just beginning to plan the safari

Old Jun 13th, 2005, 12:59 PM
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just beginning to plan the safari

Just started the research that will hopefully fulfill and lifelong dream to safari with my sister. Now it will be 4 of us (her husband and my boyfriend)Looking for advise. we are looking at Sept 2006 (10-14 days including flights)Looking at Kenya, Botswana, and mostly Tanzania with a Zanzibar trip at the end.The one I am looking at is with safari.go2africa.com. Any feedback on these guys? should I get a local travel agent and then work with a safari company or what? From what I gather - it's best to have a flying trip between camps and go to camps with permanent or semi-permanent tents and hopefully flush toilet. I understand that we may drive on the safaris, but don't want to just be driving all day long just to get to the next camp and not see the wildlife while on the road.(much of this I get from what I have been reading.) Any advise on this subject would be appreciated. Kamolly
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 03:51 PM
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I'm a little confused by your post. You mention 10-14 days total and Kenya/Botswana/Tanzania. Are you trying to chose between one of these destinations? If so, you should probably settle on a destination first, then look for safari operators. The quotes that go2africa.com (they're based in South Africa) provided me for Kenya itineraries weren't competitive with that of Kenyan tour operators.
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 04:57 PM
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As Patty asks - are you planning to go to all of those places or just some? Kenya and Tanzania fit together well, but Botswana is a bit far from them. We are doing South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana (leaving in 3 days) and booked through go2africa.com. They were very competitive with the other companies I checked out - Safari Portfoio, African Adventure Company, Smartours (which didn't have June departures) and Overseas Adventure Travel. I really liked the work that Rikke at go2africa did for us, and we kept changing and adding things on her. For Kenya and Tanzania some friends traveld with Smartours and had a wonderful experience. I would seriously consider them if I manage to get back to that part of the world. One thing that you might want to do is to go to Africa Adventure Company's website and order the book that the owner wrote - Africa's Top Wildlife Countries. It will help with both where to go and also recommends lodgings at a variety of levels. Also get a travel book on South Africa (which will cover Botswana) and East Africa which will do Kenya and Tanzania. Read through them and decide what is most important. 10-14 days is not alot of time when you include the flights (depending on where you are coming from it could take 2 days to get there just to begin). You might want to pare down the itinerary and spend more quality time in a fewer locations. Enjoy the planning!
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 05:19 PM
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A few facts to help you all decide on which country.

Kenya/Tanzania-the migration will be in Northern Serengeti and the Mara so either country should be good near the end of the dry season.

With 10-14 days, I'd opt for Tanzania over Kenya if you also wanted to included Zanzibar.

Botswana will be hotter with highs in the upper 80s and into the 90s vs. highs in the low to mid 80s for Kenya and Tanzania. There are many lovely tented camps here and a more secluded atmosphere than Kenya-Tanzania. Unless you are doing a mobile camping trip (which can be very comfortable) Botswana is more expensive.

As far as getting a local travel agent, I would not use a regular travel agent to deal with an Africa operator. I'd either get a US-based Africa specialist or an African-based agent.

Flying does save some long stretches in the vehicles. With 4 people you may be able to even charter if scheduled flights do not work well.

Camps do have an appeal and an intimacy with the environment that is hard to get in a lodge. But your trip could still include a stay in a lodge and be a winning itinerary. I agree with you that you certainly want some tented camps.

I've been in contact with go2africa with favorable results, but never traveled with them.

The four of you will have a fabulous time discovering the wonders of Africa!

Looking forward to seeing your trip develop.
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Old Jun 14th, 2005, 08:12 AM
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Agree with others that trying to include Botswana with Kenya & Tanzania is a bit much with only 10-14 days.

I have to differ though with atravelynn re the Serengeti for September. While it currently seems that that Migrating herds are a bit confused and slow moving north, the herds are still in the Mara during September. So anytime in September (even in 2006) will be great in the Mara.

- the Mara in Kenya for 3-days, Amboseli for 2-days;
- in Tanzania - Tarangire for 2-days, Ngorongoro Crater 1 day, and Zanzibar for 3 days.

It's only 11-days, but give you wiggle room to add a day to catch your breathe upon arrival in NBO or JRO.

As to Zanzibar, it's easier to fly from Tanzania, but not much more difficult from Nairobi, Kenya. You'll need at minimum 3-days in Zanzibar - 2-days at a beach area and 1-day in Stone Town. The reason Stone Town, besides the fact that the place is fascinating - it's only 10-minutes from the airport for your homebound flight whether from Dar-es-salam, Kilimanjaro or Nairobi. If on a beach resort, unless you have an afternoon flight for your homebound connection - it's at minimum 1-1/2 hrs drive to airport on terrible roads.

Everyone has recommendations for safari providers, and go2africa receives good reviews. However, I'd seriously consider an in-country outfitter resident in Kenya and/or Tanzania - so my recommendation goes to Roy Safaris. You can contact them at www.roysafaris.com - send email of exactly what you want to get prices.

OAT has good itineraries and prices, but the age group is often 50+ (up to 70s) though not old, you can probably get an independent trip for the four of you and better enjoy one anothers company.

Remember, though that September is high season - for consideration to your overall budget.
Old Jun 14th, 2005, 12:26 PM
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thank you all for helpful advise - was thinking of only doing Botswana or Kenya and Tanzania or Tanzania with Zanzibar. Not all of them on the same trip. I will continue my research with all this info and will keep checking the forum.
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Old Jun 14th, 2005, 01:54 PM
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Sandi, would you recommend a similar itinerary--3 days Mara, 2 days Amboseli, 2 days Tarangire and 1 day Crater for late (maybe the last week) October??
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Old Jun 14th, 2005, 03:21 PM
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dreamseeker -

The herds begin leaving the Mara in October, but sometimes they don't leave till November, or sometimes as early as late September - they're animals, so no guarantees.

However, the Mara is always good. You may not have the large herds, but the grasses will certainly be low, if not gone (they've all been eaten) and easy to see all kinds of animals, especially the little ones.

So personally, I can never see doing less then 3-days in the Mara. Do it!
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