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Needing Help - Is this Itinerary any good for Kenya/Tanzania

Needing Help - Is this Itinerary any good for Kenya/Tanzania

Feb 14th, 2007, 01:15 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5
Needing Help - Is this Itinerary any good for Kenya/Tanzania

DAY 1, NAIROBI - MASAI MARA
NATIONAL RESERVE
Depart Nairobi down the Rift Escarpment
to the Masai Mara. After lunch and siesta,
enjoy an afternoon game drive returning to
the lodge as the sun sets. Overnight: Mara
Sopa Lodge. (B,L,D)
DAY 2, MASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE
Morning and afternoon game drives.
Overnight: Mara Sopa Lodge. (B,L,D)
DAY 3 MASAI MARA - GREAT RIFT VALLEY
Drive across the Great Rift Valley and up
the Mau Escarpment, before arriving at
Lake Nakuru for lunch. The waters here are
often coloured shimmering flamingo pink,
from thousands of the beautiful birds lining
the shores. Afternoon game drive in
Nakuru National Park then continue to
Lake Naivasha. Overnight: Lake Nakuru or
Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge. (B,L,D)
DAY 4, GREAT RIFT VALLEY - AMBOSELI
NATIONAL PARK
Travel to Amboseli today, arriving for
lunch. Afternoon game drive in Amboseli
National Park returning to the lodge as the
sun sets. Overnight: Amboseli Sopa Lodge.
(B,L,D)
DAY 5, AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK
Early morning and afternoon game drives.
Overnight: Amboseli Sopa Lodge. (B,L,D)
DAY 6, AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK -
LAKE MANYARA
Travel to Arusha for lunch. Drive across the
Masai Steppe to the Great Rift Valley.
Here the hotel is perched high on the rim
overlooking the park below. Overnight: Lake
Manyara Serena Lodge. (B,L,D)
DAY 7, LAKE MANYARA - SERENGETI
Morning game drive in Lake Manyara
National Park. Depart after lunch across the
stunning hilly countryside and highlands
filled with wheat and coffee plantations.
Once in the Ngorongoro Conservation area
head across the vast plains of the Serengeti
where you will hopefully start spotting game
well before you enter into the park.
Overnight: Serengeti Sopa Lodge. (B,L,D)
DAY 8, SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
Morning and afternoon game drives in the
Serengeti National Park. Overnight:
Serengeti Sopa Lodge. (B,L,D)
DAY 9, SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK -
NGORONGORO CRATER
Return across the Serengeti plains viewing
game en route, and stop at the Olduvai
Gorge. The gorge is 50km long and 90m deep
in places where humanoid remains of an early
form of man were found in 1959. After a
picnic lunch continue to your lodge, set high
on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater where views
into the crater floor are spectacular.
Overnight: Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge. (B,L,D)
DAY 10, NGORONGORO CRATER
A highlight awaits as you depart to explore
what is referred to as the ‘world’s largest
DAY 11, NGORONGORO - TARANGIRE
Morning drive to Tarangire National Park,
recognised as one of the best parks for
elephant viewing. Afternoon game drive.
Overnight: Tarangire Sopa Lodge. (B,L,D)
DAY 12, TARANGIRE - ZANZIBAR
Transfer to Kilimanjaro. Fly to Zanzibar.
On arrival transfer to Stone Town.
Overnight: Tembo Hotel. (B)
DAY 13, ZANZIBAR
Morning at leisure to discover Stone Town.
Afternoon transfer to the east coast.
Overnight: Blue Bay Beach Resort. (B,D)
DAY 14, ZANZIBAR
At leisure. Overnight: Blue Bay Beach
Resort. (B,D)
mayn1 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 01:32 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 617
mayn1, this looks like a nice lodge safari which encompasses a lot. We might be able to comment better if you could indicate what time of year it's for...sometimes more/less time should be spent in a particular park depending on the season.

It looks like a lot of 1 & 2 night stays at a lot of different lodges. Some people find this kind of "hopping around quite a bit" itinerary quite tiring. Once you post when you plan to go, we'll be able to make more concrete itinerary suggestions.
Calo is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 02:40 PM
  #3  
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Posts: 5
Calo

Looking to travel in Oct this year.
mayn1
mayn1 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 03:34 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,448
mayn1

Your intinerary sounds quite familiar to me. I did something similar in October 2005. I have posted about it in many time, even recently.

My biggest issue I just griped about in another post is visiting Nakuru but not staying the night there and driving to Naivasha. This really will cut your time short in Nakuru and you end up driving late at night. Please URGE your tour ops to go everything they can to get you to overnight in Nakuru. (Even though the Naivash Sopa is AMAZING place, you won't be there long enough to enjoy it.)

Either way, you will have a LOOOONG day of driving till you get to Amboseli.
Amboseli to Manyara also LOOOOONG.
MANYARA to Serengeti also blisteringly long, bumpy and dusty.

I don't say these things to scare, but just to prep your mind.

Check out some of the videos on my site:

waynehazle DOT com/eastafrica/

enjoy the Mara, Nakuru, Amboseli, Serengeti & Crater. I was ther ein October so you will see what it will be like
waynehazle is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 04:08 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
My comments within yout itinerary are in bold. I deleted the descriptive part of the itinerary. Your accommodations will be fine and I have stayed in several of them. Serena and Sopa are very nice.

At this time of year I think the timing is good to have Kenya first with the Maasai Mara up front, then the Serengeti. In Oct, the migrating herds may just remain in the Mara, but if they move, you'll want to try to catch them before they leave the Mara and head to the Serengeti. So the order of Kenya then Tanzania is good, rather than sticking the Maasai Mara on the end.


DAY 1, NAIROBI - MASAI MARA
NATIONAL RESERVE
After lunch and siesta, afternoon game drive Overnight: Mara
Sopa Lodge. (B,L,D)

This is a 5 hour drive from Nairobi to the Mara. Or are you flying this first leg?

DAY 2, MASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE
Morning and afternoon game drives.
Overnight: Mara Sopa Lodge. (B,L,D)

I think you are being shortchanged with only 2 nights in the Mara. The earlier in Oct, the greater the injustice, since the migration and the predators it attracts will likely be in the Maasai Mara.

DAY 3 MASAI MARA - GREAT RIFT VALLEY
Drive to Lake Nakuru for lunch. 4 hour drive.
Afternoon game drive in
Nakuru National Park then continue to
Lake Naivasha. Overnight: Lake Nakuru or
Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge. (B,L,D)

If o/nt in Nakuru, then it makes no sense to go to Naivasha. Another post recently suggested not going to Naivasha, an hour away from Nakuru for the overnight. That would apply here as well.

DAY 4, GREAT RIFT VALLEY - AMBOSELI
NATIONAL PARK
Travel to Amboseli today, arriving for
lunch. 6 hour drive means a late lunch Afternoon game drive in Amboseli Overnight: Amboseli Sopa Lodge.
(B,L,D)

DAY 5, AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK
Early morning and afternoon game drives.
Overnight: Amboseli Sopa Lodge. (B,L,D)

DAY 6, AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK -
LAKE MANYARA
Travel to Arusha for lunch
Manyara Serena Lodge. (B,L,D) about a 5 hour drive depending on the border crossing. Driving across the rift valley is not necessarily a game drive. I don't see a game drive upon arival in Manyara.

DAY 7, LAKE MANYARA - SERENGETI
Morning game drive in Lake Manyara
National Park. Once in the Ngorongoro Conservation area head across the vast plains of the Serengeti where you will hopefully start spotting game well before you enter into the park.
Overnight: Serengeti Sopa Lodge. (B,L,D)

DAY 8, SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
Morning and afternoon game drives in the
Serengeti National Park. Overnight:
Serengeti Sopa Lodge. (B,L,D)
You would want to be further north in October, like Lobo Lodge. Sopa in Oct is not a good plan.

DAY 9, SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK -
NGORONGORO CRATER
Return across the Serengeti plains viewing game en route, and stop at the Olduvai Gorge. Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge. (B,L,D)

DAY 10, NGORONGORO CRATER
A highlight awaits as you depart to explore what is referred to as the ‘world’s largest
Post was cut off—ask how long you spend in the crater.

DAY 11, NGORONGORO - TARANGIRE
Morning drive to Tarangire National Park, Afternoon game drive.
Overnight: Tarangire Sopa Lodge. (B,L,D)

Only 1 night in Tarangire? Oct is a good time for Tarangire and it will take you a good 3 hours to get there from the Crater. Lots of tearing around.

Lots of tearing around sums up what I think of this itinerary. If your goal is to go to as many places as you can in the given time, this does it with nice accommodations. You'll have good wildlife viewing when you are on game drives in the park. But you'll spend as much time driving from park to park and you see almost no wildlife then. Unless the cost of this is much lower than other 14 day itineraries and a just cursory overview is ok with you, I would not even consider this.

I know nothing of Zanzibar.
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 04:17 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Wayne, what part of the Serengeti were you in during October? How many nights did you have in the Maasai Mara?
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 04:45 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,448
Well atravelynn,

You summed up my trip pretty well. It was a LOT of tearing around seeing a million places. Never long enough anyplace to settle in long enough. (except the one place I shall not speak of which I was in too long)

In the Serengeti I was in the area by the Serengeti Sopa.

Are you sure the drive from Nakuru to Navaisha was only an hour? I could swear it was at least 3.

Yeah that day 6 game drive upon arrival in Manyara ain't gonna happen

And in fact, while leaving Manyara in the morning we were supposed to do a game drive and then head to the Serengeti, but by this point I had realized that this would have us arriving in the Serengeti at night time. I made an exectuive decision for my group and said let us skip Manyara and get right to the Serengeti. I am sure Manyara is nice, but that might be one of my great decisions of my whole life.

We arrived at the Serengeti with the sun still up. This is me fulfilling one of my greatest lifetime dreams:
waynehazle DOT com/eastafrica/serengeti/digital/100_1737.html

Basically I had one solid day in the Mara, of course not enough.

Overall, I am happy with my trip. "Sampler trips" where you drive around to a million places" are murder because of the travel, But once you survive and get back home you can think of all the places you saw and feel good. I have no idea when I will get back to Africa, so I am glad I half killed myself and saw everything.

mayn1, I really recommencd you read my trael journal and play my video clips
waynehazle is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 06:30 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Wayne, I remember the photo and description of you fufilling one of your life's dreams. And I do recall other parts of your trip--boarding the international flight, your mother's (or mother-in-law's) first glimpse of the tented camp, some breakdowns, etc.

Your Nakuru to Naivasha trip may have had all sorts of wonderful animal stops and that's why it was 3 hours. Or maybe it does take longer than an hour or so.

Mayn1,
What would improve this would be no Serengeti and an extra day in the Mara and in Tarangire.

Personally, I'd change the 3 Zanzibar days to safari time. With 3 days you could get to Lobo Lodge, making the Serengeti a more worthwhile stop. Or add time to the Mara, or several other possibilities. But I can understand how a normal traveler might want a safari and beach combo. I just prefer the bush.

atravelynn is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 08:34 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,870
It should only take an hour between Nakuru and Naivasha, but there has been road construction going on for over a year(?) now. Still it doesn't take 3 hours, more like 1.5 hour, 2 max.

If you stay at Nakuru on Day 3, you can do a morning game drive before departing for Amboseli on Day 4. Forget trying to make it to Amboseli by lunch. It will take 2.5 hours to drive back to Nairobi and then 4-4.5 hours to Amboseli. I'd opt for a morning game drive at Nakuru, lunch in Nairobi and late afternoon arrival at Amboseli instead.

Sopa is outside of Amboseli to the east. Not convenient for where you're coming from on Day 4 or where you're going in Day 6. Pick one of the lodges located in the park like Ol Tukai or Serena.

This itinerary has a lot of road travel without much time spent for game viewing.
Patty is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 08:53 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
"Is this Itinerary any good"
Yes it is good and yes it is bad. It is good if it is what you want to do and it is bad if it is not what you want to do. When I talked with my travel agent about my first trip to Africa I told him, "I want to see the big five up close and personal. I care nothing about playing golf or seeing wineries or the sea shore. Only the big five."
The message here is - First you have to know what you want from the trip. Mayn1 gives us no clue as to why he/they want to go to Africa. (I'm sure that is what a good travel agent does, finds out from the client what they are after and them explores possibilities with them).
regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 09:20 PM
  #11  
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5
Thanks for all the feedback, expanding on my initial post - it is primarily about the animals (and scenery along with it), will probably try and get in a Balloon ride in the trip - is it worth the cost?. A bit of R&R in Zan doesn't hurt either to finish
mayn1 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2007, 06:16 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 617
Mayn1, have a look at Eric's pictures taken from his balloon flight:

http://www.kodakgallery.com/Slidesho...y=-dwq3yd&Ux=1
Calo is offline  
Feb 15th, 2007, 07:01 AM
  #13  
sandi
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Can't add more than the OPs have above. Lots and lots of long drives, most the use up a full-day on the road and then only 1/day at the individual parks. Half of the itinerary is on the road to somewhere. And finally, when you arrive on Zanzibar, only 1/day on the beach.

14days and less than half of that game viewing... not really a good plan. It'll feel more like 'If it's Tuesday, it must be Belgium' - won't know where you are from day to day. You need someplaces for longer periods.

If early October, it should be in the Mara, with at minimum 2/full days (3/nts). If late October, then time in the Serengeti and as mentioned above, in the northern area at Lobo Lodge.

Likewise, if visiting Amboseli (elephants), not necessary to visit Tarangire (elephants) - one or the other, in my opinion. Of course, at Amboseli, if the weather is in your favor you may get view of Kilimanjaro; but Tarangire has the baobab trees. I'd even consider giving up Manyara, though the drive from Amboseli to Ngorongoro in 1/day is a killer.

Lodging is fine, but I'd suggest "tweaking" the itinerary to stay longer at some places, eliminate others... and if budget can afford a few flights, this would be to your benefit.
 
Feb 15th, 2007, 08:58 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,448
As much as I hate the 'skip the Serengeti' idea. It does make sense. As is often pointed out, the Mara and the serengeti are basically the same eco-system. So you won't see something vastly different in one versus the other.

I went in October and managed to miss the huge migration herds in BOTH parks. I think I was in the Mara around Ocotber 6th or so and about 10 days later in the Serengeti. While I didn't see huge teaming herds, I did see more than my fill of wildebeast and zebras.

As someone else also mentioned, no need to do Tangire AND Amboseli.
waynehazle is offline  

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