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Trip Report Bruce and Marija say jambo to Kenya and Tanzania

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There are those for whom Africa has been a life long dream. And there are those of us who as children fearfully crossed the street at the sight of a dog and preferred I Love Lucy reruns to National Geographic Specials. To be perfectly honest, I never bonded with animals at any point in my life. I never even had a pet. But I did bond with an Eagle Scout who has seen every National Geographic Special at least a dozen times.

Despite our markedly dissimilar zoological backgrounds, Bruce and I share a great enthusiasm for travel. As we gently emerge from youth, we've decided the time has come to get up from Parisian cafes and out of Roman museums and visit must-see-before-we're-really-not-young destinations. Last year we successfully tackled China on our own. This year it was to be Egypt. I diligently researched an itinerary, grumbling about why there were so many more African postings than Egyptian ones on the Fodors board. Then in April our neighbors who had just returned from South Africa sternly admonished us to go to Africa and to do it now. Easily suggestible, we bought into their compelling argument that Egyptian treasures have proven remarkably resilient to the passage of time while Africa's are so much more fragile.

It was easy to decide that we are going to Africa this September. It was the details that got us. We've never taken a tour but toyed with the idea that maybe we should, especially since time was short, Africa big, and we knew nothing about planning a safari. However, tours weren't a particularly appealing option since I had priced some Abercrombie and Kent tours for China and knew their large markup. Besides being value oriented (OK, cheap), we don't like being told what to do, unless someone's paying us serious money for the right to do so. The wise Africa travelers on this site so generously volunteered their advice and helped us put together our East African itinerary. In retrospect there's something to be said for ignorance. If I knew in April what I now know about Africa, I'd still be anguishing over the ideal trip and we certainly wouldn't be leaving today. So many destinations, so many lodges, so many camps!!! And to complicate matters even further, unlike treasures in other countries, stuff in Africa moves. The wildebeests that are in Tanzania today may be in Kenya tomorrow...

We booked with CCAfrica and you can read my tale of woe with them. It never got better. Surprisingly we didn't have difficulty booking desirable accommodations even at such a late date. In retrospect I should have booked a CC Africa trip using an agent. Since CC Africa doesn't give a break for direct bookings it seems to me that having an agent who's actually interested and knowledgeable about Africa would have been wonderful.

Our trip is: London (3) Nairobi/Norfolk Hotel (1) Giraffe Manor (1) Campi ya Kanzi (2) Bataleur (3) Lake Manyara Lodge (2) Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (2) and Tanzania under Canvas (4).

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