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  1. #1
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    Default Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    Hello,
    we are planning 2 days and 3 nights in Amboseli in June. I assume we arrive sometimes mid afternoon, the last day we should leave early, as we have 8-10 hours drive at the day. I do not want to pay an extra night park fee only for overnight, and the KWS campsite is inside, so I am thinking of where to put the 1st or 3rd (or possibly both) night.
    After Amboseli, we go to Samburu. As they have 24 hours ticket policy (right?), I think the best would be to break the drive some 2-3 hours before Samburu, meaning either Meru or Nanyuki. I would prefer to stay in the nature and possibly do a night walk on a farm property or such, but I do not think I will manage that, given we are on budget.

    For Amboseli, ould you recommend entering the park first day in the evening and leaving in the afternoon, spending the night in Kimana (town), or Olgulului (camp), or even Namanga (with the added value of avoiding most of Mombasa highway)? I heard the A104 and C103 between Namanga and the highway is terrible, but maybe it is not true, would you recommend this route? Alternatively, we could spend the first night in Kimana and two nights in the camp, leaving 6 am the next day towards north.

    For the route between Amboseli and Samburu, would you recommend going via Nairobi and west of Mt. Kenya, or via C99 east of Mt. Kenya via Meru? The second option would probably make sense only if we stayed in the KWS campsite of in Kimana on the last night, not if we left from the Olgulului gate.
    Side question: I assume there will be a few scenic spots when driving around Mount Kenya. Is it safe to stop and take pictures, or is it like South Africa?

    Thank you!

    edit: corrected a typo.
    Last edited by Asanoth; 2024/04/23 at 08:47 AM.

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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    I’m afraid it is not possible to drive from Amboseli to Samburu in one day in daylight hours.

    This is the route I would recommend getting to Amboseli from Nairobi: Karen to Ngong and then on to Kiserian and Isinya. Just before Kajiado, turn east on the road signposted “Imaroro D524”which connects to the C102 Emali to Loitokitok. This is an interesting route through Maasailand. It is to be recommended as it avoids any time on the main Mombasa road. You then enter Amboseli NP through the Kimana Gate.

    Then from Amboseli, I would recommend that you return to Nairobi and then on towards Thika, Nanyuki etc. I think you will need to stop well before Nanyuki. One possibility is Savage Wilderness (a white water rafting Centre) near Sagana which will offer safe camping/accommodation. The next day on to Samburu Reserve via Nanyuki and Isiolo.

    There is an alternative which avoids Nairobi. However, it is a long old way and I have a feeling you haven’t been to Kenya before. It is this route. Amboseli-Kimana village-Emali-Kibwezi-Kitui-Embu-Meru-Isiolo. It would not be possible in daylight hours.

    The other alternative is that you visit Samburu NR first and then on to Amboseli NP.


    Kenya is not like South Africa, but sense and sensibility applies as it does all over the world.

    Please see this trip report in which we travelled some of the routes you are asking about.
    https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...es-and-forests


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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    Thank you.
    how long do you think the alternative way to Amboseli takes from Nairobi? I reckon the highway one is 5-6 hours. And how is it compared to C103 -> A104 route?
    I think Savage campsite is way to early on the route: I assume max 2 hours from Nairobi, meaning we can add at least 2 more hours in order to have 10 hours of driving. Inj a realistic scenario, Nanyuki is 430 km far, meaning "just" 8,5 hours of driving (or not?). Of course it will be less comfortable than, say, 6+6, but I want to make use of 48 hours in Samburu and the last day we need to get to Nakuru (7-8 hours?).

    "sense and sensibility applies as it does all over the world"
    Sorry, but this is a rather contentless sentence. Does it help me to approach stopping in Kenya more like in Austria? Or like in Costa Rica? Or like in central Mexico? Or Rio de Janeiro?

    Anyway, I guess the important take away is that we should go west from Mount Kenya, not east?

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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    What I take away from your reply are the following points:

    You can either listen to me who knows Kenya like the back of my hand or trust Google maps on timings.

    I can tell you that if you choose to drive the “highway route” to Amboseli, in a hired car, your nerves will be in shreds.

    Savage Wilderness from Nairobi will take more than two hours. Of course, it depends where in Nairobi you are staying and how your navigational skills are through Nairobi. Ditto the above regarding “nerves and shreds” for the Thika six-lane highway. Pole pole is the key to safe travel in Kenya.

    As I said, Kenya is not South Africa. It depends where you decide to stop to take a photo. We stop all the time on the side of the road, but not for long and it depends what road and where.

    By the way, this forum relies on the goodwill of members and the payback for the time and effort given freely to others is a trip report from the person asking the questions.

    PS: I mentioned Savage Wilderness as a place to camp if you elect to take the route I mentioned Amboseli-Emali-Kibwezi-Kitui-Embu-Sagana-Nanyuki.
    Last edited by Wazungu Wawili; 2024/03/05 at 11:21 AM.

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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    Thank you, but still how long do you think the alternative way to Amboseli takes from Nairobi? And how is it compared to C103 -> A104 route?

    I calculate 50 km/h on every route, I think google maps are mostly way more optimistic.

    "if you elect to take the route I mentioned Amboseli-Emali-Kibwezi-Kitui-Embu-Sagana-Nanyuki."
    What is the idea behind this route? It goes through the highway, is significantly longer than any other, starts going east instead of west, plus even takes another detour from embu via Nanyuki, instead of going via Meru?

    So would you advise taking this route, or one of the following?
    a) Kimana - Selengai- Isinya -north via Nairobi
    b) Emani - Nziu - Lerna - Kithimani - Meru
    c) Emani - Salama - Machakos - Kithimani - Meru
    d) Kimana to highway, go to Nairobi and north no Nanyuki

    OBased on my readings, I would also like to avoid the Mombasa highway, but my nerves are fine, there are other parts of my body I worry about being shredded...

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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    Quote Originally Posted by Asanoth View Post
    Thank you, but still how long do you think the alternative way to Amboseli takes from Nairobi? And how is it compared to C103 -> A104 route. It takes the same time.

    I calculate 50 km/h on every route, I think google maps are mostly way more optimistic.

    "if you elect to take the route I mentioned Amboseli-Emali-Kibwezi-Kitui-Embu-Sagana-Nanyuki."
    What is the idea behind this route. So that you don’t have to go back through Nairobi. It goes through the highwat. Only a short section of the Mombasa Road. isissignificantly longer than any other, starts going east instead of west, plus even takes another detour from embu via Nanyuki, instead of going via Meru?

    So would you advise taking this route, or one of the following?
    a) Kimana - Selengai- Isinya -north via Nairobi. You could try that but be aware of the truck traffic at Athi River and then into Nairobi
    b) Emani - Nziu - Lerna - Kithimani - Meru.Absolutely not.
    c) Emani - Salama - Machakos - Kithimani - Meru Absolutely not
    d) Kimana to highway, go to Nairobi and north no Nanyuki.If you want to go on the main road, then it’s your choice.

    OBased on my readings, I would also like to avoid the Mombasa highway, but my nerves are fine, there are other parts of my body I worry about being shredded...

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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    By the way, this forum relies on the goodwill of members and the payback for the time and effort given freely to others is a trip report from the person asking the questions.
    WW, I wouldn't hold my breath in this case. But time can still prove me wrong...
    24 hours in a day.... 24 beer in a case.... Coincidence?
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    My blog: Our African Ramblings (https://safaribug.wordpress.com/)

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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    ...
    Thank you. So if the route form Nairobi to Kimana via Isynia takes the same time, it makes little sense to take the highway. On the other hand, should it not take the same amount as well when going back? Then it would make more sense than the Embu route: I do not have 2 full days for the transfer between Amboseli and Samburu, more like a day and a quarter.
    If taking this route, after Isnya, do you think it is better to go:
    a) Athi River - Joska - Eastern Bypass to Ruiru - Nanyuki
    b) Athi River - Airport north rd. - Ruiru - Nanyuki
    c) Athi River - all the way to A2 in Nairobi centre - Nanyuki

    ?

    The latter two take the first stretch of the highway, is it also advisable to avoid?

    Btw. for map reading, I am looking at this map, which is much more legible than google:
    https://mapy.cz/s/cahurerobe
    Not sure how exact it is, though...

    Thinking about that, just to be clear, is this the route you advised to take to Amboseli from Nairobi?
    https://mapy.cz/s/kurejesode

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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    Quote Originally Posted by Asanoth View Post
    Thank you. So if the route form Nairobi to Kimana via Isynia takes the same time, it makes little sense to take the highway. On the other hand, should it not take the same amount as well when going back? Then it would make more sense than the Embu route: I do not have 2 full days for the transfer between Amboseli and Samburu, more like a day and a quarter.
    If taking this route, after Isnya, do you think it is better to go:
    a) Athi River - Joska - Eastern Bypass to Ruiru - Nanyuki
    b) Athi River - Airport north rd. - Ruiru - Nanyuki
    c) Athi River - all the way to A2 in Nairobi centre - Nanyuki

    ?

    The latter two take the first stretch of the highway, is it also advisable to avoid?

    Btw. for map reading, I am looking at this map, which is much more legible than google:
    https://mapy.cz/s/cahurerobe
    Not sure how exact it is, though...

    Thinking about that, just to be clear, is this the route you advised to take to Amboseli from Nairobi?
    https://mapy.cz/s/kurejesode
    I am really struggling to help you: you seem not to want to take my advice.

    (a) Absolutely not. You ask about the safety of stopping on the side of the road and then propose a route to the east of a capital city where there are informal settlements etc…
    (b) It wouldn’t be my first choice. I would continue to the Eastern Bypass or go onto the Expressway. Then come off the Expressway at Museum Hill and follow the road out to Thika.
    (c) See (b) above.

    Yes, that is the route I advised.

    To reiterate, I advise you go to Samburu first and then Amboseli.
    Last edited by Wazungu Wawili; 2024/03/06 at 07:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    I dearly appreciate your advice, I really do. However, it seems to me that you assume quite some knowledge of Kenya on my side, despite saying you have an impression me visiting for the first time: Which is indeed true.
    How could I know where there are informal settlements? With this kind of detailed knowledge, I would hardly feel an urge to ask at an forum.
    And the same goes for the "taking the advice": If I am to decide on something, I need to know why and without any prior local knowledge, I do not have the fundamentals to do so unless they are provided. If you say "take this route, it is twice as long", without any reasoning it is hard and seemingly foolish to decide "ok, let's spend twice as much time on the road".

    I am not saying anyone, including me, should be entitled to receiving fundamental reasoning on a forum, simply explaining that following advice withouth proper grounding is not something I would frown upon.


    I do not think we would switch Amboseli and Samburu: First, it adds 200 km / 4 hours of travel time, plus one more crossing of Nairobi, and also dramaturgically I think it is better to break the southern fauna with something else, rather than do north - south -south - jungle - south. More of the itinerary cannot be shuffled, as we already booked our camping in Mara.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Asanoth: " b) Athi River - Airport north rd. - Ruiru - Nanyuki"

    (b) It wouldn’t be my first choice. I would continue to the Eastern Bypass or go onto the Expressway. Then come off the Expressway at Museum Hill and follow the road out to Thika.
    What is the difference in your proposal, the first part? To clarify, I was considering this route: https://mapy.cz/s/babazanoso - incorrect link, corrected: https://mapy.cz/s/napugemaku
    The Expressway version you mean this? https://mapy.cz/s/debekojepe Is it not better to avoid central Nairobi (traffic) mid day? incorrect link, corrected: https://mapy.cz/s/japeserujo

    Thank you.
    Last edited by Asanoth; 2024/03/08 at 02:35 PM.

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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    For starters, you are routing from Amboseli via Namanga. That road from Amboseli to Namanga is not in good shape. It is horribly corrugated and is likely to damage your car. Most people on the forum have taken my advice and taken the route via Selengei and Imaroro. You can follow these places on a map and I explained it in detail in a previous post.

    The expressway is a new elevated toll road through the centre of Nairobi. I’m not sure that your route on that map is following the expressway properly to Museum Hill, but that is fundamentally the route to get on to the Thika six-lane highway.

    For many years I have been championing Kenya here on this forum and many people have visited Kenya based on my advice and knowledge. We come up with good circular tours of that beautiful country - often avoiding the most dangerous roads and/or heavy traffic.

    For instance, what I would do is Mara-Nakuru-Samburu-Amboseli in that order. And you don’t have to go back through Nairobi between the Mara and Samburu. Although you seem to be in a horrible rush from one place to another. Each to their own.

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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    Sorry, on my original view it went north, like this: https://mapy.cz/s/napugemaku
    Maybe I pasted a wrong link, or the route got recalculated without enough inbetween points.
    And the other one: https://mapy.cz/s/japeserujo

    Again, already paid for a booking in Mara, plus I want to keep Mara till the end, so reshuffling the itinerary this way is a no-go.

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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    Quote Originally Posted by Asanoth View Post
    Sorry, on my original view it went north, like this: https://mapy.cz/s/napugemaku
    Maybe I pasted a wrong link, or the route got recalculated without enough inbetween points.
    And the other one: https://mapy.cz/s/japeserujo

    Again, already paid for a booking in Mara, plus I want to keep Mara till the end, so reshuffling the itinerary this way is a no-go.
    As a resident in Kenya and regularly on these "tracks" I would follow WWs routes to the letter. Most of your proposed alternative routes are in fact ones to avoid. Mombasa road is a highway connecting the mombasa port to more than 5 countries and gets BUSY. The Imaroro route to Amboseli I elect is the prime alternative.
    I have used the Kibwezi route and plan to always use this if coming from Nanyuki and surroundings heading south. I have driven Nanyuki to Malindi in one stretch using this road. I needed near 24 hours rest after this. Given Malindi is much further than Amboseli and the main stress area was the mombasa road. I would say personally I think is possible to Amboseli to Nanyuki. To Samburu? I would not dare. And even to Nanyuki... I'm speaking with "local know how" on how to navigate our roads.

    Moving on highways in Kenya is usually painfully slow and you'll find average speeds over 100km can be as low as 40kph.
    The express way greatly helps with the Athi river truck traffic. Keep in mind the express way prefers cash for toll payments.

    Sagana to Nairobi is also much faster with the dualling of the highway BUT beware the buses and vans also now drive much faster, infact everyone does. Don't play chicken with any commercial cars esp white pickups on that road at all. Avoid rush hour and Friday evenings for your traverses. If you use Kibwezi you will not use the expressway or the new dual highway to nanyuki and you will be driving uphill.

    Regards,
    Ak

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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    Quote Originally Posted by Asanoth View Post
    Sorry, on my original view it went north, like this: https://mapy.cz/s/napugemaku
    Maybe I pasted a wrong link, or the route got recalculated without enough inbetween points.
    And the other one: https://mapy.cz/s/japeserujo

    Again, already paid for a booking in Mara, plus I want to keep Mara till the end, so reshuffling the itinerary this way is a no-go.
    No, neither of those are right.

    Asante sane, Atakanmerdin, for backing me up. We know these routes like the back of our hands!

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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    Quote Originally Posted by atakanmerdin View Post
    ...The Imaroro route to Amboseli I elect is the prime alternative.
    ...
    I have used the Kibwezi route and plan to always use this if coming from Nanyuki and surroundings heading south. I have driven Nanyuki to Malindi in one stretch using this road.
    ...

    Moving on highways in Kenya is usually painfully slow and you'll find average speeds over 100km can be as low as 40kph.
    ...
    Thank you. I do not really mind "painfully slow" too much, I am concerned about safety, which is supposedly not very high on Mombasa highway?

    I understand it makes sense going via Kibwezi when going to Malindi, as the route is some 720 km vs 690 via the highway: That is 4 % more km adn Malindi is east, not southwest of Kibwezi. But from Amboseli to Isiolo, it is 610 km via Meru and 670 km via Nanyuki, as opposed to 550 km via Imaroro, that is 22 % more km (or 11 % more via Meru) and 70 km of this is on the highway, as opposed to 15 km when going through Imaroro - and only 5 km between Athi river and Expressway.
    Surely you see, how I am confused with "do not take the highway, but take 70 km on the highway instead of 15 or even 5 km and the route is by a quarter longer". I think anyone with a hint of critical thinking would actually be baffled by this. Maybe there is a reason behind this, but noone actually mentioned anything of such. So if someone comes up and say "yes, Mombasa highway is to be avoided, but in this case it is better to take 70 km (which, by the way, is more than half on the distance of the strech Nairobi - Emali) than those 15 around Nairobi, because...", then I can also make some sense of it.

    I am firmly on taking the Imaroro route from Nairobi to Amboseli.

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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    I would rather spend more time in Amboseli area than having to drive so far between the two locations.

    The road between Namanga and the gate is awful - the one bridge crossing has washed away and you need to re-route through the bushes to get around - you would need to ask around. Will not go this route.

    You add more time for travelling in Kenya - 120 km can easily take 2 - 2 1/2 hours and if you catch Nairobi traffic bad with-out access ot the expressway it can be far worse.

    I would read through WW's threads and have a look at other Kenya travellers.

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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    I would rather cut Amboseli out than Samburu, given I also have 4 days in MM.
    Thank you, but the Namanga road is not being considered, going to Amboseli, I am inclined towards Imaroro road, though I have been advised on Tripadvisor to take the highway.
    Now the main issue is how to get back, especially around Nairobi. I will not go to Kibwezi, as noone tried explaining to me the benefits of 70 km of highway and longer way compared to 15 km and shorter way: Already booked the night in Naro Moru.

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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    Quote Originally Posted by Asanoth View Post
    I would rather cut Amboseli out than Samburu, given I also have 4 days in MM.
    Thank you, but the Namanga road is not being considered, going to Amboseli, I am inclined towards Imaroro road, though I have been advised on Tripadvisor to take the highway.
    Now the main issue is how to get back, especially around Nairobi. I will not go to Kibwezi, as noone tried explaining to me the benefits of 70 km of highway and longer way compared to 15 km and shorter way: Already booked the night in Naro Moru.
    As I said before, I am really struggling to help you. I can talk about Kenya “until the cows come home” and have assisted many, many people for their trips around Kenya and others parts of East Africa.

    Atakanmerdin and I are both Kenyan born and raised and we know what we are talking about. I do understand that English is not your first language, being Czech. However, if you wish to take advice from TripAdvisor, then you are on your own…

    We were attempting to assist you in avoiding the mayhem of Nairobi. It depends if you want to experience the realities of modern-day Africa or see rural Africa.

    This forum relies on the kindness of forum members giving advice (which involves much time and effort). It also relies on courtesy from everyone - and feedback/trip report from those asking numerous questions.

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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    Hello,
    can I please ask you, is the Imaroro route to Amboseli passable after the flooding? Thank you.

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    Default Re: Amboseli NP itinerary and which route to Samburu NR

    This forum relies on the goodwill of members. The payback from those asking questions is a trip report or some sort of feedback.

    Safari njema.

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