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Please critique my first itinerary for Kenya Tanzania

Please critique my first itinerary for Kenya Tanzania

Old Nov 4th, 2006, 04:00 PM
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Please critique my first itinerary for Kenya Tanzania

Hi all,

I'm in the beginning stages of planning our first safari (July 2007), and lurking on this board has been the most helpful place for info so far. Please be gentle with me :-

We're considering a private (but guided) trip, probably with Micato or similar. Am stumped about itinerary and potential price. Please let me know what to expect for a ballpark price the a trip including following stops, and any advice concerning re-evaluation of our proposed locations. (Especially with regard to migration location in July.) We will be travelling with a 12 year old...the best behaved and most mature child I know, but am worried about restrictions on children at some camps.

Nairobi (Giraffe Manor ~ 2 nights) want to check out Sheldricks and such

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (2 nights)

Serengeti Grumeti Camp (3 nights)

Mara (3 nights -- don't know where to stay, all advice welcome)

Lake Manyara Tree Top (2 nights)

Mahale Greystoke or Nkungwe (3 or 4 nights)

I noticed on the Greystoke site that they don't allow under 12's on the chimp treks...is that true of all camps there?

My travelling companion is mostly interested in photography and I'm interested in wildlife. Are there any glaring omissions or big re-evaluations I should make before contacting some safari companies?

Please help as you see fit
Thanks in advance!

yatesn is offline  
Old Nov 5th, 2006, 04:14 AM
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First, a search on this board for "Kenyan Tour Operators" or "Tanzanian Tour Operators" (both without the "&quot will bring up threads on the left with some companies that have been received well from travelers on this board and from which to choose. Realize that not all of these comanies will do both countries... some specialize in Tanzania (or Kenya) only. Some have partners in the other country with whom they work. And, others are full-service and can handle all your requirements.

Most likely these operators/planners can provide an itinerary at way less a cost than a Micato itinerary. Unless, of course, you want to travel with a group of people. The Kenya Trip Index that can be found on this site will give you an idea of the outfitters travelers in the past number of years have used. The outfitters you find will be able to provide the three of you a private safari with your own guide and vehicle. And, probably at a more competitive price than a Micato, an A&K or a Tauck - all do group tours at stiff prices; their private tour prices will increase markedly.

Age 12 is an excellent time for safari and shouldn't be an issue anywhere as long as the youngster goes out on game drives with you. Some camps/lodges can probably even arrange private activities for this soon to be a teenager.

At this time, though, especially for many of the properties shown on your list, will likely be "waitlisted" as they have been booked for months. You may have to be flexible in routing if these props are the ones you wish. But, have faith, there are other lovely alternative offerings. I'd also suggest you commence your trip in Tanzania to hopefully catch the migrtion in the Western Serengeti. Keeping the Mara in Kenya for the end, when the herds should be arriving here from end-July into August.

If you can get flights into Kilimanjaro (JRO) Tanzania, the Giraffe Manor can be scheduled for the middle when arriving in Kenya and before heading to the Mara.

For alternative/lodgings:
Tarangire (a more interesting park than Manyara) - staying at Swala, Treetops, Kikoti or Oliver's Camps

Manyara - though small, and can be covered in a few hours, if you wish Tree Lodge be aware it's a good 2/hr drive thru to the far end of the park and the same when departing from here.
Adding to the transfer time onto your next stop.

Ngorongoro - Crater is a great choice, but availability maybe an issue. Serena and Sopa Lodges here may not compare but are the other two lodges sited on the rim. Sopa provides the easiest and closest access to/from the crater floor.

Western Serengeti - besides Grumeti River, there is Kirawira and Mbagaleti Camps. The latter two somewhat larger (25/tents) than Grumeti River, but there are few properties in this area to begin with. Another possibility would be one of the mobile/seasonal camps - Nomad's - if it's sited in this area at that time.

Or, a bit further north in the Serengeti as the herds move, would be Sayari in the Northwestern area, sited in a beautiful area near the Mara River as in finds its way into Tanzania.

Once you get to the Mara, there are lots and lots and lots of choices. Governor's camps, Olonana, Serian, Saruni, Elephant Pepper, Richard's Camp, Ol Seki, Rekero, Naibor, Explorer, Intrepid's... I can go on and on. It's a matter of budget, where exactly you wish to be positioned. Some like to be right inside the Triangle on the banks of the Mara or Talek Rivers, others prefer to be outside the Triangle where it is a bit quieter without as much traffic.

In Nairobi, besides Giraffe Manor, there is Ngong House, Macushla (sp), House of Waine, the Norfolk.

Day 1 - Arv. JRO - o/n Arusha
Day 2 - Drive to Tarangire - o/n
Day 3 - Tarangire - o/n
Day 4 - Drive to Ngorongoro w/lunch at Gibbs Farm, continue to Ngorongoro - o/n
Day 5 - Morning Crater tour; afternoon Crater Rim Walk - o/n
Day 6 - Drive via Oldupai Gorge for brief visit; continue to Central Serengeti for lunch here; continue to Western Serengeti - o/n
Day 7 - Western Serengeti - o/n
Day 8 - Western Serengeti - o/n
Day 9 - Drive to NWSerengeti - o/n Sayari
Day 10 - Sayari
Day 11 - Sayari
Day 12 - Fly to Arusha; fly to Wilson/NBO - o/n Giraffe Manor
Day 13 - mornng visit Sheldrick; lunch at Carnivore - 3pm flight to Masai Mara - o/n
Day 14 - Masai Mara - o/n
Day 15 - Masai Mara - o/n
Day 16 - Fly to NBO

Mahale has been omitted. If you wish to visit here, you'll need about 4/days (flight dependent) and can be done before heading to the Masai Mara.

All depends on the amount of time you've allowed for your total trip.

Hope this helps somewhat.
Old Nov 5th, 2006, 06:11 AM
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I was pleasantly surprised when we were able to book Bataleur in the Mara, Manyara Tree Lodge, Crater Lodge and Tanzania under Canvas in June for a September trip. I was told everything would be booked up but it wasn't!
Marija is offline  
Old Nov 5th, 2006, 07:30 AM
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Here is a recent link on a Micato safari that was a success.


And here is a link to an Index with many East Africa reports.


If you've been lurking, you probably have looked at these.

Here are some agents that specialize in Africa that could do a private trip for you with the properties you request, probably for less than Micato. These have been used by Fodorites.

Africa Adventure
Africa Serendipty
ATR (African Travel Resources)
Eastern & Southern Safaris
Good Earth
Southern Cross Safaris

To get an idea of price, you can use e-gnu.com. They list many camps and lodges and you can click on rates for an idea. I have found the e-gnu rates to be higher than what an agent actually puts together, but it is a pricing start. This link is for Kenya.


Good luck.

atravelynn is offline  
Old Nov 5th, 2006, 07:41 AM
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In my opinion, I would skip Lake Manyara. Also, the suggestion to do Western Serengeti, Sayari and Mara, I think, is an overkill of the Serengeti/Mara ecosystem -- unless you want to see the migration all day/all the time. Properties in the Laikipia area (www.laikipia.org) or in the Chyulu area (Campi ya Kanzi or Ol Donyo Wuas) of Kenya are absolutely fantastic and would give you an entirely different perspective.
safaridude is offline  
Old Nov 5th, 2006, 07:50 AM
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Thank you all so much for the helpful replies. You've given me alot to think about

Sandi, the only reason I put Manyara on our itinerary was to see flamingos (and the tree houses looked cute on their website...I'm a sucker for ambience!). Are there any other places along my proposed route to see flamingos?

The reason I am considering Micato is because I want this trip to be as flawless as possible, and my friend is a bit nervous about snafu's since we'll have his daughter with us (otherwise it wouldn't be so much of an issue). But saving money would be great, especially if it would enable us to see the chimps at Mahale I will absolutely check out all of these suggestions!

My biggest concern at this point: my travel buddy is in the National Guard, and we are afraid to book too far in advance as he might get sent back to the war. How long can we feasibly wait and still find nice lodging, if our itinerary is somewhat flexible? The lodging doesn't need to be "over the top" luxury, but we do want small tented camps as much as possible (nice ambience).

Thanks again...this board is an incredible resource, and your time and effort is much appreciated!

yatesn is offline  
Old Nov 5th, 2006, 08:11 AM
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<b>Sandi, the only reason I put Manyara on our itinerary was to see flamingos ... Are there any other places along my proposed route to see flamingos?</b>

We've spent several days at Manyara and have yet to see a flamingo there at the north end of the lake (January and April). Several hundred other species of birds, but no flamingos. The lodge you mention is at the south end so maybe it's different down there.

We did see two species of flamingos every morning at the small soda lake in Ngornogoro Crater however, which is on your itineray.

Could be different in July though ... or different in another year even in January or April.

Bill_H is offline  
Old Nov 5th, 2006, 10:10 AM
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No Manyara flamingos for me either. Did see them in crater.

atravelynn is offline  
Old Nov 5th, 2006, 10:19 AM
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There are flamingos also in Arusha National Park.
bat is offline  
Old Nov 5th, 2006, 11:29 AM
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You will see flamingos in Ngorongoro.
safaridude is offline  
Old Nov 5th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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The Tree House is cute, it's also expensive. For the properties you listed, you'd be paying on average $500-$600/person/nt. There is a discount for children sharing with 2/adults, but as the child is already 12/years, the discount will be smaller.

However, if there is a possibility of your friend being called back to Iraq or thereabouts, I'd check now with the trip insurance companies to determine whether cancellation under these circumstances would be covered.

Check out www.insuremytrip.com where there are many trip cancellation and interruption policies. You can plug in assumed numbers to access some of the policy offers, check the various dropdown menus, but it might just be quicker to call the 800# listed on the site and ask this question. Then you'd know where you stand as once you make a deposit, that's it. Few are refundable; the insurer would have to pay up if it is a qualified reason for cancelling.

Once you have this answer you can better plan for trip anywhere, or not.
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