Kenya-Tanzania Itinerary Help / Suggestions

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Dec 17th, 2005, 09:44 PM
  #1
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Kenya-Tanzania Itinerary Help / Suggestions

I've spent so much time here enthralled in reading and looking at photos... finally I'm shoring up my own itinerary. My first question is -

What would be the best time of year for a visit encompassing the Mara, Lake Nakuru, Samburu, Aberdares/Mt. Kenya, Amboseli, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, and the Serengeti? June? July? October? Neither? That's the one area where I seem to be stuck.

Of course I'm thrilled to even be going to Africa at all, and I love flora and fauna, but my main focus would be animals, animals, and more animals. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Dec 18th, 2005, 05:14 AM
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Here is a link on the best months for the different parks.

The best time in the Mara is often not the best time in the Serengeti, since the animals migrate from one to the other, but both of those destinations are always good.

http://www.africa-adventure.com/dsp_besttime.html
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Dec 18th, 2005, 05:24 AM
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Best time is also found to be high-price time - something to consider when budgetting. Also, more visitors in both countries.

- Western Serengeti, from mid-June thru mid-July is good for catching the migrating Wildebeests and Zebra herds on their way onto the Mara in Kenya
- Tarangire, from mid-June thru October where a mini-migration takes place; lots of elephants, birds, predators, outstanding landscapes.
- Ngorongoro Crater, most all year-round.
- Lk. Manyara, fine all three - June, July and October
- Amboseli, fine all three months, but rather dusty in the drier months of July and October, unless the brief rains come in late October when the green sprouts.
- Samburu, fine all three months
- Lake Nakuru, fine all three months
- Aberdares/Mt.Kenya, fine, but best and greenest during November; but still a good stop whenever.
- Masai Mara, the migrating herds arrive here between mid-July and can stay till late October, sometimes even into November.

You can't really go wrong at any of these parks/reserves during these three months, but remember the prices and the crowds. Ideally, I prefer November into early December (when the North and Northeast Serengeti is good vs the mid-June/July for the Western Serengeti) and every of the other places on your list are good. Prices are usually better and less tourists. Read Mark & Patty's recent trip report for their visit taken mid-November.

An alternative is early June, but due to the just ending "long" rains, the grasses tend to be high at Tarangire, Manyara, Serengeti, Masai Mara - so game viewing (small animals especially) can be difficult to spot... but, again, better prices till June 15 and less visitors.

What year are you planning? 2006 or 2007? At this point, many accommodations for 2006 are booked; 2007 may be a better option for getting the properties you wish, though prices can be expected to increase by 10%.

Hope this helps.
 
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Dec 18th, 2005, 04:09 PM
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And here is that link to Patty and Mark's trip. Right now it is about 23 but by the time you look at this it could be buried.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34719569
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Dec 18th, 2005, 09:32 PM
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Thanks! This gives me a little more to work with. I was leaning toward June-ish but hadn't completely made up my mind. I don't want to be overrun by other tourists yet I want to go at the optimum time, an almost impossible thing, I know.

Sandi - I was thinking of 2006 if it was going to be later in the year, however I've changed that to 2007 since Crater Lodge and Kirawira are on my list.

Another reason for the change is that I've changed my itinerary. Originally I had:

Nairobi (1) - ?
Sweetwaters (2)
Lake Nakuru (1) - Lion Hill Lodge
Masai Mara (2) - ?
Zanzibar (3) - Breezes/Emerson & Green
Lake Manyara (1) - Serena
Ngorongoro Crater (2) - Crater Lodge
Serengeti(3) - Kirawira

...but after really thinking about it (and reading more trip reports!) I felt I was really limiting myself on the Kenya portion and couldn't resist adding Samburu, Amboseli, etc.

I'm also still considering throwing in Tarangire if the trip would fall at the mini-migration time. Or would that be overkill?
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Dec 19th, 2005, 05:07 AM
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If Crater Lodge is a "must" then you should be focusing on 2007. Though with luck you might be able to get space in November 2006.

Kirawira is a beauty, but best when the herds move into the Western Serengeti - mid-June/mid-July. So again, since June/July 2006 is full - again focus on 2007. Sure it seems a long way off, but that's what so many are facing with a banner year for visitors to both Kenya and Tanzania.

Tarangire is my favorite over Manyara with best times mid-June thru end-October (even into Nov... but wonderful also in Jan - Mar).

The Mara, in turn, is at it's peak between mid-June/mid-October for The Migration... but we love it at all times.

It's rather difficult to get all the "best times to visit" at "all parks/reserves" to coincide. And then if you want to avoid crowds and consider your budget - you aren't likely to get it all in one trip.

Looking at the three months, for 2006 - I'd opt for October as you get the tail end of the Migration in the Mara; probably will catch some of the herds as they commence their return into the Northern Serengeti (if Kirawira is a must, you can do a 1 to 2/nts here... though a bit out of the way)... where Migration Camp is a good choice in N. Serengeti for 2-nts.

Tarangire is still good during this month; The Crater fine most all the time as it's rather constant. Amboseli, Samburu, Lk. Nakuru will also be fine in October. And quite a number of properties may have reduced their prices for this month.

Of course, most people think that Safari to Africa will be a "one-time" experience, but as you've read, many of us return again and again. Something to consider. By creating a first safari to cover what is availabe for the last part of 2006; then the balance for June 2007, but if that's too soon to have replenished the travel fund... then late 2007/early 2008. Far off, for sure, but time does go rather quickly.

 
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Dec 19th, 2005, 09:09 AM
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Chiming in on your question of "is it overkill?" Certainly not if your "focus would be animals, animals, and more animals."

The more hours you can spend in the bush the more amazing things you will see. Plus Tarangire has the baobab trees along with the wildlife.

If you have the time to add Amboseli and Samburu--with its unique species not found in the other parks on your itinerary--in Kenya, then Tarangire in Tanzania to your listed itinerary that would be an awesome safari!

Is Crater Lodge a must because you want to experience its well known level of luxury? If so, I can see how nothing else can replace it. If not, there are other lovely Crater accommodations that are less expensive.

I love the suggestion of doing 2 safaris right off the bat!
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Dec 19th, 2005, 01:54 PM
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Actually Sweetwaters would have some of those northern species found in Samburu, but Samburu is such a great park. If it works include it.
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Dec 19th, 2005, 11:16 PM
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Thanks again for your replies. I'm now considering scrapping Crater Lodge (in favor of maybe the Serena?) and working in the other places mentioned, since obviously that would save some money. I've always wanted to stay there but it's not something I would hold out for and sacrifice being able to visit other places, perhaps upgrade accommodations in another location or add a day somewhere. Besides, there's always next time.

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Dec 19th, 2005, 11:31 PM
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Forgive me if this is a dumb question, but my wanderings and readings this week have seemed to confuse me a bit. (Or maybe I just need some sleep...)

Are Sweetwaters, the Ark, Lewa Downs, Samburu in too close proximity to have the need to stay at more than two of those locations? Or is it possible to visit various areas when staying at those properties?

{Example: If you stay at Sweetwaters do you/can you venture around the Mt. Kenya or Lewa Downs areas or do you need to stay specifically in those parks/nearby?}

I guess the distances between parks is what is confusing me right now. In normal travels I know what distances are and aren't alot to me but I know that does not equate to being in Africa on safari because it's a whole different ballgame. So any light that could be shed on this would be greatly appreciated.

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Dec 20th, 2005, 05:46 AM
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>>Are Sweetwaters, the Ark, Lewa Downs, Samburu in too close proximity to have the need to stay at more than two of those locations? Or is it possible to visit various areas when staying at those properties?<<

Sweetwater's in near Mt. Kenya; The Ark is in the Aberdare Mountains (kind of southeast of Mt. Kenya - probably an hours drive +/-)

Samburu is a National Reserve northeast of Sweetwarters, about 2+ hrs drive. Here there are a number of lodges camps - Serena Lodge, Intrepids, Larsens, Elephant Watch Camps; also the new Joys camp. In the Shaba Reserve adjacent to Samburu is Shaba Lodge.

Lewa is a separate conservation area east of Samburu (not sure how long by road, but there are flights if arriving from Nairobi; otherwise private charter flight). Here too there are a number of accommodation choices.

For each park/reserve area you enter, there is a daily fee, so it's not ideal to travel between any of these on a daily basis - time consuming, costly and not ideal. You'd be spending more time getting to/from than game viewing.

Sweetwater's, however, is close enough to Mt.Kenya that you can probably arrange an actvity here - climbing, trekking for additional fees.

Being in the northern areas, you're likely to find similar animals at Samburu/Shaba and Lewa (maybe some at Sweetwaters); The Ark though is completely different in environment and animal species.

 
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Dec 20th, 2005, 06:11 AM
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Sweetwaters, Lewa and maybe Samburu will have similar species, so I don't think you need to visit all three. I'd probably pick two. Aberdare NP (where the Ark is located) is a totally different forested environment with many unique species that aren't found or are rarely seen elsewhere. If you go to the Aberdares, I'd really encourage you to do some game drives inside the park rather than spending your time only at the Ark.

My trip report has some details of our game viewing in Aberdare NP (days 5 & 6) - http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34719569

Here's a link to my photos and perhaps you can get an idea of the difference in species/environment - http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=...&x=0&y=-r5e7ji
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Dec 27th, 2005, 01:47 AM
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Thanks for the clarification. I'll make a choice between Lewa and Samburu.

After reading Patty's report again I'm liking her idea of driving through the Aberdares on the way to Lake Nakuru (perhaps Solio as well since I'm very interested in rhinos). What a wonderful way to see the park without the confines of the Ark. If I'm not mistaken you have to be driven to the Ark and are pretty much left with staring at the waterhole?
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Dec 27th, 2005, 05:21 AM
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safari274

You are right that once you arrive at The Ark, you are there until you depart the next day. You can actually walk around outside in an enclosed area next to the waterhole that allows for close views of animals. I agree that spending time in the Aberdare region, actually in the park, is a good plan.
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Dec 28th, 2005, 01:47 AM
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Thanks, Lynn. The Ark sounds and looks interesting but I think I might become a little antsy. A drive through the park would be a day much better spent.
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Dec 28th, 2005, 02:47 AM
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Just Got back from Kenya and did a safari named "Kenya Eplorer" with MICS tours, It is a spectacular safari as we visited almost all of kenya in 11 Days. The Most fascinating was the Maasai Mara, Samburu and the Central highlands of kenya, ofcourse Amboseli.

The terrains are so varied that I thought we had left Kenya!

We had a night at the sweetwaters camp and we saw chipanzees.

Check out www.micssafaris.com or just use this link to have a look at the safari we've just completed.
We started off from Nairobi and finished in Nairobi.

http://www.micssafaris.com/11_Day_%20Kenya_Explorer.htm

Regards,
Sue
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