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Private Use Vehicle--worth the added expense?

Oakland, CA
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Private Use Vehicle--worth the added expense?

Place: Porini Lion Camp, in the Olare Orok/Motorogi Conservancy, at end of June.

Option: Private use of vehicle for me and teenaged grandson. Additional $375/day.

Alternative: game drives with up to 4 or 5 others, included in already quoted trip price.

Concerns: Here's an example--Someone in the vehicle wants to sit in one spot for an hour or more, in search of the perfect photo. Others (including me and grandson ) are ready to move on.Or one morning, we'd rather leave later than pre-breakfast for the morning game drive. We cold just skip the morning drive that day ...or , if we had the private vehicle, could leave when we want (I think).

Last trip to Kenya in 2012, I was alone the entire trip.This time will be different, so I'm a bit anxious. But $375 additional per day is quite a lot for me, atop the already steep nightly price (worth it yes, but still quite a strain on the budget).

Has anyone been in this sort of situation? How was it handled?Do you wish you'd have done the private vs the group vehicle? The Porini camp is small, and both me and grandson look forward to the social part of it, but in terms of the actual safari, people may have different interests/focus. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance for your time and feedback.

london
Destination Expert
for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
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11. Re: Private Use Vehicle--worth the added expense?

But conversely, booking a private vehicle in advance risks wasting your money if you find you get one anyway.

On my trip this year, as a solo traveller, at Saruni Samburu for 5 days, I had the vehicle to myself for all except 2 game drives. I would have been gutted had I paid for a private vehicle! At Kicheche Bush I was alone for one day out of 5, plus a couple of other drives that the couple I was sharing with skipped. So a total of about 4 days out of 10 I had to share a vehicle. At both camps, it seemed that most couples had their own vehicles and I think it's unlikely they'd all paid for private vehicles, that was just the way it worked out.

Last trip to the Mara, out of 7 days I was alone in the vehicle for 5 of them!

I don't think June is likely to be a particularly busy time, so I think it's unlikely a private vehicle won't be available. Personally I think booking one in advance would be money wasted.

Edmonton, Canada
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12. Re: Private Use Vehicle--worth the added expense?

Thanks Stokeygirl, as I too will be going in June (2015) I think I will take a chance and wait to see how things play out. No sense in spending money if you don't have to.

Oakland, CA
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13. Re: Private Use Vehicle--worth the added expense?

Bushmaniac, that is GREAT advice!! I contacted the T.A. who said essentially the same as you: that it should be reserved at least two months in advance, and preferably more, to be sure to have an available vehicle. You explained the reason for this in great detail! Thank you so much for helping me decide!!! So yes, I am leaning to just "biting the dollar bullet" of extra expense, and doing the group vehicle the first (arrival) afternoon, and the last (departure) morning--tbut splurging for the day two and three. Yes, it will be that extra special, i think. it will probably be my last time in Kenya, so all the more reason.

Oakland, CA
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14. Re: Private Use Vehicle--worth the added expense?

Stokey, thanks for your take. Gosh, these trips are already so expensive. Decisions, decisions...

nyc
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15. Re: Private Use Vehicle--worth the added expense?

As explained above, rare that other pax in vehiclle are so offensive you'd prefer they wouldn't even be in-country. But if you're one of those who seriously wishes private, private exclusively you should pre-book. *

With the exception of Intrepids Samburu, that might well have 6/paxs, doubt the others will. And, if for some reason you have to share with paxs you'd prefer not... just discuss with management.

If you have no interest in the migration, let management know that also. They won't put you with those who wish to spend the day waiting for a 'river crossing'

*There are just so many vehicles/.guides and if you don't prearrange you're out of luck.

Oakland, CA
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16. Re: Private Use Vehicle--worth the added expense?

Thanks , Sandi. Thanks too for the tip about the migration. Good Lord, that is NOT how I want to spend the day, waiting for a crossing!! Zzzzzz. Last trip, i was amused by the daily large group of vehicles at the river crossing point below Mara Serena, clearly be seen in the distance, from the hotel terrace. It was like a joke to the humans from the animals: --they'd get close to the river's edge, then backtrack,turing around en masse--and it was repeated the next day.

I didn't time this upcoming trip for the migration. I loved the game drives through thousands of animals. If we are lucky enough to be there at the "right" time at the end of June--great! it's the icing on the cake!!! But I chose the Olare Orok conservancy for the lions, etc, not the en masse migration that might happen in the MM reserve.

17. Re: Private Use Vehicle--worth the added expense?

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