Safari in Kenya and Tanzania Sept, 2007

Jun 23rd, 2007, 03:16 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 15
Safari in Kenya and Tanzania Sept, 2007

We are leaving on safari with Roy Safaris to Kenya and Tanzania in Sep. Itinerary is below:

Sep 3-4: CO to London / Virgin to Nairobi

Sep 5 - 6: Arrive Nairobi (booked Hilton ourselves) extra day to get over jet lag and sleep! Nairobi NP, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

7-9: to Masai Mara - overnite at Sopa - Game drives

10: Transport to Arusha - overnight Kibo Palace - visit Arusha NP

11: N'Gresi Village cultural visit then depart for Tarangire. Overnite Kikoti Camp

12-13: Tarangire - Game drives - one night drive. Kikoti Camp

14: Morning game drive then to Ngorngoro PM game drive - overnight Serena Lodge

15: Morning game drive then to Serengeti. Overnite at Mbuzi Mawe

16: Serengeti - Game Drives

17: Morning game drive then to Lake Manyara NP overnite Kirurumu Tented Lodge

18: AM game drive then to Arusha - overnite Kibo Palace

19: Morning transfer to Nairobi - overnite Hilton.

20: Virgin Atlantic to London / CO to Houston (3 day stopover in London)

We have done a ton of planning, but the itinerary is now set in stone, and I'm looking for tips from folks who have been to E Africa in Sep, or to these parks / lodges for tips. We will have some extra time in Nairobi - anything to suggest without a guide? Souveniers, shopping or cultural?

We have a private guide / vehicle in Tanzania, but shared services in Kenya.

I'm taking significant photo equipment also, my wife will have a 38 - 420 Canon IS point and shoot, and I'm taking my 30D with a 17-85L IS and a 100-400L IS. Also taking a Canon Optura video camera. I'm not planning on taking my flash, other than the ones in the cameras. Should I reconsider?

Any comments about the monetary situation? Are $US ok throughout? What about tips and incidentals? Are ATMs available in Nairobi and Arusha and how much local currency would you suggest?

Sorry about all the questions. First trip to Africa and we are unbelievably excited! Any and all help is greatly appreciated! Thanks!
JAYINTX is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 04:43 PM
  #2  
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As an aside, this itinerary priced out at $4,000 pp for the itinerary, exclusive of air and the Hilton in Nairobi which I got with FF miles and Hilton points. Does this sound reasonable?
JAYINTX is offline  
Jun 24th, 2007, 03:03 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
There an many threads about packing, tipping and cameras.

Do a search on this board. Enter the words "safari packing" or "tipping" or "camera equipment" (all w/o the ""). Then click the search button. Threads containing such information will appear in the left column where you can read plenty of comments and useful information on all of these subjects.
sandi is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 09:27 AM
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If you're planning to sightsee in Nairobi on your own, I'd recommend getting some shillings for taxi fare, etc. There are ATMs at the airport as well as in town. What are you interested in shopping for?
Patty is offline  
Jul 5th, 2007, 02:37 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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Your lodges/camps are nice and the price seems good to me but I'm not an agent. I stayed in different camps and lodges but the one at the crater (very nice) so I can't tell you about your places but I can say that we brought useless travelers checks, lots of cash and no local currency and never needed it. I was only able to use travelers checks at the Serena lodges. Dollars are king--for tipping your guide and hotel staff. Counting out the hotels and putting the tips into envelopes prior to departure was a good idea we followed. We generally tipped (as a couple) $20-25 per day for hotel staff, and $40 per day for our guide. There are many thoughts on this so I guess do some research. I can't help with camera questions but I can say I brought my Canon IS binocs and used them endlessly, a point and shoot (which I'm glad for), a video camera (thank God--so happy about the video) and my husband brought a Canon Rebel with 400 zoom. Getting back, one thing I noticed: my husband got lovely pictures of all the animals but some things, lodges or flowers or landscapes that I remember as beautiful, he didn't get. He got what he thought was perfect. So having your own equipment is good. I hope this is somewhat helpful...oh never saw an ATM in Arusha but there might be one.
lenlu is offline  
Jul 7th, 2007, 12:23 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Dollars in Tanzania are fine, but they want their own shillings in Kenya, as the dollar is weakening there. You can get shillings at the Nairobi airport, either by exchanging dollars in the baggage claim area or via an ATM outside. I don't know if you have anyone lined up in Nairobi for your "tour day", but can highly recommend Kennedy Muthoka, who many Fodorites have used.
ShayTay is offline  
Jul 7th, 2007, 12:53 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 108
You used only US dollars all thru Kenya. Never exchanged any money and there were eight of us. We believe in being generous in our tipping as this is often the only means for the people helping you and they are working for a living. Remmeber though when you give US dollars in tips they have to pay to conver them.

As for Nairobi we went to the elphant orphanage on our own and took a taxi. I'm not sure that was so smart. It took an extremely long time to get there and thank goodness our taxi waited for us. Having a guide take us would have been smarter. We also went to the Giraffe orphanage in Nairobi. Both were wonderful to see. Outside of Nairobi we went to the Thomas Barnardo Orphanage for children. They brought in a baby off the street while we were there. This was a life changing, emotional experience for us. Consider it. We also went to the Karen Blixin home with our guide and went shopping for jewelry at the special store, I think Kazuri (sp) Jewelry is made. We love everything about Africa. Enjoy
betharwein is offline  
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