Critique Our Kenya / Tanzania Itinerary Please

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Jan 27th, 2005, 04:18 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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Critique Our Kenya / Tanzania Itinerary Please

Wow – it has only been couple of weeks since we decided to take our first trip to Africa and I can’t believe how much I have learned from this board. Thanks to all of you!
We now have an itinerary that is workable and just needs some minor adjustments and I would love to hear your feedback.

Just for some background: We are traveling last week of Jan early February 2006. And we hear that this is the best time to be in the southeast of the Serengeti for the Wildebeest Calving season.

Please comment on –1) Are we going right parks for this time of year? 2) Are we missing anything that is a must do? 3) Any further suggestions about accommodation would be greatly appreciated. 4) Any suggestions on how to cap off our safari – coastal area? – Which one? Accommodation suggestions?

Kenya

Day 1) Arrive NBO, meet upon arrival, transfer and overnight the
Intercontinental (B&B basis)
Day 2) Morning drive from NBO to Samburu, afternoon game drive, overnight
Elephant Watch (B/L/D)
Day 3) Full day Samburu, overnight Elephant Watch (B/L/D)
Day 4) Drive Samburu to Mt. Lodge, overnight (B/L/D)
Day 5) Drive Mt. Lodge to Amboseli, afternoon game drive, overnight Serena
(B/L/D)
Day 6) Full day Amboseli, overnight Serena (B/L/D)
Day 7) Depart Amboseli for Namanga transfer.

Tanzania

Day 1) Transfer from Namanga to Arusha, overnight Mt. Village Lodge (B&B
basis)
Day 2) Depart Arusha for Ngorongoro Crater, afternoon Crater floor, overnight
Crater Lodge (B/L/D)
Day 3) Morning Crater floor, afternoon Circle Hike, overnight Crater Lodge
(B&B basis)
Day 4) Depart the Crater for Ndutu, afternoon game drive, overnight Ndutu
Safari Lodge (B/L/D)
Day 5) Full day Ndutu, overnight Ndutu Safari Lodge (B/L/D)
Day 6) Full day Ndutu, overnight Ndutu Safari Lodge (B/L/D)

We have a few more days for and are looking for something to cap of the trip.

Thanks very much

kc
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Jan 28th, 2005, 07:31 AM
  #2
sandi
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cocco1 -

Interesting itinerary. But I have a few comments for consideration.

If, you're considering Elephant Watch, I wouldn't also visit Amboseli. I see Elephant Watch as an alternative for the "elephant experience" - for return visitors who have previously visited Amboseli. At EW, with their elephant project you should get excellent insight to this animal. Also, realize that EW accommodations are more expensive than those you have at Amboseli. And I feel that Samburu is a nicer environment than Amboseli. I would suggest you consider flying up here - read the thread by ohio_boy recenty posted re the condition of the roads - it'll be a 5-6/hr drive and hard on the butt. If you still wish to drive, then make Mt. Lodge your first stop for the night. This way the ride to Samburu/EW won't be so long and you'll have more game viewing time at the prices you're paying.

From Samburu/EW you can return fly to NBO, and in place of Amboseli, I'd consider Shompole Camp at Lake Magadi. Located on the border of Kenya & Tanzania midway between the Namanga border crossing and the Masai Mara. It's kind of positioned opposite of Amboseli (east of the south road from NBO to Namanga); Shompole (west of the road south). See www.shompole.com - quite lovely. Here you'll have the opportunity to visit Lake Natron, loaded with flamingos - where they actually come to birth their young - though not certain when this actually occurs.

However, I'm not certain whether you can do an easy transfer to the Namanga border; you may have to return to NBO, but it's only 3-hrs (or less) from where you can fly to Kilimanjaro/Arusha to overnight.

From Arusha to Ngorongoro Crater is a good 4-hr drive, but the roads are better then in Kenya, most on good blacktop. I gather from your post that you plan on doing two half-day crater tours, and the Crater rim walk. Of course, staying at the Crater Lodge, the most expensive at the Crater is a personal decision, I'd prefer to have extra time in the Serengeti. You can consider the half-day crater tour on arrival, do one overnight at Crater Lodge; the following morning do Crater Rim Walk - or pass on the walk, do another half-day in the morning, then head for the Serengeti.

Of course, it's expected that the herds will be at the Southeast Serengeti, but they may only get to and stop at the Central/Seronera area - it's been known to happen. Also, if you choose to do a balloon trip, these depart from Central. You might choose to depart Ngorongoro Crater for Central/Seronera and stay at the Serena - at least in getting here, you'll know where the herds really are situated. You'll have half-day game viewing, and overnight; next morning you can do the balloon, if you wish; then game viewing in the area before heading south to Nduto Lodge for 3-nts. An alternate would be to do Nduto first, then Seronera, and from here you can return fly to Arusha and head out to Zanzibar to top off your holiday.

I hope I haven't confused you, as I know how difficult it is to put this together for the first time. And, of course, everyone has their own ideas of what is better, different, etc. Also, since I've included a number of "fly" options, this adds to your budget, which we have no idea of. But you have selected some higher priced properties - Elephant Watch and Crater Lodge (in the $460-$500+ nt/person range) both of which can be swapped out for lesser costing properties and give you the airfare - which will make the trip more comfortable. You will be covering great distances and you won't be on super highways!!!

Consider:

Kenya
Day 1 - NBO - drive to Mountain Lodge for o/n
Day 2 - Drive to Samburu - o/n at Elephant Watch (or Intrepid's at Samburu and request a visit to EW)
Day 3 - Samburu - EW or Intrepids
Day 4 - Fly to NBO, lunch in NBO, drive to Shompole for o/n
Day 5 - Shompole
Day 6 - Drive to NBO, fly to Kili/Arusha - o/n Mountain Village

Tanzania
Day 1 - From Arusha, drive to Ngorongoro Crater - o/n Crater Lodge - half-day crater tour
Day 2 - NC - morning half-day crater tour, drive to Nduto - o/n Nduto Lodge
Day 3 - Nduto Lodge
Day 4 - Nduto Lodge
Day 5 - Drive to Centra/Seronera - o/n Serena Lodge
Day 6 - early early morning balloon trip, fly to Arusha

From Arusha you can get a connecting flight to Zanzibar.

Let's see what suggestions other regulars might have for you. You've got some time to firm up this trip.
 
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Jan 28th, 2005, 10:25 AM
  #3
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Thanks so much Sandi - you have given me a lot to think about. I really like your suggestion of staying at Intrepid's at Samburu and visiting the Elephant Watch. I am an elephant lover and I didn't want to miss this opportunity. This gives us the best of both worlds.

Again, good advice on the Crater- this will also reduce the cost - which we can put towards something else.

I'll keep you posted on the itinerary as it unfolds.

Thanks
kc

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Feb 16th, 2005, 04:09 PM
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Hi:

I promised that I would keep you posted as our itinerary unfolds. While we have made many, many changes I think we are very close to a final itinerary.

Here is what we have:

Kenya:

Day 1) Arrive JKIA, met upon arrival, overnight Norfolk
Day 2) Fly Wilson to Samburu, game drives on shared vehicle basis, overnight Serena Lodge
Day 3) Full day Samburu, game drives on shared vehicle basis, overnight Serena Lodge
Day 4) Fly Samburu to Wilson, drive to Amboseli, game drive on exclusive use basis, overnight Tortilis
Day 5) Full day Amboseli, game drives on exclusive use basis, overnight Tortilis

Tanzania
Day 6) Drive from Amboseli to Namanga, transfer into Tanzania. Overnight Mt. Village Lodge
Day 7) Depart Arusha for Ngorongoro Crater, afternoon Crater floor, overnight Crater Lodge
Day 8) Morning Crater floor, afternoon Circle Hike, overnight Crater Lodge
Day 9) Depart the Crater for Ndutu, overnight Ndutu Safari Lodge
Day 10) Full day Ndutu, overnight Ndutu Safari Lodge
Day 11) Full day Ndutu, overnight Ndutu Safari Lodge
Day 12) Fly Serengeti to Dar, drive to Ras Kutani, overnight
Day 13) Ras Kutani, overnight
Day 14) Ras Kutani, overnight
Day 15) Drive from Ras Kutani to Dar Es Salaam, dayroom use (Holiday Inn), transfer to airport for outbound flight.

We have been debating the option of staying at the Ngorognoro Serena rather than the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and adding one or two nights in the central Serengeti. We only have one tented camp (Tortilis) and wouldn’t mind adding at least one more. Any thoughts on this?

All comments/suggestions are welcome! Thank you!

kc

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Feb 16th, 2005, 06:42 PM
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Your departure is under a year away now!

Looks like you are interested in both Samburu and Amboseli.

I would make that switch you mentioned--Crater Lodge for Serena and a tented camp in Serengeti. The tented camp is a great note to end on, and it gives you more time in the Serengeti, where the most action will be. Though I have not been there, I beleive Crater Lodge is very fancy and therefore expensive. My preference, for location, would be Sopa over Serena at Ngorongoro. But Serena would be my choice over Crater Lodge, especially if it frees up more time in Africa. I agree with you that two tented camp experiences are better than one. And you'll have the last one to look forward to after Tortilis.
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Feb 17th, 2005, 04:13 AM
  #6
sandi
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cocco1 -
It is coming together.

However, I'd prefer Intrepid's Camp at Samburu.

At Ngorongoro, I would switch out the Crater Lodge with is very very expensive for either the Serena or Sopa Lodges which would afford you at least another day in the Serengeti*; preferably the Central Serengeti. From here you can also do a hot-air balloon ride, then hop on the plane and fly back to Arusha for your onward flight to Dar. Ras Kutani is a nice choice here, but if you are divers, you might want to consider flying to Mafia Island; or fly to Pemba, where there are good dive possibilities.

* and savings at Crater Lodge could cover the few extra dollars that Intrepids at Samburu might cost over the Serena Lodge.
 
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Feb 17th, 2005, 08:00 AM
  #7
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Thanks for feedback atravelynn and Sandi.

Yes – it really is coming together and we are starting to get excited – and yet it’s still eleven months away!

Sandi - the hot-air balloon ride sounds like a great experience – however my husband has a fear of heights so we’ll just have to use our imagination!

We are looking forward to Ran Kutani – we are not divers ( we like to snorkel) but the resort looks just lovely – so we think it will be a perfect end to a wonderful African experience. As well - it will provide some much needed rest before we take the long journey back home to Canada.

I do have one question - what are the accommodation options (camps and lodges) for the central Serengeti during this time of year (end of Jan early February)?

Thanks again.

kc
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Feb 17th, 2005, 01:01 PM
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sandi
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cocco -
As to the central Serengeti, there really aren't many options other than the Serena Lodge, the Sopa Lodge (a bit out of the way) the Seronera Lodge (so, so)... there are a few camps, such as Kusini (expensive); and a few semi-permanent camps (those that are open only a few months and may be located in different places from year-to-year, depending on where the herds are). Check the AfricaTravelResources website as they have some of the semi-permanent listed, and maybe other options I just can't recall at this time. An alternative is mobile tented camps, but likely not to be offered for only a day.

As to the hot-air ballooning - I've never done, no interest... it was only a suggestion and there happened to have been a recent thread on this subject. Finally, ending with a few days along the beach is good, it will be well deserved.
 
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Feb 17th, 2005, 04:58 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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coco1

A semi-permanent camp, as Sandi mentioned, may be a good option. Perhaps your agent could help there. I know some companies use their own semi-permanent luxury tented camps (like African Dream Safaris)in this central region. But I think you have to book with them. But who knows? Your agent could strike a deal.

Another option might be to do your whole Serengeti experience mobile tented camping. It can be done without roughing it. This would give you the tent option you were seeking and it would be yet another different experience in Africa. Again, your agent should be able to help. Roy's has been raved about here and I just contacted them about a weeklong mobile safari in the Serengeti. I was impressed with what they offered and their professionalism.

One other thing you could do for more tents is the suggestiion mentioned somewhere in the thread--do a tented camp in Samburu such as Intrepids or Larsen's. One disadvantage of having the tents up front is that you may find you enjoy the tents more than the lodges and for a better flow to the safari the highlight accommodations might be better at the end. But that's not a huge point.

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