Help - Tanzania or Zambia

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Apr 25th, 2005, 01:22 AM
  #1
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Help - Tanzania or Zambia

Hi all
I have been avidly picking out all of your useful information for a 7 night Tanzanian Serengeti Safari in January 2006 on the back of a One World around the World ticket flying Sydney - Toronto - London - Nairobi (Shuttle bus return to Arusha) - Nairobi -Johannesburg - Sydney. However, we have just discovered that Regional Air (Air Kenya) the BA affiliate ceased flying on 14 April and the BA does not have an alternative. It looks like we will have to buy additonal flights to get to South Africa which using SAA is expensive.
Does anyone know of a more reasonable airline preferably leaving from Mt Kilimanjaro as we have no reason to return to Nairobi?
Our other option is to fly London-Lusaka do a safari there and then take the Zambezi Express train to Livingstone when we can then take another BA flight to Jo'burg.
Is this feasible and worthwhile given the rainy season?
If anyone can suggest another possibility I would be grateful to hear them. I am pulling my hair out afte spending so much time planning the ideal itinerary.
Thanks
Julie
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Apr 25th, 2005, 06:41 AM
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Hi Julie,
Yes this Regional Air bankruptcy is a big problem...I've encountered the same problems in planning for my trip.

Unfortunately, this also means that the remaining flights are very full, and will not be discounted! I've had problems getting flights even at full fare-- but I'm travelling in May.

First of all, you'll be hard-pressed to find someone who can really compare Zambia vs. Kenya/Tanzania. You need to find someone who has been to and done both. I know Zambia pretty well...Roccco is a big booster of Zambia, but neither of us know Tanzania at all. From everything I have read, they are VERY different. In Tanzania, you have wide open plains with big herds...it's classic iconic Africa. In Zambia, you are in river valleys with excellent game viewing, but the numbers (both animals and tourists) are smaller. No big herds of either.

Also, January is the very HEIGHT of rainy/flood season in Zambia, and if this is your first trip, I can't say I'd recommend it. It's the season for avid birders and Afriholics who have already done the classic safari experience.
Yes, Zambia is cheaper then, but I still wouldn't recommend for most people!!!

So personally, I'd say stick with Tanzania.
I'm not sure what you do about transport from there to South Africa however...I fear that SAA is the only show in town. Kenya Airways may get you partway-- or perhaps all the way. But they don't have a website, and they never seem to answer the phone...I think they are swamped.

There is a train from Dar to a town in Zambia just north of Lusaka, but the connections from there are not good (from what I understand). But it is a really scenic route, and a good train (from what I've heard...it goes through the parks in Southern Tanzania, and there is often excellent wildlife viewing right from the train.) If you have lots of time, perhaps you will want to explore trains as an option.

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Apr 25th, 2005, 06:46 AM
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No advice from me, sorry. But I do have a question for you. What do you mean when you say Regional Air ceased flying? Do you mean they stopped operations all together or that they no longer fly between East Africa and Johannesburg? I actually wasn't aware that they ever did. I thought Regional Air just provided services between Kilimanjaro/Arusha and the northern Tanzania parks. Are we talking about the same carrier?

http://www.airkenya.com/docs/regair3.htm
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Apr 25th, 2005, 07:06 AM
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Don't know the whole Regional Air system, but they were the British Airways partner, and they did fly from Nairobi to Lusaka, so they did some out of country stuff.

They are in bankruptcy and are grounded (I've been told). No flights at all.
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Apr 25th, 2005, 07:29 AM
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Patty -

I don't believe the Regional Air you're thinking about that does the transport in Tanzania is one and the same. British Air has an off-shoot carrier that they use in Southern Africa that is also called Regional Air (I don't believe its part of Air Kenya... then maybe it is), so it's likely it's this other RA that is being referred to for travel between southern and eastern Africa.

Please, if I'm in error on my assumption, someone correct me. I really wish companies (airlines or lodges) wouldn't use the same/similar names... most confusing.
 
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Apr 25th, 2005, 02:47 PM
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Hi all

Thanks for your thoughts - I'll check out the train.

According to this article (link attached) it is the same organisation as Air Kenya - that maybe why Air Kenya is not answering the phone.

The Nation (Nairobi)
April 16, 2005
http://allafrica.com/stories/200504151108.html

On Friday, Regional Air suspended flights for six days, due to what it termed "operational circumstances". All passengers scheduled to travel on its flights were reportedly re-booked onto alternative flights.

"It is with regret that we have terminated our franchise relationship with Air Kenya Aviation Ltd trading as Regional Air, following their suspension last week of flights operated as part of our franchise agreement," Roger Maynard BA director investment and joint ventures said.

My next question is - does Air Tanzania still exist? Their web site comes up "unauthorised access."

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Apr 25th, 2005, 02:47 PM
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We've been to both Tanzania and Zambia in the last 6 months and Tashak is right - they might both be in Africa but they are very different experiences.

It really depends what you are looking for. If you are a first-timer and want to see large herds of animals and prides of lion then I think Tanzania is for you (although I've not been to either in January).

If on the other hand you want remoteness and smaller camps with top guides then Zambia would be my choice.

So you really need to think about what sort of experience you want and then try to fit the flights around that.

One option may be to look at Southern Tanzania - into and out of Dar es Salaam. This gives you access to Selous and Ruaha which is Tanzania but with the remoteness of Zambia. (everyone on this board knows how biased I am about this area!) However I know nothing about flight schedules etc so this may not be possible.
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Apr 25th, 2005, 02:50 PM
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I did some searching and it looks like we ARE talking about the same carrier. Regional Air operated as a BA franchisee. Found this article -

http://www.dehai.org/archives/dehai_...hive/0183.html

If all Regional Air flights are grounded, what other carriers operate flights to/from the northern Tanzania parks? And what does this mean for Air Kenya?
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Apr 25th, 2005, 09:39 PM
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Thanks for your help. I agree that Zambia isn't the place to be in January. I have just bitten the bullet and we are lying into Dar es Salaam istead of Nairobi, transiting to Mt Kilimanjaro (spending New Years eve in the air) and flying to JoBurg via Dar with Air Tanzania on the 11th. SAA flights were AUD 560pp and Air Tanz are AUD 490. It really p's me off paying for flights in additon to our round the world ticket but as we keep saying - we will only have this chance once.
We figure we will offset the internal transfers with Precison Air (AUD 230) by not having to pay Kenya visa fees and return shuttle cost plus we are saving a night's accommodation (New Year's eve so would be quite expensive!) in London by flying overnight.

Our itinary (with Roy Safari) right now is

7nights, 8days Safari to Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Serengeti & Ngorongoro.
Day Program
1 Drive to Tarangire National Park. Game viewing in the park with
picnic lunches. Dinner and overnight at Tarangire River camp.
2 After breakfast drive to Lake Manyara National Park. Game
viewing in the park. Dinner and overnight at Kirurumu tented lodge.
3 Am cultural tour at Mto wa mbu vilalge + then drive, with picnic
lunches drive to Serengeti National Park.Game viewing en-route to KUSINI
CAMP for dinner & overnight.
4 06h00 Begin the Sunrise game drive followed by late breakfast
at 09h00. 10h30 With picnic lunches continue game viewing for the rest
of the day. Dinner and overnight at KUSINI CAMP.
5 Another full day game viewing in Serengeti.Lunch,dinner and
overnight at KUSINI CAMP.
6 After breakfast,with picnic lunches drive to Ngorongoro for PM
Crater tour. Dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro SOPA lodge
7 AM crater tour. PM Olmoti crqter hike o/n Ngorongoro SOPA lodge.
8 After breakfast, descend the crater for a morning tour then
drive back to Arusha.

However, after looking at Liz's comments on Tarangire, I'm thinking of skipping that and putting in a night at The Serengeti Sopa before Kusini. I know it is not the best but my 14 year old daughter will be with us and I think breaking the trips with a pool may be good. It could also cut the price a little.

I would really welcome any comments.

Thanks

Julie
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Apr 26th, 2005, 03:31 AM
  #10
sandi
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Thanks for the clarification (and article link) of Regional Air/Air Kenya/BA relationship. Wasn't aware that the BA/RA I knew flying from JNB/NBO and other African locations to hook up with BA out of NBO was one and the same RA/KA flying the northern circuit Tanzania.
 
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Apr 26th, 2005, 07:33 AM
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And to make matters even more confusing, Regional Air is/was somehow related to Air Kenya and a partner of British Airways...but I think they are completely different from Kenya Airways. Kenya Airways is still flying...and will be, I hope, because they are now the only (reasonable) game in town.

Just for laughs-- when I asked BA about alternate flights from Nairobi to Lusaka, they suggested Nairobi-Harare-Joburg-Lusaka!!
That's the only way they could ticket it. But I finally did get through to Kenya Airwasys. It appears that when you get the "please hold" message, you should just hang up and dial again!! They never answer calls on hold, but I was picked up on the first right when I dialled again on another phone. (I was still on hold on the first phone...bad phone system!)
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Apr 26th, 2005, 08:26 AM
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Regional Air, as I understand it, is a subsidiary of Air Kenya (not to be confused with Kenya Airways). Until yesterday I didn't know that it also operated under BA franchise. Does anyone know if this has had any effect on Air Kenya flights?

Kenya Airways (KQ) is the national flag carrier and as far as I know isn't having financial difficulties. They operate extensive international routes and is partnered with KLM, whereas Air Kenya is mostly domestic.
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Apr 26th, 2005, 11:03 AM
  #13
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I sent an email to a friend in Tanzania to find out "what's the story" with Regional Air - if any impact on Tanzania northern circuit routes. At this hour, I probably won't have a reply before tomorrow morning. Will let you know as soon as.
 
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Apr 26th, 2005, 12:37 PM
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Thanks, sandi.
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Apr 27th, 2005, 07:49 AM
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Patty and All -

Regional Air (Air Kenya) that flies the Northern Circuit in Tanzania - Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Lk. Manyara, Seronera, Grumeti River, Klein's and return - IS NOT impacted by the Regional Air situation with BA. So we're fine in that area.

However, Fuel Surcharges are to be added as June 2005 on all Regional Air Flights on the Northern Circuit routes that are not yet final/booked/paid for. My friend, provided only one figure - $55 for the Arusha-Grumeti run - my assumption is that amount is the highest... will be less on shorter distances. She didn't mention whether this amount is for one-way or round-trip.

Just wanted yu'll to be aware.
 
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Apr 27th, 2005, 02:37 PM
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Thanks for the update. I hope the loss of the BA franchise/revenue doesn't impact their domestic routes in the future. There seem to be some doubts about the survival of the carrier (according to some of the articles I've read) now that the ties with BA have been severed.
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Apr 27th, 2005, 02:54 PM
  #17
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Hi

In reply to Tashak's post, I asked my travel agent about the possibility of routing Nairobi - Harare - Johannesburg with BA. Apparently, it can be done - via LONDON!
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Apr 29th, 2005, 01:31 PM
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When we went to East Africa we flew into Kilimanjaro and out of Nairobi with KLM. It was also possible to leave from Kilimanjaro with KLM. The flight we took connected through Amsterdam, however. I don't know if KLM flies anywhere else from Kilimanjaro, but you may want to see what they know or can do for you. Good luck!
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