Kenya-Tanzania October 05 - need help

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Aug 6th, 2005, 01:16 PM
  #1
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Kenya-Tanzania October 05 - need help

We are traveling to Africa for the first time, arriving in Nairobi on the evening of September 29th and leaving Nairobi on the morning of October 14th. Our primary interest is wildlife viewing/photography. We would also like to meet indigenous cultures that are not made-for-tourists. From reading trip reports on the internet we would prefer to stay in private tented camps and drive in a 4x4 - we want to avoid the crowds but we would be ok sharing the experience with another couple.

Here is our draft itinerary:
Sept 29 Arrive Nairobi (where to sleep?)
Sept 30 Drive to Maasai Mara (where to camp?)
Oct 1 Full day Maasai Mara
Oct 2 Drive Maasai Mara - Amboseli (where to camp?)
Oct 3 Full day exploring Amboseli
Oct 4 Drive Amboseli-Tarangire (where to camp?)
Oct 5 Full day exploring Tarangire
Oct 6 Drive Tarangire-Lake Manyara
Oct 7 Full day Lake Manyara
Oct 8 Drive Lake Manyara-Ngorongoro
Oct 9 Full day Ngorongoro crater rim
Oct 10 Ngorongoro crater floor
Oct 11 Drive Ngorongoro-Arusha National Park
Oct 12 Full day exploring Arusha National Park
Oct 13 Drive Arusha-Nairobi (where to sleep?)

Is this feasible? Are we rushing too much (no idea of distances)?
Are these places best for wildlife in October?
Anything else you would recommend (e.g. where to visit local tribes)?
We are thinking of using Nomad Tanzania for camping in Tanzania, any other recommendations? Can they do Kenya too?
Who should we bid the trip out?

Any help appreciated.

Thanks,
JL
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Aug 6th, 2005, 03:17 PM
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Hi JL

I'm short on time so I cannot provide a revised itinerary but I can give you some pointers.

Your current itinerary is the standard tourist circuit and not off-the-beaten track. On this circuit you have to venture far from the road to meet indigenous cultures that are not made-for-tourists!

In late Sep the focus of your trip MUST be the Masai Mara. At least 3 nights if you fly from Nairobi, 4 nights if you drive because you will spend one day each way on the road!

I'd do the Masai Mara (the highlight) last.

Fly to Kilimanjaro Airport, do Tarangire & Ngorongoro then fly to Wilson Airport and drive or fly to the Mara from there. Return to Nairobi and fly home.

Driving to Amboseli is out of the way if you are planning to go to Tanzania. I'd skip it.

Lake Manyara & Tarangire on the same trip is a bit much. You can do Manyara on a day trip if there is something you want to see. Stay another night at Tarangire or Ngorongoro if you want to do some cultural walks.

Ngorongoro is a must-see. The crater will be busy but you can do walks and interesting drives from there. There are beautiful areas in the NCA (such as Gol Mountains, etc) where few tourists go.

Arusha National park does not need a full day. In a long afternoon (starting with lunch inside the park), you can see it all.

What kind of camping? Private and Ultra-luxury, or private and comfortable?

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Aug 6th, 2005, 09:23 PM
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I think the Kenya portion is too rushed. You should consider either adding flights between destinations or a longer stay in the Mara. Nairobi to Mara will be about 6 hours each direction. Mara to Amboseli is via Nairobi so add an additional 4 hours to the Mara-Nairobi drive.

Are you looking for totally private camping for just your party? Is this for 2005 or 2006?
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Aug 6th, 2005, 09:51 PM
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Sorry, I see from the title of your post that this is for 2005.

Here are a few operators that I've come across that offer private mobile camping in Kenya. However, I've never contacted or used any of them.

www.timtrenchsafaris.com
www.chelipeacocksafaris.com
www.jksafaris.com

Hopefully someone else can provide additional suggestions or first hand recommendations. You'll need to get moving quick on your arrangements if you're planning to travel next month!
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Aug 6th, 2005, 10:19 PM
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Thanks everyone for the replies. We are looking to see wildlife and want comfortable camping but not deluxe (i.e. cot but no china). We are also hikers so walking would be nice.

Based on the comments I now have the following draft itinerary:
Sept 29 Arrive Nairobi (where to sleep?)
Sept 30 Fly to Kilimanjaro Airport and Arusha National Park
Oct 1 Drive to Tarangire (where to camp?)
Oct 2 Full day exploring Tarangire
Oct 3 Full day exploring Tarangire
Oct 4 Drive to Ngorongoro (where to camp?)
Oct 5 Full day Ngorongoro
Oct 6 Full day Ngorongoro
Oct 7 Full day Ngorongoro
Oct 8 Fly to Maasai Mara Wilson Airport
Oct 9 Full day exploring Maasai Mara (where to camp?)
Oct 10 Full day exploring Maasai Mara
Oct 11 Full day exploring Maasai Mara
Oct 12 Full day exploring Maasai Mara
Oct 13 Fly to Nairobi in evening (where to sleep?)

Let me know what you think,
JL
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Aug 7th, 2005, 03:28 AM
  #6
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I believe that you can still visit Amboseli and save on the Precision Air flight from NBO to Arusha. After day of arrival you can drive to Amboseli - about 3/5 - 4 hrs. arriving in time for lunch. You can inquire about mobile camping of consider Porini Camp - small on pvt land adjacent to Amboseli and is all inclusive.

Once you complete your time here, the drive to the border w/Tanzania is about, then you can drive to Arusha, another 1+ hrs. for lunch, then onto Tarangire. Two days is usually more then sufficient here, but you can do 2.5 days before heading to Ngorongoro. Mobile camping is done at Tarangire and a good outfitter can set you up here.

As Climbhig.... says - you don't also need Lake Manyara if doing Tarangire, unless you do 1-nt or an afternoon only before reaching Ngorongoro late.

There is no mobile camping in the Crater, but you'll find areas outside the Crater. Unless you plan your 4-days here well, with other activities - treks, etc. 2-days would be sufficient. But since you are active travelers, be specific with an outfitters what you want to fill your days here. Or cut it to 3-days.

When leaving here you can make a brief stop at Olduvai Gorge before return drive to Arusha, for afternoon at Arusha NP with lunch, even a canoe safari. You should overnight here. The following morning you can arrange a cultural tour before taking afternoon (about 1:30pm flight to Wilson in NBO for connecting flight to the Mara.

Conclude your safari in the Mara at minimum 4-days. Camping is available or you can choose a semi-permanent camp - Elephant Pepper Camp on private conservation land adjacent to the Mara is lovely, with comfy tents, bush showers, wonderful hosts and excellent meals.

Then fly from the Mara and if this is an extra day, you may enjoy doing some sightseeing in NBO and shopping. Before taking your homebound flight

End-Sept/Early-Oct is still the high-season, so it will be difficult to always avoid crowds, but you can minimise the numbers.

At this late date, you may have no other choice but to take what is available in either Kenya or Tanzania as most everything is booked with many waiting for opening space.

I'd contact Roy Safaris at www.roysafaris.com thru their "contact us" page for the Tanzania portion. And contact Wildrek Safaris at [email protected] with your requirements for Kenya. These two companies work with one another and provide smooth hand-overs at borders and airports.

Lots of luck.
 
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Aug 7th, 2005, 06:26 AM
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I understand that there are hiking and canoeing opportunities in the Lake Manyara area as well. If 'our of vehicle' activities are of interest to you, you may want to consider adding a night here back to your itinerary on the way from Tarangire to Ngorongoro. Just a thought. Otherwise I think your new itinerary looks great.

Ask the outfitters where and if they can secure private campsites at this point. Be very specific in your emails to outfitters as to your requirements (i.e. special campsites not public campsites, cots, etc.) and interests (hiking and anything else you might be interested in).

Good luck!
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Aug 7th, 2005, 11:54 AM
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That should read 'out of vehicle'.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 06:24 PM
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Thanks to everyone here, this is the trip that we are asking quotes for:

Sept 29 Arrive Nairobi in the evening (hotel?)
Sept 30 Drive to Amboseli
Sleep at Porini Camp
Oct 1 Explore Amboseli
Drive to Tarangire in the late afternoon
Sleep in park (e.g. Oliver’s Tented Camp)
Oct 2 Full day exploring Tarangire
Oct 3 Full day exploring Tarangire
Oct 4 Drive to Ngorongoro in the morning, explore crater rim
Sleep at mobile camp?
Oct 5 Full day Ngorongoro
Oct 6 Full day Ngorongoro (Empakaai Crater/Olmoti Crater/Mt. Lemagrut)
Oct 7 Drive to Arusha National Park via Olduvai Gorge
Explore Arusha park
Sleep at Mountain Village Lodge
Oct 8 Visit Ng’iresi village and Fly to Maasai Mara
Sleep at mobile camp or Elephant Pepper Camp
Oct 9 Full day exploring Maasai Mara
Oct 10 Full day exploring Maasai Mara
Oct 11 Full day exploring Maasai Mara
Oct 12 Full day exploring Maasai Mara
Oct 13 Fly to Nairobi in evening (hotel?)
Oct 14 Depart Nairobi AM

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Aug 8th, 2005, 02:54 AM
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kleptolux -

The itinerary is coming together. You still show ? in Nairobi. Is it a budget questions, or want ideas of "where?" There is the Intercontinental, a western hotel, but lovely rooms and good rates and the area is nice, businesslike, restaurants, pool, gym, business center, shops and even a casino. There may be some refurbishing of rooms going on... so I'd check on this and be sure you're at the other end of the hotel. It is more a businessmen's hotel... we saw few safari goers here. And it's one of the closest hotels from/to the airport - about 20-minutes.

You can consider the Fairview with lovely gardens, a family run hotel and a gem. There's the Mayfair, the Jacaranda in the mid-range. The Norfolk, The Stanley, The Serena will be expensive. If you have Hilton points, consider the Hilton "which is a Hilton" but a great shop for souvenirs on street level "The Collector's Den." If you consider going out to the Nairobi suburb of Karen - these will be more costly.

We stayed at the Intercontinental and found it suit our needs perfectly - especially price.

We stayed at Elephant Pepper on our recent trip and loved the camp and the hosts Gillian and Paul Wood are fantastic; Paul has a wonderful sense of humor and if you can have Mischak as your guide, you'll have one of the best. Meals were great and the bush breakfast was outstanding and lots of fun.

The Porini Camp hasn't been used by many who have posted here, so we'd like a report on this when you return.

It's looking good. Glad to help.

 
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Oct 24th, 2005, 01:52 PM
  #11
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We ended up using Roy's Safari in Tanzania and WildTrek (who resold to safari Seekers) in Kenya.
Amboseli - We camped at the public camp run by the Maasai. Huts over permanent tents. Mattresses on the floor. Gorgeous view of Kilimanjaro as you open the tent. Cold water showers. Western toilets. Locks on the tents. VERY close to wildlife although fenced in the middle of the park (Had elephant and gazelle in the camp). Recommended

Tarangire - Camped in the park. Pitched the tent and awoke to giraffe and zebra grazing near the tent. No fence and no armed gard provided. Nobody else in the camp.

Ngorongoro - camped on the crater rim with nobody else in the camp. Armed guard provided. Lion roamed into the camp at night. Awoke to beautiful view of the crater. Recommended.

Empakai Crater - Camped on the crater rim with nobody else in the camp. Armed guard provided. Leopard crossed the camp at night. Went to sleep with flamingos flying over our tent. Recommend.

Masai Mara - Camped at the Safari Seeker camp. Very dirty. A few people in the camp. Hot showers and western toilets (clean). Vervet monkeys - watch for your food. Cooking ok. Maasai guards at tents. Elephants roamed around the camp. Baboons crossed the camp. Would recommend if they cleaned up the garbage.

Hope that helps others.
JL
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Oct 24th, 2005, 02:18 PM
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JL,
Thanks for the quick update! Could you clarify what you meant by "WildTrek (who resold to safari Seekers) in Kenya"? Was WildTrek originally supposed to be your ground operator and a change was made? Were you informed of this prior to departure?

Also originally you had mentioned wanting some sort of private/mobile camping experience or stay at Porini and Elephant Pepper Camp in Kenya, were these not available or did you change your mind? What happened?
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Oct 24th, 2005, 02:48 PM
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I would say that Porini and Elephant Pepper were out of the price range of public camp sites that kleptolux wound up using.

Unfortunately, where there are people and food those rascal vervet monkeys will make a mess out of any place. Not unlike bears in the national parks here in the States. Still it's no excuse to clean up the place to avoid repeat visitors. I would suggest you convey this situation to Safari Seekers.
 
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Oct 30th, 2005, 06:47 PM
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Patty,

WildTrek was the one contracted with but they said that they don't do camping. They put us with Safari Seekers (still just the 2 of us). I guess it is because they don;t have camps and Safari Seekerks has camps. The first Safari Seekers guide was not very knowledgeable about birds but the second one (after complaining) was great.
The change in opreator was a surprise to us. We learned it on arrival.

As for private camping, we wanted to sleep inside the park as much as possible and be alone which neither Porini nor Elephant Pepper camp would allow (they were almost full).
Wildtrek and Roy's selected camps that were almost empty or where we were alone.

For example, in Tanzania, we paid extra to camp at "special" camps where we would be alone. The price was not an issue, we just wanted to be closer to nature and alone.

JL
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Oct 30th, 2005, 06:51 PM
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Sandi,

The vervets were not that bad and staff had done a good job of increasing the security of the dining room.
I should have explained that the Safari Seekers camp was dirty with old batteries, plastic bottles and bags, rags, etc. Not with food. Still, not an excuse and the only camp we had like that.

JL
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Oct 31st, 2005, 04:03 AM
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sandi
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kleptolux -

Absolutely, no excuse for trash around a camp, expecially, if it wasn't food.
 
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Oct 31st, 2005, 06:48 AM
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Thanks for the clarification, JL.
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