Draft Itinerary for Comment





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  1. #1
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    Default Draft Itinerary for Comment

    Dear All

    I would be very grateful for any comments on the first draft of our itinerary below. This is based on others shared on this forum and the Road Trip Africa website, so thanks to those concerned.


    We are Mum, Dad and 3 kids aged 10, 7 and 4 years. We are touring for January and February on a small budget. For the first 17 days we are joined by my 80 year old mother, she is quite fit, but we would prefer more huts and less camping. I have made enquiries with: Sopa Lodge, Samburu; Sandai (self catering), Aberdaire NP; and Aruba Mara (Bush tents), Masai Mara, but they are not in the itinerary yet.

    Next 40 days we will camp more. I have only 9 days of those listed at present. We like to keep things simple and stay longer where it's attractive, convenient and affordable/free. We are particularly keen to hear thoughts on what could suit and educate the children.

    Kifaru House, Karen, Nairobi
    Kifaru House, Karen, Nairobi
    Castle Forest Lodge Mount Kenya
    Riverside or Isiolo River Campsite? Shaba NR
    Riverside or Isiolo River Campsite? Samburu NR
    Riverside or Isiolo River Campsite? Buffalo Springs
    Riverside or Isiolo River Campsite? Buffalo Springs
    Reedbuck Campsite Aberdaire NP
    Reedbuck Campsite Aberdaire NP
    Makalia Falls Public Campsite Lake Nakuru
    Camp Carnelly Lake Naivasha
    Oloololo Public Campiste Masai Mara
    Oloololo Public Campiste Masai Mara
    Oloololo Public Campiste Masai Mara
    Extra day
    Jungle Junction rooms. Kongoni Rd, Nairobi City, Kenya or Wildebeest Eco Camp or Kifaru House again Nairobi
    Jungle Junction rooms. Kongoni Rd, Nairobi City, Kenya Nairobi
    Kimana Public Campsite Amboseli
    Kimana Public Campsite Amboseli
    Kimana Public Campsite Amboseli
    Lake Jipe Public Campsite Lake Jipe
    Ndolo Public Campsite Tsavo East
    Ndolo Public Campsite Tsavo East
    Chyulu Public Campsite Tsavo West
    Chyulu Public Campsite Tsavo West
    Cheetah Campsite Lumo Wildlife Community Sanctuary

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Draft Itinerary for Comment

    Hello Adrian

    I have a few comments to make on your draft itinerary.


    • I don’t know Kifaru House, but it appears to be an Airbnb in Langata, Nairobi.


    • I haven’t been to Castle Forest Lodge, but others on this forum (Stan) have.


    • Unless the camp kit you are hiring comes complete with all you will need for camping without any facilities, then camp at Riverside public campsite which is in Samburu National Reserve. The Isiolo River campsite you mention appears to be a special campsite with no facilities. Furthermore, special campsites cost more than public campsites. My advice is to give your 80 year old mother a break and book her into Samburu Lodge https://wildernesslodges.co.ke/samburu/ which is very close to Riverside Public campsite. Whilst Samburu Lodge isn’t as up-market as some lodges in Kenya, it is very pleasant and, I would think, is not as expensive as some. Sopa Lodge is on the high ground some distance from the river and Riverside public campsite.




    • Whilst the park fees paid are transferable between Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba, it is a long way between Samburu/Buffalo Springs and Shaba. If I were going to Shaba, I would move camp and camp there. However, in Shaba NR security is mandatory overnight when camping there and this does cost. See my previous posts about Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba.




    • Samburu to Reedbuck campsite in the Aberdare National Park is a long way and a very early morning (first light) start from Samburu would be needed. Remember to ensure that everyone has warm clothes and good sleeping bags as it is very cold high up on the moorlands in the Aberdares.




    • Lake Nakuru National Park is a small park in East African terms. An alternative to camping inside the park is the lovely Kembu campsite on Kenana Farm near Njoro. https://www.kembucottages.com/. Then you could give your mother another break and book her into one of the lovely cottages. Your children could also have a break on this lovely farm.




    • On your planned circuit Amboseli, Tsavo West and Tsavo East, it would be a better circuit if you did something like this - Amboseli, Lake Jipe, then do Lumo Sanctuary (as you will be almost driving past it in your way from Lake Jipe to Voi), then Ndololo public campsite in Tsavo East NP, and then Tsavo West NP. I wonder what your plan is after Tsavo West?
    Last edited by Wazungu Wawili; 2019/11/05 at 10:39 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Draft Itinerary for Comment

    Adrian, I actually waited for our resident Kenyan enthusiast and expert W.W. to comment and entirely endorse her advice.

    Castle Forest Lodge is lovely, set on the forest outskirts of the Mt Kenya foothills. The facilities are comfortable with campsites, rooms and cottages and a good-enough restaurant and swimming pool. There are excellent (short to long) hikes with guides and the birding is good in rustically beautiful surroundings. The lodge is not in the Mt Kenya National Park so you save on park fees and tariffs.

    Recommended.
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    Default Re: Draft Itinerary for Comment

    If you will be camping as per above itinerary, pay extreme caution with your three small kids. Sometimes, those campsites could give you false sense of being in some "civilized" environment and sometimes you can forget that you are right in the middle of true wilderness. This false sense of security is particularly likely to to creep in to children. So, keep a very close eyes on them at all time, especially at dusk.

    I haven't camp at all of your listed campsites, but for the ones that we have been (and we loved them all!), those would be my remarks regarding wild-animals-safety:

    - Riverside Campsite Samburu NR:
    Very known for a local troop of baboons that can cause havoc in your camp while you are out for game drives. We payed a young local camp attendant (?) on our first day, to look at our camp while we were out. But we later found him to be so stoned (high) that we didn't bother to hire him for the reminding days and we actually haven't had any problems with baboons. During the night, my trap camera recorded one buffalo and one striped hyena right beside our tent.

    - Oloololo Public Campiste Masai Mara:
    As it is in the very heart of one of the most densely wild animals populated reserve in the world, just about any creature can wander into or through your camp. We've had zebras, wildebeest and mongooses right in our campsite during the day several times. And one night, we were besieged by a herd of elephants right around our tent for the whole night. https://safaribug.wordpress.com/2018...the-elephants/

    -
    Kimana Public Campsite Amboseli
    We camped at Kimana Community Campsite, which is just outside the park's gate and I don't remember any animal close encounters there. In fact, I it gave very "urban" feeling, which probably was entirely false and that is exactly what I have been talking about above.

    - Ndolo Public Campsite Tsavo East
    We have had regular elephant visits during the day here. And resident vervet monkeys can be a nuisance.

    -Chyulu Public Campsite Tsavo West

    Haven't had any animal encounters right in the camp, but have heard leopard "sawing" very near our tent one night. Campsite itself is surrounded by a relatively thick bush, so you can never know what is lurking at you.

    It is not my intention to cause any panic regarding the safety of camping at those places, I just want to emphasize that you always need to be alert and cautious while out in the open, particularly when kids are around.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Draft Itinerary for Comment

    Good point, Ortelius. I have been worrying more about Granny and no loo seat! Also about how three adults and three children will fit into a normal 4x4...

    Adrian: what about turning the trip round and going to the Mara first? Then you, the children and Granny can work up to the more basic camping having honed your camping and safety routine in the Mara. That is, if you are camping at Oloololo public campsite in the Mara Triangle which does have ablution blocks and (I think) flushing loos. The other campsites you have asked about are all long drops with or without loo seats.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Draft Itinerary for Comment

    I could not agree more and emphasize what Ortelius have said. Although we have not stayed at all campsites you mention, one is almost guaranteed to have close encounters with wildlife every single night. Experiences that we will not forget but that I would reconsider to have them if I would be camping with children or elderly individuals.

    AP

    P.S.: I do not even know if KWS / or similar, has any age restriction for camping. Some private camps have it, and that starts at 12. I think that should be thoroughly investigated.
    Last edited by apfac; 2019/11/06 at 01:11 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Draft Itinerary for Comment

    Although it is undoubtedly true that one should be very aware whilst camping in the bush - particularly with young children - the wildlife in East Africa is, on the whole, not as habituated as in the southern African countries.

    However, we donít know what experience Adrian has of camping in Africa. Tell us more?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Draft Itinerary for Comment

    Quote Originally Posted by apfac View Post

    P.S.: I do not even know if KWS / or similar, has any age restriction for camping. Some private camps have it, and that starts at 12. I think that should be thoroughly investigated.
    There is no age restriction in any national park in Kenya (administered by KWS). I donít know about game reserves (which belong to the local county council so differ by each authority), but wouldnít think there was. It is ďcaveat emptorĒ.

    I was taken camping in Kenya since I was a baby, and have in recent memory been camping with friendsí children. However, those children were all Kenyan and bush-savvy - and were never out of our sight. And bedtime at 6pm...

    There is often an age restriction at luxury tented camps and lodges as most clients pay top dollar for peace and quiet.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Draft Itinerary for Comment

    Quote Originally Posted by AdrianGo View Post
    I have made enquiries with: Sopa Lodge, Samburu; Sandai (self catering), Aberdaire NP; and Aruba Mara (Bush tents), Masai Mara, but they are not in the itinerary yet.
    PPS:

    Sandai Farm is not within Aberdare National Park. It is on the plains north of the Aberdare mountain range and, probably, about an hourís drive from the Treetops Gate into the park. And then another hour plus drive up and up this incredible mountain range to the moorlands and Reedbuck public campsite (or the lovely nearby fishing bandas).

    Aruba Mara appears to be outside the Maasai Mara Reserve near the Talek gate, but I am sure you know this.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Draft Itinerary for Comment

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Although it is undoubtedly true that one should be very aware whilst camping in the bush - particularly with young children - the wildlife in East Africa is, on the whole, not as habituated as in the southern African countries.

    However, we donít know what experience Adrian has of camping in Africa. Tell us more?
    That's an easy question to answer; no experience! We are sailors, not campers (although a sailboat is like a big RV in many ways)

    The kids are quite careful and are used to judging risk (sharks, drowning, etc). We would not leave them alone when camping (or in Nairobi!).

    Thanks so much for these considered responses.

    Adrian

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    Default Re: Draft Itinerary for Comment

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Weakley View Post
    Adrian, I actually waited for our resident Kenyan enthusiast and expert W.W. to comment and entirely endorse her advice.

    Castle Forest Lodge is lovely, set on the forest outskirts of the Mt Kenya foothills. The facilities are comfortable with campsites, rooms and cottages and a good-enough restaurant and swimming pool. There are excellent (short to long) hikes with guides and the birding is good in rustically beautiful surroundings. The lodge is not in the Mt Kenya National Park so you save on park fees and tariffs.

    Recommended.
    Many thanks, Stan - sounds just right for us.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Draft Itinerary for Comment

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Hello Adrian

    I have a few comments to make on your draft itinerary.


    • I donít know Kifaru House, but it appears to be an Airbnb in Langata, Nairobi.


    • I havenít been to Castle Forest Lodge, but others on this forum (Stan) have.


    • Unless the camp kit you are hiring comes complete with all you will need for camping without any facilities, then camp at Riverside public campsite which is in Samburu National Reserve. The Isiolo River campsite you mention appears to be a special campsite with no facilities. Furthermore, special campsites cost more than public campsites. My advice is to give your 80 year old mother a break and book her into Samburu Lodge https://wildernesslodges.co.ke/samburu/ which is very close to Riverside Public campsite. Whilst Samburu Lodge isnít as up-market as some lodges in Kenya, it is very pleasant and, I would think, is not as expensive as some. Sopa Lodge is on the high ground some distance from the river and Riverside public campsite.




    • Whilst the park fees paid are transferable between Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba, it is a long way between Samburu/Buffalo Springs and Shaba. If I were going to Shaba, I would move camp and camp there. However, in Shaba NR security is mandatory overnight when camping there and this does cost. See my previous posts about Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba.




    • Samburu to Reedbuck campsite in the Aberdare National Park is a long way and a very early morning (first light) start from Samburu would be needed. Remember to ensure that everyone has warm clothes and good sleeping bags as it is very cold high up on the moorlands in the Aberdares.




    • Lake Nakuru National Park is a small park in East African terms. An alternative to camping inside the park is the lovely Kembu campsite on Kenana Farm near Njoro. https://www.kembucottages.com/. Then you could give your mother another break and book her into one of the lovely cottages. Your children could also have a break on this lovely farm.




    • On your planned circuit Amboseli, Tsavo West and Tsavo East, it would be a better circuit if you did something like this - Amboseli, Lake Jipe, then do Lumo Sanctuary (as you will be almost driving past it in your way from Lake Jipe to Voi), then Ndololo public campsite in Tsavo East NP, and then Tsavo West NP. I wonder what your plan is after Tsavo West?
    Thanks so much for taking the time to advise me here.
    I have now asked Samburu Lodge and Kembucottages for quotes.
    I am also making enquiries of Sandai self catering cottages that look affordable and are en route.
    No idea what we'll do after Tsavo West. We could either stretch out the earlier parts of the schedule or find new adventures. Any tips? I have found TheKenyanCamper a useful source of information. I just need to find the time to read it all.

    Adrian

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Draft Itinerary for Comment

    Quote Originally Posted by AdrianGo View Post
    Thanks so much for taking the time to advise me here.
    I have now asked Samburu Lodge and Kembucottages for quotes.
    I am also making enquiries of Sandai self catering cottages that look affordable and are en route.
    No idea what we'll do after Tsavo West. We could either stretch out the earlier parts of the schedule or find new adventures. Any tips? I have found TheKenyanCamper a useful source of information. I just need to find the time to read it all.

    Adrian
    Presuming that the first 17 days of your planned itinerary is with your mother, if I were you I would turn your trip around and go to the Mara first.

    There is so much to do and see in Kenya. For instance:

    • Meru National Park
    • The Northern Rangeland Trustís community conservancies in northern Kenya (if your car hire company will allow vehicles north of Samburu which they often donít although some of the community conservancies are south of Samburu)
    • Lake Baringo
    • Lake Bogoria
    • Mt Elgon
    • the Cherangani Hills
    • Saiwa Swamp National Park
    • Kakamega Forest
    • Lake Victoria
    • the Laikipia Plateau
    • Shimba Hills National Reserve
    • and, of course, the coast


    We know the Kenyan Camper and he is doing a great job trying to get young Kenyans out and about without costing a lot of money.

    I have written a number of trip reports on this forum of our travels in Kenya. A search will bring them up.

    Let me know if you need more help. I can also give you details of a friends farm in western Kenya where they let out the old farmhouse.

    Do get Tracks4Africa for your GPS. Although it is not as comprehensive in East Africa (it is a South African company which gathers data from travellers like us), all the major places are on the dataset and we have put some of the more out-of-the-way places and routes on it. Also download the iOverlander app which can be useful (although take some of the comments with a pinch of salt).

    Sailing is not dissimilar to overlanding. Instead of standing under a cold shower ripping up £50 notes, overlanding is sitting in a cloud of dust ripping up said notes! It is also not dissimilar in that the basics are the same - food, water, cash, fuel.

    Safari njema!

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Draft Itinerary for Comment

    I am wondering if Adrianís trip went ahead since he was last heard of in November.

    It would be lovely to hear from you, Adrian. Are you in Kenya with all this global turmoil?

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