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May 15th, 2013, 01:02 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Jul 2011
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Africa Safari

I am thinking of surprising my husband with an African Safari trip. Could people please recommend some good safaris and you have ever been on one and why you liked it or would recommend it. We are open to anything and anywhere in Africa, we just want a good experience. Thank you.
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May 15th, 2013, 01:44 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Hello sljap, I would recommend an 8 Days/ 7 Nights Kenya safari

- Samburu – Aberdare – Lake Nakuru – Masai Mara

The 8 Days/ 7 Nights Safari is a magnificent journey through Kenya, starting with Samburu National reserve, on to the Aberdare National Park or Mount Kenya National Park, Lake Nakuru and finally to Masai Mara Game Reserve....with luxuriously long stays in each game park, abundant time for rich wildlife viewing sessions. The breadth and scope of this exciting 8 Days Safari encompasses everything for which East Africa is famous—the magnificent scenery, the breathtaking wildlife, the excitement and adventure. And all experienced at a leisurely, luxurious pace, creating warm memories to relive for a lifetime.


some of our best picks of what makes Kenya so special:
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May 15th, 2013, 01:49 PM
  #3
 
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Hello sljap, I would recommend an 8 Days/ 7 Nights Kenya safari

- Samburu – Aberdare – Lake Nakuru – Masai Mara

The 8 Days/ 7 Nights Safari is a magnificent journey through Kenya, starting with Samburu National reserve, on to the Aberdare National Park or Mount Kenya National Park, Lake Nakuru and finally to Masai Mara Game Reserve....with luxuriously long stays in each game park, abundant time for rich wildlife viewing sessions. The breadth and scope of this exciting 8 Days Safari encompasses everything for which East Africa is famous—the magnificent scenery, the breathtaking wildlife, the excitement and adventure. And all experienced at a leisurely, luxurious pace, creating warm memories to relive for a lifetime
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May 16th, 2013, 12:52 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Are you going to Africa only for safari?
Suggest you safari for two weeks. Or longer, especially if your like coming from USA. You have to safari long enough to make the flying worth it. Now, if your coming from Europe, that's different. (One flight, one hour time change).

Kenya or Tanzania will show you the classic African savannah plains. But if you must see the big 5, South Africa is better.

So how about this, one week at Little Governors camp in Kenya then one week at MalaMala South Africa. (Allow one/two day travel between countries). Fly from home into Nairobi for Little Governors camp Kenya, fly Nairobi to Johannesburg for MalaMala South Africa. Johannesburg fly back home.

regards - tom
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May 16th, 2013, 11:57 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 123
We went on a 21 day Africa trip just this past March. We adored Londolozi in Sabi Sand and we really liked Vumbura Plains in Botswana. You can read all about our trip on our blog www.inandoutofafrica.ca It's best to start at the bottom if you want read about the trip and see pics in chronological order as the most recent post is first. Feel free to ask me any quetsions.

It was the trip of a lifetime and we cannot wait to return.
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May 16th, 2013, 06:05 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Gayle,
I started to read your blog but it made me so sad...wanting to go back that I had to stop. Two trips thus far and I too can't wait to go back.
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May 17th, 2013, 07:30 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Gayle, I am reading your blog now and wanted to say I really liked the way you have organized the planning section, that will be of real use to others. I just glanced at the Useful links and wine tasting notes and really like them as well. I will comment again after reading the entire blog.

Thanks for sharing this.
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May 18th, 2013, 06:39 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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sljap,

What a wonderful surprise!

"We want a good experience." Seems self explanatory but that differs person to person.

First, a good experience must fit within your budget. So you'll want to establish that.

Do you have a particular month or time of year to travel? That makes a difference as to where you would want to go.

Are you thinking endless plains and wildebeest/zebra migration? (Serengeti in Tanzania or Maasai Mara in Kenya)

Hoping to see a river crossing of wildes or zebra? (Serengeti or Maasai Mara for several consecutive days)

Would you like a private vehicle for just the 2 of you? (Most common because it is affordable in Kenya and Tanz rather than the Southern Africa destinations)

Certain species you really want to see?

How important is only 3 vehicles per sighting or less to you? Would numerous vehicles around a sighting ruin your trip? (Guaranteed few vehicles is Southern Africa)

Chimps and gorillas? (Uganda, Rwanda, although the premier chimp, not gorilla, destination is in Tanzania)

Preference for solid walls of lodges or preference for secluded luxury tented camps?

Really fancy tented camps with world class food and drink? (many camps in Botswana are exceptionally high end and high priced, also found in South Africa)

Feed a giraffe from your room's window and visit an adopted baby ele? (Nairobi, Kenya)

Drive from place to place and not fly? (not Botswana--probably Kenya or Tanz work best)

Want to self drive? (South Africa)

Fly from camp to camp and avoid road travel? (Botswana or Zambia or Zimbabwe)

Want to get out and walk and/or canoe? (Zambia and Zimbabwe are well known destinations for this)

A typical first safari is East Africa meaning Kenya and/or Tanzania OR the country of South Africa. Not a hard and fast rule, but typical. If seeing gorillas, then Kenya or Tanz plus Uganda or Rwanda.

The Kenya itinerary suggested above

Samburu – Aberdare – Lake Nakuru – Masai Mara

is standard and would be one of your more economical choices, even with a private guide, offering a great variety of animals and landscapes. I'd alter it slightly from a 7/8 day trip to add more days for variety and to reduce drive times.

1 full day in Nairobi
1 Aberdare
2-3 Samburu
1-2 Mt Kenya
1-2 Nakuru
at least 3 Maasai Mara

Any itinerary that spends less than 3 nights in the Mara is flawed IMO. In mid-July through Oct, I think 4 nights is better. I've never stayed less than 6 nights in the Mara.

You asked for good safaris we have been on. I've been to these parks and am certain you'd have a great time any season of the year, but particularly mid-July through Oct. Other times of year, the Serengeti would have more wildes than the Mara.
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May 18th, 2013, 06:42 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Here are some helpful links on figuring out where to go on a first safari. Listed in no particular order. Could be way more than you bargained for. But I've saved the links, so here they are.

1. Skews slightly toward Southern Africa:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35095477

2. Includes comments on where to see certain animals

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...ny-options.cfm

3. This one starts with a plea for help which encompasses info on the whole of Africa. The person requesting help goes on an East Africa trip and reports back.

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...ng-my-trip.cfm


4. This is SafariCraig’s list, an agent with Travel Beyond

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...a-tanzania.cfm


5. First time help
http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...ing-safari.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...-did-i-dre.cfm


http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...ng-my-trip.cfm single



http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...g-a-safari.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...experience.cfm THIS IS SOUTHERN

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...eed-advice.cfm SOUTHERN

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...yatanzania.cfm


http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...ica---2008.cfm
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May 21st, 2013, 09:25 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 123
Thank you AKR1. I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. I had a blast writing it.
Gayle is offline  
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May 21st, 2013, 11:03 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
... and besides our own preferences along with personal experiences, do not hesitate picking up a copy of Fodor's 'Complete Safari Planning Guide' that covers all the safari countries with lots of useful information.

Also, if planning to travel during 'peak' seasons, regardless which areas of the Continent, do not leave it to last minute. The properties, lodges/camps are small and book up quickly for these periods. Think minimum 9/mos in advance, at which time you'll also know what's available when it comes to international air tickets.

Good luck and let us know of your progress.
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May 25th, 2013, 08:16 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 7
My husband and I have traveled to Kenya and Tanzania several times and I have to say Kenya is my passion. As part of our safari the first time, we connected with a Maasai tribe and it all just clicked. We have basically adopted this tribe, and have worked on our own to provide school supplies, put a person through school, buy cattle to build a herd and most importantly, with the help of an African friend we had a well drilled for these incredible people. I tell you this not to brag but to let you know Africa is a range of opportunities and adventures. For us it was all about the company we traveled with. Jacko Africa Safaris is a small company based in Nairobi that offers a fabulous safari experience for a reasonable price. They stay in beautiful lodges, their drivers/guides are all top notch and extremely knowledgeable and their price includes everything except airfare; they do all the work. They will work with you to customize a safari or you can follow one of their itineraries. They are constantly in touch before and during your safari and because this is a small company their main goal is for you to be satisfied. The prices are very reasonable and you have a safari van to yourself- no strangers traveling with you. Because of this the driver will stop when and where you want and adjust drive times to accommodate you. I cannot say enough good things about this tour company- they really made the trip for us! I point all of that out because it is important to understand that the success of your trip is dependent upon the company you travel with, unless you plan on going it on your own, which I would not recommend. I do agree with a previous writer who said a week is not enough. I would do at a minimum 10 days and 15 is better. It is a long tiring flight and you need to have time to really enjoy yourself and take in the experience. I would definitely time the trip for the wilderbeest migration- it is quite the experience. We also saw the big 5 on our trip so that is not really an issue. I would also suggest that the time of the year you go should dictate where you go. If you go during the dry season and there are no grasses in an area then there will not be any animals and you will drive in circles with no success. Where ever and whenever you go have a wonderful time- it is an incredible experience.
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May 25th, 2013, 08:35 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 19
Part of the fun is the excitement in planning and expectations of the trip. He would miss all this. I would suggest that when you have narrowed it down to maybe 3 selections or areas, do a special presentation, such a theme night, for your husband and let him choose which one. After all the trip is for him, right?
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May 26th, 2013, 03:26 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 23
There are dozens of great locations in Africa. If you have limited time and budget, however, I would recommend heading towards eastern Africa. This is with the Ngorongoro crater, serengeti, the mountain gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda, beautiful volcanic (also active) regionsm etc. I also love the warmth of east africans. If you are only going to Rwanda and Uganda, my recommendation is Instinct Safaris (www.instinctsafaris), as I went on a safari with them not too long ago and they really made the best of it for me. Went gorilla trekking twice, which was absolutely amazing
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May 26th, 2013, 08:51 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 9
Speak with Narry Ernest of Good Earth Tours ([email protected]) and go on the best safari ever in Tanzania. Every detail was attended to and there was not so much as one little glitch. We went in late September and the weather was great, no crowds. Stayed in a variety of luury tented lodges, one rustic seasonal camp, and beautiful Serena resorts. Very reasonable prices, and you are the only people in the vehicle, so it's basically a private safari. Insist on having Prosper Simbo as your guide - he was great! Very knowledgeable and helpful, speaks good English, has a good sense of humor, and is totally at your disposal. (If you go with him, tell him Ann and Sarah sent you!) He knows where to find the animals and will cater to your interests. NOTE: one reason we chose Tanzania is the safety of the country! Kenya is pretty unstable right now, whereas there is no concern about Tanzania. If you have time on your trip, end it with a few days in Zanzibar - totally different, interesting, and fabulous beaches.
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May 26th, 2013, 10:49 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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>>one reason we chose Tanzania is the safety of the country! Kenya is pretty unstable right now, whereas there is no concern about Tanzania.<<

please........... what about the church bombing in Arusha only 2/weeks ago or the ongoing conflicts with ZNZ island wanting it's independence again.

Kenya is no more unstable than Tanzania (or corrupt governments) or for that matter, what country is not in for some sort of incident/s? - think: Boston, killing of soldier on London street, and on and on.

Pick your areas of interest with the valued info provided and go from there.
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May 27th, 2013, 06:48 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 2
A few people hit the nail on the head. Safari experiences are not a given, you need to get timings right, and have a greta knowledgable guide, and a company that cares about their guides. You don't want to be book on a three day tour to central Serengeti when it's dry an boring, and not many animals. Parks change with the seasons, some can be dreadful if you get it wrong. Also, what type of experiences do you want? Are you happy in a big hotel, or would you love a small personal camp right in the wildlife. The last safari we went on was with Wayo Africa, and they have small camps in the Serengeti, and we had lions RIGHT IN CAMP, and I mean in camp! The did not bother us at all, and were amazing to have around. The next night the migration moved in and we awoke to 100,000 wildebeest. Sounds great? Well for this you can get it till next Feb, because the camp is always moving with the wildlife. I know Wayo has good guides because they train other guides (literally, they run a guide training school too). Overall I was seriously impressed they seem to consistently thos magic moments, and I've done a bunch of safaris over the years.

One plus with them is they have the option of activities, like Serengeti Walks, some even multiple days from a main camp, sleeping in a small fly camp then continuing to their main walking camp. You don't see a lot of animals, but the experience is amazing. They also add a night drive for us in Lake Manyara. The Manyara camp was right next to a waterfall where we had 30 elephants come to drink each night. Highlight of ALL my safaris, and even better then the lions. The camps are simple however the food/drinks are good. You never do without.

Chatting to a lot of other safari people when we'd stop at gates and stuff, their lodges sounded boring. I have stayed at Serena before and would much rather be in tented camp. The smaller the tent, the closer to nature.

Cars are important too, all of Wayo's cars seem to be brand new with fridges and electrical outlets. This was great for cameras and computers.

Highly recommend Tanzania and Wayo. www.wayoafrica.com
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May 27th, 2013, 06:50 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
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OH! Having been all over Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, I would highly recommend Tanzania over the others. It's just Africa on a grand scale. More epic then Kenya by far.
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May 28th, 2013, 10:47 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 3
You can always search on tripadvisor for more reviews of different safari trips.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Search?q=...A,o=0,c=global
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May 29th, 2013, 05:17 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 175
We took some wonderful 14 day safari's in Botswana and South Africa 18 months ago and we went in late September and early October.

In Botswana, we went to the Chobe area and stayed at the Elephant Valley Lodge http://www.evlodge.com/ . The Elephant Valley Lodge is really quite nice. It is a permenant tented area with in suite facilities. We appreciate that sort of thing. The food was good and the staff was incredible. I wouldn't take anything for the experience we had on the river cruise safari. Here are the videos I have taken there and elsewhere and uploaded to YouTube.
http://www.youtube.com/user/OneCarolinaGirl

See the the Botswana River Cruise one to see what I mean.

The lodges we stayed at in South Africa were in the Sabi Sands Private Reserve next to Kruger National Park. We stayed at one a few days and then had to move to the other as they were booked solid but found the first one to be very nice, but the second one to be 'perfect'. First we stayed at Elephant Plains lodge http://www.elephantplains.co.za/the-lodge/ and then Cheetah Plains Lodge http://www.cheetahplains.com/ . I never wanted to leave Cheetah Plains. Wonderful isn't strong enough to describe that lodge and staff. They are incredible.

If you're going to the South Africa Lodges, you can fly into Hoedspruitt Airport http://www.eastgateairport.co.za/ and arrange for them to pick you up.

The guides and safari's on all of those are superior. Hope that helps.
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