Kenya/Tanzania Itinerary

Sep 15th, 2004, 11:13 AM
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Kenya/Tanzania Itinerary

This would be in June. I am most interested in the lodging selections that are included and whether there are more"upscale" alternatives that I should be suggesting:
Aberdare - Aberdare Country Club one night and the Ark one night
Samburu - Larsen's Camp
Mt. Kenya - Safari Club (here is where I think the trip is bogging down)
Fly to Tsavo
Tsavo - Kilaguni/Voyagers
Arusha - Mountain Village
Ngorongo - Sopa Lodge
Serengeti - private camp
Back to Nairobi

I have read about Lake Nakura and Amboseli and wonder if either should be substituted somewhere along the way.
AmyH is offline  
Sep 15th, 2004, 12:22 PM
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Are you putting this together yourself or are you using a tour operator? If the later, if you don't mind, which one?

How many days to you have in total to be in-country, what is your budget, on the itinerary shown you do not indicate how many days at each and is the itinerary shown being done with road transfers or some by light aircraft?

As to whether there are more upscale accommodations? Yes there are, but how much do you want to spend? And where?

Any particular reason for the 1-nt at Aberdare Country Club? Where in the Serengeti will the private camp be located?

With more information, I believe there is help on the way.
Sep 15th, 2004, 01:17 PM
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15 days in country. Arriving and Departing Nairobi. As indicated, flying from Mt. Kenya to Tsavo. I believe that is the only flight. Don't know where exactly in the Serengeti.
ACC - 1 night
Ark - 1 night
Larsen's -2 nights
Safari Club - 1 night
Kilaguni 2
Voyager's 1
Arusha 1
Sopa Lodge 2
Serengeti 3
Not putting it together myself. Two things I am not so keen on is the number of 1 night stays and I would like to work in some higher end places and am not overly concerned about cost of substituing 2-3 nights at luxury accomodations. I feel that these are "middle" properties?
AmyH is offline  
Sep 15th, 2004, 01:42 PM
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AmyH: It sounds like you are bouncing around an awful lot. Why so many places for such short stays? And if you want upscale accommodations, the Sopa at the Crater is not one. Upscale is the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, not the Sopa. I don't understand the one night at The Ark and then another night at ACC, when they are practically on top of one another. In fact, when you spend the night at The Ark, you leave your luggage down the hill at the ACC. Lots and lots of questions ... but I will let others have their say.
SusanLynne is offline  
Sep 15th, 2004, 01:51 PM
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The explanation for not staying at Crater Lodge was that it is less convenient -- lots of time spent going down and up? Let us just say that the guide is focused on maximizing game viewing. I am focused on that as well, but also want a little luxury in my accomodations. Can someone perhaps give some suggestions of accomodations in these areas that I should suggest as alternatives? It may be that we will come to an impasse, but I'd like to try and work it out. I feel kind of silly, because it is not an inexpensive trip any yet I am hesitant to raise these issues (and that is sooo unlike me)because I feel out of my element.
AmyH is offline  
Sep 15th, 2004, 02:14 PM
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I leave next Sunday for Kenya and Tanzania on my honeymoon.
I booked with CCAfrica. (
they have gorgeous accomodations.
then we fly to Pemba Island for a few days of R&R.
why not look into their camps? they are pretty luxurious....

-toccare girl
toccare_girl is offline  
Sep 15th, 2004, 02:42 PM
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Amy - Your comment:

>>Let us just say that the guide is focused on maximizing game viewing<<

Who is this person? and whose trip is this, anyway? Yours or his? Let's be
serious. You are spending some money here, so it should be designed to meet your needs and budget and time. And sometimes you can't get everything in at the price you want; something may have to be left out. But I don't think you'll be missing any game viewing.

As I mentioned and so too did SusanLynne, makes no sense for 1-nt each Aberdare CC and The Ark. Also I'd add some flights to cut out some very long drives (missing game viewing time). I'd also eliminate the overnight at the Mt.Kenya SC, but a stop for lunch is fine if you feel you'd like to see the place.

The Norfolk is listed as a 5* hotel, but for 1-nt, and leaving the next morning you can just as easily stay at The Stanley, or the Intercontinental, the closest hotel to the airport so you can sleep as soon as possible.

You can drive north towards Samburu, but suggest your stop be at the Serena Mountain Lodge which you can drive up to and not have to leave your major luggage at Aberdare CC if using The Ark. Then you can continue onto Samburu. Here, I prefer the Intrepids' Camp, over Larsen's.

I like the stop at Tsavo, which doesn't get many visitors, but should, but why two different places here? Granted Voyager's is tented and in West Tsavo, while Kilaguni is a lodge in East Tsavo. But at least you're covering this area in three days.

My information doesn't show a flight from Nanyuki (Mt.KSC) to Tsavo, so this might be a private charter adding to the cost; might be wrong but would question this. Also be aware that the drive from Tsavo to Arusha will be a long one having to drive thru Amboseli, cross the border at Namanga and then onto Arusha.

As to the Sopa Lodge at Ngorongoro, sure it is closest to the road down into the crater, but you only save about 15-minutes each way.

And for travel in June you should be in the Western Serengeti where the wildebeest herds will be on their way
north to the Masai Mara.

My proposed changes would be:

Day 1 - NBO - The Stanley or Intercontinental
Day 2 - Fly to Tsavo (or Amboseli and drive to Tsavo) - Kilanguni or Voyager (my preference 2nts Voyager, 1nt Kilanguni)
Day 3 - Tsavo
Day 4 - Tsavo
Day 5 - Fly from Tsavo (or Amboseli) to NBO, continue by road to Mountain Lodge (instead of the Ark)
Day 6 - Drive to Samburu - Intrepids
Day 7 - Intrepids
Day 8 - Fly to NBO, connect to flight to Kilimanjaro/Arusha. It's a tight connection but will wait for you if know you're reserved on the flight to JRO. Arusha - Mountain Village
Day 9 - Drive to Ngorongoro - Serena or upscale Crater Lodge
Day 10 - Full day crater tour - Serena or Crater Lodge
Day 11 - Drive to Central, prefer Western,Serengeti - Kirawira or Grumeti River in Western are both upscale. There are some private semi-permanent tent camps in the Serengeti, but you don't mention which.
Day 12 - Serengeti
Day 13 - Serengeti
Day 14 - Fly to Arusha, road transfer (or fly) to NBO - overnight The Stanley or Intercontinental or other.
Day 15 - Leisure Day NBO - can pick up tours Daphne Sheldrick Trust (elephant orphanage), Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Center, lunch or dinner at The Carnivore. Transfer to airport for homeward flight.

The 15th day assuming you're departing late at night, but if a morning flight, then it's a morning flight.

Granted there are flights included, not originally considered, and while I enjoy driving thru parts of Kenya where you have a feel for the country and people, it is hard on your butt. And you're often so exhausted by the time you get to your destination, your pillow looks more tempting then a game drive. I think the above is a smoother trip and few one-nighters. There are also suggestions for upscale camps in the Serengeti. See if this works for you.

Sep 17th, 2004, 08:11 AM
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Susan and Sandi-
Thanks so much for confirming that I was not being unreasonable in my concern about the amount of 1 night stays and driving on the proposed itinerary. I have just a couple of "follow up questions" that I hope posters will indulge and answer.
1. At one point, the itinerary included a few days on a crewed dhow off of Zanzibar which sounded amazing. I have not seen any other operators offer this experience. Is anyone aware of a company that arranges for sailing in the Indian Ocean as opposed a few days on the beach?
2. Our original thought had been South Africa, combining a visit to Capetown with visits to Kruger. We were dissuaded by statements that if "if our primary objective was game viewing" we HAD to go to East Africa not SA. We are now back to looking at SA, but obviously, one of our objectives is to see lots and lots of game while on safari as I expect this may, indeed, be a once in a lifetime trip. I have read lots of posts and trip reports on SA and it appears everyone is seeing lots of game, but I wonder if anyone cares to comment on the validity of the above "declaration"
Please don't get the impression that I blindly follow what people tell me. I have never relied on tour operators in all my travels, prefering to research and hand pick every lodging, restaurant, roadway (throughout Europe, anyway)as that is much a part of the thrill of travel for me, but Africa is such an unchartered area for me that I wanted to rely on "expert" advice . . Now I know why I have not in the past, finding my fellow fodorites and own research offer much better advice.
AmyH is offline  
Sep 17th, 2004, 04:39 PM
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Amy - I just saw your post re a SA itinerary in July or August, and while this is ideal game viewing time in the southern hemisphere, it is also quite cold in the mornings and nights. No central heating, rather, fireplaces at some accommodations and hot water bottles in the bed. This is not to dissuade you for SA.

Also looking at the accommodations you selected including the Rovos rail between Pretoria and CPT, you do have a sizeable budget to deal with.

As to where you will be guaranteed better animals sightings - no guarantees. These are animals. And after 5 trips myself, on some trips I've seen more, on others less, and not tillthe 5th, did I see a leopard. And when in Chobe in Botswana knows for large elephant herds in excess of 30,000, we saw all of 3.

However, July and August are perfect for East Africa as this is the start of the wildebeest (zebra and antelope) migration from the Serengeti in Tanzania into the Masai Mara in Kenya. Of course, it is never an absolute schedule when the herds will start to move - alot depends on the rains and new grazing lands, so it can be earlier or later, but by July the herds should be in Northern Tanzania; but August would be the perfect month. So if game viewing is of primary interest, I would pass on Samburu and Tsavo and concentrate on the Masai Mara, the Ngorongoro Crater and Northern Serengeti, and then head out to Zanzibar for some R&R at the end.

You can arrive into NBO and depart Kilimanjaro (JRO) or Dar-es-Salaam (DAR). Check KLM and/or BA for their flight schedules.

Spend the first night (maybe even first day) in NBO (The Stanely Hotel), then fly out to the Mara for 3-4 days (Mara Explorer, or Olonana - both small lux camps ideally situated for the migration), then return fly to NBO and fly to JRO. You can drive (it's rather long) or fly to Lk.Manyara airport and road transfer (about 2-hrs) to Ngorongoro Crater (Crater Lodge) 2-nts including full day in the Crater.

Then drive to the Serengeti with stop in Central Serengeti at the Serena for 1-nt, then continue onto Migration Camp or Klein's Camp for 3-4 days. The reason for the 1-nt. stop is that it's hard on the guide/driver, as well as, your bottoms. And while you can fly to this Northern Serengeti area, you'd have to return to Lk. Manyara to catch the flight. I'm not big on going back only to go forward. Besides, even though a long drive, it's safari straight through - never know what you'll see along the way.

Then from the Northern Serengeti you can return fly to Arusha then fly to Zanzibar for your remaining time. Yes, there are fully crewed dhows available, but I don't have/know specifics. However, you may want to stay on Mnemba Island which is off the coast of ZNZ and private and expensive. From here you can return fly to DAR or JRO for flight home.

I would suggest you contact Roy Safaris - email them with what you are looking for, your dates and get a price. While Roys specializes in Tanzania, they can arrange to coordinate the Kenya portion for you.

Let us know what you decide.

Sep 20th, 2004, 08:31 AM
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Thanks Sandi-
We are really deciding between two different itineraries. Once for South Africa and one for East Africa - Kenya/Tanzania. I have eliminated the "need" to visit Zanzibar and visit the beach if we stay in East Africa. We spend plenty of time visiting doing wonderful trips to the Carribean and so want to focus on game viewing. In Kenya/Tanzania it would be CCAfrica most of the way -- Kichwa, Grumeti,Kleins, Manyara Tree Lodge and than Crater. If we go in August, as planned, should the whole thing be reversed so that we end in the Mara instead of starting there since the migration is going south to north?
BTW- I know they are expensive, but I must say that the person we are dealing with at CC has been fabulous . .responding to e-mails, tweaking two different itineraries without a blink.
AmyH is offline  
Sep 20th, 2004, 02:21 PM
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AmyH -
Ok, without Zanzibar, and more time for safari, do Tanzania first, ending in the Mara. The only issue I have is the stay at Lake Manyara Tree Lodge. The reason, is that Tarangire National Park is the better place to stop, having it's own migration, though smaller then at the Mara and Northern Serengeti. However, CCA doesn't have a property here. You should ask them whether they can get you something here, even if it's not one of their own. I would suggest Kikoti or Swala, the latter I believe you'll really like. Maybe they can, maybe not.

So while CCA has been very responsive, as they should be, I still suggest you contact Roy Safaris who can get the same CCA properties you want, maybe even at a better price, yes; and Roy Safaris will definitely be able to get you accommodations at Tarangire.

- You can fly into Kilimanjaro (JRO) which arrives late and stay in Arusha. Here the Serena Mountain Village is great for overnight.
- Then head out to Tarangire for 2-nts.
- Then onto Ngorongoro Crater for 2-nts at the Crater Lodge, including full day in crater.
- From here you head into the Serengeti - is CCA planning to fly you there? or drive? But the Grumeti River should be next which is in the Western Serengeti for 2-nts.
- Ending time in Tanzania with a drive to Northern Serengeti at Klein's for 3-nts.
- From Klein's you should fly back to Arusha/JRO to connect to flight to Nairobi (NBO) connecting with the afternoon flight to the Mara staying at Kichwa Tembo for 4-nts.
Question: Which Kichwa Tembo camp is CCA considering for you? The larger has 40-tents, while Batelaur only 9-tents; you know which one is more expensive then the other?
- At the conclusion of time in the Mara, you can fly back to NBO (The Stanley) and spend a day doing the sightseeing things,
- Finally, homeward bound from NBO.
Believe that covers your 15-days.

Reminder - do contact Roys Safaris*; it's good to have at least two bids for a trip.
* I have no involvement with Roys, but they have excellent prices, great service, most attentive and are the company most often chosen by other tour operators (like A&K) to handle their overbookings. Amy, it's just another email.

Let us know how this works for you and which destination you choose.
Sep 21st, 2004, 07:12 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 204
Again, thanks. Without the beach, I was thinking of adding Tortili's at Amboseli, not Tarangire. Any thoughts between the two parks?
I have contacted Roy's and also go2Africa as well as CC in order to have a full range of options.
AmyH is offline  
Sep 21st, 2004, 08:13 AM
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So, something like this?
1. Arrive in Arusha - Serena Mountain Village (1 night)
2. (possibly Tarangire 2 nights - Swala - or later 2 nights in Amboseli -- not sure which to choose)
3. Crater Lodge (2 nights)flight to
4. Grumeti River (2 nights) flight to
5. Kleins Camp (3 nights) flight to
6 Kichwa Tembo (4 nights)

Is it overkill to add Amboseli to West,North Serengeti and the Mara?
Better to add in Tarangire and not include Amboseli or add Tarangire and Amboseli but not go to both Kleins and Grumeti?
CC quote includes flights between Kichwa and Grumeti and Kleins and Manyara airstrip.
AmyH is offline  
Sep 21st, 2004, 06:12 PM
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Amy -
I wouldn't cancel Tarangire. As I mentioned there is a migration here as well as the Northern Serengeti and Mara. Amboseli is a lovely park and known for it's elephants, and a good choice to add on to your time in Kenya.

So by adding Amboseli, you have to omit something. My choice would be the Grumeti River Camp which being in the Western Serengeti is really out of the path of the Migration at this time (end June-beginning July would have been good here).

So if you include Amboseli, I would do this before the Mara. Reason: "save the best for last." Amazing how I plan by my little sayings.

After flying from Klein's to Arusha, I would suggest you do a road transfer into Kenya and onto Amboseli. Of course, you can choose to fly to NBO on the scheduled 1pm flight, but the scheduled flight to Amboseli is early morning and you will have missed this; unless you want to pay for a private charter (expensive) - the reason I suggest the road transfer.

It's about 1-hr on paved road to the Namanga border crossing, then about 1-1/2 to 2-hrs to Amboseli. I would recommend Tortilis Camp here. When finished with your 2-days here, you can fly back to NBO; it's an early flight and you might just make the 10am flight to the Mara. If not and have to wait for the 3pm flight (unless you choose a private charter - again expensive).

While in NBO make arrangements for driver so you can do some shopping and have lunch at The Carnivore Restaurant. Then back to the airport and fly to the Mara to enjoy your last 4-days.

I'm sure the quotes from all three tour operators will include the price for the flights.

Amy - it's coming together! Now all you have to do is make decisions.

Sep 22nd, 2004, 04:53 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 723
I agree with Sandi about omitting Grumeti. Was wondering why you were going there in the first place, when your better off going to Kleins in the northern part for the time of year you are looking to travel! And I too would not cut out Tarangire. Great park. If you opt for Amboseli, definitely stay at Tortilis!
SusanLynne is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 08:14 AM
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Thanks for the quick response! You are all so helpful. If ever traveling to Northern Spain, France I hope I can return the favors!
So,something like this:
Arrive in Arusha - Serena Mountain Village (1 night).
road transfer to Tarangire
Tarangire 2 nights - Swala
(road transfer to Crater?)
Crater Lodge (2 nights)flight to
Kleins Camp (3 nights) Flight to Arusha and road transfer to
Amboseli - Tortili's (2 nights)
Kichwa Tembo (3 nights)

Looks great. Lots of different landscapes, movement but with logic and purpose. Mostly smaller sized camps helps alleviate the need for a private guide. So, now I have to decide between SA and Kenya/Tanzania as I have two super itineraries! I'll let you know what happens next!
AmyH is offline  
Sep 26th, 2004, 10:56 AM
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Tweak me! Tweak me!
Here is the "final" itinerary that I plan to get final quotes on. A few questions about road transfer v. short flights are imbedded in the itinerary:

Arrive in Arusha - Coffee Lodge or Serena Mountain village(1 night).

Road Transfer to Tarangire -- how long is this? v. flight to Manyara Air strip and road transfer -- what is cost here? I'm thinking we give up flight here.

Tarangire (2 nights) - Swala. Enough time? Any thoughts on Swala v. Kikoti? ATR is high on Mawe Ninga for the value, but I'm leaning toward Sandi's recommendation of Swala.

Road Transfer Tarangire to Crater -- ?This seems to make sense to drive.

Crater Lodge (2 nights)Flight to

Kleins Camp (3 nights) Flight to Arusha and road transfer to

Amboseli - Tortili's (2 nights) flight to Kenya and transfer to

Kichwa Tembo - Bateleur (3 nights). If possible.
Flight to Nairobi.

So, for a first trip to Africa, in August, with family, does this seem right? We have minimized the 1 night stands and tried to eliminate backtracking and included four different parks-- Tarangire, Serengeti, Amboseli, Mara-- with accomodation of lodges and tents. Is it enough time and the right combination? We could probably add one more day here or there. Do we have a water opportunity to see hippo?
Finally, we will be using miles to get to Europe from the US and then flying on from there. I assume the best route is to get ourselves to London and use either BA or Kenya Air to Nairobi but if anyone has suggestions on other European departure points/airlines that may be more cost efficeint, please advise. We are using United miles so we can get to London, Paris or Amsterdam fairly easily.
Thanks everyone!
AmyH is offline  
Sep 27th, 2004, 04:44 AM
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AmyH - It appears you've "tweaked" very well on your own.

The itinerary looks fine.

Arusha on arrival - OK

Tarangire - it's a straight drive south from Arusha on a paved road (not a super highway) about 90-miles and an easy ride. Once you're at the park, you start your first game drive till you arrive at your lodgings here. Flying here does't make sense, as just to get to Manyara airport, you have to drive almost as far as the drive to Tarangire; and you know how I feel about going out of ones way to get somewhere - Tarangire is an easy drive.

As to Mawe Ninga, it's a new camp which looks lovely and the price is less then Swala. I gather it hasn't yet been promoted by many outfitters because they're probably waiting for "new-opening kinks" to be worked out - only a guess. But this camp is located within the park, whereas the other two are outside the park. The later two give you the option for night game drives which cannot be done within the park boundaries - but it gives you a third option here. Your decision.

Ngorongoro Crater (Crater Lodge) - also on paved road. Back on the paved road north out of Tarangire, then a left turn towards Manyara onto the Crater. Longer then drive to Tarangire, but an easy drive; you'll arrive in afternoon, probably for late lunch. You will likely have time to go into the Crater for late game drive. The following day, you'll have a full-day in the Crater.

N.Serengeti (Klein's) - no question, this should be a fly.

Arusha/Amboseli in Kenya (Tortilis) - definitely fly from Klein's to Arusha and then the road transfer via the Namanga border to Amboseli. Figure 3-hrs.

Masai Mara (Kichwa Tembo, Bateleur) - fly from Amboseli to Nairobi then fly onto the Mara for the remaining 3-days.

If you add day/s to the itinerary, do this at either Klein's or at the Mara; you may also want to consider a day in Nairobi before your homebound flight.

Hippos - at most all bodies of water - definitely at the Crater, Mara River; likely at Tarangire and Amboseli - so you're set with this.

Regarding flights - you don't mention from where in the States you are departing, but BA in London Heathrow (LHR) has flight daiily; KLM from Amsterdam (AMS) has flight daily to Nairobi and Kilimanjaro (JRO). Since you're commencing trip in Arusha (a short drive from JRO airport) you might consider flying into JRO and leaving from NBO. BA flies NBO and Dar-es-Salaam, but not JRO.

Your UA-FF miles can get you to both LHR and AMS. If you have lots and lots of UA-FF miles (95K for each of you) you can get all the way to NBO via Emirates Air. From the States via London on UA, connect to Emirates via Dubai* where they have at least 4 flights daily to NBO. These UA-FF miles don't seem to be able to be used on Kenya Air, that's why I mentioned the Emirates Air option.
*Dubai is also a nice stop, maybe on your return for a few days. A westernized Arab country, great hotels, food, activities, and shopping 24/7. Check the Emirates site for various packages available.

Suggest you contact all three airlines directly for their schedules and fares if you'll be paying for the Europe to Africa leg. Most BA and KLM have excellent layover connection times going to NBO or JRO, but the return layovers on KLM aren't that favorable. As far as Kenya Air, the layover going to Africa leaves you a full day in Europe, as it's a night departure. My information is based on departures from NYC, so you have to verify for flights from your home city. I would also suggest you contact air consolidators for what flights (carriers) they have and fares from these European hubs to compare prices. Suggest you book this adventure for the last part of August.

Amy - The trip is looking great.


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