Kenya and Tanzania safari

Nov 9th, 2005, 08:59 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 35
Kenya and Tanzania safari

Hi Fodorites,

Have spent some hours going through the interesting information on the Africa chat forums.

I am planning a trip to Africa in December. My first one.. would like to have a memorable trip..

Have a few questions:

1. Is December (first week) a decent time to do a Kenya and Tanzania trip, from the game sighting point of view?

2. I have read that it gets rainy in December. How heavy are the rains? Can they hamper ones plan. Would hate to get rained out and stay in the hotel..

3. Most people seem to go through tour operators. For most my earlier trips, to other countries, I have done my own arrangements and at times not made prior reservations and found hotels post arrival into the country. However I am given to understand that this is something that cannot be done in East Africa as it is fairly unsafe. I would love to hear your views on this.. What could I expect if I have to do a trip on my own?

Would love to hear from you guys.. since I am planning my trip in Dec first week, I just have some 20 days.. would really appreciate if you could give me some quick responses..

Vins is offline  
Nov 9th, 2005, 12:33 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 6
Dear Vins. December is not a bad time to go. I too am traveling to Tanzania for 2 weeks over Christmas. I hear there can be short rains but not the heaviest. December can be a heavily taveled month the closer you get to the holidays so book now to make sure you get what you want. I have booked most of my trips on my own as well and did so for the pre and post hotel stays but I did pre-book the safari portion stateside as I negotiated a private one and wanted to have certain things. You can work a deal when you get there but it's risky as I've heard some bad stories where people have gone with a fly by night operator or worse. You can email the operators directly to negotiate a price and thereby but out the middle man sometimes. Good Luck and safe travels. PS Don't forget you might need to get a Visa depending on your Nationality. Also get your shots lined up if you haven't already.
Caligan is offline  
Nov 9th, 2005, 12:38 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,309
Hi Vins:

If youíre not too picky youíll find a hotel if you just show up in Nairobi or Arusha. The safari bit is another story. The problem is not that itís unsafe Ė itís not worse than other parts of the world - but that the tourism industry in Kenya and Tanzania is very busy at the moment. Unless youíre going on a camping safari you should have booked months ago. Itís almost (and most times there is no ďalmostĒ) impossible to take the bus between different parks and camps. Are you thinking about renting a car for a self-drive? If thatís the case you really should be at a more advanced state in your planning. Youíll need some kind of operator. I think you should start contacting safari companies in Nairobi and Arusha right now.

Iíve never been to East Africa in early December. Iíd say youíll probably have some rain, but your trip wonít be ruined.

Good Luck
Nyamera is offline  
Nov 9th, 2005, 01:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,846
Could you clarify what you mean when you say "do a trip on my own" as that means different things to different people? Do you mean you plan to drive yourself? Or fly between parks? Or book with a tour operator after you arrive?

It's not that you can't arrange things once you get there but you may run into the following issues -

1. Availability of lodges and camps. The beginning of December is probably OK but if you're arriving the first week and staying 20 days then you're running into the holidays toward the end of your stay which could be problematic.

2. Depending on how you plan to get around, your transportation may need to be pre-booked. As Nyamera mentioned, public transportation isn't going to be an option for most parks.

3. If you plan to use a tour operator, I feel that it's best to compare options in advance of arrival rather than visiting multiple tour operator offices when you get there and trying to make hasty decisions. If you start contacting them now, you can better evaluate your itinerary and accomodation options and research the reputation of the operator.

If you're not picky about where you go or stay and are willing to consider camping where there's no lodge availability, then you could book on arrival. But before you go, make a list of recommended operators to visit from this and other message boards. Keep in mind that this year has been quite busy for East Africa safaris so not all of these operators may be able to accomodate you on short notice.
Patty is offline  
Nov 9th, 2005, 11:14 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 35
Thanks for your replies.
When I said plan on my own - I meant more like - land in the country with a lonely planet - have a fair idea of places that I would like to stay and then go directly to the hotel, but the more I read I feel it would be better to get all the arrangements done from here..

Any suggestions on local tour operators that any of you might have used?
Vins is offline  
Nov 10th, 2005, 05:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,846
A Kenya based tour operator that I've used and can recommend is Eastern and Southern Safaris in Nairobi. We went on safari with them in Jan/Feb of this year and are going back in 4 days (yippee!).

Do a search on this board and you should find more recommendations for both Kenya and Tanzania based tour operators. Look on trip report threads too. Almost all of them will mention the operator used.

Good luck with your planning!
Patty is offline  
Nov 10th, 2005, 05:47 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 304
Patty, in 4 days, WOW! Have a great trip and I'll be looking forward to your report! Jack
wjsonl is offline  
Nov 10th, 2005, 01:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,846
Thanks, Jack. I can hardly wait!
Patty is offline  
Nov 11th, 2005, 11:54 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 331
Cheli and Peacock are excellent!

If money is no object, try to get into Cottars Camp.
luckykat is offline  

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