Trip to East Africa for the first time

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Jan 3rd, 2006, 05:45 PM
  #1
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Trip to East Africa for the first time

Hi there, we need some help deciding our first Safari trip to Africa.We are undecided between East Africa or Bostwana and Zimbabwe.There are 4 of us(two married couples)and everyone is 30.Flying out of SFO.Would you recommend doing a private safari or group, we would like to keep our budget with air about $5Kpp.Potentially we would be traveling anywhere from the end of June to the end of August and are looking to go from 15 to 20 days.We are looking for comfortable camping, meals included,great wildlife experience,experienced local guides.One quote we recieved from Overseas Aventure Travel was 19 days at 6800 pp including airfare and meals. This would be at the top of our budget.Would love to know any ideas for fist time safari's.Can you recommend any companies,best time to go, should we book flight and safari with same company or separate? need a lot of help.Jessica
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Jan 3rd, 2006, 06:11 PM
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If you are considering Botswana, you might check out http://www.gametrailsbotswana.com/index.htm. I went on a 17 night mobile tented safari with them in October, 2005. It was an amazing trip and I would definitely recommend it. An example of their pricing is 11 night Desert & Delta Explorer package is $2574 pp, all inclusive. Here is a link to my report if you are interested http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...t=0&searchText


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Jan 3rd, 2006, 06:39 PM
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Jessica,

That's a long stretch of time for safari only, and that could send your prices up up up.

For our first trip, we spent under 5k each for a 9 day Tanzanian safari and 5 days in Zanzibar. The 5k included ALL costs: airfare, vaccinations, tips (and that's one area I will not skimp on), overnight in Nairobi, safari clothes, etc.

Prices in Tanzania have gone up since then, but you may want to consider a beach extension if only because it's relatively cheaper than being on safari. We did a mix of budget camping and budget lodges, and I think the safari portion averaged out at $168 pppn. A good deal--but I'm pretty easygoing about luxury levels, and my friend and I just absolutely fell in love with East Africa from the moment we stepped off the plane in Nairobi. No kidding, it's the mushy truth!

For that trip we used Easy Travel and Tours in Arusha, and we were very satisfied with their services.

For our upcoming trip, also TZ Northern Circuit, we are using Africa Travel Resource, http://www.africatravelresource.com. This is a shorter and more expensive trip, primarily because we wanted to stay at a few more "exclusive" places. Nine nights on safari, three nights in Arusha, one flight from the Serengeti back to Arusha. I think the total this time will be 6k pp, including international air.

And of course it would be easy to go much, much higher. Frankly, I'm not really that great at budgeting, and I know I suck at getting air deals.

I think Kenya is a bit less expensive than Tanzania. Patty and her husband Mark just took a unique and wonderful trip to Kenya and added a few days' riding safari in Tanzania. Nyamera took a trip to Kenya this past summer, and I'm pretty sure she didn't spend a fortune. She also had a few adventures along the way.

alwaysafrica took a long and wonderful trip to Tanzania that was also unique and involved some trekking, which she and her husband loved. Again, I'll see if I can find her trip report.

In terms of Southern Africa, I understand Botswana is pretty spendy, although one gentleman took a relatively good-value private camping trip with his son this past summer. I'll see if I can find his trip report.

People on this board consistently sing the praises of Zambia, but I'm not sure how it works out in terms of $$.

What kind of wildlife, culture, scenery, etc., are you interested in? If you're thinking of the classic Africa of "Out of Africa," then the Maasai Mara in Kenya and/or the Serengeti in Tanzania are IT. Do you want to trek, get some cultural activities in as well?

This board is a treasure, and although it slants a little toward the very-expensive end of the spectrum, you will have no problem devising an itinerary that is right for you.

Let's see what others suggest, and I will try to find the East Africa trip report thread that poster Lynda has started.



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Jan 3rd, 2006, 06:44 PM
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Here is Lynda's East Africa trip report index; it should prove useful:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34725679

(and, yes, how could I forget sundowner's trip?)
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Jan 3rd, 2006, 07:46 PM
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And here is the link to Nyamera's trip to Kenya this past July.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34652401
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Jan 3rd, 2006, 09:43 PM
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thanks for your help Leely, I really appreciate it.
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Jan 4th, 2006, 04:28 AM
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Hi there, I go to east africa often and have been happy with sunny safaris. They do budget as well as lodge safaris at a very reasonable price, their website is www.sunnysafaris.com, good luck
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Jan 4th, 2006, 07:12 AM
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You might make the budget go a bit further if you book directly with company... for examble, Eastern and Southern... and got you flights from company like LastMinute.com (is there US equivalent?)

Jessica, if you want to email me direct I can put you in touch with some people in Kenya but don't like to blatent advertise people on these pages.

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