Teacher budget in Kenya

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Mar 1st, 2006, 07:25 PM
  #1
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Teacher budget in Kenya

OK, so I'm trusting you not to laugh at two ordinary women (mother and daughter, 60 &30)who have dreams just like everyone else but who have to do Africa on a tight budget or never go at all. I'm the over the hill one worrying about keeping up with her daughter "camping." My daughter has sponsored a World Vision child in Kenya and also two in Ethiopia for the last 13 years, and she wants to meet them in person, and so do I. The child in Kenya is in Kabernet. We can probably only afford a 3-4 day camping type safari, so where could we get the best and for our deal for our bucks? We figure the Masai MAra is the place to go, we know it is a good but crowded time, will it just be awful and frustrating to have such a short safari or will that give us the 'essence' of the experience. I realize weather could be a bummer, but let's not go there right now. My bones are pretty old for sleeping on the ground, but I figure you do what you have to do. My question is where will my bones get the best break (no pun intended)
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Mar 1st, 2006, 09:04 PM
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I am sure no-one will laugh at you and certain that people here can work something out. What is your budget? How are you going to get to Kabernet, when are you going, and how long do you have? (that's four questions) Oh .... and if it is not separately budgeted for(time-wise) how long are you going to spend with the child in Kabernet?
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Mar 1st, 2006, 09:46 PM
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Thanks for answering. We will be in Kenya Aug 12-20, 2006. It is not advised you spend too long w the child; we would probably try to be there overnight and visit over 2 days. We plan to fly to Nairobi from Ethiopia, and I guess take matatus (are you laughing yet?) on some kind of circuit of all we can manage and that brings us back to Nairobi, staying in various places along the way. Also ,schedule a safari from Nairobi unless it is possible to get a better deal by scheduling from somewhere else. Our budget is about $1000-1200 each for the time in Kenya, maybe more since we actually have a place to stay in Addis. I suspect we are over our heads, but my daughter is determined it will all work out. Will we see much wildlife just driving from place to place, or does it require getting off road to see much? We want to be immersed in the dramatic beauty, see as much wildlife as possible,have some sort of natural experience of the culture and not get sick. She is much better at logistics than I and she is convinced we can make our way around, and I guess I am worried about a disaster and to be so near and yet so far. I would have said more in the original question but my message was cut off. I am new to international travel (poverty again),my daughter was on one 6 week mission trip to Cameroon . I don't want to mess up our one and only trip, though reading everybody's posts is really making me know I was always meant to travel. Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Mar 1st, 2006, 10:22 PM
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I am busy with work at the moment, but I will get back to you with some idea for your daughter to weigh up. It'll work out just fine and I am sure others will post in the meantime.

Still not laughing.... Matatu might be worse than the tent, though.
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 08:21 AM
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Ha ha ha!

Just kidding. Your budget is tight, but don't panic. You can do it. Do you have guide books yet (perhaps your daughter does)? I'd check some out of the library or buy the Bradt Kenya guide.

Also, you would do well to cruise on over to the Africa Branch of the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree forum. I think that board could help you get an idea of daily spending allowances/costs over there, as well as some leads for transportation options and cheap-but-good hotels.

Re: camping. I'm closer to your daughter's age than yours and only did this in Tanzania, but my experience was very positive. We slept "on the ground" rather than on cots--the mattresses on the ground were better and more comfortable than any of the REI pads I've slept on while camping in the U.S.

So, yes, I think a camping safari will be great and certainly better than no safari at all. Let's Go Safaris in Nairobi is mentioned favorably on this and the Thorn Tree boards. You might check out their website.

But first I'd start crunching the numbers and getting your itinerary together. Your trip is a bit of a hybrid, so plan carefully.

Don't worry, don't worry, don't worry.

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Mar 2nd, 2006, 08:59 AM
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Raylenne has a four-day Maasai Mara camping safari at $400pp.

Here is a trip report from someone on this board who used Raylenne for the Kenya leg of a longer safari:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34688363

Here are some Kenya camping safaris offered by Raylenne:

http://www.raylenne.com/kenya/kenyacampingsafaris.htm

Remember, when arranging something like this with an in-country operator--or any operator, for that matter--do check references, read all the fine print, make sure you know exactly what you're getting, etc.

Also, for your total budget you will need to factor in tips (be generous! people will be working hard to assure your comfort), water if not included, transfers if not included, etc.
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 11:43 AM
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Hi Twoteachers,

When you arrive in Nairobi on 12 August, depending on the time of the day, you can ask a taxi driver to take you to a bus station with buses to Nakuru, for example Akamba. Normal buses are more comfortable than matatus. A taxi to the Akamba bus station would be 1200 shillings and the bus to Nakuru, 250 shillings pp. If you arrive late in Nairobi you could spend the night at the Terminal. Itís 1200 shillings for a single. I donít remember the price for a double, but itís significantly less expensive per person.

In Nakuru youíll have to take a matatu to Kabarnet. Itíll be cheaper than the Nairobi-Nakuru bus. In the Bradt guide, Lelian B Lodge sounds nice and itís 500 shillings pp. Kabarnet is not far from Lakes Baringo and Bogoria. From Nakuru you can get a game drive in L. Nakuru NP at Black Bird Tours or Crater Tours (recommended in the Lonely Planet guide) Ė they donít have websites but the phone numbers are in the Kenyan yellow pages. I donít think Kimburu will recommend ďGibson ToursĒ, but you never know.

I saw zebras, impalas and baboons from the Nairobi-Nakuru bus, but it canít compare to the Mara or Lake Nakuru. Iíve never heard of anyone going to Lake Kamnarok NR, but itís near Kabarnet and there are elephants and some extremely hostile crocodiles (Bradt guide).

Gametrackers get good reports for camping safaris. http://www.gametrackersafaris.com/ As your ďoutside game parks travellingĒ will be so inexpensive youíll be able to get a short private camping safari within your budget if there arenít any groups for your dates or if you prefer a private safari.

The Terminal +254 (0)20 228817
Black Bird Tours +254 (0)51 45383
Crater Tours +254 (0)51 2215019 (this doesnít look right Ė too long for a Nakuru number)
Lelian B Lodge +254 (0)53 22458




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Mar 2nd, 2006, 04:14 PM
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I was encouraged when I checked out the Raylenne safaris, and also really appreciated the specifics from Nairobi to Kabernet. That really helps me to get my head around it all--or at least a little. I think we are way behind in our planning. Gulp. I love this forum and am touched by people helping people, but I will be driving to the mountains of Virginia for a sibling birthday party this weekend, so if you don't see me here, I haven't lost interest at all. I'm just driving in the mountains. Please keep the comments coming. I will check out every one when I get home. No one knows of any safari group that might barter for some great narrative writing of our trip, do they? Maybe I could help them market camping or moderate safaris to the middle class of the world. Ok, I hear you laughing. It was just a thought. Thanks everybody.
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 05:47 PM
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It is actually Spoonbill in Nakuru that I don't recommend - Gibson runs it. Although it is an interesting experience dealing with him, it is probably not what you mean by "having a natural expereince of the culture" Crater has a proper office and I would definitely say that is the way to go. You can also hire a taxi to take you around, but it is not "cool" and I think having a guide is worth the extra money when you have just arrive.

Okay I promised to get back to you with some ideas, I will just list what I had in mind, even though I may be repeating what Leely and Nyamera have already said. Take all advice with a pinch of salt, but I don't think anyone here posts total nonsense (and some do on the Lonely Planet board so be a bit careful researching from there).

First you must have at least two guidebooks. Each will save you much more than its cost and help you plan to save a lot of time. Everyone here likes Bradt and Lonely Planet has a new edition coming out very soon (May?) which you should get - do not go with the old Lonely Planet because it is right at the end of its shelflife and a number of places no longer exist or have moved up or down market.

In Nairobi you can find somewhere acceptable to sleep for $20 per night. There are tours to the National Park, and although they appear expensive, on an all-inclusive cost per day basis it is a cheap way of getting to see wildlife. The Sheldrick Trust is something that might appeal to you both too; you could return from Kenya having "adopted" not the girl in Kabernet but also an elephant.

From Nairobi you take the bus to Nakuru and stay at a hotel in town (if you stay at the Carnation tell Gibson that you have already booked - do not open the door for him). This will be $10-50 dollars for a twin room with breakfast. Generally you will get what you pay for. The Midland Hotel serves fantastic - but this is not a 3 michelein stars fantastic we're talking here local and international food in its courtyard and is inexpensive.

Lake Nakuru National park is probably worth a couple of game drives or at least a half day, with packed lunch on Baboon Cliffs.

Your Matatu to Kabernet will go through Marigat and from there you can take matatus to Lake Baringo and Lake Bogoria. At Baringo Roberts Camp is cheap and very popular. There are cottages and huts with beds. I stayed next door at Lake Baringo Club which is really good value, but on your budget, save your money for the Mara. Budget $20 for a boat ride - take two hours rather than one if you can and try to do it early a.m. because the sun is HOT.
At Bogoria there are tours around the lake (see your guidebookS for this - I haven't been). Because of the time factor, choose either Baringo or Bogoria - not both.

Keep an eye on the drought situation because visiting this area could be a very sad experience if there are not decent rains this year.

Return to Nakuru and take a matatu or bus across to Nyeri or Nanyuki. If you have a little money to spare, take a look at Olea Africana ("+ Petra" for an interenet search, because it is the name of a common tree), Nanyuki River Camel Camp, Naro Moru River Lodge, Mountain Rock Lodge and Timau River Lodge, because all of them are relatively inexpensive, in natural settings and can arrange a wide variety of excursions. Cost in the excursions. Internet and your guidebooks should provide information. May be worth getting in touch in advance to price excursions since I would guess prices will be variable. If you can't find a Web site for the places, you can go through Let's Go Travel. Make sure you arrange how you are going to get to the place and factor in that cost too. This part of the country is gorgeous; although it is not savannah and so not what you imagine when you think of Kenya. I stayed at Mountain Lodge in this area, but that is beyond your budget because of travel costs - they will not pick you up from town.

Back to Nairobi you can either go to the Masaai Mara or Tsavo. The Masaai Mara has to be the place to go because it is during the migration, although I believe there are a lot of tourists around in August. Camping is probably all you can afford, although there are some companies who offer camping/lodge options (i.e. they have a group and some stay in tents and some stay in lodges - paying suitably more; I have heard of people upgrading to lodges for oinly some nights, and knowing that you can might make you feel more comfortable). In any case I'd say even if it breaks the bank, don't miss the Mara after coming all that way.

Having said that, if you want to avoid the crowds and stay within budget without forgoing a bed with legs and private bathroom, in Tsavao there are Patterson's Safari Camp (on the site of the Ghost and the Darkness story) and Tarhi Camp (which is highly recommended by Nyamera). Tarhi has more wildlife coming to visit around the camp, but for both places you should see if it is possible to arrange game drives and how much this will cost. Travel to the places is easy since they are relatively close to towns outside the park and it should be possible to arrange a pick up from town with the camp.

There, you've spent very little time in towns and should still be within budget.

I would say book anything you can in advance because August is peak season and you want to have time to enjoy your trip, not haggling and looking for vacancies. If anyone tells you that such things are "part of the experience" be VERY sceptical. The better experience (even at my age, which is well below yours) is being in these beautiful places, not messing around in town.

Do not take a cheap safari with a company that has not been recommended. Let's Go and Gametrackers may cost a few dollars more but as people have said, everyone seems happy enough with them. Don't go by the Web prices - email them and ask for what you want; it may well be cheaper. Make sure you say you have a very limited budget when you enquire.

Some people on the Lonely Planet board say that you should just turn upmand book a safari after "shopping around". This "shopping around" could take a whole day - or even more if someone promises you a place and then cancels the next day (which certainly happens)and the saving may well not be worth it. If you had more time, it might be okay, but I would again be sceptical. Hanging around in town is not what you are going for.

Last, I would strongly recommend you say goodbye to every cent of that budget before you go. Save money by planning but do not waste all the opportunities for unique experiences you may have by trying to save TOO much once you get there. I would say keep in mind that some people pay $385 for a 1 hour balloon trip over the Masaai Mara; and if you have to pay $50 for a game drive somewhere, do it. It is not comparable to anything else you could do with that money.


http://www.africatotal.com/arc-23.php

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Mar 2nd, 2006, 06:00 PM
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Sorry, "premature postulation"..

The link is to a very recent travelogue which may be of interest to people (not just you).

Lastly, I have no reason to recommend this place except that it offers the cheapest flying safaris I have seen tot he Masaai Mara. I in fact would not stay here and you should check out whether they will actually drive into the National Reserve. I only bring it to your attention because it may be within budget, and they certainly have beds and other things you desire!

http://www.mugumotree.com/Special%20Offers.htm

Note they have not updated their Web site this year and I do not know if the offers are still on.

Anyone seen a cheaper lodge package to the Mara?
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 06:02 PM
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By the way, we are bartering for your great narrative safari writing ... you owe us a 3000 word trip report, with photos ...so far....



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Mar 3rd, 2006, 02:38 AM
  #12
aby
 
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Hi twoteachers

Tha good news is that for 1000-1200$ u can have a beautiful safari with lots of game!! especially in Mara in august!
i have travelled on lower budgets in the past.
U can afford much more than 3-4 days safari budget-wise (if u have the time)

Take an organized camping tour with a good company & save energies & worries:
I would recommend GameTrackers as well;
for $519 u get 6 day Mara + Lakes (4pax) exclusively for both of u it will b more but still within budget
http://www.gametrackersafaris.com/tourdetails.php?id=5

personally i would consider
7 days Samburu/Rift Valley Lakes & Maasai Mara - $609 (4Pax)
http://www.gametrackersafaris.com/tourdetails.php?id=31

as 4 the bones - check which matresses they use at their permanent camps u should get a good matress

u'll certainly have the best of time on safari !

aby
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 11:15 AM
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Well, twoteachers is off in the mountains, but I'd like to say that I am really impressed by the suggestions of Nyamera, Kimburu and aby.

Kimburu, your post is absolutely brilliant. Heck, you had me thinking maybe I should take that trip...
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 11:18 AM
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I am having two teachers do the trip I SHOULD have taken last time - with the Mara added on!
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 11:26 AM
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Can it be wish fulfillment if it is in the past?
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 11:57 AM
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Hmm... I just found this, so will add it...
Crater Travel Agencies Ltd
P.O. Box 2631, Nakuru, Kenya
Inder Singh Building
051-214896, 215019
051-215019
[email protected]
From the KATA (Kenya Association of Travel Agents) Web site
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 12:02 PM
  #17
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leely: I was thinking exactly the same thing--what great advice.
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 02:42 PM
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It looks like Kimburu is in top form. Thereís even an email address for Crater Travel! Twoteachers, as you only have 8 nights in Kenya Iíd suggest starting with the planning of the visit to Kabarnet and the Mara safari, and then looking into how to fit in the rest.

Itís amazing that we, the Fodorís aristocrats, are getting excited over the trip of two lowly teachers! In return weíll demand a trip report written in blood! Twoteachers, there are some Marie Antoinette style posts here, but, without being a sociologist, Iíd say that most Fodorites are middle class and go on expensive trips because they prefer to spend money on that and not on other middle class attributes. How bad are teachersí salaries in the USA? (Rhetorical question) I got money to go on three trips to Kenya working as a teacher without the ďlicense to be incompetentĒ (Iíve not a qualified teacher) Ė same job, less money and security. All teachers I know travel to other continents at least once a year and all are absolutely convinced that teachers in the USA have better salaries than they have. Canít you just cut down on something else to be able to travel more? I canít because Iíve never been middle class and right now Iím more ďmarginalizedĒ than working class. If you have some unavoidable above average expenses: donít read my impertinent ideas!

Hereís a flying safari to Mara Serena http://www.lets-go-travel.net/?q=node/view/461
Itís $ 750 pp for 3 nights and even this would be possible on a budget of $ 1200. $ 840 in case park fees arenít included. Thatíd leave $ 72 pp for each of the remaining 5 nights. Mara Serena is in the best location for the migration. If old bones were my only problem Iíd do the camping though. Youíll get a comfortable camping sleeping arrangement for a lot less than the Serena.

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Mar 5th, 2006, 10:53 AM
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I'm back from the mountains and a little worried about surviving Africa when I'm stiff from riding in the car so long. Gosh, Guys, what do you expect me to say about the money thing? I could tell you my life history and I think you would get it, but I wish you would just believe me that this is an effort and that I have never been a frivolous person in house, cars, clothes, luxuries, etc. We raised and educated four fine young adult kids on a farm income, and I stayed home with my children for many years. While on the farm for 20 years, both our house and barn burned on separate occasions-just random bad luck. There's more, but life goes on. The money I spend on this trip comes out of whatever I will have when I retire, so I guess it depends on how long I live whether I can afford this trip or not. I recently lost my teaching job because the small private college where I taught is losing enrollment and money. Many of my students were straight from the streets and violence of the cities, and I loved helping them discover their potential to be productive. Even there, I was full-time but an adjunct, which means low pay, no benefits, no security. I take no offense at the suggestions to live more simply in order to afford to travel, but I already live simply. I wasn't sure what to say in response, but having been someone who has spent modestly all my life, I hated for you to assume I went to Starbuck's everyday for my latte' when I haven't been there once.

I am trying to squeak money out other places, like learning to sell things on ebay, and I understand about maximizing the opportunities while we are there. That is actually precisely why I am trying to be so careful.

I saw the one link to Raylenne tours; does anyone else know whether they are a reliable outfit?

Kimburu said about being careful about people who post "total nonsense." How does someone like me who knows so little recognize the nonsense part?

I do have 2 guidebooks and my daughter has one, though I will have to replace the Lonely Planet one with the new edition in May.

Thanks, everybody. Peace on your journeys.

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Mar 5th, 2006, 12:41 PM
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Twoteachers,

You didnít have to say anything about to the money thing. Just ignore rude people like me. I just got hung up on the middle class thing. If youíve always had a low and insecure income I wouldnít call you middle class. Though I think qualified teachers are middle class by definition, so youíre right. Bad luck, raising and educating 4 kids and choosing to work with underprivileged children when you probably could have got a better job elsewhere make you worth a super luxury trip to Africa. Personally I have problems returning to Africa due to some bad luck, but mostly I owe my situation to incompetence and stupid choices. Donít be apologetic; some rage against fate and injustices would be more suitable. But remember that in Kenya youíll be immediately recognized as a rich person, and by comparison you are.

I donít know anything about Raylenne, but I did a search and found a less positive review. http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34688306
Re.nonsense: youíll just have to get the opinion of as many people as possible and compare. Thereís less nonsense here on Fodorís than on other forums, but there is some and I feel guilty Ö
Safiri salama


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