First time Safari

Old Feb 17th, 2013, 03:44 AM
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First time Safari

Hi all, any help however little will be appreciated. We don't have a clue where to start. Don't know much about it at all so need a lot of guidance. My partner and I are wanting to do a 2 week luxury holiday with Safari included. We are looking at Kenya/Tanzania. We are keeping our budget open for the moment! This is a once in a lifetime holiday so we want to get it right. We want to see as much as possible from animals to just amazing sights! We would love to stay in a luxury lodge when doing the actual safari. We are planning to do about 4/5 nights. Then off to a luxury hotel for chill time. We would like good weather but views/animals are our biggest reason for this trip. Would love to do a hot air balloon trip! We want to make this special/once in a lifetime trip so any tips on where to go/what to do/where to stay/who to travel with/anything at all will be greatly received! We are looking to go in the summer of 2014, again time of year suggestions would be appreciated!

I look forward to receiving your posts! Help us plan this dream holiday.

Kerri & Ian
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 09:43 AM
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There were responses to this on Trip Advisor.
For 2014 you sure have time to plan, but do advise you add a few days to the safari segment.
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 07:38 PM
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Cecil at customized a great trip for us in So Africa, Botswana and Zambia.
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Old Feb 18th, 2013, 07:54 AM
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Plenty of time to get it right if 2014 is your departure.

"We want to see as much as possible from animals to just amazing sights! but views/animals are our biggest reason for this trip."

Summer means June-Aug in N. America and will be winter in Kenya/Tanz, one of the best times for wildlife viewing, in line with your goals.

"Then off to a luxury hotel" does not really support “seeing amazing sights” unless you choose Zanzibar or similar where you can avail yourself to unique culture.

As you plan and think what you want from this trip, do you really want to spend precious time in a fancy hotel in Africa when you can do that anywhere in the world, probably in your own city? You mention "dream holiday" and "once in a lifetime*." A luxurious hotel is not once in a lifetime for most travelers who are in a position to purchase a safari where budget is open. On the other hand, a safari in Africa may very well be once in a lifetime*. I'd spend the time on safari, especially because animal viewing is your priority. 4/5 days is really a very short time on safari if you have 2 weeks of travel.

The luxury lodges you wish to stay in are very, very nice and offer a perfect opportunity “to chill” at the pool, on your private balcony, on the lodge verandah overlooking a spectacular view, etc. One place that gets mention where I have not been is Mount Kenya Safari Lodge in Kenya. Upscale, fancy, people dress up there, but there are still wildlife viewing opportunities.

Don't rule out the luxury tented camps, which would fit all your criteria of "dream safari & We want to see as much as possible from animals to just amazing sights!” These actually cost more than lodges and have superior service, food, etc. in a more secluded and remote location. Tented camps are preferred over lodges in most cases by the more discerning clients who have an adequate budget.

Finally, hot air balloon--that's possible in numerous locations. Can be booked upon arrival or in advance. Since July-Aug are busier times, I’d book it before leaving home. Also, it can be seen as the culminating grand finale activity, done at the end. Do leave an extra day as a “rain date” not necessarily for rain, but uncooperative winds, equipment failure, etc. Give yourself more than one shot at the balloon. I personally didn’t care for the balloon. If you search ballooning or balloons here there are lots of threads by people who loved and didn’t like the balloon. It's about $400 per person now. But again, this is once in a lifetime.*

Also consider a private vehicle and a safari itinerary planned just for the two of you for this special once in a lifetime* trip, rather than a package trip. There are many Africa specialists in Kenya, Tanzania or in your home country--sometimes with offices in both.

You can get recommendations on those in future inquiries, once you have a better idea of what you wish to do.

*Many of us planned our once in a lifetime Africa visit and have returned repeatedly.
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Old Feb 18th, 2013, 09:14 AM
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I'm with everyone else on adding days to your safari time. On our first "once in a lifetime" trip we only spent 6 nights on safari and felt it was far too short.

Then off to a luxury hotel for chill time

Are you envisioning beach time or something else? You can chill on safari too. I often skip game drives and just watch the coming and going of game around camp.

On one trip we added a stay at Samatian Island Lodge on an island in the middle of Lake Baringo in Kenya as our chill time. Don't know how you define "luxury" but this was more rustic luxury. There's good birding here.
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Old Feb 18th, 2013, 12:18 PM
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Besides suggesting adding days to safari, when you mention luxury hotel to chill, know there are a few in Nairobi, but you don't really need more than 3/nts maximum if you've put the sufficient number of days into the safari segment.

Currently 'luxury' lodges/camps are running in the range from $500 - $2,000/nt per person... is that luxe enough. Then you have to add daily park fees and flights to get to/from/between any of these.

Hot-air balloon safaris are now way over $400/person... more in the $450-$500 range including landing fees... yup Lynn, prices have gone up somewhat.

And, from year-to-year new lodges/camps open, so what's available now might have more to include in your choices.

Best you get a good guidebook as Fodor's "Complete Safari Planning Guide" with lots of useful information both Kenya and Tanzania - where to visit, details on some current accommodations available, current prices - lots of other useful information for planning.

Hey guys... anyone having an issue with the Fodor's site? I can't seem to edit postings; cursor stays stuck at last entry and can't correct anything previously entered except to erase all and start over... HELP! Can't even scroll back/up to review what was posted unless using 'preview'... This is the only site on which problem exists????
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Old Feb 18th, 2013, 12:23 PM
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Hi Kerri.
As others have said, "chill time" can be from your lodge during the "safari" portion. Mos of the luxury lodges/tented camps (and even "non'luxury) offer massages, etc. And as Patty said, you dont have to feel compelled to go on every single game drive--you can watch animals , or people from where you are staying.

With two weeks, and animals sightings being your top priority, I would stick to traveling around Kenya/TZ , or just one of those. I f you MUST have a "luxury hotel" for chll time, separate from the above, you could fly to the coast.

You're in for a great time, and you are wise to start planning this far ahead.
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Old Feb 18th, 2013, 01:54 PM
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Problems posting--after submit it can take forever.
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Old Feb 19th, 2013, 02:21 PM
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lynn - that too, but it's the editing that is a PIA.

Kerri - on my recent visit, both Tanzania and Kenya, we took 1/full day in each to do just that 'chill.' Did nothing after breakfast on our deck, caught up with local and international news (we were in Africa while Super Storm Sandy was destroying NYC, and the elections)... reading a bit, walking about camp, taking pictures, a nap... lunch out in the bush. Just a perfect day. There really aren't any rules when on safari, only what you wish to do or not.
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