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janzin posted a topic in KenyaHaving several African safaris under our belt--South Africa twice, Tanzania, Botswana--and having read so many wonderful Kenya trip reports on SafariTalk, Kenya seemed the logical destination for our next safari. But where to go? I knew that the Mara had to be included. Should we add other areas and parks? Usually for a first trip to a country we like to get an overview and see as much as possible of different habitats but in the end, mainly due to time and budget constraints, we decided to concentrate on the Masai Mara--and do it at the optimal time to witness the "Great Migration" and the famed river crossings. The only other thing I was certain of was that we wanted to stay primarily in the conservancies, so that we would have less crowds and the ability to off-road. So, with the expert guidance of our safari planner, Bill Given at The Wild Source, we decided on the following itinerary, commencing mid-September 2016. 1 night Eka Hotel, Nairobi 3 nights Porini Lion Camp, Olare Motorogi Conservancy 4 nights Encounter Mara Camp, Naboisho Conservancy 4 nights Wild Source's private mobile camp, Enaidura, in the Mara triangle 1 Night Ololo Lodge, Nairobi The Wild Source has a new collaborative model with two local Masai guides, who have co-ownership in the Enaidura operation: Johnson Ping’ua Nkukuu (Ping) and Paul Kirui. They also have arranged with some camps to allow these guides (who are very well respected across Kenya) to bring clients to those camps in Wild Sources' specially configured safari vehicle. So this unique arrangement enabled us to have our own vehicle with well-known and highly regarded Ping as our private guide while we were at Encounter Mara and Enaidura Camps. At Porini Lion, we were to be in a shared vehicle (or so we thought...) As departure approached I started to get a little apprehensive--were we making a mistake staying in just one location--the Mara--for our whole trip? As birders, I knew we were unlikely to add many "lifers" in this area, since being contiguous with the Serengeti, where we'd been in Tanzania, there would be few birds that were unique or new. Would there be enough photographic opportunities?? Would we drive endlessly through featureless savanna without seeing much of anything?? Would we be bored with so many nights in one area...were the three camps different enough? Well...as those of you who have been to the Mara must know, there was no need to worry. I can honestly say that we have not been anywhere else on safari where there was never a dull moment--never a lull--always something to see just around the corner! And each camp was unique with its own attractions. And we learned a few things: the Mara is THE place for cats--we saw 7 unique leopards, countless lions, 12 different cheetahs, and 2 servals. And we even picked up 152 birds, with 15 of them lifers--more than I expected! Not to mention the endless plains of wildebeest, zebra, and all the other game species. And one other thing I learned--although I am glad that we saw a few river crossings--I don't ever have to, or want to, do that again. More on that later. So enough preamble, I'm sure you want to get to the meat of it--and some photos! A bit later...
1) Name of property and country: (Please also include name of property and country as topic title and include as tags as well) Enaidura Mobile Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya 2) Website address if known: http://enaiduracamp.com/ 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). High season (migration season) September 22-26 4) Length of stay: Four nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? Wonderful opportunity to have a private, mobile camp with a private guide. Our agent/tour operator is a partner in this camp, along with two local Kenyan guides. 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Directly with The Wild Source which is in a partnership with the freelance guides of the camp. 7) How many times have you been on Safari? This was the fifth 8) To which countries? 2 x South Africa, 1 x Tanzania, 1 x Botswana, now Kenya 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? Difficult to compare to other camps as this is the only time we've stayed in a mobile camp. 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? No 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? Can have up to six but for our party only one tent was set up, since we were the only guests. 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? N/A. 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? Wonderfully furnished. Very comfortable real mattress, 24 hour solar lighting, charging station right in room, large area for storing clothes, very large bathroom with typical safari bucket shower (hot water plentiful and on-demand) and flush toilet. Hot water via bucket was also provided in the sink in the early morning, much appreciated. 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Food was wonderful, especially considering it was done in only a rudimentary portable kitchen. Very varied, delicious salads, chicken and fish dishes, lunches of pizza, quiches, a chicken curry, always with lots of accompanying salads. Even a cheese plate one lunch! Great desserts and chocolates by your bedside at night. 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Set food but we could request anything specific and certainly vegetarian would have been easily accommodated. I have a particular intolerance requirement which was cheerfully met. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? N/A since it was just us, but the guide ate with us. For larger parties it would be a large communal table. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? Very good breakfasts, although with no variety. Always hard boiled eggs, bacon, sausage, granola with yogurt and fruit, bread, juices, coffee and tea. Once when we were "stuck" at a sighting of cheetah with cub...they packed up the intended lunch (happened that day to be chicken curry with rice, and salad) and it was brought to us over an hour away from camp. Great service! 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. Custom-built roofed, open Land Cruiser with side table for bean bags, built-in charging. (You can see the bean bag table on the far side in this photo.) 19) How many guests per row? Has three rows but we had it privately. I'm told they would not put more than four in a vehicle. 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? As long or short as we wanted, wherever we wanted. 21) What are the standard game drive times? Are game drive times flexible: i.e., if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, i.e., not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? Totally flexible. 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? n/a 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? This camp, while mobile, is based in the Mara Triangle. The large Serena lodge is nearby as are several mobile campsites. Density can be high at priority sightings (river crossings, cheetahs, etc) but it is also quite easy to get away from the crowds. We took some drives where we saw no other vehicles at all. 24) Are you able to off-road? No, but there are lots of legal tracks in most areas. 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. Yes, there are wardens patrolling that regulate the sightings. 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? River crossings during migration time. Excellent chance of seeing Rhino. Lions, cheetah. We saw all of this! 27) How was the standard of guiding? Top-notch, our guide Ping is one of the top guides in Kenya and a pleasure to be with. 28) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? n/a 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: Always flexible, communicative, knowledgeable, always was able to predict the movement of the wildlife, best position for photography, etc. And a genuinely interesting person to be around. 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Amazingly! We had a staff of eight cheerfully attending to our every need. 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. Yes, The Wild Source, which is a partner in this camp, has several initiatives benefiting the community as well as conservation research in different areas of Africa, which is one of the reasons I like to book with them. This particular camp is in partnership with the Masai freelance guides, giving them an autonomy and responsibility they do not get elsewhere. Here is a page summarizing their work: http://thewildsource.com/about/giving-back.html 32) Safaritalk trip report link: This will come later! 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: 34) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings. The property site itself would change, as this is a mobile camp. But this is representative. Our tent the dining/lounge tent
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