Peter Connan

Who is planning for 2018?

130 posts in this topic

The trick is, @@Alexander33 , to be persistent! And not to be enchanted by one single country, or even continent. The world is a beauty!

And not more than a week later, I have to "eat my words"! About 'not being enchanted'. As Zvezda and me will go back to South Africa, for the third year in a row. Instead of tropical waves of the Caribbean Sea we will admire the pounding waves of the South Atlantic Ocean around Cape Town in January of 2018. Not a proper safari, more like chasing the birds and the clouds with the camera type of relaxed travel, passing through Hermanus, Bontek NP, Knysna, Karoo NP, wineyard country, ending in Cape Town. 15 days and not too many kilometers.

 

With this, our 2018 Travel Year is completed. If lucky, it could be also another prolific Big Year!

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@@xelas excellent! It could be wet, but it may be glorious. I'd recommend Franschoek over stellenbosch in the winelands.

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@@xelas excellent! It could be wet, but it may be glorious. I'd recommend Franschoek over stellenbosch in the winelands.

 

 

It will be glorious! And Franschhoek it is then! Maybe a day at West Coast NP, for those hard to ID waders :P !

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Fast forward one week, our itinerary is finalised. Not all rooms are booked yet, and still looking for an affordable rental car offer. This is what we will do from Dec 30th till Jan 14th, 2018:

Hermanus (2 nights) - De Hoop (2) - Wilderness (2) - Karoo NP (2) - Montagu (1) - Franschhoek (2) - Cape Town (4). Plenty of birding, and I hope also several scenic drives.

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I just put down a quasi-deposit (it's a long story) for a return to Northern Tanzania, likely for August/September 2018. I'm just starting to think of where to go, but based on reports I've read here on ST definitely want to try to include Manyara Ranch and Namiri Plains.

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Posted (edited)

Now tentatively looking at a Namibia trip for February 2018. We might even fly to Johannesburg first, spend two weeks catching up with some birding areas over there and then fly on to Windhoek. A lot will depend on the total cost, but it feels good to be thinking about it....!

Edited by PeterHG
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@@PeterHG, a combination of northern Kruger with northern Namibia sounds very tempting, and the actual rand value is working for your plans. If flying to JNB don't forget to contact the resident birder, @@Peter Connan !

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Posted (edited)

I turn 40 in 2018, and a few months ago, Michael turned to me and said "you want to go on safari for your 40th, don't you?" And of course I said I did, and that seemed to be it.

 

And then, a couple of days later, he said, "wouldn't it be nice if friends and family were there too?" And so I sent out an email message asking if anyone else wanted to join us (each paying their own way) and lo and behold, they did. Probably about nine of them, but maybe up to eighteen of them.

 

So that sent me off into a frenzy of research, but I think we now have a plan. With a group this size, simplicity is best, I feel. So, Kenya, Serian Mara North, seven nights, June 2018. (And then Michael and I will likely go on to Sarara for another four nights on our own.) I'll be putting down the deposit in the next week for the main camp (late comers will have to go to Ngare if there's room).

 

I am so glad there are Kenya trip reports, I don't know how I could possibly bide my time otherwise.

Edited by hannahcat
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My wife and I are looking at Kenya in the summer of 2018. Probably late June for us.

 

Right now looking at Serian Mara North vs. Porini Lion.

 

Our money would get us a few extra nights at PL, and I really like the trip reports I've seen from there. The Olare Orok seems just so so game dense!

 

However, it's hard to ignore the great reviews, especially of the guiding, for Serian.

 

So, that's where I am.

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My wife and I are looking at Kenya in the summer of 2018. Probably late June for us.

 

Right now looking at Serian Mara North vs. Porini Lion.

 

Our money would get us a few extra nights at PL, and I really like the trip reports I've seen from there. The Olare Orok seems just so so game dense!

 

However, it's hard to ignore the great reviews, especially of the guiding, for Serian.

 

So, that's where I am.

Sounds like a good place to be.

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@@TravelinTeacherAU poke around here for some trip reports in Mara North. I've been to both Olare Motorogi (Porini Lion to be exact) and Mara North and Mara North was just as generous with sightings for me as OMC was. Others have had similar experiences that they've reported here. Either way though you can't go wrong.

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@@TravelinTeacherAU poke around here for some trip reports in Mara North. I've been to both Olare Motorogi (Porini Lion to be exact) and Mara North and Mara North was just as generous with sightings for me as OMC was. Others have had similar experiences that they've reported here. Either way though you can't go wrong.

 

Yes. I feel like I've read almost all. I think it was your report on Porini Lion that really got me zero'd in there. I love the big cats, as well.

 

I'm having a blast tonight just reading through Kenya reports again. I love this phase of planning.

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I am looking at the same area as a possibility for next February, would like to stay at one camp for between six and eight nights. Serian Mara North, Kicheche Mara, Offbeat Mara or Porini Lion......I have even taken to listing the pros and cons of each place!

Using ATR as a resource to check costs, Porini Lion was coming out as more expensive, although they may have included the conservation fees. Offbeat are offering eight nights for the cost of six, which is very good.

Thanks to all those who have written trip reports, a big help.

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@@Seniortraveller It might be worth phoning Gamewatchers and asking if they can give you the same price as any offers they are currently running in February next year, I think they are often flexible. They have just sent me an attractive offer for 7 nights split between Porini Mara and Lion for 2017 but once back from South Africa next month I won't be planning any more safaris for a while unfortunately.

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Posted (edited)

@Seniortraveller Yes, Porini and Kicheche usually quote all-inclusive while others often don't. ATR should deduct the fees from their quoted costs but I am not sure that they do. As a very general guide (and different approaches may produce differing results and they all may have slightly different "seasons" which can make a huge difference) Porini Lion should be less than Kicheche Bush Camp and maybe similar to Kicheche Mara Camp. Serian should be rather more than any of those three..... but they may have better long-stay discounts if you are looking at 8 nights. Also, any longer stay offers for next February may well not be out yet.

 

 

Edit: Yes I added one you weren't looking at there. Sorry - I don't want to increase your indecision. :)

Edited by pault
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Thanks @ pomkiwi. At present Offbeat Mara is tempting because there are only six tents, the guiding looks good and walking is an option, but who knows!!!

I hope the safari withdrawal symptoms are not too difficult to bear, I cannot believe how ' addicted ' I have become.

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@@pault, thanks for that information. A bit of a minefield!

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@@pault, thanks for that information. A bit of a minefield!

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If you need a nudge, @@Seniortraveller, I am nudging you toward Offbeat Mara, it's wonderful. Even better if you can get the deal. And if you can get the David/Kappen guiding combination, you'll be blown away.

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A nudge from those who have been to these camps is probably what I was hoping for! Your trip report was a glowing recommendation, I enjoyed reading it. I have already contacted Offbeat and it is looking likely that I will go there.

Can you remember which tent you had? Number three has been mentioned in another report and I really enjoy being able to see wildlife while sitting outside my tent.

David and Kappen seem a good combination, I have seen them mentioned in a number of reviews/reports.

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At Offbeat, if my memory serves, as you drive in the camp, 5 and 6 are on the right hand side of the road (well off the road, but remote from the other tents). 4 is the first one on the left further in, and it's remote from 1-3. 1-4 are accessed from a path from the common areas, but 1-3 go right and 4 goes left. I was in tent 4, and I think @@offshorebirder was too (and he can correct me if I have the tent numbers wrong!) I've heard that lions have been seen from 4-6, which is certainly possible given that they are closest to the exit from camp into the conservancy. But even still the camp is so small that I'm sure they've been seen everywhere.

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@Seniortraveler - there is a map of the Offbeat Mara layout (including tent numbers) on Page 7 of this fact sheet:

 

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/554081cee4b01d5bf73a9e19/t/587b2a2617bffc8c1ec8b287/1484467137576/2017+Factsheet+-+OB+Mara.pdf

 

As @@amybatt says, tent #4 has superb views - we saw a male Leopard from our porch! And there is almost always plains game to view from this and other tents. Tents 3, 4, 5, and 6 have great views of the hilly grasslands in front of camp. When I was there in January, the Offbeat Pride spent a lot of time hanging around tent 5 and made a Warthog kill within meters of # 5.

 

Tent #4 has two queen sized beds and most of the others have one large bed. Except the Family tent which has the large bed and two single beds.

 

Tent #3 is off by itself with great views. Here is a photo (January 2016) of Amani the Cheetah in front of tent #3:

 

25186590661_1553595e29_b.jpg

 

PS If you do stay at Offbeat Mara and you stay in tent #4, you will meet some charming neighbors - Mr. and Mrs. Purple Grenadier. They come by for early tea in front of tent 4 around 3pm each day.

 

32861673220_fdcb84c1c3_c.jpg

32861668920_ef9c0ce7a4_c.jpg

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Many thanks @ offshorebirder, that information is so useful. I have just been reading and enjoying your recent trip report, which I had missed. Eventually I realised this was because it started, when I was in Kenya myself! ( Old Pejeta and Aberdares)

 

If I find myself in tent number four, I will report back on your 'visitors'.

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Posted (edited)

I have the rest of 2017 booked with non-safari trips, but that doesn't mean I'm not thinking about it. For 2018 I'm contemplating either Botswana or Zambia in the May/June timeframe. As much as I love escaping a Boston winter each February, fretting about flights and snowstorms gives me intestinal distress every year! I met a safari planner at Offbeat Mara who I really clicked with and he handles safari in either country and shot some ideas by me when I was thinking of doing a fall safari this year. I'll wait to see how the technology ban goes over the summer and fall and start seriously planning in September/October timeframe. In the meantime I get to go back and read all the trip reports I haven't yet for Botswana and Zambia!

Edited by amybatt
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Change of plans for me, just booked Antarctica for December 2018. This used to be top of my list, until the safari addiction really took hold. Offbeat Mara may have to wait until 2019!

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