Requesting Itinerary critique

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Jan 16th, 2006, 07:19 AM
  #1
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Requesting Itinerary critique

Two first time travelers, tied into early/mid June 2006 dates seeking advice on following itinerary. Hoping to find availability in mix of mid-priced lodges&permanent tents. We are most unsure of drive and flight times, especially days 7&8. Aware space everywhere is limited, and that it is not the best time of year for Tarangire, but wish to see unique landscape.
It might be possible for us to arrive 7AM Dar es Salaam on Day 1 and try to get a morning flight to Arusha--do you advise this? DAR-Arusha flight times and prices? If we flew into Dar es Salaam Day 1, we would have more time in Tanzania, and we could then return to Kenya for more time in Masai Mara. Or should we keep 9PM arrival into Nairobi, which forces an overnight there?
Thanks in advance for your responses!

Itinerary with Nairobi arrival:
Day 1 9PM meet&transfer/ o/n Norfolk or IC
Day 2 AM Sheldrick&Blixen/PM Fly to Arusha/ drive to Tarangire o/n Tarangire River Camp
Day 3 game drives/ o/n Tarangire
Day 4 drive via Oldupai to Serengeti/ o/n Mbuze Mawe or central lodge
Day 5 game drives/ o/n Serengeti
Day 6 game drive enroute to NCA/ o/n Ngorongoro Sopa or Serena
Day 7 AM crater tour/ PM drive towards Arusha ?o/n Plantation or Farm House or lodge near Arusha airport?(Do we overnight in Arusha or Nairobi tonight--trying to find best way to get to Masai Mara early next day? Is it feasible to get from crater back to Masai Mara on same day?)
Day 8 fly Arusha?/Wilson? to Masai Mara/ o/n Olonana/Intrepids/Kichwa Tembo or other Western Masai Mara location?
Day 9 game drives/ o/n Masai Mara
Day 10 afternoon flight back to Nairobi/ transfer to evening airport departure

cosmosmariner is offline  
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Jan 16th, 2006, 09:21 AM
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I would flip Serengeti and Ngorongoro so you aren't backtracking - i.e., drive from Tarangire to Ngorongoro to Serengeti. We did this in December and it worked well.

I haven't been to the Masai Mara, but could you just continue from Serengeti to the Masai Mara and then fly back to Arusha? Once you're off the main road(beginning in Ngorongoro) it's quite dusty and bumpy - we were very glad that our itinerary had us fly back to Arusha from our last destination (Serengeti).
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Jan 16th, 2006, 09:43 AM
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If you can get accommodations, skip the Mara and stay longer in the Serengeti. Less moving around, and they are part of the same eco-system anyway (hope I got the terminology right).

I also agree with flying back from the Serengeti to Arusha if your budget allows. Good luck!
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Jan 16th, 2006, 10:04 AM
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<Do we overnight in Arusha or Nairobi tonight--trying to find best way to get to Masai Mara early next day?>

You'll need to overnight in Nairobi if you want to take the morning flight to the Masai Mara.

<Is it feasible to get from crater back to Masai Mara on same day?>

There should be an early afternoon flight on Air Kenya departing from Kilimanjaro to Nairobi Wilson. From Wilson, you can connect to the afternoon flight to the Masai Mara. If you can make this flight, you'd get there late afternoon on the same day.

If you changed your routing to end in the Serengeti as suggested, I believe you could also take the morning flight from Seronera to Arusha/Kilimanjaro and then continue on the flights to Nairobi and the Masai Mara. It would take most of the day. Alternatively, you could drive from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara via the western border crossing at Isebania. It's a very long drive, but if you're interested, a search for 'Isebania' on this board will turn up some previous threads on this crossing.

I like Leely's idea best of all. With 10 days you could easily spend all of your time in Tanzania, rather than trying to rush to squeeze in 2 nights in the Mara. Good luck with your decision.
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Jan 16th, 2006, 10:09 AM
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BTW are you tied to flying into either NBO or DAR? Where will you be flying from? You can fly directly into JRO (Kilimanjaro) but KLM is the primary carrier here, flying from Amsterdam.
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Jan 16th, 2006, 10:28 AM
  #6
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Thank you for your responses, I agree that it would be easier not to include the Masai Mara--but that area has been on my destination list for a long time and I have to get to Nairobi on last day because I am using British Airways and could only get a return from Nairobi; not enough miles on NW/DL to use KLM flights. If I were to stick to Tanzania only, does anyone know what type of visa I would need for Kenya--to just fly from Arusha to JKIA on day of departure? Is there a transit visa for Kenya, or just the regular visa? If I did this option, I probably would not leave the JKIA airport that evening.
Also a good idea to stop at NC first enroute to Serengeti, but my concern when originally thinking about routing was high cost of flight from Serengeti back to Arusha and then on to Nairobi. I am aware of the Isebania border crossing, but understand the long driving distances, and was under the impression this routing was not often used. The cost to have a Kenyan vehicle waiting at the border might be out of my budget, but I'll read about this crossing...
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Jan 16th, 2006, 10:41 AM
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Hi cosmo,
I'm a little confused. You're flying into...NBO? And out of NBO? You know, you could just do your safari in Kenya. Or is this definitely a Tanzania trip?

FYI, what we did in July 2004 was fly into NBO, am arrival. Toured the sights in Nairobi that day. Took the afternoon shuttle bus to Arusha the next day. Spent the night in Arusha and set off on safari. Tarangire, Manyara, Serengeti, Crater, Kifaru lodge ouutside Karatu. Overnight in Arusha then flew off to Zanzibar. Flew from Zan to NBO for our connecting flight home.
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Jan 16th, 2006, 10:46 AM
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Sorry, didn't mean to post that...wasn't done. My point was that you can certainly have an excellent safari in TZ with arrival and departure from NBO, but we did spend quite a few days in transit. This was fine for us because we had 3 weeks and used the in-town overnights to recharge our batteries. I just think it will be expensive and/or exhausting to throw the Mara into the mix. But let's hear what others have to say.

You won't need a visa if you're just transiting in the airport in Kenya. (Unless something's changed recently?)
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Jan 16th, 2006, 11:09 AM
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There's a transit visa for Kenya for $20 that will also allow you to leave the airport and come back later (if you have a long wait between flights and would like to see some sights/have dinner/etc).

I assume Precision Air can through check your bags to your final destination with BA. If so, you can simply walk from your arrival gate to your departure gate at NBO. I don't think any type of visa would be necessary in this case as you don't pass by any immigration desks. If for some reason you can't through check your bags and need to collect/re-check with BA, then I believe you would need to pass by immigration first. Hopefully someone who has done the Precision to BA connection at NBO can give you an exact answer.

Have you checked the availability of accomodations yet?
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Jan 16th, 2006, 12:01 PM
  #10
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Thanks for your suggestions Patty and Leely! We need to decide if it is more important to us to cover more destinations or to relax and not try to do both Kenya and Tanzania.
Leely, sorry for the confusion. Presently FF flights are on hold for roundtrip Day 1 LHR-NBO arrive 9PM and return Day 10 NBO-LHR=9 nights on ground. While searching the BA FF web site, I noticed there was a flight available so that on Day 1 we would arrive 7AM DAR, but the only return for our tight dates is on Day 10 10PM from NBO. If it were feasible to get on a flight from DAR that morning, we would save about a half a day travel time from NBO. What I was hoping to clarify in my mind was if it is possible on Day 1 on any Tanzanian airline to get from DAR to Arusha or, better yet, Seronera airstrip...can anyone suggest web sites I could look up in country flight schedules on?
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Jan 16th, 2006, 12:26 PM
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Try www.precisionairtz.com and also www.coastal.cc but I would double check all air schedules with your tour operator as I don't know how up to date their websites are. There might be some other carriers that fly this route as well. Also http://www.airkenya.com/docs/regair3.htm for Arusha to Seronera.
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Jan 16th, 2006, 12:42 PM
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You can certainly get from Dar to Arusha if your arrival time is a.m. on Day 1. Of course, it's Africa, so glitches have been known to happen...

Whether or not you can go Dar-Arusha-Seronera on Day 1 is another question. Sandi, an east Africa expert and regular poster, would probably have the answer to this question.

Unfortunately, the Precision Air site is goofy or old; I can't ever seem to get an up-to-date schedule. Hopefully someone will have recent flight info--but Patty's right, your tour op should be able to provide an idea of what's possible.

However, most important is available accommodations for June. That may ultimately determine your itinerary.

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Jan 16th, 2006, 02:28 PM
  #13
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I realize that the Masai Mara can be very tempting, but June isn't optimum time. That's not to say that I don't find the Mara wondeful all of the time. It's just that the Migration will not be there yet. Rather, hopefully, the herds will be somewhere in the Serengeti, which is ideal for June.

I would suggest you use NBO as your arrival/departure gateway inasmuch as you don't seem to be able to arrive JRO by using KLM. DAR is a good gateway if ending safari on Zanzibar or one of the mainland Tanzania coastal resorts - you're not!

Arrival on Day 1 you'll be in NBO for an overnight sleep; next morning Day 2, there is a 7:30am (or 8am) flight to Kilimanjaro (JRO), arriving in less than a hour. If you want to do the touring in the morning, then you would catch the 12:30pm flight from NBO (Wilson airport) to Arusha from where you can continue to Tarangire.

On Day 4, since heading to the Serengeti, it will be an early early departure - figure 2-hrs to Lk. Manyara, another 2-2-1/2 hrs to the Crater and then about 3-4 hrs. to Mbuze Mawe (remember you have the stop at Olduvai - though consider this on way back from Serengeti to NC.) If you can get another day at Mbuze Mawe or even the Serena you'd make better use of your time.

Then you can drive to Ngorongoro w/ stop at Olduvai; next morning do the Crater Tour. From NC, it's about a 5-hr drive to Arusha, so it's best to o/n in Arusha/Kili where you can get first flight in the next morning to NBO.

At this point you have to decide whether the Mara is "a must." If so, you can make the 10am flight, spending 2-days here. On the last day you take the 11am flight back to NBO, arriving 12:15pm - then have a free afternoon.

Think the following:
Day 1 - Arv NBO - o/n
Day 2 - Fly 8am to Kili - drive to Tarangire - o/n Tarangire River Camp
Day 3 - Tarangire - o/n
Day 4 - Early depart to Serengeti - o/n Mbuzi Mawe
Day 5 - Serengeti - o/n Mbuzi Mawe
Day 6 - Drive via Olduvai (brief stop); continue to Ngorongoro Crater - o/n here
Day 7 - Morning Crater Tour; with boxed lunch, drive to Arusha/Kili - o/n here
(Note: if there is a flight from Kili late, like 7:30 or 8pm, you can fly to NBO for overnight there)
Day 8 - Early flight Kili/NBO (JKIA), transfer to Wilson - cross your fingers, but you might actually miss the 10am flight to Mara. If not, 10am flight to Mara - o/n here
(Note: If you can't make the connection you can visit Karen Blixen, Giraffe Center, 11am Daphne Sheldrick Ellee; lunch at The Carnivore - all are close to Wilson airport; then catch the 3pm flight to Mara)- o/n here
Day 9 - Masai Mara - o/n here
Day 10 - Request the afternoon 4pm flight (so you pay for an extra lunch at Mara); arrive NBO 5pm, arrange to go to the Norfolk for sundowners and Dinner; then to JKIA for homebound flight.

Unless you don't mind adding another flight, you can do the Crater first, then the Serengeti and fly from here to Arusha and connect to the 3pm flight to the Mara, thus avoiding o/n in Arusha/Kili or NBO. Compare price for flight vs hotel room and you get an extra day which you can use for Serengeti or Masai Mara.

Re the o/n NBO on arrival... most people arrive at night from somewhere, some airline... not unsual, so you have an o/n.

Hope the above isn't too confusing.

If you've already received prices and your tour operator can get the accommodations detailed and you can get in/out of NBO - book now, before you're locked out of space.
 
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Jan 16th, 2006, 05:19 PM
  #14
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Thank you all for your thoughtful and well informed responses! After perusing the comments on this East Africa forum for the past few weeks, I knew you were the experts to consult!

Based on your suggestions, I shall be submitting an itinerary for rates and availability early this week, and shall keep my fingers crossed for openings.

Thanks again, I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Jan 17th, 2006, 05:47 AM
  #15
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cosmosmariner -

Must have been tired when posting yesterday as below:

>>Unless you don't mind adding another flight, you can do the Crater first, then the Serengeti and fly from here to Arusha and connect to the 3pm flight to the Mara, thus avoiding o/n in Arusha/Kili or NBO. Compare price for flight vs hotel room and you get an extra day which you can use for Serengeti or Masai Mara.<<

Should read:

"you can do the Crater first, then the Serengeti and fly from here to Arusha where you can catch the 1:45pm flight to Nairobi (Wilson) for 3pm connecting flight to the Mara thus avoiding o/n in Arusha/Kili or NBO."
 
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Jan 18th, 2006, 04:03 AM
  #16
 
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In Nairobi, Giraffe Manor (in Karen) is a great place to a bit of time! Also, stop by the Junction on Ngong Road for lunch and shopping. Zebu has great handbags, flip flops and super belts!

Safari njema!
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Jan 18th, 2006, 04:30 AM
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You might want to consider African Serendipity and Eastern and Southern Safaris to quote you prices on your trip.

Kevin
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Jan 18th, 2006, 07:09 AM
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shfarns,
So that's the name of the store! They had great stuff. I bought a handbag and a pair of sandals there, but couldn't remember the name of it. Thanks!
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Jan 18th, 2006, 07:28 AM
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This might be a little of topic but when I flew to Tanzania I changed at Jomo Kenyatta and took the 9 am Precision Air flight into Kilimanjaro International. It offered us a superb and intimate flypast of Kilimanjaro herself, and you fly at a lower altitude than the summit. Great view to the Rebmann Glacier on top. Wouldn't have got in close like that on a jet. And from where I flew, Heathrow, Air Kenya / Precision was the cheapest option. Just if you do take the precision air flight from Nairobi to Kili sit on the left hand side of the plane for mountain views.

Should be a great holiday. Have fun!

Matt
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