Kenya & Tanz safari quote

Jul 9th, 2010, 06:45 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 114
Kenya & Tanz safari quote

OK all of you savvy Africa travelers, you have been such a great help in the past-here is a big one I hope you can help me with!! A fellow photographer and I have been planning a safari for Sept. 2011 (but could go anytime). Want to photograph the migration (hopefully), Kili, and lots of leopard and cheetah etc. Contacted the TO we used on previous safari to Southern Africa but the quote came in at $14,695 (not including international airfare). Our budget allows $10,000 each, plus internat. airfare. Am seeking your suggestions as to whether you think there is another way to do this for less or whether another TO would be able to come up with a similar trip for less. I realize we may have included more than is reasonable for the amount budgeted, and if that is the case, I just want to know. (But am hoping we can find a way to do it with our parameters and budget)!

Parameters: My travel buddy wants no more than 3 hrs drive per day and prefers flying, as well as elevated tents (not situated right on the ground), plus running water, shower & bathroom in the tent, and not too far of a drive to the wildlife. We both want a private vehicle for photography. I want 5 days in the Mara. Amboselli stay could be changed to anywhere else that is reasonably close, with Kili views.
However, if Tanz would be a lot less expensive, we could go at a different time to see the migration there and safari solely in Tanz, skipping Kenya altogether. Of course, our destinations in Tanz might change if we go at different time of year. . .

Here is what the TO developed with private game drives at each location
Fly into Kenya
2 nites Giraffe Manor (my idea & I know it ups the price, but it seems so unique)
Fly to Amboseli, stay at Tortilis Camp 2 nights (great view of Kili, we hear, if it is out)
Drive to Arusha, stay at Serena Mountain Village 1 night, as the drive to our real
destination, Tanangire, is a lot of driving to cram into one day
Drive to Tree Tops in Tarangire 2 nites (definitely could switch to less expensive place)
Drive to N Crater, stay at Sopa 2 nights
Drive to Arusha/ fly to Kenya/fly to Mara
5 nights at Mara Explorer
Fly back to Nairobi, get Fairmont dayroom and fly out that evening

I apologize for such a long post, but was trying to lay all the cards on the table, to see what you could come up with...and thank you so much for your wisdom and any input you can provide!!
karn is offline  
Jul 9th, 2010, 06:51 PM
  #2  
 
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Are you sure you guys are keen on photography? If you only wish to be out there for 3 hours a day .......... Good Luck!!!!

To bring down the cost, try to cut out Tanzania and spend more nights at the Mara.
HariS is offline  
Jul 9th, 2010, 07:35 PM
  #3  
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HariS-sorry-I was unclear on that point. She meant no more than 3 hours between camps, and if more than 3 hours, then she would prefer to fly, so we have more time at each camp for fun & photography and less time getting from place to place. We will be out in the vehicle from pre dawn to night to photograph, but not to "travel". I have considered cutting out Tanzania entirely, but wasn't sure what I would be missing, as some have said Tanzania is their favorite country.
karn is offline  
Jul 9th, 2010, 09:52 PM
  #4  
 
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Hi Karn,

Sorry about that ...... makes sense!!! If photography is of primary importance to you - suggest you cut out Tanzania and add a couple more nights in the Mara. It will be in it's prime that time of the year and you have plenty to photograph if you just take your time.

Explorer is meant to be one of the luxury options in the Mara and I'm sure you'll love it. You can book a private vehicle at their camp I suppose.

Places like Serian include a private vehicle in their tariff. They also have a mobile location to put you close to where the action is - not sure the mobile tents will be to your fancy, though their main camp surely will be ......

Good luck
Hari
HariS is offline  
Jul 10th, 2010, 08:19 AM
  #5  
 
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2 nites Giraffe Manor (my idea & I know it ups the price, but it seems so unique)
--- absolutely the most expensive place in Nairobi; sorry Ngong House is a tad higher!

Fly to Amboseli, stay at Tortilis Camp 2 nights (great view of Kili, we hear, if it is out)
--- also the most expensive here, though a lovely camp. With few exceptions you can see Kili from most camps at Amboseli... it's a big mountain and hard to hide, but if the clouds cover the peaks. And, since you are flying in, when you depart, you pay for that road transfer to the Namanga border (about $300). But I can understand why your friend doesn't want to drive here; currently it's a 4.5/hr trip and the road into the park is a horror.

Drive to Arusha, stay at Serena Mountain Village 1 night, as the drive to our real destination, Tanangire, is a lot of driving to cram into one day

--- Drive time from Tortilis to Namanaga border is about 1.5/hrs; drive to Arusha about 2/hrs; here you can have a relaxing lunch and then drive 2/hrs to Tarangire; no reason to o/n Arusha... but it's up to you.

Drive to Tree Tops in Tarangire 2 nites (definitely could switch to less expensive place)
--- again, the most expensive lodge at Tarangire and it's located about 55/min drive outside the park after you've already driven thru the park on game drive to get here. Swala Camp is lovely and in same class (slightly lower price), but here too it can be a long drive to camp if stopping for game drives along the way. Kikoti camp is less expensive and though also outside the park (same direction if going to Tree Tops, drive is only about 15/min). River Camp is outside also, by 1.5/miles and better priced. Boundary Hill, which some like (I didn't particularly) with great views, in the vicinity of Tree Tops, so a drive to get here also.

Drive to N Crater, stay at Sopa 2 nights
--- Drive from Tarangire, depending on where staying can be anywhere from 3.5-5/hrs. but on good tarmac road.

Drive to Arusha/ fly to Kenya/fly to Mara
--- Drive from Ngo to Arusha is 4.5/hrs; depending on whether your flight is out of Arusha or JRO, if the latter it's another 1.5/hrs. Flights depart Tanzania (whether from ARK or JRO) about 1:45 or 1:50pm, respectively not getting to Wilson at NBO till 2:45pm earliest; connecting flight to the Mara is 3pm. Tight connection, but it's doable. All depends on whether flight schedules are met.

5 nights at Mara Explorer
--- good choice, but if you want private vehicle, as above consider Serian Camp who include this in their rate; though not as lux as Explorer; your choice.

Fly back to Nairobi, get Fairmont dayroom and fly out that evening
--- the Fairmont is the long-established "Norfolk Hotel"; now that Fairmont owns and has refurbished, it's lost some of it's former charm... looks much like a hotel anywhere; hey, it's only a day-room.

So, there are places you can save $$$, but only you can decide where to cut back. Good luck.

Bye the way, is your TO based in US, South Africa or in East Africa. If the US or SA can be reason why prices might be somewhat higher than if using an in-country outfitter.
sandi is offline  
Jul 10th, 2010, 09:43 AM
  #6  
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Wow Sandi!! Thank you!!!! This is just the type of info I wanted. Your explanation about drive times from Amboseli to Tarangire make sense to me-a great suggestion. My TO is in the US. I now know I need to keep exploring, as this itenerary is way more expensive than we need. I don't know prices of any individual items or accomodations, because all I can get is the package price. I asked for individual prices on things so I could make better decisions, but they did not provide me with such info. When I made the comment about Giraffe Manor I didn't (and still don't) know what the price is, but knowing it is nearly the most expensive in Nairobi is enough of a clue!! Ditto for the Fairmont. Thanks again for your help!!
karn is offline  
Jul 10th, 2010, 01:33 PM
  #7  
 
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At Giraffe Manor, 1st/nt should be half-board, Dinner that night and Breakfast next morning; 2nd/nt would be full-board with Lunch and Dinner that day and Breakfast next morning. Their rates (at "rack" the highest) are approx. $410/person on HB and $480/person as FB, but they do include beverages. They don't offer a B&B rate.

And, at the Norfolk/Fairmont, the day-room rack rate is about $215/person.

Maybe inquire about House of Waine or Palacina Suites with better rates, even B&B; both lovely properties, but no "tall blondes" poking their heads in the window at breakfast.

Both of these have excellent chefs for meals not included; Palacina has a restaurant - Moonflower - on the grounds that many locals favor.
sandi is offline  

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