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Walking safaris, Ontdek Kenya Safaris--any and all info please!

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Apr 2nd, 2010, 01:01 AM
  #1
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Walking safaris, Ontdek Kenya Safaris--any and all info please!

Has anyone done travel with Ontdek Kenya Safaris? How about walking safaris in general?

The idea of combining walking with game drives sounds very appealing to me, but would like comments from any of you who have experience in this area.

Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated----thank you!!!
live_aloha is offline  
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Apr 2nd, 2010, 07:47 AM
  #2
 
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Haven't heard of them, but walking is easily incorporated into a traditional safari, if you go to the right places.

You can walk in Aberdare. I'm going with a KWS ranger, set up by my regular safari provider. That should be fun.

You can walk in Amboseli just outside the park, though I have not. Chyulu does walking safaris with private reserves that are supposed to be just great for animals, though expensive.

You can do walks in the private reserves near Mt Kenya, which I have done and were very nice. In this region and in Samburu, you can throw in a camel safari too. The Lewa camel trip was great.

Outside the Mara you can walk and I've seen groups doing that, though I have not, except for bird walks around camp, which were remarkably productive.

The best walking safaris, if that is your focus, are in Zambia and Zimbabwe in my opinion. But it is always nice to get out of the vehicle in other countries too.
The place known for walking in Kenya is Tsavo West, where you can walk for several days worth of safari.

You'll see less big game while walking, but can better appreciate the small stuff. The best time for walking is in the early morning before it gets hot. Also good is later in the afternoon, but at this time you can't dawdle or linger if you find something special because you run into night. In the morning, if you arrive back late, you'll just get hot as the sun rises.

But those times are also best for traditional viewing in a vehicle, so some camps offer midday walks that are not as strenous, but allow you to get out and appreciate the micro aspects of the safari. Cool finds on walks (not in Kenya) have been a civet plug (has to do with excretion), a lion hairball, flowers, part of a leopard carcass with teeth, better views of birds, lots of tracks, learning about different kinds of dung, and close views of insects.

We've also seen lots of hoofed animals, and occasionally predators at a distance. Seeing animals truly ON their turf and using (or at least being shown) tracking skills is an exciting experience. The tracking and mammal viewing has usually been on the longer walks, not midday bird walks around camp.

Definitely let your agent know up front that you'd like some walking and it can be done. Is this something your new travel partners would enjoy? Anyone who has photography as their #1 priority for a safari should go light on the walking in Kenya.
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Apr 2nd, 2010, 08:54 AM
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South Luangwa NP in Zambia is considered the home of walking safaris. When we were there, we were watching some wildlife from a vehicle when they suddenly started and ran away. Seconds later, a walking safari appeared. We did a walk there and some eles moved quickly away when they became aware of our presence. I think that doing an occasional walk on a safari is a great thing to do to see tracks, plants, etc., but doing an entire safari that way might not get you the wildlife viewing and interaction you want. Then, there's one Fodorite's experience of contracting Tick Bite Fever when she did a walk in Kenya.
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Apr 2nd, 2010, 09:21 AM
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Walks can be incorporated into traditional safaris or you can go on safaris that specifically focus on walking such as a multi-day camel/donkey supported safari where you walk from camp to camp. I've done short walks in Laikipia and an overnight fly camp combined with walking outside of the Mara. I agree with atravelynn and ShayTay that walks allow you to observe the things that you might miss from a vehicle but doesn't necessarily get you close to wildlife.

As for the Fodorite that contracted tick bite fever, I believe she was in Kenya after an unusually rainy "short rain" season. We were in many of the same locations about a month before and were told no walks were being conducted because of the high grass and ticks. We've only gone on walks in relatively dry periods.
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Apr 3rd, 2010, 12:01 AM
  #5
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Thanks to all of you for your feedback and insightful comments.

This is a learning process and the hill is steep.
Appreciate everything I have learned so far from all of you great teachers! And what's truly amazing, is how patient you (atravelynn and ShayTay especially)are with the endless questions....(I'm sure I'll have lots more)!!!!

Ok, guess my next step is to see if I really do have travel partners and then go from there, since that changes everything. Patience, patience, patience.

Looking forward to any and all comments on this topic, but as far as "walking tours" I think I got it!
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Apr 3rd, 2010, 05:17 AM
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Last June my husband and I returned to Africa for the 4th time to do for the first time a walking safari in Kenya. http://www.karisia.com/ We have nothing but wonderful things to say about the company we used and had the time of our life! . We changed camps each day and our new camp was set up when we arrived for lunch. WE did a 4 day..walked in the morning and rested during the day in the heat & walked again in the afternoon to early eve. The animals were the same that we had seen on a walking safari except for A HUGE PACK OF WILD DOGS! If you have other questions that I can help with I'll be happy to try to answer.
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Apr 3rd, 2010, 03:52 PM
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Thanks impacked. Sounds like it was a great experience and wild dogs on top of it all! Appreciate your offer to help answer my questions.

Actually, I was more interested in combining a little walking (primarily for exercise) with game drives.

I didn't realize that you could walk in the various parks mentioned (thanks all)! That sounds more like what I'm interested in.

So, I guess when I finally do make my plans, I would need to ask if that is an option for that particular place?
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Apr 3rd, 2010, 10:20 PM
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There are a lot areas where you can do walks, both in East Africa and southern Africa. On one of my Tanzania trips, one of the travelers was a tri-athlete. She wanted to make sure she got some exercise, so in the west Kilimanjaro area, she went running with a Maasai guide. At Maramboi Camp on the eastern side of Lake Manyara, she rode mountain bikes with a local guide along the salt flats. In the Serengeti, however, she was relegated to walks within camp.
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Apr 5th, 2010, 02:50 AM
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Hi there,
What about Karisia Walking Safaris in Laikipia? Have a look at their website: karisia.com they offer 3 levels of walking safari to suit your budget. Mostly they are tailormade and there are a few set departures yearly.
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Apr 5th, 2010, 10:30 AM
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Who ever and where ever you choose for a walking safari you should be aware that's not a recreational walk/promenade as it's in Europe or America.
There is danger involved and you should listen to your stomach - doesn't matter what your ranger tells you. Listen to your common sense and don't fear being called a "sissy" by just requesting to get back to your car or stop walking whenever you feel it's not "good" to be in one spot.

Remember always you are walking in animal kingdom and evaluate for yourself whether you would agree to an animal being shot just because it's acting normally and protecting his environment (feeling threatened by you/your company).

Happy planning!

SV
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Apr 8th, 2010, 12:25 AM
  #11
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Thanks for your comments.
Wow! spassvogel--I did have concerns over how safe this would be, but had not given thought to an animal being harmed for my sake. That would be devastating and I would never forgive myself. Sheds new light on the subject (so no walking safaris for me).

Does this concern hold true for the walks that are in connection with the various camps? I kind of assumed this type of walk would just be close by with no real threat to humans or animals.

Comments, please---thanks!
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Apr 8th, 2010, 07:35 AM
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Walks near camp may or may not be accompanied by an armed ranger (you can ask) but that doesn't mean that there's no threat. There was a recent elephant trampling in the Mt Kenya area that happened on a "nature walk" near the lodge. I believe the incident a few years back at Richard's Camp also occurred close to camp. While these incidents are extremely rare, anything can happen.
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May 5th, 2010, 08:38 AM
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Yes, walking safaris are not to be undertaken lightly or casually. Be aware of all the risks and make your decision based on knowledge. I loved doing a two-day walk in Botswana, but you have to be able to keep your cool - you will feel scared if you're not asleep (think scuba diving w/sharks). That said, it is interesting to see Africa from many levels, and walking provides a different vantage point than small aircraft/balloon, elephant/camel-back, jeep/rover, or a mokoro/canoe.
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May 18th, 2010, 05:58 AM
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We did a walking safari with Ontdek Kenya in March '10 and we were very satisfied with the company - which we had by the way found via a forum in the web.

Anne the owner of the company was very responsive to our needs on budget and in a very subtle way asked us to consider opening our tour to another couple to bring the price down. She asked for our brief bio and the surprise was she managed to fit us up with a couple not only with similar interests as us but of about our age/s.

The itinerary had a very good balance of walks, village visits and of wildlife viewing and we spent a lot of time out doors as we had unlimited use of the Landcruiser. Though all the safari camps we used had swimming pools - we out of choice didn't swim as we were out walking and doing game drives. We saw a lot of wildlife and though Mara was great , we feel we had our best time in Kenya in the small parks with no tourist on site.

We had very knowledgeable guides and at no time did we feel insecure.

We would not hesitate booking a tour again with Ontdek as Anne is very thorough and open with the tour briefings.
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May 18th, 2010, 02:53 PM
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The elephant trampling a few years back was to honeymoon guests staying at Richard's Camp, though the incident happened closer to the Mara Safari Club. Freaky!

The more recent episode at Mt. Kenya was to a mother carrying her child on a "leisurely bush walk" (let's not get into "what was she thinking"), and though she wasn't a stranger to the area being a resident in Kenya for sometime... sad inncident, guess she couldn't run fast enough with the extra weight!

Regardless where such incidents occur, remember you're out in "their" world and you have to have confidence in the company, walk leader and whether weapons are available for use, if they'd do any good!

Personally, I don't need such an adrenaline rush!
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Apr 20th, 2012, 09:11 AM
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A friend and I travelled with Ontdek in 2007. They reined in our over-ambitious plans and we ended up with the most superb experience catering to our walking/birding/photography interests perfectly. The guides were excellent and Anne's attention to our 'needs' first class. Hope to have another trip with them before too long - can't recommend them highly enough.
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