Oh Where oh where to go ???????

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Feb 28th, 2010, 03:50 PM
  #61
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Hi atravelynn! After receiving your reply and other's from safariwannabe and twaffle, about not missing the( Masa)i Mara, we had a look at many different sites about the migration at the time of year we are going, probably Sept, but could be an overlap beginning in Aug-Sept, as we haven't locked in our dates yet. Because no one can really say where or when the migration will be with certainty, we figure that staying in Sayari, which is in the Mara triangle of the N Serengeti, and Kichwa Tembo in Masai Mara Kenya, that is 2 places in the Mara which give us the best opportunities for river crossings, but also other types of interaction. Am I wrong?

We plan to do Rwanda first, so may try doing that around the third week of August so we can begin in Tanzania right at the end of August. Dependent on availability, etc.
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Feb 28th, 2010, 04:46 PM
  #62
 
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Those 2 spots should give you a great trip, views of the migration, and other great sightings, all in lovely accommodations.
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Feb 28th, 2010, 09:27 PM
  #63
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This is the itinerary our TA is working on pricing up for us:

Rwanda:
2 nts incl 2 treks Virunga Lodge
1 nt Kigali /Top Tower

Tanzania:
3 nts Oliver's Camp
2 nts Ngorongoro Serena Lodge
2 nts Dunia Camp
4 nts Sayari Camp

Kenya:
3 nts Rekero
2 nts Kicheche Bush
1 nt Nairobi

Mid Aug - mid Sept.

Fingers crossed it comes to be!
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Mar 1st, 2010, 05:00 PM
  #64
 
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I like your trip! Not sure about the Dunia location, though.
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Mar 1st, 2010, 07:53 PM
  #65
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Hi atravelynn! I think he has selected locations based on what we have discussed and it fits in with a drive-through game drive at Lake Manyara after leaving Ngorongoro our last morning. He has stayed in all the camps/ lodges we are staying with the exception of Kigali, which is a hotel I found myself. This area has large lion prides, which we specified. So although it's not in the path of the migration at that time, it still has much to offer. We developed a concern of sharing cars with people not of our choosing (and Sayari is family friendly), and asked if we could arrange our own cars and driver. So we will drive a long day's game drive across the Serengeti to Sayari, where he said we'd otherwise have to book a private car there, which would cost and arm and a leg. So, it suited us to have one long day driving, well two when Kili - Oliver's is taken in, but not quite so long. The trip as planned has balanced out to be one we both love in talking about it, and will probably not blow our budget, while giving us several luxury, but not over the top expensive locations and keeping up our minimum standards overall. It was a real process arriving at this itinerary. But in the end each step was necessary for us to get our heads around what we are doing.

He is working on a quotation for us now. Do you think I should request a couple of other outfits to quote on the same itinerary just to be sure? He helped us with this a lot, even up to the routing of our flights which is brilliant as he has suggested, but I'd hate to think I could have gotten the same exact trip at a significant discount from another TA.
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Mar 2nd, 2010, 01:41 AM
  #66
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Does anyone know if it is possible to get a driver to transport us from the Mara triangle in Serengeti to the Masai Mara using the Isebania border and the western Great Rift Escarpment road? Someone recommended this option as opposed to flying via Arusha/Nairobi with an overnight in Nairobi.
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Mar 2nd, 2010, 06:25 AM
  #67
 
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tinydancer - some do this transfer, usually group tour operators. But it's a long drive, taking up most of the day. And, unless the outfitter you're using is permitted to operate in both countries you'll have a guide/vehicle change at the border.
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Mar 2nd, 2010, 02:20 PM
  #68
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Hi sandi, I kind of figured this was the case. Also, I've found conflicting info as to which and whether the borders are open because Tanzania wants to protect their environment from too much traffic coming into the park from Kenya. I just had to find out so I could eliminate that possiblity. Thanks for your input!
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Mar 2nd, 2010, 05:28 PM
  #69
 
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If you get the itinerary you want promptly and costs are in line with what you thought, and you've been happy with all your interactions, go ahead and book. I believe you are going in Sept, which is a popular month, so you don't want to monkey around too long or nothing will be available.

If you were in the initial stages planning for a trip further in the future, I'd likely suggest to contact a couple of providers.

I am assuming you have some guidelines for cost, even if you don't have other quotes with which to compare. For a general idea on pricing, you could check Africa Travel Resource, E-gnu, or Go2Africa. Not all are current and they may not represent special offers. All your properties are not necessarily listed at all three of those sites, but similar properties may be. You could also post the cost here for feedback.

Dawdle too long and Rekero and Kicheche may be booked. For that very reason, if you don't get something promptly from your agent, I would inquire elsewhere. You don't want to have a game played in which an agent delays so long that you no longer have the option of checking with the competition because nothing's available.
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Mar 3rd, 2010, 02:09 AM
  #70
 
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If "he" is Andre or Mark at AAC then I doubt shopping around will change your price much.

Craig Beal
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Mar 3rd, 2010, 04:03 AM
  #71
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I think it's safe to say that we feel very happy with the person we've been working with, and only went through the exercise to reassure ourselves. With any luck we will have this put to bed Monday or Tuesday. And we really are flexible on dates so if we have to go a bit later later on to get what we want that's fine. Because of the route we have selected, the later we go the more time we are spending in Tanzania post migration peak. I think. Which is what I think atravelynn was referring to about Dunia, if I am correct. but we are also not going exclusively for the migration, but for the whole experience as well.

We recently went on a driving trip from Darwin to Brisbane through the some of the most barren country in Australia, and although it was a lot of day after day after day after day of driving through flat country passing 3 trailer long road trains and sleeping in very 'unusual' campgrounds, we'd probably both be into doing it again one day just because sometimes the experience happens at a deeper level and just 'being there', completely present, is life altering. Guess I'd better do a trip report on that one pretty soon!

Safari_Craig, to respond to your input, his name is Jono of Encompass Africa.

I really didn't intend to waste anyone's time, but needed to reaffirm our own confidence. I think this person really does understand what we are after. No one else so far has come that close, and that is one of the things we like so much about him. I asked people for quotes, not just to check the cost, but also to seen how they responded to what we wanted.
He's still the best provider.

We are on the road till late Sunday, so hubby will not look into this until we are home. That's why the delay.

But I really, really do appreciate all the commments you have taken the time to share with me here.
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Mar 3rd, 2010, 05:44 AM
  #72
 
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Sounds like a good plan. I can't make comment on Jono. I thought you might have been referring to AAC in which case I would have endorsed them. Good luck.

Craig
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Mar 3rd, 2010, 12:03 PM
  #73
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He was recomended to me by Wilderness Safari's as their rep, or one of them, down here so I took it to mean that they had confidence in him and they looked pretty good to me.

If it was solely up to me, it would be booked already but sometimes these things take a little bit of time. All the players have to feel totally comfortable or else it's MY fault!

If you get my drift.
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Mar 3rd, 2010, 07:14 PM
  #74
 
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But they'll give you all the credit when it turns out to be their trip of a lifetime!
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Mar 3rd, 2010, 09:14 PM
  #75
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I hope so. When when I wanted to take a tour in Soweto about 12 or so years ago he argued that it was rude to stare at people in poverty, and instead wanted to pay to go see local dancing or something like that. Then when we were taken through Soweto with a company which was from there and he said it was great!

And when I wanted to rent a jeep in Bali to drive up N and go through all the villages and rice paddies on the local back roads (I bought a good map) he said I was crazy. that if we had an accident they'd throw me in jail and our insurance wouldn't cover me, but he came along for the ride and actually admitted to me that it really was a GREAT idea! (and the driving was actually easier than it looked.)

Hopefully, we will have this sewn up Monday or Tuesday. I might even start a new topic once we do, because I'll have a whole new list of questions beginning with "How do we do this trip with only 15kg baggage allowence? (apart from the zip-lock pants atravelynn,that is!) I figure that first we have to weigh our camera gear and bags, and then figure how much room we'll have for clothes after that. But that is another topic!
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Mar 10th, 2010, 11:46 PM
  #76
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Thank goodness! This part is finally over. I couldn't have done it without all the good advice and ideas from people on this website. I am absolutely amazed at what we can accomplish through this technology.

We ended up booking through Encompass Africa in Brisbane, QLD, and I could not recommend Jonathon Wilson more highly. He worked so hard for us. He stayed in constant contact day and night until we had our confirmations, and he was simply a pleasure to work with. I have absolute confidence in what he's put together for us.

So I will end this very, very long post, and start a new one soon with questions!

Again, thank you all!
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Mar 11th, 2010, 03:40 PM
  #77
 
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Great, let the adventure begin!
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