safari planning help?

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Feb 7th, 2005, 08:40 AM
  #1
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safari planning help?

My family(12 adults) is planning a safari to Tanzania and Kenya in February 2006. We are planning 3 nights in the Masai Mara, 2 nights in Tarangire, 2 nights in Ngorongoro crater and 4 nights in the Serengeti. I have been in contact with Africa-Adventure Co., Hoopoe, African Dream Safari, Africa Safari Company (uses Rangers Safari Co) and Nina Wennersten at Hippo Creek Safari Co. If anyone has any info on any of these companies I would greatly appreciate it. Some of them are brokers and Hoopeoe and African dream Safari are tour operators. Africa Dream Safari has a wonderful web site and great pricing but has only been in business for 3 years and I do not know how to really check them out. I was trying to use US companies specifically to help with airfares. Is there a better way? Also, if anyone has comments as to our itineray PLEASE let me know. I am planning 2 nights in the Central Serengei and 2 in the South, either at Kusini or at a private mobile tent. ANY comments are greatly appreciated. How much time do I have before I have to decide on a company?
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Feb 7th, 2005, 09:55 AM
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Billmarie

No A&K! Just kidding...

My vote is to go local! You are doing a lodge/tented camp safari visiting the most popular parks so it is very straight-forward to arrange.

Not sure why you want Masai Mara in Feb since you will see the same in the Serengeti with the Migration? You may want to consider Nakura and/or Samburu for completely different animals.

As for airfares, try any one of these:

RATRAVEL in NY - 800 7880777

http://airfare.bootsnall.com/

www.consolidatorwebfares.com/afspecials.htm

www.airlineconsolidator.com

www.air-gorilla.com

I bet they will come in very close or better than the all-inclusive fares you get from USA-based safari companies.

As for the outfitters? Well, you have nice group and are really in a strong position to get a good quote from one of many companies listed on the TATO web site.

http://www.tourismtanzania.go.tz/doc...T%20AGENTS.htm

or
http://tanzaniatouristboard.com/dire...tour_operators

Let's see what Sandi and the others on this board say and then we can get down to specifics!

Eben
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Feb 7th, 2005, 12:37 PM
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climbhighsleeplow,

Since you seem so knowledgeable, can you recommend an ideal itinerary for someone looking to visit Africa for the first time? My husband and I are planning to visit Africa for the first time this June. We'd love to see as many animals as possible on a safari but are somewhat price-sensitive. We were initially thinking about spending 4 days in Cape Town, 2-3 on a safari in South Africa, 2 days Johannesburg and 2 days in Victoria Falls -- but we are completely open to better suggestions.

Many thanks!
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Feb 7th, 2005, 12:54 PM
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LW

Certainly! Will be glad to help but it will be better if you create a new topic so we don't mix up the billmarie itinerary?
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Feb 7th, 2005, 03:55 PM
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I used Ranger Safaris in 1994 and 2001 and was very pleased both times.

1994 guide was Juma (the shorter one) Apparently there are or were two Jumas employed.

2001 guide was Prosper

Each was great.
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Feb 8th, 2005, 07:02 AM
  #6
sandi
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lw -

agree with "climbhigh..." since you are considering South Africa and the start of this thread is East Africa - post a new thread South Africa Safari Planning - Neet Assistance. This makes it easier for responders as well as for you to find the information in one place.
 
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Feb 8th, 2005, 02:43 PM
  #7
sandi
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I'm having 'puter issues, which are too long to go into here, and besides at this point I need a break from "technical" stuff!

Whether a tour operator in the States or in-country - Kenya or Tanzania - you have to go with whom is attentive to your needs, your budget, answers questions, provides a comfort level. You don't choose based on "airfare" - in fact many tour operators/outfitters don't even handle airfare. There are just too many resources out there these days. You can get competitive pricing direct from the airlines, thru consolidators, using your frequent flyer miles; check these resources and some of the sites listed in above thread.

As to the itinerary - February is ideal time for the wildebeest calving season in the SE and/or Central Serengeti. While Tarangire is one of my favorite parks, I'd go here even in the wet season. So even though February isn't prime time, I'd keep it. And 2-nts Ngrongoro is fine, but if you can cut to 1-nt, you'd do okay.

That said, and as climbhigh... mentioned, February isn't ideal for the Masai Mara, though I won't discount it that quickly. That is, if you don't want to discover other areas in Kenya. I too would agree with "go north" - Samburu is great and you'll find wildlife not found elsewhere - reticulated giraffe, Grevy's zebra, gerinuk, frisky vervet monkeys. And the Lakes area - Nakuru, Naivasha, Bogoria, Elementaita, even Victoria.

Discuss this with the tour operators and see what they have to say. But do keep in mind - if I see that you mentioned "12" "twelve" adults, many camps are small most with less then 10-tents, though some with 25, even one with 40. So if you all want to be together, you've gotta book camps early, and likewise even with lodges. Sure most lodges have about 75 rooms, but getting a minimum of 6-room/tents can be a challenge at that time of year.

Return here once you have a few proposed itineraries and we'll be able to comment.
 
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Feb 8th, 2005, 04:59 PM
  #8
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Thanks to everyone for your input! We have allocated 4 nights for the Serengeti-- having trouble deciding how to allocate them. Option 1=2 nights at Kusini or mobile tent in South Serengeti
and then 2 at Serena in Central Serengeti OR option 2= 3 nights at Kusini and 1 at the Serena in Central. I am concerned if only 1 night in Central area is enough--but think that the Southern area is where the migration will probably be. Is Kusini too far out of it for good game drives--would Ndutu be better? One company highly suggested at leadt one night at Olduvai tented lodge-but I haven't seen that suggestion anywhere else. Also, what do you think of Treetops in Tarangire for 2 nights? What other places should I be considering?
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