3 wks in Aug to plan in Tanzania &/or Kenya

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Oct 3rd, 2004, 05:09 AM
  #1
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3 wks in Aug to plan in Tanzania &/or Kenya

We're starting from scratch in planning our first visit to Africa, departing NY on about July 29 into Nairobe and returning on about Aug 19 from Dar. Air reservations have not yet been confirmed so we can make changes if necessary. Our son is working in Arusha for the summer and we'll meet up with him either in Arusha or Nairobe, depending on our itinerary.
Could someone please help us with an itinerary and/or tour operator(s)? We thought it might be nice to finish up with a bit of time in Zanzibar before we fly home, but that's not essential.
We're not looking for luxury tours, but would really prefer flush loos (showers, if possible). Just would like clean, safe and reasonably nice accommodations. We've tent camped all across the US, so we're comfortable with that. We'd rather put the money into what we see and do rather than where we stay.
On other trips, we've found in-country travel agents and have come out much better that way. I don't know if that's the case here? Would we be better off having our son book everything when he's actually in Arusha? He won't be arriving there until mid May.
Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks.
Sharon
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Oct 3rd, 2004, 05:46 AM
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saron815 - The period you plan to travel is the start of the Migration of wildebeest, zebra, antelop from the Serengeti to the Masai Mari and is a very busy season. If you wait till May, you are likely to be closed out of accommodations, at all price ranges.

I would suggest you contact Roy Safaris at www.roysafaris.com who are located in Arusha. Give them an idea of how much time you wish to spend in Tanzania (Roy's specialty) and Kenya (Roy's can coordinate this portion for you). Roy's will probably also have a connection for air reservations, so do ask then compare with fares you can get on your own.

Provide Roys with your budget (hi & low), type of accommodations you would like, number of days at each, preferences regarding anything, possible options of flying versus driving, especially for some of the long distances encountered in Aast Africa, and Roys should be able to put together a preliminary itinerary - a place to begin.

Then feel free to discuss with your son and come back to this board if you have any specific questions re accommodations, particular parks/reserves, etc. This is a good way to start.

And I would recommend you buy or borrow from library a good guidebook on East Africa for backround information that will be useful in this endeavor. Now is the time to start planning next year's trip.
 
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Oct 4th, 2004, 11:06 AM
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Thanks very much for your help, Sandi. I've e-mailed Roy's and am awaiting their reply. I'll do some more research on my own, as well, and come back to this board with a preliminary itinerary for your feedback. Do you think 17 days on the ground is workable or should we try to extend a bit?
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Oct 4th, 2004, 11:37 AM
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We went this past July and had about 17-18 days on the ground. Flew into Nairobi, took the shuttle bus to Arusha (we loved it, but I guess not everyone feels the same way; we pretty much loved everything on this trip as it was our first time in Africa).

Like you, we camp for fun in the US, so we had a couple of days camping and then stayed in some mediocre lodges on safari--again, we quite enjoyed the camping and then the relative luxury of lodges. It was really a fabulous experience, and if you're looking to save money on accommodations, the camping wasn't really difficult at all. They do everything but sleep for you.

We used Easy Travel & Tours, based in Arusha. You can find their web address on the TATO web site. I think it's something like easytravel.co.tz...They were very professional, and we loved our driver/guide and cook.

We too relaxed in Zanzibar after the safari. Had a couple of days in Stone Town and then about four days on the beach near Bwejuu.

I can't begin to tell you how much this trip meant to me. Have a wonderful time!
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Oct 4th, 2004, 11:47 AM
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Thanks for the info, Leely. Could you possibly post your itinerary to help me get started? Did you arrange the stay in Zanibar on your own or thru the tour company? What do you think might be a reasonable budget for the trip? I'll also contact Easy Travel; I found them on TATO. All advice is much appreciated.
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Oct 4th, 2004, 01:01 PM
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Sharon,

I have all that information...somewhere. But I can reconstruct it roughly for you here.

First of all, we left July 1 and didn't start planning the trip until early April, so I think you may be able to come up with something perhaps a bit better. Also, I e-mailed Easy Travel about a million times with little revisions to the itinerary and it all worked out fine. We had them arrange our flights (Arusha-Zan and Zan-Nairobi on Precision Air) because in the end it was just easier and I was getting bogged down with details. They also arranged to have someone pick us up at the airport in Nairobi--we ended up just hiring him for the day and had a great time with him. But we weren't wild about the hotel in Nairobi and in hindsight I would have specified where we wanted to stay there. Although it was quite interesting!

Day 1: arrive Nairobi on Kenya Air around 6am. Went to hotel, showered, ate breakfast and went out the Sheldrick Rhino/Elephant orphanage, the Giraffe Center, Karen Blixen Museum, Carnivore. Then out to drinks with our guide at a local place with music.

Day 2: Shuttle bus to Arusha. Overnight in Arusha (Impala Hotel; it was fine and in the end we were glad we were staying here b/c we could change money, buy stamps for postcards, etc., all in the lobby).

Day 3: Off to Tarangire. Overnight at some campsite outside the park. There were outhouse type loos and a drip-drop barely-get-you-wet shower. We liked it!

Day 4: Lake Manyara. Overnight at a little guesthouse/campground in...Karatu? A bit like a KOA although I've never been to one, so I'm not sure. It was HOT there and they had a pool and a bar. Other "campers": youngish Europeans. It was fun. (The great benefit of the camping was that we dined with our guide, something we couldn't do at the lodges. At least it was not done at the lodges we visited.)

Day 5-8 or 9?: Serengeti. We stayed at the Wildlife Lodge. Nothing fancy and the food was better when we were camping. Our room had an incredible view and I thought the lodge was well-located.

Day 9: Serengeti to Ngorongoro (leisurely, game viewing en route). Overnight at Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge. Again, lodge was okay. Really nice waiter trainees, though, friendly people at desk, etc.

Day 10: Ngorongoro Crater. Late afternoon to Kifaru Coffee Lodge (about an hour away, mostly good road) for dinner and overnight there. Pool, tennis courts. We were way too tired to use them. Food was great here and the staff was sweet.

Day 11: Coffee Lodge 1/2 day, then back to Arusha. Overnight in Arusha (Impala Hotel).

Day 12-14: Fly to Zanzibar. Stonetown.

Day 14-17: Sunrise Guest House by Bwejuu. (I arranged these accommodations myself).

Day 17 or 18: Fly Zanzibar-Nairobi and then Nairobi-London-SFO.

If you do end up booking with Easy Travel try to get Adriano as your guide. He's a lovely man. I had done a last-minute slapdash teach-myself-Swahili thing. My Swahili seemed to really crack everyone up. But they really, really appreciated it.

Let me know if you need anything else. I don't think you can really go wrong no matter what you do/where you go. Roy's is obviously a really reputable company, too. I think as long as use use something from TATO and ask for references you'll be okay. Stay flexible and be willing to laugh at yourself!
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Oct 4th, 2004, 01:17 PM
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Oops, sorry about my crippling reliance on the word "really."
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Oct 7th, 2004, 02:38 PM
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I've started receiving replies from several companies I contacted based on recommendations from fodorites. So far, I've heard back from Roy's, Easy Travel, and ATR. I'm waiting for replies from TSA (Tanzania Serengeti Adven)and Eastern and Southern Safaris.

Before I start posting any itineraries for your comments, I'm hoping someone can help me narrow down whether we should spend the whole time (about 18 days on the ground)in Tanzania or also visit Kenya. Also, is a visit to Zanibar at the end a good idea or would be better spend our time visiting another game park?

Thanks again for all your help.
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Oct 8th, 2004, 04:23 AM
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sharon815

Of course there is no set schedule for the Migration - exactly where the herds will be from year to year, but for end July the herds will likely be in the west and northern Serengeti, soon to be in the Mara by mid-August. You might want to spend the beginning of your trip in Tanzania, then take a mid-trip 3-day break on Zanzibar Island, then head into Kenya and spend your last days in the Masai Mara. Or go from Tanzania into Kenya and the Mara and end with a few days in Zanzibar. From Zanzibar it is easy to get to Dar for your departure flight.

See what kind of itinearies you receive from the varous oufitters you contacted and the programs they've suggested - which best fits what you wish to do.
 
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Oct 10th, 2004, 05:26 AM
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Would it be too overwhelming (or impolite) if i post several different itineraries that i've received? There are some significant differences in locations recoed and I need help to narrow things down and move ahead.
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Oct 10th, 2004, 05:31 AM
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sharon815 - of course it is. How else can we help in any other way. Go ahead.
 
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Oct 10th, 2004, 06:17 AM
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Thanks, Sandi. Here goes. I've tried to condense them and I'll save pricing from different operators til later since the itineraries aren't comparable yet... Thanks in advance!

Roy's: (i'd need to cut 3 days since we don't arrive into Nairobi til nite of 31 july and fly out of dar morning of 19 aug. Roy's also suggested aas an alternative going from Masai Mara to Lake Victoria via Musoma, coming into the Serengeti from the west)
Day 1 (30th July) - Arrive Nairobi. Overnight Hotel in Nairobi (Fairview or Serena)
Day 2 (31st July) - After pre-safari briefing and introduction, transfer to Maasai Mara. O/n Mara Serena or Mara Sopa Lodge
Day 3 (1st Aug) - Full day at Maasai Mara. o/n Mara Serena or Mara Sopa Lodge
Day 4 (2nd Aug) - Transfer from Maasai Mara to Nairobi for Lunch. Drive on to Amboseli for dinner and overnight. o/n Amboseli Serena or Amboseli Sopa Lodge
Day 5 (3rd Aug) - Full day at Amboseli. o/n Amboseli Serena or Amboseli Sopa Lodge
Day 6 (4th Aug) - Transfer to Namanga border. Drive to Arusha for pre-safari brief for Tanzania sector, and transfer to hotel in Arusha for overnight (Mountain Village, Moivaro or Impala)
Day 7 (5th Aug) - Day at leisure in Arusha - or you could go on a cultural tour visiting local villages, participating in a local development project, souvenir shopping, etc (optional). o/n Mountain Village, Moivaro or Impala Hotel
Day 8 (6th Aug) - Drive to Tarangire National Park. Game drive until sunset. O/n Campsite or Tarangire Sopa Lodge or Kikoti Tented Camp
Day 9 (7th Aug) - Drive to Manyara National Park. Game drive. o/n Campsite or Lake Manyara Serena Lodge or Kirurumu Tented Camp/Lake Manyara Hotel
Day 10 (8th Aug) - Transfer to Serengeti via Olduvai Gorge. O/n Campsite or Serengeti Sopa/Wildlife Lodge or Serengeti Serena Lodge
Day 11 (9th Aug) - Full day in the Serengeti (*optional Serengeti balloon safari at dawn followed by champagne bush breakfast). o/n Campsite or Ikoma Bush Camp or Kirawira/Migration Luxury Tented Camps(northwest of Serengeti where you may encounted the migration)
Day 12 (10th Aug) - Another full day in the Serengeti. o/n Campsite or Ikoma Bush Camp or Kirawira/Migration Luxury Tented Camps
Day 13 (11th Aug) - Game drive in the Serengeti enroute to Ngorongoro for overnight. o/n campsite or Ngorongoro Sopa/Wildlife Lodge or Ngorongoro Serena Lodge
Day 14 (12th Aug) - Descend into the crater for a full day of game viewing with picnic lunches. o/n campsite or Ngorongoro Sopa/Wildlife lodge or Ngorongoro Serena Lodge
Day 15 (13th Aug) - After breakfast visit Maasai Village and Olmoti Crater for a trek with an armed ranger (or the Empakaai Crater or Mount Lemagrut -all these treks take up to 4 hours including the drive).Lunch and visit Nainokanoka Maasai village before driving back to Arusha. o/n Mountain Village Lodge or Impala Hotel
Day 16 (14th Aug) - Morning at leisure in Arusha. Around 14h00 depart for flight to Zanzibar. On arrival transfer to Tembo House Hotel or Emerson & Green hotel in Stone Town for overnight.
Day 17 (15th Aug) - Full day in Stone Town - cultural tour and spice plantation tour (optional excursions). o/n Tembo House Hotel or Emerson & Green Hotel.
Day 18 (16th Aug) - Transfer to beach resort - (see list below)
Day 19 & 20 (17th-18th Aug) - Days at leisure on the beach. o/n beach resort
Day 21 (19th Aug) - Transfer to Dar for onward return international flight.

Eastern&Southern: (also need to cut days)
Day 1: Nairobi: Arrive Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta Intl Airport. Meet and transfer to Nairobi Safari Club for overnight on Bed & Breakfast.
Day 2: Samburu: Depart Nairobi in the morning and drive through central Kenya and north across the equator to Samburu National Reserve arriving Samburu Serena Lodge in time for lunch. Afternoon game drive. Dinner and overnight at the lodge. Approx transit time: 5? hrs
Day 3: Samburu:Full day in Samburu, a beautiful and and game abundant park, home to rarely found species such as the Beisa Oryx, Grevy's zebra, blue-necked Somali ostrich and reticulated giraffe. Morning and afternoon game drives with an optional visit to a local Samburu village.Samburu Serena Lodge.
Day 4: Mountain Lodgeepart Samburu after breakfast and drive to the lower slopes of Mt. Kenya arriving Serena Mountain Lodge (tree hotel) in time for lunch. Relax the afternoon away as you watch game from the balcony with an optional guided nature walk. Overnight floodlit game viewing. Dinner and overnight at the tree hotel.
Approx transit time: 3 hrs
Day 5: Lake Nakuruepart in the morning and drive to the floor of the Rift Valley - to Lake Nakuru National Park making a brief stop at Nyahururu Thomson Falls. Arrive Lake Nakuru Lodge in time for lunch. Afternoon game drive.Besides the flamingos that the lake is famous for, there are approx 400 other species of birds visiting the lake. Also, many species of game can be found in the park including the introduced Rothschild's giraffe, black and white rhino, waterbuck, reedbuck, lion, buffalo, leopard, baboon and many species of plains game.Dinner and overnight at the lodge.Approx Transit time: 3 hrs
Day 6: Maasai Maraepart Lake Nakuru in the morning and drive further along the floor of the Rift Valley to Maasai Mara Game Reserve, arriving Mara Serena Lodge in time for lunch. Afternoon game drive. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.Approx transit time: 5? hrs
Day 7 & 8: Maasai Mara:Two full days in Maasai Mara, Kenya's most popular game sanctuary where you will have the best opportunity of spotting the Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant). Morning and afternoon game drives with an optional visit to a local Maasai village. All meals and overnight at Mara Serena Lodge.
Day 9: Nairobiepart Maasai Mara in the morning and drive back to Nairobi arriving approx 1300hrs. Lunch on own/afternoon at leisure. Overnight at Nairobi Safari Club on bed & breakfast basis.Approx transit time: 5? hrs
Day 10: Amboseliepart Nairobi after breakfast and drive to Amboseli National Park arriving Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge in time for lunch. Afternoon game drive. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.Approx transit time: 4 hrs
Day 11: Lake Manyara:Early morning pre-breakfast game drive when you have the best chance to see Mt. Kilimanjaro. Drive back to the lodge for breakfast, then depart for Namanga border where you change driver/guide and vehicle then proceed to Arusha for lunch at Impala Hotel. Proceed to Lake Manyara National Park for dinner and overnight at Lake Manyara Serena Lodge.Approx transit time: 6 hrs
Day 12: Serengeti:Morning game drive in Manyara Park, a park dotted with exotic trees such as the giant fig, baobab and mahogany and famous for lions that sprawl on trees. Depart after lunch for Serengeti Serena Lodge for dinner and overnight.Approx transit time: 4 hrs
Day 13: Serengeti:Full day in Serengeti. Morning and afternoon game drives in the rolling grasslands studded with wildlife for as far as the eye can see National Park. All meals and overnight at Serengeti Serena Lodge.
Day 14: Ngorongoro:Another morning game drive in Serengeti, departing after lunch for Ngorongoro via Olduvai Gorge for a brief visit of the museum. Dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge.Approx transit time: 3 hrs
Day 15: Ngorongoro
After breakfast, descend into the crater floor with picnic lunch boxes for a full day crater tour. Return to Ngorongoro Serena Lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 16: Arusha / Zanzibar
Depart after breakfast and drive to Arusha for lunch at Impala Hotel, transfer to the airport for your scheduled flight to Zanzibar. On arrival, meet and transfer to Breezes Beach Club. Dinner and overnight at the club.
Day 17 - 20: Leisure at the beach - Zanzibar
Spend four days in Zanzibar at leisure or do optional activities arranged on request at the hotel desk. Lunches on own account. Dinner and overnights at the club.
Day 21: Zanzibar / Dar / Depart
Transfer to the airport for a schedule flight to Dar

Sun Trek: (this proposal is only 12 days w/o Zanibar)
Day 1 Depart Nairobi at 0730hrs on a scenic drive through the Loita Plains, via the Masai town of Narok to the Masai Mara Game Reserve, arriving Mara Sopa Lodge in time for lunch. Early evening game drive in the magnificent reserve. Dinner & overnight, Mara Simba Lodge.
Day 2 Enjoy the thrill of pre-breakfast game drive before returning to the lodge for a hearty breakfast. Evening game drive in this wonderful reserve, home to virtually every type of wildlife, including the black manned Lion, Rhino, Leopard, Buffalo & Elephant (The Big five)
Dinner & overnight, Mara Simba Lodge.
Day 3 Final pre-breakfast game drive, return to the lodge for breakfast then depart on a scenic drive to Lake Nakuru National Park, where millions of flamingoes turn the shore of the lake to pink. Arrive the Lion Hill Lodge in time for lunch. Evening game drive, in this beautiful Park which boasts Kenya's first Rhino Sanctuary, home to rare black Rhino.
Dinner & overnight, Lion Hill Lodge.
Day 4 Depart after breakfast for Mount Kenya National Park. Arrival in time for lunch at the Mountain Lodge for the unique experience of all night and unlimited game viewing, surrounded by forest and overlooking an illuminated waterhole and salt lick.
Dinner and overnight Mountain Lodge .
Day 5 Depart Mountain lodge for Nairobi. Stop for lunch in the city.
Depart after lunch for Amboseli National Park, situated at the foot of towering Mt. Kilimanjaro (the tallest Mt. In Africa). This park is best known for its abundance of Elephant. Arrival in the early evening.
Dinner & overnight, Amboseli Serena Lodge.
Day 6 Enjoy the thrill of pre-breakfast game drive, an excellent time to view game when the snow clad peaks of Mt. Kilimanjaro are at their most spectacular.
Early evening game drive includes a visit to the Swamps which teem with all sorts of wild life & an amazing assortment of birds.
Dinner & overnight, Amboseli Serena Lodge.
Day 7 After an early breakfast, you will depart via the Namanga boarder to arrive Arusha in time for lunch at Impala Hotel
After lunch, you will depart for Lake Manyara arriving at the Lake Manyara Serena Lodge in time for dinner and overnight.
Day 8 In the morning you will embark on a game drive in Manyara National parkProceed to Kifaru Lodge for lunch. There will be an opportunity to do guided walking at the Shangri-La coffee farm followed by lunch.at Kifaru Lodge. After lunch proceed to Serengeti National Park.
Dinner and overnight Serengeti Sopa Lodge.
Day 9 Full day in Serengeti with early morning and afternoon game drives.
All meals and overnight at the Serengeti Sopa Lodge.
Day 10 Morning game drive in Serengeti after breakfast Return to Serengeti Sopa lodge for lunch After lunch depart for Ngorongoro via the Olduvai Gorge, better known as the "Cradle of Mankind" as this is where professor Richard Leakey found the oldest existing human remains. Arrival in the evening. Dinner & overnight Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge
Day 11 Depart after breakfast on a full day tour of the Crater. Today you will have a rustic picnic lunch in the reserve. Return to Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 12 After breakfast you will return to Arusha, where you will be able to have lunch at the Impala Hotel. Depart via Namanga to arrive Nairobi approx. 1800hrs.Pass by the world famous Carnivore restaurant to dinner, then transfer to the airport in time for your flight out.End of tour

ATR: (all in Tanzania)
Day One: Arusha : Moivaro. Depending on who you fly with you will need to allow for one or two days in Arusha before heading out on safari. I suggest this as you may be rather tired from your long flight and it gives you some time to relax before the safari starts. For now I have included a one night stay in Arusha.
Day Two/Three : Tarangire National Park : Mawe Ninga. The safari leaves from Arusha and spends the first two nights in Tarangire. lodges in this Mawe Ninga
Day Four : Tarangire or Lake Manyara : Gibbs Farm. This morning you have a choice. Either spend all day in the Tarangire Park and then head out of the park to Gibbs Farm or you can drive from Tarangire to Lake Manyara, where you can spend the better part of the day seeing this pretty little park.
Day Five : Serengeti : Olduvai Camp. Today you head up to the Ngorongoro Crater. This is one of the undisputed wonders of the world. Its 22km caldera is a microcosm of East Africa and must be the only place where you can virtually guarantee great game-viewing every day of the year. The crater is, of course, a hotspot for safari traffic, so don't expect to have the place to yourself (although if
you are first down in the morning you can often be virtually alone in the crater for hours). The accommodation is disgracefully poor for the location, apart from the Crater Lodge and this is why we suggest spending the day on the Crater floor before heading down to the southern Serengeti for a stay at Olduvai Camp. Olduvai Camp is somewhere that shouldn't be missed.It's location in the middle of the short grass plains means that you are off the beaten track and can take the opportunity to go walking with the Maasai. The camp is unique and special and works in complete harmony with the local people.
Day Six/Seven : Serengeti : Ronjo Camp.After a night at Olduvai I have suggested heading up into the Central Serengeti and spending a couple of nights camping. The accommodation in the area is very poor which is why we suggest spending a couple of nights out in the bush. We have our own private campsite, where camp is already set up prior to your arrival. Accommodation is in domed tents with camp beds and a toilet and shower tent is provided close by. This camp is used exclusively for our customers with a maximum of eight people in camp at any one time. There is a cook who will be there to prepare your meals over the campfire.
Day Eight : Serengeti : Olduvai Camp. After a couple of nights camping you will no doubt be ready for a comfortable bed and a hot shower. I have therefore suggested ending the safari back at Olduvai Camp.
Day Nine : Departure. Depending on your onward travel arrangements you may have time for a walk with the local Masaai or head straight back to Arusha. If you are thinking of going onto the beach for some time to relax, then we can arrange for your guide to drop you at Manyara Airstrip where you will board a flight straight down to Zanzibar.
ZANZIBAR (for remaining days)

Easy Travel: only gave me an 8 day propoal
Day 1-On this day we will pick you from the shuttle bus terminal transfer you to OutPost lodge for bed and breakfast.
Day 2-After breakfast pass to our office for pre-safari breafing,thereafter with picnic lunch boxes,drive to Tarangire National Park for the game drive.Dinner and Overnight at Tarangire sopa/WildPalm Campsite.
Day 3-On this day after breakfast you will collect your picnic lunch boxes and procced to ngorongoro for a crater view.Dinner and Overnight at Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge/Simba Campsite.
Day 4-After breakfast,collect lunch boxes for a full day crater view,Dinner and Overnight at Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge/Simba Campsite.
Day 5-On this day after breakfast you will collect your picnic lunch boxes,enroute game drive to Serengeti via Olduvai gorge.Dinner and Overnight at Seronera Wildlife Lodge/Seronera Campsite.
Day 6-Full day game drive in sSerengeti.Dinner and Overnight at Seronera Wildlife Lodge/Seronera Campsite.
Day 7-After breakfast you will collect your lunch boxes,enroute game drive to Lake Manyara National Park.Dinner and Overnight at Lake Manyara Hotel/Kudu Campsite.
Day 8-On this day you will collect your lunch boxes and proceed to the park for the game drive,late evening come back to Arusha.Overnight at OutPost Lodge on bed and breakfast basis.
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Oct 10th, 2004, 01:19 PM
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sharon815 -

There sure is plenty to select from and they are all over the place and no doubt at different prices. I'm going to give you my personal impressions, but that doesn't take into consideration how you particularly enjoy traveling - time, comfort - how many places you want to get in during the time you have or to have the best safari for the time of year you are traveling; and whatever might be missed, remember there is always another trip!!

One of the first things I noticed is that not much consideration is taken that you will be visiting during the Wildebeest Migration and more time should be spent in the Mara or Northern or Western Serengeti. And since there is a small migration in Tarangire, only three proposals even include this park. There are also many long long drives on some itineraries and something you should consider, as your bum will thank you - so consider including a flight of two if some of the drives cannot be shortened.

I would also strongly suggest you do the Tanzania portion of the trip first as the herds will be moving from the Western to Northern Serengeti into the Mara (July to August) with most of your scheduled time in August - end in Kenya.

Easy Travel - a bit rough, and what's with all the boxed lunches, every day, especially when they don't even have you positioned where the migrating herds will be located to justify being out all day? This appears to be one of their standard brief itineraries.

ATR - While they do interesting reviews on their website of accommodations and recommendations this doesn't seem reflected in what they presented to you. And their comments "the accommodation is disgracefully poor for the location" - is this where I want to stay? They recommend their mobile tent safaris, but these are in domed tents, probably sleeping on the floor and no water for showers??? It's not particularly appealing to me, but that's why there are choices. And they're still only be in the Central Serengeti, not where the herds will be. While I've mentioned the progress of the herds from the Serengeti to the Mara, it is important to know, that some herds never move to the Mara and remain in certain areas of Serengeti, regardless.

Sun Trek - This is one of their standard itineraries that gives you little bits of everything, and yet only gives you 1-1/2 days in the Mara??? And like those above do not take into consideration time of year. Also Day 5 of the itinerary will be long driving you only 1-day in Amboseli. Likewise Day 7 will be long with not much time at Lake Manyara - it's more a pit stop on your way to someplace further on. Here too they only give you 2-days in the Central Serengeti - wrong place.

Eastern & Southern - again, one of their standard itineraries with no consideraton to time of year. And while they give you bits of Kenya and Tanzania, I believe October or January might be a better time of year to do this itinerary, not during the Migration. And there's lots of time spent on roads.

Roys - Seems to be the only itinerary that considers the Migration and offers the option of moving between Kenya and Tanzania via Lk.Victoria (few do, but this can work to your advantage), and I believe the transfer can go the other way as well? Do verify and if it does, and as I mentioned above, you might want to consider turning the itinerary around as:

Day 1 - Arv. o/n Nairobi
Day 2 - Drive to Amboseli
Day 3 - Amboseli
Day 4 - Drive via Namanga to Arusha - o/n
Day 5 - Arusha - morning cultural tour, then onto Tarangire
Day 6 - Tarangire
Day 7 - Drive to Lk.Manyara - o/n
Day 8 - Drive to Ngorongoro Crater - o/n
Day 9 - Full day Crater-tour
Day 10 - Via Olduvai to Central Serengeti - o/n
Day 11 - Drive to West or North Serengeti - o/n
Day 12 - West or North Serengeti - o/n
Day 13 - Drive via Lk.Victoria to Kenya Masai Mara - o/n
Day 14 - Masai Mara - o/n
Day 15 - Masai Mara - o/n
Day 16 - Fly from Mara to Nairobi, then connect to Fly to Zanzibar - o/n
Day 17 - Zanzibar
Day 18 - Zanzibar
Day 19 - Depart for home

I believe the above gives you a straight forward route, no backtracking, no wasted time, in the right locations at the right time. Granted some parks are omitted in Kenya, but those will have to be for another trip. Unfortunately, not many of us has sufficient time to do it all in one trip.

And do a mix of accommodations using lodges and tent camps. Hope this helps.
 
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Oct 10th, 2004, 04:21 PM
  #14
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sandi- thanks so very much for your feedback. Having no firsthand knowledge to plan this trip, I am so grateful for the benefit of yours! I see exactly what you mean and will write to Roy's about making the changes.
Our budget is moderate - we're not looking for fancy lodges, etc. - just nice, clean and well located. We think that camping - at least for part of the time - would be fun; hopefully we can maybe find camping facilities with at least flush toilets(?).
Do you still think that Zanzibar would be a nice way to finish up, splitting time between Stone Town and one of the beach areas? It looks like there are some moderate priced places to stay - maybe B&Bs.
I'll post back as soon as I get more info - and then take a closer look at prices and how we can make changes, if need be, to meet our budget.
Thanks again for all your advice.
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Oct 11th, 2004, 04:23 AM
  #15
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sharon815 - You can go "moderate" in price by staying at lodges versus tent camps, though some camps can come in at lodge prices, so see what Roy's comes up with. The permanent tent camps do have flush loos, but tend to be more expensive; mobile tent camps come in moderate and luxury, and here you have long-drop loos with a thunderbox-type loo over the drop hole, or you simply get a "hole in the ground." Again, see what alternatives you get from the outfitter to keep to your budget.

Yes, a bit of R&R on Zanzibar is a very good idea. Stone Town is interesting and either place mentioned are charming B&Bs at moderate prices. Only thing to be aware about being in Stone Town in particular is that it is a very active community, with the muzen call early in the morning and business of all sorts going on throughout the day. Right next to Stone Town is the Serena Zanzibar, more expensive but can be an alternative with pool and access to beach, and close enough to Stone Town that you can visit here. But there are a wealth of may accommodations in all price ranges around the island so be sure to inquire of these. You might want to check the below website -

http://www.encounterzanzibar.com/index.htm

Bye the way, in looking at the itinerary I suggested above, if you need an extra day for Tarangire, Serengeti or the Masai Mara, you can delete the day at Lake Manyara. In this way your drive would go direct from Tarangire right to the Ngorongoro Crater, then continue the balance of the itinerary.

Let us know how you do.
 
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Oct 13th, 2004, 05:21 PM
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I just received a couple of new itineraries from Nancy at Roy's and am posting for your feedback. Thanks again. Info is as follows:

At present we do not do border crossings at Bolonjoga or Sirari - access from Northwestern Serengeti. The only border crossing would be via Namanga. The alternative would be to fly from Serengeti to Nairobi (via Kilimanjaro) then either drive or fly to Masaai Mara.

So for your suggested itinerary, you may opt to do one of the following:
OPTION 1:
Day 1 - Arr and o/n NBI
Day 2 - Drive to Amboseli, o/n
Day 3 - Amboseli
Day 4 - Drive via Namanga to Arusha o/n
Day 5 - AM cultural tour in Arusha; PM drive to Tarangire
Day 6 - Tarangire
Day 7 - Drive to Ngorongoro Crater, o/n
Day 8 - Full day crater tour, o/n Ngorongoro
Day 9 - Drive to North/Western Serengeti, o/n
Day 10 - North/West Serengeti,
Day 11 - Seronera (central Serengeti)
Day 12 - Drive to Manyara, o/n
Day 13 - Am game drive. PM transfer to Nairobi via Namanga. O/n Nairobi
Day 14 - Fly to Maasai Mara, o/n
Day 15 - Mara
Day 16 - Fly Mara to Nairobi, connect with flight to Zanzibar, o/n
Day 17 - Zanzibar
Day 18 - Zanzibar
Day 19 - Depart for home

OPTION 2:
Day 1 - Arr and o/n NBI
Day 2 - Drive to Amboseli, o/n
Day 3 - Amboseli
Day 4 - Drive via Namanga to Arusha o/n
Day 5 - AM cultural tour in Arusha; PM drive to Tarangire
Day 6 - Tarangire
Day 7 - Drive to Manyara, o/n
Day 8 - Drive to Ngorongoro Crater, o/n
Day 9 - Full day crater tour, o/n Ngorongoro
Day 10 - Drive to North/Western Serengeti, o/n
Day 11 - North/West Serengeti,
Day 12 - Seronera (central Serengeti)
Day 13 - Fly from Seronera to Nairobi (via Kilimanjaro) then fly Nairobi to Masaai Mara. o/n
Day 14 - Fly to Maasai Mara, o/n
Day 15 - Mara
Day 16 - Fly Mara to Nairobi, connect with flight to Zanzibar, o/n
Day 17 - Zanzibar
Day 18 - Zanzibar
Day 19 - Depart for home

Option 2 makes most of your time on safari, however may be more expensive due to flights from Serengeti to Nairobi.
For either option, I would suggest flying into and out of Masaai Mara instead of driving as it is a fairly long drive (4-5 hours) from Nairobi.

I would suggest if possible, to spend the nights at Kirawira Tented Camp in Western Serengeti, or Ikoma Bush Camp (ensuite camp with lodge facilities but much more rustic than Kirawira which is very exclusive).
The nights at Tarangire, Manyara and Ngorongoro can be spent camping - the public campsites there have access to water and flush toilets (but the ones at Tarangire and Manyara would be situated just outside the park) - For the special campsites (private campsites) with semi-luxury camping, the only toilet facilities are "hole-in-the-ground" ones with a portable seat over and a tent for privacy. I would stay in the lodges or tented camps at Serengeti. Kirawira would be a real treat for you,if you can afford it, and is also close to the Grumeti River which is one of the rivers crossed by the migration and which is home to Africa's largest crocodiles!

Option 1 would be more cost effective in my opinion but you would have to spend Day 13 afternoon driving to Nairobi and spending the night there; whereas with Option 2 you have an additonal night in Mara and you spend maximum time on safari and less time driving between parks, the expense comes from flying from Serengeti to Nairobi, and spending an extra night in a safari lodge.
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Oct 14th, 2004, 05:14 AM
  #17
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sharon815 - Well, we now know that the oft used transfer point is Namanga, which is what I thought, so going from the Serengeti to Mara is a "no go."

Nancy of Roys was kind enough to explain the pros and cons of each itinerary as to driving or flying as well as choice of accommodations. So at this point you have to decide for yourself based on your budget.

With Option 1 - you have 1-day less in the Mara, but you can make this up by "not" doing the morning game drive at Lk.Manyara (Day-13), rather head out early straight for Arusha with a boxed lunch, onto the Namanga border to Wilson Airport in NBO (it will be a long drive - and I do prefer to avoid these wherever possible) but you should be able to make the 3pm flight to the Mara, eliminating the o/n in NBO. Here you will be able to get in the game drive skipped at Manyara.

Option 2 - Of course, the added price of flying (Day 13) from Seronera to Kili, then onto NBO to connect with the same 3pm flight to the Mara.

Since you haven't noted the price for either of these itineraries it's difficult to say whether the price/s is reasonable, but the final money decision and selection of accommodations is now yours. If you can save enough money in your selection of camps/lodges elsewhere on the itinerary, to allow you two nights at Kirawira - you will have something quite special.

The balls in your court now.
 
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Oct 15th, 2004, 05:53 AM
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Hi Sandi.
Thanks for your continued help. Unfortunately, Nancy didn't give me the prices for either itinerary; I've e-mailed her and am waiting for those right now. I'll post those and the price for the original itinerary she gave me as soon as I have all 3. I'll welcome your help in determining whether the prices are reasonable for what we're getting - since I have nothing to compare them to.
Do these new itineraries include Lake Vic? I don't see it mentioned specifically, but is it near one of the cities Nancy's listed?
Also, do you think that it's worth it to go to Zanibar for just a couple of days or is the time and money better spent elsewhere? (We're still flying into Nairobi and out of Dar.)
Thanks again for everything.
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Oct 15th, 2004, 11:31 AM
  #19
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Sharon815 - A number of lodges/camps in the Western or Northern Serengeti will do day-trips to Lake Victoria, but you'd have to check about price associated with this, if any. As to spending a few days in Zanzibar - yes, it is definitely worth some R&R after safari and Zanzibar is quite interesting.
 
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Feb 13th, 2005, 05:18 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 8
Hi there Sharon815,
I just came across your thread and you've really helped me out...I'm also planning a trip to Kenya and Tanzania for the same time period so I've been looking through the thread to get some ideas. I only just decided to go now, so I'm a little behind with my planning. Any new info. you have would be greatly appreciated. I am just in the process of putting together an itinerary. I'm not sure if there's a way to email you privately as I'm a new member to this system. Anyway, looking forward to hearing your plans.
Thanks a lot in advance!
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