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Kenya -- lodging, guides, places to go and things to do

Kenya -- lodging, guides, places to go and things to do

Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 08:43 PM
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Kenya -- lodging, guides, places to go and things to do

We are in the mist of planning a 70 days of travel in Kenya – 30 days, Uganda – 15 days, and Tanzania -- 25 starting in June 2009. Does anyone have a recommendation for a travel company – we are planning on traveling by ourselves, in a group, and with a driver?

I am thinking of driving a portion of our trip – any thoughts?

Any thoughts on must do things or places?

Any thoughts on places to stay? We are thinking moderate to luxury – we do have a budget to maintain.

We typically spend money on guides: birds, wildlife, day hiking, etc. Again, any recommendations?

Any recommendations on how to travel from point A to point B anywhere in these three countries? Again, our budget is a consideration.

Finally, things we need to know for our travels?

Thanks

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Old Oct 24th, 2008, 09:42 AM
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Gather from your screen name you're int'l flights will be non-rev!

70/days is a long trip, that many of us would like to have. But have to ask what about the destinations you've chosen have attracted you? National Geo programs, guidebooks, recommendations from others who have been? What about these destinations would be of interest?

Have you seen brochures or researched possible itineraries online, in any of these countries? What caught your fancy?

Kenya/Tanzania both provide wide variety of safari and coastal beach resorts with many parks/reserves in each offering varied game viewing options. Uganda mostly for gorilla trekking.

How many is "we"? Give us some additional info of interests, and budget so we can comment with suggestions.
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Old Oct 24th, 2008, 07:43 PM
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Self driving in East Africa is not as common as Southern Africa.

I'd do Tanzania first, then Uganda, then Kenya. This would be to put you in the best spots in the Serengeti (Tanzania) and Maasai Mara (Kenya) for the wildebeest migration. It would also put you in Uganda at the least rainy time.

Kenya must do's, since you mention birds, wildlife and hiking:

~Maasai Mara. I'd put it near the end of your trip in Aug for best timing. With 30 days, I'd spend a week there.

~Samburu, 3 nts. This park, along with other northern Kenya parks, has unique species that you will not find in the other locations you mention.

~Lake Nakuru for flamingos, along with wildlife

~For Kilimanjaro views maybe Amboseli or Campi ya Kanzi, even though Kili is in TZ.

~Hiking in Kenya is typically done in the Laikipia region of Kenya and in Tsavo West. I've done walking at Lewa Downs near Mt. Kenya, which was good, plus a nice camel safari for the day.

Something unique and expensive that I've heard positive things about is staying at Giraffe Manor in Nairobi. The giraffes stick their heads into your window in the morning and share your breakfast.
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Old Oct 25th, 2008, 10:06 PM
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Thanks for the info. The timing of which countries to be in first and last was not something I had considered.

Several African travelers have asked that I provide more info in order to provide better responses. Here goes:

We have been in the planning stage for about a month. We are my wife and I – 58 and 60 years spent on this planet. We are birders, like day hiking, own a two person kayak, and spend much more time outside than inside cities. Two years ago we did 7 weeks in India and then on to Bhutan for 16 days. Five years ago we left for 5 months in South America with a one way plane ticket, three reservations (1st night in Quito, a trip to the G. Is. and a trip to Manu RF), and backpacks.

Basis for this trip is Lonely Planet’s “Watching Wildlife East Africa”. Also LP’s “East Africa” and Footprint’s “Kenya” and “Tanzania”. I believe we have included stops at all the “Top Spots to Go” birding in “Watching Wildlife E. A.” (p.42 – 42)

We expect our trip to combine a group tour or two, driver and us, and public transportation. Trip includes white water rafting, snorkeling, day and night walks, UNESCO sites, Kondoa rock paintings, animal sighting, and birding. Legs are getting old so a day of rest every two to three weeks.

The preliminary itinerary we have is by no means set in stone. Not knowing where to start we decided on Nairobi – lots of flights into. Nairobi one full day to recover from jet lag then to Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru, Lake Bogoria, Lake Baringo, Lake Tukuna, Samburu, Mt. Kenya (to bird not climb) Kakamega and then to Uganda. Uganda: Jinga, Murchison Falls, Ft. Portal and Kibale Forest and S. Valley, Queen Eliz, Bwindi, and Lake Mburo. On to Tanzania – have four days from Lake Mburo to Serengeti by way of Rubondo Is (haven’t figured this travel out), N. Crater, Arusha, Lake Manyara, Taragire, Rusha N.P., Udzngwa Mountains, Selous, fly to Zanzibar, fly to Mombasa, Keyna. Kenya: Mobmasa, Malindi, Lamu Island, Mombasa, Tsarvo East, Amboseli, Nairobi, and home. There are several stops not listed but this gives you a basic idea of where and what we want to do.

Lodging, guides, transportation, how long to stay in a location, places to go and things to do???? Recommendations requested and always welcomed.

Thanks
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Old Oct 27th, 2008, 01:39 AM
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Hi ,
This gonna be a lifetime experience , 70 days !!!!This will be high season time in Kenya and expect to go deeper in your pockets especially that you are only two . To use a tur company for this long will be even more expensie . I will encourage you to use guides Like Kenedy and Okumu [[email protected]] . They both have good reputation here and on the thorntree forum . But you should avoid making payments in advance to private tour guides . What you should do is rquest if they can give you a possible itinerary for the safari , then go through it and even share it on the forums . Then you can ask then to reserve for you your the accomodation . In nairobi , you can stay at so many places ,from midrange to laxury , like the Hilton, Kenya Comfort , Hill Park etc Nakuru at Sarova Lodge , Waterbuck , Bontana , Merica .
Baringo you can stay a the Sai Spa resort , Masai MARA at Mara Hippo Lodge or Mara Sopa Lodge . Samburu Game Lodge r Larsen Camp in Samburu.Rondo resort iN kAKAMEGA , you can also go to Golf Hotel in here. Other places i should suggest are the Crescent Island and the Hells Gate . You can also choose to rest on some occassions or volunteer in a children home for a few days .Mombasa has loots of places to hoose from .You can do shaba game park , fort jeus , tsavo east r west etc. I can also advice that you do get a tour guide for each of the three eas afarican countries . SEE YOU HERE WITH YOUR TRIP REPORT !
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Old Oct 27th, 2008, 05:44 AM
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Kenya - Turkana is way up north; at least 2/days overland each directly, unless you choose to fly and flight cost can be as high as that of trans-Atlantic; very few accommodations here, mostly basic camping with few services. If you wish this, then arrange with an overland company. Then on way south if someway you can arrange for a guide/vehicle to meet you to visit Samburu, the Lakes areas, then down to the Masai Mara.

You have both coastal areas shown - Mombasa (Lamu, Malindi) at Kenya and Zanzibar at Tanzania - instead of zig-zagging between the two, I'd visit one of these before going onto Tanzania for some R&R.

On the way back from Mombasa, another guide/vehicle thru Tsavo and Amboseli to the Tanzania border. Here a guide/vehicle from a Tanzania outfitter for the northern circuit. Once this area complete, fly down to DAR to visit the southern parks. Then at conclusion end-up on Zanzibar.

There aren't flights to all destinations, road conditions in many places are terrible whether with guide/vehicle or on your own (not really recommended). Public transport can vary widely: be long (taking up must of a day), often not to the level found in the West - breakdowns, dusty, poor bathrooms, lack of food choices, etc.

And, there's the budget thing! You'd be traveling in peak* season and unless you choose basic camping, lodges, permanent or seasonal camp will be costly.

*Kenya is still at mid-season prices in June, increasing 1st July; Tanzania is at peak as 1st June.

Remember - there are still visas required for each country, inoculations and malaria medications, trip insurance with medical and evacuation coverages, Flying Doctor's coverage (gets you out of the bush in case of emergency) tips, beverages, general expensese and souvenirs.

Let us know of your progress.

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Old Oct 27th, 2008, 09:47 AM
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For Turkana, there's budget and luxury and not much in between, mostly because of the remoteness and security issues traveling by road. For road travel, look at the Gametracker Safaris trips. There are overland, budget camping trips. They've been doing this trip with armed escorts since the incident last year. The other way to get up to the Turkana/Chalbi area is by charter flight. There are a few upmarket camps where you can stay like Desert Rose and Kalacha. If you're thinking of flying, I can highly recommend Alexis Peltier http://www.safariavion.com/home.html. That's if he's available and not off on his own adventures getting in trouble with US border patrol http://www.cubavacationstravel.com/n...dex.php?id=590
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Old Oct 27th, 2008, 12:14 PM
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Desert Rose, which is lovely (no game viewing), is still a good 5/hrs south of Turkana. They can, however, coordinate road trips (I believe 4/days) to Turkana, for camping.

Kalacha is in the Chalbi Desert, to the east about 40/miles south of the Ethiopian border with nothing much else around but beauty!
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Old Oct 27th, 2008, 01:16 PM
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Sorry, yes neither Desert Rose nor Kalacha are actually on Lake Turkana (I left that part out and somehow expected you to read my mind ). I was trying to think of "moderate to luxury" places to stay and along the lines of having an aircraft available (very expensive, I know).

Something more moderate http://www.oasis-lodge.com/ but there's still the issue of getting there.

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Old Oct 27th, 2008, 01:57 PM
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Patty - I remember well that flight to Kowop, tres tres expensive even on a share-basis; beautiful scenery up that way. Alexis - interesting guy I met in '07.
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Old Oct 28th, 2008, 10:27 PM
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Thanks for all the great info. I am reviewing our preliminary spread sheet itinerary with all the info everyone has provided.

Want to visit Lake Turkana because it is remote and different, more desert. The only place I had come across to stay at was the Desert Rose. Also am planning on arriving in Kenya between June 1 and 15 hoping to save a few dollars at this time of year.

Again, thanks to everyone for your help and recommendations.

Tom
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