Kenya & Tanzania Itinerary - leaving in 6-weeks!

Apr 12th, 2005, 06:18 AM
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Kenya & Tanzania Itinerary - leaving in 6-weeks!

With 6-weeks to go, I figured I should post our itinerary for Kenya & Tanzania:

May 26 - Lv. JFK on KLM
May 27 - Ar. AMS, connect to flight to JRO - o/n at Ngurduto Lodge
May 28 - Fly from Arusha to Grumeti - transfer to Kirawira
May 29 - Kirawira
May 30 - Kirawira
May 31 - Fly from Grumeti via Arusha to Zanzibar - o/n Karafuu Resort, northern tip of east coast, Beach Cottage (you can be sure my eyes will be focused East watching for tumbling big waves. Who would have thought to do this prior December 26).
June 1 - Karafuu Resort
June 2 - Transfer to Stone Town - o/n Emerson & Green, Crystal Room
June 3 - Fly to NBO - o/n Intercontinental - arranged for driver/vehicle to visit Daphne Sheldrik, Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Manor, lunch at The Carnivore and shopping. *
June 4 - Transfer to Wilson, Fly to Nanyuki, connect to Private Charter to Laikipia - o/n at Sabuk.
June 5 - Camel or drive transfer to Loisaba - o/n in the Koija "starbeds" - sleeping in the trees on a platform with only sky and stars as our ceiling.
June 6 - Koija "starbeds"
June 7 - Private Charter to Nanyuki, connect to flight to Masai Mara - o/n Cottars 1920s.
June 8 - Cottars 1920s.
June 9 - Road transfer across Mara to - o/n Mara Bush Camp
June 10 - Another road transfer to - o/n Saruni.
June 11 - Mid morning flight to NBO - afternoon at leisure w/dayroom at Intercontinental; Lv. on KLM 10pm
June 12 - Ar. AMS, connect to flight to EWR, arriving 12N.

*I've done these on previous trips, by my friend hasn't... so why not do it again; I still enjoy feeding the giraffes and who can say no to shopping! Not firm yet, but a friend's son who will be interning in Arusha might come up to NBO to spend the day with us.

Another friend will be traveling in Tanzania at the same time - planning to get some golfing in at various links along the way - we'll meet up at Kirawira; another friend who will be in the area will also (hopefully) meet up here.
Then the first friend, after having seen her "sweetie" onto his homebound flight at JRO, will fly into NBO and meet up with us at Cottars in the Mara.

The original plans had called for time in the Southern area - Selour and/or Ruaha in addition, however, sadly, my partner passed - young, healthy, in good shape - just went to sleep and didn't wake up. And boy, he would have loved this itinerary. Needless to say, things were crazy here for awhile, but I knew he would have wanted me to continue with our plans, so I did. Thankfully, one of my dear friends, who had never been to Africa, decided to join me, but we had to shorten the trip - so Selous and Ruaha were eliminated (they'll have to wait for another time). We also had to change some of the more "romantic" accommodations, but we'll still enjoy the "skybeds".

As you'll notice, no driving (except game drives), we're flying everywhere - 7 scheduled and 2 private charters, which did add to the price, but hey, I've done drive only and drive/fly on various previous trips. This time, it's fly only. And take my word, the road transfers across the Mara aren't inexpensive, but divided between 3, it isn't too hard to handle.

Now, I'm just marking the days off the calendar. Oh, of course, still have to purchase our Medical & Evacuation Insurance, the Malarone, and the packing! Before I know it, I'll be breating African air and it'll feel good to be where I'm happiest... and well deserved.

Apr 12th, 2005, 06:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,305
We are booked on the same exact flights for our safari, only in November... JFK-AMS & AMS-JRO on KLM, but then we are flying home again out of JRO to AMS -- then on the same KLM flight as you AMS-EWR... I wish I were going in 6 weeks instead of 7 months though!
And I am so sorry to hear about your loss.
lisa is offline  
Apr 12th, 2005, 07:06 AM
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lisa - Thanks for your kind words.

We decided to fly back into EWR as it was a better connection (shorter layover) departing at 9:30am versus JFK departure at 2pm. I actually prefer JRK which is closer for us as we're on the East Side... maybe a 30-min ride; whereas EWR comes in on the West Side and can take almost 1-hr. door-to-door. Besides, EWR is not my favorite airport. You do what works best.

Do you live? In New York or New Jersey?
Apr 12th, 2005, 07:39 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Sandi, I, too am very sorry to hear about the loss of your dear partner. I am glad, though, that you have a good friend to make this journey with you; it sounds fantastic!

I can't wait to hear all about it.
Leely is offline  
Apr 12th, 2005, 08:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,843
So sorry to hear of your loss. I'm glad you chose to continue with your trip. Sounds like you have some wonderful places in your itinerary. I'd be especially interested to hear about the Laikipia ranches and of course, those Mara camps. Probably nothing we could ever afford but I can live vicariously through you
Patty is offline  
Apr 12th, 2005, 09:00 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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sandi -- no, we're in DC, but they couldn't get us on the nonstop from Dulles to AMS using miles, so they're routing us through JFK on the way there and EWR on the way home -- can't complain -- using miles for business class -- beggars can't be choosers!
lisa is offline  
Apr 12th, 2005, 09:33 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Thanks for posting this well crafted itinerary. I am sorry to learn of your loss. Though it may be difficult, it is nice you will still return to the place you love.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 12th, 2005, 10:33 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,513
Sorry to hear of your loss. I am sure your partner would be very very happy that you are still going on your trip and that you have a good friend to keep you company.
Have a wonderful safe trip.
P.S I love the idea of those "sky beds"!
jules39 is offline  
Apr 12th, 2005, 11:47 AM
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Thank you all. Certainly puts a cog in ones' plans, but as I've always believed, if you wanted to see God laugh "tell him your plans." Guess someone spoke to the guy upstairs. If he could have only waited till the end of June.... but I know he's be laughing at everything that has run through my mind.

Anyway, nothing would have kept me away from this trip. Am looking forward to some new camps and just seeing game, eating well, bending our elbows whenever... and having a grand ole good time. Life is for going and doing and living. Sweetie will have to settle for his photo in a frame that will sit on my nightstand everyplace we stay... so, he'll enjoy.

Will definitely report back on these camps.
Apr 12th, 2005, 12:33 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354
Dear Sandi

We've been exchanging emails about our respective upcoming trips but I had no idea what you went through. I think it is great that you decided to continue with your plans!

I wish you a most wonderful trip and we are really excited about the chance to meet you on the 29th or 30th at Kirawira!

Eben & Carol
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Apr 12th, 2005, 12:52 PM
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Eben - Thanks so very much. I guess in emailing about our respective trips, there were other things on my mind - Africa! It wasn't until I posted here, that I felt comfortable mentioning it... of course, other than with family and friends. In the end, so many of us on Fodor's have become friends, even at a distance. So you, Friend, I'll see in the Serengeti.
Apr 13th, 2005, 06:07 AM
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lisa -

I guess for upgrades to Business of just plain free FF Business seats - you take what they offer as long as they don't have you flying too far out of your way (like out to ORD and back)... I do have my limits. We've been known to shuttle to IAD for departures to Africa via the Continent.

On this trip, as usual we're flying in Steerage (or as a friend's then young 4-yr old who had always flown First Class [mom an airline employee] referred to as "Last Class") which isn't a big deal for either of us - we can sleep anywhere and in any position. But, the flight, at least from JFK/AMS is full (which we've found always is), so not likely to find extra seats to spread out. Not sure what the load is on the AMS/JRO yet. No Problem... we're going to Africa. Whooopie!

Enjoy your trip.
Apr 13th, 2005, 08:05 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,843
If you don't mind sharing, I'd be interested to know what those two private charters to/from Nanyuki cost, if you know the break down. Thanks.
Patty is offline  
Apr 13th, 2005, 08:28 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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What a great itinerary. Have an absolutely wonderful time. I too, am saddened to hear about your friend's passing but I'm sure he'll be with you in spirit.
I can't think of a better place for you to get away and fill your heart with the wonders that only Africa can bring. Enjoy!
divewop is offline  
Apr 13th, 2005, 01:13 PM
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Patty -

Since we're only two (and the pilot, of course), we have a single engine Cesna 182, at $240 each way. The air alone, in both countries is actually more than the cost of our International flights.

Depending on number of people flying between various destinations, the prices for private charters increase as the equipment changes. Believe the largest plane is a twin engine accommodating up to 12 people.

divewop - I too couldn't think of a better place to be then Africa, thank you.

And, there will be two birthdays while we're visting, so you know I've planned for some special surprises. The "gwirls" are going to party. Unfortunately, I'm not one of the birthday gwirls*. Maybe I should be considering a return trip in October? Sounds good to me......

*compliments of a 4-year old!
Apr 13th, 2005, 02:02 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,843
Thanks, sandi. Actually that's more reasonable that what I would have expected.
Patty is offline  
Apr 14th, 2005, 01:10 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 334
Sandi -

I know that I don't know you as well as many others on this board, but I certainly feel as if I know you (as I know countless others on this board do as well...) due to your tremendous knowledge, caring and patience in giving advice. My husband and I had a wonderful 4 weeks in Tanzania in January, in no small part, due to your invaluable advice.

I'm so sorry to hear of the passing of your partner. However, not only am I confident that he will be with you in spirit throughout your travels, but I know that East Africa will be able to provide you with some of what you need at this time - it certainly has demonstrated, time and again, it's rejuvenating, magical, mystical power.

My thoughts are with you, and I look forward to reading of your trip upon your return.

alwaysafrica is offline  
Apr 15th, 2005, 03:26 AM
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alwaysafrica -

Glad to know that my input worked well for your trip to Tanzania.

And thank you for your kind words - yes, the perfect description: rejuvenating, magical and mystical... which are just what I need this time around.

I'll most definitely be posting a trip report.
Jun 17th, 2005, 10:16 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 55
Sandi - I am going to be at Cottars for a week in August 2005 - will you be posting your observations on Cottars? It doesn't seem to be well known. I found it throught the web and it looks fantastic. Also found a review website that said it had shut down this April/May for the first time to spruce up - so you are going to get to see it when it is totally fresh - how neat.
Could you post your experience with Cottars specifically if possible?

By the way, I used Uncharted Outposts to book Cottars and found them to be incredibly customer friendly, responsive and pay attention to details. They recently moved from Atlanta GA to New Mexico. Aimee is my contact there (she is great) and I can say without a doubt - a sterling organization to do biz with. Top Notch in case anyone asks. They have a website - just search for "uncharted outposts" and it pops right up.

Have a wonderful trip. I am so sorry for your loss, and hope your trip brings some joy to your heart.
Canechick is offline  
Jun 17th, 2005, 10:47 AM
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Canechick -

Cottars was wonderful. We spent two days there and had a great time. Yes, Cottars is a bit away from most other camps... on their own conservation property a bit Southeast of the Masai Mara right on the border with Tanzania and amazing views into the Tanzania plains. "Unknown" or "unfamiliar" - I can't believe as the Cottars have been in East Africa almost 100 years (believe1919/20 to be exact. Maybe few have stayed here that post on Fodors.

Yes, they were closed April/May (the wet season) perfect timd for them to spruce up the camp. There are only six (6) tents, all beautiful. When we visited there was still a bit of work to be done (shower curtains and a privacy screen on the loo... some tents had, others were waiting these), but nothing to inhibit having a pleasant stay.

With the exception of us, only on the first night were there other guests - a family of four (4) from NYC, our home and who actually live only a short distance from us - small world.

We had a wonderful guide, a transplant from Zimbabwe - Daryl - who left Zim some 3-yrs ago and been with Cottars all that time (if I recall correctly).

And while Calvin Cottar (son of the founder) was in-house during our stay, their regular "manager" wasn't - believe she was in NBO on business. But along with Calvin, were Nick & Betsy (don't recall their last name) who own Bush Tops, a country house nearby who were helping in this woman's absense. A lovely Kenyan born couple.

I'm still working on my trip report - work keeps getting in the way - but hope to have it posted before you depart. In the meantime, I can say, you won't be disappointed in your accommodations, nor the services provided. The dinners especially are wonderful... not only the food, but the service and the atmosphere in which it is served... candles in crystal holders, china, silver service and all.

Hope this will suffice until..........

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