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Help family of 4 decide Kenya or Jordan / Syria for Dec 09 and how to deal with long flights

Help family of 4 decide Kenya or Jordan / Syria for Dec 09 and how to deal with long flights

Jan 11th, 2009, 08:52 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 454
Help family of 4 decide Kenya or Jordan / Syria for Dec 09 and how to deal with long flights

Hi after long discussions and lots of research, we are at a loss of where to go for next December.

Kids (10,13) and I are thinking Kenya. December is our best month because of the school break. I do not like small planes, so I thought Kenya would be an ideal base for a driving safari and beach vacation.

My question is: How do you adjust from the long international flight? We are coming from Denver, so it looks like 8 hrs to London and a 3 hr layover and another 8 hr flight. Do you relax before your safari or after or both? Are there direct flights from anywhere in the US? And finally, do you enjoy the beaches?

Or another thought: DH would like to hit Jordan and Syria. Probably less interesting for kids, but the dead sea would be excellent for DS's excema. Pros: Shorter flight, less expensive. Cons: A little colder, less interesting for kids.

As you can see, we are all over the place. What would you do and why?
happytotravel is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 09:46 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,669
we just got back from Botswana - had an overnight in Johannesburg before setting out on the safari, and actually had another overnight in Maun before leaving on the actual trip. On the way back, we flew on the 1st arriving Friday the 2nd, and school started back up that Monday the 5th. Worked well. So, a little break beforehand in J'burg and a couple of days afterwards to do laundry and readjust.
Momliz is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 02:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Jordan and Syria, as you mention will be cold come December. And though amazing history and "old" stuff, the kids might not appreciate as much as safari.

Currently there are no non-stop flights from the States to East Africa. Delta should be starting a flight from JFK or ATL with stop in Dakar to Nairobi. All other carriers stop somewhere in Europe for change of plane onto Nairobi.

If via London, you'll have either a morning or evening arrival. Though a long flight, if arriving evening many people are fine with a good night's sleep and starting safari next day or spending day in NBO sightseeing: Blixen Museum, Giraffe Center, Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. If a morning arrival, you can check into hotel, refresh, and sightsee in the afternoon.

Second day you can start safari. This can be an all driving safari, but if for the beach, while there is a train, it's 12/hrs overnight and not always the most pleasant; then back to NBO for homebound flight. Most planes that fly between Nairobi and the coastal areas can seat 30+ passengers... not like a 767, but comfy. And, if a small plane, these are perfectly safe for 12-19 passengers.

Check our the New East Africa Safari Trip Reports for various ideas of routes, places to stay, and the tour operators people have used to plan their land arrangements.

Or pick up a copy of Fodor's Complete Safari Planner with lots of great information.

Keep us posted on this thread of your progress.
sandi is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 03:00 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 260
i agree, go to Africa, Syria and Jordan are less interesting for the children. (and for me as well)
I have just finishing the planning for my first trip, and i agree with Sandi, buy the Complete Africa safari planner.
also this is a very helpful site, so ask questions, you get wonderful helpful responses from all the people that have been numerous times.
Also read some of the trip reports, so you can get a sense of what its like.

amycyma is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 08:43 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 25,407
This is just us, and anecdotal. We flew SFO to Portland to Frankfurt to Cairo this summer. Our flight to Portland came in late, so we were put on a slightly later flight to Frankfurt, where, of course, we missed our flight to Cairo, so we waited in the Frankfurt airport about 6 hours before flying to Cairo. All in all, we left home about 6 a.m. on a Friday, and arrived in Cairo at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday. We then slept ALL of Sunday. Seriously, we were in no condition to sightsee until Monday. (Flying time, I'm guessing 16 hours, waiting around airports, about 10 hours, time difference, 10 hours).
sf7307 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2009, 08:57 AM
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Posts: 454
Thanks for the replys. We are leaning towards Kenya. Does anyone have any beach preferences? If I have to fly to get to the beachs anyway, I was thinking of maybe Zanzibar or would that be too dificult and Mombasa would be better?
happytotravel is offline  
Jan 13th, 2009, 09:09 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Zanzibar is in Tanzania, so you'd have to pay for Tanzanian visas, which are $100 for US citizens. That would add $400 to the costs of a family of four. There are lots of beach options in Kenya and not just at Mombasa... think Lamu, for instance. Find a beach location that caters to kids and fits your budget.

Delta is already listing flights to Nairobi for later this year. The Atlanta flight stops over in Dakar, but you don't change planes there. If you have a layover, it would be in Atlanta, which might be better than somewhere in Europe. Bad weather there can cause missed flights, but then you're coming out of Denver... same problem that time of year. Given that Denver is a United hub, you also have the option of United/Swiss via Zurich to Nairobi.
ShayTay is offline  
Jan 13th, 2009, 12:18 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
... and if you decide on Zanzibar vs the Kenya coast, besides the additional cost for visas, you will all need to have Yellow Fever inoculations having arrived from Kenya. YF inocs can cost anywhere from $90 to $150/each... but they're good for 10/years.

Whitesands and Voyager in Mombasa get good reviews. Rather large resorts, but lots of activities for the children and easy enough to go sightseeing off hotel grounds.
sandi is offline  
Jan 13th, 2009, 03:50 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,157
Don't rule out Lamu for beaches in Kenya. It appears to have a similar Arab trading history and relics as Zanzibar but it is in Kenya so no additional visa necessary. And from what I read is becoming quite the place and has family villas available for rental. We are planning to include it for the end of our Kenya trip this summer. You do have to fly but check the kinds of planes. I don't think it is the same tiny planes you take to remote safari destinations. See this now almost four year old article from New York Time travel section. http://tinyurl.com/8ub5sm
laurie_ann is offline  
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