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Kenya,Tarangire, Zanzibar experts- more help w/Aug-Sept 06 trip please!

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Oct 6th, 2005, 10:28 AM
  #1
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Kenya,Tarangire, Zanzibar experts- more help w/Aug-Sept 06 trip please!

I have sent my proposed itinerary to Roy's, Good Earth and African Travel Resource (ATR).
Roy's (via Susan at Away to Africa) and GE are about 1k apart in their costs mainly due to the Kenya portion of the trip (Roy is higher). ATR proposes a very different itinerary altogether!
Questions:
Kenya:
We have 2 nights at Larsen's in Samburu then 4 in Mara. Can't decide between
Little Governor's and Il Moran - GE asks $160 per couple / Roys $350 per couple extra for Il Moran per night. Is the extra cost worth it? We will be 4 nights in Mara, I thought maybe 2 at each? Better to stay in one place?
Arusha:
Nurgudoto Hotel chalet v. Arusha Coffee Lodge
Is Coffee Lodge worth an extra $90? The Nurgudoto complex looked a little corporate to me in the pictures but it is only one night.
Tarangire:
Swala v. Treetops. GE offers Treetops w/ Swala $90 extra. Roy's offers Swala w/ Treetops $120 extra! They both sound cool to me. Treetops out of park but interesting and bush babies. Swala in park= more animals.

We have one night at Gibb's farm on the way to Ngorongoro- Roy suggests to skip and go directly from Tarangire to Ngorongoro and stay one night instead of two at NCL. GE gives a game drive in Manyara on the way to Gibbs. Manyara worth the stop? One night in Crater enough?

Zanzibar: 4 nights with last one at Emerson and Green.
Matemwe Bungalow or Palms for the other 3? The lack of air-conditioning at Matemwe may be a problem for me, other than that it looks very interesting.
Palms looks like a dream. If we skipped Gibbs and one night at NCL we could splurge for Palms. Again, I don't know what to do.

ATR suggests 4 nights Mara at Little Governors (no Samburu)
Is Samburu a must?
1 night Moivaro Coffee Lodge-?
2 nights Tarangire Swala or Mawe Ninga
1 night NCL
4 nights Serengeti-one at Olduvai and 3 at Olsokwan or Migration camp. I don't know anything about these. I thought it not a good idea for Serengeti in Sept?
4 nights Zanzibar-Matemwe Bungalow/E&G
One thing I like about ATR is that Nick stressed interaction with the local folks and neither of the others did.
Does it make sense to add Olduvai and skip the rest of the Serengeti trip?

7-8k per person seems to be the norm for all three with shared vehicles. I know NCL and Palms are extreme.
Any comments and suggestions welcome!


oforparis is offline  
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Oct 6th, 2005, 11:17 AM
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Sorry can't help you with much except to encourage you to stay all 4 nights in the Mara in one spot. We stayed 4 nights in the Mara this past month and found the safaris tiring enough that I would value anything that makes things simpler and more relaxed.

Lawrence
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Oct 6th, 2005, 01:50 PM
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Thanks Sunny, I appreciate your input. I enjoyed your trip report.
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Oct 6th, 2005, 02:33 PM
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I agree, no need to change lodges in the Masai Mara; both of your choices are in the same general vicinity and you'll see the same animals from each.

Samburu is an excellent park, with lots of interesting wildlife, but definitely visit before the Mara, since the Mara has so much more wildlife that any park immediately thereafter can be relatively disappointing.

Also, depending on when you're visiting, it may not make sense to visit both the Masai Mara and the Serengeti, since they are two sections of the same large ecosystem.
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Oct 6th, 2005, 03:05 PM
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oforparis -

September is a wonderful time to spend on safari, though it is high season. High season because the Migration is taking place in the Mara in Kenya.

I would never send anyone to the Serengeti at this time unless they signed a disclaimer of "I told you so." Sure you will find cats and some girafee and baboons and birds... but the action is in Kenya.

If you're considering Little Governors or Moran, go for the Il Moran and do the 4-days. Samburu is a must if you're in Kenya, but while Larsen's has recently been remodeled, they don't offer camel safaris if this is of interest. You might want to consider the Serena Lodge, Samburu Intrepids or go for the whole enchelada and select Bedouin Camp. Elephant Watch Camp is here and they are heavy into the elephant project up here, but I personally find their tents too eclectic and would never be able to sleep here. You can always arrange a visit to Elephant Watch to see what they are doing with the ellees. So you have some choices up here.

If you only have a night in Arusha, $90 is a bit much to pay just to sleep. Yes, Moivaro Coffee is lovely, but $90 is steep and you only get breakfast. Ngurduto's Chalet rooms are 3-rooms, plenty of space to spread out and relax. With a jacuzi bath, hairdryer and a TV in the livingroom. Definitely not the Coffee Lodge, but with a pool, spa and just different.

At Tarangire, there have been a number of threads/posts re Treetops here. It's a lovely camp with great accommodations in the trees and apparently wonderful meals. However, the negative is that it is at least a 40-45 minute drive from the Park. Even though night drives are available, there really aren't that many animals outside the park. Swala on the other hand is inside the park, smaller and more intimate... and A&K property, so you're not slouching here. I suggest you toss a coin with these two. Bush babies are cute if you ever get to see them, but you will certainly hear them... they make a racket! Do you want to try to sleep with these howling though the night (not really through the night, but they do screetch and for how long???)

Now to the Crater - if you really want to blow it all for lux, then have lunch at Gibbs Farm on the way to the Crater. Overnight here, then do you Crater tour the next morning. In the afternoon drive back to Arusha for your ongoing. If a late flight to ZNZ, otherwise o/n here and go out early the next morning.

On Zanzibar - Matemwe vs Palm - not apples to apples; rather $1 vs $100... much difference. Matemwe Bungalows have only 17-room, 2 with air conditioning. We found the ceiling fans "just didn't cut it" (a recent thread mentioned they loved Matemwe, but the room was like a sauna for sleeping). There is no guarantee that the breeze will be caught up in such a way to breeze through your room. The Palms is top-end here, next to Mnemba Island... but the rooms are very very large and do have a/c... but you can consider Blue Bay on the same northeast stretch of beech, with a/c.

Most rooms at E&G have a/c, except the top floor rooms (no elevator here, just very deep high steps to the third floor)... though nice and the highest building in Stone Town, without a/c in these rooms, there were some complaint from guests we met at dinner at their Tower Top restaurant. They changed to a room that had a/c.

My two cents.

 
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