Help for Keyna/Tanzania itinerary

Jan 8th, 2005, 02:29 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 62
Help for Keyna/Tanzania itinerary

Dear Fodorites:

My husband and I are going on first safari to Africa – and we are planning a Mid February – March timeframe in 2006.

We decided on Kenya and Tanzania and we have a total of 21 days with a few travel days leaving us about 18 – 19 days – (we could push it to 20/21) to do a safari.

I was all set to start to begin to look at an itinerary that included: Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Masai Mara ect. when my husband decided to throw in a little curve ball.

He insists on going to the Ruaha and Selous areas as he loves of idea of these remote beautiful areas. While I can’t blame him – I am having a hard time coming up with an itinerary for us – this being our first time and all. Is this a good time to visit the Ruaha/Selous area? What will the weather in general be like at this time?

I know we can’t do all of these parks – but what is a ‘not to be missed” and what can be passed over?

We would be willing to do a little flying ( to save travel time) – but would like to mix it up with some driving as well.

Any of your expert help would be most appreciated!

P.S. I should mention that we are not looking for a camping experience but mid range with perhaps one or two ‘deluxe’ camps thrown in.

Thanks so much.

cocco1 is offline  
Jan 8th, 2005, 06:45 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440

To help decide when is a good time to visit various parts of Africa, here is a site:

As you'll see, Feb-March may be an ideal time to visit some of the other parks you mentioned, while Ruaha & Selous are
not quite at their peak during that time. But they are still ok.

It should be nice and warm (80s) during the days. It is the second driest time of the year.

I've not visited Ruaha & Selous myself, but all I've heard and read is very positive. Others who have been there will likely give some glowing recommendations here.

February is calving season for the wildebeest in the Serengeti, so I'd spend at least 4 days there.

In my opinion, the biggest pitfall to avoid is chasing about the country trying to see it all and in the process see a lot of airports and highways instead of wildlife.

Approx. 19 days in Africa will be a great safari.

You mentioned this is your FIRST safari to Africa. You may end up going back
again to see some of the places that just did not make it into your itinerary--or to revisit your favorites.


atravelynn is offline  
Jan 9th, 2005, 05:10 AM
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cocco1 -

I would suggest you give us an idea of what your initial itinerary was to look like before considering Selous and Ruaha. With that, we could advise whether you can eliminate some in order to include Selous and Ruaha and how. You do realize that to visit these two southern circuit areas, will require flying from Dar-es-Salaam to each and then back. And if you choose to then visit parts of the nortern circuit and/or into Kenya you'll require additional air flights.

As "atravelynn" mentions, the time you are considering is the wildebeest "calving" season in the S.E. Serengeti and the area many would be considering viewing, but if your husband wants seclusion, that might not be the place, though "it is the place."

Provide your original stops in each country and we can go from there to work out something to your liking.
Jan 9th, 2005, 08:37 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440

Here are some thoughts on itineraries, assuming you want a basic safari. If you had a particular interest in varied cultural interactions or birds or seeing specific mammals, then you might want something else.

All of these suggest 7 parks.

2- Tarangire
2- Ngorongoro
4- Serengeti (SE part best in Feb)
6- Selous & Ruaha

2- Samburu (Has some species you don't see in the other parks, such as Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, oryx. Also very good for leopard)
3- Mara

With one potential travel day between Kenya and Tanzania that's 20 days and 7 parks.

Not included were any of Kenya's "lake distict" such as Nakuru, Navasha, Baringo, or Elementia, where you would likely see flamingos and other varied birdlife (plus other mammals) Often there are at least some flamingos in Ngorongoro. Also no Amboseli where you can have views of Kilimanjaro.


1 or 2 Arusha (more foresty than the other locations and a chance to see Colubus monkeys)

2 or 3- Tarangire

1 or 2 Lake Manyara (I've seen great hippo and very good elephant activity here compared to other places. It is a nice stop between Tarangire and Ngorongoro. But you could see the same species in other parks.)

2- Ngorongoro

4 or 5 -Serengeti (SE part best in Feb)

6- Selous & Ruaha

Other than the species you would see if you went to the Samburu area in Kenya, there would be no animals missed if you stayed only in Tanzania.

6- Selous/Ruaha

#3 NO SELOUS/RUAHA If your husband reconsidered

2 or 3 - Tarangire
2- Ngorongoro
4 or 5 - Serengeti (SE part best in Feb)

2 or 3- Samburu
4 or 5 Combination of:
Lake Nakuru/Lake Navasha
Lewa Downs (If a rhino siting is very
important to you for the
Big 5, you are practically
guaranteed sitings of
black and white rhino.

3- Mara

atravelynn is offline  
Jan 9th, 2005, 08:44 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440

My fingers went out of control and hit a key to post before completing the previous message.

The only other thing I was going to add was if you wanted to see chimpanzees in a chimp sanctuary, there is one in Kenya at Sweetwaters. Plus other Northern Samburu-type animals on this private concession. I've never been there.
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 9th, 2005, 12:46 PM
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Thanks for the feedback sandi and atravelynn - it is much appreciated.

Here is what I have tentatively come up with in terms of an itinerary – how does this look?

Kenya: ( 3- 4 days) Will only do one or two parks here and spend most of our time in Tanzania. Not sure which parks to visit of these three:

1) Masi Mara National Park

2) Sambura National Park

3)Amboseli National Park


1) Serengeti national park ( 3- 4 days)

2) Ngorongoro conservation area ( 2-3 days)

3) Ruaha National Park (2-3 days

4) Seleous game reserve (3-4 days)

Would you suggest any other parks?
I’m not sure what the travel times between the parks will be – do you think this is this too ambitious?

Given the weather during this time are the parks that I picked the best ones to visit? Would like to see ‘the big five’ but have an appreciation for all mammals and birds.

Also one final question - are you aware of any tour operators that would handle this type of itinerary?

Thanks again

cocco1 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2005, 03:08 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440

If you are doing only 3-4 days in Kenya, you may wish to omit the Mara, since you will be seeing much of the same game in the SE part of the Serengeti. Then you could do Samburu, which offers some different animals and/or Amboseli, which offers views of Kilimanjaro--neither of which you would get in Tanzania. In Samburu, there is an interesting option that I have not yet taken advantage of. If you stay at Elephant Watch Safaris Camp, you can track elephants on foot.

I would do 4 days in Serengeti, but be sure it is the Southeast part for the best game in Feb/Mar, where you will likely see the most game (if you are not going to Masai Mara). Probably only 2 nights are needed in Ngorongoro.
One to get there and one after viewing in the crater. I don't believe you are allowed to go into the crater 2 days in a row. (Rules could have changed) There are other hiking activities in the Ngorongoro area for Day 3. But I did some hiking there and I love to hike and I found it to be ok, but I would have preferred to spend my limited days in Africa doing something else.

What you have is not too ambitious in my opinion and even more concentrated in key areas than my sample itineraries. Removing Tarangire was a good move, though I still think it is a great park. Tarangire has lovely scenery and many interesting Baobab trees, but you will not be missing any species. It has good elephant, but you can see elephant in other parks. Amboseli has lots.

For agents--I have had success with
African agents:
Taga Safaris

US agents:
Africa Adventure in Ft. Lauderdale, FL
ATD Adventure Travel Desk in Wayland, MA

The only agent that I have "really put to the test" was Africa Adventure when just before a scheduled departure to Uganda in 2001 for myself and three friends, there were security problems that fell short of a State Dept warning, but made us feel uncomfortable going there. Africa Adventure re-did that portion of the trip last minute, omitting all our Uganda activities, with no cancellation fees, and not charging us for a total of 12 gorilla permits. They replaced the Uganda days with the Kenya & Tanzania camps and activities I requested. It also required changing airline tickets just days before the flight and they got us changes without any fees or penalties. Another time, as I was returning home, Air Botswana just decided not to fly anymore for a while, stranding about 100 passengers. A collect call to Africa Adventure got me on another flight, only one day late when some of the other passengers were still stranded.

Those other agents might have performed as well or better, but I never needed the extra help on any of my other trips.

They're all on the web. Many people on this site are real fans of Roy's and I think I'll check them out next time too.

atravelynn is offline  
Jan 9th, 2005, 04:12 PM
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Posts: 62
Thanks Atravelynn! Great suggestions. I am about ready to put together this information and begin to get some quotes from tour operators.

One question though - how would you organize the trip. I was thinking:

Start in Nairobi to Amboseli
Fly to Dar and then to the southern part - Ruaha and Seleous then to the Ngoronogoro and Serengeti and finally back to Nairobi. Is this doable or is there a better route?


cocco1 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2005, 04:37 AM
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cocco1 -

You can fly into Nairobi (NBO) and out of Dar-es-Salaam). And after doing the "busier" areas of the safari you are considering, you may want to save the quietier and best for last.

Arriving in NBO, Amboseli can be your first stop for a few days, then a road transfer via Namanga to Arusha. You can do an overnight here and take in a culture tour at one of the villages - quite interesting.

While Tarangire is one of my favorite parks, the months you are considering aren't the best for visiting this park.

So from Arusha you can drive or fly to Ngorogongo crater. If you fly, you fly to Lake Manyara airport, then it's about 1+hr drive to the Crater. Since the Crater (as 7/1/05) is limiting crater tours to only half-days - they do have other activities for the other half-day - so only 2nts. is all that is needed here. From the Crater the drive to the S.E. Serengeti is an easy drive where you can spend 3 0r 4-days. If you wish to to hot-air ballooning here, you'll have to drive to the Central Serengeti and consider speding a night in this area.

In the S.E. Serengeti there are limited permanent lodges, but there are a few semi-permanent tented camps you might want to consider. These are quite lovely; and in Central you can consider a lodge, maybe the Serena Serengeti. From here you can fly to Arusha for your connecting flight to Dar.

Dar may require an overnight, and there are some lovely accommodations nearby the airport. Then you'd fly to Ruaha for 2-3 nts, then back to the Selous for 3-4 nts, then back to Dar.

If you have some days left over, you might consider relaxing on Zanzibar Island or one of Zanzibars off-short islands, before catching your homebound flight from Dar-es-Salaam. No need to return to NBO.

British Air and KLM both fly NBO and Dar-es-Salaam.

Using Roy Safaris, you'll be dealing with an in-country outfitter who have their own vehicles, guides, and offers the most competetive pricing. You can contact (email them) thru their website:

Let us know your final decision.
Jan 10th, 2005, 02:24 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 62
Thanks Sandi for the advice – I am learning so much here and I feel like this is really coming together.

How does this sound for an itinerary:

Arrive in Nairobi - Overnight

Fly to Amboseli - 2 nights

Fly / Drive? Samburu National Park - 2 nights

Road Transfer to Arusha – Overnight

Drive to Ngorogono Crater 2 nights

Drive to S.E. Serengeti – 4 nights

Fly to Arusha for connecting flight to Dar – overnight

Fly to Ruaha – 3 nights

Drive/fly? To Selous – 3 nights

Fly back to Dar

I added a visit to to Samburu National Park - but I don't know if I put it in the right order. I would love to do the Elephant Watch Safari. After atravelynn suggested it on a previous post, I did some research and it sounds perfect – as I am an elepahant nut.

I'm definitly getting excited about this trip!


cocco1 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2005, 07:13 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440

Looks like this will be a great trip for both you and your husband. Saving the most remote for last looks good to me too.

atravelynn is offline  
Jan 11th, 2005, 04:30 AM
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cocco1 -

It's certainly looking good.

Some suggestions - since Amboseli isn't all that long a distance you can drive to, but fly on the return to NBO and connect to flight to Samburu. The drive to Samburu is easily 5-hrs if not more.

Then from Samburu you'd fly back to NBO and depending on schedule can fly to JRO. If not the drive is about 4-hrs to Arusha and is an adventure of sorts, especially the border crossing at Namanga.

From Dar it is best to fly to Ruaha, from Ruaha to Selous, and Selous to Dar. The distances here are just way too long.

...and have to agree with atravelynn as my premise has always been to "save the best for last"

Jan 11th, 2005, 06:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,916
You may want to flip the order that you visit Amboseli and Samburu. You could fly to Samburu and back from NBO, and then drive to Amboseli when you get back to Nairobi. You can also then drive to Arusha from Amboseli.

I visited Samburu in August 2003, and we went by car. Its an interesting drive, and you pass by Mount Kenya, and you'll see the Kenyan countryside. It may be interesting to drive at least one way. You'll also get to do the obligatory photo stop at the Equator.
thit_cho is offline  

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