Dreaming of Kenya - itinerary help





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  1. #1
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    Default Dreaming of Kenya - itinerary help

    Hi all! After our magical adventure overlanding last year (https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...ican-Adventure) I am again dreaming of a return to Africa. We are doing a quick little 2 week trip to Kruger in October, but I have Kenya in my sights for next year (time of year TBC as hubby has just started a new job). We will only have 3 weeks (20 nights) and Iím hoping to spend a week in the Mara and then go exploring the lakes, up to Samburu, Meru and then down to Amboseli and the Tsavo parks. Many years ago I went to The Ark Lodge and would love to head back there again just for fun. Do we have enough time for all those destinations or should I drop Amboseli/Tsavo?
    For context, we have been to Kenya before, but not self-driving. We spent a week in the Mara, then 4 nights in Laikipia and 3 nights in Amboseli. The Mara is a must to return to, and my next priority is the northern area.
    Thoughts, itinerary suggestions and recommendations gratefully received!
    Cheers.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Dreaming of Kenya - itinerary help

    Hi Julie

    I am pleased to hear that you are planning on visiting Kenya again, this time driving yourselves.

    There is still the question of what time of year you might be able to get away to do this trip. Of course, during the rains should be avoided at all costs - a rough guideline is long rains March/April/May, short rains late October/November.

    I am afraid that driving yourselves, it will be a very rushed trip if you want to do all on your list: and even then it would only have two nights in the Mara. It is not possible to do it all in 19/20 days.

    For example, trying to do everything, here is a possible route plan (although it does include some rather intrepid routes):

    Day 1: Nairobi to Amboseli
    Day 2: Amboseli
    Day 3: Amboseli to Tsavo West
    Day 4: Tsavo West
    Day 5: Tsavo West to Tsavo East
    Day 6: Tsavo East (Voi area)
    Day 7: Tsavo East (Voi area) to Tsavo East northern sector (Ithumba)
    Day 8: Tsavo East northern sector (Ithumba) to Meru National Park via Embu and Meru town (a v long day)
    Day 9: Meru NP
    Day 10: Meru NP to Samburu National Reserve
    Day 11: Samburu
    Day 12: Samburu to Aberdare National Park
    Day 13: Aberdares
    Day 14: Aberdares to Lake Nakuru National Park (exiting the western gate - definitely not in the rains)
    Day 15: Lake Nakuru
    Day 16: Nakuru to the Mara (via Kericho, Sotik, Kilgoris and Lolgorien) - another long day.
    Day 17: Mara
    Day 18: Mara
    Day 19: Mara to Nairobi

    Or you could just do the Mara, lakes Nakuru and Baringo, the Laikipia, Samburu and Meru. Something like this:

    Day 1: Nairobi to the Mara
    Days 2-5: the Mara
    Day 6: Mara to Lake Nakuru National Park (via Lolgorien, Kilgoris, Sotik, Kericho) - a long day
    Day 7: Lake Nakuru
    Day 8: Nakuru to Lake Baringo
    Day 9: Lake Baringo
    Day 10: Baringo to Nanyuki (either by an intrepid route or via Nakuru, Nyahururu)
    Day 11: Laikipia/Nanyuki
    Day 12: Nanyuki/Laikipia to Samburu
    Day 13: Samburu
    Day 14: Samburu
    Day 15: Samburu to Meru NP
    Day 16: Meru NP
    Day 17: Meru NP
    Day 18: Meru NP
    Day 19: Meru NP to Nairobi

    These are just samples and I hope they are useful. Please see some of my trip reports on Kenya.

    Safari njema!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Dreaming of Kenya - itinerary help

    Thanks WW! I was hoping youíd see my post.

    Weíll definitely be avoiding the rains, so Iím thinking either Jan/Feb, or September.

    Iíd rather spend more time in fewer places, and I really want to spend about a week in the Mara, so I think weíll drop Amboseli and Tsavo East and West, in favour of the lakes, Samburu and Meru.

    When you say ďintrepidĒ - is it that the route is remote, or is it difficult 4WDing, or somehow dangerous in another way? We are reasonably competent overlanders now, and hubby has great driving skills, so weíd be game to try an intrepid route.

    Where are the flamingoes hanging out these days??

    And yes, Iíve been devouring your trip reports!
    Cheers!

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    Default Re: Dreaming of Kenya - itinerary help

    Julie,

    That second itinerary from Wazungu Wawili is exactly the same as we have done in December 2016/January 2017, except that we skipped lake Baringo. https://safaribug.wordpress.com/2018/02/01/kenya-2017/

    We've done it in 17 days. So, considering the adition of lake Baringo and that you will be staying couple of days longer in Mara than we did, you will have roughly the same dynamics of moving from one park to the other as we did.

    I already envy you!
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  6. #5
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    Default Re: Dreaming of Kenya - itinerary help

    I also think that the second itinerary is more fit for your purpose but others might well differ. I would rather do Amboselli and Tsavo as a seperate trip, combined with the coast.

    Julie, in case you don't know, allow me to assure you that Wazungu W. is the resident forum Kenyan expert. Any further queries would also be welcomed from those other forum members that have visited and love Kenya.
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  8. #6
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    Default Re: Dreaming of Kenya - itinerary help

    Quote Originally Posted by JulieM View Post

    When you say “intrepid”” - is it that the route is remote, or is it difficult 4WDing, or somehow dangerous in another way? We are reasonably competent overlanders now, and hubby has great driving skills, so we’d be game to try an intrepid route.

    Where are the flamingoes hanging out these days??

    And yes, I’ve been devouring your trip reports!
    Cheers!
    Actually, “intrepid” was not quite the right word to use; a road less travelled would be more accurate.

    On my example itinerary No 2, there is a road up the escarpment from north of Lake Baringo - please note it is the road marked on maps turning east at a village called Loruk, then up the escarpment to Tangulbei and Mugie (most definitely NOT a track shown going east from South of Lake Baringo which is, apparently, very very intrepid and difficult). This road from Loruk to Mugie was, the last time we drove it, rather rough, but perfectly do-able. It goes past Kuki Gallman’s ranch. At Mugie, turn south on the road from Maralal (apparently the C77). At a village called Kinamba, turn east/south east past Sosian, Ol Jogi, El Karama, Mpala Farm, and various other ranches/wildlife conservancies until you get to Nanyuki. This is a long way and leave Lake Baringo early in the morning.

    The road across the Laikipia past all those ranches and wildlife conservancies is not shown on Google Maps, but is a well known road and is shown on all paper maps. It is also on T4A as we put it on their dataset. This is one of the many reasons that I advise people not to plan trips in Africa relying on Google Maps. If you look on Google Maps, they don’t even show the correct boundaries of the world famous Maasai Mara National Reserve.

    A friend was at Lake Nakuru recently and he said the flamingoes were there. I don’t know if they are in the same number as in the past. The lake level is still very high.

    I also don’t know if the flamingoes have returned to Lake Bogoria (which I think is worth a day visit whilst camping at Lake Baringo). Bogoria is a very beautiful lake nestled in under the Rift Valley escarpment, but you don’t go there for the wildlife.

    I have some other routes you could follow if you want to also see the lovely Kakamega Forest. So much to do and see...
    Last edited by Wazungu Wawili; 2019/07/07 at 03:20 PM.

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    Default Re: Dreaming of Kenya - itinerary help

    Ahhh - intrepid = road less travelled = yes please! We love to be on the road less traveled.

    So itinerary number 2 it is. The only thing I'm still keen on is The Ark in the Aberdares. We have been to Laikipia so I wonder if we can take a night off there and add The Ark instead, maybe as our last night on the way back down to Nairobi from Meru??

    Thanks for all the help everyone.
    Cheers.
    Last edited by JulieM; 2019/07/08 at 02:32 AM. Reason: spelling mistake!

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    Default Re: Dreaming of Kenya - itinerary help

    Julie, staying at the premier Ark in the Aberdares is in no manner cheap. If costs are a consideration consider camping at Reedbuck campsite high up on the escarpment. The facilities are virtually nonexistant but the views are great high up on the escarpment. As you know the Ark is at a much lower altitude in the scrub and forest at the base of the Aberdares. You are almost definately going to be alone in the two adjacent campsites at Reedbuck and they provide excellent acccess to the rest of this beautiful park.
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    ďGreat journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you campedĒ.

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

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

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  12. #9
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    Default Re: Dreaming of Kenya - itinerary help

    Quote Originally Posted by JulieM View Post
    Ahhh - intrepid = road less travelled = yes please! We love to be on the road less traveled.

    So itinerary number 2 it is. The only thing I'm still keen on is The Ark in the Aberdares. We have been to Laikipia so I wonder if we can take a night off there and add The Ark instead, maybe as our last night on the way back down to Nairobi from Meru??

    Thanks for all the help everyone.
    Cheers.
    That’s easy enough to do. The Ark is certainly a lovely place.

    What you could do is drive the road less travelled from Lake Baringo via Loruk and Mugie and continue on down through Rumuruti to Nyahururu. There was rather ad hoc camping at Ol Maisor Ranch (near Rumuruti) called Bobong Campsite, but I don’t know if the Evans/Perrett family still have the campsite operational. If you Google, you will find their Facebook page (but be aware that the camping they were talking about a few posts ago seems to be for the annual Rhino Charge fundraising 4x4 challenge), but their contact details are on the Facebook page. If you are making good time from Baringo, you could get to Nyahururu and stay at the old colonial Thomson Falls Lodge https://www.thomsonsfallslodge.co.ke/. They might even allow you to camp in the grounds, but don’t bank on camping.

    Then the following day will be an easy drive to The Ark. I’m not sure where you book in for The Ark - it used to be at The Aberdare Country Club at Mweiga, and it is worth asking if you can drive yourself to The Ark as that section of the forest is reserved and the gates locked so if you were driving yourself and not going in the transport from Aberdare Country Club, it could be a bit difficult gaining access to The Ark.

    Then from The Ark/Mweiga, you can make Samburu in a day with an early start.

    Reedbuck campsite high in the moorlands is certainly very lovely too, but different to the salient.

    Happy planning!
    Last edited by Wazungu Wawili; 2019/07/08 at 10:00 AM.

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    Default Re: Dreaming of Kenya - itinerary help

    Longer times in an area and less destinations, thatís the way Iíd go.
    Have you looked at lake Turkana and Nyamunyak in the North of Kenya. Absolutely amazing and remote with reasonable road access.
    Samburu, Shaba, Kora etc are also great but more visited.
    The North of Kenya is not overrun by tourism just yet and is an adventurers paradise and well worth the effort
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    Default Re: Dreaming of Kenya - itinerary help

    Quote Originally Posted by 2.8i rocks View Post
    Longer times in an area and less destinations, thatís the way Iíd go.
    Have you looked at lake Turkana and Nyamunyak in the North of Kenya. Absolutely amazing and remote with reasonable road access.
    Samburu, Shaba, Kora etc are also great but more visited.
    The North of Kenya is not overrun by tourism just yet and is an adventurers paradise and well worth the effort
    I donít think rental companies allow their vehicles to be taken to Lake Turkana - or further north than Samburu.

    But I agree, the Northern Rangelands Trustís community conservancies are fantastic and are, indeed, on the roads less travelled. https://www.nrt-kenya.org/map

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  16. #12
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    Default Re: Dreaming of Kenya - itinerary help

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Thatís easy enough to do. The Ark is certainly a lovely place.

    What you could do is drive the road less travelled from Lake Baringo via Loruk and Mugie and continue on down through Rumuruti to Nyahururu. There was rather ad hoc camping at Ol Maisor Ranch (near Rumuruti) called Bobong Campsite, but I donít know if the Evans/Perrett family still have the campsite operational. If you Google, you will find their Facebook page (but be aware that the camping they were talking about a few posts ago seems to be for the annual Rhino Charge fundraising 4x4 challenge), but their contact details are on the Facebook page. If you are making good time from Baringo, you could get to Nyahururu and stay at the old colonial Thomson Falls Lodge https://www.thomsonsfallslodge.co.ke/. They might even allow you to camp in the grounds, but donít bank on camping.

    Then the following day will be an easy drive to The Ark. Iím not sure where you book in for The Ark - it used to be at The Aberdare Country Club at Mweiga, and it is worth asking if you can drive yourself to The Ark as that section of the forest is reserved and the gates locked so if you were driving yourself and not going in the transport from Aberdare Country Club, it could be a bit difficult gaining access to The Ark.

    Then from The Ark/Mweiga, you can make Samburu in a day with an early start.

    Reedbuck campsite high in the moorlands is certainly very lovely too, but different to the salient.

    Happy planning!
    Iím not against the odd night in a lodge so that route to Thomsonís Falls lodge sounds really good. I think our little trip is starting to look very exciting!
    Cheers!

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    Default Re: Dreaming of Kenya - itinerary help

    There are very few people on this forum who post about Kenya. Here are some of our trip reports for this forum. In date order (although being Kenya born and bred, I am lucky enough to have been to most places in Kenya many times over the past 61 years):

    https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...-December-2014

    https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...ukogodo-Forest

    https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...x-night-safari

    https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...-from-Ethiopia

    https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...less-travelled

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  19. #14
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    Default Re: Dreaming of Kenya - itinerary help

    Hi. Live in Kenya.
    Just some quick feedback , very small number of flamingo in Nakuru few months back. Great number of flamingo in Bogoria last year. Amazing numbers in magadi few weeks back. Mara is well... maasai mara
    I would favour Nairobi-aberdares-samburu-meru-mara (not in that order)if I had that number of limited days.
    You could even cross the aberdares from the eastern side and out the other side and easily access mara via naivasha limuru road. Just a shirt offroad section.
    The ark is charming and closer to the salient area but my place of choice in aberdares is the fisherman's lodges up top, accessible easily from the western side of the aberdares.
    Have you already procured a vehicle or had anything in mind?
    The knowledge from WW, SW and Ortelius is amazing please do read their trip reports!

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    Default Re: Dreaming of Kenya - itinerary help

    Quote Originally Posted by atakanmerdin View Post
    Hi. Live in Kenya.
    Just some quick feedback , very small number of flamingo in Nakuru few months back. Great number of flamingo in Bogoria last year. Amazing numbers in magadi few weeks back. Mara is well... maasai mara
    I would favour Nairobi-aberdares-samburu-meru-mara (not in that order)if I had that number of limited days.
    You could even cross the aberdares from the eastern side and out the other side and easily access mara via naivasha limuru road. Just a shirt offroad section.
    The ark is charming and closer to the salient area but my place of choice in aberdares is the fisherman's lodges up top, accessible easily from the western side of the aberdares.
    Have you already procured a vehicle or had anything in mind?
    The knowledge from WW, SW and Ortelius is amazing please do read their trip reports!
    Thanks atakanmerdin! I think you are right about the destinations, although I would love to try to find some flamingoes as well by visiting the lakes.
    Iíll have a look at the fishermanís lodges too.
    I havenít sourced a vehicle, but Ortelius seems to have done most of the research re hire vehicles and uses Roadtrip Kenya I believe. Weíd be keen for a good 4WD with a rooftop tent and a fridge.
    I love a good trip report and have devoured everything written by those three!
    Cheers.

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