East Africa Trip

Feb 16th, 2013, 08:20 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 15
East Africa Trip


We are planning a trip to Africa.
We don't have a set date but were thinking of going end of Dec/Jan to escape the winter in Canada. We want to start in Nairobi, with a safari in Masai Mara, then visit Uganda, then a beach stay in Zanzibar.
I have a few questions, if anyone can share suggestions.

1) Is January an ok time to go on safari? We don't care about seeing the migration - just want to see big game.

2) Where is the best place to see gorillas in Uganda?

3) Any recommendations for where to stay in Zanzibar? (mid-range)

Nisha_Patel is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 09:51 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
First, buy a guidebook so you know where you'll be visiting - Fodor's "Complete Safari Planning Guide" with details of all the safari countries.

Jan is fine for safari. It is 'summer' so expect warm to hot on the mainland, cooler nights; Zanzibar though is tropical and will be very hot (over 100-degrees often) and humid in the 80-90%... a/c is recommended.

You will be visiting three countries, needing three Visas and Yellow Fever inoculation with proof of same for entry to/from/between countries.

How many total days in-country.

Do some more research and then return with specific queries.
sandi is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 04:58 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
1) Yes, Jan in Mara is fine. Maybe some rain.
2) Buhoma Area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
3) No info from me on this topic

Good luck. # days would indeed help.
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 08:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 15
Thanks. We are thinking 3+ weeks.
We are taking my mum (65 yrs, active but not very fit) with us. Would she be ok on the driving safari and the gorilla trek?

Does anyone know the least tiresome way to fly from Toronto to Nairobi?
Nisha_Patel is offline  
Feb 18th, 2013, 07:14 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Driving should be fine for your mother unless she has a back that is easily irritated.

On the other hand, the gorilla trek can be very demanding, could be 6 hours of walking in steep difficult terrain. Sometimes it's only 20 minutes. Problem is you never know until you are underway, and even then the gorillas can move, and you're stuck following further than anticipated.

Depending on how unfit "not very fit means" this could be a problem. No need to be a marathoner, rock climber, fitness freak. But if she could build up to walking 2-3 miles a day and walking several flights of stairs easily (to simulate the uphill climb) that would help.

It is common to have people in their 60s and 70s enjoy gorilla trekking. The porters really help too, for people of all ages.

Just a note: you can also see gorillas in Rwanda where picking the group the morning of departure is more typical and that allows you some control over getting a group that was closer to the mountain base the day before and therefore will be easier to see--at least in theory. Though there is never a guarantee of where the gorillas will be. A quick in and out of the country for only gorillas is easier in Rwanda than Uganda. But pricing in Rwanda may be higher now than Uganda in Jan. Do check on that. It can change.

Check kayak.com for a variety of flights. You may wish to spend a day recovering in Europe on the way there/back. My own preference is to fly straight through and get to Africa and if I think a rest day upon arrival is needed, I put in a down day.

21 days:
5 are international transport there/back with a day of rest/recovery enroute or upon arrival.

That's 16 days for trip.

6-7 safari in Mara

5-6 in Uganda, stopping at Queen Elizabeth Nat Park, which is great for eles and the Kazinga Channel cruise with nonstop bird/hippo action and other animals coming to drink. QE, especially with the Kazinga Channel, is different from what you'd see or do in the Mara.

If possible make 2 gorilla visits in case they evade you on 1 visit or the weather is too rainy to enjoy them or buffalo prevent you from getting to the gorillas, or who knows what. Missing the gorillas is a real rarity, but I'd still go 2x if the budget possibly allows, to avoid any disappointment, and because each visit is completely different depending on where you find them, what they are doing, the surrounding habitat, and your own reactions.

(If you did only gorillas, and visited 2x, then you could do about 4 days in Uganda and maybe need only 3 days in Rwanda.)

3-4 in Zanzibar
atravelynn is offline  
Sep 16th, 2013, 02:59 AM
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 5
Jan is great for a safari, especially Uganda, there is low tourism numbers, you can also see Gorrillas clearly and a cheaper rate, if you havent yet got a company to move you a round in Uganda, i do recomend you use Tamani Africa Tour (www.tamanitours.com) they offer affordable and excellent service.
Wish you the best of the Trip
balabye is offline  
Sep 16th, 2013, 09:06 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 44
1.January is very okay to do a safari, Since East Africa safari destinations are in the Southern Hemisphere, their seasons run opposite of North America, Winter is from June to September and summer is from December to March.
(Pack a Set of warm clothes and others for cold days)

2.I would suggest Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is home to 326 gorillas, almost a half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. Gorilla tracking in Bwindi can take between a few hours and the whole day depending on the group that is being tracked.
The guides describe the surroundings and the lifestyle of the gorillas in depth

3.Coral Rock Hotel – (Mid range)
TracksBerg2013 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2013, 01:16 PM
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 4
I also second Bwindi for gorilla trekking. There are other fun activities you can do after the gorilla trek including dug-out canoeing at lake mutanda, snake safaris or hiking the virunga mountains. I was in kisoro this summer and did the canoe trek, it was such an amazing experience. however i wasn't lucky enough to spot the snakes. there are a couple of local tour operators who run the canoe treks at mutanda but i would recommend this one.
Leo_nep is offline  
Sep 20th, 2013, 02:04 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 22
January is very okay for a safari and you have many options, what you could take advantage of is the flamingo watch at lake Nakuru national park in Kenya. For Uganda you can try Gorilla Safari Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Zanzibar has quite a number of mid-range properties: from Bluebay, Breezes Beach Club, Ocean Paradise Resort Zanzibar and Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel
travelHTT is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 12:12 AM
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 2
Hi Nisha, yeah january is ok if your planning a tour in uganda.. Am from uganda and i've used some of the travel companies before.. Gorillas can be seen at Bwindi impenetrabel park in uganda. If i can be of any help with what you want to know about uganda before you fly in please do get in touch through my e-mail [email protected], i will help you... Thanks..
frnc is offline  
Dec 18th, 2013, 08:42 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1
HI JAN is a good month for travel since parks are less crowded.
a safari to masai mara would do or any other destination ...all depends on where yopu wanna visit. if you dont mind you can choose our compaany www.sherpaltoursandtravel. or sherpal tours . we have links and tour compamies we can recommend for ugand and zanzibar. thanks and have a safe journey
regards jack .. [email protected]
jacksherpal is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2013, 06:43 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Nisha_Patel? Nisha_Patel?

If you followed through on your plans, you should be packing about now.
atravelynn is offline  
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