Dear Sandi----

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Apr 13th, 2005, 08:02 AM
  #1
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Dear Sandi----

Your travel knowledge is amazing! May I pick your brain? My husband & I want to travel to East Africa and I've begun research but I'm just getting more and more confused. We probably have only one chance to visit Africa (definitley not experienced travelers)so I guess I was wondering if you would mind offering suggestions on a general itinary for about 8-10 days, preferably in/out of Nairobi, but we'd like to see the Crater. I'm open to times of year, and of course we want to see as much of the wild life as possible without awful crowds. Am I asking too much? I ,too, am sorry for your loss, but he will be with you, and I'm sure your trip will be amazing. Thank you for your time.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 08:38 AM
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Hey, what are the rest of us, chopped liver?

Just kidding, of course. I do recommend Sandi, divewop, atravelynn, LizF, climbhighsleeplow, JanGoss and many others for helping you with your itinerary.

But how much are you thinking in terms of budget? And where are you flying from?

I would think you would want 10 days for your itinerary. For a shorter tryip it's probably easier to stay in just Kenya or Tanzania, but with flights you can squeeze more in.

Good luck.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 08:46 AM
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Dear Dreamseeker - you are me 6 weeks ago! You should read through my two threads (start with the earliest one) and you will find a wealth of information from everyone and get alot of your early questions answered. Sandi, Patty, Atravelynn, Jazzdrew and Leeli are the experts.

I went back and reread my earliest thread last night, somehow lost my way a bit with indecision on the second thread and ended up exactly where I started - listening mostly to all these kind people.

I am going to Tanzania (via Nairobi) in june/July 2006.

Enjoy the planning - it really is a wonderful learning process.

csuss
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Apr 13th, 2005, 09:14 AM
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I'm definitely not an expert...but maybe a little opinionated (yikes).

I want to add that while in Nairobi, please do visit the Langata Giraffe Center and the Sheldrick rhino/elephant center. Both very interesting, and when we were there both had groups of Kenyan schoolchildren visiting on a fieldtrip. Very nice!

Also, depending on time of year I would never ever miss the Serengeti--or the Maasai Mara if you're in Kenya. (I haven't been to the Mara, but you can bet it's on my list.)
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Apr 13th, 2005, 10:06 AM
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So sorry, did not mean to slight anyone, Sandi's name popped up so much and I warned you, I'm inexperienced as a traveler and also on the computer/forums. Any and all advice is welcome. Budget is a concern but time and place are more important. I do not want or require "butlers and gourmet", however a nice shower and basic ok food would be nice. We would be leaving from Chicago. I have been reading this and other forums, looking into web sights and have now ordered reference books, but OMG, it's mind-boggeling. Thank you all, have pity!!
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Apr 13th, 2005, 10:27 AM
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I don't want to be lumped in with the experts either! I've only taken one trip so far, others have been there many more times.

I'll be asking all of you for feedback on our accomodations shortly.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 10:33 AM
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Oh no worries! I was really just kidding. Sandi IS an expert.

Please also look at the Lonelyplanet.com web site. they have a bulletin board like this one called the Thorn Tree, then an Africa branch. You will also find loads of info there.

I did a *budget* safari last year in TZ; we actaully camped (NOT luxury camping), and I liked it a lot. Then we spent the rest of our time in lodges--they were okay. It was nice to camp first and then go to lodges because it made basic lodges feel luxurious!

csuss and JazzDrew have both been planning trips lately. You might want to search for their itineraries. I don't know how to post links here for you, otherwise I would.

People on this board say they've gotten good airfares from Premier Tours in Philadelphia. Patty who posts here is a whiz with FF miles, airfares, etc. I mention this because the cost of flying to Africa is pretty wild. You'll think it's wilder than the wildlife at first.

Are you trying to get this trip together for 2005 or 2006?
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Apr 13th, 2005, 10:39 AM
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Leely - I've heard about the Giraffe Center in Nairobi (do you get the same experience at Giraffe Manor), but I have not heard about the Elephant and Rhino center - please tell us more. I am especially interested since I am not going to be going to the Kenyan game reserve that has the rhino sanctuary. They are very gentle animals and I would love to see them, and have not read anything about seeing them in Tanzania.

Thanks
csuss
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Apr 13th, 2005, 10:52 AM
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csuss,

The Daphne Sheldrick (center or...sanctuary? can't remember but you can google) is, I believe, the same place you're thinking of. Open for visitors when the "babies" are out for their mud bath and feeding, from 10-11am. Perhaps that's why you won't be visiting?

All the tourist things to do "in" Nairobi or outskirts aren't far, so if your timing is right I'd just add it to the things you plan to do in Nairobi. We had a full day there so we basically did everything we could.

Sad story: the friend I travelled to TZ with is a teacher and adopted one of the eles at Sheldrick for her class. Last week she got an e-mail: little Nalitu died of a lung infection.

csuss, the Giraffe Manor is so so beyond my pocketbook. Sorry, I'm not qualified to compare it with the Giraffe Center.

What can I say? We liked everything we did in Nairobi.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 11:55 AM
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csuss,

Our Nairobi album has a few pics from the Sheldrick facility which is a very worthwhile stop if you're able to fit it in. Also some pictures of the Giraffe Centre. The two are located very close to each other.

http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=...&x=0&y=-8zxtev

We saw Shida, the orphan rhino, now 2 years old and 8 baby elephant orphans. In February, the public viewing hours were 11-noon and we found out later that adoptive parents can also visit between 5-6pm. But you should double check these times as they may change. Information on the orphans and the work of the Sheldrick trust can be found at:

http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org

Leely,
That is very sad indeed. I had read about Nalitu's injury but didn't know that she had died.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 12:48 PM
  #11
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Expert, please... each and every one of you - Leely, Patty, csuss, LizF, JazDrew, Climbhighsleeplow, atravelynn, divewop, King, JanG, susanlynne (haven't heards from her in awhile... and sorry if I forget anyone) have added so much to this forum especially for East African Travel... we all cover just about every aspect of visiting here.

Patty is just amazing with the airlines and FF miles, Leely is a hoot when you read her tales of camping (and do find her trip report [the Europe board] of her trip to Provence this past winter... she had a grand time), Climbhighsleeplow has ventured into so many camps in both countries, JanG has a wealth of information on the ellees and what's happening on the ground. All-in-all, we serve this forum quite well, if I must say.

Back to dreamseeker - budget is of importance, as is time of travel. Are you considering '05 or '06? For '05, is pretty much booked, as thankfully, tourism to East Africa, especially by Americans, is back to pre-9/11 numbers. If you choose lodges over permanent tent camps you can save some money... and then there is camping. Not my personal preference, but others just love it. However, this can be as Leely did last year combined with lodges... do find/read her trip report. Besides the permanent tent camps, there's mobile tent camps or semi-permenent tent camps. I don't think "adventure camping" would suit you... but then, who knows.

OK, you're still confused. First let me say that 8-10 days is tight, especially when traveling the distance. But it's doable, and depending on time of year, either Kenya or Tanzania only might work best, again depending on time of year. Time of year can be a defining point from where to start... but know that crowds follow when the Wildebeest Migration is taking place in the Masai Mara (late June - Oct); the "calving" season in the Southeast Serengeti (Jan-Mar); the mini-migration in Tarangire (mid-June-Oct); the Crater (all year).

From all the information you've received and read, why not tell us what really appeals to you; also the accommodations that interest you. With that, we could probably come up with an idea of an itinerary that works.

Keep in mind that while distances seem close on a map, they're usually not, and roads are not the best. Flights, which are often recommended between certain destinations will add to your costs. Also, and take this just as consideration - not knowing your ages and/or if any physical limitations, can eliminate some accommodations (lots of steps, hills, etc.)

In both countries individually, you can hit the highlights in the time you have, combining the two makes it a challenge. But this is your holiday, so give us some more to work with. And then, I can guarantee, we'll have plenty of input.

... thanks for your kind words.
 
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Apr 13th, 2005, 01:19 PM
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You can adopt an orphaned Ele? Where do I sign up?

Leely - I understand you can go to Giraffe Manor for Tea - and not have the huge expense of staying there, but also get to experience the Girafes roaming around.

Also - in either Lewa Downs or Ol Malo there is a Rhino sanctuary for the endangered white rhinos(?). But I won't be getting up there.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 01:26 PM
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I just took a look at Patty's photos from Nairobi - what a hoot. I just know I am going to spend the entire trip walking around singing Hakuna Matata.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 01:59 PM
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csuss,
You can adopt online right on the website that I posted above for the Sheldrick trust. That's what I did. They'll email you an adoption certificate and send you monthly updates on 'your' orphan.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 03:11 PM
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I just adopted Eleanor.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 03:25 PM
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csuss, that's great! That means you definitely have to visit your baby when you're in Nairobi.

I'm relieved to see Sandi responded. After I saw this thread getting longer and longer I thought "Oh, now Sandi's going to see it and think she's a schizophrenic, all these multiple personalities."

Dreamseeker:
I just want to advise you that if you see $$ amounts being bounced around on this or other sites and think it's beyond your reach, please don't despair. Safari is not cheap, but there are *some* ways to cut corners without sacrificing the quality of the wildlife you experience. I would hate to think someone is giving up on his/her travel dream.

Please continue to ask questions.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 03:42 PM
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dreamseeker:

Welcome to the forum. Always glad to meet new members excited about their first trip.

You do not need to stay at Giraffe Manor which is expensive. You can visit it and see and feed the giraffes and visit their gift shop.

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust should be a must for everyone. There is probably no-one in the entire world that does as much for all wildlife as Daphne Sheldrick. With the money she raises from the orphans program she has set up desnaring teams recoverng snares and freeing injured animals, has set up a veterinarian on call to Tsavo and Amboseli Parks who takes care of sick and injured animals (not just elephants), pays for fuel for Kenya Wildlife vehicles, replaced the engine in a Kenya Wildlife antipoaching plane.. and it goes on and on. You can go and see the baby rhino and elephants from 11 - noon.

Since time is important with only 10 days in Africa I would suggest perhaps doing Maasai Mara, Samburu and Amboseli. Of course, my usual warning, is what you will see in any place depends on the weather. If they have had recent rains, the animals in all the parks tend to disappear and eat and drink out of the park. So there is no guarantee. However, of seven trips I have made, only one didn't have many animals. USUALLY July thru October or January through end of February are the dry season and excellent game viewing in Kenya.

You will have almost as much fun planning as you do on the trip. Keep posting questions here on the forum about your thoughts and questions and we'll all try to make your planning easier.

Jan
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Apr 13th, 2005, 05:38 PM
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Thank you all for being so kind, I have already learned about things like elephant adoption, viewing giraffes, etc. that I hadn't considered in Nairobi.We are closing in on 60 but have no health limitations. I hope to go on this adventure'06. I don't want to skimp on this trip, so a combination of lodges and permanent camps sounds good so far.If I had to narrow it down to a time of year it might (and I stress might) be the first or second week of January (we have a reliable college girl who could dog/cat/house sit) or the last of May. The 8-10 day time frame is for safari only,not travel time from ORD. I saw an itinerary somewhere that sort of went-Nairobi,Amboseli,Lake Manyara,Serengeti,Crater,Nairobi--8days.
There was no price and I'm curious about drive times-could be brutal! I'll check with you all tomorrow, must get up early and all this thinking is wearing me out! I feel like I've made lots of new friends, thank you.
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Apr 14th, 2005, 04:26 AM
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dreamseeker -

Only 60 and healthy! Join the majority of people (45-70+ yrs*)traveling to Africa. The reason I inquired of physical disabilities, is that a number of lodges do have steps especially around the Crater area, and camp properties can be hilly.

*This doesn't discount the balance of "younger" visitors (20-45 yrs).

I would suggest two different itineraries depending on when you'd be visiting. January would be different then end of May. And I'd highly recommend you try to push the May (wet season) into the first or second week of June.

For January you could easily fly in/out of NBO; whereas for June it would be better to fly into Kilimanjaro (JRO) and out of NBO. KLM flies to/from both.

Travel in January
Day 1 - Lv. ORD
Day 2 - Arv. NBO - o/n Intercontinent or Fairview
Day 3 - Drive to Amboseli - o/n Ol Tukai Lodge or Serena Lodge (for a bit more $$ consider Tortilis Camp)
Day 4 - Amboseli
Day 5 - Drive to Namanga border, transfer vehicles, drive to Lk. Manyara - o/n Serena Hotel
Day 6 - Drive to Ngorongoro Crater - afternoon Crater Tour - o/n Serena or Sopa Lodges
Day 7 - Drive to Serengeti (January may be early for the "calving" herds in the SE area, but that's not to say they won't be here) - o/n Nduto Lodge, Serengeti Camp
Day 8 - SE Serengeti - o/n Nduto
(or drive today to Seronera/Central Serengeti - o/n Serena Lodge)
Day 9 - Seronera/Central Serengeti - o/n Serena Lodge
Day 10 - Fly to Arusha, fly to NBO, fly to the Masai Mara - o/n Serena Lodge
Day 11 - Masai Mara
Day 12 - half day in Mara, take 4pm flt to NBO, arrive 5pm, visit your adopted Ellee, dinner (The Carnivore) transfer to airport for homebound flight.
Day 13 - Arv USA


Travel in June
Day 1 - Lv. ORD
Day 2 - Arv. JRO - o/n Serena Mountain Village, Ngurduto Lodge, Impala Hotel
Day 3 - Drive to Lk. Manyara - o/n Serena; or drive to Karuto area - o/n Plantation House, Ngorongoro Farmhouse
Day 4 - Drive to Crater - afternoon Crater tour - o/n Serena or Sopa Lodges
Day 5 - Drive to Western Serengeti - o/n Mbalegeti Camp
Day 6 - W.Serengeti
Day 7 - W.Serengeti
Day 8 - From from Grumeti to Arusha, fly to NBO, fly to the Masai Mara - o/n Serena Lodge
Day 9 - Masai Mara
Day 10 - Masai Mara
Day 11 - Fly 11am to NBO - sightseeing, visit adopted ellees 5pm, dinner, transfer to airport for homebound flight
Day 12 - Arv. USA
or
Day 10 - Fly 11am to NBO - afternoon sightseeing, visit adopted ellees 5pm - o/n Intercontinental or Fairview
Day 11 - Visit Sheldrick Ellees at 11am - lunch, sightseeing, shopping, dinner, transfer to airport
Day 12 - Arv USA

You'll notice I've included internal flights, but these are for the longest distances, and are time savers providing for more game viewing. While a few prefer to spend less time in NBO and head out immediately for safari, NBO has some interesting sights (though a bit touristy, but if you've never been, it gives a feeling of city-life in East Africa). If you want to see your ellee this is the only way to do so. However, it's always an individual choice.

The hotels/lodges/camps are only suggestions, alternatives are available based on budget. However, if you stay in two or more Serena properties, discounts are possible. This is true with Sopa or Sarova or any number of properties held by a single owner/corporation.

Of course Int'l flight schedules can impact either of these sample itineraries; there is some wiggle room if the itineraries are too long. At least these are ideas from where to start.

Let's see what other ideas are out there.
 
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Apr 14th, 2005, 04:31 AM
  #20
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Leely - You're a hoot (and no, I'm not schitzo, yet! LOL!) and must be lots of fun as a travel partner. Your friend and her mom are going to have a great time on safari with your planning and personality. If not camping, at least include a permanent camp or two... "mom" will love them. Keep up the good work.
 
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