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Questions on 10/2005 trip to Kenya, Tanzania and Ngamba Island

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Jun 20th, 2005, 06:10 PM
  #1
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Questions on 10/2005 trip to Kenya, Tanzania and Ngamba Island

I am a new member and have lots of questions about my 10/2005 trip. Arrangements already made for 18 days starting in Nairobi (flying in from US east coast via London) First of all, all my traveling from park to park will be via 4 wheel as I was unaware of the road conditions.This is my itinerary:
Nairobi to Masa Mara 2 nights @ Sopa Lodge
Drive across Rift Valley to Lake Nakuru for 1 night @ Lake Nakuru Lodge.
Then back to Nairobi, stop for lunch, then on to Amboseli for 2 nights @ Serena Lodge.
Cross over into Tanzania arrive @ Arusha for lunch then drive toLake Manyara for 1 night @ Serena lodge.
Next day drive thru countryside of Karatu to Serengeti for 2 nights @ Sopa lodge.
From there drive to Crater area and stay @ Sopa lodge for 2 nights. On to Tarangire for 1 night and then drive back to Arusha for lunch. Ending at Nairobi- Safari Park Hotel for 1 night. I have extended my trip by flying to Entebee next day for 2 night stay at Ngamba Island. Fly back to Nairobi after Ngamba and on to London for home flight. Questions.
1- How long are the road trips from park to park?
2- Trip is booked thru United Travel Group and total cost including all air is about$7100. Also I am traveling alone and the group size will be about six.
3- I want to include a Balloon tour @ Masi Mara-I hear this is great- and my agent told me I could book this at the lodge when I arrive. I am worried that it might be all booked. Any thoughts on this? Please advise and thanks for any thoughts.
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Jun 20th, 2005, 07:47 PM
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Let me comment only on the balloon in this reply. Another traveler who is in Africa now, posted that he waited until a few weeks before departure to book a Serengeti balloon trip and all trips were full. He is waitlisted.

If you know you want to do it, I'd book it now.

6 is a good group size, not too big.
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Jun 20th, 2005, 09:01 PM
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Nairobi to Masai Mara is about 6 hours as is Masai Mara to Lake Nakuru. Nakuru back to Nairobi is about 2.5 hours and Nairobi to Amboseli is about 4.5 hours. It's an hour and a half from Amboseli to the Namanga border where you go through an immigration check and change vehicles and drivers, then I think it's 3 hours to Lake Manyara from there. I'm not sure about the other drive times.
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Jun 21st, 2005, 03:27 AM
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From Lake Manyara to the Central Segengeti is about 5-6-hrs (depending on whether you stop at Olduvia Gorge), arriving for late lunch. From this area of the Serengeti back to the Crater is about 4-hours; from the Crater to Tarangire is about 3-4 hours. And from Tarangire to Arusha about 2-3 hrs.

If you seriously want to do the balloon ride, I'd book it now. Don't wait until you arrive with the chance of being closed out. These cost about $400/person.
 
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Jun 21st, 2005, 03:40 AM
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Thanks for the milage answers. Have you heard of the United Tour Group and do you think the price is ballpark for this tour?
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Jun 21st, 2005, 03:44 AM
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Any suggestions on which company to use for the Balloon tour @ Masi Mara? I was told if due to bad weather conditions the tour is cancelled it may be difficult to get refund if purchased from back home..any thoughts on this?
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Jun 21st, 2005, 12:35 PM
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For UTG positive feedback, check this link or search for these titles:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...t=0&dirtyBit=1

Kenya & Tanzania

Tanzania Notes


In another post you asked if Oct was a good time. Seeing your itinerary and where you'll be and areas you are not going to, I think it is a nice itinerary for October.

Your agent should let you know who to book the balloon with. Also ask UTG about getting your $$ back if the balloon does not fly.

Finally, are you going alone or sharing accommodations? This will help answer your cost question.

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Jun 21st, 2005, 02:40 PM
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I will be traveling alone.
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Jun 21st, 2005, 03:27 PM
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I was reading other posts from back in 2002 regarding the balloon tours and there were several negative ones including one that mentioned on a cancelled tour they were still waiting to get their pre-paid money back. I know my agent thought it better to wait and book from there, but I really don't want to miss out on this. I would think that the weather in early October should be ok. I will be @ Mara on the 5th-6th or I can try @ Serengeti on the 10th or 12th. I don't know what to do. Help!!
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