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If I were able to persuade the DH, what would be my options for a CHEAP safari, likely East Africa, likely <2 weeks?

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Aug 1st, 2005, 02:45 PM
  #41
 
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Hi Kavey,

I think JanGoss is Kenya now, but I know she has mentioned that she has done some very reasonable safaris in Kenya (not camping).

Of course one woman's reasonable is sometimes another woman's savings of 12 months. But perhaps she'll have ideas when she returns.
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Aug 1st, 2005, 02:49 PM
  #42
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Thanks, Leely, good idea to ask Jan for input when she gets back.

Sharon, thanks too, I'll add Kibo to my list. So far I haven't contacted anyone as I want to digest advice and also to vaguely narrow down where we'd like to go but it's good to have a strong list of operators to approach.
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 08:57 AM
  #43
 
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Hi Kavey!

Wow, after reading so many of your posts for so long, I'm happy to be able to finally provide some help (hopefully!) to you!

You noted in your original post that you've contacted several companies, including the East African Safari and Touring Co. My husband and I used them for our trip to Tanzania in December/January and we absolutely loved it!

I truly believe that they will be able to provide you with an affordable, wonderful safari adventure (if you're speaking with Simon King via e-mail, please feel free to tell him that you and I have been in contact and that you've heard about the affordable pricing of his company, perhaps it will help)!

To put it into perspective, our 24-day adventure (including 6 days of full-out safari, a climb of Mount Meru (which isn't cheap!), a 4-day hike in the Crater Highlands etc.) was $3,500 US each. That leads me to believe that a 10-day trip could easily be fit into the $1000 US to $1500 US per person range... Especially because you're not doing any private climbing or hiking...

Our entire trip was 100% private - we had our own Land Rover, with a private driver and guide (yes, both!) at all times while on safari. We stayed at all different types of lodging - a semi-permanent camp in the Serengeti that they set up to view the migration (amazing!) with stand-up tents and large wooden beds inside, ensuite toilet through a zip-up flap... There were 4 tents there, but we were the only ones staying there at the time - it was perfect! And then in the Crater, we stayed at the Wildlife Lodge, which honestly I would leave out the next time... semi-luxury camping is MUCH BETTER! While at Tarangire, we stayed at Naitolia Camp which was absolutely phenomenal! The tents are luxurious with ensuite outdoor flush toilet and shower... It's still roughing it and you feel like you're still one with nature, but just a little luxury thrown in... I'm sure it's nothing compared to the big permanent camps that cost a fortune, but we jumped up and down with excitement when we arrived and saw our accomodations! The rack rate cost of this camp is usually around $37US per night I think, but it's actually owned by East African and so they can send their guests cheaply... shouldn't be a problem to fit it into your budget!

All of this to say that you should have some hope in East African providing a wonderful itinerary for you... I HIGHLY recommend our guide - his name is George and he is truly one of the most wonderful, responsible men I've ever met - he truly made our trip. If you have a request for drivers, I would recommend Siya - he was our first driver and was an absolute pleasure! Both were extremely knowledgeable and caring, and I definitely feel confident recommending them (I honestly can't speak for any of the other guides or drivers at the company, and would highly recommend against our second driver, John).

Please feel free to take a look a my (partially finished - I forgot to continue - I'm so sorry - I think I'll have to get back to it!) trip report, which will tell you about the first half of our trip... For any further details on Naitolia or Tarangire (which I LOVED), please let me know.

I'm going to try linking to my trip report here (first time so I'm not sure it will work):

http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...+glorious+days

If it doesn't work, simply search for "26 glorious days in Tanzania"... Hope all of this helps!

I've also included below the final ITINERARY sent to me by East African at the time we booked... (it will detail all that was provided for the price quoted - it was extremely reasonable, especially in comparison to the other companies we contacted including Roys and ATR)...

Price: $7,090 U.S.

Included: This is a private safari including full board accommodation throughout unless otherwise noted, all transfers, all park fees and all conservation area fees, all walking safaris, all nights drives as stated in the itinerary, UNLIMITED kilometers on game drives in 4WD Land Rover or Land cruiser with English speaking guide, all camping equipment and services of a camp chef. Flights Tanga to Zanzibar and Zanzibar to Dar Es Salaam.

Not included are soft and alcoholic drinks, visas and items of a personal nature.

Quote for all activities and accommodation from day 1 till day 19 including flight to Zanzibar:

Quote: 3,095 USD

Quote for Zanzibar portion including flight from Zanzibar to Dar Es Salaam:

Quote: $450 USD per person

Day 1, 27th December: On arrival at Kilimanjaro airport, you will be met by our guide and transferred to the Impala Hotel for overnight.

Day 2, 28th December: After breakfast this morning we depart for the Serengeti with a picnic lunch, and game viewing en route to our campsite, which we will arrive at mid afternoon.

The camps are our own mobile camps and in the highlands are usually private but it also depends on the whims of the Conservation Area authority and the park rangers.

In the Serengeti they are large 8ft x 8ft dome type canvas tents with stretchers, matresses, all bedding, showers and toilet tents where required, camp chairs and dining tents in inclement weather.

Days 3 and 4, 29th and 30th December: Full days game viewing in the Serengeti with picnic lunch, dinners and overnights are within camp in Seronera. We would expect the migration to be towards the east of Seronera and on the short grass plains, so the game viewing should be quite spectacular.

Day 5, 31st December: This morning is spent game viewing in the Serengeti with a picnic lunch en route to the Ngorongoro Highlands via Olduvai Gorge. Dinner and overnight is at the Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge.

Day 6, 1st January: We head into the crater to spend the day game viewing with a picnic lunch before heading towards the village of Nainokanoka on the crater highlands, arriving at about 17hr00. Dinner and overnight is within camp.

Walking in the Ngorongoro Highlands provides opportunities for visitors to experience the majesty of the Conservation Area without having to sit in a vehicle for 12 hours a day. On most of these walking safaris wildlife will be seen but usually at a distance, and it is highly likely that the camp will be visited by game at night. The scenery is spectacular and is the main attraction to the area, plus the possibility of interaction with the local Masai.

All of the campsites are special campsites with no facilities whatsoever which is carried in by support vehicle, and where no support vehicle is available, by donkey caravan.

Day 7, 2nd January: Today we walk about 18 kilometres to the campsite located on the slopes of Empakai crater. The walk will take about 8 hours and is through changing scenery from rolling grasslands towards the forested slopes of Empakai. Dinner and overnight is within camp.

Day 8, 3rd January: This morning we walk to the campsite located near the rim of Empakai Crater, a distance of about 9 kilometres taking about 5 to 6 hours. In the afternoon we have the option of walking down to the crater floor with one of the NCAA rangers. Dinner and overnight is within camp.

Day 9, 4th January: After an early breakfast we head towards the Rift Valley escarpment and towards our campsite overlooking the lake Natron and Oldoinyo Lengai area. A walk of approximately 15 kilometres which takes about 8 hours. Dinner and overnight is within camp.

Day 10, 5th January: Today is the longest trek from the escarpment to the campsite near Engaresero. Dinner and overnight is in the permanent Engaresero Camp.

* Note: On the highland treks the last three nights before we get to Engraesero are small two man hiking tents, as the last two days are down the escarpment where vehicles cannot go. The vehicle actually has to drive around from Empakai to Ngaresero which takes a day and a half whilst you will be walking, so we use the smaller hiking tents with porters. (I have sent some pictures of the canvas tents in a seperate email…)


Day 11, 6th January: Early this morning we will take the opportunity to climb Ol Doinyo Lengai with our Masai guides, hopefully reaching the peak in time for sunrise over the Rift valley. When we return to Engaresero we have the chance to relax in the Natron area, visiting Olkarien gorge or the nearby waterfalls, or walking towards the flamingo breeding grounds of Lake Natron. Dinner and overnight is within the Engaresero Camp.

Day 12, 7th January: After breakfast this morning we depart with a picnic lunch for the Tarangire Conservation Area. Dinner and overnight is at Naitolia camp.

The Tree-house at Naitolia has been described "achingly romantic" by the Rough Guides, and "one of the best rooms in East Africa" by the Lonely Planet Guide to East Africa.

Day 13, 8th January: Today we explore the Tarangire ecosystem and its wildlife on foot and by vehicle. Tarangire is one of the least visited parks, but during the dry season has the highest density of wildlife in any part of northern East Africa. It is not unusual to view over 300 to 400 elephants in a single day. The Tarangire area is also unique in that it is one of the few areas that we are able to experience walking safaris and night drives in northern Tanzania. We also take the opportunity to visit one of the local Masai villages in the area, which are the traditional landowners here. Dinner and overnight are at Naitolia Camp.

Day 14, 9th January: After and early morning walking safari or game drive, we return to the camp for a late morning brunch, before heading towards Arusha National Park and our campsite at the base of Mt Meru for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation is in two well-maintained wooden huts that have spectacular views of Kilimanjaro rising above the clouds.

Day 15, 10th January: Our climb begins from our camp and the track soon passes some open grassland, with a good chance of seeing buffaloes and warthogs, and then continues as a steady climb through montane forest. We take lunch at, or near, the Fig Tree Arch, which is big enough to drive a car through! After lunch, the route continues through less dense forest, where there are an abundance of birds and monkeys. The black and white colobus monkeys are particularly fascinating to watch. By mid-afternoon, there are the first closer views of the towering cliffs and the Ash Cone. We reach Miriakamba Hut (2,514 m.), situated in an idyllic grassy glade, in time to enjoy the last of the afternoon sun and beautiful views over the surrounding plains towards Kilimanjaro. [5-6 hours walking].

Day 16, 11th January: The walk from Miriakamba Hut to the saddle below Little Meru is a short day but a steep and sustained climb all the way. We walk through attractive, open, and lush montane forest to reach the halfway point of Elephant Ridge. This has excellent views of the summit ridge and across most of the crater floor. Whilst resting, you might spot elephants or other animals from here. The path continues uphill through giant heather and other moorland vegetation to reach Saddle Hut (3,570 m.), where lunch is waiting for us. The afternoon is free to rest and enjoy the views. The more energetic can make the short climb to the nearby summit of Little Meru (3,820 m.) for superb views just before sunset. [3-6 hours walking].

Day 17, 12th January: An early start at around 2 a.m. to climb steeply to Rhino Point (3,800 m.), and then continue along an undulating ridge of ash and rock to reach Cobra Point (4,350 m.) around sunrise. The views are stunning: the cliffs of the Crater rim, the Ash Cone rising from the Crater floor, Kilimanjaro floating on the morning cloud, and west towards the Rift Valley if the weather is clear. The summit of Socialist Peak (4,566 m.) is an hour more on a superb but often steep path. The route back to Rhino Point in the sharp morning light on a narrow ridge between the sloping outer wall of the crater and the sheer cliffs of the inner wall is one of the most dramatic and exhilarating walks in Africa. We rest, and have brunch at Saddle Hut before continuing the descent to Miriakamba Hut (2,514 m.). [10-12 hours walking].
Note: The ridge between the summit and Rhino Point is not suitable for those suffering from vertigo. In icy conditions or in strong winds, it may be impossible for anyone to progress beyond Rhino Point. Sunrise from here is equally as spectacular as from Cobra Pt.

Day 18, 13th January: We take the direct route down towards Momella through open grassland and mixed forest, with good chances of seeing wildlife. This trail has excellent views back towards the crater and over the plains of the National Park. We should our base camp around mid-day for hot showers and lunch, dinner and overnight within camp. [2-3 hours walking].

Day 19, 14th January: This morning we catch the flight to Zanzibar, where you will be met and transferred to the Tembo Hotel for overnight.
Accommodation is on a b&b basis.

Day 20, 15th January: This morning we take in the sights and sounds of Stone Town on a spice Tour, before being transferred in the afternoon to the Pongwe Beach Resort for dinner and overnight. Accommodation is on half board basis.

Day 21 and 22, 16th and 17th January:

These two days are spent relaxing on the beaches. Dinners and overnights are at Pongwe Beach Resort. Accommodation is on half board basis.

Day 23, 18th January: Morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Dar Es Salaam, which will connect with international flights.
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 09:16 AM
  #44
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WOW! THANKS!

I so appreciate your input!

Just to clarify, I haven't yet contacted ANY operators, I'm simply at the very early stage of putting together a potential list of operators some of whom I will contact.

But I don't want to do that until I narrow down where we want to go just a touch more.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 09:50 AM
  #45
 
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Alwaysafrica, wow, I remember reading your trip report, which was excellent, and I would have ventured that the price was at least double what you indicated. I've made a note of that operator for future reference.

Kavey, I would second the suggestion of Etosha for its game viewing, which I would rank third, behind Serengeti/Masai Mara and Chobe, of the places I have been, but you should note that its heavily traveled and the camps within the park are very basic. They were developed when Namibia was under South African control and were developed by SA authorities, so they are similar to camps within Kruger (and I'm not talking about the private lodges, but public camps like Skukuze, Satara and Olifants). But the game viewing is incredible and the price is right (I think less than $100 per night).

I just booked a trip to Kgalagadi for next Summer, that I'll likely combine with a trip to Wilderness Safaris lodges in Hwange or Mana Pools, and the price for three nights in Kgalagadi is around US$250 (so around $80 per night). We've rented a 2WD Mercedes out of Upington and will drive to and within Kgalagadi, but I really enjoy self-drive and the game viewing is great and the lodges, while very rustic, are clean and comfortable.

You could probably combine Kgalagadi and Etosha. A bus runs from Upington to Windhoek so you wouldn't need to back track to JNB, but its a 16 or so hour bus ride overnight so it may not be that appealing.

It would be much less than $3400 for ten days.
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 10:40 AM
  #46
 
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Hi Kavey,

Unfortunately I don't have any great money-saving ideas, but I'm really glad to hear that you're planning a trip this year!

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 10:53 AM
  #47
 
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alwaysafrica,
Where is East African Safari & Touring Co based out of? I haven't heard of them before. Is this their website?

http://www.dreamweaver.co.uk/eastafr...navigation.htm
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 11:08 AM
  #48
bwanamitch
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Patty,

http://www.eastafricansafari.info/
 
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 11:12 AM
  #49
bwanamitch
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thit_cho,

Do you have any Kgalagadi travel options for the Botswana site?

Mitch
 
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 11:18 AM
  #50
 
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Hi Patty!

Yes, that's the website. The company is actually half local Tanzanian and half Australian. It's owned by two brothers, Hartley and Simon King. Hartley lives in Arusha with his Tanzanian wife and they both run the Arusha office. Simon is the person who does most of the web bookings and is based in Australia, but spends most of the busy safari months in Tanzania as well...

They've been around for a very long time and are actually quite prominent in East Africa (which I know is strange! Before we booked, I was looking for opinions on them, and no-one had seemed to have heard of them). Anyways, Simon was fabulous - we did everything by e-mail (we only once, nearing the trip, talked on the phone; otherwise, everything was done through about 50 e-mails). As you can see, our itinerary was EXTREMELY custom (and we're picky!) and he was great in answering and addressing all of our questions/concerns/requests.

Their office is on one of the main streets in Arusha, but since they don't except any group tours, or walk-in traffic, there's not even a proper sign up on the street... They do most of their bookings as custom itineraries for people who have found them over the Internet.

They certainly were reasonably affordable (well, as much as East Africa can be and we had an amazing experience!
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 11:20 AM
  #51
 
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p.s. - the website that bwanamitch gives is also right. They have a couple of different websites - they were using the dreamweaver website when we found them last summer, and were just unveiling the www.eastafricansafari.info website in the fall... I believe that both of them have the same information.
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 11:29 AM
  #52
 
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Mitch & alwaysafrica,
Thanks to you both!
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 12:48 PM
  #53
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Thanks everyone for the continued advice!

Mitch, you posted a link but no advice for me? I know you've been to East Africa on a number of occasions so would appreciate your ideas.

To clarify, the trip is for NEXT year not this year and I haven't yet contacted ANY local operators.

This is great though, I'm really getting into gear in terms of familiarising myself with the terrain, so to speak!
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 12:51 PM
  #54
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Michael,
Thanks for the tips.
We're probably more likely to make the 2006 trip an East Africa one as we did spend 8-9 weeks in Southern Africa last year but I'm still open to possibilities at this point so will look into your suggestions also. THANKS
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 01:23 PM
  #55
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Kavey,

Writing isn't one of favourite tasks.
And writing in a foreign language doesn't make it easier. (Some of my postings took me 45 min and more.) So I prefer to throw in some helpful info snippets, or some quick thoughts.

Beside this, I'm only online while I'm working and when I've given my computer some tasks to complete. I rarely surf only for fun.

Surely I have some ideas where I would go in EA, but I can't give you any operator recommendations or rates before doing some research. And that would take some time. And more time to write about it.

I think the main problem here is the language problem. Sorry.

If I'm looking for inspirations for my next safari, I certainly would go through either the accommodation or the operator listings in my Portal.

Mitch
 
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 01:28 PM
  #56
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No worries - you're fluent in English so I forget it's not your first language...

Whatever you can offer will be gratefully received. If you've not time, that's OK too.

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Aug 2nd, 2005, 01:31 PM
  #57
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PS I have already been looking through your portal. It's a very handy resource. Thanks.
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 01:43 PM
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Bwanamitch, if English is not your first language, then you must write like Shakespeare in your native tongue. I never detected that English was not your first language and wouldn't know you're based in Germany (I think) but for the languages on your excellent website.
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 01:54 PM
  #59
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Thank you, Michael!
 
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 02:14 PM
  #60
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Michael
That's the only way I figured it out too! But experience has taught me that language tuition in schools in Germany is absolutely excellent and way better than it is here in the UK. Most Germans I have met have put MY English skills to shame and have known more about English grammar rules than I have! Mitch, are you German, by the way, or is it just another in a long list of languages you speak?

PS... time for rainbows... nudge nudge
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