Kenya Safari Location

Old Nov 14, 18, 7:37 am
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Kenya Safari Location

Hi all,
I'm starting to plan a trip to Kenya with family in the future. Wondering if there were any opinions on the &Beyond Lodges in the Masai Mara. I've been to Singita Grumeti and Londolozi before and enjoyed both places before. Looking to not spend as much as Grumeti this time, but looking for good animal experiences and comfort. We're debating between early January and July. Also open to other locations in Kenya, but would like a good variety of wildlife. Any thoughts?

Thanks
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Old Nov 14, 18, 11:21 am
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The two &Beyond properties in Kenya are nothing like the ones elsewhere. They're huge (way too many rooms, especially at Kichwa Tembo), they really load up their vehicles with guests, and are not located in a private conservancy, resulting in game drives that are in very congested areas. It's especially important that you stay in a Conservancy if you choose to visit in July, as that's peak migration season.

&Beyond properties tend to find themselves heavily featured in travel magazines - their marketing staff must be commended for the attention that they get. But they really do cater more to the packaged tour demographic; you can do better.
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Old Nov 14, 18, 1:24 pm
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Any suggestions for other properties in Kenya that are on a conservancy that would be good?
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Old Nov 14, 18, 2:30 pm
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Have a look at Angama Mara or Mara Plains - the latter we were in just a few weeks ago. Pictures are available on my Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums

Ol Donyo is more activity focused and offers poor game viewing, so I wouldn't recommend it for what you're after.
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Old Nov 14, 18, 2:44 pm
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We stayed at Angama Mara. It has gorgeous views from above on the escarpment, but it was such a bumpy ride down, that we did one long game drive a day. We couldn’t do the up and down twice.
We went to Sirikoi in Lewa Conservancy, and that was very quiet.
When we were on the Mara, the & Beyond jeeps were very aggressive.
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Old Nov 14, 18, 3:39 pm
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I have stayed at a number of &Beyond including Kichwa Tembo last January (and I am going back in January). Contrary to comment by KI-NRT I was there for 4 nights and had 1 other person in my vehicle. Also my travel is not a packaged tour (and I did not ask percentages). I go based on getting a good biz cass fare and then book. I think the quantity of people per vehicle depends on not only the occupancy of the camp but how the visitors are booked (families together obviously). I found it ok (or would not go back) but certainly preferred Botswana. As far as &Beyond is concerned, I am very pleased with all stays.

I like January for personal reasons but also to see animals (growth is low).
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Old Nov 14, 18, 4:30 pm
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Originally Posted by Newman55 View Post
Any suggestions for other properties in Kenya that are on a conservancy that would be good?
Combine Olare Motorogi with either Mara North or Naboisho. Those are the 3 best conservancies. Mara Plains + Rekero Naboisho would make for a pretty awesome combination.

Depending on the location of the camp that you choose, you should be able to take trips down to the main reserve to witness the river crossings if they're happening at the time you're there.
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Old Nov 14, 18, 4:31 pm
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Mara Plains looks amazing, but I think it's going to be out of our budget this time and the lack of a pool is going to make it a hard sell with the kids.

Thanks for the suggestions. Keep them coming, if you have them.
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Old Nov 14, 18, 7:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Newman55 View Post
Mara Plains looks amazing, but I think it's going to be out of our budget this time and the lack of a pool is going to make it a hard sell with the kids.
What is your budget? Also note that rates in July are dramatically higher than in January, so it's something you need to think about if cost is a big consideration.
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Old Nov 14, 18, 7:52 pm
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Can recommend Ol Donyo Lodge- not quite as much in terms of Safari options versus the Masai Mara, but cool elephant viewing, options to go to foot of KJ, and horseback riding out on the plains.

https://greatplainsconservation.com/ol-donyo-lodge/
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Old Nov 14, 18, 8:16 pm
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I'd say $1500 per person per day is the max.
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Old Nov 15, 18, 1:36 am
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Originally Posted by Newman55 View Post
I'd say $1500 per person per day is the max.
If you're going in January, almost all lodges in Kenya would fit within that price range (including Mara Plains Camp.)
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Old Nov 15, 18, 6:11 am
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Originally Posted by KI-NRT View Post
If you're going in January, almost all lodges in Kenya would fit within that price range (including Mara Plains Camp.)
Not in early January. I have to work around school holidays. Sorry for not sharing all the information up front.

Any thoughts on the Kempiski?
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Old Nov 17, 18, 8:42 am
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Another vote for Sirikoi in the Lewa Conservancy. We stayed in the cottage, which was superb. We drove ourselves there with stays in the Aberdare Country Club (colonial but a bit dated) and the Mount Kenya Safari Club (very swish) en-route.
Previously, we have stayed at Governor's Camp in Kenya, which was in a much lower league. We have also enjoyed a horse-riding safari with Outback Safaris, who have some excellent lodges in Kenya. We would highly recommend Outback Safaris for a family.
We have also enjoyed safaris in Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Rwanda, Botswana and Zimbabwe but have to admit we love the scenery of the Mara.
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Old Nov 17, 18, 9:38 am
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I would agree with those who mentioned Angama Mara.

I would also suggest Sasaab if you want to try a different location. It's in Samburu and run by the Safari Collection.

If it's of interest we paired this trip with AndBeyond Mnemba Island in Zanzibar which is incredible and one of my top ten of all time.
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