Kenya Tanzania itineray - advice please

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Sep 22nd, 2004, 01:45 PM
  #1
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Kenya Tanzania itineray - advice please

I've just found this forum whilst browsing for info on Kenya and Tanzania and would like your advice.
I have posted my possible Kuoni itinery for our trip, hopefully end January 2005.
It seems to cover where we want to go but I'd like some opinions.

Nairobi: 1 night
Masai Mara: 2 nights
Amboseli: 2 nights
Ngorongoro: 2 nights
Lake Victoria: 1 night
Serengeti: 2 nights
Lake Manyara: 1 night
Beach: optional

Day 1 Sat
Kenya Airways from Heathrow to Nairobi.

Day 2 Sun
Overnight at the Nairobi Serena.

Day 3 Mon
Fly by light aircraft to the Mara Serena for two nights. Enjoy an afternoon game drive in 4x4 vehicles and overnight.

Day 4 Tue
Morning and afternoon game drives in the Masai Mara. .

Day 5 Wed
Today drive to the Kenya and Tanzania border with picnic lunches meeting your Tanzania 4x4 vehicle to continue the journey to Lake Victoria and Speke Bay for overnight. (approx 110 miles).
NOTE ? Speke Bay lodge??

Day 6 Thu
Enjoy an early morning canoe safari on Lake Victoria before continuing to the Serengeti, game viewing en route to Mbuzi Mawe your camp for tonight. (approx 95 miles).

Day 7 Fri
A full day in the Serengeti with morning and afternoon game drives. Overnight at Mbuzi Mawe Camp.

Day 8 Sat
Game drive en route to Ngororngoro Crater stopping at Olduvai Gorge. After lunch enjoy an afternoon nature walk and overnight at the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge. (approx. 130 miles).

Day 9 Sun
A full day with picnic lunches in the Crater and overnight at the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge.

Day 10 Mon
Drive to Lake Manyara in the Rift Valley enjoying a village walk before an afternoon game drive. Overnight at Lake Manyara Serena. (approx. 55 miles).

Day 11 Tue
Drive to Arusha and the border at Namanga where you change vehicle before continuing to Amboseli and the Serena Lodge for two nights. Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives against the backdrop of Mt Kilimanjaro. (approx. 460 miles).

Day 13 Thu
Return to Nairobi for your Kenya Airways flight to Heathrow arriving the following day.

Thanks in advance for any help here
phil16 is offline  
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Sep 22nd, 2004, 02:01 PM
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Phil16,
In the past we have used Kuoni for various escorted tours and have always been pleased with the service and the value for money we felt we were getting.

However more recently we have been getting the same, if not better service and significantly improved value for money by booking through tour operators based in-country. Quite often we have been able to arrange private vehicles or improved accomodation and still save money over Kuoni's pricing. So if you feel brave enough to do this then i suggest you search on this board for tour operators (we are off to Tanzania in a few weeks and have booked with Roy Safaris (www.roysafaris.com). Send them your proposed itinerary and see how it compares with Kuoni.

In terms of the itinerary, I have only stayed at the Mara Serena - very nice and excellent game viewing when we were there (however it was September and not January).

There are others on this board who have much more experience in East Africa and can advise on itinerary at this time of year. My only comment would be that you are moving around alot with stays of no more than 2 nights in any one place. I would recommend that you maybe cut the locations and try and spend 3 nights in either Mara or Serengeti - just to give yourself time to draw breath!
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Sep 22nd, 2004, 02:15 PM
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Thanks for your reply.
I had seen Roysafaris mentioned but didn't realise they would "do" Kenya too. I think I'll do as you suggest and mail them.
On your point about stops - this is Kuoni's itinery and the closest package we could get to fit in where we want to go in the time frame we have.
If I had to drop anything what would you suggest?
I wondered if we should stop over a last night in Nairobi before the flight home - worth it do you think??
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Sep 22nd, 2004, 02:38 PM
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You seem to be entering Tanzania from Lake Victoria which is different, but more important is "where is Mbuzi Mawe camp located exactly. If only 95 miles from Lake Victoria, it's in the wrong place the the "calving" season that takes place in the Southeastern Serengeti between January - February.

I have to agree with RuthieC, that you should be spending more time in the Mara and especially in the Serengeti. Also, not knowing your budget, but knowing the great distances between your various stops, you should consider a flight or two - your rear will be greatly appreciate this act on your part. We're not talking super highways, rather dusty bumpy roads throughout both countries.

As to Roy Safaris - while Tanzania is their home and primary emphasis, they can certainly arrange/coordinate the Kenya portion of an itinerary.
 
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Sep 22nd, 2004, 04:36 PM
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Sandi I haven't managed to pinpoint it yet but I did find this -
<Ranger Safaris use a number of lodges and other permanent tented camps throughout Tanzania, as well as owning our own semi-permanent camp, Mbuzi Mawe. This is a deluxe camp, situated within the Serengeti National Park.>
not much good really!

I take both you and RuthieC's points about longer stays on locations - it will be interesting to see what Roy Safari comes up with. Is there any other companies you can suggest I try?
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Sep 22nd, 2004, 07:31 PM
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Mbuzi Mawe camp is located midway between the central Serengeti and the northern Serengeti lodges. Its a dump, some old, small green tents and a horde of hungry Tsetse flies. We got there and refused to stay, the only time we have ever done this.

If you are coming from Victoria you will be driving hard all day just to get to the camp. There aren't any good game viewing areas in the vicinity of the camp, and no close game viewing loops, so you will be driving for about an hour before you even begin to get anywhere that you can see something.

Recommend you stay in either the central Serengeti, where all the big lodges are, or the northern Serengeti, where there a couple of nice camps (Kleins or Migration) or a scruffy wildlife lodge with great views. There are many more wildlife viewing roads in either of these areas.

We booked through Roy Safaris and were immensely pleased with their services and prices. The Mbuzi Mawe episode occurred because the place they planned for us (Migration Camp) hadn't finished rebuilding. When we refused to stay at Mbuzi Mawe, the Roys manager got personally involved and found us accomodations, not easy in the high season in the Serengeti, upgraded us to the Crater Lodge for our last two nights,then refunded money because of the difference in costs between Mbuzi Mawe and a wildlife lodge we ended up staying in. You won't get that kind of service from a company in the states.

By the way, we stayed 14 nights in Tanzania in mostly great places with a private driver and car for the four of us for about $2500 per person.

One other note, I think you are trying to go too many places for the time you have. you may want to reduce your moves and increase your game viewing time.
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Sep 23rd, 2004, 03:34 AM
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phil16: Sandi is correct. For the time of year you are looking to travel, you want to stay in the southeastern part of the Serengeti, or just outside in the Ndutu area. The furthest away you want to go is the Serengeti Serena. There is Serengeti Camp in Ndutu and the Ndutu Safari Lodge, but, again, those are filling up fast, if not completely filled up. I would respectfully disagree with Scout52's recommendation you stay in the northern part at either Migration or Kleins. The southern part is where the action is (rains willing!) with the migration.
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Sep 23rd, 2004, 04:03 AM
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Thanks to you both for info on Mbuzi Mawe. Have to say I'm surprised a company like Kuoni picks such an "iffy" location?? When was this Scout52?
I haven't had any response from Roys as yet but feel I have tightened up the where and what of our trip thanks to input here.
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Sep 24th, 2004, 12:30 AM
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SusanLynne, you are absolutely correct. I got so involved in warning against Mbuze Mawe that I forgot about phil16's planned trip dates.

Phil16, we were at Mbuzi Mawe during the last week of July this year. I think the tour agencies use it as a fall back when nothing else is available. The camp has room for 20? people, but no one had been there the night before we arrived, and no one else was scheduled the next two nights except us. This was during a period when all the other Serengeti accommodations were overflowing. Thar says something to me.

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Sep 25th, 2004, 04:46 AM
  #10
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Scout52 thanks for expanding on this. Kuoni were contacted about camp location and standards but were not helpful.
Itinerary could not be changed and no comment about camp.
They still have no accom sorted for day 5 and with the dubious Mbuzi Mawe for days 6 + 7, we have decided against this trip.
Dissappointed in the company but glad to have learned what we have through this forum.
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Sep 25th, 2004, 11:43 PM
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Phil16, I certainly wouldn't cancel the trip, I'd just look for a more reliable operator (of course, I've been badly bitten by the Africa bug and am already scheming to get back!)

There are a lot of good operators out there and you can get a tremendous amount of good advice on this board. If you haven't been to Africa, go!
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Sep 26th, 2004, 02:27 AM
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Scout52, No intentions of cancelling our trip to Africa! - just decided against the Kuoni offer.
Have learned a lot through this forum and think we have a much better deal being worked out now.
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