Need help with Kenya/Tanzania safari planning

Old May 9th, 2011, 05:53 PM
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Need help with Kenya/Tanzania safari planning

My wife and I (mid 50s) have put an African safari near the top of our list, a list which keeps growing.... We'd be available over the upcoming Christmas holiday, anywhere from Dec 23 through Jan 7. That's about a max of 16 days.

My eyes are now weary and fuzzy from all the reading so far, but I think I'm at the point where I can start framing the questions. The learning curve for this type of trip seems a bit steeper than most.

It sounds like Kenya and Tanzania would be the best bets for that time of year. Hence my focus on them. If I'm mistaken in that regard, please let me know.

Are there highly recommended tour operators who schedule and drive in both countries? I read Percy's 2009 report indicating he was very pleased with Predator Tours, which traveled to both, except that name doesn't show up with a google search.

We're mostly interested in wildlife viewing, animals and birds. Probably a private tour although we may not be adverse to joining a group. For lodging, something with hot water and a private toilet would be sufficient. Doesn't have to be real fancy. As for a budget, I'm not sure what's reasonable; maybe $5,000-7,500 for the 2 of us, not counting airfare??

If the experts here were going on their first safari to these 2 countries at that time of year, knowing what you now know, what would your dream itinerary be for 10-12 days of safari (not counting the air travel to and from Africa) and which moderately priced lodging would you shoot for? And what do you think we should be budgeting for such a trip for the 2 of us, exclusive of airfare?

Thanks so much!

dcd is offline  
Old May 9th, 2011, 07:20 PM
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Maybe this is it. You are right that few companies have an option of staying with the same driver and vehicle in both Kenya and Tanzania. But almost every company has a partnership that allows you to easily visit both countries.

I believe you would be looking at a camping trip that would likely provide you a hot water bottle, but probably not a private loo for $2500 to $3500 per person for 10-12 days.

That time of year there is also a premium tacked on as well.

To give you an idea, here are some itineraries and prices:
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Old May 10th, 2011, 04:11 AM
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You might want to limit yourself to one country. You certainly have enough time to visit both, but doing so adds a level of complexity that you could just as well avoid on a 1st safari.

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Old May 10th, 2011, 05:08 AM
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Thanks for the words of advice.

Atravleynn, I saw that site, too, but wasn't sure if it was "the one". If so, it has a new name (and maybe new owners, different level of service....)

My wife and I usually don't repeat trips because the "list" of places to visit is so long. That's why I was thinking of combining 2 countries since we may have the time (but perhaps not the budget). Well, maybe it's not a good idea anyway due to the complexity.

How many days on safari are sufficient to see most of what there is to be seen? While we love nature, if after 7 days the wildlife pretty much starts repeating regardless of whether we're in Kenya and/or Tanzania, would that be one way to determine how much time to spend on safari? Or does a carefully planned itinerary avoid that issue?

Would we be better off doing the safari in Kenya or Tanzania at that time of year?

If we limit ourselves to one of those countries, anyone have that dream itinerary with moderately priced lodging? Armed with that info, I'll start contacting the tour operators recommended here and on trip advisor.

Thanks so much.
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Old May 10th, 2011, 06:17 AM
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Bear in mind that you will be traveling over the Christmas and New Year holidays which is peak-season in both countries, with prices to match.

Trying to do both countries at your budget may be somewhat difficult, unless you consider some "camping" in Tanzania.

At that time of year Tanzania would be best as the "migration" and "calving" of the wildebeest young takes place in the Serengeti. But know that the "migration" isn't the only point of safari... there's so much more. However, Tanzania is also more expensive than is Kenya... even the Visa costs, along with need of Yellow Fever inoculations that are required to transit to/from/between these countries; of course, malaria meds and other suggested inoculations for travelers anywhere.

You're going to have to do some serious research, unless a "group" safari, where prices can be somewhat lower, is a consideration. There are group departures that can be reasonably priced, but these too have some long drives between areas, where flights would only add to your costs.

Research, research! Good luck!
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