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safari tour

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nj
posts: 112
reviews: 1
safari tour

we are a group of 8 (including 2 12 yr olds and 1 15yr old and an active healthy grandmother.) looking to do a 9 day safari trip that includes the elephant and chimpanzee sactuaries. does anyone know if you can interact with the animals there or only observe? also, any recomendations for places to visit/game drives appreciated. we were thinking nairobi, ol pejeta/sweetwater camp, and then massai mara.Not sure if we should try to include lake nakuru and or amboseli park with the amount of time we have. Dont want too many 5hr car rides with this group. thanks for any suggestions!

Staffordshire
posts: 712
reviews: 1
1. Re: safari tour

There is Sheldrick Elephant orphanage in Nairobi you can visit for an hour (opens about midday I think) .

If you foster a little ellie you can visit later in the day when all the tourists have gone and interact with them. Not sure of details but someone on the forum will tell you I`m sure

nj
posts: 112
reviews: 1
2. Re: safari tour

yes, thank you we are planning to go there.

Somerset
Destination Expert
for Mombasa, Diani Beach, Kenya
posts: 6,768
reviews: 13
3. Re: safari tour

Having done safaris with kids I would recommend you keep the travel to a minimum and choose lodges with interesting activities such as game walks and a swimming pool is a must to give them chance to let off steam.

nyc
posts: 13,172
4. Re: safari tour

To adopt a baby ellee, see: www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/

Fee is $50/annual.

From Ol Pejeta/Sweetwater's it's a very very long drive to the Masai Mara, why many do stop at Lake Nakuru and/or Naivasha, then onto the Mara. While you can probably include Amboseli(can be rather hectic itinerary) if you wish to keep the driving to minimum, realizing you'll see elephants in the Mara, consider:

Day 1 - Arv. NBO - o/n

Day 2 - NBO; sightseeing: Karen Blixen House, Giraffe Center, Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, other - o/n

Day 3 - Drive north 3/hrs to Ol Pejeta - o/n Sweetwaters

Day 4 - Drive southwest 3-3.5/hrs to Lake Nakuru; afternoon game drive - o/n

Day 5 - Drive south 1/hr to Naivasha; Crescent Island walking safari - o/n

Day 6 - Drive south 4+/hrs* to Masai Mara - o/n

Days 7 & 8 - Masai Mara - o/n

Day 9 - Drive northeast 5+/hrs** to NBO; dayroom till later transfer to airport/homebound

* this is a long drive on some nasty roads; you might want to consider flight from Naivasha 3:30pm to Mara; understand though by 2013, there might be flight from Nakuru.

** or consider flight to NBO, again avoiding some nasty roads.

Good luck!

nj
posts: 112
reviews: 1
5. Re: safari tour

thank you so much. i think we will maybe leave out nakuru so we can fly from ol pejeta to maasai mara and then fly to nairobi if poss to fly home. do u know anything about siana tented camp vs, entumoto camp? thanks again!

nyc
posts: 13,172
6. Re: safari tour

You don't indicate when traveling, but assume if with children it would be July or August, both being peak season with prices to match. Nor do you indicate what your expected budget - bearing in mind the children - below 16/yrs at many place may be entitled to discounts depending on where staying... so do ask when making inquiry.

Also, depending on budget, you may choose to avoid driving altogether and simply fly, i.e., to Amboseli or Samburu, both elephant parks; even Ol Pejeta (the Nanyuki airstrip) and then to the Masai Mara. Flights do add to the costs, but not always that much and none of those I indicate will be longer than 1.5/hrs (that's Samburu)... others 1/hr or less.

If flying you can certainly visit Amboseli, Ol Pejeta and the Mara as:

Day 1 - Arv. NBO - o/n

Day 2 - NBO, sightseeing - o/n

Day 3 - Fly to Amboseli - o/n

Day 4 - Amboseli - o/n

Day 5 - Fly to NBO; connect to flight to Nanyuki - o/n Sweetwaters

Day 6 - Fly to Masai Mara - o/n

Days 7 & 8 - Masai Mara - o/n

Day 9 - Fly to NBO; dayroom then homebound

Entumoto Camp is very expensive and located outside the Reserve to the East. Believe Siana tented camp, might be Siana Springs Camp, also located in the same area, but less expensive and much larger than the former.

If visiting during the months mentioned when the migration is in the Mara, you might want to consider camps closer-in as Elephant Pepper, Porini Lion, Kicheche, Mara Plains (there are many others), and while none of these are IN the Reserve, are on closer private conservancies with less crowds/vehicles, though plenty of game; also where you able to enjoy bush walks/meals and night game drives, which are not permitted within reserve boundaries.

UK
Destination Expert
for Malindi, Ukunda, Kenya
posts: 4,279
reviews: 4
7. Re: safari tour

Lots of good advice from Sandi as usual, but I for one would completely forget about the chimp place at Ol Pejeta - at least as a focus. It's just a welfare facility for traumatized rescue chimps and doesn't seem to have much relation to conservation of this rare animal. You can spend an hour or two watching the chimps through the fence but that's about it. They're in two groups, but the females are all either sterilized or on contraceptive treatment, which I find baffling.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy itself is very good, with plenty of wildlife, though you should be aware that it's not a very "wilderness" area. Lots of fences and water troughs.

I stayed recently at Entumoto and found it a bit bland and not the intimate, enthusiastic kind of place I like. I'd just come from Maji Moto Eco Camp however (this was with my 20-year old son) which we loved. MMEC is quite far to the north, only an hour's drive south of Narok. It's run entirely by Maasai from the Maji Moto community. The camp is very cool, on a hillside, and for once the tents are real dome tents (big ones, but actual tents, not the kind of canvas and concrete pavillions that Entumoto has. You do everything with the Maasai staff and they're incredibly welcoming and informative about Maasai culture and local nature and landscapes. "Warrior training" is their big thing, which can vary from quite testing exercises, to basically play fighting with batons made from plant stems and lots of singing and dancing. David (son) loved all this, and we had a lot of laughs too. Food is basic camp fare, but well prepared. Their hot water for showers comes from the hot springs ("maji moto") at the bottom of the hill, brought up by a donkey every evening with drums on its back, and you can also go down to the springs and bathe there (separate male and female areas as everyone strips off). Nature walks and longer hikes are available (there's wildlife about, but mostly "soft game" as they described it. For all-day drives into Siana Group Ranch (the next group ranch south) or into Maasai Mara National Reserve, you'd need to notify them in advance and they'd bring their 4WDs down from Nairobi. The camp is a a joint Slovenian-Maasai venture (a Slovene couple who fell in love with the area a few years ago), so you'd be dealing with their office in Nairobi.

I can't think of a better place for a first-time visit to the Mara, especially with teenagers - highly recommended!

Richard

Oakland, CA
posts: 918
reviews: 150
8. Re: safari tour

HI BelleZoe--if you mean the chimpanzee sanctuary at Ol Pejeta, you can watch but not "interact" directly.

However, you CAN feed Barak by hand. He is the blind rhino who lives at Ol Pejeta.

I have questions similar to yours, as I hope (fingers crossed) to take one or two grandkids aged 11 and 15 next time. While at Sweetwaters this summer, there were families, including one with about 20 people, all having a blast!!

The Intrepids Camps have Adventurer programs for kids (Sandi, i think you clued me into this--thank you!) So IF i came with kids, my plan is: Nariobi... drive to Sweeetwaterss...drive to Samburu Intrepids...fly to Mara Intrepids...plane back to Nairobi

nyc
posts: 13,172
9. Re: safari tour

An alternative to Sweetwater's and you can still arrange to visit the chimps would be a stay at the Ol Pejeta Bush Camp on the same conservancy, which is a working operation... though I can't recall fences (unless not looking for these). Tents are charming, food is excellent, as are the hosts. Game drives, bush walks, and night game drives.

On my visit, there was a family from the UK - mom with 2 kids (under 12/yrs) and the boy desperately wanted to drive the safari vehicle... so out with the owner, the kid had his first (if very very short) driving lesson, returning enthralled.

Yes, agree that in the Mara, Intrepid's is great if with kids. Besides their Adventurer's program, they have lovely family tents that consists of two traditional tents recently refurbished, both with loos and an adjoining screened-in breezeway (like a parlor or living room where all can gather).

You can do both Intrepid's camps, at Samburu and the Mara, probably get a discount, unless you'd prefer different camp styles/sizes. Even without the Adventurers program, camps are great keeping the young ones busy with all kinds of activities between game drives.

Can still fly to Nanyuki for stay at Ol Pejeta, then to Samburu and from Samburu to the Mara and then flight back to NBO.

10. Re: safari tour

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