Trying to do it on my own - please help

May 6th, 2004, 05:30 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 46
Trying to do it on my own - please help

I would like to travel to masai mara, serengti, zanibar, victoria falls, okavango and cape Town....
how can I travel from one place to other? is there a train? is it too far to drive?
I am planning the trip for next year and have not booked any accomodations...
blemke is offline  
May 6th, 2004, 05:47 PM
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While I admire your ambition to see so many places in a single trip, unless you have 5-6 weeks to spare and a deep pocketbook for your transfers and lodging, I would suggest that you either narrow it down to Eastern Africa (Masai Mara, Serengeti & Zanzibar) or Southern Africa (Okavango Delta and Cape Town).

You would not be wise to go to the Masai Mara and Serengeti if you did not also take advantage of your location by also spending a couple nights at the Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire and possibly another place in Kenya convenient to the Masai Mara.

Likewise, in the Okavango Delta, after you do some research you may find that you need 10+ nights to see what you want to see.

It would help others in guiding you if we knew your budget, timeframe and previous experience in Africa.
Roccco is offline  
May 6th, 2004, 06:19 PM
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You advice is very sound....WE have no experience in Africa and we would allow
3 or 4 weeks for travel....eastern africa appeals to us the most....we usually travel on a moderate budget...
blemke is offline  
May 7th, 2004, 03:54 AM
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Blemke: Rocco is correct in that you cannot do all that is on your list unless you have vast amounts of both time and money. You need to sit down and do a bit of research to find out which areas (East Africa, South Africa, Zim/Zam for Vic Falls or Botswana) holds what you are most interested in. While this is not true in every case, I think you may find East Africa offers more moderate prices. If you do opt for East Africa, I would suggest the following parks/reserves in Kenya and Tanzania - Mara or Seregenti (depending on time of year you travel), Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Amboseli and Samburu. Planning for the trip is part of the fun, so don't get overwhelmed or daunted by the task. There are a lot of travel resources out there and you can do it yourself. Decide what you want to do and then make it happen! Good luck!
SusanLynne is offline  
May 7th, 2004, 04:17 AM
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blenke - very ambitious - but have to agree with both Roccco and SusanLynne, you need the time and money to get it all in, and it's best as a first trip you visit one area, or you'll be in overload on everything.

You don't mention time of year you're considering for travel - this can determine where it's best to go; a moderate priced itinerary can definitely be worked out.

Check out some guidebooks and read thru the posts on the this board about East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and coastal island); Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe; Cape Town in South Africa - best times to travel, pros and cons, competitive airfares, etc.

Once you've focused on a single area and have questions or need direction, we're here to help.
May 7th, 2004, 04:32 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 669
Oh, jeez, Blemke - wouldn't we all? And the only ones I didn't travel to independently were the Serengeti and Okavango. It's perfectly do-able if you have loads of time, but perhaps not by someone who has to ask: "is it too far to drive". I think I'd worry about you.

I don't want to put you off - but have you looked at a map? Have you done any research at all?

alice13 is offline  
May 7th, 2004, 07:20 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Blemke, I just recently finished plans for an East Africa Safari. I also was orginally planning to go to South Africa, but was advised by many people that for children (I'm taking a 9 year old) East Africa would be better. A lot of camps don't allow children under 12. Soo..I looked on many Africa tour/safari websites, including A & K, Tauck, 2Afrika, go2africa, etc. There are many tour operators discussed on this board. I looked at their itineries. In this way I was able to get a good idea of the time needed, places to go, and stay, etc. I compared many and decided on my own where I'd like to go. I still used a tour operator though, as it is a lot to put together, and I have never been to Africa before. I just told the tour operators where I wanted to go, and they gave me quotes. I also posted my itinerary here, and asked for suggestions. Good Luck.
Cronen is offline  
May 7th, 2004, 01:09 PM
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alice13 - Wake up on is a nasty mood today? Not a nice word out of you since you decided to post on Africa/Middle East (whether to blemke or "the most expensive suites". Maybe a troll - haven't seen your postings here before.
May 7th, 2004, 02:11 PM
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Alice 13: I came back to check on responses to blemke's question and was completely taken aback by your curt and rude response. As many of us on this board know, planning a safari (whether it be all over the continent of Africa or just one or two countries) can be overwhelming and it is, in fact, very easy for people to forget just how big the continent is. Africa-philes on this board regularly disagree about this, that and the other, but we try to treat each other with respect and civility. You, I am afraid, have not.

Blemke: Do not be put off by Alice13. There are many people on this board who have been exactly where you are right now and can help you through the process. Pay heed to Cronen's gentle advice. Rocco has not been to East Africa, but has done a phenomenal amount of research for a trip he was going to take and I am sure will offer input. He has been to South Africa and Zambia. Sandi, Kavey (when she returns from treking around Africa), my dear Liz, thit_cho, safarinut, King, and others will, I am confident, offer input and whatever other assistance they can. We can do this with or without Alice13's input.
SusanLynne is offline  
May 7th, 2004, 05:10 PM
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Thanks for all the kind support...this is why this is my favourite travel board....I have travel to many places in the world...I spend months gathering the information and reading as many posts as possible and travel brochures....this time I under estimated the distances .....I have narrowed it down to masai mara,zanzibar and I would like to take a ballon ride over the Serengti
what the suggestions do you have for traveling between these places? can we do it on our own or is it only possible with a tour?
blemke is offline  
May 7th, 2004, 05:50 PM
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Zanzibar is very easy to do on your own, perhaps the Stone town and then a couple of days on the beach...there's everything from cheap to expensive so pick your budget. It's definately interesting to take a tour of a spice plantation and the seafood is wonderful everywhere.

While you can fly from Dar it's also easy (and cheaper) to take the catarmaran which goes regularly and is reliable.

Hope this helps.
welltraveledbrit is offline  
May 7th, 2004, 06:37 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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Hi - I have been in E. Africa numerous times, and am right now planning a months' trip to Uganda and Tanzania. You could fly into Nairobi and pick up a safari there. There are numerous companies along the streets or at hotels - someone will find you and ask if you want to go on safari. I also have a list of some of the companies that was printed in Fodors Budget Travel several years ago. Would be glad to send it to you if you are interested. You almost have to do the trip to Masai Mara with a company, unless you want to rent a jeep, cooking equipment, tent, etc. And then you won't know where to find the animals. I cannot see you doing it without a guide. But you don't have to do a tour from the states. A lot you can do on your own. I did several camping safaris in Kenya - they are the cheapest, and you just go with other people who have also signed up for them. The companies provide the tents, which you set up yourself. A cook usually comes along to cook meals over the campfire.
There is a bus that travels from Nairobi to Arusha. I've always taken the bus from Arusha to Nairobi, so I'm not sure where to get it in Nairobi. I could find out if you like. It is very cheap - I think it takes only four or five hours, as I recall. Once in Arusha, you can pick up a safari to the Serengeti. There are numerous companies there, and you can just walk into their offices and join a group of other folks for a safari. I know one company there that I've used three times - Fortes Safaris. But they do only "private" safaris - they are fairly cheap (I think about $200 or less a day for car and driver, divided by the number of people going.)You can stay in hotels (they are all expensive in the Serengeti - like over $100) or camp. Camping is $30 a night; park entrance fees are $30 a day. You can eat at the hotels at night - several years ago a buffet dinner cost $15. I can give you an e-mail address for Fortes Safaris if you are interested. They do all-day game drives, which is nice. The Serengeti is west of Arusha, so after going there, you would go back to Arusha. (You might want to stop for a night at the Ngorongoro Crater, which is crowded but wonderful.)
From Arusha you can catch a bus to Dar - it's' about 7 hours and costs $20. Once in Dar, you can just take a boat over to Zanzibar on your own - no guide needed. I'm told there are people waiting at the dock to offer places to stay - bunglows on the beach. Just pick one and see if you like it. Some places will cook you lobster on the beach. REturn to Dar by boat, and then you could fly home from Dar if you get a split ticket.
Another option would be to take a bus or fly from Nairobi to Dar, go to Zanibar, take the bus to Arusha, and then see the Serengeti and return to Arusha for your flight home. (The airport in Arusha is Kilimanjaro.)
I have not been to Zanzibar, but will be taking the Arusha bus to Dar and then on to Zanzibar in July. Also, there is a new game reserve that opened near Dar - it's on the ocean, and supposedly beautiful. (No animal predators, I was told, but lots of antelope, etc.) I believe it might be pricey, but - again - I can give you information on that,too.
Hope that helps. You can e-mail me at [email protected] if you have questions - sometimes I forget to check the Fodors site for question.
shelbyhowland is offline  
May 7th, 2004, 06:41 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6
Forgot to mention that I could give you information on CapeTown, Okavango. I have been to S. AFrica three times, and Botswana once. It is very easy to drive yourself in S. AFrica. We took three weeks to drive from CapeTown to Jo'Burg, and it was beautiful. I would not recommend Kruger Park - the Okavango is better. You can fly to Cape Town, rent a car, and drive around that area. Then fly to Jo'Burg. You can pick up safaris into the Okavango from there. We used a company called Drifters - camping, helping with cooking and chores, etc. I think it was something like $1200 for 16 days, which included everything. (This was about 5 years ago.) You also get to see Victoria Falls, and Chobe, a wonderful game reserve in North Botswana. Can give you all that information if you're interested.
Lynda [email protected]
shelbyhowland is offline  
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