Need Kenya advice

Old Jul 24th 2006, 1:35 am
  #1  
Kiran
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Default Need Kenya advice

We are traveling to Kenya in 2nd week of September. Allowing one day
for the jet lag, we'd have 8 full days there.

We have friends in Nairobi and they will help us, but as they too are
new there, I would appreciate advice from the ng. Our friends suggest:

* Amboseili (elephants): No transportation expense, we'd pay for hotel
* Mt. Kenya: No transportation expense, we'd pay for hotel
* Nakuru (flamingos): No transportation expense, we'd pay for hotel
* Mombasa: We need to pay for the flight and hotel
* Masaimara: We have to take a package

Which of these are must-see and which can/should be skipped?

Related question: Which guide book to Kenya do you find most helpful?

Thanks for all advice and comments.
 
Old Jul 24th 2006, 3:33 am
  #2  
Dave Patterson
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Default Re: Need Kenya advice

Kiran wrote:

    > We are traveling to Kenya in 2nd week of September. Allowing one day
    > for the jet lag, we'd have 8 full days there. Our friends suggest:
    > * Amboseili (elephants): No transportation expense, we'd pay for hotel

You are at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro but otherwise, it's a lot of time
on the road for a chance to be close to the large families of elephants.

    > * Mt. Kenya: No transportation expense, we'd pay for hotel

Not much point in going there.

    > * Nakuru (flamingos): No transportation expense, we'd pay for hotel

Small National park - lots of wildlife - inexpensive, but certainly not the

wide open Africa experience.

    > * Mombasa: We need to pay for the flight and hotel

Sort of interesting - a taste of old Kenya in the heart of the city, but
busy, likely very hot. Unless the beach interests you, not worth it.

    > * Masaimara: We have to take a package

Certainly in September, the #1 destination. The migration will be there,
but so will a lot of visitors. Lodges are already fully booked and you
will not find it simple to get space. Unless you are lucky. Working with
a tour company that has space blocked already is the best approach.
Here's a good one: http://www.africa-wildlife-safari.com/

    > Related question: Which guide book to Kenya do you find most helpful?

Honestly, the Lonely Planet book is hard to beat. Yes, it is aimed mostly
at
independent travelers on a budget, but it still has the most facts, maps.
 
Old Jul 24th 2006, 3:52 am
  #3  
Kiran
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Default Re: Need Kenya advice

Dave Patterson <[email protected]> wrote:

Many thanks for your advice. A few quick clarifications:

    > > * Amboseili (elephants): No transportation expense, we'd pay for hotel
    > You are at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro but otherwise, it's a lot of time
    > on the road for a chance to be close to the large families of elephants.

How much time on the road is that approx?

    > > * Mt. Kenya: No transportation expense, we'd pay for hotel
    > Not much point in going there.

Thanks.

    > > * Nakuru (flamingos): No transportation expense, we'd pay for hotel
    > Small National park - lots of wildlife - inexpensive, but certainly not the
    > wide open Africa experience.

Thanks. We do have 8 days to fill, so we might include it then.

    > > * Mombasa: We need to pay for the flight and hotel
    > Sort of interesting - a taste of old Kenya in the heart of the city, but
    > busy, likely very hot. Unless the beach interests you, not worth it.

Thanks. This will also mean flights at extra expense, so we may skip.

    > > * Masaimara: We have to take a package
    >
    > Certainly in September, the #1 destination. The migration will be there,
    > but so will a lot of visitors. Lodges are already fully booked and you
    > will not find it simple to get space. Unless you are lucky. Working with
    > a tour company that has space blocked already is the best approach.
    > Here's a good one: http://www.africa-wildlife-safari.com/

I think our friend said package cost is $450 for 1-day and $600 for
2-days. Does that seem about right? What is a reasonable time to spend
in Masaimara?

    > > Related question: Which guide book to Kenya do you find most helpful?
    > Honestly, the Lonely Planet book is hard to beat.

Thanks, so no surprises here. I am a LP fan too and mostly end up with
their guides. However, for a specific location something else might be
better, so I always check. (Before LP I used to like Fodors, but slowly
I got converted to LP.)
 
Old Jul 24th 2006, 4:15 am
  #4  
Dave Patterson
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Default Re: Need Kenya advice

Kiran wrote:

    > How much time on the road is that approx?

4+ hours each way from almost any place in Nairobi

    > I think our friend said package cost is $450 for 1-day and $600 for
    > 2-days. Does that seem about right? What is a reasonable time to spend
    > in Masaimara?

If expense is something you want to manage, I suggest driving from
Nairobi to Nakuru and spending at least 1 night there. Short drive,
good road. Then drive to Masai Mara for at least 2 nights, maybe 3.
You can fly back to Nairobi for about $125 including tax.

That would be 5 nights - some time lost on the road, but lots
of very good wildlife for sure.
 
Old Jul 24th 2006, 5:33 am
  #5  
Dave Patterson
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Default Re: Need Kenya advice

Kiran wrote:

    > I think our friend said package cost is $450 for 1-day and $600 for
    > 2-days. Does that seem about right?

One more thing - you will see that a flying package is a lot
more than that. Serena Lodges have this one, with 1 night
at Amboseli and 2 nights in the Masai Mara @ $1750
http://www.serenahotels.com/products1.asp?PACKid=16

That's why I mentioned driving in the earlier post.
 
Old Jul 24th 2006, 8:11 am
  #6  
Dave Patterson
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Default Re: Need Kenya advice

habshi wrote:

    > Roads are very bad and will break your back or neck.

Nonsense.

    > Try to
    > fly when you can .

Sure. The escorted safari we offer this year is all-flying.
Very nice.
And very expensive.
Not everyone can afford to fly as much as they would like,
and you will see that all operators still offer some trips
that have no flying at all.
 
Old Jul 24th 2006, 8:37 am
  #7  
Habshi
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Default Re: Need Kenya advice

Roads are very bad and will break your back or neck. Try to
fly when you can .
 
Old Jul 25th 2006, 2:15 am
  #8  
Ngeresa
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Default Re: Need Kenya advice

Herewith below is our proposed itinerary and cost of different Hotels:-

DAY 01
Met on arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, briefed by a
Destination Connect representative, briefed and depart southwards to
Amboseli National Park famous for its spectacular view of the peak of
Mount Kilimanjaro (weather permitting). Arrive at Ol Tukai Lodge /
Similar in time for lunch and at 1600hrs enjoy an afternoon game
viewing drive in the park. Dinner and overnight at Ol Tukai Lodge.

DAY 02
Full day in Amboseli National Park with game drives at 0630 hrs and
1600 hrs. This park is in the shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro, beside Acacia
trees and a natural spring, amidst more big game than almost anywhere
else in Africa. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and overnight at Ol Tukai
Lodge / Similar.

DAY 03
After breakfast, depart for Nairobi arriving for early lunch at the
Pampa Brazilian Bistro restaurant. Therafter, drive towards the Rift
Valley to Lake Nakuru National Park arriving at Lake Nakuru National
park, where you embark on a game drive enroute to Lake Nakuru Lodge/
Sarova Lion Hill . Lake Nakuru is famous for its birdlife especially
flamingos that form a pink hue across the lake. Dinner and overnight at
the lodge.

DAY 04
Depart Naivasha after breakfast and drive through the floor of the Rift
Valley to the world famous Masai Mara game reserve, arriving at Mara
Serena Lodge/ Similar in time for lunch. At 1600hrs enjoy an afternoon
game drive in the reserve. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.

DAY 05
Full day in the reserve with both morning and afternoon game drives at
0630hrs and 1600hrs respectively. The Mara is the northern extension of
the Serengeti and its rolling plains are home to hundreds of plains
game together with predators that feed on them. All meals and overnight
at Mara Serena Lodge/ Similar.

DAY 06, 07 & 08
Depart the Mara after breakfast and drive back to Nairobi arriving
early afternoon. Lunch at the Carnivore restaurant. Carnivore is a
Brazilian style restaurant offering you exotic charcoal grilled game
meat such as crocodile and ostrich dishes, all roasted on a huge wood
fire. Later, transfer to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for your
flight to Mombasa for a 3 nights stay at Sarova Whitesands. Back home.

DAY 09
0800hrs transferred to Moi Airport for your scheduled flight to
Nairobi JKIA airport for your departure flight.
BON VOYAGE!

COSTS

AMBOSELI

Amboseli Serena: Double USD 234.00, Single USD 171.00.
Ol Tukai Lodge (Amboseli): Double USD 294.00, Single USD 234.00

NAKURU

Sarova Lion Hill: Double USD 216.00, Single USD 171.00
Lake Nakuru Lodge: Double USD 162.00, Single USD 142.00

MASAAI MARA

Mara Serena: Double USD 228.00, Single USD 171.00
Sarova Mara: Double USD 222.00, Single USD 177.00

MOMBASA

Whitesands: Double USD 162.00, Single USD 114.00

The above rates are on Full board basis in Amboseli, Nakuru and Masaai
Mara and Half board basis in Mombasa.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch with us for any inquiries you
might be having for Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and any other country in
Africa.
Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.

I would advise Fielding's Kenya. Fielding's Guide to Kenya best hotels,
Safaris & Homestays By : Bridget Glenday, Susan Southwick & John
Westley.

Yours Truly,
Joseph Kimani

Kiran wrote:
    > We are traveling to Kenya in 2nd week of September. Allowing one day
    > for the jet lag, we'd have 8 full days there.
    > We have friends in Nairobi and they will help us, but as they too are
    > new there, I would appreciate advice from the ng. Our friends suggest:
    > * Amboseili (elephants): No transportation expense, we'd pay for hotel
    > * Mt. Kenya: No transportation expense, we'd pay for hotel
    > * Nakuru (flamingos): No transportation expense, we'd pay for hotel
    > * Mombasa: We need to pay for the flight and hotel
    > * Masaimara: We have to take a package
    > Which of these are must-see and which can/should be skipped?
    > Related question: Which guide book to Kenya do you find most helpful?
    >
    > Thanks for all advice and comments.
 
Old Jul 25th 2006, 9:06 am
  #9  
Habshi
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Need Kenya advice

I did the Nairobi -Naivasha road last year and it is EXTREMELY
dangerous , pot holes in the middle of the road and buses lying by the
side where they fell trying to avoid them. To be fair they were
building a new parallel road and so it may be better
The Nairobi -nakuru road is also terrible , I pity those bus
drivers who have to do it daily.
By the way we hired a bus which carried us everywhere and it
was quite cheap.
 
Old Jul 25th 2006, 9:06 am
  #10  
Habshi
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Default Re: Need Kenya advice

Masai Mara is good , but the jeeps are open topped and there
are no windows so a lion can easily drag you out when you are stopped
which makes it more fun. Also the tents in the mara can be ripped open
by lions .Do NOT step out of the jeep , the lions are just waiting for
foolish tourists , two were killed in Zambia last year.
Canivore is fantastic , they have flags which you lower when
you have had enough. You can try alligator , camel etc.
Mombasa is good in the luxury hotels and its fun feeding the
thieving small green monkeys
 
Old Jul 25th 2006, 11:57 am
  #11  
Dave Patterson
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Default Re: Need Kenya advice

habshi wrote:

    > Masai Mara is good , but the jeeps are open topped and there
    > are no windows so a lion can easily drag you out when you are stopped
    > which makes it more fun.

This is just plain nuts.
There are virtually NO open vehicles there. And the
idiocy about the lions raises questions about whether
this poster is trying to be cute?
Or never really been there?
 
Old Jul 25th 2006, 8:21 pm
  #12  
Ngeresa
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Default Re: Need Kenya advice

I suggest Amboseli over Mt.Kenya, there is more activities in Amboseli
than Mt.Kenya .
Lake Nakuru, Mombasa and Maasai Mara these are a must visit.

AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK

Background Information
Amboseli lies immediately North West of Mt. Kilimanjaro, on the border
with Tanzania. Amboseli was established as a reserve in 1968 and
gazetted as a National Park in 1974. The Park covers 392 km2, and forms
part of the much larger 3,000 Km2 Amboseli ecosystem. Large
concentrations of wildlife occur here in the dry season, making
Amboseli a popular tourist destination. It is surrounded by 6
communally owned group ranches.
The National Park embodies 5 main wildlife habitats (open plains,
acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush country, swamps and marshland) and
covers part of a pleistocene lake basin, now dry. Within this basin is
a temporary lake, Lake Amboseli, that floods during years of heavy
rainfall. Amboseli is famous for its big game and its great scenic
beauty - the landscape is dominated by MT Kilimanjaro.

Location:
On the border with Tanzania, Kajiado District, South Kenya; Covers
392km2

Climate:
The climate is mainly hot and dry. Amboseli is in the rain shadow of
Mt. Kilimanjaro. The maximum average temperature of the warmest month
is 33�C during the day, while that of the coldest is 27-28�C. An
annual rainfall of 300mm per annum is distributed in two seasons:
April/May and November/December. Recurrent droughts and potential
evaporation of 2200mm per annum typifies the region (KWS, 1991).

HOW TO GET THERE
Roads:
The main road into the Park is from Nairobi are via Namanga (240 km) on
the Nairobi - Arusha Road, via Meshanani Gate. The road is tarmac upto
Namanga but is badly corrugated and potholed in places from Namanga to
Meshanani Gate (75km). The other road and via Emali (228 km) on the
Nairobi - Mombasa Road. The road is tarmac up to Emali and murram from
Emali to Remito Gate (64 km) Access from Mombasa is mainly through
Tsavo West via Kimana (Olkelunyiet) Gate.

Airstrips:
The park has a single airstrip for light aircraft at Empusel gate.
Other airstrips exist at Kilimanjaro Buffalo lodge and Namanga town.

Park Roads:
Viewing roads network covers the park adequately. Many of the park
viewing roads are not usable during the rains and because of the loose
ashy nature of volcanic soil, the roads become very dusty during the
dry season.

Park Gates:
The park has five gates, Kelunyiet, lremito, Ilmeshanan; Kitirua and
Airstrip.

MAJOR ATTRACTIONS
� Mt. Kilimanjaro
� Mt. Meru
� Observation Hill which allows an overall view of the whole park
especially the swamps and elephants,
� Contemporary Maasai culture and indigenous lifestyle

FACILITIES
Lodges:
Oltukai Lodge; Amboseli Serena Lodge; Kimana Lodge; Tortilis Tented
Lodge.

Campsites:
Nairushari Special; Olgulului Public Campsite; Abercrombie & Kent
Tented Camp; Ker & Downy Tented Camp; Chyulu Tented Camp; Kimbla
Campsite; Cottar's Tented Camp; Leopard Tented Camp; Tortilis Tented
Camp.

ACTIVITIES
Wildlife viewing.

LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK
Background Information
Lake Nakuru is a very shallow strongly alkaline lake 62 km2 in extent.
It is set in a picturesque landscape of surrounding woodland and
grassland next to Nakuru town. The landscape includes areas of marsh
and grasslands alternating with rocky cliffs and outcrops, stretches of
acacia woodland and rocky hillsides covered with a Euphorbia forest on
the eastern perimeter.
The lake catchment is bounded by Menengai crater to the north, the
Bahati hills to the north east, the lion hill ranges to the east, eburu
crater to the south and the mau escarpment to the west. Three major
rivers, the njoro, makalia and enderit drain into the lake, together
with treated water from the town's sewage works and the outflow from
several springs along the shore.
Lake Nakuru was first gazetted as a bird sanctuary in 1960 and upgraded
to National Park status in 1968. A northern extension was added to the
park in 1974 and the lake was designated as a Ramsar site in 1990. The
foundation of the parks food chains is the cyanophyte spirulina
platensis which can support huge numbers of lesser flamingo.

Location:
Central Kenya, 140km north-west of Nairobi, in Nakuru District of the
Rift Valley Povince. It covers an area of 188 km2.

Climate:
Ranges from Cold, Hot and Humid, Hot and Dry. Annual rainfall is 965mm

HOW TO GET THERE
Roads:
The park has a tarmac road connection with Nairobi, a distance of 156
km north west of Nairobi on the main A104 road. The most commonly used
route into the park is via the main gate, 4 km from Nakuru Town Centre.
It is also possible to enter the park from the main Nairobi Nakuru road
at Lanet Gate. The Nderit Gate is used by people accessing the park
from Masai Mara or Elementaita.

Airstrips:
The Naishi airstrip services the park for tourism and KWS activities.

Park Roads:
The park has an adequate and well serviced motorable roads that make
most parts of the park accessible.

Park Gates:
The park has three gates, Main Gate and Lanet Gate that link the park
with the Nairobi-Nakuru highway and the less used Nderit Gate.

MAJOR ATTRACTIONS
� Flamingo (Greater and Lesser) and other water birds including a
variety of terrestrial birds numbering about 450 species in total.
� Mammals: 56 different species including white rhinos.
� View-points: Lion hill, Baboon cliff and Out of Africa
� Hills: Enasoit, Honeymoon, Lion hill ridge etc.
� Waterfalls: Makalia
� Unique vegetation: About 550 different plant species including the
unique and biggest euphorbia forest in Africa, Picturesque landscape
and yellow acacia woodlands.

FACILITIES
Bandas:
Naishi bandas; Rhino banda; Chui banda; Reedbuck banda; KWS Isikon
banda; Nyuki banda; Soysambu banda; Makalia Falls banda; KWS Guest
House; WCK Education Centre & KWS Education Centre bandas.

Lodges:
Lake Nakuru lodge & Sarova Lion Hill Lodge.

Campsites:
Enjoro campsite.

Picnic sites:Makalia Falls Enjoro River Mouth near the main gate,
Baharini, Acacia, Baboon Cliff, Out of Africa, Lion Hill Summit.

ACTIVITIES
Game viewing, bird watching

COMMON VEGETATION
The vegetation is mainly wooded and bushy grassland with a wide
ecological diversity and characteristic habitats that range from the
lake waters to the escarpment and ridges.
The normally water-covered surface of the lake occupies about a third
of the park. The lake water supports a dense bloom of the blue-green
Cyanophyte Spirulina platensis from which it derives its colour and
which is the major food source for the flamingo.

The lake is fringed by alkaline swamps with areas of sedge, Cyprus
laevigatus and typha marsh along the river inflows and springs. The
surrounding areas support a dry transitional savanna with lake margin
grasslands of Sporobolus spicatus salt grass moving into grasslands of
Hyparrhenia hirta and rhodes grass Chloris gayana in the lower areas.

More elevated areas have dry forest with Acacia xanthophloea, olive
Olea hochstetteri and Croton dichogamus; Euphorbia candelabrum forest;
and bushland dominated by the composites, Mulelechwa Tarchonanthus
camphoratus and Psiadia arabica.

Rocky hillsides on the Parks eastern perimeter are covered with
Tarchonanthys scrub and a magnificent Euphobia candelabrum forest

www.destination-connect.com
For more information or enquiries contact us

Kiran wrote:
    > We are traveling to Kenya in 2nd week of September. Allowing one day
    > for the jet lag, we'd have 8 full days there.
    > We have friends in Nairobi and they will help us, but as they too are
    > new there, I would appreciate advice from the ng. Our friends suggest:
    > * Amboseili (elephants): No transportation expense, we'd pay for hotel
    > * Mt. Kenya: No transportation expense, we'd pay for hotel
    > * Nakuru (flamingos): No transportation expense, we'd pay for hotel
    > * Mombasa: We need to pay for the flight and hotel
    > * Masaimara: We have to take a package
    > Which of these are must-see and which can/should be skipped?
    > Related question: Which guide book to Kenya do you find most helpful?
    >
    > Thanks for all advice and comments.
 
Old Jul 26th 2006, 12:35 am
  #13  
Akt
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Need Kenya advice

ngeresa <[email protected]> wrote:

    > I suggest Amboseli over Mt.Kenya, there is more activities in Amboseli
    > than Mt.Kenya .
    > Lake Nakuru, Mombasa and Maasai Mara these are a must visit.

I too have a question about Mombasa: Is it more interesting to take the
train rather than fly? A friend suggested that, at least one way, for a
different experience.

Do you have an opinion on that? How are the trains, technically as well
as for comfort and safety?
 
Old Jul 26th 2006, 12:55 am
  #14  
Ngeresa
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Need Kenya advice

Kenya Railways provides the classic and very enjoyable way to travel
between Nairobi and Mombasa. Indeed, spotting big game from the
Nairobi-Mombasa night express has always been one of Kenya's great
travel experiences.

Look out for impala, giraffe, ostrich and other game whilst taking
breakfast in the restaurant car in the Mombasa to Nairobi direction.
Nairobi to Mombasa is 530km (329 miles). The train can run late, so to
be on the safe side, don't plan any tight connections at the other
end..!


Fares, Nairobi - Mombasa
1st class About ( $50) per person sharing a 2-berth compartment,
including dinner and breakfast in the restaurant car.

2nd class Around ($30) per person sharing a 4-berth compartment.

Children under 3 travel free, 3-11 pay half fare, 12 and over pay adult
fares. How to book.
Historically, the Nairobi-Mombasa train has always run daily, but a few
years ago it was reduced to running 3 days a week. Daily service was
later re-instated, but as from August 2004 it is again reported as
running only 3 times per week, but please double-check with us.

What are Kenyan Trains like...?

Both the Nairobi - Mombasa and Nairobi - Kisumu trains have 1st & 2nd
class sleepers and 3rd class seats with restaurant car serving full
meals, snacks, drinks and beer. Advance reservation is required.

1st class converts from seats to sleeping berths at night with full
bedding, with two berths per compartment plus washbasin.

The 1st class fare includes dinner and breakfast in the restaurant car.
2nd class converts to bunks at night, 4 bunks per compartment plus
washbasin.

For more information about Kenya
visit our website www.destination-connect.com


AKT wrote:
    > ngeresa <[email protected]> wrote:
    > > I suggest Amboseli over Mt.Kenya, there is more activities in Amboseli
    > > than Mt.Kenya .
    > > Lake Nakuru, Mombasa and Maasai Mara these are a must visit.
    > I too have a question about Mombasa: Is it more interesting to take the
    > train rather than fly? A friend suggested that, at least one way, for a
    > different experience.
    > Do you have an opinion on that? How are the trains, technically as well
    > as for comfort and safety?
 
Old Jul 26th 2006, 2:31 am
  #15  
Pat Anderson
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Need Kenya advice

In message <240720060835065696%[email protected]>, Kiran <[email protected]>
writes
    >We are traveling to Kenya in 2nd week of September. Allowing one day
    >for the jet lag, we'd have 8 full days there.
    >We have friends in Nairobi and they will help us, but as they too are
    >new there, I would appreciate advice from the ng. Our friends suggest:
    > * Amboseili (elephants): No transportation expense, we'd pay for hotel
    > * Mt. Kenya: No transportation expense, we'd pay for hotel
    > * Nakuru (flamingos): No transportation expense, we'd pay for hotel
    > * Mombasa: We need to pay for the flight and hotel
    > * Masaimara: We have to take a package
    >Which of these are must-see and which can/should be skipped?
    >Related question: Which guide book to Kenya do you find most helpful?
    >Thanks for all advice and comments.
Kiran,
as you only have eight days in Kenya there is no way that you can do
the programme that you have given us! You have friends in Nairobi so
you may want to spend a couple of days with them, you can fly to
Amboseli or Masai Mara for at least two nights, it will cost more than
going by road, which so far I`ve resisted doing as it takes time and
some roads are "hard going!" Lake Naivasha or Lake Nakuru takes a
couple of hours by road from Nairobi and are pleasant, you will see
flamingos and other wildlife at Nakuru. I have been on the train to
Mombasa many times, it is always overnight and a good way to travel
but honestly I can`t see you fitting the coast into your itinerary, if
you had two weeks at least it would be viable but I think that you will
have to forgo it with only eight days.
Pat
--
Pat Anderson
 

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