Reasons to say Yes to a self-drive in Kenya





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  1. #1
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    Default Reasons to say Yes to a self-drive in Kenya

    Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili
    Kalica

    A question ... why is your husband reluctant to visit Kenya?

    I have never - in all my 61 years - come across tsetse flies in Kenya. Probably because the altitude and vegetation did not allow them to proliferate, or in colonial days the tsetse areas were cleared to allow pastoral tribes to raise and graze cattle. Even in the Mara I have never come across tsetses - the Mara is predominately open savannah which is not tsetse country.

    I quite agree about tsetses in parts of northern Tanzania, particularly around the swamp in Tarangire. But, of course, tsetse-infested areas have been fundamental in saving many wildlife-rich areas over the past 50 plus years.

    Enjoy your RV trip from Florida to Alaska. What an adventure. Camping with lions is a doddle compared to your grizzly and black bears...


    The original question was why is my DH reluctant to self-Drive in Kenya?
    KaliCA: Thanks WW for your reply. My DH is now 68 and things like having flush toilets nearby are important to him. He thinks that a self-drive in the Mara will be as tough as it was in the Serengeti because of the lack of toilets and showers for campers. From what I have read, camping maybe even on a lower level on public campgrounds in the Triangle and certainly have no facilities on private campsites like it was in the Serengeti. He managed, but it was rough in him.
    I understand that there is no more public camping allowed on the Reserve side. Is this correct?
    i also understand that hiring two Askari for Private campsites in the Triangle is a hard rule and that’s something we have never had, company at night.
    Also, we have not yet found a self-drive vehicle to rent that is outfitted with a coolbox on a separate battery to keep all provisions cold all the time. Maybe you know someone?
    According to Ortelius, Roadtrip Kenya company was looking into offering a coolbox on a sep. battery, but could not find a mechanic in Nairobi to install it. Which is really hard for me to believe.
    I would be happy to hear your thoughts on all our points that are negatives. Maybe you can think of creative solutions so we can finally add Kenya as a self-drive destination to our list.
    Many thanks, a d greetings from Florida. KaliCA
    If life is a journey, be sure to take the scenic route!


    KaliCA. Its certainly great to hear that there are no Tsetse in the Mara. And every time I squash one I will remember to thank it for being a pest so we can see wildlife and not cattle. (That reminds me:along the Boteti River in Bots, we saw cattle grazing next to ellies, zebra, and wildebeest!)
    Eagerly awaiting WW solutions.
    Last edited by KaliCA; 2019/01/12 at 02:28 AM.
    If life is a journey, be sure to take the scenic route!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Reasons to say Yes to a self-drive in Kenya

    " ... Thanks so much for replying with all that valuable information. I just read your TR about the Mara again. I would want to go the same and only stay in the triangle, maybe visit the reserve on a day trip. My question is why did you stay for only 2 nights on a private campsite? I understand that having paid the high booking fee, you can stay 7 days, of course paying the daily fee per person on top of that.

    What was the daily camping fee for a private site versus a public site and if you remember what was the booking fee for the private site?
    i understand that paying for the Askari adds $40 per night, correct?
    I’m surprised that you managed with the coolbox off during the night.but I guess the temps are moderate and not as hot like Botswana where we traveled like that in 2012. It was a major problem and we have not had a car without a second battery since. ..."




    Hi Kalica,

    I just have pasted the above from the Serengeti thread so that everything stays together!

    1. Of course you can visit the Reserve on day visits. For that I would rather prefer to stay on the southern private campsites of the Conservancy (Olarro, Kiboko) You can check the several campsites available on their website, being attentive that some are just available to professional operators.

    2. We have just spent to nights on a private Campsite. Yes, that is correct. There was not a very special and specific reason for that, apart from ablution facilities. Further, this was our first visit to the Mara, and we did not know what to expect. So, it was a trial that we will certainly repeat. The only problem with Private CSs will be the toilet facilities. For showering one just drives up to Oloololo quite easily during midday and do the job.

    3. You can have a comprehensive review of the fee structure here (http://marabookings.co.ke) and that was what we have paid. You are right in saying that once you pay the ONCE ONLY booking fee, might as well use it for the entire stay on Private Campsites, rather than for just a few nights. It is just a question of individual preference, since the difference from staying at Public Vs. Private is just 10USD (ppn). Further, one should add around 40USD/ per night for the Askaris.

    The question is : would we spend more time on Private Campsites in the future? Yes and No. We have enjoyed Oloololo very much, both for its location and wildness. The only drawback is that is situated on the Northern periphery of the Triangle and you have to drive all the way down for your GDs. But that is perfectly and awesomely done! I would use PvCSs for exploring the far reaches of the Triangle (Western south part - Ngiro-are / escarpment side) and of course the Reserve Proper. You have at least one more Public Campsite (Eluai) in the Triangle, situated next to Serena / Conservancy HQs, but this does not have any facilities.

    4. I believe Ortelius is now on his trip to Uganda, and might have rented from RT again. Probably he will have some "fresh" news (fridge related) on the cars once he comes back! Temperatures in the Mara during our October visit were not that hight, probably just touching the 30C during the day.


    AP
    Last edited by apfac; 2019/01/12 at 12:28 PM.

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    Default Re: Reasons to say Yes to a self-drive in Kenya

    Kalica

    To answer your questions:

    Flushing toilets and showers or not: There is one public campsite in the Mara Conservancy (Triangle) near the Oloololo Gate which has a long drop toilet and showers according to the Mara Conservancy website (I have not camped there, but others on this forum have). To alleviate the difficulty of using a long drop toilet, what about investing in a folding toilet seat? The other public campsite in the Mara Conservancy does not have any facilities and one is expected to dig a toilet hole (and then you can use your loo seat). In our camp kit, we have a folding loo seat and a canvas shower bucket.

    Another way round the problem of flushing loos is to go to the Mara Serena Lodge for a coffee or drink and use their loos!

    The other way round this problem of loos and showers is to drive yourselves, but go and stay at one of the many luxury tented camps in and around the Mara. Expensive, but you will have the experience of a lifetime.

    Public campsite in the Narok side of the Maasai Mara Reserve: Yes, you are correct. There is no public campsite at the current time on this the eastern side of the Reserve.

    Private campsites in the Mara Conservancy (Triangle): Here are the rules and regulations with regard to camping in a private campsite. http://marabookings.co.ke/. The two guard rule overnight is mandatory, but you will not find them intrusive at all. They come with their own tent, food etc and should not impose on you, but it is worth having a chat to them when they arrive. You will find that talking to the guards will enhance your visit rather than detract from it. They are there for your safety and this is a result of an incident some years ago. They are not there to save you from marauding predators although they would do so, I am sure. The cost is Kshs4,000 per night.

    The booking fee for a private campsite is KShs 10,000 and this is for up to one week. On top of the booking fee, the camping fee for camping in a private campsite is USD40 per night. The public campsites camping fee is USD30 per night. https://www.maratriangle.org/conservation-fees-1/


    I am sorry I can’t really help on hiring vehicles in Kenya. The only people I have heard of are Sunworld Safaris, Roving Rovers, Foleys East Africa, and Roadtrip Kenya.

    The altitude in the Mara is around 6,000 feet so it is not as hot as Botswana can be at certain times of the year. Fridges in vehicles are a relatively recent phenomenon (although I agree they are marvellous). Prudent use of cold boxes, frozen meat and bottles of water, and careful packing of the cold boxes can allow one to “fine dine” for some considerable time. We have been for a 10 day camel trek in northern Kenya and still had cold drinks on day 10.

    There are various people/companies in Kenya who rent out camp equipment. I can put you in touch with the ones I know. Perhaps you could also hire a camp cook and bottle washer who can then help you in camp with digging loo holes and organizing hot showers. I do realise this is all much easier for me to organise than for someone like you, but it can be done (and we are doing so later this year for a big trip with friends to the Mara Triangle).

    I hope this helps, and I hope that you will see there are many more positives than negatives for a trip to Kenya.

    With best wishes


    PS: I don’t understand why Roadtrip Kenya are saying there is no one in Kenya who can wire up an auxiliary battery. Kenya is the home of outfitting safari vehicles, and there are many, many competent mechanics and garages who will be able to do so. I think it is inertia on their part - or not wishing to spend money on their vehicles.
    Last edited by Wazungu Wawili; 2019/01/12 at 06:07 PM.

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    Default Re: Reasons to say Yes to a self-drive in Kenya

    To continue this thread...

    There is so much more to Kenya than the Maasai Mara. As I have said before...

    From the glaciers of Mount Kenya to the white beaches of the Indian Ocean; from the lunar landscape surrounding the alkaline Lake Turkana to the freshwater Lake Victoria; from the savannahs of the Maasai Mara to the afro-alpine moorlands of the Aberdares; from the plains and riverine woods of Meru National Park to the Nyambene Hills; from the Rift Valley lakes to the heavily forested escarpments; from the frenzy of the capital city to the looming views of Kilimanjaro; from the tea plantations of western Kenya to the tropical coastal forests; from the sugar-growing Nyanza Basin to the Kakamega rainforest; from the high plateaux to the semi-desert of Samburu and Shaba; from the fertile central highlands to the deserts and mountains of northern Kenya.

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    Default Re: Reasons to say Yes to a self-drive in Kenya

    [QUOTE=Wazungu Wawili;4066397]
    Flushing toilets and showers or not: ......... To alleviate the difficulty of using a long drop toilet, what about investing in a folding toilet seat? The other public campsite in the Mara Conservancy does not have any facilities and one is expected to dig a toilet hole (and then you can use your loo seat). In our camp kit, we have a folding loo seat and a canvas shower bucket.........


    I cannot support this stance strongly enough. We far prefer the total absence of any showers and toilets to poorly designed and serviced facilities. We cope by being completely independent and equipped as highlighted above.

    In my opinion, in Kenya and most of East and Southern Africa, those with a love for the road less traveled and independant exploration of the most pristine wilderness areas, will benefit considerably by equipping themselves as advised by "Wazungu".
    Landcruiser 76SW.

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    Default Re: Reasons to say Yes to a self-drive in Kenya

    [QUOTE=Stan Weakley;4067988]
    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post

    Flushing toilets and showers or not: ......... To alleviate the difficulty of using a long drop toilet, what about investing in a folding toilet seat? The other public campsite in the Mara Conservancy does not have any facilities and one is expected to dig a toilet hole (and then you can use your loo seat). In our camp kit, we have a folding loo seat and a canvas shower bucket.........


    I cannot support this stance strongly enough. We far prefer the total absence of any showers and toilets to poorly designed and serviced facilities. We cope by being completely independent and equipped as highlighted above.

    In my opinion, in Kenya and most of East and Southern Africa, those with a love for the road less traveled and independant exploration of the most pristine wilderness areas, will benefit considerably by equipping themselves as advised by "Wazungu".

    Entirely agreed, BUT the 20-23kg luggage allowance might restrict ourselves from equipping adequately and bring it along. Priorities are established on such a long list of what to pack.

    AP
    Last edited by apfac; 2019/01/16 at 12:00 AM.

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  12. #7
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    Default Re: Reasons to say Yes to a self-drive in Kenya

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Kalica

    To answer your questions:

    Flushing toilets and showers or not: There is one public campsite in the Mara Conservancy (Triangle) near the Oloololo Gate which has a long drop toilet and showers according to the Mara Conservancy website (I have not camped there, but others on this forum have). To alleviate the difficulty of using a long drop toilet, what about investing in a folding toilet seat? The other public campsite in the Mara Conservancy does not have any facilities and one is expected to dig a toilet hole (and then you can use your loo seat). In our camp kit, we have a folding loo seat and a canvas shower bucket.

    Another way round the problem of flushing loos is to go to the Mara Serena Lodge for a coffee or drink and use their loos!

    The other way round this problem of loos and showers is to drive yourselves, but go and stay at one of the many luxury tented camps in and around the Mara. Expensive, but you will have the experience of a lifetime.

    Public campsite in the Narok side of the Maasai Mara Reserve: Yes, you are correct. There is no public campsite at the current time on this the eastern side of the Reserve.

    Private campsites in the Mara Conservancy (Triangle): Here are the rules and regulations with regard to camping in a private campsite. http://marabookings.co.ke/. The two guard rule overnight is mandatory, but you will not find them intrusive at all. They come with their own tent, food etc and should not impose on you, but it is worth having a chat to them when they arrive. You will find that talking to the guards will enhance your visit rather than detract from it. They are there for your safety and this is a result of an incident some years ago. They are not there to save you from marauding predators although they would do so, I am sure. The cost is Kshs4,000 per night.

    The booking fee for a private campsite is KShs 10,000 and this is for up to one week. On top of the booking fee, the camping fee for camping in a private campsite is USD40 per night. The public campsites camping fee is USD30 per night. https://www.maratriangle.org/conservation-fees-1/


    I am sorry I cant really help on hiring vehicles in Kenya. The only people I have heard of are Sunworld Safaris, Roving Rovers, Foleys East Africa, and Roadtrip Kenya.

    The altitude in the Mara is around 6,000 feet so it is not as hot as Botswana can be at certain times of the year. Fridges in vehicles are a relatively recent phenomenon (although I agree they are marvellous). Prudent use of cold boxes, frozen meat and bottles of water, and careful packing of the cold boxes can allow one to fine dine for some considerable time. We have been for a 10 day camel trek in northern Kenya and still had cold drinks on day 10.

    There are various people/companies in Kenya who rent out camp equipment. I can put you in touch with the ones I know. Perhaps you could also hire a camp cook and bottle washer who can then help you in camp with digging loo holes and organizing hot showers. I do realise this is all much easier for me to organise than for someone like you, but it can be done (and we are doing so later this year for a big trip with friends to the Mara Triangle).

    I hope this helps, and I hope that you will see there are many more positives than negatives for a trip to Kenya.

    With best wishes


    PS: I dont understand why Roadtrip Kenya are saying there is no one in Kenya who can wire up an auxiliary battery. Kenya is the home of outfitting safari vehicles, and there are many, many competent mechanics and garages who will be able to do so. I think it is inertia on their part - or not wishing to spend money on their vehicles.
    sorry, I dont know how to quote sentences.
    WW, thanks so much for your helpful post. The foldable toilet chair sounds like a solution. It sounds as if Stan W. patented his idea!!! I found it amazon, but how would I fly it to Kenya? As apfac said, transportation is an issue.
    Do the camping stores in Nairobi stock them?

    I agree with you regarding installing a second battery; its not rocket science and its most likely a money issue for Roadtrip Kenya. It sounds like that mechanic/owner at Jungle Junction would be able to get this job done. Im going to write to them again, pressing them on the issue. Hopefully Ortelius will have some news when he gets back from Uganda.

    As for a trip idea, I was thinking of doing a similar trip as Ortelius did on his first Kenya trip and do a Northern loop including Mt. Meru, Abardares, Samburu, some of the lakes, and then as the grand finale a week on a private campsite in the Triangle during the migration.
    But first, I will have to convince my DH to go on a new safari adventure with me.

    Thanks so much and if we decide to give it a go, Im sure I will have many more questions and you will be a great resource.

    Have a great time on your next safari!
    If life is a journey, be sure to take the scenic route!

  13. #8
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    Default Re: Reasons to say Yes to a self-drive in Kenya

    Some of the folding toilet seats on Amazon are really light and would easily fit in a suitcase. If you fly Kenya Airways, the baggage allowance is two 20 kg bags each. The folding toilet seat we have is really light, but it can be a bit flimsy and care needs to be taken not to topple over. I have seen ones that look like a canvas stool and that might work, but not sure about the cleanliness aspect of those. Enough loo talk...

    There are no camping stores as such in Nairobi, but there are places where some camping kit can be bought, but never seen loo seats. However, the main means of buying such items are along the side of the road in informal “jua kali” kiosks and businesses. Along the Ngong Road are many jua kalis (which means “in the hot sun”) and toilet seats can be found. They are rather robust “thunder boxes”, but with time you could get one made to your specification. Then get a canvas bag made to take said loo seat. Or you could hire one from a mobile safari operator that I know and can put you in touch with.

    As for your trip idea, it sounds good and I helped Stan and Ortelius with their plans. I have recently given Anne W advice with a similar trip plan. I can send you by email what I have sent Anne W so long as she doesn’t mind. Please send me your email address.

    Good luck with persuading your DH!

    PS: I presume you mean Meru National Park as Mt Meru is in Tanzania!
    Last edited by Wazungu Wawili; 2019/01/16 at 02:36 PM.

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