Eastern @ Southern/Leopard vs. CC Africa

Old Oct 30th, 2007, 10:01 AM
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I am leaning towards E & S because of the private vehicles in Tanzania.

I would much rather have the private vehicle in Tz than doing the shared jeep ... ask E&S if they can arrange a guide who has been with Leopard for at least 5 years and who is very knowledgeable about birds. All the guides know the mammals but typically you have to be a guide for a long time to learn most of the bird species

Bill
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Old Oct 30th, 2007, 10:06 AM
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I find the suggestion that you have to ask for an experienced guide insulting, yet recommended. Insulting, because why should one have to ask for an experienced guide in the first place? All guides need to have a minimum amount of experience and some sort of standardized guide certification. I have been pushing for this since the day I started doing business in east Africa. The region will benefit greatly if they will adopt many of the certification requirements that many southern African countries go through.

/end rant. Sorry about that. Sometimes my fingers type before my brain kicks in.
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Old Oct 30th, 2007, 10:09 AM
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We booked with Good Earth Tours. They provide their own vehicle and guide in Tanzania and subcontracted to SafariLine in Kenya. So, we had the same GoodEarth guide and truck in Tanzania; traveled to Kenya and and had the same SafariLine truck and guide while in Kenya. We flew from the Serengeti to the Maasi Mara where we were met by SafariLine. We found an itinerary on the Africa Adventure Company site that we liked, made some modification to it and had a few companies price our itinerary. We had a good experience and would recommend them. We stayed at Tarangire Sopa Lodge, Serena Crater Lodge, Mbuzi Mawe Tented Camp (Serena Property), Migration Camp, and Mara Simba (we were waitlisted for Mara Serena but did not get in).

I will be posting a trip report shortly; it is about 2/3's done.

Good Luck,
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Old Oct 30th, 2007, 11:12 AM
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We recently travelled with Eastern and Southern in Kenya and Tanzania.
George was recommended on this post as a great driver, we requested him from Sereh and he was our driver.
We drove from Nairobi-Sweetwaters-Samburu-Mt Kenya Safari Club with him in a private vehicle and he was top notch.
We flew from Nanyuki - Masai Mara where we spent 3 nights at the Mara Safari Club where they provided the driver/vehicle - we had to share with 4 others - but worked out ok.
We flew from Masai Mara-Nairobi-Mt. Kili where we were met by Leopard
Leonce) was our driver. Again private vehicle. Drove Mt Kili-Lake Manyara-crater-Serengeti. Leonce was great - well informed and accommodating. We flew back from Serengeti-Mt Kili-Nairobi.
Our accommodations were all either Serenas or Fairmonts.
We were unable to do our hot air balloon ride due to bad wind conditions (we had prepaid E&S) and received our rebate by Intl money order very quickly. I would not hesitate to recommend E & S.
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Old Oct 30th, 2007, 01:31 PM
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Scarlett-
I thought that itinerary looked familiar - we did the Hemmingway Wing with Micato in May 07 - we were the first group to do it, so we felt kind of special! (there were 6 of us)

I am almost finished the trip report, it's on this board if you need a link, let me know!

Fabulous itinerary though, I loved it!
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Old Oct 30th, 2007, 01:52 PM
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LyndaS
I'd love the link from your Micato Hemingway Safari!

This board has been wonderful and has made me aware of getting more details from both my agent and E & S.

I'll keep you all posted and thank you so much for all the valuable comments, suggestions, etc.
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Old Oct 30th, 2007, 02:30 PM
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Hi Scarlett
I don't have any comments on the operators you mention but I have just booked a trip to Kenya and Tanzania for next year and have chosen to go with Roy's Safaris booked through African Serendipity, a safari planner who is also a regular and very helpful Fodorite. I can't feedback on the trip or guide itself yet, of course, but I am happy with the trip I've booked and the price.
I've been able to choose the camps/ lodges I wanted, have flight transfers instead of drives for the longer distances and have a private vehicle for some transfers and also for game drives in some locations whereas at others we'll do game drives in shared vehicles with other camp/ lodge guests.
You can google her website and drop her a line if you like. She's based in the US which may suit.
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Old Oct 30th, 2007, 04:05 PM
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Bobcaat can answer for himself, but in case he does not see the question, here is a link where he mentions he went with Good Earth.

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...4&tid=34933453

Kavey mentioned Roy's, based in Tanzania, and Africa Serendipity, which uses Roy's and is based in the US. I'd give them a look as well as Good Earth. Kiliwarriors too.

I don't think the Micato appeal comes from their itinerary or lodging. Not that there is anything wrong with either of those, but the itinerary and lodging are easily duplicated without the Micato price, as I believe Sandi mentions. I think the real Micato appeal is their people, their service, and attention to detail-things like dinner with the owners at their home. I've never traveled with Micato.

This has been a helpful thread.
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Old Oct 31st, 2007, 05:59 AM
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Hi All,
I finally got so frustrated reading my itinerary and there was the question of 3 or 4 flights while on safari that I asked my husband to read it with a fresh set of eyes. He has the following flights:
1. Depart Wilson - arrive Sambura
2. Depart Sambura- arrive Kichwa
3. Depart Kichwa - arrive Wilson-
Wilson - Seronera
4. Depart Setonera - Manyara
5. Depart Manara - arrive Wilson

So, now, I am looking at 5 lights on this 12 day itinerary. Am I correct???
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Old Oct 31st, 2007, 06:09 AM
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Yes, I count 5 flights too.
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Old Oct 31st, 2007, 06:24 AM
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>>1. Depart Wilson - arrive Sambura
2. Depart Sambura- arrive Kichwa
3. Depart Kichwa - arrive Wilson-
Wilson - Seronera
4. Depart Setonera - Manyara
5. Depart Manara - arrive Wilson<,

The way I figure:

1) FLY WIL/Samburu
2) FLY SAM/Mara
3) FLY MAR/WIL
4) FLY WIL/Kilimanjaro TNZ (there's no direct flight from Kenya to Tanzania from Mara to Seronera; have to go via Kilimanjaro for immigration).
5) FLY JRO/Seronera
Are you driving or flying to Manyara; if flying, then
5A) - FLY SER/Manyara
Assume you're driving Manyara/Arusha, it's only 2/hrs to Arusha airport
If not, then
5B) - FLY MAN/ARU
Then from Arusha to Wilson, another
6) FLY ARU/WIL

Minimum 6/flights; possibly 8/flights

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Old Oct 31st, 2007, 07:19 AM
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Scarlett,
Did you just want to know how many flight transfers (as opposed to road transfers) you have or did you want to know how many actual flight segments you have?

The way I counted, you have 5 flight transfer days, but on some of those days you will have multiple flight segments (as listed by sandi) with changes of aircraft to get from A to B.
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Old Oct 31st, 2007, 09:19 AM
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Yes, I noticed that some transfers require two flights. I was trying to compare the transfers from point to point between my two quotes. But, as Sandi pointed out in an earlier post, it is necessary to compare apples to apples and unfortunately, upon closer reading, these quotes are not mirror images of my original request (duplicating Micato's Hemingway Safari) -and I am a bit overwhelmed and don't even know where to begin. Now, I am second guessing my itinerary because of the post saying the Micato tour is wonderful because of the Micato family - and, yes, that is probably the key. So, where do I start for a 12 day safari in Kenya and Tanzania next Sep't, with some private vehicles and nice accomodations?? At the beginning? Hone these? If I use an agent, will I always pay more or does the agent book at a better price - so that the end price to me is the same as if I go direct?
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Old Oct 31st, 2007, 09:58 AM
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I just took a look at the Micato itinerary and they don't specifically say what method of transfer (road or air) is used on days 10, 11 & 13, so I think each of the operators just tried to match it as closely as possible.

In any case, if you're traveling in September and working with operators on custom itineraries, I'd forget the Micato itinerary and come up with a better one.

With only 11 nights (do you have more time?), I'd probably skip the Serengeti and include Tarangire instead at that time of year. Something like:

Day 1 - Nairobi
Day 2/3 - fly to Samburu
Day 4/5/6/7 - fly to Mara
Day 8 - fly Mara-Wilson-Kilimanjaro/Arusha, drive to Lake Manyara
Day 9 - drive to Ngorongoro
Day 10/11 - drive to Tarangire
Day 12 - drive to Arusha/Kilimanjaro, fly home or fly to Nairobi and fly home

You'll be flying throughout Kenya and have shared game drives and driving through Tanzania with private vehicle and game drives. The distances you'll be covering in Tanzania aren't far and some of it is on paved roads.

If you want to have private game drives for the Kenya portion, you can have a tour operator vehicle meet you upon arrival in Samburu or Mara or both. This would cost more than shared game drives but less than a private vehicle through the lodge or camp (that's also an option, but at higher cost). See the link I posted above for love2globetrot's itinerary which is also in September. You'd be doing something similar minus the gorilla trekking.

You could also consider a camp like Serian in the Mara which includes exclusive vehicle use in their rates (the rates are therefore accordingly higher than many other camps).

Also look through the East Africa Trip Report Index compiled by Lynda and see what others have done in September http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34860283

Good luck!
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Old Oct 31st, 2007, 05:04 PM
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Well, after reading these posts many times over, we have really forced ourselves to revisit our original personal preferences. They are:

1. Game viewing as opposed to birding.
2. Observing big cats is more enticing to us than the migration.

These preferences are what motivated us to plan a trip to Africa - specifically Kenya and Tanzania.

Given this, we have decided the trip with E & S best suits our needs and desires and the private vehicle in Tz clenched it for us.

ALL the posts were extemely helpful and forced us to re-think what we wanted.

Now, my next challenge is getting Business Class round trip tickets using the standard reward for 120,000 points - leaving from JFK. It seems KLM thru Amsterdam is the code share partner w/Continental. This part won't be easy!

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Old Oct 31st, 2007, 08:55 PM
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You can use your Onepass miles on KLM, Kenya Airways and Delta to East Africa.

KLM serves Nairobi and Kilimanjaro from Amsterdam. Kenya Airway flies to Nairobi from Amsterdam, London and Paris (the latter 3 times weekly). Delta will start service to Nairobi next June from JFK and Atlanta via Dakar 4 times weekly. You have several options.

I'd try for an open jaw into Nairobi and returning from Kilimanjaro. If you can't get back from Kilimanjaro (KLM is the only option from here), then do roundtrip Nairobi.

Virgin Atlantic is another option with Onepass, but I believe the mileage requirement is higher. Emirates is also a Onepass partner, but I'm not sure of the mileage requirement and whether you can combine with other airlines.

Good luck!
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Old Oct 31st, 2007, 10:32 PM
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Hi Scarlett-

Here is the link to the Hemmingway trip report - I'm almost done and hope to be this weekend.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35009765

If this is a help to you here is how our flights with Micato worked on the Hemmingway-

-Fly from Nairobi, Wilson Airport to Samburu airstrip,(50 min flight) a Micato driver met us there with a Micato van
-Fly from Samburu to the Mara - (20 min to Nanyuki, pick up passengers, 50 min to the Mara), Kichwa Tembo driver & vehicle while there
-Fly from the Mara to the Serengeti (5 min to Mara Safari Club pick up passengers, 40 min to Nairobi Wilson Airport. One hour on the ground, 30 min to Arusha (KIA) clear customs, 30 min to Lake Manyara pick up passengers, 55 min to Grumeti airstrip in the Serengeti, let off passengers, 20 back over to Seronera airstrip in the Serengeti) A Micato van was waiting for us here & we would have this van & driver until the end at Lake Manyara.
-Drive from the Serengeti to Ngorongoro Crater - about 4 hours with a lunch stop at Naabi Hill Gate for an hour and a stop at Oldupai Gorge.
-Drive from Ngorongoro Serena to Lake Manyara, about 1 1/2 hrs on a great road.
-Fly from Lake Manyara to Nairobi Wilson Airport (35 min to Arusha, an hour wait, 50 min to Wilson)

And that was the transfers and flights on the Hemmingway!
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Old Nov 1st, 2007, 07:15 PM
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bump
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 05:59 PM
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Hi ScarlettO,

We used Eastern and Southern safaris to tour Kenya and Tanzania. They have a deal with Leopard because Kenyan tour agents (E&S Tours) cannot book tours in Tanzania, they have to go through a Tanzanian agency (Leopard in this case).

I wish we had booked the Kenya part with E & S and then booked directly with Leopard for Tanzania because we just ended up paying E & S for the Tanzanian sector for no reason.

Both tour companies are very good, no complaints at all. Just book directly with Leopard for Tanzania, no need to pay E & S for Tanzania. http://www.leopard-tours.com/ is their website.
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 07:17 PM
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My 2003 safari journal noted this about Leopard:

A couple of days ago a lost Leopard lorry driver came into our camp after sunset; he could not find his camp site and our crew gave him directions. Today at noon, a Leopard vehicle drove through our camp Ė TWICE. It was clearly marked as a special campsite which meant it was reserved as a private campsite (not a throughway), but they didnít understand the marker. Iíve noticed that their drivers approach wildlife at full speed and depart just as quickly. They are also guilty of off-roads driving where not permitted. This company stands out for all the wrong reasons Ė insensitive to their environment, disrupting other people who are quietly observing wildlife, and poorly trained. Wonder why the Park authorities let them get away with this?

Just my observations back then. Perhpas they've cleaned up their act in the past four years.
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