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Uganda -- lodging, guides, places to go and things to do

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We are in the mist of planning a 70 days of travel in Kenya – 30 days, Uganda – 15 days, and Tanzania -- 25 starting in June 2009. Does anyone have a recommendation for a travel company – we are planning on traveling by ourselves, in a group, and with a driver?

I am thinking of driving a portion of our trip – any thoughts?

Any thoughts on must do things or places?

Any thoughts on places to stay? We are thinking moderate to luxury – we do have a budget to maintain.

We typically spend money on guides: birds, wildlife, day hiking, etc. Again, any recommendations?

Any recommendations on how to travel from point A to point B anywhere in these three countries? Again, our budget is a consideration.

Finally, things we need to know for our travels?

Thanks

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    Travel between countires--Flights between Arusha, Tanzania; Nairobi, Kenya; and Entebbe, Uganda are frequent and fairly convenient.

    Travel within, driving or flying or a combo works. Most people hire a driver/guide.

    When you have an idea on which of the many places, parks, etc. you want to go in the countries, then deciding on driving or flying and figuring the routing can be done.

    Birds--Queen Elizabeth National Park and the boat ride on the Kazinga Channel. Also good eles there, bats, and the giant forest hog. You can track chimps there as well. There is a nice day hike near the bat cave to a picturesque lake. I only had time for the bat cave so no additional details.

    Chimps--Ngamba Island where you may be able to walk with young chimps into the forest. This is a Jane Goodall operation of rescued chimps living in a wild setting.

    Chimps in the wild--Kibale. You hike to see them.

    Gorillas-Bwindi. You hike up steep hills to see them.

    You might also consider Rwanda for gorillas.

    Back to the flights--Kigali, Rwanda fits in there nicely as a stop. If you hit Rwanda first, you can do a gorilla trip in the am in Rwanda and end up near the gorillas by night in Uganda, and be ready for more gorilla tracking the following morning.

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    I would say that if you're planning to drive yourself in Uganda that you be familiar with auto repair. I saw quite a few vehicles (including vehicles I was in) succumb to the rough roads.

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    Thanks for the info. Am going to look at Rwanda and am starting to think driving myself may not be a good idea.

    Several African travelers have asked that I provide more info in order to provide better responses. Here goes:

    We have been in the planning stage for about a month. We are my wife and I – 58 and 60 years spent on this planet. We are birders, like day hiking, own a two person kayak, and spend much more time outside than inside cities. Two years ago we did 7 weeks in India and then on to Bhutan for 16 days. Five years ago we left for 5 months in South America with a one way plane ticket, three reservations (1st night in Quito, a trip to the G. Is. and a trip to Manu RF), and backpacks.

    Basis for this trip is Lonely Planet’s “Watching Wildlife East Africa”. Also LP’s “East Africa” and Footprint’s “Kenya” and “Tanzania”. I believe we have included stops at all the “Top Spots to Go” birding in “Watching Wildlife E. A.” (p.42 – 42)

    We expect our trip to combine a group tour or two, driver and us, and public transportation. Trip includes white water rafting, snorkeling, day and night walks, UNESCO sites, Kondoa rock paintings, animal sighting, and birding. Legs are getting old so a day of rest every two to three weeks.

    The preliminary itinerary we have is by no means set in stone. Not knowing where to start we decided on Nairobi – lots of flights into. Nairobi one full day to recover from jet lag then to Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru, Lake Bogoria, Lake Baringo, Lake Tukuna, Samburu, Mt. Kenya (to bird not climb) Kakamega and then to Uganda. Uganda: Jinga, Murchison Falls, Ft. Portal and Kibale Forest and S. Valley, Queen Eliz, Bwindi, and Lake Mburo. On to Tanzania – have four days from Lake Mburo to Serengeti by way of Rubondo Is (haven’t figured this travel out), N. Crater, Arusha, Lake Manyara, Taragire, Rusha N.P., Udzngwa Mountains, Selous, fly to Zanzibar, fly to Mombasa, Keyna. Kenya: Mobmasa, Malindi, Lamu Island, Mombasa, Tsarvo East, Amboseli, Nairobi, and home. There are several stops not listed but this gives you a basic idea of where and what we want to do.

    Lodging, guides, transportation, places to go and things to do???? Recommendations requested and always welcomed.

    Thanks

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