My first African Safari going solo

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Feb 19th, 2012, 12:22 PM
  #1
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My first African Safari going solo

I'm confused and frustrated going on a Safari. I'm stuck about deciding how, where I should plan my Safari.

I have done a considerable amount of solo traveling to several developing countries (budget traveler); however for this trip I can't figure it out.

I'm planning to go in Sept. and I was considering combining Kenya and Tanzania, but based on what I have heard it seems that for now its best to bypass Kenya and go to Northern and Southern Tanzania instead.

My main obstacle is trying to figuring out if I should venture to fly down there and then look for a Safari operator or do it from my home base US. I hate to be in any type of organized tours being a solo traveler since usually I'd be thrown in with an already established group.

I'm a budget minded traveler so not interested staying in a fancy tent with down comforter, but comfortable tent with the basic amenities. I have seen that most of the Safari Operators online tend to cater to high-end tourists or the to students traveling on a bus.

I usually stay in hostels so the *** lodgin is not my style. It has been suggested about 8 days combining Kenya and Tanzania. I'm also interested visiting Zanzibar and maybe if I could find an inexpensive way to fly Mauritius.

I am very open to all suggestions. BTW I'm a guy in my late 50's in excellent shape but not interested in climbing Kili
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Feb 19th, 2012, 01:47 PM
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Know that Sept is peak season both Kenya & Tanzania and as a solo traveler, the dreaded Single Supplement.

So, what is your estimated budget?

If less than 10/days it's not recommended to try to visit both countries. In fact, during Sept is ideal for the migration in Kenya's Masai Mara. While not all of the herds make it into the Mara, those remaining in northern Serengeti, there are few camps and most are in the luxe category.

There are also more air carriers into Nairobi than Kilimanjaro, thus more competitive air fares. So, I wouldn't discount Kenya completely.

Also, if trying to visit both countries, it's Visas for each, $50/pp for Kenya; $100/pp for Tanzania and a Yellow Fever inoc to/from/between the two countries.

As far as Mauritius vs Zanzibar or the Kenyan coast, you'd better check if/where there are flights to/from.
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Feb 19th, 2012, 05:38 PM
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These last two Septembers I was in Kenya and Tanzania, respectively. Kenya will be the less expensive of the two and Sept is an outstanding time to visit for the migration, as Sandi mentions.

Solo trips can get pricey. I found Eastern and Southern Safaris in Nairobi to offer good pricing for one. Staying in Kenya Wildlife Service bandas, which were in excellent locations and very comfortable, helped keep pricing in check.

If you add Southern Tanz to your trip, that adds to the cost. Also, in Sept you want to be in Northern Serengeti for the migration, another expensive location. For my Tanz trip, which included both N. Serengeti and S. Tanz, I used Flycatchers Safaris. They make S. Tanz, including Mahale for chimps, affordable with very low single supplements. However, I did share a vehicle at times on that trip.

The comment of 8 days for both Kenya and Tanzania is not enough time. If you have 8 days, choose one or the other.

I don't climb Kili either.

Good luck with your trip.
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Feb 19th, 2012, 07:43 PM
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Hmm, blogs is a advertising web bot?? Quotes atravelynn then puts up link to Amazon.

regards - tom
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Feb 20th, 2012, 01:40 AM
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Safari Serengeti: Tanzania Lodge & Tented Safari 2012 greater value—to solo travelers than OAT: With our FREE and low-cost Single Supplements www.oattravel.com tucantravel.com slso
Packages usually WAY cheaper than DIY assuming you are real.
Have seen Kenya packages as low as $1695 INCLUDING AIR sales on travelzoo.com with friendlyplanet.com. Happy Hunting!
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Feb 20th, 2012, 05:14 AM
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True, Overseas Adventure Travel is hard to beat for pricing and international air is included. Depends on how important avoiding groups is to you, Neptoone. The ability to hang out with smaller species like bat eared foxes or to wait 12 hours for river crossings can come at a steep price known as a single supplement for a solo trip. Sometimes I'm willing to pay that.

Maybe Amazon is selling safaris now. Could be. Just found out Groupon is.
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Feb 20th, 2012, 09:09 AM
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Groupon has recently been offering discount coupons, but when you look at the details... not very good pricing. Actually too expensive.
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Feb 20th, 2012, 05:00 PM
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I did the budget travel, Africa On A Shoestring, thing 20 years ago. Lonely Planet is great for advice on those kinds of things...if you have eight days you may want to have things locked down before you go over but it was perfectly fine back then to hang out at the thorn tree cafe...put up a note or read the notes of other backpackers and band together for a safari....I did this with two girls from new Zealand and UKers...we took a bus to Arusha (7 hours) We ended up booking a safari negotiating from the Guest House, and were able to leave that afternoon...we added an older gentleman of dubious demeanor from Russia and set out for a four night camping safari beginning at lake manyara NP then to the ngorongoro crater and the Serengeti and saw some great wildlife...now I assume you could do something similar today but my experience was probably too long ago to be able to be counted on...20 years ago, it cost about $220pp to go along on a camping trip like that many years ago...I know a lot changes over time but I share this to say that through lonely planet and blogs like this you can likely get some current information...good luck!
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Feb 21st, 2012, 09:29 AM
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gatoratlarge -

That post gave me a good laugh. 20/yrs ago.

Hey, the last time I paid for gas in my 20s (don't drive these days as have no need), it cost me about $0.50/gallon. For $2, I could drive great distances for hours. And, my first safari 17/yrs ago, private, lux accommodations, cost about $2,500/pp for 2/weeks in-country (today's likely cost would be about $6,500).

Be assured, OP won't find a safari for $220/pp and don't believe he's interested in waiting to get there to decide and certainly not be backpacking/camping.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 01:42 PM
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LOL well, you do have a point...a lot changes in 20 years! But, seriously, a lot stays the same too! I guess there are all kinds of budget levels and budget travellers but the routine as I observed was something like this...The message board at the Thorn Tree Cafe or youth hostels in Nairobi acted as the gathering point for travellers organizing trips...granted most of the folks are gap age travellers and pretty young, but the safari we organized needed bodies so the price was right more than caring that we were all the same age...so we left for Arusha, chekced in with local safari operators to see if they had a partial group and we joined together for a four night camping safari...including three twentysomethings and an old Russian man! lol So between the four of us, the safari cost about $1000 for four nights camping in the Serengeti/Crater and Lake Manyara...my point is, it's typical of backpackers and budget travellers and its much cheaper than the standard safari...I'll bet you could still do something similar for double the price...$500 pp and it'd be quite the adventure...my advice would be to check Lonely Planet blogs on recent experiences and see if it's still not done that way...my "Africa on A Shoestring" book was my Bible on that trip...to my knowledge a traveller that stays in a hostel, doesn't mind a tent with basic amenities (like a sleeping bag) would fit the bill for a trip like this...no? OK I'll butt out now : )~
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 11:57 AM
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Neptoone - one and only post and hasn't returned to read or even comment on our varied ideas/thoughts. Oh well!
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Feb 26th, 2012, 08:18 AM
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msafaris -

Guess you didn't read the Fodor's Rules/Regulations - self-promotion is not permitted. This post made joining only today, will be removed.
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May 19th, 2012, 09:50 AM
  #13
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Hi y'all

Sorry that I had not responded sooner. Actually this is my first time since my posting. Due to family illness I had been away from the forum, let alone thinking about my trip to Africa.

I really appreciate all of your input. However, now I'm more than ready, boy do I need it. Here is the thing, I have been doing some thinking and researching on line and I'm still a bit frustrated but now I have a better idea of where I'd like to go but I could use some pointers.

I am planning to take about 22-23 in October. My budget is for camping safari not the fancy luxury type cuz they are beyond my budget. My main goal is to see the Big 5, and since I'm going in Oct. I hope I could experience the migration.

At first, I was considering only one country but then I realized that after flying so far, I should take advantage and see both countries. I still haven't made a final decision in selecting a Tour Operator.

I had in mind in doing a combined Safari, but then I read that its not a good idea using a TO from Kenya and crossing the border because they are not allowed to conduct safaris in Tanzania and sometimes they don't have the right documentations and the tourists get stuck for hours while solving the problem.

Because of that I was thinking of using 2 different tour operators for each respective country.
I would be satisfied with 3n/4days in Kenya to experience the Maasai. Then crossing the border via shuttle bus leaving early in the AM. Then spend the night in Arusha and hopefully, have another Safari booked for 4n/5 days covering Serengeti, Tarangiere,Manyara.

Or would I be better off going with one TO out of Kenya? I was planning spending the night in Arusha upon returning from Serengeti. I was thinking either flying from Arusha to ZNZ instead of taking the long bus ride to DAR. I'm aware that the cost of flying would be high I think in the $220 or so.

I'd like to spend 3n/4days in ZNZ. I could use some suggestions for budget hotel no resorts. On the way back taking the ferry to DAR and flying home on a late flight.

I would appreciate all or any comments please because I can't wait to get out, but need to get going to book flights and safari . Please keep in mind that I'm a budget traveler can't afford lodges.
Thanks all for the inputs I received
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