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We've decided on Tanzania/Kenya? but now need some itinerary help

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Jan 29th, 2006, 12:53 AM
  #1
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We've decided on Tanzania/Kenya? but now need some itinerary help

Thanks all for the suggestions re:choice of location...now we need some more help. First we'll be travelling Feb/ Mar next year. We want to do mainly a flying safari and we've decided on a few things. Thinking about using mainly CC lodging with the following:

Day 1 Fly from Nairobi to Kili/Arusha

Day 2 Lake Manyara to the Lake Manyara Tree Lodge for 2 nights

Day 4 transfer by road to Ngorongoro Crater Lodge for 2 nights

Day 6 fly to Grumeti to Grumeti River camp in the Serengeti for 3 nights

Day 9 fly back to Arusha/Kili connect to Nairobi then on to Masai Mara to Bateleur for 3 nights

Day 12 back to Nairobi

Ok so my questions are as follows...1st given that we're looking at mainly CC lodges is there any reason to use a tour wholesaler as opposed to booking directly through CC(which offers discounts the more of their properties you use). I priced the itinerary out directly and compared with the nearly identical itinerary using the same properties on their East Africa in Style offered by A and K (they do add Samburu) and its about $8000US more expensive for the 2 of us (which really amazed me , so much so that I kept checking the prices over and over, and thats a group price). So what would we get from a tour operator that we wouldnt get on our own? I understand that CC has 2 game drives a day and I would imagine that you could pay for a private 1 or 2 if you desired that (although I havent looked into that option yet), and they do have the option for $600 a day more to have your own guide to travel with you , but perhaps im missing the point on that too?
Secondly if Grumeti seems to be on the western part of the Serengeti...would we be better of for that part of the itinerary to book more around the middle of the Serengeti at that time of the year to see more wildlife? Would Serena Lodge be a good choice(realize its not top end but I cant seem to find others in that area?
Thirdly, will we see much of the Masai culture by going to Bateleur in the Mara? I realize that we're adding a bit of extra travel but we thought culturally it might be interesting to get up to that park since they seem to have village visits etc. Or is it so tourist oriented that its not worth it(sort of like the non authentic Hawaiian luas ;0)...If we left out the mara would we then split our extra time in the Serengeti between Grumeti and mid serengeti or ....???
Fourthly, if CC makes our arrangements do they meet us right in Nairobi to transer us to our hotel and back to the airport to transfer to Arusha? If not is there some type of company that we can deal with to arrange this or are we generally safe enough going to and from the Nairobi airport tohotel on our own in a taxi? (must admit Im a tad nervous by some of the reports Ive read about Nairobi....well perhaps more than a tad
Fifthly, what air carriers do we use from Nairobi to Arusha/Kili? Do the fly from the main airport or Wilson? Are there private charters if we wanted to get out of Nairobi same day as our arrival(presuming we get to Nairobi during the day which I expect since we'll likely be connecting in from Dubai, which for this year would be landing about 1:00 pm)...
Im sure I'll have 1000 or so other questions but any help we can get to these questions so far would be of great assistance
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Jan 29th, 2006, 04:00 AM
  #2
sandi
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Reputable outfitters can book CCA properties. Manyara, Tree Lodge is fine, as is Crater Lodge at the Ngorongoro Crater. Grumeti River is the wrong choice for Feb/Mar travel. You should consider some of the camps in the Southeast area - Kusini for one, a permanent tent camp; or Olakira a seasonal camp for either for 3-days; late on 3rd day here, drive to the Central Serengeti for afternoon game drive and o/n at the Serena Lodge. If interested, you can prearrange for a hot air balloon ride next very early morning. After at about 10am, fly to Arusha.

The flight from Arusha departs 1:45pm to Wilson in NBO, from where you can connect to the 3pm flight to the Mara for your stay at Bateleur.

You should not have to arrange anything for yourself. Your outfitter will arrange your pick-up on arrival in NBO, transfer to your hotel, the o/n hotel (there is a wide choice); some afternoon activity if you fell up for this after your long flights). Then transfer next morning to airport for your scheduled flight* to JRO and commencing your Tanzania portion of safari.

*No need for Charter flights on your itinerary.

At JRO you will be met and commence your safari.

CCA will always offer their properties first until a client requests some other. This is especially so for Feb/Mar when CCA doesn't have anything in the Southeast or Central Serengeti.

Masai Manyatta visits or others can be touristy, sometimes not... just indicate what you wish, and it can be arranged to your liking.

Hope this helps.

 
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Jan 29th, 2006, 04:04 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
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I am sure others will have much better and more specific advice but I can help you a little bit.

If you are flying between places I see no need to use an operator. Having your own vehicle for game drives is certainly a very good thing but as you said you can probably arrange this with the lodges. Better be clear about how you are transferring by road in advance since it may not be easy.

Someone will tell you the score with CC I am sure but you can certainly prebook an airport pick up - cost is $25 to $40 per vehicle(finding a taxi when you just arrived could feel a bit hairy if you are of a nervous disposition, although it is seemed okay to me). Your hotel in Nairobi can also probably arrange a pickup and will certainly get you a taxi to the airport.It's not something to worry about....really.

I'm not sure how "cultural" an experience a village visit is. We enjoyed ours but others have had very demoralising experiences since they have been milked like cows. I am sure there are places to stay where you can have a lot more interaction with the Masaai - others will advice you if you ask specifically for advice about that. I'm afraid the way you have worded your question the answer will be a resounding "no".
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Jan 29th, 2006, 05:02 AM
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The only thing I would add is that you don't have to go to Kenya to see Maasai culture -- you can visit Maasai villages in Tanzania as well. We did one near Ngorongoro and thought it was fascinating and well worth the $50 that it cost. You can spend as much time or as little as you like, and ask questions, etc.
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Jan 29th, 2006, 07:27 AM
  #5
bat
 
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luckybee:
Sandi has given you excellent advice. You might consider her company Africa Serendipity.

Have you seen eben's website to look at accommodations? www.go-safari.com

You can see what the Olakira/Sayari tents look like. They seem more luxurious than Nomad's You can also see Kusini.
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Jan 29th, 2006, 09:09 AM
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Like Lisa, we enjoyed our visit, actually two visits, to native villages.

One was in Amboseli NP in Kenya. A favorite photo of mine is the four of us standing with a group of Maasai in front of their cow dung huts with Mt. Kilimanjaro in the background. These Maasai were shepherds and raised cattle and goats.

The other village, N'Gerisi (spelling?) is near Arusha, Tanzania. and was very interesting while being very different. This was primarily an agricultural community not far from Mt Meru. My son Chris got to play soccer with some of the village children with their soccer ball made out of rolled-up plastic bags.

Both villages were well worth the time and expense of visiting.
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Jan 29th, 2006, 09:28 AM
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Air Kenya flies from Wilson to Kilimanjaro. Precision Air flies from NBO to Kilimanjaro. If your flight arrives NBO at 1:00pm, I believe your only same day scheduled flight option is the evening Precision Air flight and you'd spend your first night in Arusha. Or you could spend your first night in Nairobi and take Precision Air the following morning and proceed directly to Manyara.
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Jan 29th, 2006, 11:01 AM
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This is great...keep the responses coming I feel like a sponge soaking up all this info Sandi, you said I shouldnt have to book this stuff myself, and quite frankly although we usually book everything on our own, this is one trip where I feel having someone to do it for me might be of assistance, but I'll be darned if im prepared to pay as much of a premium for it as A and K seemed to want. Are you saying that a reputable tour operator would be comparable pricewise to booking on my own?
You mentioned the Kusini camp etc. then tranfer to Serena..I take it there is some benefit to splitting the 3 days in Serengeti? If not we'd prefer to stay put in one location(dh has looked at my draft itinerary and he is already getting tired....lol).Keep in mind our usual vacation, is tracking the best snorkelling venues on a relaxing beach somewhere
Thanks for the web listings....Im sure they'll help
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Jan 29th, 2006, 01:17 PM
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Any reputable tour operator will do better than A&K or Micato when it comes to prices.

While some choose to book things on their own, with few exceptions, a tour operator will get better prices than the rack rate you see listed on some websites. They'll arrange all the meet and greets, transfers to/from airport/airstrips; city hotels; the vehicle/guides. However, if doing a fly-in/out safari you will have the services of the lodge/camp vehicle and a shared seat with other guests. You may choose to have your own vehicle/guide, but this will come at a premium... at Bateleur it's about $400/day. Pleeeeeease! Don't think so. Besides, at these small camps it's rare that you'll be with more than 2 other people.

Agree with Jack, cultural visits can be had in both countries - the Masai live in both and then there are the local tribes in Tanzania. Il N'gresi is interesting and different. Or, if traveling during school sessions you can ask to visit a school. Lots of options, you just have to inquire.
 
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Jan 29th, 2006, 01:44 PM
  #10
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Ok reading this board and these repsonses are changing my perspective a bit. Would there be anything wrong with leaving out Manyara and simply doing 3 days at Ngornogo, 3 in the Serengeti, and 3 in the Mara....that way it will be a little less whirlwind and more our speed of r and r?
Sandi, could you give me your co. email address so i can write to you directly and obtain a quote once we get our flights(we're using points so we have to book exactly 1 year in advance or we'll be sol and have to wait a further year) Are you allowed to give emails on this board? If not pls give me your web address....thanks
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Jan 29th, 2006, 01:55 PM
  #11
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Luckybee -

Fodor's has a "no advertising or solicitations" policy. So, I don't give out my email address, but if you search around the board you'll find it or the company (serendipity) name... unless someone out there would like to provide the information for you.
 
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Jan 29th, 2006, 02:13 PM
  #13
 
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I booked my Zanzibar trip with Sandi (Africa Serendipity) and although I have not yet traveled, I have been very pleased with the tremendous level of service.

www.africaserendipity.com

Sandi also quoted me on my Tanzanian safari portion, but although her pricing was a little better I went with another company there, as I wanted Nomad camps in Serengeti. However, there are very good alternatives to Nomad, including Kusini (a Sanctuary Lodges camp) and others that Sandi would be able to recommend.

I do think that you should probably spend more time in the Serengeti and perhaps skip the Masai Mara for the time of year you are visiting. Given that you are going with pretty luxurious lodges, you may be interested in my own itinerary that I am leaving for in three weeks:

Moivaro Coffee Lodge, Arusha (1)
Tarangire Treetops, Tarangire (2)
Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, LM (2)
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, NC (2)
Olduvai Camp, NCA/Serengeti (1)
Nomad Masek, Serengeti (2)
Nomad Piaya, Serengeti (2)
Mbuzi Mawe, Serengeti (2)

(POST SAFARI EXTENSION)

Palms Zanzibar (3) I chose this not only for its ultraluxury but also because it has air conditioning and this will be crucial to my enjoyment in mid-March. www.palms-zanzibar.com

Serena Inn, Stone Town (2)
Canal House, Amsterdam (2)
King George V Four Seasons, Paris (2)

As others have already mentioned, it would cost about the same for your own private safari than for a group departure.

Good luck with your planning.
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Jan 29th, 2006, 03:31 PM
  #14
 
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It's serendip.com - drop the ity at the end of serendipity. I assume Sandi did this on purpose, but then, who knows, maybe she just can't spell.
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Jan 29th, 2006, 03:33 PM
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Just to clarify, the email address drops the ity, not the website.
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Jan 29th, 2006, 03:38 PM
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What an idiot I am. Tried to do it by memory, should've looked first to remind myself. But anyway it's [email protected] Sorry 'bout that. Another one of those dang senior moments!
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