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Suggestions for first time safari in Kenya and/or Tanzania

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Jan 26th, 2003, 07:05 AM
  #1
Kathy
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Suggestions for first time safari in Kenya and/or Tanzania

Hi,

I would like to plan a safari trip for my husband me for sometime next year. I was wondering about a few things and I would greatly appreciate feedback from all of you.

1. It seems to be the general consensus of the forum that 2afrika provides good services on a budget, which is what I am looking for. However, I am curious as to what were the reasons that many of you chose this tour operator, and which competitors did you consider. I would also like to know if any of you had a bad experience with them.

2. What would be the best time to go to see more animals. I saw that 2afrika increases their rates slightly by june or so.

3. Finally I am trying to decide whether to go to Kenya or Tanzania or try and do both. However, I did not find such tours in the 2afrika website that covers both countries (at least within say 11-13 days).

Thanks a lot in advance!

Kathy
 
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Jan 26th, 2003, 09:10 AM
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Ken
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Kathy;

I am leaving for a Kenya Tanzania trip on the 1st of February. I am using Overseas Adventure Travel out of Boston, Ma.

I also looked at 2africa and the trip offered by OAT better suited my preference and included items not offered by 2africa at very comparable rates. Their web site is oattravel.com

Another advantage offered is no single supplement.

Rates are higher in June-August as that is the dry season with the migration taking place.

January-February is the short dry season after the heavy rainy season and is when a lot of the animals are giving birth.
Post here again if you have further questions. Best of luck!

Ken
 
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Jan 26th, 2003, 07:18 PM
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Susan
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Hi Kathy! I am thrilled that you are planning a trip to East Africa. My husband and I were in Kenya and Tanzania this past September, and we both fell in love with the countries, the people and, of course, the wildlife. Before I booked our trip, I also looked at 2afrika, and actually got a couple of price quotes from them for the private safari I planned. Then I got some other quotes and ended up using an Arusha, Tazania based company, which came in less than 2afrika. Like I said, we went to Kenya (Masai Mara and Amboseli) and Tanzania (N-crater, Tarangire and Selous) arriving in Nairobi Sept. 21 and departing Oct. 4 from Dar Es Salaam. We saw a crossing of the Mara River by wildebeast, spent numerous hours with a leopard, saw lions on the hunt, watched as two male lions ate their breakfast of a wildebeast, saw cheetah cubs, virtually every animal you can think of, including wild dogs in Selous. You can do both countries in a reasonable amount of time as long as you are realistic about how many parks/reserves you want to see in a certain amount of time. We used Roy Safaris Ltd. (www.roysafaris.com), and again, we went on a private safari. Good luck planning your trip. I am in the process of planning our return trip in 2004.
 
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Jan 27th, 2003, 07:56 AM
  #4
nkh
 
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Hi Kathy

This should be entitled "information from a novice"!

My husband and I are going on our first safari trip this June to Kenya and Tanzania using 2afrika - we finally chose the company after reading posts here and elsewhere, and after e-mail communications with some of the posters. Obviously I cant give you trip experience feedback since we havent been yet, but I can tell you that both Ken and Jeff have been very helpful with answering all of our questions. I have not yet found anyone who has had a negative experience with the company.

The information below is again not yet based on personal experience but on my "trip booking" research - so others who answer may well be more accurate.

I did a lot of research before we decided on 2afrika. Apart from the obvious "references available" reason, we chose them because their offering fit our "desired destinations" list most closely at the best price (especially including the airfare). Another reason is that we fly into Tanzania but depart from Kenya, thus avoiding a "wasted" day of time and hassle required to recross the border and depart from original arrival point that was necessary for most of the Kenya/Tanzania trips we looked at.

I am not sure from your post whether 11-13 days is your total time including travel, or the number of days you wish to spend on safari. If the latter, the 2afrika trips include travel time in their total length, and their Grand Combo safari (15 days) actually is 11 days on safari with 2 days each end of travel.

If this is total time, I am not sure where you are departing from, but if from North America it will take you 2 days each way in travel. Therefore your actual safari time may be 7-9 days. Various tour operators (we were originally considering a shorter trip) told us with this trip length we would probably ourselves more if we stuck to one country and "did it properly". Probably you can find an itinerary that wouldnt be a problem for 2 countries, but we couldnt find a regularly available group safari that fit that timeframe and went to the places we wanted to go, so we opted for a few more days instead.

Another company recommended to me who checked out really well with all organizations etc. and was helpful was Southern Cross Safaris. They do private customizable as well as group tours of both Kenya and Tanzania, and will provide linking transport between two tours. The itinerary they sent me would have taken 13 days (not including travel). They may do shorter tours also particularly if you look at the customized option.

Hopefully my "pre trip" research will help yours a bit!
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Jan 27th, 2003, 08:18 AM
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Susan:

Your trip sounds like my dream vacation. I went to roysafaris.com but found the site confusing. Can you give me more details about exactly what you did. Your package is exactly what I am looking for.
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Jan 27th, 2003, 02:22 PM
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SOrry folks, I just posted a long e-mail which never showed up. So just wanted to give this another try. Kathy
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Jan 27th, 2003, 02:31 PM
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Hi, Looks like things are working since my last post actually showed up! Anyway, I would like to thank everyone for their responses. I will check out roysafaris and OAT also.

I was initially interested in the 9 day swinging safari offered by 2afrika. It seems to fit our budget at least! Also, that looked like a good combination of things that we might be interested in. The only other thing I was wondering was, how much more it would cost us (and how many more days)if we tried to include Tanzania with a realistic itinerary.

Susan, if you don't mind my asking you, how many days did you spend in total and how many days in Tanzania and Kenya. Also, I was wondering if you could enlighten us about the price you paid.

I also liked the other idea of departing from a different city than in which you arrive. Was that a packaged trip offered by 2afrika, or did they come up with a customized itinerary and price for you?

I was also wondering what are the rainy months in Kenya. Thanks a lot guys!

Kathy
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Jan 27th, 2003, 06:55 PM
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Hi SarahB and Every999! Hopefully I can answer both your inquiries. First off, SarahB our trip was not a set itinerary. And Every999, our trip was not done by 2afrika, although I had touched base with them. I used Roy Safaris Ltd. for our trip. I determined where I wanted to go, how long I wanted to stay and most of the accommodations. Roy Safaris came in with the least expensive price per person than anyone else when I gave them the itinerary I established. The entire time it was just my husband and I in the vehicle, except, of course, our guide. Roy Safaris made suggestions and offered other very helpful hints, some of which I utilized, others I did not - and it turns out I should have. But live and learn! Our trip - excluding airfare to and from the US - ran about $4,600 pp. Our itinerary was as follows: Arrive Sept. 20 in Nairobi, spent the night at the Fairview Hotel. Very quiet and clean place and much less expensive than the other Nairobi "safari" hotels. Flew out the next morning to the Masai Mara, where we stayed at the Mara River Camp (absolutely loved it!) for four nights. Flew back to Nairobi, then drove to Amboseli. Stayed two nights at Tortilis Camp(very high end and luxurious). From Amboseli, we were driven to the Namanga border and on to Arusha, Tanzania for one night. Stayed at the Moivaro Coffee Plantation Lodge (quiet and met our needs for the evening). Drove the next day (the 28th) to the Ngorongoro Crater, where we spent one night at the Serena Lodge (very nice, more along the lines of a hotel) and then the next night at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (this was a surprise from some friends so we did not pay for the night stay. It is truly an experience staying at the Crater Lodge. Almost felt guilty staying there it is so decadently luxurious). From the Crater we drove south to Tarangire, where we stayed one night at the Tarangire Safari Lodge (very rustic and not what we were used to, and I was warned about this by Susan at Roy Safaris. But I thought I would save some money considering it was only for one night! I should have listened to Susan). On Oct.1 we drove back to Arusha, where we caught our flight to Selous via Dar Es Salaam. We then spent three nights at Sand Rivers (absolutely fantastic!) in Selous. We departed Oct. 4 from Dar to US, via Amsterdam. We got a day room at the Holiday Inn in Dar, and I was pleasantly surprise about the hotel. Beautiful and absolutely immaculate. The price quoted earlier included meals (all except one night in Arusha), flying to and from Mara and Selous, laundry and drinks at Sand Rivers, and laundry at Tortilis and the dayroom. Again, this was an itinerary that I established. Roy Safaris put it all in place and everything went like clockwork. I decided to do the private safari route because many of the pre-set itineraries I looked at had bits and pieces of what I wanted, but not the entire picture. If I were to do anything different, I would not spend one night at one place. Definitely at least two nights in one place. I enjoyed the flying/driving combination, which I did intentionally considering flying from park to park would have made the trip even more expensive. We enjoyed stopping in villages and even had fun laughing at the incredibly bumpy roads! Anyway ... The weather we had throughout was fantastic. Not a drop of rain and no bugs. Didn't use our bug repellent once, not even in Selous. That is the beauty of going in the dry season. I believe that the dry seasons for Kenya run from mid-December through March and June through mid-October. Hope I was able to help and answer your questions.
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Jan 28th, 2003, 06:33 AM
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nkh
 
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Hi Kathy

We are the ones leaving from a different city than we arrived on our upcoming trip in June. It is actually the standard schedule of our 2afrika group trip which goes to both Tanzania and Kenya.

We were not offered this option with group tours with any other companies we contacted - probably because most of them did not include airfare, and they wanted to simplify customers travel arrangements for them by allowing a simple round-trip ticket. We found private safaris to be out of our budget range - it is probably a reasonable option if you have a tour customized for you.

You should contact 2afrika and see if they can add a few days to the swinging safari and what the prices are - they were very helpful with all my questions, and may have some suggestions you havent thought of.

As Susan pointed out from her experiences (which sound wonderful, by the way!) once you get into custom options 2afrika may well no longer be the cheapest for the itinerary you want (but dont forget to factor the international airfare into your quotes! That made a big difference to our choices). Everyone I talked to at most companies were happy to provide us with supplemental information and answer our questions, so dont worry about asking!

Regarding rainy seasons and best time to go to see animals, this link has a useful chart for wildlife viewing in various parks, which seems to compare well with peoples comments on them.

http://www.mcdcwain.freeserve.co.uk/bestime.htm

Have fun planning!
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Jan 30th, 2003, 08:24 AM
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Thanks for all your help. I am going to make some calls and explore the details. nkh, the website you sent me was also very helpful.

Kathy
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