Two families on safari /beach adventure - 1st time

Old Nov 21st, 2006, 06:58 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 6
Two families on safari /beach adventure - 1st time

In the final stages of planning a trip and of course now I discover this great site!
If anyone has any advice on this itinerary, would be great to hear - good or bad....

We are two families with 5 children (have traveled together last year to Costa Rica and it worked out great so hoping for a double...). Four are teenagers and one will be six when we travel in late June 07. We are using go2Africa.

-NYC to Nairobi - Stay overnight in the Hilton. The Serena was recommended and looks much nicer but since we are there a total of about 8 hours, seemed a bit of a waste. Anyone have experience at the Nairobi Hilton?
-Fly early AM to Meru. Stay at Elsa's Kopje for 3 nights. Anyone been there with kids? Also, is it possible to take a trip to a local school between game drives does anyone know? I would really like the kids to have this experience.
- Fly back to Nairobi day 5. Spend day in Nairobi - Carnivore for lunch (we have a vegetarian in our group??I talked to my agent and she assured me this was OK but anyone that can weigh in? I think I'm afraid to tell her I am taking her to a place called Carnivore...). Also visiting the Sheldrick elephant orphanage and either Kizuri Beads or Utumari market. Any preferences out there? Giraffe park has also been suggested. We will have about 7 hours from time we land to time back to the airport so anyone who has opinions on high points, please advise?
- Leave that night for Zanzibar - 3 nights at LA Gamma Dell Est resort. We have 5 divers so anyone who has been diving there, please weigh in? Is it worth going to Stone Town one day?
- Leave night of day 8 to fly back to Nairobi and then onward to London and then NY - hope the kids are really tired on those flights!

Any info appreciated on the above - hotels, places, go2Africa, the weather, the animals, advance reading, anything...

Carolyn61 is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2006, 08:12 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Go2Africa has been used with success by many posters here. You could type Go2Africa in the search box for more specifics.

I've eaten a couple of times at the Carnivore and enjoyed my vegetarian food. Can't remember what I had, but it was fine.

If you can fit the Giraffe Center into your time in Nairobi, you'd all enjoy it. Up close to the giraffes, some feeding opportunities.

Weather in Nairobi in June is highs in 70sF and lows in the 50sF. Very little rain.

No beach knowledge.

Have a great family trip.

atravelynn is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2006, 08:19 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,089
The Hilton is fine for an overnight. I've stayed there on many times.

When I stay at Elsa's next month, I'll try to remember to ask about the possibility of school visits.

Sheldricks is definitely a highlight for me. Your kids would probably enjoy the Giraffe Centre as well. Kazuri has lovely handmade beaded jewelry and Utamaduni is good for one stop handicraft shopping although prices tend to be on the high side. There's a nice garden patio restaurant at Utamaduni that makes a good lunch stop if you decide against the Carnivore.

Go2Africa is a reputable South Africa based operator. The only thing I would add is that when I had them price a Kenya safari, they were higher in cost for an identical itinerary compared to several Kenya based operators that I'd contacted.
Patty is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2006, 08:24 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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First, decide on an itinerary then shop it around to several tour operators. We went to Kenya in August. Go2Africa was substantially higher (probably 30%) than the quality competitors. I found African Serendipity (U.S., NYC in fact, based), Southern Cross and Eastern and Southern (both Kenya based) we very close on price. We went with Southern Cross because could get us confirmed reservations at the camps.

Second, (remember I have only gone once and so only know what I know) I would recommend you substitute Samburu for Meru. The animals are plentiful and very different. The villages are great to visit. Can fly from Nairobi.

Next, fly down to the Masai Mara for the ultimate experience. Lots of lions, elephants, and other animals. Would stay there three nights.

Staying at Serena lodges would be best value.

Then fly to Nairobi and off to the beach. We went to Lamu. Have not been to Zanzibar. Hopefully some fellow divers will comment.

In other words, I would extend trip by a couple of days. Don't waste a day in Nairobi.

Following is link to my trip report:

Also, you should check out the Trip Report index:

Good luck!

Kevin from California
stakerk is offline  
Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 04:14 AM
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Posts: 6
Thanks so much for the very helpful replies especially the one about shopping around the itinerary! Since I was ready to purchase this week, hopefully that one can result in a little savings since this trip is pretty pricey for 9 of us.

I think we will stick with the day in Nairobi as we have a few shoppers (teenage and adult) in our group that I think will want that piece. I could do without it since I travel to Africa for work quite a bit but for others it may be the only trip they get to this part of the world.
Any divers out there that can talk to the Zanzibar leg?

Carolyn61 is offline  
Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 10:43 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,309

Hello Carolyn,
3 nights in Meru is a very short safari, especially as it may be the only Africa trip for some in the group. With a big group, and price not being a complete non-issue, Id go on a longer road safari to the Mara and at least one other park, maybe Meru, but Elsas Kopje is expensive. For such a short trip Id skip the diving and spend the 3 Zanzibar nights on safari. For 8 hours (or more) there are perfectly adequate hotels that are significantly less expensive than the Hilton.
Ive been to Kenya 3 times in June and the weather has been comfortable, but a bit cloudy.
Nyamera is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 11:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,546
We ate at Carnivore a few years ago and there was a good vegetarian menu which we used. The restaurant itself is memorable.
Jed is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2006, 06:58 PM
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Thanks again to all and just to let you know I took the advice of several and am shopping around the itinerary. So far some difference between Go2Africa and Eastern and Southern but not a huge difference (like 5%) once we got things to apples to apples. Still waiting on one more quote.

I really like the woman at Go2Africa (Maureen) a lot and hopefully they will be able to get closer on the price.

I did get some negative feedback from an alternative supplier to the west coast of Zanzibar where LA Gemma Dell Est is though it was recommended because of the tides issue on the east coast. Anyone out there who can talk to that issue??

Also, patty there was a positive answer about the visit to the school with the kids so we will see if that pans out!
Carolyn61 is offline  
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