Kenya or Tanzania for mid June 2013

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Sep 6th, 2012, 01:22 AM
  #1
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Kenya or Tanzania for mid June 2013

Hi everyone

This is more specific now - my sister (her very first safari) and I will be doing the gorillas from 17 June 2013, this is now booked with a hefty nonrefundable deposit! We now have an opening to do a bit of a safari before the gorillas and after we work in an animal rehab centre. So we will be coming from Nelspruit to Johannesburg then onto Option 1 or Option 2.

My ta has come back with this information:

Option 1
1 night Nairobi $300
4 nights - Royal Mara $4500
Exploreans Mara Riant Camp $5600
Serian Mara Camp $6400
1 night Nairobi $1200 (this is The Giraffe Manor)

Option 2
1 night Arusha $300
4 nights - Kirawira $8300
Soroi $7100
Mbalageti $7400
1 night Kigali

and i do have an Option 3
Sabi Sands for 4 nights - Savanna $5600
or Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp $5700

The prices are rounded and in Australian dollars and for the two of us.

I am leaning towards Tanzania for hopefully some wonderful game experiences for Di as she has never been on safari, yet all her girls have been with me, one has now had 5 african trips, so wanting it to be special for her.
Really would have liked to do the Giraffe Manor, as that is something unique and I still remember your fabulous photos Cindy!
Obviously this cost includes flights to camps but not from Jo'burg to city before the small charter flight.

I did get a quote for Sabi Sands as it seemed the easier option but neither of those camps get me too excited re the gameviewing side of things.

So, those that have good knowledge of Tanzania and Kenya, which would you be doing at that time of the year?

Kind regards

Kaye
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Sep 6th, 2012, 01:44 AM
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Does you lack of price for Kigali mean you havent chosen a hotel yet, or are you going straight to the gorillas after you arrive? (in pther words, do you needa Kigali hotel rec that is less than Serena or Mille Colllines?)
My goodness, Giraffe Manor is one night , one room, for $1200????! That's even more in US $!!
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Sep 6th, 2012, 03:08 AM
  #3
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Hi CaliNurse

No the lack of price means the ta already gave it to me but in another itinerary and I was too lazy to look it up and transfer it!
Yes, the Giraffe Manor is hideously expensive even though it does offer such a unique experience.

Kind regards

Kaye
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Sep 6th, 2012, 04:14 AM
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Hi Kaye,

The Giraffe Manor is a wonderful experience and something not to be missed if possible. Try to maximize your time there. We stayed at GM our last night in Africa and it was a great way to top off our trip.

We were in Kenya and Tanzania and Rwanda in June 2012. In Kenya, we stayed at Tortillis Camp (which we loved) and saw plenty of wildlife. In Tanzania, we stayed at Kirawira for 2 nights. While we loved Kirawira, we did not love the tse tse flies (mainly in the tall grasses), and while they weren't a constant bother, they were non-existent at Amboselli.

That being said, I am so grateful we visited both Kenya and Tanzania, because I could not choose one country over the other--I loved visiting them both for different reasons.

Happy planning,
PD
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Sep 6th, 2012, 08:42 AM
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For mid-June = Tanzania, in the Western Serengeti as shown.
June is already peak season in Tanzania, why the prices higher than if in Kenya where most are still priced at mid-season rates.

Soroi is relatively new, so I have no feedback (rather haven't visited yet); still I nice addition to the area. All three camps have about 25/tents and/or chalets. Between Kirawira and Mbalageti, I'd go with the latter. While it's located a bit of a drive off the main road, once here the open plains in front of their pool/dining area is quite amazing, and will be moreso if/when full of wildies.

From KGL, you can fly direct into the Serengeti, a short distance from these camps, via Coastal Air. Fare is a bit steep at about $650-700/person, but no need to fly all the way to Kilimanjaro/JRO and then fly back to the West. Of course, Rwandair flight cost is a bit lower, but it's not a daily flight (have TA verify days/schedules). But, if you'd prefer between the visit with our cousins and safari in the Serengeti, to have a day to catch your breath in Arusha... do so, then fly to/from the Serengeti before heading home.

Good luck!
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Sep 6th, 2012, 08:42 PM
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Agree with pollydill if you do Giraffe Manor arrive right at 11:00am check in and stay till after breakfast the next morning.

Most of the interaction with the giraffes is at breakfast altho you can walk over to the Giraffe Centre later in the day for a cuddle and a kiss.

The Manor has a driver that can take you anywhere in Karen but I opted to stay and enjoy the grounds and manor itself.

Spent a few days in Kirawira June 2011 with the migration, no tse tses and was very glad I spent time in the Mara where I saw cats, hippos, rhino and tons of other wildlife. In the Western corridor the morning drink at the water hole was interesting but there was no river crossing and other than zebras and impala no other wildlife. Just hundreds of wildees making an awful lot of noise. I was more than ready to leave after 2 days.

For that I would choose Kenya.
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Sep 10th, 2012, 02:16 AM
  #7
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Hi everyone,

Yes Pollydill, i would love to do for a night or two, but now that i am leaning towards Tanzania, I am not sure if I can get it in. Had tsetse flies in Tanzania in January 2001 and they drove us nuts, in really muddy areas especially not around the camp. Was thinking they may not be around still in June? I want just the one camp for those nights not to be moving around anymore than what we already are, so must decide on one place.

Thanks Kath, would really love to get the Giraffe Manor in as well. It is a risk I suppose, but my sister will be very easy to please as this is her first trip, and the rehab and gorillas are my choice, so this is for her.

Based on your advice Sandi, I am thinking of this option:

11 June Nelspruit / Johannesburg ETD 0740 ETA 0835
11 June Johannesburb / Nairobi ETD 1055 ETA 1600
11 June Nairobi / Kilamanjaro ETD 1800 ETA 1900

Accommodation: Arusha Hotel
In: 11 June Out: 12 June (1 night)
Including breakfast and transfers
Total cost - $334.00

4 night Fly/in package Serengeti

Mbalageti Tented Camp - cost $3690 per person
Mbalageti Suites - cost $4283 per person

16 June Kilamanjaro / Kigali ETD 1515 ETA 1804 (cost to be advised)

Kigali – Kigali Serena Lodge
In: 16 June Out: 17 June (1 night)

Virunga Lodge
In: 17 June Out: 21 June (4 nights)

Kigali – Kigali Serena Lodge
In: 21 June Out: 22 June (1 night)

22 June Kigali / Johannesburg ETD 0600 ETA 1110

Air Fare – approximately $1300.00 pp plus cost of flight from Kilamanjaro to Kigali


What do you think of that Sandi to make the most of it for my sister Di. I am happy with this country and choice of camp. Am I able to get the Giraffe Manor into the first overnight as we go through Nairobi do you think? Or am i just being plain greedy into trying to get too much in?

Many thanks,

Kind regards

Kaye
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Sep 10th, 2012, 07:24 AM
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Kaye,

FYI, I stayed in the 2 bed. Suite at Mbalageti Lodge in 2008 and it was huge. Might be a nice idea for traveling with your sister, to give you each some space and worth the additional cost. There were two "wings" each with a bedroom and bathroom, with a central living are between them. I think one bath had the outdoor tub but only a shower inside, and the other had a bath and shower inside, but I can't recall exactly. It also had beverages, laundry, etc. included, and I don't think the normal tented chalets did.
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Sep 10th, 2012, 07:26 AM
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At Mbalageti, no need for the 'suites' which would be ideal for a family; the regular tented chalets are lovely.

Regarding the Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, with arrival 7pm, figuring 1/hr to get thru Immigration/Visas/Baggage collect and then transfer which at that hour, figure minimum 1/hr though can be longer, won't arrive till Dinnner (rather late) but they'll feed you.

Next morning breakfast, with check-out by 10am latest. Price per person at Giraffe Manor is the same whether B&B, B/D or B/L/D.

To stay here, would require Kenyan Visa, Transit @ $20/person, meet/greet and transfer to GM and then transfer back to JKIA for flight to JRO.

Earliest flight from NBO/JKIA (Int'l)* to JRO is about 8am; the next flight (day of week dependent), believe is 12N, 50/min flight, again Immigration/Visa/Baggage collect, but as coming off a small plane, goes rather quickly; then a 1/hr drive to Arusha.

*Option: You can fly instead from Wilson/WIL (domestic) airport with departures 12:40 or 1pm to JRO.

Whichever option flying NBO to JRO, fare is in the range of $285-310/person one way (incl. taxes).


Flight to Serengeti, day after... departs from Arusha/ARK airport is about 8am to Grumeti airstrip, arriving by about 9:45am.

That's what you have to keep in mind. Hope this has been helpful.
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Sep 10th, 2012, 09:18 AM
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Was thinking they may not be around still in June?

I haven't been to the western Serengeti but have encountered tsetses in woodland areas at different times of year including June. I think it has more to do with habitat than anything else.
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Sep 10th, 2012, 01:21 PM
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We encountered the tsetse flies in the tall grasses of the drive into the Kirawira Camp (but not in the camp itself), and in a couple of other areas in the Western Serengeti where the tall grasses were close to the road. This was the second week of June of this year.

It wasn't a huge irritation, but it did require us to close the car windows when driving through these particular areas.
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Sep 11th, 2012, 03:51 AM
  #12
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Thanks Sandi, it was very helpful and I feel as if I am being greedy now and trying to whack in everything! Sadly the Giraffe Manor will need to wait for another day and another trip!

I think the chalets at Mbalageti would be lovely but, traveler318, I am very tempted by those suites - a luxury after our work at the animal rehab I think! Very tempted!
Patty and pollydill, i suppose i was thinking that flies would be seasonal as someone told me, I thought i remembered, is that they came in with the rains during that time I was there in Jan/Feb. Is it not cold during that time or is the daytime fairly warm. Where I live in Australia, flies are rarely seen during the colder months, of course that could never be said for summer!

Thanks ladies, that information was extremely helpful and I have made the decision that I think will give us both a memorable trip!

Kind regards

Kaye
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Sep 11th, 2012, 08:59 AM
  #13
 
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It will still be fairly warm during the day. Temps don't vary as much seasonally in East Africa as they do in Southern Africa. There will be more insects in general during/after the rains. You may have been there at the tail end of the short rains season last time. June is traditionally the end of the long rains season but it's hard to say if they'll materialize. The weather is getting more and more unpredictable.
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Sep 11th, 2012, 01:47 PM
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June is warm and at the end of the long rains. During my various visits in Western Serengeti at both Kirawira and Mbalageti, we never encountered tse-tse flies. These critters are oft found in woodland areas, but if you do encounter know there is no repellent to ward them off as there is for mossies and the tse-tse bite is nasty. Whatever you do if bitten, just play adult and do not scratch them, apply an anti-itch cream and let them be... all will be fine in a day or two.

Then again, maybe the tse-tse will not like you and leave you be. They did me, while on one trip my friend wasn't so lucky; or another visit with me in navy (color not to wear... me bad!) and my guide in traditional tan... they loved him, while avoided me. So you just never know, but sure isn't something that keeps me up at night.

At Mbalageti, the suites are simply 2/bedroom vs 1/bedroom chalets... why I mentioned good for a family. Though there is the Presidential suite and if I recall has a flat screen TV... just what one needs while on safari, NOT!
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Sep 11th, 2012, 06:37 PM
  #15
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Hi Patty
OK I live in a fairly temperate climate but here in Brisbane we have much fewer insects (flies and mozzies) over winter. Yes, weather is far from predictable these days, our weathermen never seem to get it right!
Sandi, I am very pleased to hear about the lack of tsetse flies for you, as they really drove us nuts in 2001, so much so, we sat in a hot airless car after killing all the ones inside. The poor guide had sweat streaming off him, but we could not stand one more bite! I would need to man-up as one of my nieces would say! No, nothing leaves me alone, i am too tasty apparently and need to watch mozzies, as i have had dengue fever from sth africa and cannot be getting that again.
Sandi, I don't turn TV on while I am at home from one week to the next, so highly unlikely I would watch it over there!
Thanks for your help Ladies!
Kind regards

Kaye
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