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Please help me put together my Kenya/Tanzania Sept. itinerary!!!!

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Mar 1st, 2005, 08:43 AM
  #1
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Please help me put together my Kenya/Tanzania Sept. itinerary!!!!

My husband and I are planning a Sept. trip (probably the latter half, seems to be less expensive airfare) to Kenya and Tanzania, and, in spite of all my research on these wonderful boards, can't seem to put an itinerary together; I don't know about distances and roads.

I am doing the planning, and need your help to move forward. We have 14 days, excluding flights, and our budget is $3000-$3500 per person for the land portion.

I would like to stay in some tented camps, especially near the end of our adventure (we don't stay in 5 star hotel when we travel, but, of course, wouldn't mind!) It seems prudent to see the migration in the Mara near the end if that can be arranged.....quite a finish from what you all say!!

These are some other places of interest, but I am completely open to suggestions:

>Ngorongoro Crater-staying at NC Sopa
>Lake Manyara and/orTarangire
>Amboseli
> Aberdares
>Samburu
>Lake Nakuru

I have been advised to skip the Serengeti (or maybe go to the Northern Serengeti) this trip, since the migration is happening, and that is OK with me.

I am interested in the shortest driving times between, and, although I am a chicken about flying, I would consider it if our budget allows.
Haven't made our flight arrangements yet, but plan to stop in London for a few days on our way home to LAX.

This is, obviously, our first African vacation, and, in spite of my husbands' lack of enthusiasm, I am convinced it will be spectacular!

Please, please, please help me find some direction; any and all assistance will be GREATLY appreciated
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Mar 1st, 2005, 02:46 PM
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GGAfrica

I hope by Day #2 of your safari that your husband becomes a convert! Even if he's not a wildlife, scenery, or culture fan, at least I've always found the food on safari to be good.

First just some general transportation comments. Before my first safari I felt the same way you do about preferring to drive rather than fly. After going and doing some driving, I think flying is actually the safer option, but I will do either.

Here are some travel times and the websites where they came from.

TANZANIA
Arusha - Tarangire National Park ±2½hrs
Arusha - Lake Manyara National Park ±3½hrs
Lake Manyara National Park - Ngorongoro Crater ±2½hrs
Ngorongoro Crater rim - Nabi gate Serengeti ±2 hrs
Ngorongoro Crater rim - Seronera Serengeti ±3½hrs
Seronera Serengeti - (Western Corridor - Grumeti/Kirawira) ±3½hrs
Seronera - Kleins ±4-5hrs
Western Corridor - Kleins ±8hrs
Kleins - Lobo ±1½hrs
Tarangire to Manyara was not listed but I believe it is around 2 hours.


http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache...ary+plan&hl=en


KENYA
·Aberdare National Park - Samburu National Park ±3½-4 hrs
·Aberdare National Park - Mount Kenya Safari Club / Nanyuki ±½ hr
·Lake Nakuru - Masai Mara National Reserve ±4½-5½ hrs
·Lake Naivasha - Masai Mara National Reserve ±4½-5½ hrs
·Nairobi - Aberdare National Park ±2½-3 hrs
·Nairobi - Masai Mara National Reserve ±5 hrs
·Nairobi - Amboseli National Park ±3 hrs
·Nairobi - Samburu National Park ±4 hrs ·Nairobi - Mount Kenya Safari Club / Nanyuki ±3-3½ hrs

http://www.kenya.za.net/Kenya_Region...e-lines_3.html

Here is a suggestion, using all of the locations you suggested, substituting Tarangire for Manyara because I think Tarangire would be slightly better in Sept/late Sept. Driving rather than flying—helps with your budget. This is based on personal experience over several trips. There was not one of your parks mentioned that I did not enjoy or would never return to.

Day 1
Fly to Kilimanjaro and drive under an hour to Arusha, overnight.

Day 2
Drive 2 ½ hours to Tarangire

Day 3 Tarangire am and pm

Day 4
Drive from Tarangire to Crater. When I did this in 2001 we left Tarangire and game-drove out, at a leisurely pace. Stopped at Gibb’s Farm for lunch and had the lunch of our lives. I was with birders so we lingered quite awhile here. Made it to Sopa in time for late afternoon relaxing, watching sunset, etc. Long day, but quite do-able. Don’t remember exact travel times.

Day 5
Do your ½ day Crater drive and ½ day hike, Masai visit, or whatever is scheduled/recommended by your agent. (I’ve put only 1 day at the Crater to fit in your other parks. You could get into the crater twice if you gave up something else.)

Day 6
Get to Amboseli. I believe you can cross by vehicle at the border at Namanga. Since I’ve never done this I don’t know the time involved. Amboseli would be the most logical first location in Kenya since it is just over the border.

Day 7 Amboseli am and pm

Day 8
To Aberdere from Amboseli is something I’ve never done. (I went only from Nairobi) Adding the times from Amboseli to Nairobi then on to Aberdare is about 6 hours--a whole day--but I’ve seen itineraries do it with a nice lunch stop, so shortcuts may exit. Most itineraries have one overnight here—often at The Ark or Treetops where most activity occurs at night. That is what I did on my first trip.

Day 9
Drive to Samburu in 4 hours.

Day 10 Samburu am and pm

Day 11
Samburu to Nakuru. I can’t remember exact times, but maybe 3 hours. There was time for me to take a short nap and an afternoon game drive after arriving in Nakuru. Only 1 night at Nakuru, which is common. I spent only 1 night here on my first trip. (Again if you cut out other parks, more time could be spent here)

Day 12
Nakuru to Mara.
As I recall it took about 3-4 hours. The roads were famous for being bad on this leg of the trip.

Day 13 Mara am and pm

Day 14 Mara am and pm DO NOT LEAVE AFTER ONLY 2 NIGHTS IN THE MARA.

Day 15 Mara am and pm(it would not be too much to do 4 nights here) But you could leave on Day #15 to keep it closer to your 2 weeks.

Day 16
You can fly out at about 11 am which is good if you’d like to shop in Nairobi before leaving on what I presume will be an evening flight out of Africa. Or you can fly out of the Mara at about 4 pm, which allows for a little more game viewing, and that is what I’ve always done.

This hits all of your parks in about two weeks. You might want to drop Amboseli or Aberdare for more time in the remaining parks. But Amboseli has views of Kilimanjaro (usually at some point in the day) that you’d be giving up and Aberdare offers a forested environment, where you may see Colobus monkeys, that you do not have anywhere else in your itinerary. I didn’t mention camps or lodges but I can and so can others who have been to Kenya/Tanzania more recently than 2001, when I was there last.

My goodness this got lengthy.

Happy planning. My husband is not keen on Africa either. But he stays home.


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Mar 1st, 2005, 03:29 PM
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I don't have much to add except I think some of those driving times listed on that website for Kenya may be a little on the optimistic side It took us 4.5 hours from the time we departed our lodge in Amboseli until we reached Nairobi. I don't think our driver was particularly slow or fast, he seemed to be going the average speed and we only made one quick stop enroute. Also I don't think Nairobi-Samburu can be done in 4 hours, judging by the amount of time it took us to travel to Nanyuki and how much farther our driver said it would take to reach Samburu, I estimate that it's more like 5.5 to 6 hours.
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Mar 1st, 2005, 04:15 PM
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The travel chart may be guilty of underestimating but so is my memory! The Nakuru to Mara drive was actually almost twice the 3-4 hours I recalled. Funny how in retrospect we forget any unpleasantness and focus on the positive.
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Mar 1st, 2005, 07:32 PM
  #5
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WOW!! This is really exciting to get some help.....many thanks! Maybe we should thing about adding internal flights. Any suggestions where we might add them??

Also, I have read on these boards that it is always good to stay a minimum of 2 nights at each stop, so any ideas about which camps to eliminate to allow 2 night says??

I do think that one night at Ngorongoro Crater is enough, with an evening game drive and a morning drive or crater rim walk, and then leave....is that doable?? I hate to miss lunch at Gibbs Farm since it sounds wonderful.

Many more thanks for the replies; I am looking forward to more suggestions......I just love this part, where our actual trip begins to take shape!
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 05:32 AM
  #6
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GGAfrica - Your itinerary ideas rare good, but drive times take up lots of what otherwise would be for game viewing. However, on our first trip we did drive most routes in Kenya, we did enjoy the scenery here and the various towns and local people we met along the way. Tanzania is somewhat different as you don't find many towns along your route, and though scenery is interesting in some places, at others it can be a bit boring... though on a first trip, everything is is exciting.

Some of the distances by road can actually take a good part of a day. From Arusha to Ngorongoro you'll have to be on the road by 8am to arrive in time for your afternoon 1/2-day in the Crater. The trip from the Crater to Manyara is easy enough in less than 3-hrs, but if you go onto Tarangire, that's going to be a good 5-hrs. This would have to be another very early departure. And in September, Tarangire is where I would stay, rather than at Manyara.

From Tarangire to Arusha is a good 2-1/2-hrs, then another 2-hrs to the Namanga border, border procedures and change of vehicles (guide/driver), then about 2-hrs into Amboseli. Once in Kenya, from Amboseli to Aberdares is via Nairobi (by road or air) and the closest airport is Nanyuki, then a drive. If visitors want to visit both Aberdares/Mt.Kenya area and Samburu, they often travel from NBO to Aberdares/Mt. Kenya for an overnight, then continue onto Samburu next day. Likewise the trip from Samburu to Lk. Nakuru is a long one. Lots of time is spent on the road, and not gameviewing.

What I do notice is that you haven't mentioned the Mara in Kenya, the prime area to visit for the Migration which is taking place during the time you plan your visit. However, atravelynn does include it in her sample itinerary and a stop that you should definitely include.

As to flights in either country, there are scheduled flights and private charter flights, the latter being the more expensive ones. Know that there is no airport at the Crater - closest is the 2-1/2-hrs drive to Manyara. Nor are there scheduled flights from Tarangire.

In Kenya, there are scheduled flights from Nairobi to/from Amboseli; NBO to/from Nanyuki/Mt. Kenya (w/ongoing connection to Samburu) NBO to/from Samburu; Samburu to the Mara; Nanyuki to the Mara; NBO to/from the Mara.

Granted on a first trip, you want to see everything - you notice I did say first trip... as most people make second and third return trips... there is just so much to see and do. What you have to remember is that September (even if lower priced International airfares) is high season, so accommodation prices will be higher. And including some flights, will add to your costs. Since it's not that feasible for flights with only visiting Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire, I would save the drive time for Tanzania. Once at Amboseli, after 2-nts here, you fly early to NBO and connect for ongoing destinations. Personally, I would omit Aberdares and Lake Nakuru and fly from NBO to Samburu, then Samburu to the Mara and return flight to NBO.

Day 1 - Ar. JRO, transfer to Arusha - o/n here
Day 2 - Early departure to Ngorongoro Crater, afternoon Crater Tour - o/n here
Day 3 - Morning Crater walk or Early departure to Tarangirie - o/n here
Day 4 - Tarangire - o/n here
Day 5 - Drive via Arusha, to Namanga border, change vehicles, continue to Amboseli - o/n here
Day 6 - Amboseli - o/n here
Day 7 - Fly to NBO, connect to flite to Samburu - o/n here
Day 8 - Samburu - o/n here
Day 9 - Fly to the Mara - o/n here
Day 10 - Mara
Day 11 - Mara
Day 12 - Mara
Day 13 - Fly to NBO - o/n here
Day 14 - NBO - Daphne Sheldrik Ellee Orphanage, Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Manor, lunch or dinner Carnivore, shopping, transfer to airport for homeward flight.

On my visits, I've done both all drive, also combined drive and fly in both countries - I prefer the latter. And sometimes you just can't get to see/stop at every place on the itineraries one sees in brochures or online - for the sake of time and/or sitting on your bottom for long stretches of time consider a combnation.

As to accommodations, you will find that most lodges are less expensive then permanent tented camps, but not always. It depends specifically on your budget, but I would suggest you include at minumum one, preferrably two tented camp properties in your itinerary. Options for tent camps would be at Tarangire, Amboseli, Samburu and definitely the Mara, but see how this works with your budget.

My comments and those of others are for your consideration when you discuss your itinerary with your tour operator.
 
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 09:45 AM
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GGAfrica,

Mull some of these ideas over, then come back with your thoughts and perhaps those of your agent. I'll be interested in seeing what you decide to do.
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Mar 13th, 2005, 06:02 PM
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Hello and many thanks for taking the time to help me thusfar.....still need lots of advice, since putting together the itinerary seems to be totally bogging me down still! I apologize for taking so long to re-reply, just lots going on here, and I feel foolish that I don't have more of a feel for this after the previous suggestions.

Some thoughts that I have:

>I would like for the first day after arrival to be a shorter drive, if possible....after two days on a plane, I don't want to sit toooo long in transit.
>Is it better to fly into one city (like NBO), and out of another?? Is the airfare more expensive that way?
>Would still like to visit the Mara near the end for the migration spectacular, if we are lucky enough to experience the right timing.
>Would definitely consider some internal flights if our budget allowed (and I can pluck up the courage!)
>I would like to spend only 1 night at Ngorongoro Crater, if possible, with a game drive/walk in the afternoon and the next morning.
>I would be willing to forgo Aberdare, and agree that Tarangire over Lake Manyara is a great suggestion. Should we skip Amboseli?

I can't wait to have the itinerary done, so I can go on to 'where to stay!" Part of my problem is finding a map that has the camps on it in T&K(any suggestions?)...this is all very confusing, and, again, I greatly appreciate ANY help; I need it!!!!!
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Mar 13th, 2005, 06:08 PM
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PS....forgot to say when I discussed the possibility of flights into/out of different cities that we will be arriving from London.....thanks!
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Mar 14th, 2005, 05:21 AM
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GGAfrica - from London, BA flies into NBO, but not JRO. Rather they fly Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania. There's Kenya Air, but again, only in/out NBO. You might consider KLM which flies in/out of both NBO and JRO and the price difference for this open jaw is maybe $25-$50/person (probably only $25). Consider the shuttle flight from London to AMS and return... it's worth it. You'll have to do the research on what works best, when you decide on the itinerary.

Of course, the first day you can be more relaxed early morning, maybe a culture tour, then a short-distance drive (80-90 miles) to Tarangire and continue itinerary from there. Or if you arrive via NBO, can also do a relaxed morning, then drive to the Mt. Kenya area with an overnight at Serena Mountain Lodge before heading up to Samburu by road next day.

There are many alternatives, as the suggestions listed throughout this thread... where to arrive, depart, where to visit, by road or air... but this is what you have to decide and coordinate with your tour operator.
 
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Mar 14th, 2005, 04:34 PM
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GGAFrica

>>>>Is it better to fly into one city (like NBO), and out of another?? Is the airfare more expensive that way?

On most trips I believe it is better, just so that you aren’t backtracking and using valuable vacation time solely for the sake of catching transport. So I’d say it makes the most sense here too.

If you are starting in Tanzania, with the relatively short drive to Tarangire on Day 1 and ending in the Mara, then flying into JRO and out of NBO makes the most sense.

There are KLM flights that get you to JRO at around 11:30 am. I always do better on later arriving overnight flights, such as this, because even if I have not slept much during the night, by morning I am exhausted and catch up on sleep while still on the plane. When the arrival is early in the morning, if I don’t sleep well, there is no extra time to catch up.

There are KLM flights that depart NBO late, at about 10 pm. That would allow you to take the before-noon Mara-to-Nairobi flight and do some of those Nairobi activities you have listed.


>>>>Would still like to visit the Mara near the end for the migration spectacular, if we are lucky enough to experience the right timing.

September should be good timing. Even if you don’t hit the Mara when the very maximum number of migrating herds are there, you’ll see a many, many hooved beasts, plus their predators.

I agree that it is a fitting finale.

>>>>Would definitely consider some internal flights if our budget allowed (and I can pluck up the courage!)
I felt the same way about the internal flights before my first trip. Having traveled by both road and air, the greater courage is needed on the ground in the vehicles. But either is safe enough and I continue to do both.


>>>>I would like to spend only 1 night at Ngorongoro Crater, if possible, with a game drive/walk in the afternoon and the next morning.
Did you see the post on Ngorongoro restrictions? Seems there is some confusion over whole day vs. half day restrictions. What does your agent tell you about time allowed in the crater?

>>>>I would be willing to forgo Aberdare, and agree that Tarangire over Lake Manyara is a great suggestion. Should we skip Amboseli?
How important is a possible view of Kilimanjaro to you? If not that important, then Amboseli does not offer other unique aspects not found elsewhere in your itinerary. I did not include it in my first Kenya-Tanzania trip, but it was in my second one. Not to bash Amboseli. My best photo of eles sparring together in the mud was taken there.

You're zeroing in on your trip!
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Mar 14th, 2005, 08:55 PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions....I have another question about the Tanzania portion.

I am a little confused about how to start after landing in JRO. Although I want the first leg to be bearable after the long flights, I do want to jump into Africa with both feet (!!), so would you suggest we spend the night in Arusha (are there things to do there?), or continue on to Tarangire/Ngorongoro Crater?? Seems like NC is, perhaps, too long for the arrival day.

What do you think??

I am not yet working with an agent. I was hoping to have a tentative itinerary before consulting one of the recommended companies.

This is really getting exciting!!!! Thanks, again, for taking the time to helpl out this newbie!!!
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Mar 15th, 2005, 04:09 AM
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As mentioned above, if you arrive in the evening you can have a good nights sleep. Next morning your can arrange for a cultural tour after breakfast, have lunch in Arusha and then head for Tarangire; or pass on lunch in Arusha and head for Tarangire.

Afterwards you can continue the balance of your itinerary.

But I would strongly suggest you get your proposed itinerary into the tour operators for pricing - this has been a very busy year - many places, especially, for September are already booked. Lodges may have a max of 75-90 rooms, where tent camps may have a max of 25 tents.
 
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Mar 15th, 2005, 06:06 AM
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So would you suggest we spend the night in Arusha (are there things to do there?), or continue on?

Balancing your desire to jump into Africa with two feet with being well rested to do so, I’d actually suggest staying overnight in Arusha. One of my earlier posts praised arriving mid-day for extra sleep on the plane, but even better sleep would be obtained with an overnight in a real bed.

Here is a website of some things to do in Arusha.

http://www.africanmeccasafaris.com/t...ide/arusha.asp

Personally, I’ve always wanted to visit the national park in Arusha, but have not managed to organize that yet. If you do not do Aberdare in Kenya, Arusha would provide the one location with a thicker forest environment. This would give you a shot at seeing the Colobus monkey, and just enjoying a different type of surrounding than what you'll find in the rest of your trip.
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Mar 15th, 2005, 07:31 AM
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Many thanks again. Sandi, I have taken your suggestion and emailed Roy's Safaris with the following:

*******
Itinerary for Sept. 2005, possibly the second half, but flexible within the month.
Day 1 Arrive JRO and drive to Arusha, Impala Hotel, 1 night

Day 2&3 Drive to Tarangire, Tree Tops, 2 nights

Day 4 Drive to Ngorongoro Crater, Ngorongoro Sopa, 1 night

Day 5-6 Drive to Amboseli via border crossing, Ol Tukai Lodge, 2 nights

Day 7-8 Drive to Samburu, Intrepids, 2 nights

Day 9-12 Fly to Maasai Mara, 2 nights Mara Serena, 2 nights Rekoro Tented Camp, 4 nights

Day 13 Fly to NBO and depart (may need a day room, flights not arranged yet)

I can add another day somewhere, since we were originally planning on spending 14 days on the ground.
******

Well, Lynn, Sandi, and everyone else, what do you think??? I am totally open to suggestions concerning route, accomodations, and whatever! Are there places to save $$$? I was a bit unsure about some of the lodgings, but just picked from the info here on the boards. I was trying to get some tented camps, but still maintain a mid-priced budget.

Looking forward to your thoughts.

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Mar 15th, 2005, 09:07 AM
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GGAfrica,
Normally I would say flying open jaw makes sense for this type of itinerary, but since you're originating from LHR, it complicates things. As sandi mentioned, neither BA nor KQ flies direct to JRO. To take KL, you'd have to connect in AMS both directions. So I think you could just as easily take the overnight BA or KQ LHR-NBO flight and connect to JRO the same day on a Precision Air flight, returning BA or KQ NBO-LHR nonstop which actually involves less total flight time than routing via AMS. See what the fares are like for both options.

On Day 6 from Amboseli to Samburu, are you planning to drive the entire way? It will be about 10 hours total not including a lunch stop somewhere. Consider taking the early morning flight from Amboseli to Nairobi and then driving (or another flight) to Samburu. Flying will add to the cost but you've selected 3 parks in Kenya that are located far apart from each other.

atravelynn,
I couldn't find a KL flight that arrives JRO in the morning. The only AMS-JRO KL flight that I know of arrives at 8:05pm in the evening and continues on to DAR. Are you referring to a KQ codeshare connecting in NBO?
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Mar 15th, 2005, 09:46 AM
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Sorry, that should read 'Day 7 from Amboseli to Samburu' in the above post.

If you choose not to fly that day, perhaps here you can add an extra night between Amboseli and Samburu, either in the Aberdares as you had originally planned or in the Mt. Kenya as sandi suggested earlier.

One more thing, since your itinerary is primarily Kenya rather than Tanzania, you may want to email a few Nairobi based operators in addition to Roy's which Tanzania based.
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Mar 15th, 2005, 09:54 AM
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You are right, Patty, I must have looked at the wrong KLM flight info on the morning arrival. But a pm arrival would likely work best anyway.

I agree that flights from Amboseli to Samburu would be a good choice. If you do not wish to fly, then breaking this Amboseli to Samburu trip down into 2 days of travel could put your extra day to use.

If you end up with an extra day, I would add that extra day in your Mara tented camp, Rekoro. But I am someone who enjoys a week or more in that location.

I think you're ready for an agent.
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Mar 15th, 2005, 01:15 PM
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GGAfrica -

We're all in agreement that the drive from Amboseli to Samburu is going to be a very very long day and hard on your bottoms. All options mentioned are good
- fly from Amboseli then drive to Samburu... but still a long day.
- recommend to fly from Amboseli to NBO and another flight to Samburu, or
- fly from Amboseli, drive to Mt.Kenya and overnight at Mountain Lodge, continue next morning to Samburu.

Day 5 - Drive from Ngorongoro Crater to Amboseli will be another long day of driving... easily 7-8/hours without a stop for lunch. Unfortunately there isn't a viable "fly" option for this leg.

The balance of your proposed itinerary from Samburu to the Mara is fine.

I believe the itinerary I listed above works better in that you go to the farthest point in Tanzania (the Crater) and return to Tarangire - instead of Tarangire prior the Crater. And, of course, I have more flights in the itinerary which will add to your costs.

Those of us who have been and who have been on the roads know it's difficult to comprehend the distances only looking at a map, nor having an idea of the quality of roads, and limited speed limits - no freeways here... no 90mph.

Although Roy's is primarily a Tanzania outfitter they work with Wild Trek in Nairobi who will handle the Kenya portion with a smooth handover - it's like getting two-for-one. So see what prices come back and any suggestions regarding routing.

 
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Mar 15th, 2005, 01:33 PM
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Good for you! Tanzania is my favorite country to visit in the whole world! My advice (and I am sure that some would disagree) is to spend as much time as possible in Tanzania. We ran into way more problems in Kenya, from banking, to travel, to robbery etc. Tanzania was the trip of a lifetime! Driving in Kenya is somewhat dodgy, so if you are driving on your own be careful. We found in some parts of Kenya, depending on the weather and the rains it can take up to 4 hours to drive 100km. We found the roads in Tanzania much better. If you want a fun beach excursion head to Zanzibar, great fun.
It seems like everyone else is giving you the kms etc, so I won't bother you with that, but again in Tanzania the Ngorgoro Crater and a serengeti bush camp are a must. Try to stay at the Crater Lodge, it has been compared to Versailles for it's "splendor", and it has the most amazing view ever!
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