Trip to Kenya this summer


Feb 27th, 2012, 08:20 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2011
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Trip to Kenya this summer

Hi Everyone;

I had such great advice and help last year on my first europe trip so I thought I would try another post.
I will start with some basic prelimiary questions and some background info and see what advice I get!
My boyfriend is a medical student and he is going to be volunteering at a hospital in Kenya for the month of June. I am planning to meet up with him in the middle of june in Mombasa. After this, we want to do some travelling around and I definitely want to go on a safari, and he really wants to go to kilimanjaro. We are both students so obviously we cant go on a luxury safari or anyhing, but we will have a reasonable budget.
Here are some questions:
1) Where is the best place to go on a safari?
2) How many days should we spend on a safari?
3) should this be done though a tour company who organizes travel, hotels etc. and if so what is a good one to use (given we are first timers)?
4) What is a reasonable cost for some sort of tour or what could I budget for a safari? I understand it will vary depending on the duration, but ideally if someone could tell me the number of days that we should spend, and a reasonable cost for that many days.
5) It appears that most safaris leave from Nairobi (Masai Mara area) and we will be in Mombasa - anywhere that I can book a cheap flight to Nairobi?
6) As far as visiting Kilimanjaro is concerned, again should we go on a tour or get there ourselves, or could this be combined with some sort of safari?
Any help would be soo much appreciated!!
Thanks guys!
tlayton35 is offline  
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Feb 27th, 2012, 09:45 AM
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Where is the hospital at which your boyfriend is volunteering? Mombasa? Nairobi? Elsewhere? If you fly to Kenya, I assume you'll land at NBO (airport in Nairobi), then will have to make your way to Mombasa. I think Fly 540 has reasonably-priced flights between those locations. From Mombasa, you might consider a safari to Tsavo and/or Amboseli as they are within driving distance from the Coast. Does your boyfriend want to climb Kili or just see it? If the former, you'll have to travel to Tanzania and climbs are expensive. If he just wants to see it, Amboseli is probably your best bet. Determine what you can spend for your safari and how many days you have, then we can better answer your questions and make suggestions.
ShayTay is offline  
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Feb 27th, 2012, 10:01 AM
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Does your BF want to 'see' Kili? or 'climb' Kili?

If only to 'see' the best place is when at Kenya's Amboseli Reserve. So no need to leave the country and pay for another Visa and need a Yellow Fever inoculation to enter Tanzania. Even if in Tanzania, you can't see the mountain when right there as it's too big... you've got to be some distance away where a view is possible.

For a 'climb' you'd need minimum 7/days with a cost of about $1500/person minimum.

How many totay days will you have for your holiday?

Good thing about June in Kenya is that most places are still at 'mid' season rates, where if in Tanzania, it's 'peak' season with prices to match.

From Mombasa, you can take the overnight train to Nairobi, believe operates alternate days... cheapest at about $75, 12/hrs. Usually departing 7pm, arriving 7am, if on time. Otherwise, you can fly from MOM to NBO, figure about $150/pp.

However, are you flying direct to Mombasa, or arriving at Nairobi and then to Mombasa? Personally, if BF is in NBO, I'd do safari first and then the R&R at Mombasa after bumping around the roads during safari. Just a thought.

How many days for safari? Can be short 5-6/days or 10/days... depends on how far the budget goes, where you visit, whether driving or flying between areas.

A short itinerary can be, assuming departing from MOM... contact Southern Cross Safaris, located in MOM where they can depart from here
Day 1 - from MOM, drive to Tsavo E - o/n
Day 2 - Tsavo E to Tsavo W - o/n
(note, you can do 2/nts at either one of these* to have total 3/nts, to avoid 1/nighters... ask the outfitter mentioned).
*Tsavo is the largest park in Kenya, why the E & W
-- from Tsavo W, you can almost definitely get 'views' of Kili
Day 4 - Drive to Nairobi; sightseeing to visit Karen Blixen House, Giraffe Center, other** - o/n
Day 5 - Drive to Masai Mara - o/n
Days 6 & 7 - Masai Mara - o/n
Day 8 - Drive to NBO...
**if you adopt a baby ellee from the Sheldrick Orphanage, $50/annual fee, you can arrange to visit your chubby at 5pm

or if you fly from MOM to NBO (contact Wildtrek or Eastern or Southern Safaris)
Day 1 - Drive to Amboseli - o/n
Day 2 - Amboseli - o/n
Day 3 - Drive to NBO; sightseeing - o/n
Day 4 - Drive to Masai Mara - o/n
Days 5 & 6 - Masai Mara - o/n
Day 7 - Drive to NBO....

Hope this provides some idea; let's see what others have to say.
sandi is offline  
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Feb 27th, 2012, 10:21 AM
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Thanks so much for your help!!! I will definitely consider this...
just for clarification though...
My BF will be in Mombasa for the last 2 weeks of june volunteering so there wont be any opportunity to do a safari then. I will meet him in Mombasa and we would start our "vacation" portion from Mombasa at the end of june (lets say June 30 or July 1 for clarity).The safari trip would start at that time. We have lots of flexibility in the amount of time we can travel for. I will pick the amount of time depending on budget as well as what is necessary to see a fair amount and feel like it was worth the trip half way across the world.
Also Sandi, how much can I budget for the two trip options you mentioned? It sort of looks like your first option would work the best since we are leaving from Mombasa anyways, and that way we could "see" kili. I am definitely not looking to climb it but maybe he is and we will have to have a discussion regarding this.
Thanks so much again! Also, where should I look to do some more interenet research on the trip im looking to go on?
tlayton35 is offline  
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Feb 27th, 2012, 01:56 PM
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If departing from MOM, then contact Southern Cross and see what they can suggest, as well type of accommodations and prices.

Know that while prices in Kenya are at mid-season rates, those in Tanzania are already at peak-season during June. And as July 1, both countries are at peak-season rates. Prices will vary depending on where you visit, type of accomm (lodges, tent camps or camping), your budget. There is NO 'right' price for everyone.

Remember, if you do go into Tanzania, you'll require another Visa and a Yellow Fever inoculation for entry from Kenya.

Oh, if he climbs... what are you going to do? For 7/days?

You can search all over the internet, but don't be surprised if you're not more confused after doing so.

What you should do though is pick-up a guidebook on Kenya and/or Tanzania, where you'll get info, including places to visit, various accomm., idea of prices, history/culture, health needs, etc.... lots of stuff.

Good luck.
sandi is offline  
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Feb 27th, 2012, 03:35 PM
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I have a friend who recently took the train between Nairobi and Mombasa and definitely did NOT recommend it! I just ran a sample one-way itinerary in June on Fly540's website and the fare is $69, with 5 flights daily.
ShayTay is offline  
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Feb 28th, 2012, 07:56 AM
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Thanks for the info. I'm not really a fan of night trains to I think I'll pass on that.
We were talking last night about seeing the wildebeests crossing the Mara river. If we are doing this safari in the first week of July would we be able to see that?
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Feb 28th, 2012, 11:13 AM
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"We were talking last night about seeing the wildebeests crossing the Mara river. If we are doing this safari in the first week of July would we be able to see that?"

These last few years the wildes have been crossing as early as late June. I had someone who spend lots of time in the Mara say historically the first crossing always seemed to coincide with The Fourth of July. But you never know. If seeing a crossing is a goal, plan to spend all day at the river for more than one day.

Have you clarifed yet if your husband is viewing or climbing Kili?
atravelynn is offline  
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Feb 29th, 2012, 01:01 PM
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He wont be climbing. I dont think we want to devote that much time and energy to that.
Really excited to hear about the wildebeests! I am hoping we can catch it.
Can anyone reccommend any other tour operators? I got quotes from Southern Cross and it was around $2000 each which is a bit more than we can afford. I would really like to keep it less than that...
tlayton35 is offline  
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Feb 29th, 2012, 01:26 PM
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$2000 doesn't sound like much for a safari. How many days is that for? Is all your travel via roads or does it include internal flights?
ShayTay is offline  
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Mar 2nd, 2012, 01:59 AM
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TLayton, How many days do you want to spend on safari? Are you advising companies when getting your estimates? Are you enquiring for just Masai Mara? it will be eaier for them if you can specify to them the number of days you have and the total budget you have.

Also, sounds like you are flying in to Mombasa, then out shortly after. Do you want to spend a couple days there and on the coast nearby? VERY beautiful, if i recall right--from 40 yrs ago!
Check the Kenya forum on tripadvisor for more ideas, including recs for tour companies.

See if the company is listed on KATO.
There are loads of local ones and it's hard to know where to begin . Having been through the process a few months ago, i sympathize!

I am working with Eunice Koome of Designer Safaris out of Nairobi, prices and flexibility and communication have been great.
Another local person recently and highly recommended on TA is Zippy at Australken These are just two of many that are well-recommended. I foudn that the prices I was quoted varied among travel agencies, and some agencies never even replied to emails!

Sandi, thanks for the great idea about adopting a baby elephant!!!!!
CaliNurse is offline  
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Mar 2nd, 2012, 12:05 PM
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I 2nd Shaytay - $2K, for how many days? where visiting? means of transport? accommodations where?

Why not post what is being offered, leaving from whre and concluding where?
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