Planning Safari to Tanania, Help!

Reply

Apr 1st, 2006, 05:26 AM
  #61
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 187
The quote was from Africa Adventure Travel.
sueblue is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2006, 10:37 AM
  #62
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 187
I am nearing the end of my saga as I've exhausted all options. Africa Adventure Travel came back with an $8,600 quote on the previously described itinerary, and it included 3 days of dilly dallying in Nairobi because of limited availability at the early stages of our trip. One final itinerary was proposed by another and our last source. Note that the Mara was not available so they included some private area nearby.

Aug. 23) Arrive NBO, meet and transfer to Intercontinental, overnight (B&B
basis)
Aug. 24) Transfer from Intercontinental to Wilson Airport for flight to Mara.
Meet upon arrival in camp vehicle (shared basis), overnight Porini Camp
(B/L/D)
Aug. 25) Full day Mara, game drives on shared basis, overnight Porini Camp
(B/L/D)
Aug. 26) Full day Mara, game drives on shared basis, overnight Porini Camp
(B/L/D)
Aug. 27) Fly Mara to Wilson Airport, meet upon arrival and proceed to
Amboseli National Park, game drive on exclusive use basis, overnight Amboseli
Serena (B/L/D)
Aug. 28) Full day Amboseli, morning and afternoon game drives on exclusive
use basis, overnight Amboseli Serena (B/L/D)
Aug. 29) Full day Amboseli, morning and afternoon game drives on exclusive
use basis, overnight Amboseli Serena (B/L/D)
Aug. 30) Depart Amboseli for Namanga, border transfer into Tanzania.
Overnight Ngurdoto (chalet) (B&B basis)
Aug. 31) Depart Arusha for Tarangire National Park, late morning/afternoon
game drives, overnight Kikoti Camp (L/D)
Sept. 1) Full day Tarangire, morning and afternoon game drives, overnight
Kikoti Camp (B/L/D)
Sept. 2) Depart Tarangire for Ngorongoro Crater, afternoon game drive on
Crater floor, overnight Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge (B/L/D)
Sept. 3) Morning game drive on Crater floor, afternoon proceed to Serengeti
National Park, game drive, overnight Serengeti Sopa Lodge (B/L/D)
Sept. 4) Full day Serengeti, morning and afternoon game drives, overnight
Serengeti Sopa Lodge (B/L/D)
Sept. 5) Game drive through Serengeti before departing for Lake Manyara
National Park, game drive, overnight Kirurumu Tented Lodge (B/L/D)
Sept. 6) Morning game drive in Manyara, afternoon return to Arusha and
transfer to JRO for outbound international flight. End of services.

Estimated pricing is US$4,500.00 per
person including all internal air, transfers, meals as stated, etc.)

We have to commit within the next 24 hours. If we do not accept this itinerary, we are going to cancel our flights and take a scheduled group safari later this year or next.

Thanks so much again all for your help.
-
Susan Wood
[email protected]
------- End of Forwarded Message -------



-

sueblue is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2006, 12:42 PM
  #63
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 187
Oops! Sorry I included the name of the operator I am dealing with in my last posting. The itinerary was a cut and paste.
sueblue is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2006, 03:13 PM
  #64
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 187
Comments please, please, please . . .
sueblue is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2006, 03:31 PM
  #65
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 20,129
sueblue,
I am by no means an expert and would hope some of the veterans will step in to help. I do however, have to ask who or what is imposing this 24 hr. time limit on you having to make such a huge decision? Is it your tour operator and will these options disappear and vanish forever?
Looks like you need more time. Don't let anyone back you into taking a program that's not as close to perfect as possible.
My 2 cents;
Sherry
cybor is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2006, 03:43 PM
  #66
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 187
Thanks Sherry. Ive been trying to get the perfect itinerary but it is completely impossible because of extremely tight availability. This particular tour operator found one tent left in this private reserve outside of the Mara. They are holding the itinerary for 24 hours. This is my last effort with this . . . we have been trying to combine gorilla trekking, frequent flyer miles, particular flight dates, Tanzania and the Mara and it has been impossible to secure in any manner that makes sense. After proposing a budget of $5500-6000 land only, one operator came back with an itinerary costing upwards of $8,500 and even that one, hopped all over the place and had some dead days. I am about ready to throw in the towel unless I get good feedback on this itinerary. I think East Africa is too popular for me . . .
sueblue is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2006, 04:07 PM
  #67
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Sueblue,
What happened to gorillas? They got dashed because of budget?

Unfortunately, I'm not qualified to comment on the itinerary except to say I think the price sounds about right--nothing wrong there.

Hang in there. Hopefully one of the veterans will chime in.

Probably the only part that would give me pause is the Sopa in the Serengeti. But...nothing is perfect, especially at this late date.
Leely is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2006, 05:56 PM
  #68
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 187
Yes, we couldn't stomach the $8,600+ budget, land only. It also was sort of a hodge podge. For that amount of money, I would really want it to be the dream of a lifetime safari.
sueblue is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2006, 10:35 PM
  #69
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 108
hi Sueblue, i only recently booked 5 days in Kenya safari (i already booked 15 days tanzania some time ago-in total we're staying 20 days in east-africa).. tanzania i booked with tropical trails and kenya with southern cross safaris... the only advice i can give you is to still give it a shot.. i think there should be ways to get a better deal... our total budget land only in total over kenya and tanzania added 4000 USD a person, this includes 11 days private safari in tanzania, staying in sopa lodges mainly, and 5 days in really beautiful lodges (shompole 2 nights, olonana 2 nights)in kenya... of course this for period june 2006. maybe, since you're under time pressure, you could write the 2 persons I've been working with and ask them for a price quote.. you might consider doing only kenya ? in that case, you can contact benjamin of southern cross at [[email protected]) and tell him exactly what you are looking for.. he's been a great help in getting me a lodge i thought i would never be able to afford (eg by suggesting drive instead of flying), and he's willing to make a lot of efforts...
janischa28 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2006, 03:57 AM
  #70
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
At the $7,500 you initially mentioned for the combined gorillas, Tanzania and Kenya, the price seemed right, but if the quote from Africa Adventure came in at $8,600... that's very high.

The only issue I have with the last itinerary you posted is being in the Serengeti in late August, especially at the Sopa. In fact, I would eliminate the Serengeti altogether. Tarangire, the Crater and Manyara are all you need in Tanzania; you've already got time in the Mara and Amboseli. Eliminating the Serengeti will certainly bring down your costs.

The 24-hrs is not unusual at this late date, as space is being eaten up daily, and if the properties don't have affirmative responses quickly, the rooms/tents are given away. All I see these days at most places in the Mara are lots of "0" (zeros - no space available on dates in August/September).

We all hope to get the perfect itinerary and with sufficient advanced planning, many do. But with a banner year for travel to East Africa, at this late date it can be difficult.

I believe you should decide which stops are absolutely a "must" and stick with that - to me, the Serengeti isn't during August.

Remember - there's always another trip, as most of us have found out. If, however, you cannot see your way to do the safari now - not sufficient time to plan, avoid the high season with high prices, limited space - consider November or the beginning of 2007, when you can do an independent trip. I don't believe you'll be happy with a group tour.
 
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2006, 04:28 AM
  #71
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 187
Has anyone heard of that Pornini Camp outside of the Mara? Is it a problem to be outside and have to drive in each day for game drives? Are there too many days there in each park and too few in Tanzania? I thought the Serengeti is the best attraction in all of East Africa with the most wildlife. . . therefore, how can we miss that?
sueblue is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2006, 04:41 AM
  #72
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
There are very few lodges or camps immediately inside the Mara. Most camps are outside on private conservation lands. From day-to-day your game drives will vary - some you'll be inside the Mara, others maybe on your lands where your camp is located, or game walks and even night game drives (the latter not permitted inside the Mara).

The Serengeti is a wonderful place to visit, but the Mara is the place to be in August/September. They're both part of the same eco-system divided by a border. While there is resident game in the Serengeti during this period, you'll see all the same while in the Mara, plus the migrating herds.

 
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2006, 05:30 AM
  #73
bat
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,790
sue:
I can't help you with Porini other than to say that it looks nice on its website and sandi has indicated that most camps are outside of the Mara. The serengeti has resident cats to see year round. I say go for it.
bat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2006, 06:59 AM
  #74
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,822
If you're looking to cut a day in Kenya and add it to Tanzania, I'd say 2 nights in Amboseli is sufficient. I wouldn't take away a night from the Mara.
Patty is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2006, 08:07 AM
  #75
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 187
Would you drive from Amboseli to Arusha or fly? It looks like we could get another day in the Serengeti if we fly -- otherwise, we could just chop off a day at Amboseli. Does anyone know the cost of the flights? I think we are probably going to go with this itinerary with a few minor tweaks. Hopefully, the accomodations will be nice. I am so confused at this point and have seen so much w/o ever even having been there -- I am afraid I am losing perspective on the whole thing! Thanks again, all. We will be using Roy Safaris on this which I heard has a great reputation.
sueblue is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2006, 08:39 AM
  #76
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,822
I don't think you're necessarily better off flying. From the Serena in Amboseli, you're about 1.5 hours drive to the Namanga border. I'm sure of the drive time from Namanga to Arusha but I don't think it's that long. Hopefully someone else has the answer.

If you fly, you'd take the morning flight from Amboseli to Nairobi Wilson airport, then you'd have to wait around for a few hours until the 1:00pm departure from Wilson to Kilimanjaro which gets in at 1:45pm. Fares on Air Kenya are $95 one way Amboseli to Wilson and $135 one way Wilson to Kilimanjaro + taxes.

I actually think you'd get there about the same time or even early if you drive as long as you get an early start that morning. I think you could make it all the way to Tarangire that same day if you wanted to. The only questionable part is that you're staying in Kikoti which is pretty far south. It'll be long, but I've seen itineraries that go from Amboseli to Tarangire in one day. So here's where you might also be able to pick up an extra day assuming you can get the accomodation space to work.
Patty is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2006, 08:43 AM
  #77
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,822
Meant to say I'm UNsure of the drive time from Namanga to Arusha.
Patty is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2006, 10:40 AM
  #78
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Agree with Patty re: flight Amboseli to Arusha. I'm not sure you'd save a significant amount of time, at least not enough to justify the cost. I have done the drive from Namanga to Arusha (actually starting from Nairobi). It's nothing too long, a few hours if I'm remembering correctly.

Then again, I'm the type who prefers a drive to a flight. I sort of enjoy "road trips." If you hate them, maybe the flight would be a better option for you.

Good luck, sueblue. This whole itinerary-crafting phase is pretty daunting, I know.
Leely is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2006, 11:55 AM
  #79
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Patty's is right about having to fly back to NBO from Amboseli and wait for the flight to JRO, when you can already by in Tanzania and probably at Tarangire by the time the flight arrives at JRO.

With an early departure from Amboseli to the border is about 1.5 hrs. then another 1+hr. to Arusha and 2-hrs to Tarangire. Though Kikoti is south (you're coming from the north), you have your game drive as soon as you enter the park, so you don't miss anything.

As to the extra day at Amboseli - when you consider that on the first night here you won't arrive till late afternoon, so that day is basically a travel day from the Mara to Nairobi to Amboseli. With the 3rd night you have 2-full days here.


 
Reply With Quote
Apr 7th, 2006, 09:44 AM
  #80
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 187
Leely -- how long does it take to fly to Nairobi and then drive to Amboseli? Maybe we should fly to Amboseli and then we'd get in the extra time that way? It just seems strange to have so little time in the Serengeti when it is such a large park -- even if we are doing the Mara. I told the travel agent to explore options for getting us another day in the Serengeti -- should I tell her to forget it? I thought Amboseli is a much smaller park.
sueblue is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:03 PM.