Possible Itinerary

Jul 9th, 2010, 04:56 PM
  #1  
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Possible Itinerary

OK so I’m done with all my research (but will obviously continue to monitor the forums in the future). This is what I’ve come up with, what do you think?

Day One: Depart U.S. (probably through LHR)

Day Two: Arrive in Nairobi at 9:00 pm (if flight schedules stay the same). Overnight in Nairobi at Red Court or Macushla House.

Day Three: Depart Nairobi as early as possible fly to Tanzania, begin driving safari to Tarangire, o/n Tarangire (Boundary Hill Lodge or maybe Tarangire Safari Lodge to save $)

Day Four: Tarangire o/n

Day Five: Tarangire morning, drive to Lake Manyara in afternoon (undecided on lodging)

Day Six: Manyara-full day, depart for Ngorongoro as late as possible. o/n NgoroNgoro Sopa

Day Seven: Ngorongroro-be there at opening, 6 hours in Ngorongoro. Drive back to Manyara airstrip to transfer to JRO to NBO. o/n in Nairobi (probably Macushla House)

Day Eight: Depart Nairobi as early as possible for Ol Pejeta. o/n (Porini or Kicheche)

Day Nine: Ol Pejeta

Day Ten: Ol Pejeta, drive or fly to Loisaba Lodge in afternoon, Loisaba o/n

Day Eleven: Loisaba Koija Starbed o/n

Day Twelve: Loisaba, fly to Mara Masai-Royal Mara o/n (via Mara Shikar, Mara Musiara or Kichwa Tembo airstrip)

Day Thirteen: Royal Mara o/n

Day Fourteen: Royal Mara o/n

Day Fifteen: Royal Mara, drive to Mara Bushtops in afternoon, o/n

Day Sixteen: Mara Bushtops o/n

Day Seventeen: Mara Bushtops, fly to Lake Victoria in afternoon - Mfangano Island Camp o/n

Day Eighteen: Lake Victoria o/n

Day Nineteen: Lake Victoria, fly to Nairobi as early as possible for a day in Nairobi (Day Tour in Nairobi with Kennedy - Kenya Wildlife Service Zoo-Cheetah Hug, Giraffe Center, Kazuri Beads, Etamaduni Craft Center, Elephant Orphanage sponsor 4 pm) Flight to U.S. 11:10 pm)

Day Twenty: Arrive Home 2:30 pm (via London Heathrow)

Comments:

1. This is going to be a strictly private itinerary using locally based tour companies. The Tanzania portion will be a driving safari, and the Kenya portion will be a fly-in safari. Despite it being a fly-in safari, I am only going to choose a tour company that will provide me with their own guide and vehicle for the Mara portion. I’m undecided if I will have this requirement for the Laikipia region. I’ll discuss that the top 2-3 Kenya tour companies I communicate with.

2. I know the beginning is a bit rushed with landing at 9 pm and leaving first thing the next morning, but if I added a day in the beginning for jet-lag purposes, then I’d have to take a day from the safari…which I don’t want to do.

3. I know some people don't like the two nights here, and two nights there...but I think we'll be ok with it. I rarely unpack my suitcase when I travel, so living out of the suitcase won't be a problem. Plus I'm giving the Mara five nights.

3. My original plan was to do this in August/September 2012, however all this talk of the Serengeti highway is making me very nervous. I’ve seen several articles citing experts saying it will “kill the migration”. I’ve also read it’s scheduled to begin in early 2012. Because of this, I am thinking about moving up my trip until August/September 2011. Once I have this wish-list itinerary worked out, I’m going to send it around to tour operators for 2011. I’m ready to go whenever, but my boyfriend might not have the money saved up for his half by 2011, so it may have to wait until 2012 =~( If that’s the case I hope there are some MAJOR setbacks with this awful new road. (I’ve already signed the petition)

Questions:

1. Does this itinerary make sense? What would you change?

2. What are the flight schedules like? For instance I would like to fly out as early as possible out of Nairobi on Day three,out of Nairobi on Day eight, and out of Lake Victoria on Day 19…do they usually offer early AM flights?

3. On day six, I’m assuming that if I fly out of Manyara in the afternoon, then to JRO, then to NBO, I would have to stay overnight in Nairobi. Is that accurate, or is it possible to fly onto Ol Pejeta that same day?

4. Is there any derogatory information on the lodging facilities mentioned? I don’t want to stay at a camp/lodge that supports hunting or is harmful to the local animals/environment (like somak). I also don’t want to patronize a camp/lodge that mistreats the guides.

Thanks!!!

-Emily

(also posted on TA)
DivingPrincessE is offline  
Jul 10th, 2010, 09:01 AM
  #2  
 
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Posts: 8,675
If flying Day 2, early after late arrival night prior, stay close to airport. There's a Precision PW flight 8am (day dependent) or mid-morning, check-in is 2/hrs prior (it's an international flight) and you don't want to deal with Nairobi traffic... Macushla is quite a distance from the airport.

Day 1 - Red Court or Holiday Inn will do for a few hours sleep.

Days 3&4 - Tarangire; I'm not keen on either of the two properties shown, but others rave about them... so you choose.

Day 5 - to Manyara, consider Kirurumu Camp. Also, you don't really need 2/days here. Thus on

Day 6 - it's a 2.5/hr drive to Ngorongoro and you can have afternoon crater visit - o/n

Day 7 - If you want take a morming crater tour (another $200); then if you drive to Arusha, your flight to NBO won't get you in till late and o/n will be needed. If you forego the 2nd crater tour, you can drive to Manyara for flight to Arusha, connect to flight to Nairobi, but you'll still need overnight at there is no flight to Ol Pejeta till next morning.

Day 8 - Fly to Ol Pejeta/Nanyuki. Earliest is 8am.

Day 9 - Ol Pejeta

Day 10 - Road transfer to Laikipia; as you have the extra day from Manyara, I'd consider 3/nts here, 1/nt spent at Koija starbeds.

Day ? - Fly to Masai Mara - o/n Royal Mara - don't concern yourself with which airstrip; depending on day of week, paxs load, the air carriers, Air Kenya or Safari Link don't all stop at the same airstrips daily. They'll get you where you have to be for your meet/greet and transfer to camp.

Day ? - Road transfer to Bush Tops, but realize and do get verification, as this camp is clear over on the opposite side of the Mara (east) from RM, and the flight to Mfangano is on a Governor's Camp plane, that likely does pick-up at their airstrip (west/triangle area of Mara), maybe consider a lux camp closer to Governor's in place of Bushtops, i.e., Olonana.

Last day - flight from Lk. Victoria will be when it will be, unless you want to pay for a very expensive charter. Flight time is probably longer than 40/min. At minimum it takes 50/min. NBO to Mara, and LKV is farther.

Most flights are in the mornings, with afternoon flights to the Mara only. However, there are newly scheduled Safari Link flights in the afternoon to Amboseli, Tsavo, Mombasa.

A also wouldn't concern myself with the Serengeti "highway" as things don't happen with the snap of the finger in Africa. For Aug/Sep, the itinerary you show is a good one. If in Jan/Feb, then I'd spend the time in the Ndutu area of the NCA and/or Southeast Serengeti when the wildies "calve" their young.
sandi is offline  
Jul 10th, 2010, 11:04 AM
  #3  
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Thanks Sandi, very informative.

The part about the Nairobi hotels is helpful. When I decided I wanted to stay close to the hotel I read Panari was the only "close" one but very expensive. I read that Red Court was a decent option, but 12 km away. I wasn't sure how much further Macushla House was.

In regards to days 5-7. I planned to stay most of the day in Tarangire, and drive to Manyara late afternoon...so that wouldn't really be considered a "day" at Manyara. Day 6 I want to spend a good bit of the time there. I've read that most Americans don't really like Manyara, and the response is that they usually don't give it enough time. So I really want to give it a chance and spend almost the whole day there to take in whatever it has to offer. It's the only lake I'm doing, as I'm skipping the ones in Kenya.

So by doing that I would get to the Crater in the late afternoon, early evening. I'm not so much interested in an afternoon crater trip. I've often read how the crater is extremely overcrowded. It seems if you go when they first open you may have it "to yourself" so to speak (with a few others) for a couple of hours. That's why I'm getting there late, staying overnight and doing the morning tour.

Glad to hear there could be an 8 am flight to Tanzania, and that usually morning flights are offered to Nairobi. I will also consider flying between the two Mara camps.

You're the second person to tell me not to worry about the highway, which is reassuring. The way the conservationists are making it sound, it's like the migration is going to die...soon.

Thanks for advice!!

PS-I am hoping to return to Africa 4-5 years after this initial trip to witness the calving season in the Southern Serengeti.
DivingPrincessE is offline  
Jul 10th, 2010, 11:14 AM
  #4  
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"Day ? - Road transfer to Bush Tops, but realize and do get verification, as this camp is clear over on the opposite side of the Mara (east) from RM, and the flight to Mfangano is on a Governor's Camp plane, that likely does pick-up at their airstrip (west/triangle area of Mara), maybe consider a lux camp closer to Governor's in place of Bushtops, i.e., Olonana."

Sandi,

If I want to keep these two camps, do you think it would be better if I go to Mara Bushtops first, then do Royal Mara second? If I do that, I'll be closer to the Mara Triangle for the flight out to Lake Victoria (I think).

Thoughts?
DivingPrincessE is offline  
Jul 10th, 2010, 01:09 PM
  #5  
 
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""Panari was the only "close" one but very expensive. I read that Red Court was a decent option, but 12 km away.""

Yes, Panari is the closest, about 10/minutes outside the airport; another would be Ole Sereni (formerly and temporarily the US Embassy, after the '98 bombing and before the new Embassy was built in Gigiri), but also not inexpensive though maybe a tad less than Panari... only when you get prices will you know. If Red Court is 12Km away, then consider the Fairview or their Country Lodge (lower cost) for this first night. Regardless where, it'll be an early wake-up for that 8am flight to JRO.

""Glad to hear there could be an 8 am flight to Tanzania, and that usually morning flights are offered to Nairobi. I will also consider flying between the two Mara camps.""

I believe you meant to say "usually morning flight offered in Kenya" It's not usually... it is the schedule; except for those I mentioned that go out in the afternoons, all flights are in the morning whether heading north, northwest, east and/or south.

As to flying between the camps, this can be difficult as there's no guarantee which plane is landing where for pick-up and then landing. Besides, by the time you get to one airstrip, pay for and take the flight, land at next airstrip and transfer to camp, you can do a game drive road transfer which is often cheaper.

""I want to keep these two camps, do you think it would be better if I go to Mara Bushtops first, then do Royal Mara second? If I do that, I'll be closer to the Mara Triangle for the flight out to Lake Victoria ""

Of course you can visit Bushtops first, then Royal Mara... but do inquire exactly from where the flight to Mfangano departs. Then decide.
sandi is offline  
Jul 10th, 2010, 01:23 PM
  #6  
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Sorry Sandi, I had misread your earlier post about flying from the camp to Lake Victoria. At first I thought you were suggesting flying between the Mara camps.

When I reread I realized what you were saying, that's when I asked the question about switching the camps.

Thanks again!
DivingPrincessE is offline  

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