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I know I wanted to go to Elsa's home in Meru, but is this ok too?

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Jan 31st, 2011, 11:39 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 26
I know I wanted to go to Elsa's home in Meru, but is this ok too?

This is a trip from our local zoo. It would solve a lot of problems to go with them. Maybe I could add on Meru to this trip. Is that a common thing to do?

http://www.altairtravelinc.com/index.aspx?id=20819

Here are the costs
$2100 for airfare,
$4100 for the trip
$700 for the single supplement but if I go with this trip I might be able to find a partner
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Feb 1st, 2011, 12:26 PM
  #2
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 26
Here are all the details. I think this would be good. Then I would add Meru. Would before or after be best?

Louis-London
International Flight depart St. Louis through Chicago
to London.
?
DAY 2 Monday June 6
Nairobi
Arrive in London and connect to your flight to Nairobi.
Upon arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International airport you will
be met by our representative who will meet and assist you and
transfer your group to your hotel for check-in.
Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi
DAY 3 Tuesday June 7
Sweetwaters Tented Camp
Today after breakfast, check out and drive to Sweetwaters
Tented Camp situated in the shadow of Mt. Kenya, Kenya’s
highest mountain. Arrive in time for lunch at your camp.
This beautiful tented camp lies in the heart of the private,
24,000 acre, Sweetwaters Game Reserve. Built in the
early 70’s, the main building was originally the residence
of billionaire Adnan Kashoggi’s ranch manager. The 30
luxuriously appointed en-suite tents have magnificent views
across the plains to the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kenya.
Located in typical savannah grasslands, punctuated by the
‘whistling thorn’ shrubs and acacia trees, Sweetwaters is
an oasis. It offers guests the indulgence of a swimming pool,
some of the finest tented accommodations in Kenya and
personalized service and attention. Wildlife viewing is great
at Sweetwaters Private Reserve. You will encounter both
northern and southern Kenyan species including giraffe, zebra,
eland, oryx, waterbuck, Grant’s gazelle, Thompson’s gazelle,
elephant, buffalo, cheetah, lion, silver-backed jackal, ostrich,
hartebeest, baboon and rhino. There are also several hundred
bird species to be observed.
Optional activity: Visit the chimpanzee sanctuary.
The private game reserve is also home to the only chimpanzee
sanctuary in Kenya. Most of the chimps came from the
Jane Goodall Institute in Burundi and the Sweetwaters
Chimpanzee Sanctuary now cares for them and is a
non-profit venture. Most of the chimps were rescued from the
most appalling conditions and it is truly heartwarming to see
them now living in the riverine forest and savannah grasslands
at Sweetwaters.
Optional activity: Night time game drives can be purchased
at additional cost.
Sweetwaters Tented Camp
B,L,D
DAY 4 Wednesday June 8
Samburu National Reser ve
Depart Sweetwaters after breakfast and head north towards
Samburu National Reserve. We will visit the Nanyuki
Spinners and Weavers project enroute. Some of the largest
slums in Africa are located in Nanyuki, near the base of
Mt. Kenya, northwest of Nairobi. Because the Kenyan
highlands area around Nanyuki is also a major center for
sheep and wool production, the Presbyterian Church of
East Africa conceived the idea of training women to spin and
weave sheep’s wool on handlooms and to market the rugs
and blankets they create, thereby generating income for their
families and learning self-sufficiency. The Nanyuki Spinners
and Weavers project was started in 1977 and today over 46
women rely on their income from carding, spinning, dyeing,
and weaving sheep’s wool and now cotton too.
program, the Scouts have served as advocates for Grevy’s
zebras and for conservation. As a direct result of this
program, conducted in tandem with a community awareness
campaign, the tolerance of Grevy’s zebra within the vicinity
of community livestock has significantly increased and the
herdsmen now allow the zebras to share the limited grazing
and water resources with their livestock.
Samburu Simba Lodge B, L, D
Continue to Samburu National Reserve. Rugged and remote,
this arid wildlife reserve provides some of the best and most
colorful game viewing in the country. Arrive in time for
check-in followed by late lunch at your lodge. Enjoy a late
afternoon game drive with dinner and overnight at Samburu
Simba Lodge. Samburu Simba Lodge overlooks Buffalo
Springs National Reserve and the Ewaso Ng’iro River. From
your room you have a fantastic view over the stunning plains,
where elephants are grazing. Nearby rare game – reticulated
giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Beisa oryx, Somali ostrich and long-
necked gerunuk can be seen.
Samburu Simba Lodge B, L, D
DAYs 5 & 6 Thursday and Friday June 9 & 10
Samburu National Reser ve
Spend two full days exploring the fabulous Samburu National
Reserve area with morning and afternoon game drives
available and all meals.
Visit Grevy’s Zebra Conservation Programs at Kalama
Wildlife Conservancy: A critical species in need of global
conservation, the Grevy’s zebra population is less than
2,200 individuals left in the wild. You will visit with the
Saint Louis Zoo’s partners collaborating in the effort to
protect Grevy’s zebras through research, conservation and
education activities that also benefit local people. With less
than a half of a percent of the Grevy’s zebra range falling
within official national parks and protected areas, this species’
survival depends heavily upon the attitudes and engagement
of people in community areas.
One such program, the Grevy’s Zebra Scout Program,
supports a number of women and men from Kenyan
communities to participate as Grevy’s Zebra Scouts,
observing and recording the movements and activities of
nearby groups of zebras. This successful program provides the
benefit of equal-opportunity employment in the participating
communities, a direct and tangible community incentive to
support conservation activities. Since the inception of this
DAY 7 Saturday June 11
Mount Kenya National Park
Mount Kenya (5,199 m) is Kenya’s highest mountain, a
national icon, a climbers’ Mecca, the nation’s namesake,
a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site and a wildlife
stronghold. One of the world’s highest National Parks, it is
also an extinct volcano some three and a half million years old
and the sacred home of Ngai, God of the Kikuyu people.
Mount Kenya plays a crucial role in the life of the country
as Kenya’s single most important permanent watershed and
her largest forest reserve. The fertile soils of its lower slopes
also sustain the growth of the nation’s richest farmlands
while much of its vegetation is globally unique. In recent
years, however, the mountain has suffered greatly from the
adverse effects of deforestation. As a result, the lodge runs an
ambitious re-forestation program. To date some 2.5 million
seedlings have been planted while seedlings are also offered
free of charge to local communities, schools and individuals.
The lodge runs its own tree nursery and encourages guests to
‘Plant a Tree for Africa’.
Serena Mountain Lodge is within Mount Kenya National
Park. Sailing like an ark amid the primeval forests of
Mount Kenya, this timbered tree hotel offers champagne-
clear mountain air, sweeping views across the tree-canopy,
sparkling trout streams, and gentle forest walks. Located
at 2,134 meters above sea level, on the lower slopes of the
mountain, the lodge is cool, tranquil and hushed for optimum
game-sightings. The open-air viewing-deck looks down on
to its own water hole and salt-lick, which attracts numerous
herds of elephant and buffalo. There is also a tunnel leading
to a photo-hide, which offers spectacular viewing and
photographic opportunities just meters away from the wildlife
at the water hole.
Raised on stilts above the forest canopy, a timbered
drawbridge leads from the forest and up on to the wooden
‘decks’ of the lodge. Inside, the impression of having boarded
a ship is perpetuated by a combination of log paneled walls,
timbered game-viewing decks and winding stairs leading to a
selection of snugly comfortable, cabin-styled rooms.
Serena Mountain Lodge B, L, D
DAY 8 Sunday June 12
Lake Nakuru National Park
After early breakfast, check out and drive from
Mount Kenya to Lake Nakuru National Park descending into
the Rift Valley. Arrive in time for lunch at Kigio Wildlife
Camp. Enjoy an afternoon game drive in Lake Nakuru
National Park which is famous as the home to thousands of
lesser and greater flamingo. This park also provides sanctuary
for Rothschild’s giraffe, white rhino and leopard.
Kigio Wildlife Camp is a new superb all-suite camp
surrounded by beautiful yellow-fever tree woodland
overlooking the Malewa River. The camp is constructed from
sustainable pine-wood, local earth from the conservancy,
traditional thatch provided by the surrounding community
and canvas panels - there has been minimal usage of cement
and steel and the environment has been carefully preserved
during its construction. Power is provided by solar panels.
The dining and sitting areas are situated in a glade
overlooking a towering red cliff that houses colonies of
bee-eaters. A most attractive bar sits between two tall fever
trees facing the cliff while dining decks are extended up to
the river. At night hippo and buffalo visit the camp to feed on
ground salts and vegetation. In the morning zebra and giraffe
wander through as more than 250 types of birds sing away.
Kigio Wildlife Camp B, L, D
DAY 9 Monday June 13
Masai Mara National Reser ve
After your early morning game drive, proceed to the
Masai Mara National Reserve with a picnic lunch enroute.
Check-in and overnight with all meals at Siana Intrepids
Camp. Fringed by marshes and surrounded by ghostly fever
trees, Siana Intrepids Camp is situated on the eastern edge
of the Masai Mara National Reserve. Built on a site chosen
by 1950’s game warden, Major Lyn Temple-Boreham, this
grand-scale tented camp was established in partnership with
the neighboring Masai, who continue to graze their cattle in
harmony with the wildlife. Perfectly recapturing the romance
of the early pioneers, Siana Intrepids Camp possesses a
tranquil atmosphere, with generous safari-style tents
and shady trees offering complete privacy in a lush,
unspoiled setting.
A convivial dining area offers hearty cuisine, while the pool
is an irresistible oasis on hot days. Elephant and leopard
hides offer wonderful viewing opportunities of these animals
and more besides. Bird life is prolific and with expert Masai
naturalists on hand up to a hundred species may be seen in
one day. Siana Intrepids Camp B, L, D
DAYs 10 & 11 Tuesday and Wednesday,
June 14 & 15
Masai Mara National Game Reser ve
Full days spent game-viewing in Masai Mara Game Park
with morning and late afternoon game drives. You will arrive
back at camp for lunch and a leisurely afternoon until the
wildlife become active later in the day. Overnight with all
meals at Siana Intrepids Camp. B/L/D
Optional activity: You have an opportunity to go
on a spectacular balloon ride across the Masai Mara.
The BALLOON SAFARI ADVENTURE begins in the
pre-dawn hours and the magnificent view over the park is
thrilling. Towards the end of the flight, you rise to a height of
1,500 feet for a panoramic view of the twisting
Mara River and the savannah below. After an hour or so
in the air, your safari finishes with a flourish: a champagne
breakfast in the bush, cooked on the balloon’s burners!
Please note that this is an optional extra not
included in the main tour package price. Must be
booked well in advance, please inquire of Altair
when you make your trip reservation. In the event
of unfavorable weather a full refund will be given if
the balloon does not take off.
DAY 12 Thursday June 16 J Depart after breakfast and check out. Drive back to Nairobi, J Local taxes on accommodations and sightseeing tours
Departure Nairobi to London Kenya’s colorful capital city arriving at around noon. Lunch
will be on your own. Intercontinental Hotel Dayroom is
available for your use.
J Meals as indicated on itinerary
J Goway travel bag and neck pillow
J Flying doctor service
J 1 litre mineral water per day on safari
J
Evening Farewell Dinner at the Carnivore Restaurant.
This open air meat specialty restaurant offers every type of
meat imaginable including four choices of wild game, roasted
on the traditional Maasai swords (skewers) over a huge
charcoal pit. Maasai warrior waiters carry these around the
restaurant carving unlimited portions of meat onto
sizzling plates.
Arrival meet and greet guide assistance and departure
guide assistance. Local English-speaking driver/guide.
Trip Insurance including Trip Cancellation for accident
or medical and Trip Interruption, provided by
Travelex Insurance Company
Trip price excludes:
J Roundtrip International airfare from St. Louis to
Nairobi for the international portion.

Continue to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for
your onward flight back home, Nairobi to London. Our
representative will re-confirm your onward flight, and assist you
at check-in. B, D
J Personal items
J Meals unless listed in itinerary

J
DAY 13 Friday June 17 Tips and Gratuities
London to St. Louis

J
Early check-in and late check-out of rooms

J
Visa/passport handling fee
Trip Price includes: Note: air fares as included in pricing are subject to change
J Moderate and First Class (3-4) Star Lodges and tented until actually ticketed.
camp accommodations as per the itinerary based on
twin share.
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Feb 1st, 2011, 02:40 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
The Meru area is a bit off the beaten path. If before the trip, how many days.... it's not the kind of trip one makes to visit Elsa's grave and return same day. Though I guess some would do this. I'd spend at least 1/nt.

I'd also check whether with the air tickets the group provides you can either arrive earlier or stay later.
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Feb 1st, 2011, 03:20 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Not an easy read with no blank lines.

1 6th NBO
2 7th Sweetwaters
4-6 8th-10th Samburu
7 11th Mt Kenya
8 12th Nakuru
9-11 Mara 13th-15th
12 16th Drive back to NBO and fly home

I see it includes your travel insurance.

It is unlikely you will see the migration that enters Kenya with these dates, but who knows? This past season the migration was early. You also never mention the migration as one of your goals, so I wouldn't be concerned if you miss it.

First, looking at this trip itinerary, it is a basic, standard trip. But it does spend 3 nights in Samburu, which is longer than usual and I think is a good idea. It also spends 3 nights in the Mara, which I believe is the minimum # for a decent itinerary. Two nights in the Mara would have been poor. You'll have a good chance to see lions at 3 locations: Mara, Samburu, Sweetwaters. The security of a local connection, the expertise of the zoologist accompanying you, and the possibility of avoiding a single supplement are positives.

Considering an extension, first as Sandi mentions, check that you can deviate from the group flight plan. Next realize that Meru at one end or the other of the trip is not the logical spot to place it. You'll be duplicating some of your transportation. But that may be an acceptable price to you to pay in dollars and in time in order to take advantage of the group trip.

If deviations in the international flights are possible, I'd suggest adding 3 nights to go to Meru at the end. Here's why the end:

1. Later into the dry season in Meru is better for wildlife viewing.

2. You'll be more confident on your own after spending almost two weeks in Africa. Going solo at the start might be less comfortable.

3. You will have seen lions so you won't be anxious about that, whereas if you went to Meru first, you might be worried about not seeing these cats.

4. You might want to splurge and stay at Elsa's in Meru and that would make a nice grand finale to your trip. Flights from NBO to Meru work well.

Here's even more of a splurge. Somebody mentioned this to you in one of your posts: If you are an Elsa fan then you may want to visit Joy's Camp (named for Joy Adamson) in Shaba. It would be a luxurious splurge at the end, similar to Elsa's.

Shaba is near Samburu, where you spend 3 nights and game drives are generally done in Samburu when guests stay at Shaba. That would mean you are spending at least 4 nights, maybe 5 in this region. While that may seem a lot, I just spent 4 nights in this region and saw 3 lion prides and a wonderful variety of animals. I think you could do either Joy's or Elsa's first if you wished to combine them, then fly back to NBO to head home. I suggested flying, but you could visit these camps by road, with a driver, if you preferred.

You could ask to company doing the zoo trip to price out the extra nights at the end and see what you think.

Good luck.
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Feb 4th, 2011, 10:10 AM
  #5
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 26
Thank you sandi and atravelynn for the responds.

I would stay a few days in Meru and not do a day trip there.

The whole thing had blank lines but they did not show up here for some reason.

After seeing the reasons to go after the trip I will go after the trip. I think the tour company can do airline tickets for other dates and I think some other people want to add more to this trip, but in Tanzania.

Now I have to find out the prices.

From this trip right at my local zoo and the composure of Born Free passing on and the TV special on making the Born Free movie that got me started on really wanting to go to Africa like I always used to and then inheriting some money by surprise it was meant to be.

Thank you for the ideas to get me on the way.
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