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First safari in Kenya ( and maybe Tanzania)

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My wife and are I planning a safari in Kenya in late January 2012. We are both major animal lovers, and our primary goal is to see as much wildlife as possible, every day.
This will be our first safari, and I have been researching for some time. We have about 12 days, and our budget is around $8000 for both of us.
So far, the best deal I have been able to find is an 8 night Kenya lodge safari from Africa Adventure Company for $5500 for both of us. It will take us through Samburu, Mt. Kenya Park, Lake Nakuru and Maasai Mara and includes a delight back to Nairobi. The lodges are all highly rated. Since we have additional days available, I have asked them to quote a price for an additional couple of nights in a tented camp in the Mara, and we may add an extra night before the safari to explore Nairobi. I expect those additions will bring us close to our budget.
On this safari, our vehicle will be a minibus with a max capacity of 7.
Before I commit to this trip, I have a few questions.
Is it possible to do a comparable trip that includes Tanzania? I have not been able to find one within my price range, but Tanzania sounds amazing and I might be able to increase the budget for a comparable trip that includes Tanzania.
Will we be maximizing opportunities for wildlife viewing with this itinerary? My concern is that we may be following the crowds to more touristy area of the parks, and we would love to find relatively remote locales to watch the animals. We are also interested in night safaris.
Will we be spending too much time driving? My preference is to spend less time in transit if possible, but flying safaris seem considerably more expensive.
Is a vehicle with 7 passengers a good option? It has a pop up roof with all window seats.
Is Africa Adventure Company a good choice? Their reviews have generally been favorable and their rates seem competitive with other larger operators.
This safari really is the trip of a lifetime for us. We have been saving for some time and are very excited.
If anyone has any suggestions or recommendations, we would greatly appreciate it! Thanks for reading this, and all feedback is welcome.

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