Feb 5th, 2006, 01:13 PM
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OK!! I see what a great help everyone is. My husband and i are taking our family (8 of us) to Kenya in late August or September. We are now looking for a good tour company that will take us to the best areas and stay in nice accomodations but try to keep our costs reasonable. So, first I need a good tour company someone that will have good equipment and can get us out of any situations we need to get out of. Then, where do we go. One tour company suggested one night in Nairobi at Norfolk Hotel. Then to Ol Pejeta Ranch for lunch and over night at Sweetwaters. Then to Samburru Intrepids Camp 2 nights. Lewa Downs Safari Camp for 2 nights. Masai Mara Intrepids camp for 3 nights and then back to Nairobi and fly home. That is nine nights out.

But what about teh Treetops Lodge in Aberdare Nationa Park and Amboseli and Tsavo West.

This seems overwhelming at this point but I have found with other trips if I go to those who have traveled there I get the best information. So, any help you give me will be appreciated. Betty

P.S. Do you think I can do a good tour for 9 nights out for under $4000 a person?
betharwein is offline  
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Feb 5th, 2006, 01:22 PM
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Yes $4000 Will get you a decent tour. I suggets that you do three/regions, that way you'll experinece the greater species diversity of Kenya.
1) Samburu/Shaba. (gerenuk, camel, grevvy zebra & somali ostrich
2) Lake Nakuru (Giraffe and unique waterbuck, colobus monkey & great rhino, bonus, stunning fever tree forest and euphorbia forest)
3) Masai Mara. (last months, potential tail end of the migration..this is to safari enthusiasts what the olympics is to athletic fans)
4) Amboseli (mostly for the views of Kili)

Those areas have substitutes and dependent on your budget can be included, areas such as the Meru, the Laikipia wilderness, Tsavo and so on.

Once you've decided the most efficient (time and $$) then select the lodges that suite your pocket. Rule of thumb is the larger they are the less they cost, the more intimate the more expensive. So find a mix and you'll be surprised at the change out of $4000.
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Feb 5th, 2006, 01:43 PM
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Thank you for your help. Do you tell the tour companies what and where you want to go? Any suggestions on tour companies?
betharwein is offline  
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Feb 5th, 2006, 01:48 PM
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Also, if there are children under 12 (at time or arrival) sharing with a parent, there will be a reduction. If youngster sharing with teenagers up to 16, may also be a reduction for these, depending on accommodation.

Determine how many double and/or triple rooms/tents.

From where will you be traveling? Have you determined that you can obtain air flights for all into/out of Nairobi, Kenya.

While the Norfolk Hotel has history, you can do better pricewise at other hotels with nicer amenities.

The "what about.........." there are just some many places you can visit - how many days are you planning in total? If you're considering Sweetwater's, no need for Treetops at Aberdares. If Samburu, Lewa is very close by; I wouldn't do both... Samburu/Shaba is a better choice. And Amboseli and Tsavo are options to add, but remember that distances are long, some of which require air transfers in order to avoid some lousy roads.

August and September are high-season with higher prices; multiple rooms on consecutive days may be a problem. Bear in mind that space is booking quickly.

Let us know your progress on this same thread.
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Feb 5th, 2006, 02:18 PM
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Hi Betty,

Unless $ 4000 pp includes international flights from some very faraway place you should be able to do a good tour for well below that, especially with a group of 8. Tour companies recommended by serious Fodorites like Patty and Jan are:

Eastern & Southern

Southern Cross

and Sandiís company Africa Serendipity

Whatís considered reasonable varies a lot from person to person, but itíd be safe to say that you should skip the Norfolk. It sounds very unnecessary. For 9 nights in August/September Iíd spend the whole trip in the Mara, but, as Sandi says, there could be a problem with space.
Thereís no way you could see Kenya in 9 nights, so put a limit at 2 or max. 3 parks. Maybe 2 or 3 nights Samburu, 1 night L. Nakuru, 4 or 5 nights the Mara.
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Feb 5th, 2006, 02:41 PM
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Are you looking at a trip of about 9 days in Kenya? What is your max timeframe to spend? That will help us with suggestions too.

The suggested safari would be very nice and would make good sense logistically. Sweetwaters offers an area that is forested and it has a floodlit waterhole, like Treetops. But is a bit more exclusive and has the chimp sanctuary. Adding Amboseli would offer possible views of Kilimanjaro and good elephant activity.

Tsavo is not a real common first time destination and it is farther away in the other direction from the other parks, but throwing that in too would be an asset, again if you have the days available.

Such a great time for the Mara! Four days there would not be too much. Your most abundant game viewing will almost certainly be in the Mara.

Here are some agents that have been used by Fodorites for Kenya and Tanzania. You can google them for contact info. or put their names in the search box at the top for Forum for feedback.

Africa Adventure
Africa Dream Safaris
Africa Serendipity
Africa Travel Resource
Eastern & Southern Safaris
Good Earth
Southern Cross Safaris
WildTrek Safaris

This link is an index of East Africa trip reports on this forum to get ideas on what parks people went to and enjoyed.

High season, when youíre traveling, books fast, so donít delay for your first choices. Have a great trip and please post again as your plans come together.
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Feb 5th, 2006, 03:16 PM
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Yes, you should be able to get a very nice tour for under $4000pp for your party of 8.

If you wanted to squeeze in the Aberdares, you could do 1 night Aberdares (I think the consensus is that the Ark is better than Treetops but I haven't stayed at either), 1 night Sweetwaters, 3 nights Samburu, and fly to the Masai Mara for 4 nights for a total of 9 nights.

Tsavo West and Amboseli are easily combined with each other and in that case you could do 3 nights Tsavo West, 2 nights Amboseli and fly to the Masai Mara for 4 nights.

I think either would give you a nice overview without feeling too rushed.
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Feb 5th, 2006, 05:31 PM
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Don't be overwhelmed. Take a deepp breath and accept you cannot see everything. Have a little cry if you need to....

Take into account the time of year and the time driving around and an itinerary will just force itself on you. Start with the Mara - because that's what you can't miss and look at what everyone is directly or indirectly saying to you above. I think your itinerary is staring you in the face!
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Feb 6th, 2006, 10:37 AM
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I recommend a stay at the Norfolk. It is lovely and very Out of Africa (no wonder Redford stayed there during filming). You feel very Hemingway and as though you really arrived in Africa when you stay at the Norfolk. Try to schedule a massage at the Norfolk (terrific and very inexpensive masseuses). Avoid the Intercontinental---sterile, metal/glass,franchisy, unromantic, a charge to work-out, etc. etc..
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Feb 6th, 2006, 12:19 PM
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I think Iíve heard that Redford flew back to the Norfolk every night because he was afraid of staying in the bush. And Hemingway shot himself Ö
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Feb 6th, 2006, 02:09 PM
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Nyamera -

Right on spot!
Whimpy Redford (and Streep).

Hemingway - a troubled man!
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Feb 6th, 2006, 05:14 PM
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Our fantasies are shattered... now I will have to get rid of my Robert Redford Finch-Hatton trademark safari outift and shave off my Hemingway beard. I hope at least I can keep my George Adamson walking staff.
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Feb 7th, 2006, 12:51 AM
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Hi betharwein

First of all it is obvious that U tell your operator what U would like...
i didn't like your itinerary (i'll explain later) though it is not "bad"
If u could specify what do expect/want from this tour? what r your main interests ?
what do u mean by "NICE" accommodation?

I did not like this itinerary because it was too much of the same kind. e.g. they have skipped Nakuru which is a totally different environment - a soda lake - & includes the Flamingoes' masses: one of the greatest wildlife shows on this planet...

let me help u by asking
1. Do u want to stay in small intimate camps or bigger lodges r ok? {many lodges have beautiful setting, good food etc')
2. Is watching wildlife your main interest? or maybe u also wish to see as much as possible of the lanscape, people, different habitats ?
3. r u sharing one vehicle for the 8 of u ?
4. why do u want to go to Tsavo ? (have read, like me, as the child "the Man Eaters of Tsavo ) ?
5. Is there a problem of driveng a few hours on rough roads?
6. do you also want watch wildlife from a boat? do you wish to walk by foot? camel safari ?
7. any special interest in birds/ botany / geology / anthropology ?

If u want to have a really varied tour with good perspective over different habitats i suggest:
# Night viewing lodge - Mt. Lodge/Ark/Treetops
# Samburu (2 nights)
# Lake Baringo 1n
# Nakuru 1n
# Mara 3 nights
# Naivasha 1n

if u r 8 in a car & u take lodges it can cost u around 2000$ or even less pp
or u can combine a nice camp at mara & fligt/s still b far from 4000$

e.g. just picked a company that gives u rates:

7d/6 nights High season: US$1369 per person sharing (Serena & Sopa lodges)

10d/9 nights High season US$1934 per person sharing (Mt. Lodge-Samburu-Sweetwaters-Nakuru- Naivasha- Mara)

10d/9 nights High season US$2350 per person sharing ! (Serena + Sweetwaters + Ark)

IMO Serena lodges r very nice accommodation.
many within this forum prefer more intimate experience of small secluded camps & r ready to pay the extra for it


aby is offline  
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Feb 7th, 2006, 06:27 AM
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I must stop being negative.

Redford is a good actor and at the time of Out of Africa he was still very good looking. Besides being a dedicated mass murderer of wildlife, Hemingway made an important contribution to world literature. Maybe his suicide didnít have anything to do with the Norfolk Hotel. My problem with that hotel is that they serve sour grapes.

Re. George Adamson, Iíve read some ugly accounts of wife beating, but a not too serious biographer wrote them and itís probably untrue. He did participate with some enthusiasm in the dirty war with detention, ďscreeningĒ and torture of the entire Kikuyu population by the colonial government in the 1950s.

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Feb 7th, 2006, 06:51 AM
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Okay, so now I have to be careful with the Adamson walking staff too. :-s

I am glad you are being positive now
...and don't forget the smileys; they work for me (I hope). \/

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Feb 7th, 2006, 12:09 PM
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I definitely think you should wear a safari outfit and Ė if you need it Ė a walking staff. Though personally I prefer to use an umbrella. If you only can dress like exemplary characters youíll have to go on safari with no clothes on.

BTW, Redford was too vain to dress like the real Denys Finch-Hatton who had no hair left when he died and was known for wearing silly hats. Wear silly hats on safari!

Now I need to find a perfect smiley.

O Is this one wearing a hat?

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Feb 7th, 2006, 08:43 PM
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I am not sure if it is a hat, but it is a good smiley for people who are trying to be "positive". I have noticed that scandanavians tend to like wearing silly hats (or wigs) to events overseas (I do not know about at home or when crossing borders just to load up on cheaper alcohol) - preferably the same hat for the whole group. However, if I want to dress up I much prefer a kilt. As an extreme compromise, some of the Scots army regiments in India used to wear kilts and topis - that is certainly a stylish way to dress, especially with the knife in the sock.

If I can ever convince my sceptical brothers to come to Africa with me one year, we will definitely go the scandanavian way and wear matching kilts and topis in the Masaai Mara. I imagine that the Masaai will try to trade us anything we want for the kilts. \/
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Feb 8th, 2006, 10:59 AM
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Do you notice my accent? Or does the way I write show that my brother has his garage filled with alcoholic beverages from Germany? Then I have to tell you Iím a milk drinker Ė like the Maasai. I did pack a silly hat on my last trip, but I never wore it. I like the idea of a kilt and a topi. Thereís definitely a connection between the Maasai blankets and Scotland, but I donít remember exactly how. Do you wear a topi in Bangkok?

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Feb 9th, 2006, 09:29 PM
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No, your accent doesn't show at all, but I read your trip report, which revealed your origins. My impression was that all Scandanavian men had garages or cupboards full of importrd beer and spirits (but it was a long time ago I used to travel around Europe meeting young scandanavians crying with unrestrained joy at the price of beer and wine). I do not wear a topi in Bangkok because I have to work here and I want another pay rise this year so that I can afford to visit Tsavo and Tanzania in 2007 - or even 2008.
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