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Massai Mara in January

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Hi folks,
we are planning to go to Kenya this January, actually in the Massai Mara.
Plan is to go to Ol Seki Mara Camp in the Naboisho conservancy for 6 nights (they offer a stay 3 pay 2), and 4 nights in the Offbeat Camp in Mara North (they offer stay 4 pay 3).
Anybody has input esp. about Ol Seki Camp?
Would that be too much time in the Naboisho conservancy?
I watched up and down to find camps to fit into our budget (€ 6000 for 10 nights excluding transfer for 2). This seemed to be the most interesting possible combination.
Thanks for your help
Thomas

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I will also be in Offbeat Mara this January! When will you be there? I am going there for 4 nights after a 2 week trip to Uganda. I will arrive there on January 10 and leave late on the 14th. I can't wait! This will be my first trip to Kenya although I have been on two other trips to Southern Africa.

 

Margo

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I guess they also have acess to Ol kinyei concession right? 

Otherwise I would say its a couple of nights too long. 
I stayed 4 nights in Ol kinyei with also access to Naboisho and could easily stayed some more.

If you have access to them both you are fine. Otherwise it´s going to be too much the same same... if you know what I mean :)  

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I don't think Naboisho has access to Ol Kenyei.  Ol Kenyeii does have access to Naboisho though.  That is what I was told by my guide at Porini Mara Camp.  I thought 4 days in Ol Kenyei was about right, but it may differ for you.  

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I was in Naboisho in Feb 2016 and at Offbeat Mara in Mara North in Feb 2017.  It's all purely anecdotal and dependent on the guiding, I'm sure, but I could have stayed at Offbeat for another month and likely not get bored.  I don't know that I'd have stayed in Naboisho for 6 nights (I stayed 5) unless you go into the Reserve on a day trip or two (but that's easier to do from Offbeat Mara).  I found it more work to find sightings in Naboisho and we were pulling off sightings to allow others in more than I would have preferred, which is a testament to how trafficked it was at that time of year.  We never had to back off a sighting once in Mara North with Offbeat guides because we were usually alone at them.  Naboisho doesn't have rights into Ol Kinyei but those in Ol Kinyei (which is really just the two Porini camps) can come into Naboisho.  You will be blessed at Offbeat with fabulous safari.  They really know how to do it.  And be sure to try a walking safari with camp manager Jesse. He'd just gotten certified for that when we were there but we didn't have time to try it before he was off on a break for a few days.

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Hi Thomas,

I met some people in Tanzania in June who mentioned that the Kicheche camps in the Mara had a very very high rate of repeat guests ....... Something to ponder about.  They have 3 camps in the Mara conservancies ...... Just FYI do look into it.

 

Hari.

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With that budget for two, that's probably as good as you can get, unless someone else is running a special. Sorry, I don't know anything about Ol Seki other than its existence and that vehicles looked fine when I saw them.

 

I don't think 6 nights is too much, especially given your options. For me it's never the same and there is an option of going into the reserve (a long day out  for sure, but I think you would enjoy that - we did). However, 8 nights in Mara North wouldn;t be too much either. I've exceeded both lengths of stay in those conservancies (doing 9 in Mara North and 7 in Naboisho) and did not regret it at all - although some days were more excirting than others of course.

 

Christmas into mid-January can be wet - although rain is quite unpredicatable at the moment. Has to be really, really heavy in the Mara to interrupt things much though.

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Thanks all for your comments.
A few days ago I received a quote from ATR and it exceeded my budget. In my cost planning I did not include the concession fees as I was not aware of that. They don´t tell on their website and for me it is not understandable why the camps don´t directly include it in their rates. Might be some do and others don´t, I don´t know.
However, this makes trip planning to Africa so complicated and might lead customers in a wrong direction. Heavy prices get even more heavy and leave customers somehow frustrated.
Nonetheless, I now booked a  road trip from Nairobi to Masai Mara (4 nights) to Lake Naivasha (1 night) to Amboseli (2 nights) to Tsavo West (2 nights).

From there to the coast.

It is not exactly the trip I dreamed of, but it fits in my budget.
We travel with Sunworld Safaris, a reliable austrian/kenyan operator, we travelled with twice in Kenya and once in Tanzania.
Thomas

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Hi Thomas, I also used Sunworld on my first trip, and was absolutely satisfied with them. Are you staying at their Mara Bush Camp? I enjoyed that one very much.

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40 minutes ago, michael-ibk said:

Hi Thomas, I also used Sunworld on my first trip, and was absolutely satisfied with them. Are you staying at their Mara Bush Camp? I enjoyed that one very much.

We wanted to stay in their Mara Bush Camp, but it was full, so they upgraded us to their Mara Bush Camp - Private Wing :D

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Actually only a few camps include the concession fees in their rates and I agree it must be a bit annoying to find that out, as those fees are not minimal.

 

You really made some major changes to the original itinerary. Anyway, you're going and that is the most important thing.

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1 hour ago, pault said:

Actually only a few camps include the concession fees in their rates and I agree it must be a bit annoying to find that out, as those fees are not minimal.

 

We spent some time in finding places that fits our needs and budget. In the end it all was worth nothing.
It seems, that it is not possible to compare the rates in these concessions as long as there is not one similar standard.

 

1 hour ago, pault said:

You really made some major changes to the original itinerary. Anyway, you're going and that is the most important thing.

 

In fact, that is the original wish of my wife. She wanted to see the Kili again. So everything is good. I now like the idea myself. We will see a lot of Kenya besides National Parks.

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