Feedback on Tanzania & Kenya Itinerary from AAC?

Apr 15th, 2007, 04:10 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 429
Feedback on Tanzania & Kenya Itinerary from AAC?

Hi Everyone - I am considering a slightly modified itinerary offered by African Adventure Company for September of this year (if still available!) Any feedback on this itinerary - i.e, should the flow be re-arranged to be more convenient (seems like some backtracking involved to me, but maybe there is a reason for this), should I add an extra night in certain spots?

I will have 3-4 extra days on safari beyond the timeframe allotted to this itinerary. Following those extra days, I may also spend 3 days in Zanzibar, so it would be good to arrange this itinerary to end off in a place where I can easily get to Zanzibar.

I would also like to switch the Serena Serengetti lodge for a mobile tented safari if possible.

Please let me know what you think of this itinerary. Thanks a lot! - Laura

16 Day "African Journeys" Safari to Tanzania and Kenya

"This is our best East African safari combining both the Masai Mara and the Serengeti. You are driving and flying as we have included scheduled flights between some parks to eliminate backtracking great distances by road. This safari really highlights the best parks of Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania."

Day 01+02: Travel and overnight The Norfolk Hotel.

Day 03: Fly to Kilimanjaro. You will be met and transferred into Arusha. Overnight at Mountain Village.

Day 04: Drive to Lake Manyara National Park, afternoon game drive, overnight Lake Manyara Serena Lodge.

Day 05+06: Drive to Serengeti. Activities include game drives and walks, 2 nights Serengeti Serena Lodge.

Day 07+08: Drive Oldupai Gorge, onward to Ngorongoro Crater. Descend with a packet breakfast for a morning of game viewing on the crater floor. Have lunch at a lodge and then return to the crater for an afternoon game drive. 2 nights Ngorongoro Serena Lodge.

Day 09: Drive to Tarangire Park. Activities include walking, day game drives into the park and night game drives on the private reserve. Overnight Tarangire Treetops.

Day 10+11: Drive Arusha then drive to Amboseli. Activities include game drives and walks, 2 nights Tortilis Camp or Porini Camp.

Day 12-14: Fly to Nairobi and connect with flight to the Masai Mara. Activities include walking, game drives and optional balloon safari, 3 nights Mara Intrepids, Mara Porini Camp or Little Governor's.

Day 15+16: Morning activity. Fly Nairobi, dinner at Carnivore, dayroom at the Karen Blixen Cottages, onward travel.

P.S. Is there a way to avoid an overnight in Nairobi and go straight to the parks?
lmavolio is offline  
Apr 15th, 2007, 07:27 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
September=month of travel

The routing in Tanzania does not have you end up the Serengeti, where youíd have to fly back to Arusha because it would be too far to drive. Iíve done similar routing before.

Here are my thoughts on a mobile in the Serengeti. You are making a long drive from Manyara to the Serena and probably could not go any farther north. I would suspect that a mobile camp in September would be in the north. I donít think you could get there in one day if that is where it is. In fact, I donít know if I would include the Serengeti in this itinerary at all because you are going in September and the Mara will be excellent. If you donít include the Serengeti, then you could stick Tanzania last and youíd be in the correct country for the Zanzibar finale. Maybe itís just as easy to get to Zanzibar from Nairobióno knowledge, never been.

If you wanted a mobile experience, you could do one in the Mara. Another AAC itinerary that was posted offered a Mara mobile. I forget the name of it.

The breakfast in the crater is a good idea so you get down there before the crowds.

When you asked about going straight to the parks, do you mean at the start of the trip? You can see when your flight arrives into Nairobi, but if it is at night, you don't have a choice. You'll overnight in Nairobi and head out the next day.

If you have extra nights, you could do a day in Arusha National Park. I haven't on two Tanzania visits, but I will on #3. Colobus monkeys, forested terrain, walking and canoeing opportunities.

Only 1 night in Tarangire? For only 1 night, I would skip Tarangire. If you are going to be doing walking, that will eat into your game drives also. September is be a good time for 2 nights here. One night in Tarangire is insufficient. Definitely add a night so you have 2 nights in Tarangire.

In September Manyara is not at its peak so you could omit this to gain another day for something else. (I was in Manyara in non-peak time and saw ele, great hippos and baboons.) The way the routing is set up, though, I donít think you could eliminate Manyara because you cannot drive from Arusha to Central Serengeti. Manyara is needed for logistics in this itinerary. But I bet you could fly. However, I think the itinerary was set up to avoid the cost of flying.

After Amboseli and before the Mara, Iíd include Samburu for at least 2 nights. There are unique northern species here and game is abundant. You can fly to Samburu from Nairobi and at the end of your stay fly from Samburu to the Mara.

Have they indicated if these accommodation are available? Good luck and please post as things progress.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 01:31 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2
Sayari Mara Mobile - Sayari Camp
authentic is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 03:39 AM
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Posts: 171
If you are flying from the US you can fly directly (via Amsterdam) KLM to Arusha and return from Nairobi. This would avoid the first night in Nairobi.
KIBOKO is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 04:40 AM
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Thanks for the terrific feedback!

Depending on costs, I don't mind flying from place to place where it makes sense to cut down on travel time and spend more time in each place (unless there is some major game viewing en route on the drive).

With that in mind, where do you think it would make sense to add flights to this itinerary to optimize travel time?

Would it be possible to fly way north in the Serengetti to do a mobile camp there? atravelynn, I believe you are right and that most mobile's will be far north in the Serengetti at that time of year in an effort to catch the backend of the migration...

I am torn on the Mara vs. Serengetti question. Many have said that you can skip the Serengetti if you are spending time in the Mara. For some reason, I still feel like I "need" to see the Serengetti, but not 100% sure.

As for Tarangire, I completely agree and I will plan to add a night there.

Also, I will check on a flight directly to Arusha from KLM - I did a quick search and didn't see any, but I will check again.

Availability for everything is my biggest concern right now - if need be, I can put this trip off until next year to have my pick of lodges, camps, etc., but I am desparate to go this year!
lmavolio is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 05:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We went to both the Maasai Mara (3 nights) and the northern Serengeti (4 nights Tanzania Under Canvas) last September. We really enjoyed the camping in the Serengeti and being away from the crowds. However, in terms of game viewing, the action was definitely in the Mara. Don't despair about putting your trip together for this fall. We only started planning last May for a September trip.
Marija is online now  
Apr 16th, 2007, 07:38 AM
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Marija - given your experience last September, would you recommend skipping the Serengetti (given that most of the action is in the Mara)? I would like to experience mobile tented camping, but I may have an opportunity to do that in Tarangire or the Mara. Others have recommended skipping the Serengetti, but not sure. What do you think based on your experience?
lmavolio is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 07:50 AM
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I would probably skip the Northern Serengeti and do mobile camping someplace else.
Marija is online now  
Apr 16th, 2007, 08:10 AM
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The name of the airport near Arusha is Kilimanjaro (JRO). KLM flies directly from Amsterdam. KLM also flies to Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam. You could book your flights as a open jaw itinerary (into one city/out of a different one) depending on what you end up with as far as a safari itinerary. Dar Es Salaam would be the closest airport to fly out of if ending in Zanzibar. However, flying between Nairobi and Zanzibar is also easy.

The KLM flight arrives in the evening, so you'd still need the first night in the Arusha area.

If you literally want to go straight on safari, you can take a flight that arrives Nairobi in the morning, connect to a Precision Air Nairobi-Kilimanjaro flight, and drive straight to Manyara. No overnights in Nairobi or Arusha needed.

Good luck!
Patty is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 09:51 AM
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So you are ok with the added costs of flying.

I know what you mean about having to go to the Serengeti. I felt the same way on my first trip, which I thought would be my only trip. So I spent 4 days in the Serengeti and have no regrets though the most animal action was in the Mara.

It looks like you have 18 days on safari, so here is what I would do if you wanted to include the Serengeti.

1 Arrive in Kilimanjaro airport and overnight in Arusha, the town 10 minutes away--when I've arrived in the morning it actually meant I was getting there the morning of the 3rd day of travel (with two back to back overnight flights). When I've arrived at night, it was the eve of the second day of travel. I prefer flights that arrive at night so I can go to bed and start fresh the next day. But it depends on where you are coming from. You can look at schedules at, even if you end up booking the flights elsewhere.

2 Arusha Nat Park

3 Drive to Tarangire
4 Tarangire

5 Crater
6 Crater (perhaps only 1 night here if you are doing an early morning 1/2 day crater trip. I did some hiking in the area that I thought was fine. It was nice to stretch the legs but not a highlight for me.

7 Central Serengeti-Serena
One night, unless you only spent 1 night at the crater and wanted 2 nights here.

8-9 Mobile probably Northern Serengeti
It is likely less expensive than peak game times. I talked to someone who did a Sept mobile in the Serengeti and spent the days with a lion pride. She thought it was wonderful.

10 Fly back from the Serengeti to Kilimanjaro, then fly back to Nairobi

11 Fly to Samburu
12 Samburu

13 Fly back to Nariobi and drive to Amboseli
14 Amboseli

[Unless you specifically wanted Amboseli, which was part of your other itinerary, I'd do something else here.
Suggestions: Lewa Downs, Sweetwaters, Mt. Kenya]

15 Fly to Mara, non-mobile, like Little Gov
16 Mara
17 Mara
18 Mara

19 embark on your Zanzibar extension

The cost of this safari is more than the one you listed previously.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 11:23 AM
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atravelynn - I love this itinerary! THANK YOU! Are you a travel agent by any chance? You know so much about Africa and have put together some great itineraries on this board. If so, I'd love to work with you...Let me know
lmavolio is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 12:21 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Not a travel agent, but I have given a variety of them lots of money over the years.

The key is availability. That's how the agents earn their keep--trying to secure for you what looks good on paper.

I saw you mention next year is an option. I would be willing to go with less expensive properties or a different order to get a desirable safari in Sept. But I wouldn't be willing to sacrifice the best wildlife parks just to get to Africa this year.

Good luck.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 10:03 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Would you recommend going to both the Mara and Serengeti in October in order to assure seeing the migration?
Cheweyhead is offline  
Apr 17th, 2007, 08:40 AM
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Mara or Serengeti in October would depend on how much time you have, how badly you want to visit the Serengeti and what your whole itinerary looked like, but I'd concentrate in the Mara in Oct. That would be especially true the start of Oct. and maybe slightly less the end of Oct. as the herds may start coming back to the Serengeti.

atravelynn is offline  
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