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  1. #1
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    Default Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    Hi all!

    Hope you are all healthy and doing well!
    I posted this thread in East-Africa subforum, not knowing there's a separate Kenya forum..Oops
    I've bin reading for a while and this forum is an absolute gem, just like the other country forums. Happy to see Stan and WW (and others ofc) are around since both also gave great help planning my Uganda & Botswana adventure.

    I've made a post before when I had plans to visit Kenya from Uganda, but covid struck and all plans were gone.
    But hopefully this time I can finally join the great plains of Kenya. I'm travelling with my girlfriend and we will arrive on the 2nd of October and fly back on the 24th of October.

    We arrive around 0600 in the morning. The plan is to do the shopping (meat & groceries) and head for the Mara. It will probably be a tight schedule and no one likes to be stressing at the start of the holiday, so it would be great to find a nice stopover.

    I've been planning to visit Mara & Amboseli, I think two parks would be sufficient since migration is in full spin and the Mara would probably be the main event.

    I would love to receive your tips on where to stay (campsites etc). I've read that the public campsites in Triangle doesn't have to be booked before arrival, so that makes everything easier as well.

    Would you suggest to just stick to Triangle or also the 'main' reserve?

    I might do the outwards PCR by 'The Pumba Collection' at Amboseli, or at Nairobi
    So stoked to be finally planning again and witness the amazing Africa!

    ---
    From earlier topics I have the following camps in mind already:

    Public
    Eluai
    Iseiya
    Oloololo

    Private
    Kiboko (only 1 night availability left)
    Olarro
    Ndovu

    --
    And now the questions part haha.

    1. What is the average travel time from Nairobi (Carrefour/Butcher) to the Mara? (Thought about Oloololo for the first nights).
    2. I'm renting a vehicle with fridge from 4x4Kenya.com, so planning to take frozen meat. Luckily Africa has prime cuts for good prices. Is Kenya similar to Botswana in costs?
    3. Where should I order my meat? I've read in other topics about Jungle Junctions? Is it only if you stay there or?
    4. Is Nairobi worth it to stay 1-2-3 days at the end of the trip? Of course a nice hotel will do but actually head into city..

    For now I will go back into reading old topics and I hope I don't get too many questions While reading Stan’s report, WW’s topics and the safaribug website I hope to answer a lot of questions already.

    --

    current itinerary:
    2 Oct ??
    3 Oct Oloololo
    4 Oct Oloololo
    5 Oct Oloololo
    6 Oct Oloololo
    7 Oct Iseiya
    8 Oct Iseiya
    9 Oct Iseiya
    10 Oct Eluai
    11 Oct Eluai
    12 Oct Eluai
    13 Oct Eluai
    14 Oct
    15 Oct
    16 Oct JJ
    17 Oct Amboseli
    18 Oct Amboseli
    19 Oct Amboseli
    20 Oct Amboseli
    21 Oct Amboseli
    22 Oct Nairobi
    23 Oct Nairobi
    24 Oct Flight back to Holland
    Last edited by DutchieGoingAfrica; 2021/07/31 at 09:11 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    Oh my goodness, our forum friend from the Netherlands…

    You have asked too many questions - all of which I answer every time someone posts on the Kenyan section of this forum.

    I will take a deep breath … and get back to you in the next week or so.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    Well, not sure if that’s sarcastic or not. Don’t know why but.....

    Currently reading a lot of old trip reports, just discovered this forum yesterday since I thought there was only a East Africa forum.
    Last edited by DutchieGoingAfrica; 2021/07/31 at 08:13 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    Quote Originally Posted by DutchieGoingAfrica View Post
    Hi all!

    Hope you are all healthy and doing well!
    I posted this thread in East-Africa subforum, not knowing there's a separate Kenya forum..Oops
    I've bin reading for a while and this forum is an absolute gem, just like the other country forums. Happy to see Stan and WW (and others ofc) are around since both also gave great help planning my Uganda & Botswana adventure.

    I've made a post before when I had plans to visit Kenya from Uganda, but covid struck and all plans were gone.
    But hopefully this time I can finally join the great plains of Kenya. I'm travelling with my girlfriend and we will arrive on the 2nd of October and fly back on the 24th of October.

    We arrive around 0600 in the morning. The plan is to do the shopping (meat & groceries) and head for the Mara. It will probably be a tight schedule and no one likes to be stressing at the start of the holiday, so it would be great to find a nice stopover.

    I've been planning to visit Mara & Amboseli, I think two parks would be sufficient since migration is in full spin and the Mara would probably be the main event.

    I would love to receive your tips on where to stay (campsites etc). I've read that the public campsites in Triangle doesn't have to be booked before arrival, so that makes everything easier as well.

    Would you suggest to just stick to Triangle or also the 'main' reserve?

    I might do the outwards PCR by 'The Pumba Collection' at Amboseli, or at Nairobi
    So stoked to be finally planning again and witness the amazing Africa!

    ---
    From earlier topics I have the following camps in mind already:

    Public
    Eluai
    Iseiya
    Oloololo

    Private
    Kiboko (only 1 night availability left)
    Olarro
    Ndovu

    --
    And now the questions part haha.

    1. What is the average travel time from Nairobi (Carrefour/Butcher) to the Mara? (Thought about Oloololo for the first nights).
    2. I'm renting a vehicle with fridge from 4x4Kenya.com, so planning to take frozen meat. Luckily Africa has prime cuts for good prices. Is Kenya similar to Botswana in costs?
    3. Where should I order my meat? I've read in other topics about Jungle Junctions? Is it only if you stay there or?
    4. Is Nairobi worth it to stay 1-2-3 days at the end of the trip? Of course a nice hotel will do but actually head into city..

    For now I will go back into reading old topics and I hope I don't get too many questions While reading Stan’s report, WW’s topics and the safaribug website I hope to answer a lot of questions already.

    --

    current itinerary:
    2 Oct ??
    3 Oct Oloololo
    4 Oct Oloololo
    5 Oct Oloololo
    6 Oct Oloololo
    7 Oct Iseiya
    8 Oct Iseiya
    9 Oct Iseiya
    10 Oct Eluai
    11 Oct Eluai
    12 Oct Eluai
    13 Oct Eluai
    14 Oct
    15 Oct
    16 Oct JJ
    17 Oct Amboseli
    18 Oct Amboseli
    19 Oct Amboseli
    20 Oct Amboseli
    21 Oct Amboseli
    22 Oct Nairobi
    23 Oct Nairobi
    24 Oct Flight back to Holland
    I am not the expert, but a couple thoughts... Eluai and Iseiya (Marked as "Serena Public Campsite" on some maps) campsites are very near each other, effectively putting you in the same place in the park, so the only reason to stay at both is to experience both sites. My personal thought is that Iseiya doesn't hold up when compared to Eluai. It does have trees (shade) and a long drop toilet but is otherwise unremarkable. Eluai has neither of these, but does have a view and wide open wilderness feel. Iseiya is so tucked into the bush that you will likely have no breeze either, potentially very hot. Since they are both public camps you may not have to choose, you could simply move to the one you prefer after checking in with the rangers.

    Regarding meat, there was a recent lengthy discussion of meat buying in Nairobi here: https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...d-advice/page2

    You have 11 nights booked in Mara. The Mara Triangle is right up there with the best (maybe THE best) parks we have been to, but 11 nights might be too much (can't believe I wrote that) in the relatively compact Triangle. I personally would consider spending a least a couple days in the other side of the park, or use those days elsewhere in your Kenya journey. You can also day trip to the other side after checking in at the Mara River Bridge Gate.

    I am not much for spending time in Nairobi beyond logistics, though there are some sights to see, perhaps I have missed out in the past. Particularly given the covid environment I would minimize time in the city.
    Last edited by CalDriver; 2021/07/31 at 09:54 PM.
    Blog of our African travels: stuckinlowgear.com

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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    Hi Dutchie, hope both of you are doing well. Long time since CKGR! On this trip you guys seem to be taking it slower than your normal style of daily hopping from one campsite to another. Good change.

    You have a lot of reading to do! WW is never sarcastic! �� so there must be a message in her response.

    Caldriver gives good advice here but just maybe you must see if you could add one more reserve to your itinerary.

    Spending a photographic day trip to Nairobi will give you some great pics. But 3 days?

    Enjoy your planning
    Last edited by TRON; 2021/08/01 at 06:00 PM.

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  8. #6
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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    To answer Dutchie’s questions (although I seem to remember having a long discussion with Dutchie about 18 months ago on the Mara).

    1. Nairobi to Oloololo gate will take about nine hours. I recommend that you go via the Sekanani gate and through the main reserve as the road from Narok to Sekanani is now good tarmac, and the roads through the main reserve have been repaired. The alternative road from Ngorengore to Oloololo gate is, apparently, still in an atrocious state.
    2. I have never heard of 4x4kenya.com. Ortelius did considerable research on renting 4x4 vehicles and he chose the Dutch-owned Roadtrip Kenya. I caution you against 4x4Kenya.com. Their website has an office in a part of Nairobi that is surprising for a vehicle rental operation.
    3. Meat is of a very high quality in Kenya. Caldriver has given the link to where I recommended various butchers. Chris at Jungle Junction has assisted others on this forum by buying and freezing meat for them. I would imagine that he would do such a great service for those staying with him.
    4. Nairobi, being the capital city, is a busy vibrant place. However, I would not necessarily recommend a visit to central Nairobi although there are a lot of great things to do on the outskirts. A visit to Nairobi National Park never fails to deliver: it is a wonderful park. A visit to the orphaned elephant nursery at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is highly recommended. Other recommended places to visit include the Karen Blixen Museum, and the Giraffe Centre.


    11 nights in the Mara is a wonderful length of time, but your logistics will have to be carefully planned with regard to food. There is no need to move public camps. They are all relatively close together and you will be passing the others most days. Private campsites involve a booking fee of KShs 10,000 per booking regardless of whether the booking is for one day or one week. It would not make sense to book a private campsite for one night - or to book two or more private campsites. I would recommend four nights at a public campsite and the remaining seven nights in a private campsite. You have to pay for security at private campsites in addition to the booking fee and the camping fees.

    Amboseli National Park is a wonderful park. However, it is a small park in East African terms. I think three or four nights is ample time. Have you thought about going to Tsavo West NP and Tsavo East NP? Please see my trip reports on Amboseli, Tsavo West and Tsavo East. Also have a look for my “Roads less travelled” trip report.

    Safari njema!

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  10. #7
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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    Quote Originally Posted by TRON View Post
    Hi Dutchie, hope both of you are doing well. Long time since CKGR! On this trip you guys seem to be taking it slower than your normal style of daily hopping from one campsite to another. Good change.

    You have a lot of reading to do! WW is never sarcastic! �� so there must be a message in her response.

    Caldriver gives good advice here but just maybe you must see if you could add one more reserve to your itinerary.

    Spending a photographic day trip to Nairobi will give you some great pics. But 3 days?

    Enjoy your planning
    Hi Ron,

    Good to see you here as well!
    Hope all is good down South? Any trips planned?

    In Uganda we also took 3-4 days per park, but since the Mara is probably the main event I thought about only two this time.
    Maybe adding one indeed, bin reading Ortelius's TRs about Aberdare, very interesting!

    I've bin reading trough some topics and in one of them a fellow Dutchie got some hassle about lack of trip reports of fellow countrymen, I don't know but I made them on both trips.
    So yea, I don't know, I'll find out the coming days!

    I added Nairobi because of the PCR testing for the flight homebound, but I found that 'The Pumba Collection' does PCR testing in the parks so Nairobi is out of the itinerary. Normally I have trips planned a year ahead or so, but very busy times so only started just now......

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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21


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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    For the upcoming trip I’m also planning to make another roadtrip video.

    For the forum to benefit as well I thought of filming the campsites. Any other ideas? Please let me know.

    For the ones who want to be back in Africa for a few minutes:

    Botswana 2018: https://youtu.be/vBAnTTwX6m4
    Uganda 2019: https://youtu.be/vlNXj738xBQ
    Last edited by DutchieGoingAfrica; 2021/08/07 at 04:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    Hi all,

    I’m currently checking which private campsite I should book.

    Kiboko was my #1 pick but is fully booked.
    Now not sure which to pick, Dirisha & Ndovu looks great, Olarro also. The more Western located campsites (Kishanga) also show great potential but I feel I should be close to the river since that’s where hopefully the magic happens. On the other hand, Oct could be quite late for crossings and Western area could be more quiet?

    Any tips? Please fire away.

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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    I can highly recommend dirisha, we were there in Jan 2020. Could not check the campsites close-by, they were flooded and not accessible. See my trip report.

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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    Quote Originally Posted by DutchieGoingAfrica View Post
    Hi all,

    I’m currently checking which private campsite I should book.

    Kiboko was my #1 pick but is fully booked.
    Now not sure which to pick, Dirisha & Ndovu looks great, Olarro also. The more Western located campsites (Kishanga) also show great potential but I feel I should be close to the river since that’s where hopefully the magic happens. On the other hand, Oct could be quite late for crossings and Western area could be more quiet?

    Any tips? Please fire away.
    Kishanga is for professional tour operators only. I think all the western campsites are for professional tour operators only.

    Dirisha is lovely and my favourite campsite. It is well located for getting water from the HQ, firewood at Oloololo gate and a cold beer at the Serena. Ndovu is near Dirisha. Ndovu has been relocated since I last camped there. Olarro is in the southern sector.

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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    Quote Originally Posted by DutchieGoingAfrica View Post
    On the other hand, Oct could be quite late for crossings and Western area could be more quiet?Any tips? Please fire away.
    I do not entirely agree with you. As WW said the Northern riverside campsites are centrally located offering immediate access to all sides of the Triangle. The are indeed very convenient and hence highly sought after! We were there also in October as you will be and still experienced massive herds moving generally South but either Easterly or Westerly. So IMHO, and theoretically, both Southerly (Olarro, Kiboko) and Westerly (Escarpment side - Kishanga, Kijito, etc.. ) located campsites would probably give plenty of action packed opportunities. But..., Nature does not stage itself.

    Sometime ago I checked the Conservancy website (http://marabookings.co.ke ) and noticed that their occupancy policy may have changed pertaining to campsite use. Some on the westside ( eg., Kijito) can be hired by non-professionals. Kishanga is professional use only, as WW mentioned.

    Nonetheless, either way you choose you will not feel disappointed. Mara is Mara.

    Enjoy your planning.

    AP
    Last edited by apfac; 2021/08/31 at 12:24 AM.

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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    Thanks all! Am looking for Dirisha now. Great help once again.

    At the end of my trip I will be in Amboseli. The last 3 nights I will stay at Kibo Safari Lodge. They have a private wing now which is self service but you can also use pool and mealservice for a small fee. So the gf is happy with the pool haha.

    Before that I will be in Amboseli itself, any tips on campsites? I see theres a KWS camp near Amboseli HQ. Looks decent.

  21. #15
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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    Yes, the KWS campsite is good. It is the only campsite within Amboseli NP.

    https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...seli-ecosystem

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  23. #16
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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    Hi all,

    Hope you are all doing well
    The Dirisha booking is secured, so trip's getting form.
    Still need to arrange meat and a stopover from Nairobi -> Amboseli, thoughts?
    Will check JJ if they can order for a fee (since people have good reviews) or might go to Carrefour and hopefully be lucky.

    If we have seen 'it all' and up for a new adventure, we might include Nakuru as well.
    Btw; I almost never see someone mention Chyulu Hills in itineraries/topics. Anyone experience with this park?

    following plan now:
    2 Oct Semadep Camp near Sekanani Gate
    3 Oct Oloololo
    4 Oct Oloololo
    5 Oct Dirisha
    6 Oct Dirisha
    7 Oct Dirisha
    8 Oct Dirisha
    9 Oct Eluai
    10 Oct Eluai
    11 Oct Semadep (restock)
    12 Oct Mara Reserve/Mara Triangle
    13 Oct Mara Reserve/Mara Triangle
    14 Oct Mara Reserve/Mara Triangle
    15 Oct Mara Reserve/Mara Triangle
    16 Oct Mara Reserve/Mara Triangle
    17 Oct Mara --> Amboseli (stopover suggestions?)
    18 Oct Amboseli KWS
    19 Oct Amboseli KWS
    20 Oct Amboseli KWS
    21 Oct Kibo Safari Camp
    22 Oct Kibo Safari Camp (chill)
    23 Oct Kibo Safari Camp (chill)
    24 Oct Flight back to Holland

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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    There is some info in this good blog post I read about Chyulu Hills a while back:

    https://thekenyancamper.com/2016/11/...camping-kenya/
    Blog of our African travels: stuckinlowgear.com

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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    I don’t know anything about SEMADEP camp which appears from Google to be just outside the Sekanani gate. A word of warning - it will take most of a day to drive from there to Narok, do your shopping, refuelling etc and drive back. And you will have to take what you find in the shops in Narok.

    If I were you, I would camp/stay at Jungle Junction in Langata, Nairobi - or an Airbnb or one of the hotels in the Karen/Langata area - on your way from the Mara to Amboseli. You will not be able to drive from the Mara to Amboseli in one day.

    Yes, I have been to the Chyulus. It is not a park for game drives, but for scenery and adventure. I presume that an armed ranger is needed for going walking and, maybe, for camping up in the hills. They are a stunning range of hills. When we went, some years ago, the track up into the hills was pretty well non-existent and hard to find. I’m sure things have improved since then, as written about by Kenyan Camper, but it will still be a steep, rocky ascent. I have not camped in the Chyulus. The track into the Chyulus is from near Kibwezi on the Mombasa-Nairobi road.

    Safari njema!

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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    I don’t know anything about SEMADEP camp which appears from Google to be just outside the Sekanani gate. A word of warning - it will take most of a day to drive from there to Narok, do your shopping, refuelling etc and drive back. And you will have to take what you find in the shops in Narok.

    If I were you, I would camp/stay at Jungle Junction in Langata, Nairobi - or an Airbnb or one of the hotels in the Karen/Langata area - on your way from the Mara to Amboseli. You will not be able to drive from the Mara to Amboseli in one day.

    Yes, I have been to the Chyulus. It is not a park for game drives, but for scenery and adventure. I presume that an armed ranger is needed for going walking and, maybe, for camping up in the hills. They are a stunning range of hills. When we went, some years ago, the track up into the hills was pretty well non-existent and hard to find. I’m sure things have improved since then, as written about by Kenyan Camper, but it will still be a steep, rocky ascent. I have not camped in the Chyulus. The track into the Chyulus is from near Kibwezi on the Mombasa-Nairobi road.

    Safari njema!
    My idea is to bring plenty of meat with me to Semadep and store it in the fridge there. Veggies should be available at a local town. Otherwise I would waste a full day with Narok shopping. But time will tell if it works out.

    I will look into the JJ / Karen airbnb options. Already saw some great places at airbnb.

    I will skip Chyulu. Have plenty of days around Amboseli, maybe too much but if I ever get bored at a park I should hit myself since other people spend their days in French campsites with nothing but trees. So if I’m lucky Mt. Kili will give me a nice backdrop. So I don’t wanna be spoiled and every day there’s new photographic opportunities.
    Last edited by DutchieGoingAfrica; 2021/09/14 at 11:13 PM.

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    Default Re: Kenya - Selfdrive trip - October '21

    Quote Originally Posted by DutchieGoingAfrica View Post

    " ... Have plenty of days around Amboseli, maybe too much but if I ever get bored at a park I should hit myself since other people spend their days in French campsites with nothing but trees. So if I’m lucky Mt. Kili will give me a nice backdrop. So I don’t wanna be spoiled and every day there’s new photographic opportunities.
    "Bored" is a very strong word while in the wilderness, specially when talking about visiting and staying at beautiful Amboseli.
    Last edited by apfac; 2021/09/14 at 11:43 PM. Reason: composition

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