Safari September 2005

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Jan 22nd, 2005, 11:54 AM
  #1
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Safari September 2005

We are beginning to plan a safari holiday in Kenya and/or Tanzania in September 2005 for our 40th wedding anniversary. It will be our first time for a safari and we are taking the following into consideration: 1. We just might not like it, so thought we would keep it to round 7 to 10 days for the first time. 2. We don't like roughing it, so are looking for a reasonable level of comfort. 3. We would like to be in the right place to witness the migration in the Serengeti/Masai Mara. 4. We would rather fly part of the way than spend too much time driving.

Any suggestions would be welcome, especially is it worthwhile booking independently? and paying for a vehicle for our sole use? We look forward to hearing some ideas.
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Jan 22nd, 2005, 12:33 PM
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Hi Daphne

Excellent choice for the 40th! Based on what you told us, I would opt for Kenya and build the safari around 4 days or so in the Masai Mara - that should be at the end of your trip since it will be the highlight! Fly in is by far the best option for the Mara since the camps have open safari vehicles and their drivers really know where to go.

In September the two migrating herds are moving somewhat West in the Mara, which is better anyway since you avoid the daytrippers from Nairobi (who stick to the East).

There are many camps to choose from. Without a doubt, start pricing out the Governors camps (especially Little Govs, or its more expensive sister IlMoran. These are very romantic tented camps.

If these camps blow your budget, split your stay between Govs and the Serena Hotel.

The Kichwa Tembo camp and Olenana are just outside the Mara and also good if you cannot get into the Govs - but expensive too.

Moving East the Mara Intrepids are cheaper but now you start seeing the crowds.

At camps such as Govs, you will share the vehicle with another couple at most - many times it will be just the two of you. I don't think the $250 per day for a private car is really necessary...

Walking safaris just outside the Mara IMO is not really worth it. There are too many villages with cattle and everything. While there are many camps outside the Mara and it is true that there are no fences, the surrounding villages and cattle take the "wildness" out of the experience.

Anyway, this is a start. For the rest of the time, you could fly to Lake Nakura to see leopard and flamingoes and such.
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Jan 22nd, 2005, 12:34 PM
  #3
sandi
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Depending on your budget you can get accommodations at whatever level you want. You can camp out in pup-tents - don't thing that's what you want. You can stay at lodges, that are quite comfy, most of which are in the mid-range. And you can choose to stay in permanent tented camps - mid- to high-range.

It's important to note that travel in September is high season, so besides the fact that places are already booked or will be soon, the prices are also high. Regardless, you should be making your decision as soon as possible. Trying to book accommodations on your own will be difficult at best, as if one place is booked you have to try others - and there are so many choices and you also have to arrange transportation. As to having your own vehicle, this can be easily arranged by your tour operator. If you do the entire trip by road, there is no problem with your own vehicle and guide/driver. When doing a combination fly/drive, often you have another guide/driver at the other end, and at some camps, you must use the camp vehicles. This can be on a share basis, or for an additional fee (often quite steep) for your exclusive use.

Depending on where you're traveling from, 7-days will be rather short in relation to the time you've spent just getting to Africa. And, from personal experience and just about every thread on this board, there haven't been unfavorable/negative responses to safari.

Since most of the action in September will be taking place in the Mara it isn't an absolute must that you even visit the Serengeti.

You can fly into Kilimanjaro (JRO) Tanzania, overnight in Arusha. Next day drive to Tarangire Natl Park which has a mini-migration (bet. June-Oct) for 2-nts. with lots of choices such as Kikoti camp, Tree Lodge, Sopa Lodge, Swala camp, and others. Then head to the Ngorongoro Crater for 1-nt. where you can consider the Serena Lodge, Sopa Lodge, Crater Lodge. Return drive to Arusha/Kili and fly to NBO. This flight gets into NBO in time to connect to a flight to the Mara, where you can spend your remaining days whatever they may be. Here there are a wider array of accommodations from lodges to tented camps. When your time is finished here you can return fly for your homebound flight or spend a day in NBO and enjoy some sights - Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Karen Blixen Home/Museum, Giraffe Center, lunch or dinner at The Carnivore, sundowners at The Norfolk Hotel.

Most people who post here prefer to use in-country tour operators. You can contact by email either of the following:

[email protected]
[email protected]

tell them what your interests are, number of days, type of accommodations and your budget and they should be able to design an itinerary to meet your needs.
 
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Jan 22nd, 2005, 12:39 PM
  #4
sandi
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climbhigsleeplow -

We have to stop meeting this way!
 
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Jan 22nd, 2005, 01:51 PM
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Sandi
Indeed! i spend waaaay too much time on this board but it is trade show season in the Northern hemisphere...and the questions here are good therapy for a man with Africa on his mind!

By June I will be back in my adopted home of Arusha and then it's back to South Africa in Sep in time for the Stellenbosch Wynfees (wine festival) - my real home! Maybe I'll run into Selwyn !!!

In the mean time, here in DC I am shoveling snow and looking at my Serengeti and Masai Mara maps on the wall!
Eben
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Jan 23rd, 2005, 04:39 AM
  #6
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Message to Climbhighsleeplow and Sandi

Thank you both for your suggestions and helpful information. I've asked around among my friends as well, and now feel that I have enough ideas to go to the tour operators for prices. Many thanks again and good luck with your next trips.
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Jan 23rd, 2005, 05:39 AM
  #7
sandi
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daphne - glad we've been able to help and get you started planning your trip. Do let us know how you're progressing along the way and if you need added information, we're here to answer.

climbhighsleeplow - luckily someone else is shoveling our snow, there's already plenty of blacktop visible, the buses are running, the subway always operates... and by tomorrow it'll be dirty and slushy. But the wind is howling though won't stop us from making snow angels later on when the the snow stops falling. So much for Winter in NYC.
 
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