Please help me decide what to do

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Jan 30th, 2006, 07:20 PM
  #1
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Please help me decide what to do

Hi folks,

I'm booked for a camping safari through Kenya and Tanzania (doing Mt Kenya, Samburu NP, Thompsons Falls, Masai Mara, Tarangire NP, the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater), from the 8th of July through to the 22nd, and then on a 'Primates of Rwanda' tour from the 26th to the 1st of August. The camping tour starts and ends in Nairobi, the primates tour starts and ends in Kigali.

Now my original plan was to get the shuttle bus from Nairobi and go to Kampala or Entebbe and spend a couple of days in Uganda, then get another shuttle bus into Rwanda from there. But now I'm not so sure, maybe I should spend a couple of days doing another park in Kenya and fly in Rwanda.

What do you think? What would you lovely people do if you had 4 days to kill in East Africa? Should I spend a couple of days in Tsavo NP, or jet off to Mombasa or Zanzibar, or should I stick to my original plan, and if I do, what would you recomend I see/do in Uganda (other than gorillas - I'm doing that twice in Rwanda already)? Or should I do something completely different?

One thing I do know that I don't want to do is spend 4 day's sitting around in a hotel room in Nairobi! Help me out, tell me what you'd do and give me some inspiration!

Thanks

Cheers
Trish
tishyw is offline  
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Jan 30th, 2006, 08:40 PM
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With 7 stops in 15 days (excluding Nairobi) you will probably appreciate the break (seriously!) Can't you extend your stay in Tanzania (and fly to Rwanda from there)? I've never been but I believe the Serengeti is mighty big with an awful lot to see.

Unless you LIKE punishing your body, I would definitely not try to slot in Uganda. You don't say if you have prior experience with East African travel, but it really can be tiring. You will already have a lot of journeying under your belt and will be doing walking afterwards.

Assuming you are back in Nairobi and want to do something in Kenya you don't seem to be doing any of the rift valley lakes on your trip and so that might be the best thing to do. Check out the trip report from Nyamera which includes her solo trip to Lake Nakuru and there are also Hell's Gate, Lake Elementia (spelling?) and others. As far as Nakuru is relatively easy to do independently using public transport if you want to save, or you can arrange a driver with car for about $120ish per day (don't quote me on the price since the definition of a day, a car and a driver varies!!)

Another idea... take a first class train ride down to Voi and spend a couple of nights at Tarhi (?) Camp or Voi Safari Lodge just watching the animals - or if you have more money fly to Mombassa and get Southern Cross (?) to take you to Satao Camp for 2-3 nights before flying back.

Mountain Lodge ot the Ark are cool places to sit and watch animals too, but you might get a teensy bit bored beacause you can't really leave the buildings - hence my recommendations in Tsavo (especially Satao and Tarhi from that perspective).

Tell us if you are alone, what your budget issues are and how many days your camping safari takes you to each place and you'll get better advice.

Whatever you do, take it a little easy!

kimburu is offline  
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Jan 30th, 2006, 09:36 PM
  #3
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Hi Kimburu,

Thanks for the advice. The tour does include Lake Nakuru, I just missed it when I was listing my stops. This is my first time in Africa, so I guess I am trying to pack in as much as possible. Africa isn't a cheap option from Australia (which is where I live), and I'm not sure I'll ever get back there so I am keen to see as much as possible while I'm there.
I'm a female travelling alone, so I was trying to avoid staying in Nairobi as much as possible because it's not the safest of cities, but I do understand that I might well appreciate the break!
My main reason for travelling overland rather than flying is that it seems such a shame to fly over the scenery rather than drive through it.
Travelling down to Voi and just watching the animals go by might not be such a bad idea!
According to the tour dossier we spend 1.5 days in Samburu, 1 day at Thompsons Falls, 1 at Lake Nakuru, 2 at the Masai Mara, 1 in Tarangire NP, 2 in the Serengeti and 1.5 at Ngorongoro.
Thanks for you help.

Cheers
Trish
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Jan 30th, 2006, 10:30 PM
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Hi tishyw,

Like you, we thought our two week trip to Kenya and Tanzania last summer would be our once-in-a-lifetime trip, so we packed everything into the trip we could, and looking back, I'm still glad we did it that way. Like you, we wanted to drive everywhere, see everything, touch it, taste it, and even smell it (most of the time!).

The trip may very well be our o-i-a-l trip, but as it turns out, it won't be our only trip to Africa as we're going back to Tanzania in June. It's very possible that we got bit by that bug that causes you to become a safariholic!

We were with Pollman's in Kenya and had a great guide named John. One of the unscheduled stops we made was at Thomson Falls, a beautiful place to stop, catch your breath, walk around (there's even a souvenir shop there), and enjoy the beauty of the Falls.

John was full of info and informed us that Thomson Falls was named after Joseph Thomson, an explorer back in the 1880's. It was originally thought that the Falls was the source of the Nile River. The Thomson gazelle (tommies - a cheetah's favorite food) were also named after Joseph Thomson.

And Lake Nakuru is just unbelieveable. From a distance the flamingoes make it look like there's a huge pink beach surrounding the lake. We got out of our vehicle and walked on the shore, but not too far from the vehicle as there were Cape buffalo about 200-300 yards away from us. Several fish eagles were watching us, too. The next morning, John asked us where did we want to go first, and without hesitation, we said we wanted to go back to the Lake. It's so awesome!

Have a great safari!

Jack
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Jan 30th, 2006, 11:43 PM
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Trish,
Just to make it clear, I am NOT suggesting you stay in Nairobi (even if I think you should take it easy). I'm a married man and I found it pretty hairy in Westlands after dark


I understand what you mean about travelling overland and it is good to do. However, don't forget that with feet on the ground is even more of an experience and the fews days would give you the chance to do that (somewhere other than Nairobi, preferably). The bush is the place to be... but you should be talking to Nyamera and the other single female travellers who post.... I'll skulk off home and leave the stage for them.....
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Jan 31st, 2006, 05:02 AM
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Hi Trish,

I understand your wish to see as much as possible, but I find bus travel frustrating because you can’t just stop and have a closer look at things. Also, a 10–12 hour trip to Kampala sounds exhausting after a camping safari with lots of travelling and short stays in each park. I don’t think the trip from Kampala to Kigali is that much shorter, so you will only have a short stay in Uganda.

There’s plenty to do in Nairobi and the city is not nearly as bad as its reputation. Of course, the most interesting option would be a short safari to Tsavo or Amboseli. Or, you could go somewhere where “nobody” goes, like Machakos – the capital of the Akamba people - and just hang around with “normal” Kenyans. There wouldn’t be the magic of safari, but it would be A LOT cheaper. For something in between – Lake Naivasha. Lots of budget travellers go to Fisherman’s Camp on the southern shore and are very happy there. Though Patty found this part overdeveloped. There are more secluded and expensive places in the area. Things you can do there is to walk or cycle in Hell’s Gate NP and visit Crescent Island and Elsamere Conservation Area (former home of the lioness “mother” Joy Adamson). Of the places I recommend I’ve only visited Tsavo myself.
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Jan 31st, 2006, 04:14 PM
  #7
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Hi folks,

Thanks for the replies and ideas!
I am thinking now that something simple in Kenya for a couple of days is the better way to go.
Nyamera, I'm tempted by Lake Naivasha, partly because I was always a Born Free fan, but I'm also drawn to Tsavo, partly because of the lions there, but also partly because that area is where my vet comes from.
I must confess I'm a bit apprehensive about 'Nairobbery' and your comments about it not being as bad as it's reputed to be is reasuring.
Thanks for the feedback.

Cheers
Trish
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Jan 31st, 2006, 10:12 PM
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Nairobi is not that bad. You just have to be sensible.
- It's easy to fly to Uganda from Kenya, it's a short flight but it's not a cheap flight!
-You will need some time to relax... you can "get away" not far out of Nairobi at somewhere like Ngong House which is again, not cheap, but wonderful.
- What about the Kenyan Coast? You can get a flight for about $100 from a travel agent in Nairobi.

- I think Tsavo is great. If you're up for more travelling take to opportunity to visit.
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