Flying from San Francisco to Nairobi

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Dec 8th, 2005, 06:06 PM
  #1
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Flying from San Francisco to Nairobi

This is a new board for me. I am a regular poster on the Europe board but am now ready for "something different"

We have booked a private safari to Kenya at the beginning of Septembe '06 with Wilderness Explorer. A group of people just returned who used them and had nothing but glowing reviews. I feel like I am making major decisions quickly for this trip and I now need to book flights.

I feel that I am booking my flights so early, if I were going to Europe I wouldn't be looking for a good price until March. I don't know anything about booking a flight to Nairobi...any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated. When is the best time to get a decent fare, do they book up early or can I wait it out a bit? The guide needs to book the lodges , do I need a flight for him to do this or can I just give him the date I expect to arrive and start and take my chances with flights?

Thank you all. I am enjoying the new board and the wealth of information you all have.
susanna is offline  
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Dec 8th, 2005, 06:25 PM
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Ugh, this is a toughie, but I flew SFO-LHR-NBO in July 2004. I think you can wait a bit because you have fairly decent choices to Nairobi. I bit the bullet for June 2006 and bought way early because we really needed to fly directly into JRO (Tanzania) on very specific dates. With NBO you should have more choices.

We flew Vigin to LHR and then Kenya Airlines (Airways?--Patty, help me on this one, please) to NBO. Total price was 1700 pp steerage class.

I would definitely start looking now--flights from London to Nairobi don't seem to go down too often. However, flights SFO-LHR are sometimes dirt cheap.

Good luck and congratulations on deciding to go on safari. It will be wonderful!
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Dec 8th, 2005, 06:50 PM
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Ooops, sorry, also meant to say that you should go ahead and book accommos for your safari--they book up way earlier than flights, especially if you wouldn't mind spending a night/longish layover in London (or somewhere else) on your way either to or from Kenya.

But definitely keep you eyes open for deals. You might want to sign up for those fare search thing from Orbitz or whomever. British Airways also seems to have good deals on occasion.

And again, I can't say enough good things about the East African safari experience. Magnificent.
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Dec 8th, 2005, 06:54 PM
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OCD here. Please, please share your itinerary. I am already looking ahead toward a Kenya/Uganda trip for (hopefully) 2007. Would love to hear all about what you're cooking up.
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Dec 8th, 2005, 07:53 PM
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Leely: thanks for the tips. I am looking to stay in Amstedam for two nights before going on to Kenya so I do have a little bit of wiggle room to wait it out. I would also go through London if need be, but I've been there many times but never been to Amsterdam.

My safari is through Wilderness Explorer. It will be 10 nights, 11 days costing $3700 for a private tour.We cut out one day from the Mt. Kenya Safari Club and chose to have the pop-up vans instead of 4x4 to bring the cost down to this. I've hear many good things about the owner, Gabriel, who will be our tour guide. He worked for another company for 20 years doing guides and now has had his own business for 6 years.
Our itinery is:
Day - 1 & 2 Amboseli National Park --- Ol Tukai Lodge
Day - 3. Lake Nakuru National Park --- Lion Hill Lodge
Day - 5 & 6&7. Samburu Nature Reserve --- Samburu intrepid./Serena
Day - 8 Mount Kenya --- Mt.Kenya Safari Club
Day - 8,9 & 10.

MASAI MARA ----Kichwa Tembo camp

This includes either 2 or 3 flights between the camps. I think that it sounds like a good price and good accomidations...what do you all think?
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Dec 8th, 2005, 08:55 PM
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Susanna

IMO the itinerary looks good!

I have not heard of Wilderness Explorer! Are they based in Kenya?

They don't appear on the website of the Kenya Association of Tour Operators http://www.katokenya.org/members.asp
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Dec 9th, 2005, 05:54 AM
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That's an excellent itineray, and one day at Mt. Kenya Safari Club is fine -- I stopped their for lunch on the way back from Samburu to Nairobi, and its a really nice place, but very expensive for what it is. The petting zoo is fun -- baby wildebeasts when I was there, and zebroids (horse/zebra hybrids).

Amsterdam is also a very nice stopover -- the train runs right from the airport in Central Station, and there is more than enough to see to fully occupy you for a couple of days, or more, in Amsterdam.
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Dec 9th, 2005, 06:03 AM
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susanna,
You can go ahead and lock in your accomodations now and wait to book your flights. As Leely said, there's more airline competition into Nairobi so I think it's OK to wait a bit. You can fly KLM via Amsterdam, Kenya Airways via Amsterdam or Heathrow, or BA via Heathrow. Those 3 options would probably provide the most direct routing from the US, but it's also possible to fly via Dubai, Addis Ababa, Cairo, etc. in case you want a stopover somewhere more 'exotic'

Fares from the US west coast to Nairobi don't often dip below $1500(and you're traveling in what's high season for East Africa). If you see something in that range, I'd go ahead and grab it, particularly if the flight schedule and routing is what you want.
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Dec 9th, 2005, 06:48 AM
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Thanks for all the advice. I had found the route I wanted for $1718 with KLM, but it is gone now so I will wait for it to return. I actually hadn't thought of stopping in Africa on the way to Nairobi, I'll give that some thought too.

Wilderness Explorer is working on it's website and it is not up yet, and yes, they are based in Kenya and London. I must admit that I was a little leary about signing up with such a small company with no website. 7 friends just returned who loved him, it was recommended to them from another group of travelers....it still feels funny wiring money to Nairobi. Here is his email address if anyone is interested:

Email: [email protected]


I will certainly report back on the tour, but it is a year away!
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Dec 9th, 2005, 10:35 AM
  #10
sandi
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That KLM fare was a good one.

As a resource, you may want to check the link below (cut and paste into your browser). Right now they have fares listed until end-August 2006. You will notice that these fares do not include taxes. And though they only show LAX, they might have connecting flight from SFO, if not directly out of SFO.

There is an 800# on the site; a call to ascertain when their September rates will be available. Often rates go down for September, but no guarantee from year-to-year.

http://www.consolidatorwebfares.com/afspecials.htm

I would definitely book the accommodations, as space is booking very fast. Do you know on what legs of the trip they have you scheduled for flights? Between which park/reserve and another? Some of distances are quite long.
 
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Dec 9th, 2005, 10:43 AM
  #11
 
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I have to admit that last night I checked random September dates through the the homepage for the link Sandi supplied above; found availability at $1330 pp departing September 17 and returning September 30. However, this was going through London without an overnight layover.

I would definitely call the phone number and see what they can get you with overnight in Amsterdam because those prices are excellent.
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Dec 9th, 2005, 06:09 PM
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Thanks so much Sandi, I will call them on Monday morning and check the website out this weekend. I am hoping to leave SF on Sept 5th, leave Amstedam for Nairobi on Sept 8th....then leave Nairobi Sept 19th to Amstedam and leave for SF on the 21st.

This board is so helpful, thanks all!

I love reading all of your trip reports too.
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Dec 12th, 2005, 10:49 AM
  #13
 
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ttt for research
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