Tanzanian Visa

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Apr 5th, 2005, 07:31 PM
  #1
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Tanzanian Visa

We will be crossing the Tanzanian border into the Serengeti from the Masai Mara. Therefore we will need our Tanzanian visas ahead of time. Is it possible to get a Tanzanian visa in NBO (stupid question)? Has anyone used the agencies in DC to get a visa before leaving the States? Should I not be worried about sending my passport through the mail?
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Apr 6th, 2005, 04:02 AM
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I recently received my Tanzanian visa back from the Embassy in DC. Shipped it 2 day UPS and received it back (via UPS 2 day) in less than a week.
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Apr 6th, 2005, 04:12 AM
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sandi
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No problem sending your passport to each of these Embassy offices in Washington, DC. It's a good idea for peace of mind and being able to track, to mail via Fedex with a return postage paid Fedex return envelope.

You can still get your Kenya visa upon arrival in NBO, but since your plans are to cross at a non-secure point between the Mara/Serengeti, you should have the Tanzania visa ahead of time.

The Embassies are good at turning the visas around within a few days... but leave yourself sufficient time anyway.

 
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Apr 6th, 2005, 04:28 AM
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Are you sure you can cross into the Serengeti from the Mara. Last I heard the the Sand river crossing was closed on the Mara side.
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Apr 6th, 2005, 05:49 AM
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I think the plan is to cross at Isebania, not directly between the Mara and Serengeti. vacationbennett, can you clarify?
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Apr 6th, 2005, 01:53 PM
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Isebania is an appropriate crossing, but I believe vacationbennett mentioned another spot in an earlier post. I know one tour operator is trying to get a legal transfer point between the Mara/Serengeti, but while this makes sense (and there once was a legal crossing)... this is Africa. Territorial issues arise. And if at this other spot, and as I understand it presently... it's in the middle of nowhere, without a legal border post. Might even be in the vicinity of Loliondo where last we heard there's steel flying around!
 
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Apr 6th, 2005, 02:40 PM
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If there is indeed (or will be in the near future) a legal transfer point directly between the Mara and Serengeti, I would be very interested to hear about it. The email reply that I received just this week from my Kenyan tour operator said there was not.

sandi,
Do you know which operator is trying to get this done? Anyone know why the border was closed in the first place (I believe it was in the late 70's?). Would be interesting to find out the reason.
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Apr 6th, 2005, 02:46 PM
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The crossing at the mara was closed due to a tourist being killed by her guide or a game scout if I remember correctly. The Tanz side still sits there and is occupied quite willing to let you checkout or checkin into no mans land.
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Apr 6th, 2005, 04:30 PM
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My outfitter states that I will be crossing at the "Sirari Border". Not sure exactly where this is - anyone know?
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Apr 6th, 2005, 06:01 PM
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I've seen a few itineraries with "Isebania/Sirari" listed as the border crossing so perhaps the two are the same.
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Apr 6th, 2005, 07:04 PM
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Its quite easy to get the visa at Nairobi. Problem is they operate on African time. Best experience I've had is expediting by paying a little more to get in a couple hours. Otherwise expect 1-2 days depending....Need passport photos and of course to fill out the forms. Takes a few minutes. I emphasize to not get snotty with the girl, be congenial and it will be painless. They have specific hours so lunch is not an option.
Also the legal crossing-Isebania-from the mara to the Serengeti is and all day affair.
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Apr 7th, 2005, 04:17 AM
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Patty -

It's the Isebania border that will be used for the crossing. Some months back there was a promotioal item on the Frommers Newsletter website that 2Afika* was planning a special itinerary with a direct crossing from the Mara/Serengeti... something unique and not normally done... getting special permission - well, after you asked the question, I found the particular itinerary on the 2Afrika website - "it's Isebania" - nothing new about that.

And as luangwablonds mentioned, it's a long long drive - from the Mara to Isebania it's easily 3 hrs, then onto Specks bay (at Lake Victoria, and they're not stopping here) another 3-4 hrs, and finally into the Serengeti another 3+ hrs. That's a full day traveling, from sunrise to sundown.

Whether going from the Mara to Serengeti or the reverse, if using the most often used crossing at Namanga and not flying, requires an overnight in NBO or Arusha... so this is an alternative. To each their own!

I would suggest our traveler (vacationbennett) obtain his Tanzania visa before leaving the States, for if this is the trip he is taking, he won't have time upon arrival in NBO to do so... they head out immediately upon arrival to Mountain Lodge at Mt. Kenya.

*the owner of 2Afrika, Ken Heiber is doing two Special Itineraries with him as host - one over Memorial Day, the other in September - maximum 60 people each itinerary - using Sopa and Serena properties and driving throughout, except for getting to/fr Zanzibar.
 
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Apr 7th, 2005, 12:18 PM
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sandi,
I remember hearing about those 2Afrika trips too, advertised as 'safari without borders'. If they actually cross at Isebania, then their description is rather misleading.

Lately I've seen more and more US based operators offering this crossing. Just got a catalog from Wildlife Safari a few weeks ago and they have a similar trip. All of these operators have their guests travel directly from a Serena/Sopa lodge on one side to another Serena/Sopa lodge on the other side without overnighting at Speke Bay. I wonder if any of their guests realize what a long day they're in for!

Looks like vacationbennett is staying at Kirawira the first night so that should shave a couple of hours off the drive

vacationbennett,
Please post a report when you return. Not many here have crossed on the western side so it would be very interesting to hear more first hand accounts. Thanks!
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Apr 7th, 2005, 12:31 PM
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If push comes to shove. Many people let the tour company handle it on arrival. They bring forms, have them filled out, p/u photos/cash/passports and send you on your way. When you pass through Nairobi to Mara or Arusha, give you your passport with visa.
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Apr 7th, 2005, 01:34 PM
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Wow, it sounds like I am in for a long day. I was told that the drive would be 8-9 hours. Hopefully the scenery will be worthwhile.

I will be sure to give a trip report when returning. Thanks for the help.
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Apr 8th, 2005, 06:17 AM
  #16
sandi
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Patty -

Maybe I missed it, (checked both the May and Sept itineraries) but in the Serengeti 2Afrika seems to be staying at the Sopa, not Kirawira. And so much for the "without borders" reference - not so.

I can see where some tour operators are choosing to use the Isebania crossing... it keeps their prices down. If flying from the Mara to Tanzania via NBO, then Arusha/Kili, doing the northern circuit and ending in the Central Serengeti - then driving back (very long if even in 1-day) or flying - adds $$$... about $500 worth.

It's a trade-off - your money or your butt! On our very first safari we did the drive from Lk. Nakuru to the Mara - 5-hrs - though the scenery was lovely and we had no breakdowns, boy was I glad we had arranged to fly back to NBO when our time in the Mara was done.

At least there are choices for visitors.
 
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Apr 8th, 2005, 08:16 AM
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sandi,
I was referring to vacationbennett's itinerary (posted on another thread and booked through Good Earth, I think) having an overnight at Kirawira, not the 2Afrika ones.

As for how it affects pricing, in the brief discussion that I had with my tour operator about this, it seems that their opinion is it would cost us MORE to cross at Isebania (paying for two drivers/vehicles each way for the drop off/pick) than for us to return to Nairobi and fly to JRO. I can see how there might be some savings with larger groups as that driver/vehicle cost can be spread amongst many passengers versus the air cost which is fixed regardless of the number of passengers.
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Apr 8th, 2005, 11:02 AM
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Patty - I didn't refer back to vacationbennett's earlier itinerary, once the thread changes to "crossing points." Definitely Kirawira is closer then the Sopa (by about 2-hrs).

It's good that we all have valuable input for posters (and they for us) that provide for questions to ask, do comparisons and figure what works best - timewise and moneywise.

 
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