Self Drive Mara Triangle - Final Questions





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  1. #1
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    Default Self Drive Mara Triangle - Final Questions

    Hello everyone! As our trip to the Mara Triangle starts soon I have some questions

    - For Mara Triangle I read that you have to be back in camp at 7pm, however I cannot find any reference as to the earliest time you can leave camp. Anyone knows?
    - Can tickets for Mara Reserve be bought at the gate? Someone told me it’s mandatory to buy them in advance but I am not sure whether this is correct. I plan to buy all tickets online but on the last day we are not sure whether we will exceed the 24 hour period so we might need to pay for an extra day at the gate when we exit.
    - Can we rely on availability of firewood at Ololoolo Gate?
    - Where do you recommend to restock on drinking water in the Mara Triangle? Serena? Do they sell anything larger than 0.5L water bottles?
    - Recommended fuel stations in Narok? I see there are a few options ... not sure whether they are all created equal.
    - Has anyone hired the armed rangers for the campsite in MT? We were not thinking of hiring any but since our trip will be right in the middle of the elections I am now not so sure what we should do. I would like to hear your opinions, and the experiences of anyone who has hired them.

    Thank you so much!

    Last edited by cheetah80; 2017/07/23 at 03:38 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Self Drive Mara Triangle - Final Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by cheetah80 View Post
    Hello everyone! As our trip to the Mara Triangle starts in a couple of weeks I have some questions

    - For Mara Triangle I read that you have to be back in camp at 7pm, however I cannot find any reference as to the earliest time you can leave camp. Anyone knows?
    - Can tickets for Mara Reserve be bought at the gate? Someone told me it’s mandatory to buy them in advance but I am not sure whether this is correct. I plan to buy all tickets online but on the last day we are not sure whether we will exceed the 24 hour period so we might need to pay for an extra day at the gate when we exit.
    - Can we rely on availability of firewood at Ololoolo Gate?
    - Where do you recommend to restock on drinking water in the Mara Triangle? Serena? Do they sell anything larger than 0.5L water bottles?
    - Recommended fuel stations in Narok? I see there are a few options ... not sure whether they are all created equal.
    - Has anyone hired the armed rangers for the campsite in MT? We were not thinking of hiring any but since we will have some photo equipment and our trip will be right in the middle of the elections I am now not so sure what we should do. I would like to hear your opinions, and the experiences of anyone who has hired them.

    Thank you so much!

    1. You are not allowed the leave your campsite until dawn or shortly thereafter.
    2. You can pay your park fees at the gate to the Mara Conservancy (with a card). I have not heard about buying them online, but check out the Mara Conservancy website. It is only mandatory to have booked and paid for a special campsite beforehand. I am pretty sure that you can pay for an extra day of park fees at the gate if you over-stay.
    3. Firewood ought to be available at the Oloololo Gate, but it often is brought later in a truck (along with the night time security if you are in a special campsite). The firewood costs quite a lot and is supposed to be plantation wood and not wood picked up for the reserve, but this is not always the case.
    4. There are no shops in the Mara Triangle and there is only one lodge (the Serena). You will be able to buy water there, but don't know how big the bottles will be. Otherwise, there is a borehole at the Mara Conservancy HQ where you can fill up with water (but probably best to boil it for drinking).
    5. There are lots of fuel stations in Narok and all are fine. I tend to use the original old petrol station, but their loos are not the best.
    6. If you are in a special campsite, then it is mandatory to have two rangers overnight in the campsite. The costs for the rangers is on the Mara Conservancy website, and the last time I was there is cost KShs4,000 per night for the two guards. The guards are dropped off each evening and picked up in the morning. They have their own tent, food, kit and are trained uniformed rangers. If you are in the public campsite, then I don't know what the arrangements are, but better safe than sorry. However, don't leave anything of value in your tents when you are out - the temptation could be too great and it is not fair to do so.


    If you are going to be in Kenya over the elections, try and get to the Mara as quick as possible before the elections and stay there for some days after the results. You ought to be fine in the Mara. The town of Narok has experienced some tensions in recent years due to new migrants to the area - tribal tensions can run high.

    Take a radio with you and listen to the BBC World Service Africa service. Also, when you arrive at the Ololoolo Gate, take the phone number of the warden and/or the head ranger there. Also, there is an emergency phone number on the Mara Conservancy website - take a note of that.

    Safari njema!

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Self Drive Mara Triangle - Final Questions

    Regarding paying the park fees:

    https://www.maratriangle.org/conservation-fees-1/

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    Default Re: Self Drive Mara Triangle - Final Questions


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    Default Re: Self Drive Mara Triangle - Final Questions

    Emergency numbers for the Mara Conservancy:

    https://www.maratriangle.org/emergen...mara-triangle/

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    Default Re: Self Drive Mara Triangle - Final Questions

    Hi Alison, I am so envious of you visiting the Mara Triangle at possibly the optimal time for the wildebeest river crossings. You should get some really great camera shots.

    I think WW has answered all your queries. We managed to persuade them at the Oloololo gate that we were experienced enough not to hire camp guards but no sweat if they insist. If you overrun your stay pay at the exit gate. They do take cards but have cash in case of poor connections.

    At migration time I think Eluai public camp is the best. From the camp a good section of the Mara River can be seen and one can see when the herds begin to gather for a crossing. This campsite has no facilities at all. Consider taking wood and/or roadside charcoal into the reserve with you.

    Just a cautionary, the protocol concerning vehicle behavior around an imminent crossing is not immediately evident. Basically park a little distance from the river up an incline, you will usually see a couple of lodge vehicles doing the same. Once the crossing has begun you can move down to the river bank as long as you don't get too close and block the crossing point and inhibit the animals. Once again watch what the lodge vehicles do. There will be rangers about and they take punitive action if anyone misbehaves.

    Safari njema!
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    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

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    Default Re: Self Drive Mara Triangle - Final Questions

    The camp guards/rangers overnight are because of an incident which happened a few years ago at one of the special campsites. It is definitely mandatory for special campsites, but perhaps not so for the public campsite. The incident was of the two-legged variety of animal...

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    Default Re: Self Drive Mara Triangle - Final Questions

    Thank you WW & Stan for the kind and useful advice!

    If it's of any use to anyone I have just purchased tickets for MT (people + vehicle) and paid for the campsites online. I will check again with the contact from the Mara Conservancy if anything else is needed apart from the receipts of payment, and I will let you know how it goes when presenting the paperwork at the gate. Hope it goes well because an almost 2 week trip costs an arm and a leg in park fees!

    I have noted the tip about the behaviour at crossings ... we'll just imitate others that look like they are behaving

    WW do you have any experience with hiring the rangers? Seems even though compulsory everyone goes without, I don't think I have encountered anyone who actually hired them. I just want to know how "intrusive" they might be to the wilderness experience we are after. We heard about the incident you mention, as well as a few other theft incidents from the lodges around MT. Normally we wouldn't be too bothered but the elections call for some more caution I guess.

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    Default Re: Self Drive Mara Triangle - Final Questions

    Yes, I do have experience of the compulsory overnight security in private campsites in the Mara. It is where we go all the time.

    You don't say whether you are camping in a private campsite or not. If you are in a private campsite, then you have to have security. You pay for the security at the gate and the rangers are dropped off every evening around dusk. They will not impact on your wilderness experience as they mostly go straight to sleep in their tent! If their tent is somewhere you don't want it, just tell them to move to where you would like them. If they chat too much in the early evening, ask them to be quiet. But we have always found them very nice and accommodating and they do know that you are spending more than they earn in a month just to be there on the banks of the Mara river for one night. They will always welcome a cup of tea and a short chat when they first arrive. You will benefit from getting to know them and their help.

  16. #10
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    Default Re: Self Drive Mara Triangle - Final Questions

    Thank you WW - that's exactly what I was wanting to know We will spend only 1 night in a public campsite in MT - the rest in a private one.

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    Default Re: Self Drive Mara Triangle - Final Questions

    I think you are getting some of your advice from Safaritalk where I have found very few people who self drive and camp.

    I don't know any Kenyans (or Kenyan safari operators) - who camp all the time in private campsites in the Mara - who try to get away without the compulsory overnight security. It is the rules and they are there for a reason. Those private campsites are the exact same ones as you would go to if you were spending humongous amounts of money to be taken for an old Africa experience by any of the top operators such as Abercrombie & Kent or &Beyond.

    If you are in the public campsite then your wilderness experience will be somewhat different with other campers, no privacy and no shade.

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