Someone critique my itinerary please

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Nov 11th, 2003, 11:55 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Someone critique my itinerary please

2 adults, no children. Coach Class Air

BUDGET $15,000-$20,000 USD

August 5, 2004 Fly from Philadelphia to London
August 6, 2004 Day room in London (optional) Tour London & Tea at Harrods or the Ritz (if time permits) Evening flight to Nairobi

August 7, 2004 Arrive Nairobi and transfer to Giraffe Manor or Norfolk House (1 nt).
Tour Giraffe Center, Nairobi, Animal Orphanage, Nairobi, Parliament, City Market,Jamia Mosque, Nairobi National Park, Dinner at Carnivore Restaurant

August 8, 2004 Transfer from Nairobi to Amboseli National Park area staying at either Ol Donyo Wuas, Ol Kanjau Camp or Tortillis (2 nights). Relax and go on game drives as well as walks.

August 9, 2004 Another day and night in the view of Kilimanjaro at Amboseli or Tsavo National Park.

August 10, 2004 Transfer to Ngorongoro Crater area. Stay at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (3 nights)

August 11, 2004 Another day and night at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. Game viewing and relaxing

August 12, 2004 Another day and night at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. Game viewing and relaxing

August 13, 2004 Transfer from Ngorongoro to the Serengeti. Stay at Kleins Camp (3 nights)

August 14, 2004 Another day and night at Kleins Camp. Game viewing and relaxing

August 15, 2004 Another day and night at Kleins Camp. Game viewing and relaxing

August 16, 2004 Transfer from the Serengeti to the Masi Mara. Stay at Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp (3 nights)

August 17, 2004 Another day and night at Kichwa Tembo Camp. Game viewing and relaxing

August 18, 2004 Another day and night at Kichwa Tembo Camp. Game viewing and relaxing

August 19, 2004 Transfer from the Masi Mara to Zanzibar. Staying at The Palms or Ras Nungwi (2-3 nights)

August 20, 2004 Explore Zanzibar (stonetown & a spice plantation)

August 21, 2004 Transfer from Zanzibar to the Seychelles. Staying at the Bayan Tree Mahe?

August 22, 2004 Transfer from Mahe to Fregate, North Island or Praslin.

August 23, 2004 Stay on Island
August 24, 2004 Stay on Island
August 25, 2004 Day trip to La Digue
August 26, 2004 Stay on Island

August 27, 2004 Transfer from Mahe to Fregate, North Island or Praslin to
Mahe and then from Mahe to Paris.

August 27, 2004 Arrive in Paris.
Stay at Le Pavillon de la Reine

August 28, 2004 Paris
August 29, 2004 Paris

August 30, 2004 Transfer from Paris to Philadelphia

In the Seychelles the resorts that have appealed to me are:

Mahe: Banyan Tree, Le Meridien Fishermans Cove

Praslin: Lemuria Resort
North Island: North Island Resort
Fregate: Fregate Private Island Resort

I am just now starting to find out that due to flights, some of this might not work out. Any suggestions from the Fodors regulars would be greatly apperciated!
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Nov 11th, 2003, 01:14 PM
  #2
sandi
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TimH -

Well, you've got a big undertaking there. Are you working with a tour operator or trying to plan this on your own?

Nairobi - The Giraffe Manor is lovely and expensive and way out of the city, so excpet for time at the Giraffe Center you will need a car/driver to take youto the other places and wait to return you to the GM after dinner at Carnivore. The Norfolk Hotel is lovely, but be sure to get one of the better rooms if possible. An alternative is The Serena Hotel in NBO and (if it's still in business) we stayed at the Windsore Golf & Country Club (shorter trip out of NBO than the BM), but will also need a car/driver regardless where you stay in NBO - one doesn't walk in NBO.

The transfer from NBO to Amboseli - is this by road or by air? The roads to Amboseli is terrible, but that is part of the adventure. I would do Amboseli over Tsavo (in another direction and even longer to get into Tanzania). I would stay at Tortilis Camp, ask for camp with view of KILI, though is usually covered in clouds, so don't be disappointed if you don't see the snow capped peaks. You will when you fly "over" KILI on way to the Seychelles.

The trip from Amboseli to Ngorongoro will take you almost a full day by road, consider air.

Personally, I feel 1-day in the Crater is enough, and therefore suggest on your 3rd day there, instead head to Kleins's camp for 3nts.

Again you don't mention how you transfer from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara - by road, it is long, bumpy and tiring. If flying, don't believe you can fly direct from Seregeti to Mara but have to return to Arusha.

Would suggest, heading back by land from Serengeti to Lake Manyara for a night then to Arusha where you should fly to Mara.

Presume you'll be flying to Zanzibar and back to NBO to make connection to Seychelles. Don't believe thei are flights from Zan to SEZ.

Once at the Seycheles - Fregate is very very expensive, about $1500/nt, while North Island is a bit less and you need an air transfer from Mahe to either of these islands. Also check whether there is a minimum stay on either, believe it's 5-days on ech.

And how have you arranged to do a day-trip to La Digue fromeither Fregate or North Island. You plan only 7-days on the Seychelles which is perfect, but you can't do Mahe, Praslin, La Digue, Fregate and North in 7-days.

Fregate or North are great if you want to take advantageous of those two islands only, but there is so much more to see with a combination of Mahe, Praslin (from where you can do day-trips to La Digue, and other smaller out islands.

Unless you're honeymooners and want remote, private and have lots of $$$, I would spend 4-5/days on Praslin where you can do a full day tour to La Digue (by ferry), a day tour to Curious Is. and St.Pierre (both provide lunch); half-day to the Valley de Mai (rainforest and home of the "coco du mer" and "her partner" - read up on this!) There is a casino on this island and plenty of places to walk to or you can rent a car and investigate the island and private beaches.

Then balance on Mahe, the Lemuria is good, rather larger than what I prefer, and also the Banyan Tree - either good choices. You can rent a car on this island and navagate the island to your hearts content, finding lovely secluded private beaches, the tea plantation lots of things. And do spend at least a morning in main city of Victoria - interesting.

What I've tried to emphasize is the distances, types of roads, options for transfers, amount of time these take. You have to check alternatives of flights vs roads and whether you can "get there from there" crossing borders between Kenya and Tanzania. And consideration of the island choices, costs and transport in the Seychelles.

It's a great itinerary, but be very careful in getting it coordinated properly.

No comments on the London* or Paris segments of the trip. * get the dayroom, just to get the "eau de Boeing" off your body before heading out to conquer London.

 
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Nov 12th, 2003, 04:54 AM
  #3
sandi
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Typo corrections -

That's the Windsor Golf & Country Club (outside of NBO, but closer than GM [Giraffe Manor])
 
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Nov 12th, 2003, 05:52 AM
  #4
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Sandi,

After seeing several of your posts, I was thrilled that you replied to mine!

Let me clear up a few things. As far as working with a travel agent, I have sent this itinerary to Protravel(NYC), Premier Tours(Philly), UTC(Philly) and CC Africa all for comments and pricing.

A few of the comments I have received thus far have addressed the logistics problems. It looks as if we might need to spend two nights at two different points in the trip in Nairobi. For the first night I am thinking of staying at Giraffe Manor so that I could spand the day at Giraffe Centre, the animal orphanage and Nairobi NP. I am not sure if we would do Canivore at this point due to the fact GM sells it's rooms either half board or full board. With the second visit to Nairobi, I think we would opt to stay at Norfolk so that we could explore town. The only long drive then would be to carnivore. I am worried about what time we would get into NBO on both trips as I really wish to see the feedings at the Orphanage which I am told happen between 11-12.

Do to the long drives which you mentioned, one operator suggested going right from Nairobi to the Masi Mara and then flying from NBO to Kilimanjaro Airport and drive to Ngorongoro Crater skipping Amboseli. I would be said to miss seeing kilimanjaro but, this agent said you rarely see it due to the clouds. They further said we would be able to fly from Kilimanjaro Airport to Zanzibar. You are right that we would need to return to NBO to fly to the Seychelles (these flights only go out on Thursday and Sunday mornings, I was told). This agent also suggested reducing the time in the crater to just two nights.

Generally I would like to stay a mimimum of two nights in any one place, otherwise we are just packing and unpacking the whole trip.

Seychelles - The same agent reccomended staying 5-6 nights in Praslin at Lemuria and taking day trips as we wish via boat or air. I am worried that Praslin, because larger than North or Fregate, has less atmosphere, wildlife (turtles), and more resorts. My choice would have been Fregate although it is a buget buster at $1,800/per night with a 5 night minimum. North Island is at $1,650/per night with a 5 night minimum. All these prices are current. Most have said to skip Mahe (only staying long enough for transfers through the main airport)you would not agree? Banyan Tree is very expensive at $1,600/per night and it only gives you breakfast!!!!! The others are atleast AI.

Fregate quoted me air to/from Mahe at $1648 for 2 and to/from La Digue at $1648 for 2 and to/from Praslin at $1550 for 2. When you say that St Pierre and Curious Islands provide lunch, would this be even if you are not a guest? How would I get there from Praslin? Would it be far? I know there is a 30 min ferry from Praslin to La Digue and seems like a good option due to the $$$.

Another agent has also reccomended staying three nights instead of two on Zanzibar - your thoghts? Have you seen the Palms or Ras Nungwi?

Any other comments would be most apprciated!!!!!!

Thank you





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Nov 12th, 2003, 08:04 AM
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Tim:

The trip looks amazing, my only real comments are on how realistic your expectations are for London & Nairobi. Have your ever flown that far before ?

Last year we did the Toronto-London-Nairobi loop and both flights were overnight with a 4 hour time change on each. So regardless of how well you can sleep on the flights I think that your Aug 6th (London) & Aug 7th (Nairobi) plans may be overly agressive (optomistic).

Since you've budgeted a fairly large sum of money to see the wildlife in Africa - you may be better off getting some sleep in London & Nairobi rather than trying to squeeze in a day tour of London or visiting a glorified zoo in Nairobi and then having the jetlag hit you in the parks & impacting your ability to fully appreciate what you've gone there to experience in the first place.

Just my opinion though.

Z
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Nov 12th, 2003, 09:17 AM
  #6
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Z,

Thanks for the advice. I agree that's why I am talking about building in at least one night in London
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Nov 12th, 2003, 09:47 AM
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Tim:

My experience with international travel is that the best way to adjust to the jetlag is to get your end destination as quickly as possible.

As an alternative, you may want to add a day or 2 at the end of your trip & take the EuroStar train between Paris/London as either a daytrip or overnighting at a downtown London hotel.

Later,

Z
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Nov 12th, 2003, 11:10 AM
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If I was traveling that far I absolutely WOULD NOT fly coach!!! Spring for 1st or business class.
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Nov 12th, 2003, 12:09 PM
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yeah would love to if it didn't add $4,000-$6,000 per ticket
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Nov 12th, 2003, 01:28 PM
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sandi
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Tim -

The agents you sent for comments and pricing - ProTravel in NYC is very good and large, and while doing leisure I wouldn't be surprised if they bid-it-out to an African specialist (just my assumption, but can be wrong). Premier, UTC and CC are all African specialists, so input from them will be from experience.

There are so many questions to answer, where do I start??

First of all, I believe your flight from London arrives mid-morning, so you'll be at your hotel by noon. Giraffe Center is at the Giraffe Manor and close by is Karen Blixen's House, so you can do that first day - and then relax.

Following day you can get to the Animal Orphanage (and skip the NP, you'll be seeing plenty of animals during your trip). You can then do a NBO city tour and LUNCH at The Carnivore - an experience and lots of fun. Then return to Giraffe Manor. Though personally, I'd stay at a hotel in NBO, as previously suggested The Norfolk, or Serena - where you get breakfast and aren't tied into a dinner meal. Sundowner are fun at The Norfolk and they have a wonderful restaurant for dinner or you can have an informal dinner right there on the terrace after drinks.

I realize you want to see as much of both countries as possible, and going to Amboseli in Kenya will allow that, but you have to consider the drive-times and quality of roads. If you were to go direct to the Mara, I would fly (it's a 5-6/hr drive on lousy roads - all over are lousy roads, so I would fly to and from the Mara.

But, if flying throughout you do miss seeing the country, the little villages, children who come to the roadside to wave, the souvenir stands and getting a feel of everyday life. While the rides are long, I'm glad we didn't fly everywhere.

Listen Tim, this is going to get complicated as there is alot of detail - so why not email me direct at:

[email protected]

and I can go over some of this with more safari options and especially info about The Seychelles. The islands aren't all that big, they're itty bitty dots in the Indian Ocean.

email me direct and we can do this in more detail - or this will go on forever. Sandi
 
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Nov 12th, 2003, 01:36 PM
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Very ambitious plans you have! Ah, but what a fantastic experience. We stayed at Tortilis last year and absolutely loved it. I would urge you to stay there. I agree with Sandi that one night, maximum two is more than enough for the Ngorongoro Crater - unless you were planning on doing some hiking in the Crater highlands. If you are strictly there for gameviewing, then one and a half days is ample. While I love the Crater, we found it to be the most crowded of the parks/reserves we were in. This can't be helped because it is what it is - an intact caldera and no off-roading is allowed. Either way it will be a wonderful experience. Liz and Kavey - you both should be adding your opinions as well.
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