Not your typical African Safari

Old Oct 27th, 2022, 04:54 AM
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Not your typical African Safari

Hey,

I am trying to plan an African Safari for my partners 60th birthday. We were hoping to go in November but are flexible. We just donít want to go during a high season. The country we go to is flexible for us as well. The only things we really want are the big 5, a private trip, and for it to feel a little more authentic and less planned. We wouldnít mind staying out in tents one time or improvising plans. Basically anything but the very structured group tours. It is also ideal if when we finish we are close enough to go see the gorillas after too!!

if you have any companies you recommend that could put something like that together I would really appreciate it!


edit: I just say some people posting about walking safaris, if that was incorporated into our trip as well that would be super cool!

Last edited by lukedoyle2630; Oct 27th, 2022 at 05:01 AM.
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Old Oct 27th, 2022, 02:00 PM
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Check out this trip report. Not my report, but sounds like some of things you’re looking for. Assume you are talking about next November!

Travelogue w/ blog and photo links: Kenya and Uganda
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Old Oct 27th, 2022, 05:40 PM
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I can recommend the company we used, The Wild Source. They put together a great trip for my family and I know they arranged a gorilla trip for another person we met at one of the camps. You can click on my trip report if you'd like to learn more. Another company I have heard good things about is Gamewatchers.
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Old Oct 28th, 2022, 10:53 AM
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If you reach out to a safari planner you'll get a custom itinerary for just you and your partner. I also recommend The Wild Source. Gamewatchers is also good, but they own Porini camps and will guide you that way initially, but they can book you just about anywhere in Kenya. For a "special" trip I think I'd look to The Wild Source and see what they can suggest. Their camp in the Mara and the other in the Serengeti are top notch for guiding without being over the top luxury. I love their camp in the Mara (Enaidura). They can also book you for gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda if you want to add it on to traditional safari in Kenya or Tanzania.
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Old Oct 29th, 2022, 05:04 PM
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Have you read my trip report?

Our September Kenya Safari Exceeded Our Wildest Hopes

We did not include gorilla trekking, but you could add that on.
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Old Oct 30th, 2022, 11:21 AM
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Wow! This is all incredible. Thanks so much everyone I will definitely be looking into all of these companies.

one more question though. Do you think these trips and companies are a ďyou get what you pay for situation?Ē. Will you necessarily see more animals with a more expensive trip? Or are you just paying for the services provided? Do you think youíd see the same things on a $10k trip vs a $20k trip?

thanks again!
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Old Oct 30th, 2022, 02:36 PM
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Itís a tough question, Luke. Thereís a couple ways of looking at it. I think different countries are more expensive for safari due to specialities of the area (gorillas in Kenya/Uganda, walking safari in Zambia). I also think you get what you pay for in terms of camps/lodges. The fully plumbed lodges with plunge pools, soaker tubs and hard wired electricity with permanent footprints in Kenya tend to be more expensive than mobile tented camps running on solar and bucket showers.

Iíve said it before, but your guide will make or break your safari. Iíve had some stupendous, amazing, spectacular guides who showed me things I never could have imagined, and Iíve had two guides Iíve had to replace mid-safari. If I didnít fire them, I would have seen nothing, and to pay several thousand for safari and see nothing is a waste. I was about to say that Iíd stick with well known camps, but the two I fired WERE at well known camps. Like any other profession, some are exceptional, some are just better than others, some are lazy. Iíve been blessed with some pretty fabulous guides and Iíd recommend them to anyone. There are also camps known for top notch guiding and yes, they do command a somewhat higher price point, but not to the point where it will price you out of safari entirely. I want a guide who isnít going to follow the crowds to a sighting, who isnít going to pull up next to his buddies in another vehicle and chat while not worried about what Iím not seeing, who is going to line me up for a perfect photo, time the sunset perfectly and above all respect the animals. Iíve seen guides pull straight into a bush where a new mother lioness and her young cubs were hiding. I canít be a part of that.

Sorry if that was a roundabout answer.

Iím happy to help you with an itinerary if you get one or two from some safari planners. I know Kenya best but can also help in Tanzania or Rwanda.

PS - meant to mention earlier that Kicheche camps in Kenya do a walking safari in the Mara conservancies that has been on my list for my next trip there. They have outstanding guides there and to do the walking and sleep out under the stars one night would be really cool! That is not your ordinary safari at all, especially in the Mara.
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Old Oct 30th, 2022, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by amyb View Post
Itís a tough question, Luke. Thereís a couple ways of looking at it. I think different countries are more expensive for safari due to specialities of the area (gorillas in Kenya/Uganda, walking safari in Zambia). I also think you get what you pay for in terms of camps/lodges. The fully plumbed lodges with plunge pools, soaker tubs and hard wired electricity with permanent footprints in Kenya tend to be more expensive than mobile tented camps running on solar and bucket showers.

Iíve said it before, but your guide will make or break your safari. Iíve had some stupendous, amazing, spectacular guides who showed me things I never could have imagined, and Iíve had two guides Iíve had to replace mid-safari. If I didnít fire them, I would have seen nothing, and to pay several thousand for safari and see nothing is a waste. I was about to say that Iíd stick with well known camps, but the two I fired WERE at well known camps. Like any other profession, some are exceptional, some are just better than others, some are lazy. Iíve been blessed with some pretty fabulous guides and Iíd recommend them to anyone. There are also camps known for top notch guiding and yes, they do command a somewhat higher price point, but not to the point where it will price you out of safari entirely. I want a guide who isnít going to follow the crowds to a sighting, who isnít going to pull up next to his buddies in another vehicle and chat while not worried about what Iím not seeing, who is going to line me up for a perfect photo, time the sunset perfectly and above all respect the animals. Iíve seen guides pull straight into a bush where a new mother lioness and her young cubs were hiding. I canít be a part of that.

Sorry if that was a roundabout answer.

Iím happy to help you with an itinerary if you get one or two from some safari planners. I know Kenya best but can also help in Tanzania or Rwanda.

PS - meant to mention earlier that Kicheche camps in Kenya do a walking safari in the Mara conservancies that has been on my list for my next trip there. They have outstanding guides there and to do the walking and sleep out under the stars one night would be really cool! That is not your ordinary safari at all, especially in the Mara.

Hey Amy! Is there any way I can get in touch with you over the phone to ask some more questions?!
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Old Oct 31st, 2022, 06:41 AM
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Luke, happy to chat with you. I've sent you a private message.
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Old Oct 31st, 2022, 07:00 PM
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I've used The Wild Source many times so I can't really comment on others. What you will get with the dollars you spend with them are private game drives and guides you won't want to leave at the end of your stay.

They will radio camp and ask them to bring lunch to where you are out in the bush if you are at a sighting you don't want to leave. You may just be watching leopards napping but your guide knows when their last meal was and that they will be ready to hunt soon. Or you've been following a cheetah and her cubs. And she will hunt soon.

You won't get a guide who takes you back to camp just because it's 11am and time for lunch and their break. When you leave camp at 6am you can take sundowners with you - just in case. You may stay out all day with a breakfast stop, a lunch stop and naps under a shade tree. They are highly experienced guides and they are all yours. And if you do want to go back to camp for lunch and a nap, they will do that too.

Their camp in the Mara, Enaidura Camp, is in a great location for wildlife. You will be in tents. You will have bucket showers with water heated and brought to your tent when you are ready. (And don't be afraid of a bucket shower - there is plenty of water.) You will have pre-dinner cocktails around the fire and the dinner table will be set with cloth napkins and dessert forks.

And if you want to stay in other camps, The Wild Source can do that too. Our favorite guides in Kenya are Ping (Enaidura) and Fred Ronko (Asilia Camps).
Before you go on your first trip, it's all unknown and you can imagine all sorts of things. When you start planning your second trip (and you probably will) it will be so much easier. Our last trip was to Kenya in Nov 2021.



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Old Nov 1st, 2022, 07:18 AM
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Sundowner, you and I are of like minds when it comes to Ping. His instinct for the wildlife is unbelievable. That man can read a cat like no one I've ever seen! My favorite Ping story...he found two males and a female leopard. She was in estrus and the males were very interested. She was not particular, lol. One male and the female disappeared into a large bush. I was crushed because I didn't want to miss "the deed". Only 2 other vehicles were on this sighting (in the Reserve!!) and they were on the other side of the bush. I foolishly questioned Ping out loud, "why are we here, and they're over there?" Ping pointed to an incoming thundercloud swollen with rain headed right for us. He said "when that rain starts, it will flush the cats out of the bush and they will come out towards us." Ten minutes later, right off the front of our vehicle:



HOW did he know that???

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Old Nov 1st, 2022, 01:12 PM
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Wow, Amy - that's so cool! And Ping - he's on a whole other level!
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Old Nov 2nd, 2022, 03:48 PM
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Amy, I have quotes from two safari outfits and not committed to either. Can you tell me who you would recommend.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2022, 04:31 PM
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HI Jackie, for Tanzania and Rwanda, I’d recommend Access2Tanzania and Treks2Rwanda. For Kenya I would recommend The Wild Source (especially if you want the camp Ping is at, referenced above) or Expert Africa.

If you want to share itineraries with me, I can look at them with you. Just send me a private message. Happy to help!
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