Travelling to Kenya

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Jun 7th, 2005, 10:37 PM
  #1
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Travelling to Kenya

I will be in Kenya for about 4 weeks and I'm in the process of booking a 4 day/3 night safari for the end of July with Eastern And Southern safaris. They've offered us accomodation in a semi-permanent camp. (all the lodges are booked).

Would like info from anyone who's stayed at one of these semi-permanent pre-tented camps? What are they like compared to the lodges?
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Jun 8th, 2005, 06:33 AM
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Do you know the name of the camp?
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Jun 8th, 2005, 09:01 AM
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I haven't stayed at any semi-permanent tented camps, only permanent ones, but I think they're similar. Semi-permanent tents may be a bit simpler than permanent ones as they're set up/taken down at the beginning and end of each season. They should have ensuite baths attached, though the type of shower/toilet facilities may vary depending on the camp.

I actually much prefer tented camps to larger safari lodges as they're generally less crowded and have a quieter atmosphere. You feel more connected to your surroundings. Semi-permanent camps usually have 12 tents max and often fewer than that. They're also unfenced so you'll need to be escorted to/from your tent at night. Permanent camps can be fenced or unfenced (I prefer the latter). You'll be able to hear some animal sounds at night from your tent which to me is the best part, but not everyone may appreciate that!
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Jun 8th, 2005, 09:43 AM
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They haven't given me the name the camp, which is why I'm kind of worried. Not sure whether it's a usual camp frequented by other tourists, or a place where they've just randomly set up.

We're travelling in a group of three, however one person of our group isn't too thrilled about staying in a place that's unfenced, and needing an escort to walk around outside. But we're broke students, and the price they've given for a private safari fits with our "poor" budget ($440).
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Jun 8th, 2005, 10:10 AM
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If it's a semi-permanent camp (that's what they specified right?) then it will be utilized by other tourists as well, as it's set up and operating throughout the duration of their season. Semi-permanent camps can be set up in the same location each season or their locations can change from season to season.

Mobile camps can be private, where it's set up just for your party and the duration of your stay but a mobile camping safari generally costs much more.

That's a very good price for a 3 night safari in late July as that's the start of the migration season. Are the 3 of you sharing a tent? Why don't you ask them the name of the camp?
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Jun 9th, 2005, 10:35 AM
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The name of the camp is Mara Spring Camp.
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Jun 9th, 2005, 11:35 AM
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I had not heard of that one before but was able to find their website -

http://www.mountainrockkenya.com/mara_springs.htm

It sounds like a fairly basic/budget type place and I'm not sure if they have private ensuite baths. It says 'bathrooms with hot and cold showers and flush toilets' but doesn't specifically mention whether they're ensuite or shared. I would ask if this is important to you.

It does however say that 'permanent tents are fenced to ensure security against roaming wild animals'. It actually doesn't sound like a semi-permanent camp at all but rather a campsite with some permanent tents.

Are you on a camping safari perhaps? Do you know? Your cost is more in line with a camping safari in high season than it is with a safari staying at a lodge or permanent/semi-permanent tented camp. There's nothing wrong with that and may be all that's available on your budget and for your travel dates, but I just wanted to make sure you know what you're getting.
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Jun 9th, 2005, 11:39 AM
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BTW, from their description, I believe the location of Mara Springs Camp is just to the northeast of the reserve proper.
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Jun 9th, 2005, 06:34 PM
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We asked for the regular, lodge staying, safari. They told us they couldn't get spots in any of the lodges, but that we could stay at this camp. We'll be staying at a guest house in Lake Nakuru for one night as well.

So...I don't know. I did see the website and the place looks different than other "semi-permanent" camps advertised on the web.

Being just north east of the reserve proper, I really don't know whether that's a good or bad thing.
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Jun 9th, 2005, 08:04 PM
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At this late date, I'm sure it's very difficult to secure any accomodations in the Mara at all. What other semi-permanent camps have you looked at on the web and have you checked into availability and costs for those?

Many camps and lodges are actually located outside of the reserve itself. The northeastern side is often used for short safaris from Nairobi as it's the closest to drive to, but this also makes it more crowded as I understand.
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Jun 18th, 2005, 04:45 AM
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So they got us a room at Naivasha Sopa lodge the first night. We leave Nairobi early to Lake Nakuru, spend the day there, then drive back to Lake Naivasha. Then we drive to Mara Serena for the 2nd night, Keekorok lodge the third night. all for about $600.

Disregarding price (the camping one at Mara Springs was $440), if you had to choose which would it be? I really have no way of gauging which will give us a better experience...

decision! decisions!...
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Jun 18th, 2005, 05:08 AM
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safgal -

As Patty states, at this late date there isn't much available. However, if you and your friends are unsure about a semi-permanent camp without fencing, I'd go for the extra money and use the lodges.

The Serena Lodge in the Mara has one of the best, if not the best spot for viewing the Migration, even if for only one night. The Keekorok which is the oldest camp/lodge in the Mara recently sustained a fire - but has been completely rebuilt and reopening in a week or two... so you will have a brand new property.

For your peace of mind, go for the extra $$$ even if you have to borrow it. We're only talking $160 each... I'm sure you can swing this.

Then, in the future when you are all rich and successful, you'll be able to return - but remember then, to plan well in advance.

Happy travels.
 
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Jun 18th, 2005, 06:23 AM
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If a lodge safari is what you originally wanted and asked for, and it sounds like they were able to find you spots, then go for it. As sandi mentioned the Serena is in a great location in the Mara. Staying in the Lake Naivasha area the first night will also make your drive on the second day a little shorter. I would go with this new option. Have fun!
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