Round 2 - Safari Planning June/July 2006

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Apr 5th, 2005, 07:31 PM
  #21
 
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I think we're confusing things slightly for csuss. Lewa is the name of a private wildlife conservancy in the Laikipia region and also the name of a camp located within the conservancy (Lewa Safari Camp). But that is not the only place to stay. Within the conservancy and surrounding group ranches, there are some other accomodation choices which vary in price (although all geared toward the upper end). I don't think either Lewa Safari Camp or Il Ngwesi are quite in the $400-500pppn range but certainly some of the others are and I believe Ol Malo is as well.

If that kind of exclusivity is what you're seeking, then go for it. I don't think it matters if it's your first safari or 10th. There's no rule that says you have to stay on the well worn safari circuit your first time. I would encourage you to get out and do something different if that's what you want

sandi,
What place in Lewa was rated as having the best bathrooms in Africa? I've seen pics of the ones at Lewa Safari Camp and they didn't look particularly special to me.
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Apr 5th, 2005, 09:14 PM
  #22
 
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This site details the accomodation choices in and around conservancy:

http://www.lewa.org/lewa_safari.php
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Apr 6th, 2005, 04:03 AM
  #23
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Patty, sorry I wasn't clear I was referring to Elsa's Kopje (amazing open air bathroom... all built around the natural outcrops) at Lewa which is close to $500/pp/pn after June 15.

Of course, because there are so many choices in both countries, it's the visitor's choice what they wish. However, "csuss" from their first thread was interested in the "must sees" and was,therefore, working with a Northern Circuit Tanzania Safari.

Even in Tanzania, there are choices to get away from the crowds - the Southern (Selous, Ruaha, Mkumi)or Western circuits (Katavi, Mahale, Gombe Stream). As in Kenya, heading to Laikipia/Meru/Northern Frontier are generally less crowded. In both instances, scheduled air and private charters add to the prices, something to consider.

Csuss, has to decide what their interests are, but by traveling June/July even these areas are well traveled and busy (f less crowded due to limited accommodations) and booked well ahead of time. But for 2006, they have sometime to make their decision, but not much.
 
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Apr 6th, 2005, 06:02 AM
  #24
 
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Sandi,

Thanks for clarifying the bathroom issue. I thought I had missed a spectacle at Lewa Downs since I could not recall the loo with a view. It's Elsa's Kopje that has the memorable bathroom.
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Apr 6th, 2005, 06:06 AM
  #25
 
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I thought Elsa's was in Meru National Park? The cottages there do look amazing!

That's another place csuss could consider if the charter flights to Ol Malo prove to be too costly. There's scheduled service on Air Kenya to Meru 3x per week. I wonder if it's then possible to fly Meru-Samburu-Lewa on scheduled service? I know they offer Meru-Samburu service but I don't see a price posted for Samburu-Lewa even though it would seem like it could work according to their published schedule.
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Apr 6th, 2005, 01:45 PM
  #26
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Patty -

Four letters - meru - lewa - it's my dyslexia, sorry about that; Elsa's at Meru... great bathroom!

There is routing on Air Kenya to Lewa from NBO via Nanyuki/Samburu/NBO (Daily) - apparently the Lewa stop is on an "as needed" basis with fares in the range (NBO/Lewa) $118 o/w; $205 r/t.

And Safarilink has a daily flight NBO/Lewa ranging $125 o/w; $215 r/t.

All fares can change without notice.
 
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Apr 6th, 2005, 03:52 PM
  #27
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JazzDrew - did not receive your email - can you pleawse try again. THanks

I love all these suggestions - I am going to put together a few different itineraries based on all the suggestions and get back to you with questions.

My goal is to finalize the itinerary by the end of April and then start bidding it out.

Clearly it is looking like Kenya is not cheaper, so that won't be a factor in my decision. I usually like to take the road less travelled but I also want to get the most game viewing. So I will definitely consider 4 days in either Serenghetti or the other side of the border Masai Mara.

Loved the bathroom discussion!

Thanks again
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Apr 6th, 2005, 04:02 PM
  #28
 
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csuss - Sorry....I was afraid of that. I just sent it again. Let me know if it worked!
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Apr 11th, 2005, 03:16 PM
  #29
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HI ALL. It seems the more and more research I do it all comes back to the original plan - mirroring JazzDrew's almost completely - I guess there is a reason he came up with such a good itinerary:

-2 nights Nairobi (Ngong House with High Tea at Giraffe Manor)
-fly to Amboselli 1 night Tortellis Camp
-drive to Tarangire - 2 nights Tree Tops
-2 nights Ngorongoro Either Serena or Lodge (I want to see what the $ difference is)
- 4 nights Kirawira
-fly to Arusha and then home

I have a couple of questions. One operator I spoke to suggested Lake Maynara instead of Tarangire at this time of year? ALso - should I split up the serengetti portion 2 nights in Kirawira and 2 nights elsewhere?

I put Nairobi at the beginning because I think we might need a day or two to recoup from the fligts over. We still might decide to go on to Zanzibar at the end. I still have to figure out the air - see what I can do about using some miles.

Jazzdrew - did you receive the email I sent to you directly - I wanted to thank you again for all the info - it is amazing.

What do you all think?

I have a very long list of operators to send the itinerary to. Are there any on this list you would eliminate or add?

Roys
Good Earth
African Travel
Thompsons
2Afrika
Africa Travel Getaways
Premier TOurs
Eyes on Africa
Africa Dream Safaris
Wild Trek Safaris
Predators

What am I going to do with myself for a whole year once I get this booked?

Also, I found another website with nice forums - tripadvisor.com. Frommers did not have very much - all the postings were really old.
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Apr 11th, 2005, 04:35 PM
  #30
 
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csuss,

I did recieve your email. Thanks. I did send you a reply but my email must still be extremely slow. Just sent you another email.

As I mentions in my email. Remember that I am the one that hasn't been there yet! I am confident that our itinerary will be fine, but I would hate to be responsible for any problems. The experts here certainly know more that me! That being said, I will be sure to provide you and anyone else interested a report when we return. Only 68 days
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Apr 11th, 2005, 04:37 PM
  #31
 
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error...

"mentions" should be "mentioned"

sorry...

I bet that is what the "review my reply" is for. I'll try to use it next time....
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Apr 11th, 2005, 04:48 PM
  #32
 
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I agree Nairobi at the start is a good plan.

Late June/July was your time of travel I believe so Tarangire actually would be preferable to Manyara. Contrary to what the agent said.

Splitting your Serengeti time? If you found an interesting semi-permanent camp
in that general region that you wanted to try and you did not mind a likely higher cost, then probably yes. Sorry, I have no specifics, but that comprehensive list of agents you compiled should be able to help. Below is a link to a semi-permanent tent discussion. The post was “Help with Tanzania Itinerary.”

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

But your 4 night plan is good too.

I think your itinerary looks wonderful. Your list of agents is excellent and should be helpful to others. Once you get all of your recommendations, and any suggestions for removing names, you could post that list. It could save someone just starting to investigate Africa some time and direct them to reputable companies.

As far as eliminate or add--I am unfamiliar with African Travel, Africa Travel Getaways, Premier Tours, so I cannot make a comment.

If you wished, you could add Fish Eagle Safaris, ATD (Africa Adventure Desk), and Africa Adventure. I have traveled with ATD and Africa Adventure with great success. I have not traveled with Fish Eagle Safaris but was very impressed with Bert, the owner, the detailed information I have received, and others’ recommendations.

During your year before departure, you can feed your addiction on this board and do some reading. Or you could start packing now.

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Apr 11th, 2005, 05:59 PM
  #33
 
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We leave for our first safair in 68 days and I am already packing! This Africa addition is quite strong!!
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Apr 12th, 2005, 04:38 AM
  #34
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csuss -

An alternate in Nairobi is House of Waine, in the same area of Ngong House and Giraffe Manor in the Karen District of Nairobi.

If late June/Early July Tarangire will be fine... and you can skip Manyara.

As to the Serengeti, it can be nice to split your time, and a semi-permental tent camp is an option. Whichever, do remember that as January 1, 2006 plans are that there will be a $100 Park Conservation fee per day, per person that will be adding to your costs. Inquire about this to all operators/outfitters your contact and see whether they include the process or indicate process how this is to be paid... we've been getting conflicting information on this end.

Also, with such a large list of those you plan to send your itinerary, be aware that quite a number of them might have their own "preferred providers" and not give you the properties (lodges/camps) you request.

Keep us posted on the results you get from these companies.
 
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Apr 12th, 2005, 06:48 AM
  #35
 
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csuss,

I think you can eliminate a few providers from your list. I believe Wild Trek and Roys work together, at least that's what I've gathered from reading some of the posts here. Nairobi based Wild Trek is the ground handler for Kenya and Arusha based Roys is the one for Tanzania. Since your itinerary is primarily in Tanzania, you can probably just contact Roys, you don't need to contact Wild Trek too (someone please correct me if I'm wrong about their relationship).

Same goes for 2Afrika and Predators Safari. Arusha based Predators is the ground handler in Tanzania for US based 2Afrika, so no need to contact both. You may get a slightly better price if you deal directly with Predators anyway.

I can tell you that Africa Dream Safaris will be expensive just by looking at the prices they list for their standard itineraries on their website.

I'm not familiar with African Travel, Africa Travel Getaways, or Eyes on Africa.
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Apr 12th, 2005, 07:11 AM
  #36
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Patty - You are correct with regards Wild Trek/Roys and 2afrika/Predators.

As to African Travel, they are California based. Eyes on Africa are Chicago based. Not familiar with Africa Travel Getaways.
 
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Apr 12th, 2005, 07:12 AM
  #37
 
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I can tell you what our results were in pricing our itinerary, in order from least expensive quotes to most expensive -- I would definitely recommend you request quotes from at least the top 3 listed below because your results may be different since you are staying in different accommodations:
Good Earth (we are booked with them)
Tanzania Serengeti Adventures (TSA) (their quote was good but about 10% higher than Good Earth's)
Roy's (another competitive quote but about 10% higher than TSA)
Bushbuck
Zara
2Africa
Peacock
Africa Dream Safaris (highest quote by far, but their website is great)
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Apr 12th, 2005, 10:05 AM
  #38
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On Sandi's post about resources I found what looks to be a great semi-permanent camp in the western serengetti - Mbalgeti Camp. Has anyone been?

I'm still confused about Tangire vs. Maynara - Atravelynne you were the only one who weighed in - anyone else have strong feelings either way?

I think it is a great idea to compile a list for this forum of all the operators to contact - American vs. local etc. I will put something together - it will be a good project for me while I am sitting around waiting a year. DOn't joke about paking - my husband is already shopping for his new camera (digital SLR) and checking out sights for appropriate gear. I think we night end up spending more $ on gear for this trip than the trip itself (we were the most prepared people on our one week rafting trip on the Colorado).
He is still a boy scout at heart (and he really is a nurse) so he is always prepared for any contingency.

It turns out that I have a cousin who is going to be teaching in Dar El Salaam starting in September so I am going to hook him up to this sight so he can post stories and give advice. I hope he will have internet connection while he is there.

Thanks everyone.
csuss
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Apr 12th, 2005, 10:34 AM
  #39
 
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csuss,

I tried to re-read this whole thread but maybe I'm just terribly scatterbrained today (or always!): what is your question about Lake Manyara?

Last July I went to Manyara and Tarangire as part of a tres budget first-time safari. We liked Lake Manyara but it wasn't the highlight of the trip. I'd venture to say that my friend and I both preferred Tarangire. That said, we enjoyed Manyara because parts of the park were so lush. We only spent one day there.

Does this relate to your question at all?

I am very interested in how your itinerary ends up pricing out, esp. in regards to the increase in park fees. I think it's very likely I'll be going again in June of 2006; maybe we'll pass each other on the road!
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Apr 12th, 2005, 11:03 AM
  #40
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Thanks Leely - that is exactly the kind of feedback I need. I know this trip is not going to be cheap (an understatement) so I'll keep you postedon the exact itinerary. We are planning a late june early july trip in 2006. What about you?
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