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africatravel Sep 9th, 2005 02:56 PM

Is the Kenya/Tanzania safari price right?
Hi all,

I think I finally have an itinerary for my kenya and tanzania safari from Dec 12 2005 onwards.

Could you please take a look at it to tell me if the price is reasonable. It is $1944/person.

Day 1/Dec 12: Nairobi/Maasai Mara
Depart Nairobi in the morning and drive along the floor of the Rift Valley to Maasai Mara arriving Mara Sopa Lodge Camp in time for lunch. Afternoon game drive. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Approx transit time: 5 hrs
Meal plan: {L, D}

Day 2/Dec 13: Maasai Mara
Spend the day in Maasai Mara, Kenya's most popular game sanctuary where you will have the best opportunity of spotting the Big Five - lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant.
Game drives are flexible, with the option of going out with picnic lunch boxes to spend entire day in the the park, or you can choose to have early morning and late afternoon game drives.
You will also have the option of visiting a local Maasai village (US$20 per person).
All meals and overnight at Mara Sopa Lodge.
Meal plan: {B, L, D}

Day 3/Dec 14: Maasai Mara/Nairobi
Another early morning game drive in Mara, then depart and drive back to Nairobi arriving approx.
13:00hrs. Drop off at Nairobi Safari Club. Lunch on own account/afternoon at leisure with optional excursions. Evening transfer to Carnivore Restaurant for dinner, and back to Nairobi Safari Club for overnight stay on bed and breakfast basis.
Approx transit time: 5 hrs
Meal plan: {B}

Day 4/Dec 15: Arusha/Lake Manyara
Breakfast at the hotel, then board morning shuttle bs to Arusha arriving approx 13:00hrs.
Lunch at Impala Hotel, then proceed to Lake Manyara for dinner and overnight at Lake Manyara Serena Lodge.
Approx transit time: 6 hrs
Meal Plan: {B, L, D}

Day 5/Dec 16: Lake Manyara/Serengeti
Morning game drive in Manyara Park, a park dotted with exotic trees such as the giant fig, baobab and mahogany and famous for lions that sprawl on trees.
Depart after lunch for Serengeti Serena Lodge for dinner and overnight.
Approx transit time: 4 hrs
Meal Plan: {B, L, D}

Day 6/Dec 17: Serengeti
Full day in Serengeti with morning and afternoon game drives in the rolling grasslands studded with wildlife for as far as the eye can see. All meals and overnight at Serengeti Serena Lodge.
Meal Plan: {B, L, D}

Day 7/Dec 18: Serengeti/Ngorongoro
Another morning game drive, then depart after lunch and transfer to Ngorongoro conservation via Olduvai Gorge for a short visit of the museum. Dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge.
Approx transit time: 3 hrs
Meal Plan: {B, L, D}

Day 8/Dec 19: Ngorongoro
After breakfast descend down to the crater floor for a full day crater tour with picnic lunches. Return to Ngorongoro Serena Lodge for dinner and overnight.

Meal Plan: {B, L, D}

Day 9/Dec 20: Back to Arusha/Nairobi
Depart Ngorongoro after breakfast and drive back to Arusha arriving in time for lunch at Impala Hotel.
Awaiting information about your departure.
End of our services.
Meal Plan: {B, L}

Revised price: US$1944 per person sharing

Price includes:
- Private transportation in a custom safari vehicle with pop-up roof ideal for game viewing and sightseeing.
- Services of a trained and experienced English speaking driver/guide for each sector
- Fullboard accommodation in the lodges as mentioned

- Game drives and all park entry fees
- Bed and breakfast accomodation in Nairobi(day 3)
- Dinner at the Carnivore Restaurant
- One-way shuttle Nairobi/Arusha

We are thinking of getting a flight back from Arusha to Nairobi.


janets1s Sep 9th, 2005 03:21 PM


It looks pretty cheap to me, $216/person per day at Serena Hotels on a private safari.

I've seen a similar large group tour with 2Afrika for about $250/person per day.

It is a lot of driving and that shuttle between Nairobi and Arusha can be very uncomfortable (they use jump seats in the aisles). I guess you are OK with the long distances by road?

africatravel Sep 9th, 2005 03:26 PM

Hi Janet,

Thanks for responding. I am trying to get an airline quote from nairobi to arusha and back.
Is the rest of the itinerary ok? The price is ok too, right?

It's just a lot of money in general so want to make sure!


sandi Sep 9th, 2005 03:39 PM

africatravel -

There's a 1:45pm flight from Arusha into Wilson Airpot in NBO. Figure ticket price in the $150+ range, but less then $200 o/w.

If you return by bus you're not likely to arrive NBO till after dark. The return bus is scheduled for around 2pm, but that is "Africa-time." Besides, after the shuttle bus drive down to Arusha, you're going to be seriously wondering "what was I thinking?" Sure, it's an adventure - one way; round trip, can be punishment.

Been there, done that - one way was sufficient.

Besides, are you scheduled to depart NBO the same night? If so, and though most flights leave NBO after 9pm, I wouldn't chance be delayed for any reason if taking the bus.

Otherwise, the itinerary looks fine - rushed and lots of time on the roads, but the price is good, especially for after December 15 when prices go into the "holiday" range.

Leely Sep 9th, 2005 03:52 PM

Agree with Sandi and Janet: price looks good.

I think it'll be a nice introduction to East Africa. If you decide you want to revisit, you'll know better what your preferences and priorities are.

I've taken the shuttle, and although I can be pretty miserly, I wouldn't want to do it both ways, either. Also, it'll be less daunting arriving in Arusha after dark than in Nairobi. But if you can't afford to fly back, it's definitely not the end of the world.

Have fun!

Patty Sep 9th, 2005 04:01 PM

The cost of a one way ticket is approx. $200 on Precision Air and $160 on Air Kenya. Precision flies into NBO (Jomo Kenyatta Intl where your home bound flight will depart) and Air Kenya flies into Wilson airport. I believe Air Kenya operates one flight a day and Precision operates several flights a day.

If flying into Wilson, you'll also need a transfer to NBO if you're departing on an evening flight the same day. If you have several hours in between, you can arrange to have your tour operator pick you up at Wilson, have dinner/sightsee and then drop you off at NBO.

I agree with others that the itinerary is a bit rushed with lots of road time, but as long as you're aware and OK with it. The price is fine considering you're traveling close to the holiday season. Have they confirmed all lodging availability for your dates yet?

matnikstym Sep 9th, 2005 04:10 PM

question for next year: with all the driving on the above trip and others, what do you see? is it like a freeway or are there animals to be seen along the 4-6 hour drives? thanks, Dennis

sandi Sep 9th, 2005 04:17 PM

Driving from NBO via Namanga border to Arusha, you're on blacktop - no animals. From Arusha to Lk.Manyara on blacktop - no animals. That's not to say, you may not see some Masai herdsmen/boys with their cattle or a cattle drive on the roads; maybe a chance view of a giraffe in the distance, but there areas are populated with towns and locals - animals avoid.

Between Serengeti and Ngorongoro and return, you're on dirt/pebble/grass tracks with game viewing along the way.

Leely Sep 9th, 2005 04:20 PM

Dennis, if you are in Kenya or Tanzania you will see a lot of people with their goats and cows, including tiny children. Also groups of children in their school uniforms! Maasai in their bright red clothing dotting the rolling brown hills (if dry season). Camels--we saw those on the bus btw Kenya and Tanzania.

Depends where you are, really. We saw giraffe off the "highway." Towns. Farms.
I'd be pretty shocked to see a rhino. :)

I'm sure others can better answer this question. We didn't get bored of the driving because we just liked looking at the scenery and the sky, the color of the earth, etc.

But I'm probably romanticizing. Long drives aren't for everyone; we all like different things.

Patty Sep 9th, 2005 04:20 PM

Not really any animals in terms of wildlife, but mostly livestock with the occasional burro that refuses to move off the road. It's his village, we're just passing through ;)

Also many villages and towns along the way and changing landscapes. Some of it's asphalt road but a lot of it's also dirt and they're bumpy ones. I gather that the roads in Tanzania are in somewhat better condition than in Kenya. But I've experienced roads worse than Kenyan ones elsewhere in the world, so it's really all relative.

Already considering an East Africa trip for next year, huh?

matnikstym Sep 9th, 2005 04:31 PM

Patty-Yes I am...after reading all the reports and seeing all the pictures of East Africa, i am getting the "itch". Called my bank to see when my cd's mature...should be just about when I return from Zambia, so can start planning then! And if Rocco can do it, so can I!! :)
Considering I can do a circle trip around this island in 4 hours, I think a 5-6 hour ride would be nice, though probably would not want every transfer to be by car.

bwanamitch Sep 10th, 2005 03:34 PM


I know you've only asked for comments on the price, but nevertheless I must say that imo your chosen Serena/Sopa combination is the worst for such a Kenya/Tanzania trip.

In another thread we've already talked about some advantages of the locations of the Sopa lodges in Tanzania.

In Kenya it looks like this: Mara Sopa is located outside of the National Reserve on the eastern border. Last year I spent a day to make an excursion in this area, and while the landscape of these eastern hills is extraordinary beautiful, sightings of wildlife were more than disappointing. I saw exactly five giraffes and two lions there. (Actually the lions were the reason to go there because I heard that they were mating. In the end I remember that I feel most excited when trying to do a long telephoto shot of Mara Serena from a distance of 40 kms.) I didn't drive the remaining 5 kms to Mara Sopa, but I would not expect that the situation is completely different there.

So if you only plan one stay at Masai Mara, especially not during migration time, I would strongly suggest that you reconsider your itinerary.


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