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

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Mar 15th, 2005, 02:06 PM
  #21
 
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Didn't mean to make it sound like there'd be any problems booking your entire itinerary with Roy's, but rather my suggestion to check with a Kenyan operator was for price comparison. I'm sure the transition to the other country's ground operator will be a smooth one regardless of whether you book through a Tanzania or Kenya based company as they're all very familiar with the border hand over.

Lraces,
Could you elaborate on your banking/travel/robbery problems in Kenya?
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Mar 15th, 2005, 03:03 PM
  #22
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Lraces - second Patty's question... what are the specifics of the banking/travel/robbery?
 
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Mar 15th, 2005, 05:15 PM
  #23
 
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Lraces,

Here's yet another request for specifics on your robbery.

Sandi,

Is your suggestion to start a Tanzania trip with the longer drive to Ngorongoro and then on to Tarangire, to get the long haul out of the way early? Thanks.
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Mar 16th, 2005, 03:33 AM
  #24
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atravelynn - Yes, the long haul first. It's paved road till you enter the Ngorongoro Conservation area. About 2-1/2 hrs. Arusha to Manyara and another 2-1/2 to the Crater. Arriving in time for lunch. Do the afternoon Crater Tour and maybe even morning Tour next morning. Then head back to Tarangire 3-hrs, though if staying at Treetops a bit longer to get thru the park. Then, on Day 5, when leaving Tarangire for Amboseli, it's a shorter drive (then from the Crater).

The repeat travelers here are familiar with long drives and road quality. So, if we're ready for 6:30am game drives, might as well start these days just as early and be headed in the direction of the next destination.
 
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Mar 16th, 2005, 06:50 AM
  #25
 
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Hmm.. Problems in Kenya. We travelled all throughout Southern and Eastern Africa last winter, and the only place we had problems with was in Kenya and Zambia (Zambia the border police took our passports and wouldn't stamp them or give them back until we could prove through recipts that we had spent an adequate amount of money in their country..receipts being hard to find it was altogether a difficult situation). In Kenya we kept getting stopped by the police, it was Christmas time and basically I think they just wanted things to give their families, but we had to keep giving them things so they would let us go. They were especially upset when we had American/ British Magazines in the car, and they accused us of carrying pronography, but were happy when we gave them the books/ magazines. Your usual bribery problems.
We did go on a game drive, but the game vehicle was a Kombi, and at one point the Kombi driver stopped at a restaurant/ curio store and when we stepped outsie he proceeded to take off with all our bags. Luckily we had our passports, but some of the other people in the game drive had left them in the car.. Eventually he came back, but many things were missing from peoples bags. On top of that, the game drive refused to let us leave the Curio shop without purchasing something, and we found things were much more expensive in Kenya, especially along the highway where all the tourists pass. We ended up having quite an argument with the tour leader before he would let us leave. Banking problems were simple, just being unable to withdraw money in major banks or change travellers cheques anywhere. Travel problems were more just your usual Africa travel, but we just found in Tanzania this wasn't the case. In Kenya we were very sick on the bus/ Kombi/ safari tour because the roads were so bad you got really really car sick. Then to top it off when we got to the Masaii Mara we saw almost no animals and our guide refused to take us out touring on one day, we just sat in the camp...
I probably got a worse taste of Kenya then many, but again I loved Tanzania and I would go back tomorrow if I could.
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Mar 16th, 2005, 08:26 AM
  #26
 
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Lraces

The harassment part of behalf of the authorities is not something I've ever encountered but I have a theory that may be completely offbase...

Who in the world was your outfitter?

In both Kenya and Tanzania the authorities will stop safari vehicles under suspicion. That logo on the side of the tour is there for a reason - bad or unlicensed outfitters run the risk of constant harassment even in Tanzania.

I know a number of people who got turned around by the police between Arusha & Ngorongoro - their driver was a sole operator without proper paperwork who rented a vehicle from a licensed company. That company was blacklisted for months - causing grief for their unsuspecting clients during that time.

The reluctance to find game (mileage limits) and the stops at curios with pressure to buy are fairly normal when you go on safari with budget companies. Their driver guides are paid peanuts and us clients have to pay the price.

The theft, etc is inexcusable.

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Mar 16th, 2005, 08:35 AM
  #27
 
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Lraces,
Thanks for the details. Assume you were driving on your own when you were stopped by the police, is that correct? Was this in Nairobi or all over?

Sounds like you had a horrific driver for your game drives. Would you mind letting us know what company you booked through? I don't think I've ever heard of such an experience before on this board.

While we didn't take travelers checks (except to pay for our safari balance) so no experience there, I had no problems getting cash from the Barclay's ATMs. I did have a problem with the airport ATM but I think this was a matter of not having the compatible system with my card.

If I had the same experiences you did in Kenya (although I think they were atypical), I'd be reluctant to return too.
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Mar 16th, 2005, 12:17 PM
  #28
 
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Lraces,

What horrible experiences! I hope you still enjoy some fond memories from the pleasant parts of the trip. Thanks for sharing the details. I have not encountered others who have experienced such horrendous treatment.
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Mar 16th, 2005, 12:20 PM
  #29
 
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We had problems both on our own as well as with the safari group. As for the group we went with, it was only a two day thing and I can't remember the name right now...we left from a local campsite.
I do know that the drivers/guides really don't make a lot of money and rely on tourists to help, but at one point it was just "enough". I have heard from other travellers that many people get stopped around Christmas time and hasseled, people are just looking for gifts to give their families so they will make you hand over shirts, books, magazines etc. You usually don't argue with Police in forgein countries, so we just kept handing over what they wanted.
I must admit that by the time we got to Kenya we had been travelling for quite a long time, and in some ways we had quite a short fuse for dealing with corruption and hassels by that time.
Again, no problems in Tanzania, and I would go back to Africa tomorrow if I could. (Currently getting visas ready for a trip to Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Turkey). We also don't usually travel in style, but rather roughing it, we actually tented our way across Africa which turned out to be a fantastic experience.
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Mar 16th, 2005, 12:58 PM
  #30
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Lraces -

I suggest you post your incidents on the Thorn Tree, Lonely Planet and other backpacker and budget traveler message boards. I don't believe, in four years, there has been a similar posting or incident from travelers to Africa such as yours.

Most travelers who post here, rarely, if ever travel on their own, do work with reputable and licensed outfitters, with experienced guides that don't take your to curios if you don't wish to go. No doubt there are shady operators and corrupt police everywhere, and one certainly doesn't argue with metal pointing at them, so I'm sincerely sorry to hear of this.

Fortunately, what you experienced, is not a usual occurence, in fact, rare. I have friends who have traveled on their own thru South Africa, into Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and finally Tanzania, with nothing more than the border procedures - showing passport and vehicle rental papers - No threats, no bribery expected. Even leaving their vehicle with all belongings at a parking lot, flying to Mafia Island to dive for a few days; returning and finding the vehicle untouched, everything intact.

Hopefully, for your upcoming trip to Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Turkey, you've checked out your outfitters, rules and regulations, if you are again traveling on your own. If Eastern Turkey, everyone is constantly stopped by the police and military - for your own safety. And remember that "baksheesh" (bribery) is a way of life in the Middle East.

Do report back. Safe and happy travels.
 
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Mar 16th, 2005, 03:09 PM
  #31
 
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Thanks,
I do recognize bribery is everywhere, and luckily I have learned how to deal with it. Again, we only had problems in Kenya. We travelled extensively through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya, but only had problems in Kenya.
I do believe it was just luck, and that travelling in Africa was on the whole very safe and the most amazing experience I have ever had.
Thanks for your advice for the Middle East, and happy travels to you as well.
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Mar 17th, 2005, 05:40 PM
  #32
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Hi Again, Thanks so much for all the input concerning the itinerary. After reading all the great suggestions, I think I have another plan, and would appreciate all comments:

Day 1 Arrive JRO (via LHR-NBO-JRO), drive
to Arusha, Impala Hotel, 1 night (is this a good place, or what would you suggest?)

Day 2 Drive to Ngorongoro Crater, Ngorongoro Sopa, 1 night

Day 3&4 Drive to Tarangire, Tree Tops, 2 nights

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

Day 7 Drive to Aberdare, The Ark, 1 night (or should it be Mt. Kenya??)

Day 8&9 Drive to Samburu, Intrepids, 2 nights

Day 10-13 Fly to Maasai Mara, 2 nights Mara Serena, 2 nights Rekoro Tented Camp, 4 nights

Day 14 Fly to NBO and depart (may need a day room, flights not arranged yet)

On Day 7, I am considering just flying from Amboseli thru NBO to Samburu, and skipping Aberdare.

Please feel free to comment on the itinerary and the choices for accomodations. I still need all the help I can get, and it is greatly appreciated!

Patty-I was a little confused by your abbreviations for airlines; I assume KL is KLM, but what is KQ???

Thanks in advance for taking the time to reply.
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Mar 18th, 2005, 04:08 AM
  #33
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GGAfrica -

The changes will work better.

The Impala Hotel is fine for your first night in Arusha. Situated on the main road and easy to get an early morning start to the Crater.

Days 2, 3, 4 in Tanzania are fine.

With an early start on Day 5 - take your breakfast with you as you head out on your game drive thru the park and head up to Arusha, then onto the Namanga border, then to Amboseli. You should arrive in time for lunch about 1pm. (served 12N-2PM)

If you decide to drive on Day 7, with an early start you can make it to NBO for lunch, then continue to Aberdate/Mt. Kenya. I would suggest, instead of the Ark, to stay at the Mountain Lodge. Unlike a stay at the Ark or Treetops, you can drive right up to the lodge for your overnight here. If staying at The Ark or Treetops, you have to leave your major ludggage at the Country Club, take only an overnight bag and bus into the Aberdares for your overnight.

Or if you choose to (from Amboseli), skip The Ark, fly straight onto Samburu that works also. Compare the prices, to make your decision.

Flying from Samburu to the Mara is a good one and makes sense, so do it!

And with a final day in NBO when returning from the Mara, you can arrange some sightseeing - The Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Center, shopping, dinner at The Carnivore, before heading to the airport for your homebound flight.

KL = KLM; KQ = Kenya Air.

I would strongly recommend you get your request for prices in ASAP - places book up for September, many a year-ahead of time; you don't want to be locked out. Get that done, be sure the prices work with your budget, the accommodations you want are available... then return here for more specific questions.

 
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Mar 21st, 2005, 03:58 PM
  #34
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Need a little more help. Here is my Sept. itinerary so far (I specifically wanted the Mara at the end), and I have a couple of questions about other possibilities:

Day 1 Arrive JRO, drive to Arusha, Impala Hotel, 1 night

Day 2 Drive to Ngorongoro Crater, Ngorongoro Sopa, 1 night

Day 3&4 Drive to Tarangire, Tree Tops, 2 nights

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

Day 7 Drive to Mt. Kenya, Mountain Lodge., 1 night

Day 8&9 Drive to Samburu, Intrepids, 2 nights

Day 10-13 Fly to Maasai Mara, 2 nights Mara Serena, 2 nights Rekoro Tented
Camp, 4 nights

Day 14 Fly to NBO and depart (may need a day room, flights not arranged yet)

Questions....

>I think that I would like to see flamingos, and it appears that Lake Nakuru is the place....are there other places?? I know it would be two long drives, but I am thinking of driving between Samburu and Lake N, and then driving to the Mara.

>I would be willing to fly from Amboseli to Samburu, therefore skipping Mt. Kenya. I have even considered scratching Amboseli from the trip.....any comments?

>had a suggestion of the New Arusha Hotel instead of the Impala....any thoughts?

>Does anyone know for sure if the half-day restriction is in place at Ngorgongoro Crater?? I have heard that it is not happening until next year.

I have submitted my itinerary to a couple of companies, and Raylenne's has returned a very good bid, but I want to continue refining the trip before I am in touch with them again.

I have gotten so many great ideas from these boards, and thank everyone who has taken the time to help.

I'm getting there........

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Mar 21st, 2005, 05:02 PM
  #35
 
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The New Arusha Hotel is classier than the Impala but can be noisy at night as it is located right at the Clock Tower circle. If you get an inside room the noice from the kitchen and outside restaurant will also keep you awake!

It reminds me of Marriott only with smaller rooms. Restaurant is so-so, staff can be rather unhelpful at times, internet cafe is slow and expensive. But I like the Swala gemstore if you're into buying good quality Tanzanite!

Since it is one night only, I would save some money and use the savings to offset the costs of flying to Kenya!

1. Fly from Kilimanjaro to Wilson
2. Drive from Nairobi to Lake N and then drive to Samburu. this drive is not bad.
3. Fly from Samburu to the Mara as you have it.

Amboseli is a dustbowl in September and I would rather spend another night in the Mara! 2 nights at lake N.
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Mar 22nd, 2005, 06:56 AM
  #36
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Re: climbhighsleeplow...thanks for the info. I will stick with the Impala Hotel (thanks also, Sandi), but have a some questions...

1. Fly from Kilimanjaro to Wilson---not sure, do you mean we should drive from Tarangire to Kili? How long is this drive? Is it possible to fly from Arusha, verses the 1hr drive to Kili (probably not, just thought I would ask

2. Drive from Nairobi to Lake N and then drive to Samburu. this drive is not bad---I didn't now it was possible to drive to Lake N on the way to Samburu; are you saying this can be done? How long are these drives, does anyone know?

Any other suggestion are appreciated......



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Mar 22nd, 2005, 09:29 AM
  #37
 
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GGAfrica,
1. I don't think you can fly directly from Arusha to Nairobi. There may be flights between Arusha and Kilimanjaro that allow you to connect to a Kilimanjaro-Nairobi flight. Perhaps someone else can confirm.

2. Lake Nakuru isn't exactly on the way to Samburu but it's definitely possible to drive between the two. Nairobi to Lake Nakuru is 2.5 to 3 hours. My guestimate is that Lake Nakuru to Samburu is 5 to 6 hours. If that's too long, you could consider breaking it up by staying one night at Sweetwaters just outside of Nanyuki. That would give you a chance to do a night game drive (don't know if that's possible at any of your other destinations) and visit the chimp facility. Nanyuki is located approx halfway between the two and it takes 2.5 to 3 hours to reach Samburu from there.
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Mar 22nd, 2005, 10:05 AM
  #38
 
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GGAfrica, I don't quite understand this part of your query:

"1. Fly from Kilimanjaro to Wilson---not sure, do you mean we should drive from Tarangire to Kili? How long is this drive? Is it possible to fly from Arusha, verses the 1hr drive to Kili (probably not, just thought I would ask"

Um, I don't imagine the drive from Tarangire to Kili would be that long. My safari was all driving, and I don't recall the drive from Arusha (about another 40 min. from the Kili airport) to Tarangire being all that long. Tarangire was our first stop, and the roads weren't really rough. Certainly nothing like the drive from the Crater to the Serengeti.

Maybe it's 2-3 hours. Sandi or Liz or Climbhigh et al would know better. I enjoyed the drives so I'm likely to underestimate!

You can fly from JRO to NBO, if that's what you're asking. We used Precision Air, but I think there are a couple of other airlines you could use. Arusha airport was closed when I was there.

We stayed at the Impala. It's perfectly fine and has a few restaurants. You can change money there, get stamps and mail postcards, etc. I thought it was convenient and the staff was very nice.

Good luck with the planning--E. Africa is worth every moment and every penny.
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Mar 22nd, 2005, 10:13 AM
  #39
 
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I agree with Patty.

JRO (Kili) is the airport for Kenya flights. The drive from Arusha to Nairobi is 4.5-6 hours depending on the line at the border. I've done it once too many so I like to fly but the choice is yours.

Just looking at my trip-log, last time was a 6-hour drive from Nakuru to Samburu. I don't like to drive in Kenya but this stretch is not bad. I like the hills and plantations.
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Mar 22nd, 2005, 02:13 PM
  #40
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Thanks to each of you for all the good advice; I really appreciate it.

What do you think? Fly from JRO to NBO, drive to Lake Nakuru:

stay for 1 night, drive to Sweetwater-1 night,

OR

stay for 2 nights,

then drive to Samburu , 2 nights. then fly to the Mara.

Also, if Sweetwater is our decision, any suggestions where to stay? I never considered this stop, so I don't have a clue!

Thanks again for all your help; I think this is going to be an outstanding trip, thanks to your input!!!!







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