Please Help: East Africa Wedding Planning

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Mar 17th, 2006, 08:39 PM
  #1
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Please Help: East Africa Wedding Planning

Rather than have a traditional wedding in the US, my fiance and I have decided to use the money to treat our immediate families to a safari - 9 people in total. We have looked into Micato, A&K, etc. and have been researching and are more confused than ever. We want a more high-end trip being that it is for our wedding, but are also wary of cost(since we will be paying for everyone). Our timeframe is for the end of June 2007 - early July 2007 (we haven't locked in the dates so are flexible). 1-2 weeks with family for a safari. The family will then leave for the US and my fiance and I plan on spending 1 week climbing Mt. Kilimjaro. If enough time left (and money), we ideally wanted to spend a few days in Seychelles, but if that's not practical, Zanzibar? I don't know where to even begin and I'm totally open to people's suggestions. We have 3 weeks (possibly a few extra days) all together and want to make this the ultimate wedding/honeymoon for us as well as our families. Questions that I'd love everyone's opinions on:

(1) Recommendations on high-end tour operators? Or, if we go private to save money, what is the best way of handling this? This will be our first time to Africa.
(2) Depending on cost, we plan on spending 1-2 weeks with entire family in E. Africa. We are considering the balloon ride, elephant ride? and need advice as to what other things are a "must" to see and do.
(3) Any tour guides/routes recommended for climbing Kiliminjaro? Our goal is to make it to the peak.
(4) We may have 2-4 days. Is it worth going to Seychelles? Other islands recommended?

I really appreciate everyone's time in advance for taking the time out to offer some advice!

myweddingthings is offline  
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Mar 18th, 2006, 01:25 AM
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Hi! My husband and I spent out honeymoon in Zanzibar in Feb.2006. We loved it, and recommend it to everyone. We could go to Seychelles, but decided to go to Znz, and were very happy about it. We stayed at Breezes Zanzibar and Pongwe Beach. Both hotels were amazing. Breezes is very up-scale kind of hotel, you feel like royalty when you are there. They also organize wedding ceremonies right on the beach at Breezes. The wedding we saw when we were there was beautiful, and we regretted that we did not have our ceremony there.
Seychelles will be much more expensive, and you will not get much service there for this kind of money. So, go to Zanzibar and take all of your guests there!
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Mar 18th, 2006, 01:53 AM
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Hi.

in answer to your questions;

1. an Africa specialist either in your own region or email being available would really be a positive as they narrow down the options for you. I personally prefer to deal with smaller and thererfore more intimate operators. Especially if you are looking to mid to top end options. try Sush at Africanconnoisseur.com or alternatively Alex Walker of Serian he also outfits and guides great east african safaris.
2. what sort of age group are you dealing with as there are many opportunities but not all of them cross the age divide. Ballooning is a must (expensive but worth it), walking is the only way to really experience africa and you should do that.horseback riding is a great way to get up close and of course photography and filming can be vastly enhanced if you have a good guide with you.
2. I would suggets trying to stay in one or two places and then to the coast (zanzibar is great, breezes beautiful! but Lamu is fun as is Tana River Delta for the more adventurous). Try http://loisaba.com http://www.tassiakenya.com and Sabuk in Laikipia and then Serian in the Mara www.serian.com. combined with a few days at the coast.
3. Kili is great but you will need at least six days if not seven if you want to be successful eddie frank of www.tusker.com comes well recommended by several of my friends. very safety conscious and uses the quiet routes up.

4.Seychelles is a long way to go for such a short time. stick to the east african coast there are many wonderful places to see. Lamu, Kiwayu. Funzi, Zanzibar...

sounds like you will have a great time good luck! it wont be the last!
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Mar 18th, 2006, 03:12 AM
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I have no idea, but that is about the coolest idea I have heard - big improvement over other posts on other boards asking how to force their families to pay their own expenses for destination wedding. Congrats!
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Mar 18th, 2006, 05:16 AM
  #5
bat
 
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myweddings: What a great --and generous-idea.
I would recommend that you use a tour operator. Some U. S. companies, in addition to sandi, that specialize in Africa are, Deeper Africa (www.deeperafrica.com), Africa Adventure (some think higher priced), and Africa Dream Safari (does Tanzania only I believe).

Have you seen the East Africa Trip Report Index? You can read about trips to TZ and Kenya to get an idea what appeals to you.

Also, look at eben's website www.go-safari.com. In the Tanzania/Serengeti section he has maps that give an indication where the best location is (for the time of year) to see the wildebeest migration. So for June,, central and western--for July, central and northern serengeti. There are some very nice camps in both the western and nrthern areas. Also, what is called seasonal mobile camps. With the size of your group you could have your own camp. Agin, eben's website will show you the location and pictures of various accommodations.

Re Kili, eben also has a Kili climbing company-it is on the expensive end but considered really top notch. www.kiliwarriors.com [in the trip report you will also find Kili climbing reports]

Re Zanzibar, you should decide what kind of place you want-small? resort? I stayed at Matemwe Bungalows--12 units, excellent for a honeymoon (can read about in my trip report). There is a new, large (100+) 5 star Kempinski hotel if that appeals to you.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...ica+trip+index
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Mar 18th, 2006, 05:24 AM
  #6
bat
 
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accidentally, posted before I was through proofing and adding.

A number of people book directly with a TZ or Kenyan company and you may save money dealing directly with a local company but typically you wire payments to them-so no credit cards. Considering the kind of money that you will be spending, I would want to book with a U.S. based company and put on a credit card --for extra security, peace of mind, and for mileage points. You and new hubby will have alot of mileage points to put toward your first anniversary trip!
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Mar 18th, 2006, 05:36 AM
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bat
 
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BTW, a nice itinerary would be 2 nights Tarangire (Swala would be my choice but there are less expensive ones)

2 nights Crater (Serena is a largish lodge, very good views)

2 nights central (the Serena lodge--or if the group is up for camping (luxury camping--you can read about it) then a private mobile camp)

4 nights for a big finish at a really nice permanent camp (western-Kirawira or northern--Migration Camp, for example)

If you booked the Serena crater, the Serena Central, and Kirawira (also owned by Serena) I would expect that you could get a nice discount.

If you wanted a shorter safari to cut costs and/or allow more time for Kili and the beach then you could cut 1 day from the crater and 1 day from the western/northern location.
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Mar 18th, 2006, 07:04 AM
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Sounds like you are planning an unforgettable experience for your families. (My husband and I had a destination wedding in Tuscany and put up 35+ friends and family in a castle for a week...but that is for the Europe board...back to Africa)....
All of the suggestions you have received so far are great. Something else to look into is renting an entire villa or house for a period of time. I have seen several "exclusive use" safari properties in Kenya, and also a great looking place on the beach in Zanzibar (www.escape-zanzibar.com).
Depending on the demographics of your group (any older/younger family?) it might be nice just to stay put in one place for several days.
Good luck with your plans. Keep us posted on your trip.
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Mar 18th, 2006, 12:29 PM
  #9
sandi
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What did you see in the A&K and Micato brochures that were of interest? Places visited, accommodations, how many days. Also, just how private were these offerings, or how private to you wish your wedding to be?

Do you want your wedding ceremony first or midway? Presume before the Kili climb and, as you say, if any $$$ remaining for a bit of R&R on the coast.

What kind of per person budget? How many adults? How many children (under age 16 and/or 12) as discounts are offered? How many actual rooms/tents do you need?

There are a number of properties in Kenya, that offer a private house, staff, pools, etc. that can accommodate your entire group, or private for the two of you and your guests at a close distance. And, of course, there are the very romantic "starbeds." At the coast, there is the Alfajiri if you wish privacy and/or rub elbows with the likes of Branjelina.

So many choices.
 
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