Safari in Tanzania and Kenya

Old Sep 15th, 2013, 06:08 PM
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Safari in Tanzania and Kenya

DH has requested a safari next year, but I'm the family trip planner, so the ball's in my court now. It looks like August or September would work for us. Being semi-retired, we can take as much time as we want, but the longer we go, the more it costs, so that limits us a bit. I'm thinking 3 weeks door to door--but we can be flexible about that. We haven't set an exact budget; like many other people, we want a good value.

For the past few days, I have been reading guidebooks, surfing the Internet, asking friends, and reading the forums--not sure if I'm starting to get a handle on things or am just getting more confused. As I read, every park/reserve starts to sound wonderful, so I'm trying to figure out where we want to go and how long to spend at each stop.

Right now, I'm thinking about some combination (in a logical order) of Serengeti, Masai Mara, Ngorongoro Crater, Amboseli--and I'm not quite sure what else. Are those good choices? Other spots suggested to me include: Samburu, Lake Nakuru, Lake Victoria, Ol Pejeta. Is there something I'm missing? Something I should skip?

Is it recommended that I come up with my own itinerary, including accommodations, and then email it to several tour operators and get quotes? Or do I just give them an idea of what we'd like and let them propose a trip?

We don't want bare bones camping, but aren't rich enough for a luxury trip. How specific do I need to get with the tour operators? It doesn't have to be fancy, but I'm not fond of a hole and two footprints as a toilet. Does that make me too much of a princess?

We'd rather not spend hours and hours getting from one park to another, but don't want to sacrifice seeing something special. So, some long (4+ hour) drives are OK, but now a whole bunch.

I'm not asking anyone to plan our trip, but some guidance about the process would be wonderful. Thanks!
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Old Sep 15th, 2013, 07:17 PM
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I've been where you are. It's hard to get started, but now we have a trip planned to Tanzania in 3 weeks - we're retired, wanted comfortable accommodations, safety, individualized trip not part of a group tour. Since we're taking along other family members we needed to be frugal - found a balance of moderately priced accommodations with one luxury camp at the end of the safari for a "pop." Found a wonderfully responsive company in Access2Tanzania. Casey listened to what I wanted, gave advice and options, made more than several changes with never a complaint and all fell in place beautifully. Casey assigned us one of his guides with their vehicle, booked our accommodations, and flight to Zanzibar with ground transportation there, all paid for in US. We had to arrange our international airfare. We decided to omit Kenya because of a 2nd visa and yellow fever immunization required. Also Tanzania seems to be a more stable government. Instead we're including a stay on the Tanzania side of the Mara River in the Northern Serengeti - same animals travel across that river to Kenya and that's where much of the migration will be at the end of the dry season, Sept/Oct. Parks we're visiting are Tarangire, a park with a river that draws the animals in the dry season, next Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, Central Serengeti, Northern Serengeti and finally we're flying to Zanzibar for beach time plus visit to Stone Town. Read some reviews about Access2Tanzania. I have never seen any bad remarks. They'll help you figure it out. They only do business in Tanzania, so if you're determined to include Kenya you'd need another company. Good luck.
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Old Sep 15th, 2013, 07:29 PM
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Thanks, KBD--you've given me something to think about.
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Old Sep 16th, 2013, 05:44 AM
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I also went with Access2Tanzania this year and was thrilled with the experience. I am more of an independent trip planner but realized early on I'd need help on this. My group of 4 also ruled out Kenya, but for the "too much to cover in our 2 weeks" issue. We went in February to follow the migrating herds in the Ndutu/Serengeti region, but also covered some of the ground you mention. Where you go at your time of year may or may not be dependent on where the herds are at the time, if you want to see them or not.

In getting started planning, I spoke with all of the "big names" of Tanzania tour operators and came away with the best feeling from A2T. I'm glad I listened to my gut on that! My full trip report is available here by clicking on my name.
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Old Sep 16th, 2013, 12:29 PM
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21 days with 5 days of International air travel to and from the safari destination that leaves 16 days for the actual safari.
I would like to suggest an itinerary that could aid in planning your safari:

1. Samburu (2 nights)
2. Ol Pajeta (2 nights)
3. Aberdare (1 Night)
4. Lake Nakuru (1 Night)
5. Masai mara (2 Nights)
6. Amboseli (2 Nights)
7. Arusha (1 Night)
8. Serengeti (2 Nights)
9. Ngorongoro ( 1 Night)
10. Manyara ( 1 Night)
11. Tarangire (1 Night)
Allow one night in Arusha after departing from Amboseli (will be able to catch up on plenty of rest before starting for Serengeti the next day)

(The breadth and scope of this exciting 16 Days Safari encompasses everything for which East Africa is famous and all experienced at a leisurely, luxurious pace.)

Safari Planning Tips:
1. What Type of safari ?
Tour Operators can offer you a variety of safari packages ranging, from
luxury safaris with deluxe accommodation and internal flights to camping safaris where you sleep in tents out in the open, with only the basic amenities available

2.How Do I then get a Suitable Safari ?
Tour operator will tailor a safari to suit your needs, Just need to know your preferences.

3.How do I choose Accommodations
Tour operators having visited and inspected the facilities and can give you first hand feedback. And will offer you accommodations depending on your budget and specific needs. Admittedly though, there are many lodges and hotels which offer equally good quality accommodation
(Guaranteed NO hole and two footprints as a toilet)

4.Visas and vaccines
As you will be travelling to Kenya and Tanzania, you will need a visa for each country
You will also need a yellow fever vaccination for travel to East Africa

Since you will be in a remote location and will probably be spending a significant amount of money on a safari, travel insurance is virtually a necessity on an African safari. (Many safari tour operators actually require customers to purchase travel insurance in order to reserve a package.) Be sure to look for emergency care coverage and financial protection when booking your policy
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Old Sep 16th, 2013, 03:40 PM
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Thanks for all the help--I've got a lot to consider
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Old Sep 17th, 2013, 03:23 AM
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Tanzania has a good government stand, peace and security abundance of attractions.
Tanzania and Zanzibar have dissimilar attractions range from wildlife, landscape, cultural practices/hospitality to water bodies with beautifully beach.
Day 1: Flight / Kilimanjaro International airport
Day 2; Arusha- National park
Day 3: Tarangire National park
Day 4: Lake Manyara National park
Day 5: LAKE Natron
Day 6: LAKE Natron
Day 7: Maasai Bomas
Day 8: Maasai Bomas -Serengeti
Day 9 Serengeti
Day 10: Serengeti
Day 11 Serengeti - Ngorongoro
Day 12 Ngorongoro
Day 13: Ngorongoro – Arusha- Zanzibar
Day14: Zanzibar
Day 15 Zanzibar
more details on
email [email protected]
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Old Sep 17th, 2013, 05:19 AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions--I've got a lot of reading to do, and I'm sire I'll have more questions after that.
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Old Sep 17th, 2013, 08:50 AM
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abram -

Be aware - the three itineraries above are 'marathons' with way too many 1/nighters and insufficient time spent at the important places - as minimum 3/nts at Mara or Serengeti - depending on time of year. They have also included every imagineable stop both countries 'just because' - but do you really have to visit all three (3) elephant parks between both countries. You'll be spending more time in transit than game viewing.

Distances are great and roads are not. And even if including some flights, it can be rather exhausting. You want to both get the most of this adventure and at a pace that doesn't cause you need for another holiday once home - laying on a beach somewhere.

Be patient in planning and don't rush it.
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Old Sep 17th, 2013, 11:37 AM
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Another good resource for getting ideas and figuring out which parks/areas you want to visit is Those folks are hard core safari-goers but it will definitely get you in the mood to research and plan.

FWIW we were going to try to take on Kenya and Tanzania in one trip and opted not to in order to minimize bouncing around and get to really see a place. So this year Tanzania, next year Kenya! ;-)
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Old Sep 17th, 2013, 01:43 PM
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sandi, I agree that we'd prefer fewer one night stands--and don't feel the need to visit every park in Tanzania and Kenya.

I just went to the library and brought home several guide books. I'm going to start by reading all of them and taking notes. Then I can do more Internet research and ask more questions.
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Old Sep 20th, 2013, 05:05 PM
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I also used access 2 Tanzania a few years back and my experience was a very good one. I think looking back my only regret was not spending 3 nights on our "splurge" accommodation, a tented camp in Ndutu. We travelled with family so in order not break the bank we used a mix of lodges and more upscale accommodation.

If you're interested you can search my username for the trip report I did.

Good luck!
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