Urgent Help Needed

Old Feb 28th, 2007, 03:24 PM
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Urgent Help Needed

I finally was able to get return seats using my sky miles but I am not sure whether it gives us enough time in Africa. I would love another two or three days in Africa. Unfortunately, they can only hold the seats until tonight (Wed.) at 11pm, so I have to make a quick decision. What do you think I should do? Could we do Rwanda/Mnemba/Kenya in these amount of days? Here is the info:

Delta #80 departing from JFK on 1/3 at 4:55pm arriving at Amsterdam on 1/4 at 7am
KLM #565 departing from Amsterdam on 1/4 at 10:20am arriving at NBO on 1/4 at 8:20pm

KLM #566 departing NBO on 1/14 at 10:45pm arriving at Amsterdam on 1/15
Delta #81 departing Amsterdam on 1/15 and arriving at JFK on 1/15 at 11:28am

Will the trip be too crazy this way?

THanks!
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Old Feb 28th, 2007, 04:10 PM
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Currently there's also availability on KL566 from NBO to AMS on 1/17. None of the AMS-NYC nonstop options are available on 1/18, but you could do something like AF1241 AMS-CDG connecting to AF6 CDG-JFK getting you into JFK at 3:15pm on 1/18. There are probably additional routings available if you're willing to make 2 or more connections on the return. Call and see if they can put you on these flights.
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Old Feb 28th, 2007, 04:15 PM
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P.S. - If you make the change, have them waitlist you for DL81 AMS-JFK on 1/18.
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Old Feb 28th, 2007, 04:54 PM
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Your a genius Patty! But my husband is now going crazy saying that he has to be back on the 16th or 17th.
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Old Feb 28th, 2007, 04:55 PM
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Oh....and I can't find flights that will do that
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Old Feb 28th, 2007, 05:01 PM
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Maybe I can keep the return flights, but get earlier outbound flights.
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Old Feb 28th, 2007, 05:30 PM
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Here's the time frame:
Arrive NBO eve of Jan 4
Depart NBO on eve of Jan 14

4th-1 overnight Nairobi
5th-2 fly to Kigali and drive to PNV
6th-3 1st gorilla trek
7th-4 2nd gorilla trek and back to Kigali
8th-5 Fly Kigali to Nairobi and on to Mara (1)
9th-6 Mara (2)
10th-7 Mara (3)
11th-8 Leave Mara, maybe need transit day and maybe not, meaning you could get to Mnemba today and have 3 nights there.
12th-9 Mnemba 1
13th-10 Mnemba 2
14th-11 Leave in time to get to your 10:45 pm flight

Yes you can do it. Yes it is crazy but if you have the money and this time slot is all that is available, then go. Make the gorillas a priority. Iíve used ff miles to spend only 5 nights in Alaska, flying from Chicago. If a longer time frame is available a little later in the year, then Iíd plan to go at that time rather than on an 11-day trip if you are shooting for 3 destinations.

If you think the above is too much transferring, then cut out the beach part.

4th-1 overnight Nairobi
5th-2 to Kigali and drive to PNV
6th-3 1st gorilla trek
7th-4 2nd gorilla trek and back to Kigali
8th-5 Kigali to Nairobi and probably overnight in Nairobi--see Kennedy, etc.
9th-6 Fly to Meru, Samburu, other?? 1
10th-7 Meru, Samburu, other?? 2
11th-8 To Mara 1
12th-9 Mara 2
13th-10 Mara 3
14th-11 Leave in time to get to your 10:45 pm flight

If I had your time frame of 11 days, I think I would do the gorillas (maybe 3 visits) and the Mara and nothing else. That would not be rushed. Your decision is hours away. Secure the flights, then decide on how much running around from place to place you wish to do.

Good luck.


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Old Feb 28th, 2007, 06:01 PM
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Seriously, I have (and still am) been on the phone with Delta for two hours already. I am taking the flights that I originally had and hopefully better ones will appear and I can pay a change fee. I am now trying to figure out this mile stuff. It is costing 240,000 miles but I only have 190,000. So I am buying the rest and my husband is "buying" some for me. All in all, I think the two business class seats are costing a little more than $2000. I guess it is worth it. But I wish all of those miles got me more for free.
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Old Feb 28th, 2007, 06:02 PM
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THANK YOU EVERYONE. I am just going to reserve these seats and then deal with the actual vacation. Do you definitely think safari over Mnemba????
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 05:49 AM
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Andrea -

For January, summer ib East Africa, when it's hot, ending on the coast is a nice option. However, it will take most of the day to get from the Mara to Mnemba (off the Zanzibar coast), not arriving till a bit before dinner.

Option would be to leave the Mara the day prior on late flight 4pm and overnight in NBO (at House of Waine or Giraffe Manor). Then catch the earliest flight to ZNZ for stay at Mnemba. But do know, the price at Mnemba is high at about $900/person/nt.

You may, instead, want to consider Alfajiri south on Mombasa at Diani Beach. Home away from home for many of the rich and famous. Price is a little more than half that at Mnemba. Can get a flight direct from the Mara to Mombasa and be at Alfajiri for lunch.

Check it out.

 
Old Mar 1st, 2007, 06:15 AM
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I hope some other less bush-obsessed people answer your safari over Mnemba question. You'll get a more balanced answer.

I feel you can do the beach thing closer to home at less cost as well as later in life when gorilla tracking and bouncing around in bumpy vehicles may be far less attractive.
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 07:02 AM
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If it were me, I would spend the time on safari. I live in Manhattan and have a place in eastern Long Island, and the beaches out there are great. So, I rarely travel to spend time on a beach when its so easy to do locally.

I would opt for Lynn's second itinerary that hits Samburu and the Masai Mara instead of spending time in Mnemba.
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 08:58 AM
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Given the limited amount of time, I'd also opt for more safari, but if you really want a beach stay, I like sandi's idea of going to Alfajiri villas since you'd spend less time in transit.
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Old Mar 6th, 2007, 08:18 AM
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Hi. I just read your post and was wondering what you decided. I personally would opt for Mnemba over Samburu. We did not see many animals in Samburu. We saw wonderful animals in the Mara, that made the whole trip worthwhile.

It does take a littlebit of time to get to Mnemba, but the sand there is like no place in the world. We have been to Hawaii, Mexico, Grand Cayman, and are from California but the sand was so soft it was unbeleivable. I used to think that Grand Cayman had the nicest clearest water, but after Mnemba there is no comparison. The sand is like walking in flour. I was amazed when we got to the launch to go to the island, that there were conch shells just laying around the beach. When we actually got to the Mnemba Island, there were shells and coral all over the place. I have never seen anything more than a sanddollar on the beach before this.

Of course my very first choice would be the Gorilla's, followed by the Mara and then Mnemba.
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Old Mar 6th, 2007, 09:50 AM
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HLester3,

I saw your post on the Asia board, but I cannot reply to it. The reply feature has been removed. But I could reply to other Asia posts, so I donít think itís me. Certainly "Whirlwind Itinerary" is not controversial, resulting in a locked thread, but maybe I missed a comment or something that was made within the thread.

Anyway, my remark here is limited to the Wolong Pandas only, having volunteered there in June 2006.

Make that a priority, even if you give up something else. There were comments made that you can see pandas in a zoo somewhere else. That's true, but Wolong Nature Reserve is a huge natural area devoted solely to pandas and unlike zoo exhibits. There are areas for pandas to roam far up the mountainside, where they can roll in the foliage and hide from view. As for romping with baby pandas, five minutes costs about $125. If all the pandas are not feeling well, then the activity is cancelled.

The 3-hour car ride up to Wolong is on winding roads. You may want some motion sickness medication for your children or for you. I literally lost my lunch on the way up. Some Bonine made the return trip nausea-free.

Wolong Hotel in Wolong is top notch and about 15 minutes away by cab. Panda Inn is a convenient 3 minute walk away, but not as nice.

Your kids may not remember various Buddha statues and buildings in China, but they will never forget the pandas. Good luck.

Dr. Andrea,
Even those who are well balanced and not bush-obsessed have given the same advice as me about the beach.
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