Itinerary help for Kenya/Tanzania in September 2007

Old Mar 26th, 2007, 02:15 PM
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Itinerary help for Kenya/Tanzania in September 2007

Hi all!

I'm planning a safari for my wife and I in mid-September this year and would appreciate any suggestions about how to improve the itinerary. The current itinerary is:

Day 1: Arrive Nairobi airport, transfer to hotel. Overnight: Silver Springs Hotel
Day 2: Depart Nairobi for Masai Mara in the morning. Lunch and afternoon game drive in Masai Mara. Overnight: Mara Sopa Lodge
Day 3: Full day in Masai Mara. Overnight: Mara Sopa Lodge
Day 4: Drive from Masai Mara to Amboseli (via Nairobi). Lunch and afternoon game drive in Amboseli. Overnight: Amboseli Sopa Lodge
Day 5: Early morning game drive in Amboseli then drive to Tarangire (via Arusha). Late afternoon game drive in Arusha. Overnight: Tarangire Safari Lodge
Day 6: Full day in Tarangire. Overnight: Tarangire Safari Lodge
Day 7: Morning game drive and lunch in Tarangire, then drive to Ngorongoro. Overnight: Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge
Day 8: Morning game drive and lunch in Ngorongoro Crater, then drive to Serengeti. Overnight: Lobo Wildlife Lodge
Day 9: Full day in Serengeti. Overnight: Seronera Wildlife Lodge
Day 10: Drive from Serengeti to Arusha. Overnight: KIA Lodge
Day 11: Transfer to Kilimanjaro and fly out.

We can't really extend beyond 11 days, but there are a few alternatives that I am thinking about... like:
* Spend an extra day in Masai Mara (and one less in either Tarangire or Serengeti)
* Leave Tarangire in the morning of day 7 and do an afternoon game drive in Ngorongoro crater on day 7
* Make day 8 a full day in Ngorongoro and delay the drive to the Serengeti until the morning of day 9

Any suggestions or comments would be welcome!
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 02:40 PM
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Since you're already spending time in the Mara, which is basically an extension of the Serengeti, I'd drop the two days in Serengeti and spend one extra day in the Mara and one extra day at Tarangire.

You have a LOT of time spent driving in this trip, the Day 7 drive from Ngorongoro to Lobo and the Day 10 drive from Seronera to Arusha are pretty long days, I feel.

Bill
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 02:47 PM
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Hi

Sorry for my english , I am frenchspeaking

The road masai Mara Amboseli in 1 day seems very long , around 10 hrs drive
Why don't you drive directly from Masai Mara to Serengeti ( lobo area )via Isebania border and then from Serengeti to N'gorongoro , then Tarangire and fly back from Kilimanjaro or even finishing your tour with Amboseli and fly back from Nairobi

The Sopa Lodge in Amboseli is very nice but outside the park
Mara Sopa is not so nice . I would prefer a tented camp in the Mara river area like Mara Siria, as you don't have any exept of Tarangire safari Lodge

Chinook
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 02:55 PM
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Can you consider flying from the Serengeti back to Arusha? It is a long, tiring drive. We drove in (from Ngorongoro) then flew back to Arusha. We enjoyed driving in, but it would have been tedious driving back out.

My entire safari was spent in Tanzania, so I can't speak to the Kenyan portion of yours, but it appears as though you will be spending a lot of time on the road there as well.

We arrived in Arusha, spent the night, then proceeded on to Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, then the Serengeti. We flew back to Arusha on the last day. Wish we'd had time for the Masai Mara!

Any reason you can't start in Arusha and wind up in Nairobi? Or vice versa? Without backtracking, I mean...

As I mentioned, I'm not really knowledgable. I'm sure those with much more experience than mine willl chime in soon!
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 03:15 PM
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You have 1/day only in the Masai Mara after driving 5-6/hrs on lousy roads to get there. The Masai Mara is the place to be in September, so I'd eliminate the Serengeti completely. Besides, the drive from Ngorongoro to Lobo will take almost a full day.

Likewise the drive from the Mara, via Nairobi, to Amboseli is another very long day, and you leave next day for Tarangire the via Arusha, not arriving till 3-4pm earliest.

You're spending more time on the road than game viewing.

Yes, flights will add to your budget (I show 1), but they save time. I've also shown more time at parks/reserves, as below:

Day 1 - Arv. NBO - o/n
Day 2 - Drive to Masai Mara - o/n
Day 3 - Masai Mara - o/n
Day 4 - Masai Mara - o/n
Day 5 - FLY to NBO; meet another driver and head south to Amboseli - o/n
Day 6 - Amboseli - o/n
Day 7 - Drive to Namanga border; drive to Arusha; lunch; drive to Tarangire - o/n
Day 8 - Tarangire - o/n
Day 9 - Drive to Ngorongoro; afternoon crater tour - o/n
Day 10 - Morning crater tour; drive to Arusha; connect to homebound flight from JRO or flight to NBO for connection to homebound flight.

Smoother and sufficient time at these parks/reserves to make it worth your while for "being on safari."

 
Old Mar 26th, 2007, 03:17 PM
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Yep, sounds like LOTS of driving. I know this well.

hate to say but I agree that you don't need both the Serengeti & the Mara

didn't someone else in another thread say you don't need Amboseli & Tangire? Anfd Amboseli is the one that let you see Kili!
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 04:55 PM
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Day 4 - You certainly won't make it to Amboseli in time for lunch and an afternoon game drive. You'll be lucky if you make it there before dark. It's 5-6 hours back to Nairobi and another 4+ to Amboseli. And the Amboseli Sopa lodge is located outside of the park to the east, the opposite direction of where you're coming from that day and where you're headed the following day. Try to stay inside the park if possible. See if Ol Tukai has availability.

I'd skip the Serengeti and redistribute those 2 nights elsewhere so that you can slow down the pace of your itinerary. The way it's set up now, you'll be spending so much time on the road driving from place to place.
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 05:13 PM
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One more in agreement with the others' comments on trading the Serengeti for the Maasai Mara in Sept. Sandi's itinerary could be the improvement you are looking for.
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Old Mar 27th, 2007, 12:54 PM
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Thanks for all of the feedback. It is really useful! Trying to put it all together, I have I modifed my first itinerary and come up with two fairly different options...

Option 1

Day 1: Arrive Nairobi airport, transfer to hotel. Overnight: Silver Springs Hotel
Day 2: Depart Nairobi for Masai Mara in the morning. Lunch and afternoon game drive in Masai Mara. Overnight: Mara Sopa Lodge
Day 3: Full day in Masai Mara. Overnight: Mara Sopa Lodge
Day 4: Full day in Masai Mara. Overnight: Mara Sopa Lodge
Day 5: Travel day! Drive from Masai Mara to Amboseli (via Nairobi). Overnight: Amboseli Sopa Lodge (maybe with Sandi's flight option to cut down the driving)
Day 6: Early morning game drive in Amboseli then drive to Tarangire (via Arusha). Late afternoon game drive in Arusha. Overnight: Tarangire Safari Lodge
Day 7: Full day in Tarangire. Overnight: Tarangire Safari Lodge
Day 8: Morning game drive and lunch in Tarangire, then drive to Ngorongoro. Overnight: Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge
Day 9: Full day in Ngorongoro. Overnight: Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge
Day 10: Drive from Ngorongoro crater to Arusha. Overnight: KIA Lodge
Day 11: Transfer to Kilimanjaro and fly out.


Option 2

Day 1: Arrive Nairobi airport, transfer to hotel. Overnight: Silver Springs Hotel
Day 2: Depart Nairobi for Masai Mara in the morning. Lunch and afternoon game drive in Masai Mara. Overnight: Mara Sopa Lodge
Day 3: Full day in Masai Mara. Overnight: Mara Sopa Lodge
Day 4: Full day in Masai Mara. Overnight: Mara Sopa Lodge
Day 5: Travel day! Drive from Masai Mara to Serengeti (via Isebania border crossing). Overnight: Lobo Wildlife Lodge
Day 6: Full day in Serengeti. Overnight: Seronera Wildlife Lodge
Day 7: Morning game drive and lunch in Serengeti, then drive to Ngorongoro. Overnight: Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge
Day 8: Full day in Ngorongoro. Overnight: Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge
Day 9: Drive to Tarangire for lunch and afternoon game drive. Overnight: Tarangire Safari Lodge
Day 10: Morning game drive and lunch in Tarangire then drive to Arusha. Overnight: KIA Lodge
Day 11: Transfer to Kilimanjaro and fly out.


I've got to look into some of the details (flights etc), but which of those basic options would you recommend? In particular, what do people thinking about:
* spending a full day in Ngorongoro crater (compared to an afternoon game drive and an early morning game drive the next day)
* the merits of Amboseli vs Tarangire in September
* spending a day driving from Masai Mara to the Serengeti (via Isebania) or spending a day driving from Masai Mara to Amboseli (via Nairobi)
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Old Mar 27th, 2007, 02:48 PM
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Two things are obvious.
1) You want to get everything in, as best you can
2) Budget seems to be an issue.

Even with adding the time to the Mara, you're still spending a long day to Amboseli, arriving late and not much time the next day before going onto Tarangire. Besides, as Patty points out (and I believe another poster) the Sopa Lodge is way outside the park, so will take even longer to get there.

If you're including Amboseli on the hopes of getting a view of Kili, this can't be guaranteed as the clouds more often than not get in the way.

Seeking the elephant experience, you should choose either Amboseli or Tarangire, not necessarily both.

With Option #2, even via the Isebania border, a long long day and night, it's suggested your overnight somewhere, and then to only spend 1/nt at Lobo... an awful long way to go when you would have seen the Migration in the Mara with the extra time you've given yourself.

So you want to see the Serengeti, ok, let's keep it to the Central/Seronera area.

How about:
Day 1 - Arv.NBO - o/n
Day 2 - Drive to Mara - o/n
Day 3 - Mara - o/n
Day 4 - Mara - o/n
Day 5 - Fly to NBO; connect to fly to JRO; met and drive to Lake Manyara - o/n Serena or Kirurumu
Day 6 - Morning game
 
Old Mar 27th, 2007, 03:06 PM
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sorry about that... fingers got in the way.

How about:
Day 1 - Arv.NBO - o/n
Day 2 - Drive to Mara - o/n
Day 3 - Mara - o/n
Day 4 - Mara - o/n
Day 5 - Fly to NBO; drive to Amboseli, try for a camp/lodge inside the park if possible (Serena or Ol Tukai); you'll arrive late and have game drive on way to lodging.
Day 6 - Amboseli - o/n (do not cut your time here short)
Day 7 - Drive via Namanga and Arusha; lunch Arusha; drive to Lk. Manyara - o/n
Day 8 - Morning game drive Manyara; drive to Ngorongoro; afternoon crater visit - o/n
Day 9 - Option: morning crater tour; w/ picnic lunch drive to Seronera (game drive along the way) - o/n
Day 10 - Seronera; game drives - o/n
Day 11 - Fly to Arusha/Kili for connection to homebound flight or from Arusha fly to Wilson/NBO for connection to homebound flight.
Whether Arusha/Kili or Wilson/NBO a day-room if you have a late evening flight from JRO or NBO. If an earlier flight, like 5-6pm, do some sighseeing in/around Arusha (N'gresi village) or in NBO at Blixen, Giraffe Center, shopping.

This way you get time in the Mara; elephants (possibly Kily view) at Amboseli; Lake Manyara for blue monkeys and flamingoes; Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.

The flights will add to your costs (but not really by much), but sure cuts down spending full days on the roads and not game viewing. Besides, long drives are quite tiring, that you almost don't feel like doing anything once you arrive wherever you might be. These are long drives (some 5+ hrs, and the Isebania thing is 10+/hrs, that reputable tour operators won't permit their guides/drivers that long on the roads into dark... no signage, no lights) you're considering. And if Isebania, you have another border crossing, change of vehicles and driver... you pay for the guide/vehicle on both sides driving o/w empty (Isebania would be much longer o/w empty drives vs if crossing border at Namanga). Consider a few flights!

Aussie - as comparison, Stewart Highway is a pleasure to traverse (even if not a vehicle for miles and miles) Stewart is paved! And, you can make darn good time! Been there, done it. Can't compare to roads in this part of Africa.
 
Old Mar 27th, 2007, 04:08 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions Sandi. I'll definitely look into flights, but my wife isn't all that comfortable with small planes so that might get vetoed...
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Old Mar 27th, 2007, 04:27 PM
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I'm not sure that the drive from the Mara Sopa to Lobo can be done in one day. If coming this way, do you have to drive to the central Serengeti first, then up to Lobo? If so, this could possibly be even longer than the drive from the Mara to Amboseli.

If flying is out, how about overnighting at Nakuru or Naivasha between the Mara and Amboseli or Speke Bay between the Mara and Serengeti?

What time do you fly out of JRO on Day 11? If in the evening, you don't really need the last evening at KIA lodge. You could drive back from Ngorongoro the same day. That would free up an extra night.
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 10:03 AM
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I am also planning a September safari, but in Tanzania only with Kilimanjaro trek. I spent time over the last weeks workout out my preferred itinerary with a tour company, Good Earth Tours, only to find that once we finalized, and asked to confirm, that lodging is near impossible to get in September. I would expect Mara to be even more difficult, as it is more popular in September. We were not warned in advance when we started discussing itinerary and options with the company. So it is all well and good to try to come up with the ideal itinerary, but if you're not booking a year in advance, you might be better off asking WHAT is available around the time you'd like to go. Unless you don't care where you stay, apparently the low end budget lodges/camps are last to fill up. We're still waiting to see what we can get for September, and it wont be our dream safari, unless we decide to postpone until next year. And we started planning 2 months ago, but lost time with less responsive companies first.
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Old Dec 5th, 2007, 05:21 PM
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Hello AussieonSafari (or anyone else who has stayed in the wildlife lodges),

My husband and I are going to Tanzania in February/March. Our number one priority is to do the Northern Circuit, but our time is limited and we're finding many places are already booked. Because of this we're looking at booking through a tour, that would have us staying in some of the lodges in the game parks. I've done some searching online and I'm finding there are really varied comments about the some of the lodges. The positive reviews say they are quite touristy, but clean and basic but suitable for the purposes (just to sleep and shower between safaris) and in amazing locations. The negative reviews however are really, really negative. They speak of dingy, decrepit rooms, rude staff and horrible food, and destruction of the local nature environment/wildlife and highly recommend not staying in these lodges.

I'm not sure where you ended up staying on your safari, but if you stayed at any of the following, we would really appreciate any feedback you could provide:


Lake Manyara Hotel
SERONERA WILDLIFE LODGE
Lobo Wildlife Lodge
Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge

We don't mind bare-bones, simple accommodation, but for what these safari tours charge, we certainly don't want to end up in a dump (as some reviewers have described them), especially during a trip of a lifetime.

Cheers
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