EA safari in august- Help

Apr 23rd, 2005, 07:22 PM
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EA safari in august- Help

Hi, i am meeting my husband in Narobi, he is working in Afghanistan, this will be the first time we have seen each other in 4 mths and then another 4mths after that. We are unsure what to do really, we have 16 days but sometimes he is delayed several days out of saudi, so i am really planning 14days with the extra days as rest. We, by that I mean me, are thinking about a couple of days on a beach area seeing islands and then of course doing a safari. I am looking at Kenya and Tan, have gotten books but really have no idea where to start.This will be the first trip we dont have to backpack budget, but i have such a hard time parting with money i tend to be cheap, something Scott says DO NOT DO. So- i am having to decide if things like tent v. hotel is better. We are looking to see animals of course, any history that is avaliable, the native people, but most important each other in a beautiful place. Any help would be realy appreciated. Thanks
Apr 24th, 2005, 03:59 AM
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First, let me mention that August is right in the middle of the high season when the Wildebeest Migration is taking place in Kenya's Masai Mara. As of now (end-April/begin-May), many accommodations - lodges/tent camps are already booked - but space can be found. Also, with the exception of the Christmas/New Year's period, prices are high. So it's important that you provide some sort of budget.

Whether lodges or permanent tent camps, you've got to figure somewhere around $300/nt per person (probably more, maybe less), but this rate does include 3-meals daily, game drives and park fees while on safari. Also, whether you drive between locations or fly, can also add to costs. But, if you choose "camping" - basic camping can be less, whereas, mobile camping (semi-lux or luxury) brings prices up.

Hotels in cities are mostly B&B only; at beach resorts, many are B&B, more are Half-board (Bkfst & Dinner), some Full-board (all 3-meals).

So, it comes down to budget.

As to time on the beach - are you divers or just enjoy snorkling or simply relaxing on the beach? There are a number of excellent dive areas/islands, if this is something of interest.

From where are you flying? To where are you planning to fly into 1) Nairobi (NBO) Kenya; 2)Kilimanjaro (JRO) Tanzania; 3) Dar-es-Salaam (DAR) Tanzania? And returning from which of these? Likewise, for your husband - is he flying direct from Saudi to ??? or via Dubai? FYI, and not to dissuade you from East Africa for safari, Dubai has some wonderful beaches and hotels and you can arrange desert safaris here.

If your husband may be late arriving, you may have to spend a few days on your own. If so, it's something to consider - which city - NBO, JRO (Arusha) or DAR.

Depending on from where you can get flights and into which country can determine your options. Do you have any idea at this time?

You can spend time in, either, Kenya only, or a combination Kenya and Tanzania for safari - then a beach at the conclusion of your safari. How many days for safari and how many for beach?

Providing a little more information - would be helpful.

Apr 24th, 2005, 08:41 AM
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Hi, he goes from afgan to dubai to narobi where we will meet. I have been thinking about the fact that there is a chance I will be on my own for a couple of days, possibly so a pretty safe hotel in narobi is pretty important. We dont dive, so snorkling and sight seeing for the beach. Is it even worth going to the migration, i know it is problably am amazing sight but is it worth the money and/or accomidations we would be getting this late in the game? Since I am planning this myself, I just email him several ideas, I am a little unsure what to do. I would like to see several place, not just spend the entire time at one park, so is it better to rent a car and drive ourselves staying at a camp for a couple of days before moveing on to another park or to go through a tour service? Is it bad idea to book directly through the hotel? And how important is it to be in a lux hotel/camp, if you are not spending that much time there isnt it wasted monry in a way? We want to be comfortable but i dont need a private pool outside my door. I am thinking I would really like to do a tent camp at least once on the trip. Lots of work ahead of me it looks like. THanks
Apr 24th, 2005, 10:50 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 221
The Serena Hotel Group are very good quality and, for Kenya, do deals for around $150 per person per night - even in August. The price includes two game drives in shared landcruiser and 3 meals but excludes park fees ($30 per day) and flights from Nairobi.
philw is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 02:02 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,843
There are a few different ways to travel to the game parks. One is as you mentioned renting a car and self driving, another is to hire a vehicle with a driver/guide who travels with you from park to park and also takes you on game drives, and a third is to fly and use the lodge or camp's vehicles and guides for your game drives, usually on a shared basis with other guests. I've never looked into the self drive option so don't know how it compares cost wise. Between the other 2 options, flying is generally more expensive than traveling by road unless you're planning to stay in one place for a long duration.

If flying or self driving, you can book accomodation directly with the lodge or camp (there are a few that don't take direct bookings or prefer that you book through a tour operator). If hiring a vehicle with a driver/guide, then you'll book through a tour operator who arranges everything. In Kenya, a private lodge based safari traveling by road in this manner starts around $200 per person per night in high season, including full board accomodation, vehicle, driver/guide and his accomodation and meals, game drives and park fees. The extra costs are usually beverages, gratuities, laundry, and other optionals such as game walks or night game drives, if offered at your lodge/camp.

Staying at tented camps generally costs a bit more although not always. In any case, I think it's really worth any extra cost. First the tented camps are usually much smaller than the safari lodges (which can have as many as 90+ rooms) and this generally translates into more personalized service. The atmosphere at a tented camp is more romantic versus a lodge which can be more group/family oriented. Some of the smaller camps are unfenced so you can have game come right up to the tents (this also means you have to be escorted to/from your tent at night). There are of course, exceptions to everything I've said and there are some nice smaller lodges as well.

Your daily schedule generally consists of 2 game drives, one in the early morning and one in the late afternoon, so the time between mid morning and late afternoon is spent at the lodge/camp. There are exceptions here as well - some lodges/camps provide 3 daily game drives with the option of a full day drive - and if doing drives with a private vehicle/guide then you also have some flexibility with scheduling. To me that non-game drive time is long enough that it's important to pick an interesting and comfortable base for those hours.

Here's a good thread about choosing a lodge or camp that you might want to read - http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34489939

You can discuss all of these options with your husband and see which one appeals most to both of you. Hope this helps.
Patty is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 02:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,843
Oh and here's a thread on things in Nairobi for your first few days - http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34581311

As for hotels in Nairobi, I think any of the major hotels there would be safe. We stayed at the Hilton downtown and I'd feel comfortable staying there by myself. If you want something smaller and more atmospheric, look at some of the options in the suburbs south of downtown.

Don't walk around at night and exercise caution/common sense when going out during the day (leave any expensive watches/jewelry in the hotel safe or better yet at home, don't walk around with a camera around your neck, etc.) You can have the hotel or your tour operator (if you choose to use one) arrange a car for you for the day to take you to some of the sights around Nairobi.
Patty is offline  
Apr 25th, 2005, 04:38 AM
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sugarfire -

Patty provided excellent advise, direction and two excellent links on what to consider in planning a safari.

If, however, you're unsure whether to include safari, you can just meet your husband in Dubai and vacation there. While Dubai is generally expensive, there are moderately priced accommodations available. However, Dubai is very very hot during August - in excess of 100-degrees - something to consider. If you would still prefer East Africa you can fly into NBO and beach in the Mombasa area; or fly from NBO to Zanzibar Island area in Tanzania and have your beach R&R here.

If you choose Mombassa, you can arrange for 2-3 day safari at Tsavo East to get in some game viewing.

However, you can still get the Migration game viewing in the Mara into an itinerary, also Amboseli Park, then head into Tanzania for a few days at Tarangire - ending with a beach stay on Zanzibar Island. If you have to spend a few days in/around NBO before your husband arrives, I would suggest staying in the suburb of Karen, which is less hectic and safer then being in the heart of NBO where additional precautions have to be taken (Patty mentioned these above). A lovely place to consider here is the Karen Blixen Coffee Cottages, Macushala House, House of Waine - all can arrange a driver/vehicle for sightseeing in the area - Daphne Sheldrik Elephant Orphanage, Karen Blixen Museum, National Museum, Giraffe Center and others.

You might want to send your requirements to a few in-country outfitters to see what they can offer and associated prices to get an idea of what your budget can handle. Try contacting the two below which get excellent reviews on this board:

[email protected]


A sample itinerary could look like this:

Day 1 - Arv NBO - o/n in NBO or suburb of Karen
Day 2 - NBO/Karen
Day 3 - NBO/Karen
Day 4 - NBO/Karen - husband arrives
Day 5 - Fly to Masai Mara - lodge or tent camp, here.
Day 6 - Masai Mara - lodge or camp
Day 7 - Masai Mara - lodge or camp
Day 8 - Fly to NBO, drive to Amboseli - o/n Tortilis Camp, Serena Lodge, Ol Tukai Lodge
Day 8 - Amboseli - o/n (as above)
Day 9 - Road transfer to Tanzania, via Arusha to Tarangire - o/n Tarangire River Camp, Tree Tops, Kikoti Camp, others
Day 10 - Tarangire - o/n (as above)
Day 11 - Road transfer back to Arusha - afternoon fly to Zanzibar - lots of choices here, too many to list (see what outfitter suggests)
Day 12 - Zanzibar
Day 13 - Zanzibar
Day 14 - Zanzibar
Day 15 - Transfer to Stone Town on Zanzibar - o/n Emerson & Green, Serena Inn, or others*
Day 16 - Depart
* reason for Stone Town at the end is because ST is 10-min from airport for return flight to NBO, versus other properties on ZNZ which can be 1+ hrs drive; if you have an early morning 7:30am flight you'd have to be up very early.

Of course, you can add or delete number of days in Karen at beginning depending on your husband's schedule; a day at Zanzibar. I wouldn't recommend taking time from the Mara. Once you see what these outfitters have to offer and prices, you'll have an idea of whether this fits your budget.

And don't hesitate returning here with questions about the responses you receive.
Apr 26th, 2005, 06:40 AM
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I copied the responses to my hubby and we are checking some things out. I will post what we are looking out to see if it is an ideal schedule. We are possibly thinking about skipping the beach area, his idea, and focusing on more safari areas.

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