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Local2542 Jul 19th, 2007 11:33 AM

Kenya Itinerary: Could Use Advice
 
I have gleaned so much information from all the dedicated and knowledgeable fodorites here - thank you all!

I am needing help in adjusting our Jan/Feb 2008 Kenya itinerary, and ask for all opinions and advice. We have already booked our Tanzania portion.

Here is the current schedule:

27 Jan - On arrival from Arusha, Tanzania (about 2:45pm); connect to scheduled 3pm flight to Masai Mara; met and transfer with game drive on the way - o/n Olonana Camp (D)
28 Jan - o/n Olonana Camp (FB)
29 Jan - o/n Saruni Camp (FB)
30 Jan - o/n Saruni Camp (FB)

31 Jan - Transfer to airstrip for scheduled 11am flight to Wilson airport; connect to private charter 12:15-12:30pm flight to Maktau airstrip at Tsavo South; o/n Ndolwa House (FB)
01 Feb - Tsavo- o/n Ndolwa House (FB)
02 Feb - Tsavo road transfer - o/n Campi ya Kanzi (FB)
03 & 04 Feb - Tsavo - o/n Campi ya Kanzi (FB)
05 Feb - Transfer to airstrip for private charter 10am flight to Wilson airport; o/n Giraffe Manor (FB)
06 Feb - NBO; at leisure; day-room at Giraffe Manor; evening transfer to JKIA for homebound flight (B)

$6,005/person sharing twin/double

We chose to take it slower - not jump one or two nights in different parks, and also the more northern parks are warmer, and do not have the elevation to cool things down a bit at night. We also wanted nice lodging with good locations/views/people.

The quote came in higher than i had anticipated, by about $1,000. I need help, working within our time frame, to bring the costs down without giving up too much on quality of lodging. I understand this may not be possible, and staying at CYK is the one thing i don't want to change. I am also reluctant to stay one more night in Nairobi in the middle to facilitate a regularly scheduled flight out on our way to Tsavo - but really am willing to consider all options.

Any ideas? different parks? can we drive some bit of the trip? All thoughts and input would really help.

Thank you!


Patty Jul 19th, 2007 12:01 PM

<i>also the more northern parks are warmer, and do not have the elevation to cool things down a bit at night.</i>

I just want you to be aware that Tsavo is also fairly low in elevation and can be warm at night. I don't think it's much higher than the Samburu/Meru areas if that's what you mean by northern parks. That said, we've been to Tsavo West in early February and found the night time temps OK for sleeping. We kept all of our tent flaps open so there was enough of a cross breeze.

How much are the two private charters? What if you substituted the two nights at Ndolwa House for Amboseli (staying at Tortilis perhaps, but I don't know how the cost of this camp compares with Ndolwa)? I mainly suggest this so you can do a road transfer from Nairobi to Amboseli which will take around 4 hours (I wouldn't attempt to drive from Nairobi to Ndolwa House, especially having to depart in the afternoon). Then check on the cost of a road transfer from Campi ya Kanzi back to Nairobi.

Local2542 Jul 22nd, 2007 02:54 PM

Thank you Patty - appreciate the advice. I am considering the Tortillis option- thanks for pointing out that the drive is doable. Don't know the costs on the charters, nor on Ndolwa. Ndolwa sounded so interesting - and also in an area with a variety of things to see. But am welcoming all opinions.

Anyone else? Thank you again.

aby Jul 22nd, 2007 10:34 PM

Hi Local2542

In addition to what Patty wrote (about Tsavo being warm &amp; low as well)the actual altitude situation is the OPPOSITE

Voi – Tsavo East - Elevation: 1900 ft / 579 m

Mtito Andei – Tsavo West - Elevation: ~750 m

My memory quotes
Samburu at ~900 m (my last 3 watches have/had a built-in altimeter)

I felt I must take a minute to check my senile mind about Samburu
Generally quoted on the net (one copies from the other) are
Altitude: 800-1230m &amp; 2500-4000 ft but since 2500ft= ~750 m, I had to check a reliable source
And the results are… <b> “850-1250 m - 2780-4100 ft” </b>

aby

of course some lodges/camps in Tsavo can be higher (e.g. Ngulia) still Samburu &quot;wins&quot;


aby Jul 23rd, 2007 12:01 AM

Local2542

just another remark about the order:
Mara is usually a climax, so better finish there

I would have finished the Safari in Serengetti; the latest possible in February when Gnu herds gather near Ndutu about to give birth with some chance of seeing the first, off-the-graph...)

Any choice you'll have a fantastic safari

aby

PS
Meru Mulika Elevation, 2230 ft / 680 m

Local2542 Jul 23rd, 2007 04:39 PM

Thank you Aby - I would have liked to book Tanzania last, but at the time, we were unsure about our frequent flyer booking, so went ahead with TZ bookings to secure lodging.

Also, in the early planning stages, my mom was leaning towards Rwanda/Uganda at the end of our trip, which just isn't going to work... this time: ) And we are both wanting to just relax a bit - we will be thrilled either way, I'm sure. If we can just get Kenya sorted out.


DanaA70 Jul 23rd, 2007 04:51 PM

HI local: just curious - what is your tanzania itinerary and who did you book with. Thx D.

Local2542 Jul 25th, 2007 09:22 AM

Dana - here is my tanzania itinerary:
1 night- Manyara/Kirurumu
2 nights -Serena Lodge, the Crater
3 nights Olakira
3 nights Ndutu

I booked with Africa Serendipity, www.AfricaSerendipity.com - Sandi has been wonderful.


Local2542 Jul 25th, 2007 09:23 AM

We are thinking of changing our Olonana nights (2) to something more affordable. Would anyone have suggestions? We want a different area of the Mara from Saruni, where we are spending 2 nights.

Thank you for any input.

DanaA70 Jul 25th, 2007 09:40 AM

Thanks for the itinerary info; I too have been working on combining two itineraries without selling the house! Good luck to you and I am sure you'll have a wonderful time; thanks too for the tip about Sandi. D.

Jason_26 Jul 26th, 2007 09:29 AM

Your itenerary looks fantastic but the price is rediculous. Try Good Earth Tours, hopefully they can get u abou$2000 off. We used them two years ago and we pay very cheap almost about $1000 off the price we had before and we enjoyed more than our fellow who ended up exploited

Good Luck

DanaA70 Jul 26th, 2007 04:43 PM

I hate to bring this up but why are you using two different operators to put this together? Would not your Tanzanian operator help with the Kenyan portion or is it not logical to use the same operator for the two countries. I am sorry but I am dumbfounded about this. I am thinking of combining the two but hate the thought of using more than one operator. d.

Local2542 Jul 27th, 2007 12:48 PM

Hi Dana,

We are using the same operator - i was hoping for fodorites to give the itinerary a fresh look and see if they had ideas for bring the cost down.

I just found out that the rack rates for at least a couple of camps we chose have gone up over 20% for 2008.

ShayTay Jul 27th, 2007 01:02 PM

Dana, I think you'll find that there are few, if any, safari OUTFITTERS who are allowed to operate in both Kenya and Tanzania. Mostly, an outfitter in one country will have another outfitter in the other country with whom they cooperate. However, you can use safari PLANNERS who can book both countries on one tour. If you are booking directly with the outfitters, you may have to deal with two if going to both Kenya and Tanzania.

Nyamera Jul 27th, 2007 01:13 PM

Hello Local2542,
There aren’t any affordable camps in that area, or anywhere in the Mara. I think Kichwa Tembo, Intrepids and Serena are less expensive than Olonana.
You could have a great itinerary for less than half what you’re paying.

DanaA70 Jul 27th, 2007 01:29 PM

Well ShaTay thats why I read these forums; I had no idea that outfitters could not work both countries.Thanks for the heads up! And Local, I commiserate with you on prices; I've been trying to figure out how to be a litle more fiscally conservative on our plans - and it's not working! Just got to go for it and work overtime. D

Patty Jul 27th, 2007 01:38 PM

In addition to the ones Nyamera listed, you could try Governors (Main or Little). These would all be in a different area than Saruni.

ShayTay Jul 27th, 2007 01:56 PM

Local2542, you show that you'll arrive in Nairobi from Arusha at 2:45pm to connect to a 3:00pm scheduled flight to the Mara. 15 minutes isn't enough time to make that connection. You'll have to go through Immigration and Customs in Nairobi, then recheck your bags for the Mara flight. You should give yourself at least 2 hours or more, given that flights are often delayed. Also, are both flights at NBO, or is the one to the Mara at Wilson airport?

Patty Jul 27th, 2007 02:59 PM

I would guess that the 2:45pm arrival is Air Kenya into Wilson connecting to their Mara flight from Wilson (there are no scheduled flights arriving NBO at that hour from JRO). I don't know what the immigration and customs facilities are like at Wilson but imagine the process is fairly quick given the size of the aircraft. I also imagine that these flights have been scheduled specifically for the connection, so it's possible the Mara flight would wait for inbound passengers.

ShayTay Jul 27th, 2007 05:19 PM

Good job, Patty! Let's hope Local2542 can confirm that.


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