Tanzania / Kenya -- road travel worth it?


Aug 5th, 2003, 06:04 AM
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Tanzania / Kenya -- road travel worth it?

Thanks to some excellent feedback here and from group organizers, we are planning a 9-day November safari in Tanzania and maybe into Kenya.

It's been recommended that we only stay at each camp 1-2 days. We're trying to decide whether we should move around that much, or if it's better to focus on the Serengeti and one other camp.

Opinions? What is travel like between camps? (roads, likely drive time, etc.)

hlphillips2 is offline  
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Aug 5th, 2003, 07:30 AM
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Lucky you! You'll love it. However, plan on a minimum 2 days at a camp. A lot depends on the camps you are considering and the distance they are apart. Say Samburu 1 night, Masai Mara 1 night. Forget that. If you are going to be driving all day to get to the next camp, you will do nothing but rest at each place. No actual rested time to enjoy the area, see the animals. 4 game drives at one camp isn't too much to get to see it well.
Post your proposed itinerary and it will be easier to comment. Unless you are looking for advice on choosing an itinerary. Liz
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Aug 5th, 2003, 07:56 AM
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The roads in East Africa are not good...awful in fact. However, that said, I do recommend driving between some of the camps because it definitely lets you get a better flavor of the landscape...you see how the locals live and it is an education in itself.

On our drive in and out of the Serengeti, we saw wonderful amounts of game including having the opportunity to see two mother lions bringing their fresh zebra kill to their 5 almost-grown cubs and watching the youngsters chow down!

Drive time is almost always at least 2 times what you would think.

I went to Tanzania in June and we drove to Lake Manyara (1 night), drove through the Ngorogoro Conservation area to get to the Serengeti (2 nights), then drove back to Ngorogoro Crater (2 nights). That is doable. You may want to drive to the Serengeti then fly back to save time.

Also when going to Kenya, I would recommend flying to Masai Mara. That is a long drive.
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Aug 5th, 2003, 11:00 AM
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Thank you for your feedback! I've posted one of our options below. The other has us at the Serengeti the whole time. I won't post the Kenya itinerary, but we would have seven days to see four different camps (though two nights each in Masai Mara and Samburu).

Day 1 From Arusha, drive to Tarangire National Park, game drive in the park, overnight at lodge.

Day 2 Drive to Lake Manyara National Park, game viewing, overnight at Lodge.

Day 3 Drive to Serengeti National Park, game viewing, overnight at lodge.

Day 4 Game viewing all day

Day 5 Another full day game viewing

Day 6 Game drive then drive to Ngorongoro, overnight at lodge.

Day 7 Descend into the crater for a full day tour, overnight at Lodge.

Day 8 Descend the crater for a morning crater tour. PM drive to Arusha.

My husband and I now will have an additional day, so maybe that extra day at one of the early camps will help.

It seems like the itinerary above spends too much time in the Serengeti, but probably there's a reason for that! And I'd love to see the Masai Mara, but perhaps that's not very feasible with our short time frame.
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Aug 5th, 2003, 11:04 AM
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Yes, the roads are bad & yes its worth it to drive, my travelogue of our trip to Kenya last Oct makes reference to them (http://travel.masterpiece-cs.com/), and I'm still glad we drove.

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Aug 5th, 2003, 11:25 AM
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Despite the dusty bumpy roads we experienced in Tanzania we enjoyed the opportunity to see the countryside from the fellows making clay bricks, the young lad hitching up the cattle to pull his water cart, the colorful fields, the changing geology, etc. I still recall entering the thrill of entering the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and seeing recently smashed down vegetation along a game trail just a few hundred yards up the road past the check point. Then the piles of fresh elephant dung really got me going as we realized big game was quite close. So, yes, I would take to the road again. Since driving is on the left side of the road one will experience another "thrill" meeting oncoming traffic. More than once I wanted to swerve from my back seat position in the mini-van. Have agreat trip.
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Aug 5th, 2003, 01:18 PM
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Am I reading this correctly? Are you planning on driving yourselves? - or are you talking about having a driver/guide?

If the latter, is the issue whether you should drive between camps or fly between?

The roads are terrible, there is plenty of ruts and dust, but it's really the best way to get to know the country and people, especially in Kenya.

In Tanzania, the distances are greater and there really aren't as many little towns as we found when in Kenya. As far as the Serengeti - it's just out there, plenty of big savannah with a few roads running thru it.

If you do get as far as the Western Serengeti near the Grumeti River, I would suggest you fly back to Arusha from there. All the distances in Tanzania did appear to be much longer than those in Kenya.

And if your schedule provides anytime to do the Mara, I would greatly suggest you fly as it's a 5-6 hrs drive to/fr Nairobi on terrible roads. If you drive one way, then fly the other.

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Aug 5th, 2003, 01:26 PM
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Thank you so much for the feedback! I can completely appreciate traveling admist "life", as one of my favorite days in Belize was spent on an old school bus bouncing into the jungle. While it's not something I would have wanted to spend more than a day doing (my derriere really hurt!) we'll definitely take all advice into consideration!

TravelMaster, thanks for your trip report -- your special notes are great and since you were there a month before we will be, I hope we are graced with the same great weather.
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Aug 5th, 2003, 01:32 PM
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When we were in Kenya and Tanzania last year, we did a combination of flying and driving. We flew from Nairobi to the Mara and back. Drove to Amboseli - one of the worst roads anywhere in Africa. Were driven across the border into Tanzania. Drove to the Crater and Tarangire, before flying south to Dar for our flight to Selous. We thoroughly enjoyed the driving and on numerous occasions stopped to speak with locals which we would not have been able to do otherwise. Just so you know, the road from Arusha to Tarangire, Lake Manyara and the Crater are some of the best in Tanzania. As for the amount of time in the Serengeti, I think you will be grateful for that many days in such a special place. What accommodations do you have planned for Tanzania? For those of us who have to wait until next year to return, we can live vicariously through your itinerary!
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