Dream Trip Kenya & Tanzania??

Sep 23rd, 2004, 12:39 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 56
Dream Trip Kenya & Tanzania??

I need some help so thought I'd throw this one open and ask you all ........

WHAT you would suggest for a 12-14 day trip end Jan - beg Feb taking in Kenya and Tanzania from UK?
Mix of fly and road, lodge and tent and seeing what you wouldn't want to miss if it was a one-off trip (hopefully not but who knows)
That way I could ask various companies to price it and clear my head of all these itinereries!!Think I'm going blind/mad staring at this screen
Not asking much am I?? but thanks if you can help

phil16 is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2004, 01:51 PM
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phil16 - Before answering your question, I have would like to recommend the best way for posting on Fodors - keep all your posts together in one thread! It seems (I believe) that there are five (5) separate threads about a trip you would like to plan to Kenya & Tanzania. By keeping all together, neither you nor posters will have to skip from one thread to another to recall what was previously posted/answered.

The time you have picked is the wilderbeest "calving" season in the SE Serengeti, so that's a definite and Ngorongoro Crater is nearby. At the conclusion of your safari time, you might consider a few days in Zanzibar.

In Kenya, you should visit the Masai Mara, north to Samburu and at least one of the "salt licks" in the Aberdares/Mt.Kenya area. It's a good idea to spend a full day in Nairobi doing the tourist sights here.

Depending on the airline you select, you can fly into/out Nairobi or into NBO/out of Dar-es-Salaam on BA. With KLM you can fly into/out NBO or into/out of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Airline will be your decision based on price and itinerary.

You never did post the Raylenne itinerary.

Sep 23rd, 2004, 02:56 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 56
Thanks for sorting me out about posting Sandi - now I know!

Raylenne sent 2 trips - the following is a 14 day trip ( the other is 12 days, excludes Samburu) again on the K&T safaris they move about a lot with lots of stops.
Bearing in mind your previous comments - there are 3 flight options offered - which would be most worthwhile do you think (timewise and rearend-wise?



Day 1; Samburu;
Depart Nairobi in the morning for Samburu National reserve crossing the
Equator and driving through changing terrain to the rugged semi-desert
region in the northern Kenya. Though harsh, it is blessed with species
rarely found elsewhere. arrive in time for lunch at lodge. Afternoon game
drive to search for the stars of Samburu. Dinner and overnight at Samburu
lodge/Samburu Serena lodge.
Optional flight from Nairobi to Samburu-This will cost $125 per person.

Day 2; Samburu;
Full day in Samburu with game drives .Search for the rare liver red
reticulated giraffe, Grevy's Zebra, Beisa Oryx, Blue flanked Somali Ostrich,
Vulturine Guinea Fowl, Longneck Gerenuk. See braving lions on the grass,
Cheetah, Leopards among plenty of other plains game. (optional visits to
Samburu villages). All meals and overnight at Samburu lodge/Samburu Serena

Day 3; Treetops;
Breakfast at a lodge and drive to the shoulders of Mt. Kenya arriving at the
Outspan Golf & Country Club for lunch. After lunch transfer by lodge vehicle
to the Treetops Lodge where from the lodge balcony you view game that often
visit the floodlit waterhole and saltlick--e.g. elephants, rhino, buffalo
and giant forest hog. Dinner and overnight at Treetops Lodge

Day 4. Abedares-Lake Nakuru National Park.
Breakfast at Treetops lodge and depart for Lake Nakuru via Thomson falls
arriving in time for lunch, afternoon game drive at the Pink lake referred
so for it's thousands of pink flamingos and other bird life-it's a bird
watchers paradise. It has a surprisingly number of animals, all the "big
five" except the elephant can be seen here, Dinner and overnight at Lake
Nakuru Lodge/Sarova lion Hill.

Day 5. Lake Nakuru-Maasai Mara National Reserve.
Morning game viewing at the Pink ,it is rhino sanctuary and a bird watchers
paradise, look for warthogs and water bucks as you leave the Park. Breakfast
at the lodge and depart for Maasai Mara crossing the loita plains, see red
clad maasai warriors tend their multi-colored herds amongst plains game.
Arrive Mara in time for lunch. Game viewing enroute to Mara Sopa lodge for
lunch. Afternoon game drive. Dinner and overnight at Mara sopa lodge/Mara
Sarova Luxury Tented Camp/Mara Serena lodge.
Optional balloon safari this will cost $425 per person

Day 6. Maasai Mara National Reserve.
Morning and afternoon game viewing inside the Park. Search for wild game
black manned lion for which Mara is famous for, cheetah, buffalo,
wildebeest, zebra, leopard, grants gazelle are quite common, even the rare
rhino might come out of the thicket for you, hyenas are plentiful, Extend
your drive to the hippo point where schools of hippo submerge on the
approach of vehicles only to surface seconds later to shot and gamble their
displeasure as the crocodiles sunbathe on the river banks mouths agape.
Between meals there is optional visit to the maasai villages for an insight
to their culture if clients so wish. Meals and overnight at Mara Sopa
Lodge/Mara Sarova luxury Tented Camp/Mara Serena lodge.

Day 7. Maasai Mara-Nairobi.-Amboseli
Early morning game viewing drive searching for any wild game you might have
missed previously, Breakfast at lodge and depart for Nairobi with game
viewing enroute as you leave the park. Lunch in Nairobi and proceed to
Amboseli at the foot of the mighty
snow-capped Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak, Game viewing enroute to
the lodge .Dinner and overnight at Amboseli Serena lodge.

Optional flight from Masai mara to Nairobi and proceed by road to
Amboseli-This will cost $120 per person.

Day 8. Amboseli
Morning and afternoon game viewing inside the park. Amboseli is a photogenic
Park and hosts great number of game including the lion, elephant and the
splendid cheetah. Meals and overnight at Amboseli Serena lodge.

Day 9. NgoroNgoro
Morning game viewing drive in Amboseli. Breakfast and depart crossing the
border for NgoroNgoro National Reserve via Arusha for Lunch, Afternoon
proceed to NgoroNgoro, Game viewing enroute to the lodge for dinner and
overnight at NgoroNgoro Sopa Lodge/Serena lodge.

Day 10. NgoroNgoro Crater
Depart in the morning after breakfast with picnic lunch descending 2000ft by
4WD vehicles to the crater floor for a full day crater tour. Search for the
magnificent black-manned lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and plenty of other
wild game exist in great concentration. Lunch at the crater. Ascend back to
NgoroNgoro Sopa lodge/Serena lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 11. Ngorongoro-Serengeti National Park
Breakfast at Ngorongoro Sopa lodge and depart for the vast Serengeti plains
National Reserve via Olduvai Gorge ,site of the famous archeologist Dr.
Leakey where fossils of human and animal believed to be over 2 million years
are seen. Lunch enroute arriving Serengeti in the afternoon. Afternoon game
viewing inside the Park known to host great herds of plains game. Dinner and
overnight at Serengeti Sopa/Serena Lodge.

Day 12. Serengeti National Park
Morning and afternoon game inside the Park taking you to different parts of
the park famous for the annual migration when millions of wildebeest (gnus)
and zebra set off for maasai Mara in search of better grazing grounds and
water, search for numerous plains game. Meals and overnight at Serengeti
Sopa/Serena Lodge.

Day 13. Serengeti-Lake Manyara National Park
Morning game viewing drive in Serengeti. Breakfast and depart for Lake
Manyara National Park arriving in time for lunch at Lake Manyara Serena
lodge/Kirurumu Tented camp. Afternoon game viewing drive inside the park,
look for a variety of wild game .You are likely to shoot a picture of the
curious tree-climbing lions. Dinner and overnight at the lodge/Camp.

Day 14. Arusha-Nairobi
Early morning game viewing at the park. Return to lodge for breakfast after
which you will depart for Arusha arriving for lunch at Arusha Impala Hotel.
Afternoon proceed and cross the border and onwards to arrive Nairobi early
evening and transfer to the airport for your flight out.
OR afternoon transfer to the airport for Optional flight from Arusha to
Nairobi.This will cost $175 per person one way.

price per person sharing $2,900

Price includes Transportation in tourist minibus in kenya and 4*4 in
Tanzania all

with HF Radio communication and pop-up roof for easy viewing and

-Full board accommodation on safari,

-All park entrance fees,

-services of English speaking skilled and experienced driver/guide,

- extensive game drives in the national parks,

phil16 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 05:05 AM
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phil16 - Well, they certainly pack a lot in 14 days and the price is excellent, but there might be some stops you can eliminate, and maybe upgrade/change your accommodations. I'd like to suggest the following:

Day 1 - Drive to Mt.Kenya - o/n Serena Mountain Lodge. Here you can drive right up to the lodge (rather then Tree Tops where you have to leave main luggage at Outspan CC [Day 3] and only go to Tree Tops w/overnight bag.
Day 2 - Drive to Samburu -o/n Intrepids Camp or Serena Lodge.
Day 3 - Samburu
Day 4 - Fly to the Masai Mara (this omits Lk. Nakuru, but realize that even with stop/overnight at Lk. Nakuru the drive to the Mara is 5-6 hours - hard on your bottom) and gives you opportunity for 2 full-days in the Mara - o/n Intrepids Camp or Kichwa Tembo* or Mara Serena
*Kichwa Tembo is a much bigger tent camp with 40 tents, where Intrepids has less than 30, but gives you another camp choice and I don't believe Kichwa Tembo would be full at time of your trip.
Day 5 - Masai Mara -(Optional balloon ride should only cost $400, unless price has increased for '05).
Day 6 - Early flight** to NBO, lunch at The Carnivore, continue drive to Amboseli, o/n Serena Lodge or Sopa Lodge (check if this will be opened by beginning of Jan - it will be a new lodge)
** with an early flight you skip a 5-hr drive to NBO. If you do all driving (even with lunch in NBO) to Amboseli, you'll be completely exhausted on arrival.
Day 7 - Amboseli
Day 8 - Depart Amboseli to Namanga border crossing and onto Arusha for Lunch, then continue to Ngorongoro Crater - you will arrive late afternoon - o/n Serena Lodge (preferably) or Sopa Lodge.
Day 9 - Full day in Crater
Day 10 - Drive to Serengeti via Olduvai Gorge. Because the wildebeest herds are located in the SE area, suggest the Ndutu Lodge, if they have room - it is getting late. I wouldn't go any further north then Central Serengeti, staying at the Serena Lodge. If you want to splurge a bit, and your budget can afford it, consider a semi-permanent tented camp - "Serengeti Camp" run by Kirurumu which costs about $425/pp/pn, but it will be an unbelievable experience.
Day 11 - Serengeti
Day 12 - Serengeti
Day 13 - Drive to Lk. Manyara - o/n Serena Lodge.
Day 14 - Drive to Arusha - you can either continue drive to NBO or fly to NBO. If you fly you'll have half a day in NBO for some sightseeing - maybe the Karen Blixen Museum and Giraffe Center, "sundowners" on terrace at Norfolk Hotel, even light dinner on the Delamere Terrace here, before heading to airport for homebound flight.

I know I've included some accommodations that might bring the costs up and maybe more than your budget allows. So if you want ways to tweek this itinerary realize that if you choose all Serena Properties (Samburu, Masai Mara, Amboseli, Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Lk. Manyara) you get a reduction in price. Likewise if choosing Sopa Properties (Masai Mara, Amboseli, Ngorongoro); Sarova Properties (Samburu, Masai Mara); Heritage Properties (Intrepids Samburu and Masai Mara). I mention this as it's possible Ndutu in SE Serengeti might be full, and if the Serengeti semi-permanent camp (only 5-tents) is of interest, then sticking with properties of one of the above companies would probably save money to afford this special camp - that's what I mean by "tweeking".

I hope I haven't confused you any more, but see if this makes sense to you.

Sep 24th, 2004, 08:31 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 408
Sandi, please share your secret as I read you posts here for a while. How are you able to spend so much time on line and write very long posts many times a day? Please tell
Mama is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 09:32 AM
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Mama -

MAGIC! There are five of me. I'm kidding!
With few exceptions my online time is in the early morning and usually late afternoon. Rarely in evenings/nights.
Sep 24th, 2004, 04:45 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 56
Sandi Thanks for getting back to me with this. I've read it through quickly and appreciate your changes.
I'll need to go over it and work prices out, they have a way of spiralling don't they!
I've been busy too at this end and have had a few quotes from various companies I've found others on this forum have used. In fact my desk is covered in paper!
I got a very good reply from Roys (saying much the same as you re game and locations) and think it worth posting to compare if you wouldn't mind. It's done in 2 parts which I think could perhaps be "tidied up".

I realise I have to move on this as flights and accom are filling up so hope to reach a decision this w/end.
Thanks again for your help.

PART 1 - 6days/5nights Safari to Maasai Mara and Amboseli - Southern Kenya

Day Program

1 Clients arrive at Jomo Kenyatta Airport - Nairobi. Transfer to Nairobi Serena Hotel for overnight.
2 After breakfast, drive or fly to Maasai Mara National Park. Game drive, Lunch, dinner and overnight at Mara Serena Lodge.
3 After breakfast full day game drive in Maasai Mara with packed lunches. Continue game drive unti late afternoon. Dinner &
overnight at Mara Serena Lodge.
4 After breakfast, with picnic lunches drive or fly to Amboseli National Park via Nairobi. Game viewing en-route the Amboseli Serena
Lodge for dinner and overnight.
5 Early morning game drive followed by late breakfast at the lodge at 09h00 (optional). Around 10h30 With picnic lunches continue game viewing
for the rest of the day (or relax at the lodge until around 4pm where you can have the sunset game drive).
Dinner and overnight at Amboseli Serena Lodge
6 After breakfast, drive to Namanga Border. Then transfer to Tanzanian for continuation of safari.
Overnight at Mountain Village Lodge or Moivaro Coffee Plantation Lodge.

Price: (in USDollars per person based on double room sharing) = US$1330 pp
BB accomodaiton at Mountain Village Lodge or Moivaro Coffee Plantation Lodge = US$75pppn

costs include: park fees, full board accommodation at lodges, Transportation and game drives in a 4x4 lodge vehicle at the Mara and a WildTrek 9-seater
safari cruiser with a pop-up roof at Amboseli on exclusive basis, first day airport and final day border transfers.

costs exclude: Drinks, tips, laundry, personal toiletry requirements, insurance, visas and all items of a personal nature

Optional Extras: Domestic flights (light aircraft) inclusive of taxes:
Nairobi - Maasai Mara = US$115 pp (one-way)
Nairobi - Amboseli = US$95 pp (one-way)
Airport transfer = US$15pp (one-way)

PART 2 - 8days/7nights Safari to Tarangire, Manyara, Ngorongoro & Serengeti

Day Program

1 08h30 Drive to Tarangire National Park. Game drive in the park with picnic lunches.
Dinner and overnight at Tarangire Sopa Lodge, Kikoti Tented Camp or Tarangire Swala Luxury Tented Camp.
2 After breakfast dirve to Lake Manyara National Park. Game viewing with lunch boxes.
Dinner & overnight at Manyara Serena Lodge or Kirurumu Tented Camp.
3 After breakfast, with picnic lunches drive to Serengeti. Game viewing en-route the Seronera area
the Serengeti Serena Lodge or Serengeit Sopa Lodge for dinner and overnight.
4 Around 06h00 Begin the Sunrise game drive followed by late breakfast at 09h00.
(*Alternatively - Serengeti Balloon Safari followed by Champagne Bush Breakfast
before returning to Lodge to resume safari). Around 10h30 With picnic lunches continue game viewing
for the rest of the day. Dinner and overnight at Ndutu Safari Lodge or Kusini Tented Camp.
5 Another full day of game viewing in Serengeti. lunch, Dinner & overnight at Ndutu Safari Lodge or Kusini Tented Camp.
6 After breakfast, game viewing in Serengeti and later with picnic lunches drive to Ngorongoro via Olduvai Gorge.
Dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge or Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge.
7 After breakfast, descend the crater for a full day tour of the crater, dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge or Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge.
8 After breakfast, descend the crater for a morning crater tour (alternatively drive to Empakaai Crater - a truly untouched volcanic caldera - in the Ngorongoro Highlands and with the guidance of an armed ranger, trek to the crater floor which is part soda lake and part forest, approx 1 hour and absorb the essence of nature at its very best. You have a fabulous view of the Mountain of God (Oldo-inyo Lengai) - the only active natrocarbonatite volcano in the world, sacred to the Maasai - from the rim of the crater). Early lunch then drive back to Arusha (visiting a Maasai village on your way out, if you wish). Transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport for flight to Nairobi connecting with return international flight home (please provide international flight details so that we can proivde flight times that are appropriate for your return flight home; alternatively you may wish to fly to Nairobi after your safari and spend the night in Nairobi for your onward flight home the following day).

Price: (in USDollars per person based on double room sharing, ex-Arusha):
(i) Using SOPA Lodges, Kirurumu Tented Lodge & Ndutu Safari Lodge = US$1725 pp
(ii) Using SERENA Lodges, Kikoti Tented Camp & Ndutu Safari Lodge = US$1945 pp (supplements to this option: for Tarangire Swala Tented Camp add US$150pppn; for Kusini Camp add US$150pppn)
phil16 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2004, 04:36 AM
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phil - you're getting there - "it's lookin good"

The prices are great and you have options for camp upgrades, if you wish. My choices here would be #1 Kusini at the Serengeti, then #2 Swala at Taragire, depending on what your budget allows; if you can do both, go for it.

They also provide the opportunity to do full-day game drives if you wish not to return for lunch and go out again for late game drives. Of course, if on a particular day you prefer not, you can return for lunch, rest and go out later in the day. And the trip to the Oldonyo Lengai is a nice add-on. Having your own guide/driver and vehicle you can set each days scheduled in consultation with your guide.

At Lake Manyara, a relatively small park, here you also have options of camp or lodge. Personally I like the Serena here, set on a hill, larger then a camp, though spread out - but with a great view of park - ask for a room facing (and near the swimming pool) that overlooks right into the park - this position is also relatively close to the dining area.

At minimum the cost increase is about $700/pp, maximum $900/pp over your original itinerary and more sensible for the time of year you're traveling; an excellent choice of combined accommodations. And though there are some locations omitted from your first itinerary I can almost guarantee that after this holiday, you'll be planning a return trip.

Glad I was able to help. Now it's up to you. Let us know what you decide. Happy travels.
Sep 25th, 2004, 04:59 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 56
Thanks Sandi! Thought it was looking good too!

Now I'm going to clear my desk and work on the prices and flights for this.
You have been a great help and I'm so glad I discovered this forum as it's been very educational going through other's posts. I hope someone else will benefit from this thread too.
Will post the final when I get it pulled together.
Thanks again.
phil16 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2004, 06:59 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 56
Sandi, I have 2 questions -
if you had to choose 1 flight, would it be Nairobi - Masai Mara on day 2
or Masai Mara to Nairobi on day 4 -
are either a real bonus?

Is there any way to avoid the 4 one night stops days 6-1-2-3? Your past reccs advise against too many of these.

It IS getting there -just trying to "tweak" it
phil16 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2004, 12:26 PM
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Phil - Let's "tweak"

In response to your
>>I have 2 questions - if you had to choose 1 flight, would it be Nairobi - Masai Mara on day 2 or Masai Mara to Nairobi on day 4 - are either a real bonus?<<

Day 2 - NBO/Mara - the drive is 5-6 hours on pretty lousy roads. That said, and if you want to save a few dollars, and if you promise to fly back on Day 4, then drive. At least it will give you a view of the country. The scenery can be interesting, and during "potty" stops along the way you'll have contact with local people and likely souvenir stands (but don't feel you have to buy anything if you don't want to). We did quite a bit of driving on our very first trip and surprisingly even with the lousy roads, found it an adventure.

But do fly on Day 4 - flite departs Mara about 11am (1-hr flight) and then fly onto Amboseli which is about 50-minutes - arriving in time for late lunch, definitely for afternoon game drive.

>>Is there any way to avoid the 4 one night stops days 6-1-2-3? Your past reccs advise against too many of these.<<

Day 6 - leaving Amboseli - if you do an early game drive and breakfast you won't depart until 9:30am earliest* and it's about 2-hrs to the Namanga border, border procedures (brief -1/2 hr most) and an hour to Arusha by about 1:30pm. You might inquire about having lunch here, then onto Tarangire, arriving late afternoon. Upon entering the area you'll be game viewing till reaching your accommodations. This way you'll have a full day on Day 7.
* if only an early breakfast and then depart, you can make up about 2-hours

Looking closer at the itinerary, the distance if from Tarangire (rather than Lk.Manyara) right onto the Central Serengeti (Day 3) would be a long haul. So you can see why Roy gave you the stop at Lk. Manyara which itself is close to 100 miles from Tarangire.

It's also possible that Roy has based the itinerary on availabiity of accommodations. I don't have any issue with the 1-nt (Day 3) at Central Serengeti, but instead of driving there from Lake Manyara (Day 2) you might consider the short flight from Lk. Manyara airport instead(it's the closest airport and you'd be driving that way) to Central Serengeti - it's not expensive - (maybe do Lk. Manyara on the way back).

Looking further to Day 8 - If you do Empakaai Crater, it's a bit of a drie from Ngorongoro, then 1-hr there and onto Arusha - you have to get all done to make the flight around 1:30pm. I would get clarification of time needed to do what Roy has listed on Day 8 and be in Arusha in time for flight to NBO.

If it's a "too hectic" amount of time, you might want instead to drive from Ngorongoro Crater to Lk. Manyara. The drive from here to Arusha is about 90-miles and can easily get you to Arusha by lunch time to catch flight to NBO.

So Tanzania would look something like:

(Kenya)- Day 6 (from Amboseli) (Tanz) -After bkfst drive to Namanga, onto Arusha. Lunch here. Drive to Tarangire (we skip o/n Arusha)
(Tanzania) - Day 1 - Tarangire which give you a full day of game viewing.
Day 2 - Drive to Lk.Manyara airport, fly to Central Serengeti* o/n Serena or Sopa
*Note: this is where the airport is located for scheduled flites; also the area where hot-air balloons safaris take off.

Day 3 - S.E.Serengeti
Day 4 - S.E.Serengeti
Day 5 - Drive to Ngorogoro Crater
Day 6 - Full-date Crater
Day 7 -
Day 8 -

Tighten up these last two days with either:
- the Empakaai Crater - Oldonyo-Lengai and onto Arusha for lunch and connect to Nairobi and shorten trip by 1-day; or spend following day in NBO and do the sights; or overnight in Arusha and fly out to NBO next day. OR

- drive to Lake Manyara, game viewing and overnight here and next day drive to Arusha and connect to NBO.

Ideally Tarangire is best visited June - October when they have a mini migration. That's not to say that since you're traveling in January you won't find wildlife. Tarangire is one of my favorite parks and even when we've visited late-November/early-December there was plenty of great animal encounters and certainly deserves more then an overnight.

Lk.Manyara, though a stop on our itinerary and worth our brief time, I wasn't all that impressed. But so much is personal to the individuals.

What you have to remember when traveling in East Africa is that distances are great, so unless one flies throughout which not everyone can do, nor afford - it's driving; breaking up long drives with some one-nighters is the best for you and your guide/driver.

See how the above works and how you choose to work Day 7 and Day 8, and how Roy can adjust this to meet your needs.

It's amazing - as we tweak, the more we tweak, but in the end it's your trip, as well as availablity during the "calving" season. I believe one more go-'round should do it. Got my fingers crossed!!!
Sep 25th, 2004, 04:20 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 56
Hi Sandi, Thanks for tweaking!
I've been tweaking and had Roys tweaking too and this is what has come out of it...

Day 1 - Arrive Nairobi. Overnight Nairobi Serena
Day 2 - Transfer to Maasai Mara. o/n Mara Serena
Day 3 - Mara Serena
Day 4 - Transfer to Amboseli. O/n Amboseli Serena
Day 5 - Amboseli Serena
Day 6 - Transfer to Namanga border. Drive to Arusha. o/n Moivaro Coffee Plantation Lodge or Mountain Village Lodge
Day 7 - Drive to Ngorongoro. o/n Ngorongoro Serena
Day 8 - Ngorongoro Serena
Day 9 - Ndutu Safari Lodge OR Kusini Camp
Day 10 - Ndutu Safari Lodge OR Kusini Camp
Day 11 - Ndutu Safari Lodge OR Kusini Camp
Day 12 - Manyara Serena OR Tarangire Swala Camp
Day 13- Manyara Serena OR Tarangire Swala Camp
Day 14 - Drive to Arusha and transfer to Nairobi (either shuttle service or flight)

This looks better I think, not so hectic and I'll take your advice on the flight on the 4th day.
I think the novelty of the long drive will see us through on day 2.

We seem to have lost the Serengeti Serena(?) should I worry/tweak again?

We now have a three day stop at Ndutu/Kusini tho' and am tempted to do both Lake Manyara and Tarangire at the end but wonder if it's a good idea?

Decisions, decisions.........

phil16 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2004, 06:37 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 592

Just wanted to let you know that Sopa Lodge at Amboseli is open but it is not new (new only to Sopa). It is the former Buffalo Lodge.

The other thing people might want to think about, the Serena is used by many companies (? better commission). However, it is not in a very attractive part of the park. Everyone that stays at the Serena, Sopa and Tortillis has to come into the swamp area twice a day to see the animals. Thus I would again suggest Ol Tukai Lodge which is right there with views of either the swamps with the animals or Kilimanjaro (which ever you prefer). It is an attractive area and even while in the lodge area you'll see hundreds of animals from your verandas. I have stayed here on six occasions and I would not hesitate to recommend it.

JanGoss is offline  
Sep 26th, 2004, 05:16 AM
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Hi Jan -
Yes, I do recall your mention that the former Buffalo Springs was being remodelled under new managements - didn't realize that was the Sopa organization. And if the mind hasn't gone completely, didn't you mention that some refurbishing was being done at Ol Tukai? However, I also seem to remember something about "snakes" at the latter, so tend to avoid mentioning the place. LOL!

So yes, there are more than enough good choices at Amboseli with various pros & cons, lanscape/scenery and animal sightings. Thanks for the reminder.

Phil -
Re the Serengeti, you still have three days here, but with the current itinerary, they're in the S.E. Serengeti where the major herds should be - so that's good. You'll still have the opportunity to investigate other areas in the Serengeti (up towards Central) and Seronera which has an interesting Open Air Museum - certainly worth the drive here.

And the stay in Arusha when arriving from Namanga (and Amboseli) is fine, even if a 1-nighter. Will give you time to investigate this interesting city/town, shops, restaurants - and then head out for the balance of your safari experience.

I believe all of us who ventured out the first time were as befuddled with so much information and choices. This forum has turned out to be a benefit for everyone regardless whether first or sixth trip anywhere in Africa. So with a few good postings, and outstanding input from Fodorites it all comes together. Now all you have to do is get your Int'l air and you're set to go. Glad to have been able to help. And remember, we'll be expecting a trip report and possibly your photos. Happy Travels!
Sep 26th, 2004, 06:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 56

I think it is now as good as it will get, you could go on forever!

I'm sure as it will be our first trip we will be stunned by it all anyway, but I'm really pleased to know that with all the input we've had I feel we will be making the most of it.

The next stage as you say, is the airfares and fingers crossed that will work out, and then I will really feel as if I'm going!!

Of course I'll let you know how it goes and I'll continue to visit the forum as it has been a great source of info on so much, don't think I could have got this far without it!
phil16 is offline  
Sep 27th, 2004, 01:04 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 165

Don't bother with Masai Mara in feb and focus on Serengeti instead. I am not sure which airline you will be using but if it is Kenya Airways then you can probably fly straight to Amboseli the day you arrive (or even drive). There is no need to spend a night in Nairobi and why bother with Arusha. Use all the time available for wildlife viewing !

Your safari could look like this:

2 nights Amboseli
2 nights Tarangire
2 nights Ngorongoro
2 or 3 nights Serengeti Serena or Kusini or Lobo wildlife lodge (will be much cheaper and the wilderness area is exquisite)
2 or 3 nights Ndutu
1 night Lake Manyara

king is offline  
Sep 27th, 2004, 05:36 AM
Posts: n/a
King, I would agree with your suggested itinerary if it weren't a first-(and maybe only) visit to East Africa. It also depends on when Phil arrives in NBO, more than likely 8-9pm, so it's unlikely there will be a flight to Amboseli till next morning, nor would a drive or fly to the Mara. Even if Phil arrived in NBO in the morning, it would be after the flight to Amboseli which is very early, about 8:15am.

And while August - October is the best time to visit the Mara for the migration, I have found that the Mara is good year-round and someplace the visitor should spend a few days.

As to the Serengeti, again travel when the "calving" is taking place in the S.E.Serengeti, so Lobo is way north. King, I know you like Lobo, but recently a few posters have mentioned that Lobo is "worn" and has "terrible food." With this itinerary as it is, Phil has time to travel within the southeastern and central Serengeti, but travel north is a bit much.

It seems that the tour operators Phil has been working with, and I, believe his latest itinerary gives him a good overview of East Africa for the time of year he is traveling. On subsequent trips, should Phil decide to return (I'm sure he will) - any combination of parks/reserves, number of days, type of accommodations and time of year can determine that itinerary.

Phil - sorry to be talking about your itinerary this way. Your comments are welcomed!

Sep 27th, 2004, 06:34 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 165

I have travelled to East Africa nearly 30 times and I can assure you that my advice is the right one for the first timer or for the more experienced traveller. A 2 night trip to Masai Mara is a waste of time in Feb. Instead why not focus on two areas of Serengeti, Ndutu and Lobo. Lobo is remote and less crowded than the Masai Mara, has plenty of wildlife and also has easy access to Grumeti River and Sand River, both with large croc and hippo population. Ndutu or Kusini will be perfect for the wildebeest in February.

Certainly Lobo accommodation needs upgrading but at least it provides one with the opportunity to do drives in a beautiful wilderness that is uncrowded, unlike other areas on the trip. Surely one can put up with that for 2 to 3 nights out of the 12 nights - I would recommend 3 nights.

On a different note - how long do you think the drive from Masai Mara to Amboseli is? It is much longer than the drive from Ngorongoro to Lobo!

Sandi, several times your advice misses the mark. Perhaps you need to visit East Africa more often if you wish to become a real expert that you portray yourself to be at present!

Phil, popular tour operators love to pack in as many game parks as possible. However, quality comes from spending more time in a particular area. Rushing from one park to another means more time on the road and less time in the game parks. If you travel on Kenya Airways you can start your safari on the first day you arrive in Nairobi.

All the best on your adventure whichever way you go.
king is offline  
Sep 27th, 2004, 07:33 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 315
King, thank you for saying what I wanted to say for some time

'Sandi, several times your advice misses the mark. Perhaps you need to visit East Africa more often if you wish to become a real expert that you portray yourself to be at present!'
In my case I would like to say that regarding the Seychelles. Sandi was there for a week or so in 1998 and she still recommends places where she stayed without realizing how things may changed in such a long time. I try to include my opinion regarding the Seychelles, where we lived for many years, a couple times but I became overwhelmed by sandi's very, very long posts and her being 'an expert' or rather portraying to be an expert. Thanks
earlxx is offline  
Sep 27th, 2004, 09:08 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 56
Thanks for your input re my trip.
Everyone's advice is being weighed in planning this
Sandi is correct in saying we don't arive till late evening so an overnight is necc in Nairobi.
We are flying British Airways and Arusha isn't an option.

I have found it quite hard to settle on an itinerary and realise that I may not be getting it quite "right" but I'm trying to combine a balance of seeing the land and being where the game is.
As it is, although I now know that for game, the Serengeti is where I want to be, I'm dithering about trying to squeeze Lake Nakuru back in somehow!! (see original trip)
I dream about that scene in "Out of Africa"

I suspect this won't be the "one off" trip that was planned, but just in case.....I'm keen not to miss much, and no matter what I chose, there would always be other options that seem better.
What would help now is if anyone has suggestions to get the costs down without roughing it!

phil16 is offline  

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