Our 2007 safari is booked!

Dec 6th, 2006, 09:51 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2006
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Our 2007 safari is booked!

Just wanted to post a big thank you to everyone on this board who answered my questions and gave their opinions about lodging options, itinerary choices, etc. -- and especially to all those who posted trip reports and feedback about their experiences in East Africa. I found so much great advice here, without even needing to post many of my questions.

We've booked our international air, so now it feels like it's really happening... We leave September 22, 2007 and will have 10 days in Kenya with Eastern & Southern (Nairobi, Serena Mountain Lodge, Samburu, Sweetwaters, Lake Nakuru, Masai Mara) and 10 days in northern Tanzania with Green Footprint (Arusha NP, Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Karatu, Ngorongoro Crater, and Zanzibar), then 2 days in London at the end. This is a dream trip for my husband and myself, to celebrate our 10th anniversary... plus he'll get to be at Oliver's Camp in Tarangire for his birthday! I am already counting down the weeks...

Thanks again, I know it would be a very different thing to plan this trip without the benefit of this little online community.
MyDogKyle is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 10:27 AM
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A nice long time in both Kenya and Tanzania!
atravelynn is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 02:52 PM
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That's great--and what a place to celebrate a birthday.
bat is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 06:26 PM
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Very cool. We leave the same day for 7 days in Tanzania followed by 5 days diving in Zanzibar (and a couple of days in Amsterdam each way). It's a belated 25th anniversary trip, plus my husband will also celebrate his birthday in Tarangire. I too am very thankful for all the information on this board; I have pages and pages of notes and suggestions.
Kmania is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 07:24 PM
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Have a great trip, great belated anniversary and great birthday for your DH!
bat is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 10:41 PM
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Congratulations MyDog! Having a birthday in Africa is great and an anniversary will be even better! Now all you have to do is wait 9+ months and you're on your way...that is the worst part...after booking, the wait!!
matnikstym is offline  
Dec 7th, 2006, 12:10 PM
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Kmania -- congrats on your special anniversary! Too bad we won't bump into one another in Tanzania...

Like many others, I am addicted to this board and check in often to read about other people's experiences in Africa. It helps a lot with the waiting!
MyDogKyle is offline  
Dec 7th, 2006, 01:06 PM
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MyDogKyle, sounds like a great trip! Congrats to you (and you too, kmania). Now comes the waiting.
Leely is offline  
Dec 8th, 2006, 07:24 AM
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Hi, Mydog, why did you fix on those particular trips? I'm contemplating a trip to southern africa next July with my family, [first time ever] and I'm interested in any ideas OPs have of where to go, and why.
annhig is offline  
Dec 8th, 2006, 09:09 AM
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Congratulations! I know the feeling..felt great when we booked also.
We will be just ahead of you with E & S - we start our safari on 13 Sept.
Cdnfolks is offline  
Dec 8th, 2006, 09:42 AM
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It's really fun to hear about other Fodorites who will be there around the same time as us!

Ann, as for choosing this itinerary, we already knew we wanted to go to East Africa, primarily because of the wildlife (we grew up watching "Wild Kingdom" in the seventies...). We sat down and made a list together of the kinds of experiences we were hoping to have on our trip, and then I spent several months doing research on Kenya and Tanzania (books, online, reading this forum and other travelers' websites, talking to people who've been to East Africa)... since I'm a researcher by profession, I really enjoy this part! That helped us narrow it down and figure out where we wanted to go and what we could do in 3 weeks. We also looked into group trips, but decided we'd rather spring for a private safari because of the flexibility (there are so many endorsements for this type of safari on this board, that really encouraged us).

For finding the companies in Africa to book our trip, I started with recommendations from this board and in our guidebooks (we generally contacted only companies for which I'd read multiple good endorsements). I e-mailed quite a few safari operators to get bids and suggestions for the itinerary we wanted (and this resulted in changing that itinerary some along the way -- for instance, switching from the Ark to Mountain Lodge so we'd have time to visit the Sheldrick orphanage in Nairobi, and switching from Amboseli to Samburu). Most of them were really helpful. In the end we chose Eastern & Southern for Kenya based on great reviews I've read both in guidebooks and in trip reports here on Fodors, and because they gave us the best price. We chose Green Footprint for Tanzania, again based on reading great reviews, and also because they offered a chance to do a lot more "active" things like canoeing, hiking, walking safaris, etc., which we thought would be a nice change after all the driving and flying around in Kenya.

I don't know much about southern Africa, but there are a lot of people on this board with a wealth of experience and generosity in sharing it. You can search for posts about different countries you're interested in and gets lots of great ideas. Another excellent way to jump in is to find the trip reports (I know there's a great index for the East Africa ones, but I'm not sure about southern Africa) and read through them, seeing which trips and itineraries sound most like what you'd want to do. I hope this helps. Have fun planning!

And thanks everyone else who posted here -- I'm so excited, and this is a fun place to share that excitement! As I said before, you guys have had a huge hand in helping us plan our trip.
MyDogKyle is offline  
Dec 8th, 2006, 08:13 PM
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Ditto on the pleasure of planning the trip. Sometimes I can't decide what's more fun: planning it or going on it.

Thanks, everyone, for the congratulations on our anniversary. It has evolved a bit from when we first start thinking about it a few years ago. Then, the plan was to go to the Seychelles and go diving. I said I wasn't going to go halfway around the world and not go on safari. So that was added. Now the Seychelles have been set aside for another trip and replaced by Zanzibar. Too many places to go; not enough time.
Kmania is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 04:32 AM
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sounds like a great trip!

We're going to Tanzania in January (also with Green Footprint), and also to Zanzibar.
Were will you be staying?
We are staying in Matemwe..
Nikao is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 10:07 AM
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Hi Nikao,

We're staying at Matemwe Beach Village, so I'll look forward to your report on it. Do you dive?
Kmania is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 11:22 AM
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No I don´t .. unfortunately..
But I heard that you can swim with dolfins there too cant you? Im really looking forward to that.
And I just think its a perfect and relaxing ending of the safari (which at times can be quite hectic )
Nikao is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 11:36 AM
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We are also going to TZ, but not until February, and although we are using a different operator we will be doing several activities with Green Footprints. We are staying at Matemwe Bungalows on Zanzibar, which is near to but I believe quite a bit different in style from Matemwe Beach Village.
hguy47 is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 09:53 PM
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ah yeah you´re right; we're going to Matemwe Bungalows as well. (from Asilia right?)
Nikao is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 02:43 AM
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Have fun on your trip.

Would love to hear about it.

Visiting Zanzibar with my children is one of my most memorable experiences.

Malpa is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 06:13 AM
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Hi Nikao,

One Ocean (the dive shop we're using) doesn't have dolphin dives as such, but it sounds as if dolphins are common in the area, so you'd probably have a good chance of seeing them on a snorkeling trip anyway. Here's a description of one of the dive sites in the area:

WATTABOMI: Excellent site for snorkellers and novice divers. Schools of small reef fish, Regal Angelfish, many Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse, Semicircle Angelfish, Moorish Idol, eel’s, Blue Spotted Rays, Lionfish, and many more. Take your time looking for Flounders and Soles. These fish lie on their side buried in the sand, and are very well camouflaged. For most of the year you will be treated to the beautifully-patterned Striped Dolphin, but the Bottlenosed, Spinner and common Dolphins also occur in the clear waters around Mnemba.
Kmania is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 07:10 AM
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HI kmania,

thx for the info! that really sounds very nice!
No I really can't wait to go there
Nikao is offline  

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