Africa - when, where, how

Aug 2nd, 2005, 06:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,916
That's a very generous budget. If it were me, I'd travel in August to Kenya and Rwanda, and hire a private guide in Kenya (visit Masai Mara, Samburu and some other parks in Kenya, including Sweetwaters which has introduced chimps) and then fly from Nairobi to Kigali, Rwanda, and go on gorilla trek in Parc Nacional Volcans, which is less than 2 hours from Kigali. Stay at Mountain Gorillas Nest, a very good hotel near PNV. You may even want to go on treks two days in a row since its a long way to go for one trek.

In Kenya, I'd stay at the Serena lodges, which are very comfortable but not as luxurious as some of the smaller camps, but they are priced more reasonably, and in my opinion, Mara Serena has the best location in the Masai Mara.

For Masai Mara, go in August or September and you'll see more animals than you can imagine -- you'll literally see tens of thousands at a time.

You can do that trip for less than $10,000 if you fly economy class from US or UK (I don't know where you're located but I assume its one of those two places).

thit_cho is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 07:01 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354

I suggest you start with Great Lakes Safaris in Uganda.

I did more or less the same thing a few years ago.

1. Flew into Nairobi with KLM arriving at 8pm. Then flew to Entebbe arriving late at night (1 hour). Overnight in Kampala

2. White water rafting on the Nile!

3. Drove to Bwindi

4. Gorillas

5. Gorillas (you can save money by only doing one day)

6. Drove north through Queen Elizabeth park to Kasinga Channel. Saw lion and some wildlife in QE - saw hippo and crocs, etc in the channel

7. Drove to Kibale.

8. Chimps!

9. Drove back to Kampala/Entebbe

10. Flew to Nairobi (1 hour) and on to Masai Mara.

11. Saw everything in about 4 days (except rhino)

12. Flew back to Nairobi and onwards.

climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2005, 03:38 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 13
I can't seem to print out all these good ideas so I have been copying by hand. Thanks all. I got the Nolting book today and one other. I will study and probably ask more questions when I know what to ask.
secondlouise is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2005, 05:48 PM
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The Nolting book, I believe, is the best out there and it will really give you lots of ideas. I think the first decision, which will cut your amount of research in half, is East vs. South Africa. It becomes much easier after that. But while his book covers all of the major parks, it doesn't cover all of the lodges, and lots of frequent posters recommend lodges not in his book, so don't read anything into the fact that a lodge isn't in his book.

Have fun with your initial research -- the planning is one of the fun parts of the trip.

Regards, Michael
thit_cho is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2005, 06:01 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

I just wish that Mark Nolting would hurry up and publish a new edition. My copy lasted me about three months before I had completely destroyed it from overuse.

For Zambia, the Bradt Zambia guide is the best out there, although there is some dated information in some sections.
Roccco is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2005, 06:46 PM
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which sections in Bradt Zambia III do you mean?
Aug 3rd, 2005, 07:19 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

I am bothered by the referrals to camps in South Luangwa that no longer exist and referrals to camps that the author is assuming will be up and running, such as Lion Camp, and Big Lagoon Camp, but are not up and running.

I could point out more examples if I had the book around but it is not available to me right now.

Overall, however, I absolutely love this book. There is just so much to Zambia that I will be lucky to see half of it in my lifetime, especially now that Tanzania has suddenly become a new hobby.

Fortunately, I have cooled off on South Africa and Botswana, so that I may focus on Zambia and Tanzania. I am still interested, despite its dictator problem, in Zimbabwe.

I don't know who had to go and introduce Greystoke Mahale to me, but I am quite obsessed with it right now. The websites for the Nomad Tanzania camps are absolutely genius.

My hunger has grown so much for Mahale, Katavi and Ruaha that I am seriously considering substituting this itinerary in place of my Feb/March Tanzania Northern Circuit itinerary. This would be for mid August, allowing me a bit more time to save up for this trip while also allowing an all important trip to Zimbabwe in late April/early May:

Moivaro Coffee Lodge (1)
Greystoke Mahale (4)
Chada Katavi (3)
Mwagusi Ruaha (4)
Emerson & Green (1)
Palms Zanzibar (3)

The only thing that kills me on the above is the cost of an air charter from Katavi to is nearly as expensive as my wife and I flying from Los Angeles to Kiliminjaro!

If I did do the above, it would open this up for me in late April/early May:

London (3) The London Marathon on April 23rd will be fun to flake out on.
Luangwa River Lodge (4) WILD DOGS!!!
Makalolo Plains (4) LIONS!!!

I would love to visit Makalolo Plains and given its horrible state, I would really like to show my support of the Zimbabwean people and wildlife with 8 nights in Zimbabwe.

I am going to Africa twice next year, the only question is whether I will do the Northern Circuit in Tanzania in late Feb/early March and then do Zambia & Zimbabwe later or if I will do it opposite with Southern Africa first and then my new dream itinerary of Mahale/Katavi/Ruaha/Zanzibar in August.

Yes, I am a safari whore.
Roccco is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2005, 07:22 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
By the way, I am already booked with 25% deposit with ATR, but I do think I would be able to transfer it over to my even more expensive dream safari. Why wouldn't they allow this, especially since I only booked last week.
Roccco is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2005, 08:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,843
On no, we've created a monster For very selfish reasons (because they're on my wish list and I want to read a good trip report), I think you should go to Mahale/Katavi/Ruaha
Patty is offline  

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