Safari to Kenya/Tanzania Sept. 2009

Aug 26th, 2008, 06:42 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 13
Safari to Kenya/Tanzania Sept. 2009

Hello. Having read all the posts regarding going on safari, would appreciate comments on this itinerary.
1 night Nairobi, Fairview Hotel
2 nights Samburu, Serena Safari Lodge
2 nights Sweetwater, Sweetwater Tented Camp
1 night Lake Nakuru, Lake Nakuru Lodge
3 nights Masai Mara, Sarova Mara Tented Camp
drive across border to Tanzania
2 nights Serengeti, Lobo Wildlife Lodge
1 night Ngorongoro Crater, Sopa
2 nights Tarangire, Tarangire Safari Lodge
shuttle from Arusha to Nairobi
1 night Nairobi Fairview Hotel
Would appreciate any comments or recommendations. Thank you
leerob is offline  
Aug 27th, 2008, 04:54 AM
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When will you be visiting?

It's obvious this is an all driving itinerary and you have some very long hauls.

- Nairobi/Samburu - at least 6/hrs and the last hour is a terrible road.

- Nakuru/Mara - at least 6/hrs

- you can't cross from the Mara to Tanzania to the Lobo Wildlife Lodge direct; it's a circuitous route via the Isebania border to the west of the Mara; south along road passing Lake Victoria; entering Serengeti in the West; heading east and then northeast to Lobo; this will all your daylight hours. Depending on time of year, you'd do better to stay in the Central Serengeti at the Wildlife Lodge here.

- Lobo to Ngorongoro is about 7/hrs and doubtful you'll get in an afternoon crater tour; tour would have to be done next morning

- then it's minimum 3.5/hrs to Tarangire.

- shuttle bus from Arusha/Nairobi is 5/hrs, maybe more as you'll be arriving during rush hour.

It's apparent you're trying to get in as much as possible on a budget, but to me you're cutting off too much in the short time.

Is this a private or group tour? If group, not much you can do to change it. If private... I'd rework this.
sandi is offline  
Aug 27th, 2008, 04:56 AM
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... sorry, didn't notice this is for September.

If so, no need to go as far north at Lobo, stay in Central Serengeti. The area at Lobo is beautiful, but more game in Central.
sandi is offline  
Aug 27th, 2008, 09:17 AM
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Thanks Sandy for the info This is a private safari so am open to any and all suggestions. Will change to the Wildlife Lodge in Central Serengeti. How much will that shorten our drive from Masai and to the Crater by staying there? To add an incountry flight would have to give up a night somewhere. Any suggestions? Thanks.
leerob is offline  
Aug 27th, 2008, 12:12 PM
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If you can add the flight between Kenya/Tanzania you don't really have to give up a day.

From the Mara, where the migration will be taking place and 3/nts is good, you can:
- Fly Mara/Wilson (domestic) NBO airport, connect to flight Wilson/JRO in Tanzania, arriving about 2pm

Then, reverse the itinerary as:
- on arrival JRO, drive to Tarangire (2/nts)
- drive (2.5-3/hrs) to Ngorongoro; afternoon crater tour (1/nt)
- drive (3-3.5/hrs) to Central Serengeti (2/nts)
- drive (4.5-5/hrs) to Lake Manyara; afternoon game drive (1/nt); this breaks-up an otherwise very very long drive to Arusha.
- drive (2.5/hrs) to Arusha in time for 2pm shuttle to Nairobi, arriving 6-7pm (1/nt)

To make up for the night at Lake Manyara, I'd omit 1/nt at Sweetwaters.

The air will, of course, add to your budget, but does save on that very long drive between Kenya/Tanzania.

Hope this helps.

sandi is offline  
Aug 27th, 2008, 08:45 PM
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Sandy. Thanks again for all the suggestions. Besides being long,what is the drive like from Mara to the Serengeti. Hot? Dusty? Nothing to see? Bumpy and uncomfortable? All of the above?
leerob is offline  
Aug 28th, 2008, 05:25 AM
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I've never done the drive for length of time more than any other reason.

Driving thru the reserves is mostly gravel or dirt roads, rutted (so bumpy), dusty most of the route till reaching your destination. The road from Isebania border crossing alongside Lake Victoria is paved, so that's okay till you enter Serengeti.

Basically, if driving it's a long day, long drive, and though flights take time, from take-off Mara till landing JRO (by 2pm) is 3/hrs and go right onto safari to Tarangire, a 2.5/hr drive on paved road.

Much easier and not a full-day of rather uncomfortable travel.

Option: If you prefer not to spend for the all air transfer, you can fly from Mara to Nairobi. From here get the 2pm shuttle to Arusha, but won't arrive till 6-7pm and will have to o/n Arusha become commencing safari next morning.

-All drive Mara/Serengeti - full day driving; no cost, but long long uncomfortable day
-All fly MAR/WIL/JRO - continue safari same day; cost approx. $375-$400/person
-Combine fly/shuttle - have to overnight Arusha, start safari next day; cost approx $200/person + o/n hotel in Arusha

sandi is offline  
Aug 28th, 2008, 08:08 AM
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Thank you so much. You have given us a lot to think about. We are working with Good Earth tours and they are willing to make the changes we request.
leerob is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 06:00 AM
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Hi leerob

IMO you can skip SweetWaters, add 1 night to Samburu (my favourite park)
instead of doing,more of the same things add something different like one of:
1. a night-viewing lodge: Ark, Mt. Lodge or TreeTops. that's a unique experience where the banimals are coming to you, you van watch some rare night critters. and you have no time limit for behavioural observations... (nothing like it in TZ)

2. a fresh-water lake like Naivasha (or even Baringo) where you can take a boat, watch birds, hippos,
walk on crescent Island among wildlife (get really close to Giraffe on foot is some experience)

3. drive up Mt. Kenya to 10,000 feet and take an absolutely amazing walk there

Any of these suggestions will make your safari more diversified
Come-on get out of the box!

i've been lots of times to Samburu and Sweetwaters, and of course to those other places i recommend. furthermore i've taken hundreds of people to those places and have seen their reaction.
aby is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 06:47 PM
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Thanks aby for the suggestions. I went back and forth between the night viewing lodge and Sweetwaters but liked the idea of a night game drive and seeing the chimpanzee refuge at Sweetwaters. I have read about the boat tour of Lake Navaisha and want to do that.
leerob is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 04:42 AM
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the chimpanzee refuge is (IMHO)like visiting a hospital for mentally-ill individuals... Those Chimps have gone through abuse by humans...
i'm not sure i'd recommend it...
If Morani the "black" rhino is still there, this may be your only chance to get so close to this (aggressive) species.

if you can, pass through MKSC orphanage seeing the (exteremely rare) Bongo (and even feeding it from your hand) may be an experience,

aby is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 04:59 AM
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Since you'd like Naivasha + a night safari in SW - why not stay one night in SweetWaters, and then 1 night in Naivasha ?
then you are akso closer to Nakuru and can spend more time there (and the road to Mara will be shorter)

the order should be: SweetWaters-Nakuru-Naivasha-Mara

unless the road through Mau Escarpment is good (do you hire a 2 wheel drive?) and then you can do:

aby is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 11:14 AM
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Thanks aby, Will stay just one night at Sweetwaters. What is MKSC orphanage? /Also we would like to do something cultural but the visits to the villages sound so touristy. We are not ones to get up and dance with the villagers but would like to see how the locals live. We would like something not quite so preplanned. Any suggestions?
leerob is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 05:11 PM
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MKSC = Mt Kenya Safari Club near Nanyuki. You don't have to be an overnight guest to visit the orphanage. If you're only staying 1 night at Sweetwaters, you can do it on your way to Sweetwaters or when leaving Sweetwaters the following day. depending on your timing and schedule.
Patty is online now  
Sep 1st, 2008, 04:35 AM
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There is a small fee to visit the animal orphanage at MKSC.
sandi is offline  
Sep 1st, 2008, 07:37 AM
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Hi leerob,

I've done the drive from Northern Serengeti (Kleins Camp) to the Mara (Olonana, Olololoside). It was last year in June and we had some heavy rains for a week during the nights before we made that tour. It was honestly said awful.

The scenery is nice but you wont have any time to stop. We made about 3 hours from nothern Serengeti to Serena (middle Serengeti). Than you have around 1 to 2 hours drive through Grumeti area, which is ashame, because this is a very nice area of the parc but you dont have any time to stop and will have to stay on the main roads. After you leave Grumeti, there is a paved and good road going up north, I think it took us about 2 to 3 hours to get to the border. The border took us two hours!!! to clear, because of the car. It is very difficult to take a tanzanian car to Kenya. Our guide had everything prepared, all documents were settled but they first didn't believe us... This was very tough time, the border area is awful and we feared that they wont let us go. Finally we managed it somehow. It was nearly darkening and then the tragedy begun: for about 4 hours in heavy rains and with roads you can't tell that this was a road (we would never call this slimy something a road)and with the fear that the bridge would not be there any more as soon as we arrive we were searching Olonana camp at masai Mara. It was completely dark as we arrived finally and our poor guide was on the ropes...

I think we will never try this out again but it was an experince we often talk about ;-)

And: in September you will so much love the Mara that this should be the last parc of your trip. All or at least most wildebeest will be in the Mara and with them the loins, cheetah and so on. Think about it.

Another and last comment: it is hard to have only one day in each parc but better to stay at least two or better 3 nights and instead make only half of the parcs you mentioned.

steffid is offline  
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