Trip Review - May 9th - 24th

Reply

Jun 2nd, 2006, 02:57 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 185
Trip Review - May 9th - 24th

We arrived in Nairobi on BA on May the 10th and checked into the Ngong House (www.ngonghouse.com). This is a simply magical location with treehouses as your accomodation. The food served there is also amazing, and I highly recommend staying there for a day pre or post your trip. On a sad note, for those who have stayed there before, the Owner / Manager for the last couple of years Christoff, passed away in a plane crash a few months ago. Paul his father, has taken control again.
Our first stop was to Samburu, and the Larsens Tented Camp. We got lucky in that we had the camp to ourselves for our 2 nights there. The staff were great, and the "tented" camp was very nice. The tent was huge, had running water, and was much better than I was expecting. We had lunch on the first day at a table overlooking the river, watching Elephants drinking about 50 feet away. I was like, wow, what a great start to the trip. Over the next couple of days, the game drives were great, and we were able to view just about everything in the park except for Cheetahs. The weather was great, and as it was the low season, we had most of the park to ourselves. Samburu is a little more arid, and it gives you a somewhat different view from the Mara. They also have some unique animals, namely the Reticulated Giraffe, and Grevy Zebra. We also visited a Samburu village, and toured where Survivor Africa was filmed.
We went back to Nairobi, and had a night at the Norfolk Hotel. We checked in to the hotel, and spent the afternoon with Kennedy from Waymark Safaris (thank you very much for the referrals of Kennedy off these boards). You can reach Kennedy at [email protected]. Kennedy took us to the Karen Blixen House (a little boring), the Giraffe Manor (great place to feed the Giraffes and get some close up pictures), followed by the most amazing visit to the Animal Orphanage. He has some contacts there, and we received personal service, and access to pretty much every animal, and cage. We got to help feed the Cheetahs, and I have some great pictures of me "petting" the Cheetahs. We also got into just about every other cage (except for the Lions) for some amazing shots. We had an excellent afternoon, and my one regret is not spending more time in Nairobi and area with Kennedy.
Our night at Norfolk was nice, and they have a very good menu.
We next went to the Chui Lodge at Lake Naivasha, and I have to say this was the best place we stayed in our trip. The Chui Lodge is on a private reserve, and has only 6 extremely deluxe Cottages, with some rustic African themes (www.oserianwildlife.com). Our game drives here were amazing in that we got to spend a lot of time with their resident Cheetahs. Chui Lodge is on a private game reserve, and they have imported many unique animals to the area, including the Grevy Zebra, and White Rhino. After dinner, we were pleasantly surprised to go back to our room to a nice fire in the fireplace. The next day we went on another game drive and got to spend some time walking along the lake, seeing a lot of Hippos and birds. We were also able to spend some time with a 3 day old Giraffe, who had no fear of us on foot, and got within 5 feet of us. We all regretted leaving Chiu after only 1 day.
Our next stop was to the Porini Camp at the Mara (www.porini.com). The Porini Camp is a little more rustic (bucket showers versus piped in water), but was also a great place to stay. The staff here were great, and treated all 10 of us extremely well. Our first full day was a really long one, as we were up at 4 am to get to the Mara for dawn for the Balloon ride. I have to say, despite the $350 cost per person, this was an amazing trip and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. We spent a little over an hour in the air, and had some amazing views of scenery, and wildlife. The highlight was towards the end, when we were able to follow a pride of 8 Lions walking though the grass for about 5 minutes. After a champagne breakfast, we plunged into the Mara for our full day Safari. What can I say, we literally say 100's of animals, and got many a picture. In the afternoon, we found a pride of Lions, and spent about 3 hours with them lounging, fighting, frolicking (every 15 mins, lol), and hunting. The male of the Pride twice fought off challengers to his "women". It was a long day, but very worthwhile. The next day we went on another game drive, and flew back to Nairobi for lunch at Carnivore. I loved Carnivore, and tried all the selections of meat - croc, osterich, etc.
We next went to the Porini Camp at Selenkay, near the Amboseli Park where we spent 2 days. The camp was very similiar to the Porini Camp at the Mara, and we were again very pleased with the service. Amboseli has a plethora of Elephants and other animals. There are also some amazing views here of Mt. Kili in the background. They has slightly different vehicles here, and had a "bait" seat at the front of the vehicle. I have to say sitting in this seat was amazing and thrilling. It was expecially nice sitting there on the night drive, and using the spotlight to spot animals.
Our trip in Kenya ended up with one more night at the Norfolk.
We next were off to Rwanda for a Gorilla Trek, which I will continue the review of.
Our entire trip was booked though Gamewatchers who happen to own the Porini Camps. I would definitely recommend them, and they can offer you just about any camp, and price range. You can view all of their information at www.porini.com.
If anyone has any questions, please message me.
richardfh is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 2nd, 2006, 03:46 PM
  #2
aby
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,490
richardfh

indeed a special "off the beaten track" safari ...

i was happy to hear that my beloved Samburu had recovered from the severe drought

Can u give a location of Chui Lodge ?
(isn't specified at their site)

ThanX

aby
aby is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 2nd, 2006, 04:08 PM
  #3
aby
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,490

OK i've found Chui on this superb map
http://www.kenyatravelmaps.com/naivasha/map.htm

According to this map the Oserian "sanctuary" is not on the border of Hells Gate national park' as claimed to b by their www site. (i'm intersted in 'wildlife corridors')
Or maybe the Oserian FARM has got wildlife as well ?
# do they have a FENCE on this farm-turned-sanctuary ?

aby

P.S. Actually, i don't like some of their animal INTRODUCTIOS. Bringing (in addition to SA sqare-lippedRhino) "Grevy Zebra, Beisa Oryx, Greater Kudu (all trans-located from Northern Kenya) and Cheetah" makes it an open air ZOO - this is not the typical habitat for these northern species...
They claim to do it for the sake of CONSERVATION of species (but IMHO...)
Nowadays, modern concepts of conservation r concerned not only with species but conserving BioDiversity at (& plus) their natural habitat !!
aby is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 2nd, 2006, 04:11 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,700
richardfh,
Thanks very much for your report! How long was the drive to Amboseli from Porini camp and could you compare/constrast the game viewing on Selenkay itself?

aby,
The location of Chui Lodge can be found on this Naivasha map - http://www.kenyatravelmaps.com/naivasha/map.htm

Look to the southwest of Naivasha by Oloiden Lake.
Patty is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 2nd, 2006, 04:12 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,700
aby,
We posted at the same time! It IS a superb map indeed.
Patty is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 2nd, 2006, 04:25 PM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 185
Aby,

Not mentioned in my report is some presetations by the KTB we sat in on(Kenyan Tourist Board), and how they are moving species around to different "parks" to both conserve and increase the population. With last years drought, many animals did die, and initiatives like this is a mandate that they have.

Patti, the drive from the Porini camp is about 45 minutes to Amboseli. It wasnt too bad as we saw a lot of game on the drive to / from the park.
richardfh is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 2nd, 2006, 04:28 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 312
Richardfh:

Sounds like you had a wonderful experience! I am excited to hear about your very recent gorilla trekking as I am leaving for Africa on June 8th and will be in Rwanda with the Gorillas on the 28th of June.

Which group did you visit? Where did you stay? How many local folks accompanied you on the trek? I am curious for gift purchases...I have heard giving them lapel pins for their hats is a good idea-what do you think?

Kind Regards,
Den
Denbasking is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 2nd, 2006, 05:28 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Interesting trip, waiting to read more. Can't believe you planned a holiday for 10 people! Congratulations!

I'm really glad Kennedy worked out for you. He was the first person we "met" when we stepped off the plane in Nairobi, so I'll always think of him very fondly.

Thanks for the report.
Leely is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 2nd, 2006, 07:30 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
What a balloon ride! Thanks for the Gamewatchers recommendation. You certainly saw lots.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 2nd, 2006, 08:14 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 81
I enjoyed reading your trip report - will you be sharing any photos?
chelsea2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 2nd, 2006, 08:49 PM
  #11
santharamhari
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks for your report. Glad you had a good trip and enjoyed the different game viewing experiences

Hari
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 2nd, 2006, 08:55 PM
  #12
santharamhari
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Richard,

Took a look at the porini website. They seem well away from the mara triangle. You must have had lengthy stretches without seeing another vehicle.

Did you enjoy the game viewing? you did mention great lion sightings at Porini Mara. How about leopard and cheetah?

Thanks
Hari
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 3rd, 2006, 01:50 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,252
That's a really interesting trip. Can you confirm that you didn't have to pay extra to enter Shaba (where Survivor was filmed) or did you not pay that much attention to the details? Ditto with Hari about the quality of the wildlife experience at Porini Mara - sounds like your great lion viewing was actually in the Mara itself - how was the viewing around camp?

Aby.... I agree totally with what you are saying, but believe there is are more than a few places in conservation heaven for people who run zoos and game reserves where they breed species that are not native to the area. It's what they do with the animals later that decides whether they are just exploiting the animals for personal pleasure or monetary gain, actually harming the environment (like the smartasses who released the lions into Aberdare NP and nearly exterminated the bongo) or playing God in a manner we probably should accept as being "good" - like Lewa Downs restocking Meru NP with its native species which ahd been decimated to unsustainable levels(it wouldn't actually have mattered if those animals had come from Naivasha would it?). Anyway, thank you for raising the point because I need reminding to keep that kind of thing in mind when planning where to go, and not just sightings.
kimburu is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 3rd, 2006, 03:15 AM
  #14
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 185
Most of our game viewing in the Mara area was at the Park itself. We did not see a lot around the Porini Camp, which is 45 mins plus from the Park, so location is definitely something to consider, though really wasnt a big issue.

We did see some Cheetah at the Mara, though it was farther away. We had our best Cheetah and Leopard viewings at Chui, especially the Leopards, with whom we got some great shots of with a kill up a tree.

This was my first trip to Africa (not including Egypt), and while I didnt see everything at every place, we did get to see everything several times (except for Black Rhino) due to our variety of camps. I did learn a lot, and will, now that I have the Africa bug, plan with a little more knowledge for the next trip there.

Kimburu, no we didnt pay any extra to leave the Park at Samburu and enter Shaba.

Pics are still to come...
richardfh is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 3rd, 2006, 08:37 AM
  #15
santharamhari
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Richard,

Thanks for the info. You did mention the cheetah being far away. However, you are allowed off-road driving.....is it something that didnt happen?

Hari
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 3rd, 2006, 08:55 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,700
Richard,
Did you go on any game drives just in Selenkay? If so, how was the game viewing?

Hari,
My understanding is that off road driving isn't technically allowed (or is allowed to a very minimal extent) inside the reserve but that enforcement is lax.
Patty is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 3rd, 2006, 09:41 AM
  #17
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 185
The story around our sighting is that we were more interested in following the pride of Lions at that time. Our party had already seen several Cheetahs at Chui, so the Lions were much more interesting. All of our drivers were great, and where needed we did do off roading. This is how we followed the pride of Lions so closely.

As for Selenkay, yes the game viewing in the area wasnt too bad. Lots of monkeys, giraffes, etc. Unlike the Porini camp outside the Mara, this one had a lot of game to be seen on the night drives.



richardfh is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 3rd, 2006, 12:28 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 836
Richard,
How long did it take to get from Nairobi to Chui? Would it be worth the trip for a ONE night stay or even a daytrip - we missed cheetah and leopard in SA last time and if we could maximise our chances in the Navisha area it might be worth it - what do you think?
Also, did you have many people on the baloon ride with you - how much space? I'm considering a baloon trip in July but am badly chaustrophobic and am concerned about space - thoughts?
One more thing - please tell all about Rwanda - I'll be there on July 21st - staying 3 nights in Kigali - recommendations?

Thanks
OnlyMeOirish is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 3rd, 2006, 12:33 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,309
Richard,
Thanks for your report. It was interesting to hear about Selenkay.
Nyamera is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 3rd, 2006, 12:43 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 836
Oops, guess I should have scrolled down - found your report on Rwanda - sounds like an AMAZING time!
Imelda
OnlyMeOirish is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:22 AM.