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Kenya and Tanzania, starting to plan and overwhelmed.......

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Jan 18th, 2013, 07:01 PM
  #1
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Kenya and Tanzania, starting to plan and overwhelmed.......

I have done some reading on Kenya and Tanzania including some of the threads on this forum. I am I confused as to which companies are best to use for land arrangements. I had used this forum a few years ago when planning a trip to Egypt and learnt of Lady Egypt, no matter how much I read about Kenya and Tanzania, I just can't find repeated posts of one tour operator that stands out. Please, fodorites, point me in the right direction, which tour operators should I be looking at?

Thanks.
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Jan 18th, 2013, 07:18 PM
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Should have mentioned I am a solo traveller, don't know if an independent trip will be feasiable costwise. Am I better looking at group tours to keep the costs manageable?

Any information will be appreciated, thanks.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 03:27 AM
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Hi RJames - I know exactly how you feel. When I first began planning a trip to Tanzania in 2009 it did seem overwhelming, although stumbling onto this forum was most fortuitous! I think there are many many good tour operators and that is why no one or two companies or individuals have jumped out at you. Since you don't state how long you want to be in Africa or your budget I can't comment on feasibility but one thing you will read on this forum again and again is how much people prefer private safaris over group.

You might want to concentrate on Kenya as I think in general the cost is a bit lower than Tanzania. You could travel independently, yet when you stay at camps, you would join others in the vehicle for game drives. Plus usually you would eat dinner as one large group. That way you have the flexibility of going where you want and not being stuck with a group for say 2 weeks, yet you will not get lonely as there will always be people to interact with. I did this in Botswana as a solo female traveler and it was fine. When i went to Tanzania it was with a friend and we had our own private guide and vehicle for 2 weeks - that was fantastic, the best way to go, but would feel odd if you were a solo traveler.

I'm sure others will chime in with recommendations on tour operators, but I have had very good experiences with Africa Adventure Company (to Botswana) and Eben Shoeman (Eben Signature Safaris) to Tanzania. Eben has also planned my third trip, which will be to Rwanda and Kenya this coming summer. Overwhelming as it is in the beginning, the planning is so much fun as part of the overall experience!
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Jan 19th, 2013, 06:16 AM
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You might more response on Tanzania Forum, Travel Discussion for Tanzania on TripAdvisor.com
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Jan 19th, 2013, 09:51 AM
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Do you have a time frame or budget in mind?

As a solo traveler, you'd be paying for the entire cost of the vehicle/guide if traveling by road on a private safari. Figure at least $150/day or more for the vehicle and guide (I think costs are higher in Tanzania) plus park fees (up to $80/day in high season in Kenya, some private conservancies are higher) and accommodations. You could also camp and most operators can provide camping equipment and a cook. In Kenya, there are also self catering bandas (some are operated by the Kenya Wildlife Service, others are privately operated) which are sort of an option in between camping and staying at a lodge or tented camp.

If flying, you'd join other guests at the camp or lodge where you're staying on game drives. You may still be looking at a single supplement for your accommodations though this is sometimes waived depending on the property and/or season.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 10:07 AM
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Prices are seasonal, which any guidebook should provide which months fit in where; as solo traveler the single supplement which depending on time of year might be waived if staying at some lodges/camps.

Number of days is important as with 10 or less it's not recommended trying to visit both; with 14/days can do a bit of each.

Visas required for both - USD$50 for Kenya; USD$100 for Tanzania (US Passport holders, most other passports it's US$50). Yellow Fever inoculation required, with proof of same for entry to TNZ if arriving from KEN. You'll also require malaria meds regardless which country visited.

Itineraries can be 'all driving' 'all flying' or a 'combo drive/fly' - are you okay with small planes, most with about 12-19/seats?

From your reading, i.e., guiebooks as Fodor's Complete Safari Planning Guide; the Lonely Planet Kenya; or Brandt's Tanzania - do you have an idea of areas of interest? That can well determine which country would be best to visit,

Also check int'l airfares from home city to either Nairobi/NBO Kenya or Kilimanjaro/JRO Tanzania, as your routing either country will be based on this. See a site as Kayak @ www.kayak.com for fares/schedules/carriers.

And, of course... what kind of budget do you have?
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Jan 19th, 2013, 10:25 AM
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Many thanks for the helpful replies. I am completely overwhelmed by the information, prices, etc I have read and am confused how to organize my upcoming trip. I appreciate the help of this forum and the suggestions made.

I haven't thought of budget as I being seeing all sorts of different prices, granted there are many different travel style too, such as camping (not for me) and fly in safaris. Ideally if I can find a fly in safari at a reasonable price for a solo traveller I'd go for that option. I have flown in small planes before and know what to expect. Some years ago I'd been on a fly in safari in Namibia and absolutely loved everything about it, well everything BUT the price! Debating if a fly in safari or a less expensive option is the way to go for East Africa, if a less expensive option I would consider mid range accomodation (comfort,cleaniness and a private washroom are key). I know the benefits of a private vehicle during the safari but I don't mind if I am in a small group. Ultimately, a budget will have to be organized, and costs will be one of the deciding factors as to which option I choose.

sandi, I did not know Fodors has a safari planning guide, this is definitely something I must get my hands on and read. I have looked at Lonely Planet and the DK Eyewitness guides for Kenya as this is what was available at my local library.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 05:39 PM
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I've used the same companies as Catseyes suggests. Sandi from above offers Africa trips with Africa Serendipity.
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Jan 20th, 2013, 05:58 AM
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Here are a few more links all from people in your exact position. Some of these link back to each other and some have repetitive info. but they serve as good primers. They are listed in random order.


1. Quite a bit about Southern Africa:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35095477

2. Includes comments on where to see certain animals

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...ny-options.cfm

3. This one starts with a plea for help which elicits info on the whole of African safari destinations. The poster reports back on the East African trip taken.

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...ng-my-trip.cfm

4. This includes SafariCraig’s commnets, an agent with Travel Beyond

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...a-tanzania.cfm

Maybe avoid 2Afrika. Too many negative experiences about them popping up.

There are mentions and links to East Africa Index and Southern Africa Index, which lists trip reports. That is now out of date by several years, but you can still check out the older reports.

Even in rainier times, nobody returns and comments. It was awful because of the weather. You'll still see animals. Especially on a first trip, you'll be amazed.
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Jan 20th, 2013, 02:07 PM
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Contact a seasoned safari planner such as Sandi at Africa Serendipity (NY) or Bill at The Wild Source (CO). You should have some idea of what your budget will be and about how long you want to travel. Beyond that, the safari planner can help you with ideas and itineraries. I wouldn't turn your back on tented camps; they are the best way to experience a safari and you're not really "camping" in most instances.

If you can't work out a reasonably priced solo safari, you could also look into Overseas Adventure Travel. They have a Tanzania safari and also a Kenya/Tanzania safari. They could help match you up with a roommate, if you wish.
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