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Hello Everyone - trip to East Africa

Old Oct 29th, 2006, 06:40 PM
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Hello Everyone - trip to East Africa

Hello Everyone,

I just wanted to start off by saying thank you from a newbie. I have been silently peeking into this forum for about a month now and I'm hooked. I must say that I will surely be let go from my job if this persists which will be problematic as I need employment to pay for my proposed trip. What’s a girl to do?

The reason I’m finally posting is to request some input with the proposed itinerary that I have received from an outfitter. I (26 year old female) am proposing to travel with my boyfriend (34), my brother (33) and my mother (54) - will discuss my sanity later. I am originally from Uganda but I am as much a tourist as any Canadian (yeah team Canada) would be so any help would be greatly appreciated. I’m thinking of changing the Ngorongoro Serena lodge to the Sopa lodge from what I have read. My main concern is this – at the moment the total cost of the trip (not including the gorilla trek) is short of $8000CDN. I would love to trim that by $1000 if not more. The flights alone are $2600CDN and the Mombassa portion is $900CDN. Do you think the itinerary is repetitive and could be trimmed to cheapen it (I mean that in a nice way, I swear) or do you think I’m getting my dollars worth and should perhaps pick up a part-time job to pay for it all (I should explain that I just finished my undergrad so my first “real” job was meant to pay student loans. Good luck there!). The first question you’re probably going to ask is why is she staying at “top-end” places if she’s on a budget. Again, I’m traveling with my mother and my boyfriend – ‘nuff said. Thanks in advance for any comments.

Julimbo

p.s. Planning to go in May 2007. Yes, I know (don’t say it - rainy season – it will be sunshine happiness the whole time. I need to believe that.) but it’s the only time that everyone can get off for SURE.

p.s.s. Dear God this is long. Forgive me.

Day 1. Depart Toronto for Kampala (via London and Nairobi).
Day 2. Arrival in Kampala.
Days 3 – 4. At leisure in Uganda to visit with family.
Day 5. Kampala to Biwindi National Park
Day 6. Biwindi National Park, Gorilla Trek
Day 7. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park to Kampala
Days 8. At leisure in Uganda
Day. 9. Depart Kampala for Nairobi Where your Safari Begins. met by Goway’s representative and transferred to Nairobi’s award winning Serena Hotel.
Day 10. Nairobi to Samburu National Reserve. Samburu Serena Lodge or similar (2 nights). BLD
Day11. More Samburu. BLD
Day 12. Samburu to Aberdares. After breakfast, depart for Mount Kenya National Park. Serena Mountain Lodge or similar or similar. BLD
Day 13. Aberdares to Lake Nakuru. Lion Hill Lodge or similar. BLD
Day 14. Lake Nakuru to Masai Mara. Mara Serena Lodge or similar (2 nights). BLD
Day 15. More Masai Mara. BLD
Day 16. Masai Mara to Lake Victoria. Depart for the Tanzania border meet your Tanzania driver/guide. Speke Bay Lodge or similar. BLD
Day 17. Into Serengeti. Serengeti Serena Lodge or similar (2 nights). BLD
Day 18. More Serengeti. BLD
Day 19. Serengeti to Ngorongoro Crater. Ngorongoro Serena Lodge or similar (2 nights). BLD
Day 20. Ngorongoro Crater. BLD
Day 21. Ngorongoro to Lake Manyara. Lake Manyara Serena Lodge or similar. BLD
Day 22. Lake Manyara to Arusha, transfer to Kilimanjaro airport, fly to Mombassa. Mombassa Serena Beach Hotel BLD
Day 23 – 26. Mombassa at leisure
Day 27. Depart Mombassa for your return flight to Canada.
Day 28. Arrival in Canada
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Old Oct 30th, 2006, 11:24 AM
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Just bumping it up in hopes of a reply.
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Old Oct 30th, 2006, 12:13 PM
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No comment on the Uganda, but on the Kenya/Tanzania, you are not booked into high-end properties, rather mid-range lodges. And for travel end May which is low season, the price does seem quite high.

You're trying to do too much and not spending sufficient time at any of your destinations. The drive from NBO to Samburu, with luck will get you here after lunch. Then you have only 1/full day at Samburu before you're on your way again.

Then lots of driving for two 1/nighters (Mt. Kenya and Lake Nakuru). It's also a long drive (5-6/hrs) to the Mara from Nakuru and you only have 1/full day here.

Doing the land transfer from the Mara via Lake Victoria into the Serengeti even with an overnight at Speke Bay doesn't leave you much time in the Serengeti - about 1.5 days.

Then you're off to the Crater and a day at Manyara. Before heading back into Kenya for Mombasa.

It may be 10-11/days in Kenya/Tanzania (excluding Mombasa) at (what I figured to be (if I converted CND to USD)USD$550/pppnt - too much money and no flights between parks/reserves.

For certain you're going to need those days recuperating in Mombasa. I was tired just reading this.



 
Old Oct 30th, 2006, 12:30 PM
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Hello Julimbo,

Ask other outfitters.

Spend more nights in fewer parks

Stay at less expensive hotels in Nairobi and Mombasa

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Old Oct 30th, 2006, 12:31 PM
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Are you saying that the Kenya/Tanzania portion starting from Day 9 through Day 22 (excluding Uganda and Mombasa) is 4500CDN (8000-3500) or approx 4000USD for 12 nights safari plus 1 night in Nairobi? I'm a bit confused on the costs.
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Old Oct 30th, 2006, 01:33 PM
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Dyslexia - naturally, I converted backwards. Thanks Patty. I went to the conversion tables.

So it comes to about $330/pppnt, (12/nts) still alot for May and for 4pax in one vehicle.

Still feel "too many places not enough time" at any of them.
 
Old Oct 31st, 2006, 03:34 PM
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Thanks everyone for your input. I agree - it felt like too much money for the low season and not enough time in between travelling to really enjoy ourselves.

Nyamera: I was already considering staying at a cheaper hotel for Nairobi but I couldn't seem to find a cheaper equivalent all-inclusive resort in Mombassa. Any recommendations?

Sandi: Would you recommend concentrating more on one country (which one then) or can we still do both but with limited locales?

Patty: Yes, the price you stated is correct. The only requirements I had from my family were Mombassa from my brother which I thought would be a nice way to end the trip. Parts of Kenya for my Mom but she wasn't really insistent other then a day or two in Nairobi.

Everyone: Are there places you would recommend I go and others that I leave out? We have one month to travel so the time can be alloted to anywhere. I just thought it would be easier to start in Uganda and end in Mombassa.
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Old Oct 31st, 2006, 04:15 PM
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would recommend ending trip at Lamu Island. I understand Mombasa is a pretty busy place. We enjoyed Kizingo, see my trip report.

Suggest you get quotes from competitors such as Southern Cross (we used), Eastern and Southern or African Serendipity

Kevin from California
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Old Nov 1st, 2006, 11:00 AM
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In that case, I also feel that the price is high for four people sharing a vehicle in low season. You may want to get some additional quotes from other outfitters. That alone might trim your cost by 1000CDN.
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Old Nov 1st, 2006, 11:49 AM
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Julimbo, I wasn’t thinking of all-inclusive resort, but there are just too many of those as well and I’d say most are less expensive than the Serena. The Serena is 18 kilometres north of Mombasa Town on Shanzu Beach. Nyali Beach is the beach that’s closest to Mombasa Town. Is your brother interested in Mombasa or just anywhere on the coast? In the latter case, I too would recommend Lamu.
Here you can see a selection of Kenyan beach hotels. The less expensive ones aren’t included though.
http://www.africanmeccasafaris.com/k...beachhotel.asp
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Old Nov 2nd, 2006, 05:42 AM
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Thanks again everyone. I'm going to start fresh with agents for the safari and a new hotel for Mombassa. It's so hard at first to figure out what you should be paying versus what the travel agents tell you it will cost. I'll keep roaming the forum for your expertise in past, present and future posts.

Happy travels,
Juliet
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Old Nov 2nd, 2006, 05:47 AM
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I am always leary when I am told an accomodation or "similar".

"Similar" is always the one booked and it usually is not of the same caliber as the originally stated accomodation.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2006, 05:50 AM
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dssxxxx: I agree with you. I was planning on confirming the actual lodges prior to paying to ensure I knew what I was getting into.

Thanks,
Juliet
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Old Nov 3rd, 2006, 11:18 AM
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Wondering about your airfare...we opted to book thru South African airlines - they are flying us Detroit-Dulles-JoBurg-Nairobi, then Nairobi-JoBurg-Capetown, finally Capetown-JoBurg-Dulles-Detroit for $1995 (all taxes in) US. That is still way under $2600 CDN. If it's not too late, ask them to price you from Buffalo or whichever US city you are closest to.
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Old Nov 6th, 2006, 05:38 PM
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Hello Julimbo,

I returned Sept 27 from Kenya and our safari was almost exactly as yours for days 9 through day 16. Samburu was my favorite but would not miss Masai Mara or Nakuru for anything. We traveled with 2Afrika and they were great. We stayed in Samburu Intrepids Tented Camp, Lion Hill, the Ark (this was in lieu of the visit to Mount Kenya), Mara Serena and Mara Simba. I was pleasantly surprised with all accommodations and the food. Our price (excluding airfare) was $2300 USD. In the Mara, we stayed in two different areas; this was a great idea because we got to see a greater variety of landscape and animals.

Hope this information is helpful.

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Old Nov 8th, 2006, 06:41 AM
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Cdnfolks: I've thought of that - travel via buffalo - but I'm not sure my family will be happy with that even though it could potentially save us hundreds of dollars. I am now looking at the possiblity of booking from Toronto to London (can always find cheap flights) and then a separate purchase for a flight to Uganda via Kenya. I've found that flights from Heathrow or Gatwick are cheaper to East Africa then if booked here. I will update on what I find. Also advised of kayak.com by Sandi and that was a great find.

brnscrap: thanks for the info. It's always nice to hear that the trip you re about to take was enjoyed by others.
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Old Nov 8th, 2006, 05:13 PM
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Hi Julimbo, Lion Travel in Toronto has some good deals on KLM. I have booked Emirates into Kenya as I am also doing a week in India with my East African itinerary being done by African Serendipity.

I went to see a Goway fair the other day. One thing I noticed they try and sell you what they know - when you discuss anything else with them they skirt the issue. I think you have to go to square one and decide what you HAVE to do and see and then what you would LIKE to do and see and then present this to a couple of agents to quote. Remember that price is not the only criteria - reliability of supplier is very important as well.
Best of luck!

Miriam
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Old Nov 10th, 2006, 08:05 AM
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Thanks so much Miriam. I had the same problems with Goway as well. They were not the least bit tolerant of changing what the book itineraries were. I will try Lion Travel as you recommended. I am also going to book my safari through Sandi at African Serendipity. Impressed by what people on the forum had to say about her and great with communication and suggestions. Loads of patience too - my brother keeps changing his mind about what he wants.

Juliet
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