rates are higher than $350/ppnt.

Not sure where you visited last time, but if Kenya and you liked your outfitter, I'd go to them and see what they might be able to negotiate for you as a 'return visitor' even if not the same properties. Try whatever might assist in your planning.

Keep us posted.
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Aug 30th, 2014, 10:54 AM
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Man this is frustrating when your post is submitted before you finish your sentence!! argh!

That should have read "half the fun"

Thanks sdb2 will research Entim.
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Aug 30th, 2014, 11:06 AM
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Hey sandi - yeah I know $350 might be a bit low but thought I'd give it a try. Keeping the overall cost down just means I can go back more often.

What cost pppn do you think is the lowest I can go for what I'm looking for? Is it the number of tents that increases the price?

In 2011 I stayed at Samburu Lodge and Kichwa Tembo standard tent which I loved! [remember? ]

Prefer to stay outside the Mara triangle this time.
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Aug 31st, 2014, 09:12 AM
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Most all camps for which I have some rates, seems singles are running between $550-900/ppnt as a solo based on 'Rack' (highest) and then figuring a discount of between 5-20% to bring it down to Nett onto which outfitter adds their commission... still way over your budget.

Of course 'lodges' (brick/mortar) types will be somewhat lower (as your Samburu Lodge previously and KT has since upgraded their tents and so too did their rates increase), but don't confuse these with a camp that might refer to itself as a camp-lodge... it's a camp. I'm sure there are lower priced camps, but from reviews I've read, these are really basic and still don't seem to be as low as you'd like.

Have you thought maybe to travel in June when most camps in Kenya are still at mid-season rates? I'm aware that Leely2 often travels during this time and has good game viewing, less tourists and fewer pax per vehicle, often her own guide.

Personally, I'd make a list of those that appeal with current rates if indicated and then wait till those for '16 become available ... and/if any 'extended stay discounts.' No need to drive yourself crazy just yet.
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Aug 31st, 2014, 10:42 AM
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Thanks sandi - My post was more to find out if on the off chance that pppn is doable, even $350 to $400 pppn. I kinda already knew budget would have to be increased - but a girl can dream can't she?

I usually travel to Africa in May or June and enjoy the same things Leely2 has however in 2016 I have an event in October to attend in Tanzania so unless things change there then October it is.

My plan this time is to spend more time in Kenya since I only went to 2 places there on the 2011 Ken/Tan trip.

The standard tent set up at KT was perfect for me and that's the sort of tent I'm looking for. Sure wish they didn't add all those new tents and increase the size of the camp.
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Sep 1st, 2014, 11:30 AM
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See the new Kichwa Tembo site for the pics of refurbished tents, also layout of the camp. They didn't increase # of tents, as for me it's already too big, but it gets good reviews and lots or return visitors.

Where else do you wish to visit in KEN this visit?
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Sep 1st, 2014, 12:33 PM
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Oh I had heard Kichwa Tembo added another whole row of tents behind the current one. Know what you mean about already too big but that May there were few guests so didn't feel crowded. I had a guide and vehicle all to myself. Very nice! And know this won't be the case in October tho.

Other places to visit? That's what I'm just looking into now. Of course it's too early for 2016 but it seems researching trips to Africa is most of what I've done in my spare time since 2010 so can't help myself!!!

Samburu, or Amboseli for something new, Laikipia, Mara. Prefer a min of 3 nts in each so 3 camps would work. Last time I flew in so if routing worked it would be great to have a driver.

2 nights in Nairobi at Macushla to unwind and visit Sheldricks with a bit of shopping thrown in.

Where's your absolute fave area & camp to go to?

Haven't been to Naibosho or Nakuru - should I?
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Sep 1st, 2014, 01:03 PM
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Sorry that should read Naivasha.
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Sep 2nd, 2014, 02:27 AM
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I'm a big fan of KT but as Sandi stated they increased their rack rates. I believe that the currently published rate for 2015 is $450 pp/pn plus $80 Mara Conservancy fee. For two people, that's almost $1,00 per night - WAY TOO MUCH for a 40 bed camp that accommodates large tour groups.

All that being said, KT is a sentimental favorite, with great guide, very good food and friendly, efficient staff so I'll likely return.
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Sep 2nd, 2014, 09:24 AM
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Te Porini Camps (thru Gamewatchers) has 4/camps - Amboseli, Laikipia, Mara North and Mara Kineyi - has pretty competitive rates. Unless you're particular though, the tents are basically all the same and I like diversity.

Kicheche though more costly, usually has a 'no single supplement' and has camps at Laikipia, 3/camps in Mara at Mara North, Olare Orok and Naboisho... with a 5% discount if staying at least 2/camps for X#/days (believe 6/nts would work).

Cheli & Peacock has a number of camps and has a few extended stay discounts; some 'stay 3, pay 2; others if 6+/nts a 10% discount. Camps = Joys at Shaba (adjacent to Samburu and where game drives can be done on both), a beauty, on pvt conservancy and only property but for a lodge at entry of Shaba... you won't see a soul. This where Joy Adamson nurtured the leopard Penny. There's Lewa Safari Camp at Lewa... great park, few properties; Elsa's Kopje at Meru ($$$... sorry), Elephant Pepper on Mara North and one of my favorites w/ only 9/tents; also Cottar's at SW Mara (again $$$$) outside the Reserve on pvt conservancy. At Laikipia, the Loisaba properties though not sure if/when they'll rebuild the lodge that burnt last year... but they do have the 'starbeds' (heavenly). And, of course, Tortilis at Amboseli for possible views of Kili. Most all of these best as fly-ins. Check the C&P site for more details.

My favorite if I could afford the air to/from (as much if not more than cost across the pond... gotta go with another or two) would be at Desert Rose* (about 5/hrs south of Lk. Turkana), but not for game as there is little (a few baboons, locals who rarely see wamzungu)... just to spend days to walk, picnic or simply to chill. Great option vs heading to the coast if you're not a beach person.
*and listen to Sting on the sound system

And I sure would like to hear that Shompole would reopen... apparently a conflict with the local community. Located south on the border with Tanzania at Lake Natron as it's another amazing property.

At least you have time to work on this and what will best work for your budget. New places seem to open yearly, so you never know. There's no rush right now, so no need to fret yet.
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Sep 2nd, 2014, 10:54 AM
  #16
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Fantastic information as always sandi so thank you for that - plenty more to research. ;-)

PT123 - I know what you mean about KT being a sentimental favourite especially if George is the chef - still dream about his Macadamia Nut Torte!

I arrived at KT as a solo female yet every dinner time without fail the largest warthog on the property would mozey over to my table, munch a bit of grass, then lie down at my feet for the duration of the meal! Toooo funny!
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Sep 2nd, 2014, 02:14 PM
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Chef George is great - what an upbeat character! (...and a good chef too.) We've been to KT four times and have some really great memories. We are also planning a trip for early next year and will likely do a couple days at KT plus a few days at another camp in one of the Mara conservancies. I'm a happy and loyal Andbeyond client but if I'm paying close to $1k a night for two people I would prefer to be in a smaller tented camp setting.

I've stayed at Porini Rhino camp in Laikapia and it was great so the Mara or Lion Camps are possibilities. I'm also researching the Karen Blixen Camp in Mara North as its rates seem pretty competitive (inclusive of drinks, laundry and conservancy fees), has received good reviews on TA and is a relatively easy transfer from the Triangle.
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Sep 2nd, 2014, 06:47 PM
  #18
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I've been looking at the Porini's also - will check check out Karen Blixen Camp too. Thanks PT!
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Sep 3rd, 2014, 10:12 AM
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KathBC
I'm working on a 7day trip similar to what you are looking for as far as single supplement similar budget, style of lodging etc:
Transfer from Nairobi airport to Meru National Park and stay 2 nights at Ikweta Safari Camp.
Transfer to Samburu Game Reserve and stay 2 nights at Samburu Ashnil Tented Camp.
Transfer to Nanyuki and stay 1 night at Sweetwater's Tented Camp. Visit Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
finish off your trip with at Lewa Conservancy staying at Laikipia Lewa Safari Camp.
Transfer back to nairobi airport.
This is just something that could work or some variation of this. They want to move around to different camps but you could isolate your visit to just 2 places. Certainly rates aren't out for your time period but good to check these out. I'm happy to help if you want more specifics.. My email is on my profile. Enjoy!
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Sep 3rd, 2014, 08:42 PM
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Thanks Dianne will check this out for sure!
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