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I know I wanted to go to Elsa's home in Meru, but is this ok too?

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This is a trip from our local zoo. It would solve a lot of problems to go with them. Maybe I could add on Meru to this trip. Is that a common thing to do?

Here are the costs
$2100 for airfare,
$4100 for the trip
$700 for the single supplement but if I go with this trip I might be able to find a partner

  • Report Abuse

    Here are all the details. I think this would be good. Then I would add Meru. Would before or after be best?

    International Flight depart St. Louis through Chicago
    to London.
    DAY 2 Monday June 6
    Arrive in London and connect to your flight to Nairobi.
    Upon arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International airport you will
    be met by our representative who will meet and assist you and
    transfer your group to your hotel for check-in.
    Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi
    DAY 3 Tuesday June 7
    Sweetwaters Tented Camp
    Today after breakfast, check out and drive to Sweetwaters
    Tented Camp situated in the shadow of Mt. Kenya, Kenya’s
    highest mountain. Arrive in time for lunch at your camp.
    This beautiful tented camp lies in the heart of the private,
    24,000 acre, Sweetwaters Game Reserve. Built in the
    early 70’s, the main building was originally the residence
    of billionaire Adnan Kashoggi’s ranch manager. The 30
    luxuriously appointed en-suite tents have magnificent views
    across the plains to the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kenya.
    Located in typical savannah grasslands, punctuated by the
    ‘whistling thorn’ shrubs and acacia trees, Sweetwaters is
    an oasis. It offers guests the indulgence of a swimming pool,
    some of the finest tented accommodations in Kenya and
    personalized service and attention. Wildlife viewing is great
    at Sweetwaters Private Reserve. You will encounter both
    northern and southern Kenyan species including giraffe, zebra,
    eland, oryx, waterbuck, Grant’s gazelle, Thompson’s gazelle,
    elephant, buffalo, cheetah, lion, silver-backed jackal, ostrich,
    hartebeest, baboon and rhino. There are also several hundred
    bird species to be observed.
    Optional activity: Visit the chimpanzee sanctuary.
    The private game reserve is also home to the only chimpanzee
    sanctuary in Kenya. Most of the chimps came from the
    Jane Goodall Institute in Burundi and the Sweetwaters
    Chimpanzee Sanctuary now cares for them and is a
    non-profit venture. Most of the chimps were rescued from the
    most appalling conditions and it is truly heartwarming to see
    them now living in the riverine forest and savannah grasslands
    at Sweetwaters.
    Optional activity: Night time game drives can be purchased
    at additional cost.
    Sweetwaters Tented Camp
    DAY 4 Wednesday June 8
    Samburu National Reser ve
    Depart Sweetwaters after breakfast and head north towards
    Samburu National Reserve. We will visit the Nanyuki
    Spinners and Weavers project enroute. Some of the largest
    slums in Africa are located in Nanyuki, near the base of
    Mt. Kenya, northwest of Nairobi. Because the Kenyan
    highlands area around Nanyuki is also a major center for
    sheep and wool production, the Presbyterian Church of
    East Africa conceived the idea of training women to spin and
    weave sheep’s wool on handlooms and to market the rugs
    and blankets they create, thereby generating income for their
    families and learning self-sufficiency. The Nanyuki Spinners
    and Weavers project was started in 1977 and today over 46
    women rely on their income from carding, spinning, dyeing,
    and weaving sheep’s wool and now cotton too.
    program, the Scouts have served as advocates for Grevy’s
    zebras and for conservation. As a direct result of this
    program, conducted in tandem with a community awareness
    campaign, the tolerance of Grevy’s zebra within the vicinity
    of community livestock has significantly increased and the
    herdsmen now allow the zebras to share the limited grazing
    and water resources with their livestock.
    Samburu Simba Lodge B, L, D
    Continue to Samburu National Reserve. Rugged and remote,
    this arid wildlife reserve provides some of the best and most
    colorful game viewing in the country. Arrive in time for
    check-in followed by late lunch at your lodge. Enjoy a late
    afternoon game drive with dinner and overnight at Samburu
    Simba Lodge. Samburu Simba Lodge overlooks Buffalo
    Springs National Reserve and the Ewaso Ng’iro River. From
    your room you have a fantastic view over the stunning plains,
    where elephants are grazing. Nearby rare game – reticulated
    giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Beisa oryx, Somali ostrich and long-
    necked gerunuk can be seen.
    Samburu Simba Lodge B, L, D
    DAYs 5 & 6 Thursday and Friday June 9 & 10
    Samburu National Reser ve
    Spend two full days exploring the fabulous Samburu National
    Reserve area with morning and afternoon game drives
    available and all meals.
    Visit Grevy’s Zebra Conservation Programs at Kalama
    Wildlife Conservancy: A critical species in need of global
    conservation, the Grevy’s zebra population is less than
    2,200 individuals left in the wild. You will visit with the
    Saint Louis Zoo’s partners collaborating in the effort to
    protect Grevy’s zebras through research, conservation and
    education activities that also benefit local people. With less
    than a half of a percent of the Grevy’s zebra range falling
    within official national parks and protected areas, this species’
    survival depends heavily upon the attitudes and engagement
    of people in community areas.
    One such program, the Grevy’s Zebra Scout Program,
    supports a number of women and men from Kenyan
    communities to participate as Grevy’s Zebra Scouts,
    observing and recording the movements and activities of
    nearby groups of zebras. This successful program provides the
    benefit of equal-opportunity employment in the participating
    communities, a direct and tangible community incentive to
    support conservation activities. Since the inception of this
    DAY 7 Saturday June 11
    Mount Kenya National Park
    Mount Kenya (5,199 m) is Kenya’s highest mountain, a
    national icon, a climbers’ Mecca, the nation’s namesake,
    a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site and a wildlife
    stronghold. One of the world’s highest National Parks, it is
    also an extinct volcano some three and a half million years old
    and the sacred home of Ngai, God of the Kikuyu people.
    Mount Kenya plays a crucial role in the life of the country
    as Kenya’s single most important permanent watershed and
    her largest forest reserve. The fertile soils of its lower slopes
    also sustain the growth of the nation’s richest farmlands
    while much of its vegetation is globally unique. In recent
    years, however, the mountain has suffered greatly from the
    adverse effects of deforestation. As a result, the lodge runs an
    ambitious re-forestation program. To date some 2.5 million
    seedlings have been planted while seedlings are also offered
    free of charge to local communities, schools and individuals.
    The lodge runs its own tree nursery and encourages guests to
    ‘Plant a Tree for Africa’.
    Serena Mountain Lodge is within Mount Kenya National
    Park. Sailing like an ark amid the primeval forests of
    Mount Kenya, this timbered tree hotel offers champagne-
    clear mountain air, sweeping views across the tree-canopy,
    sparkling trout streams, and gentle forest walks. Located
    at 2,134 meters above sea level, on the lower slopes of the
    mountain, the lodge is cool, tranquil and hushed for optimum
    game-sightings. The open-air viewing-deck looks down on
    to its own water hole and salt-lick, which attracts numerous
    herds of elephant and buffalo. There is also a tunnel leading
    to a photo-hide, which offers spectacular viewing and
    photographic opportunities just meters away from the wildlife
    at the water hole.
    Raised on stilts above the forest canopy, a timbered
    drawbridge leads from the forest and up on to the wooden
    ‘decks’ of the lodge. Inside, the impression of having boarded
    a ship is perpetuated by a combination of log paneled walls,
    timbered game-viewing decks and winding stairs leading to a
    selection of snugly comfortable, cabin-styled rooms.
    Serena Mountain Lodge B, L, D
    DAY 8 Sunday June 12
    Lake Nakuru National Park
    After early breakfast, check out and drive from
    Mount Kenya to Lake Nakuru National Park descending into
    the Rift Valley. Arrive in time for lunch at Kigio Wildlife
    Camp. Enjoy an afternoon game drive in Lake Nakuru
    National Park which is famous as the home to thousands of
    lesser and greater flamingo. This park also provides sanctuary
    for Rothschild’s giraffe, white rhino and leopard.
    Kigio Wildlife Camp is a new superb all-suite camp
    surrounded by beautiful yellow-fever tree woodland
    overlooking the Malewa River. The camp is constructed from
    sustainable pine-wood, local earth from the conservancy,
    traditional thatch provided by the surrounding community
    and canvas panels - there has been minimal usage of cement
    and steel and the environment has been carefully preserved
    during its construction. Power is provided by solar panels.
    The dining and sitting areas are situated in a glade
    overlooking a towering red cliff that houses colonies of
    bee-eaters. A most attractive bar sits between two tall fever
    trees facing the cliff while dining decks are extended up to
    the river. At night hippo and buffalo visit the camp to feed on
    ground salts and vegetation. In the morning zebra and giraffe
    wander through as more than 250 types of birds sing away.
    Kigio Wildlife Camp B, L, D
    DAY 9 Monday June 13
    Masai Mara National Reser ve
    After your early morning game drive, proceed to the
    Masai Mara National Reserve with a picnic lunch enroute.
    Check-in and overnight with all meals at Siana Intrepids
    Camp. Fringed by marshes and surrounded by ghostly fever
    trees, Siana Intrepids Camp is situated on the eastern edge
    of the Masai Mara National Reserve. Built on a site chosen
    by 1950’s game warden, Major Lyn Temple-Boreham, this
    grand-scale tented camp was established in partnership with
    the neighboring Masai, who continue to graze their cattle in
    harmony with the wildlife. Perfectly recapturing the romance
    of the early pioneers, Siana Intrepids Camp possesses a
    tranquil atmosphere, with generous safari-style tents
    and shady trees offering complete privacy in a lush,
    unspoiled setting.
    A convivial dining area offers hearty cuisine, while the pool
    is an irresistible oasis on hot days. Elephant and leopard
    hides offer wonderful viewing opportunities of these animals
    and more besides. Bird life is prolific and with expert Masai
    naturalists on hand up to a hundred species may be seen in
    one day. Siana Intrepids Camp B, L, D
    DAYs 10 & 11 Tuesday and Wednesday,
    June 14 & 15
    Masai Mara National Game Reser ve
    Full days spent game-viewing in Masai Mara Game Park
    with morning and late afternoon game drives. You will arrive
    back at camp for lunch and a leisurely afternoon until the
    wildlife become active later in the day. Overnight with all
    meals at Siana Intrepids Camp. B/L/D
    Optional activity: You have an opportunity to go
    on a spectacular balloon ride across the Masai Mara.
    The BALLOON SAFARI ADVENTURE begins in the
    pre-dawn hours and the magnificent view over the park is
    thrilling. Towards the end of the flight, you rise to a height of
    1,500 feet for a panoramic view of the twisting
    Mara River and the savannah below. After an hour or so
    in the air, your safari finishes with a flourish: a champagne
    breakfast in the bush, cooked on the balloon’s burners!
    Please note that this is an optional extra not
    included in the main tour package price. Must be
    booked well in advance, please inquire of Altair
    when you make your trip reservation. In the event
    of unfavorable weather a full refund will be given if
    the balloon does not take off.
    DAY 12 Thursday June 16 J Depart after breakfast and check out. Drive back to Nairobi, J Local taxes on accommodations and sightseeing tours
    Departure Nairobi to London Kenya’s colorful capital city arriving at around noon. Lunch
    will be on your own. Intercontinental Hotel Dayroom is
    available for your use.
    J Meals as indicated on itinerary
    J Goway travel bag and neck pillow
    J Flying doctor service
    J 1 litre mineral water per day on safari
    Evening Farewell Dinner at the Carnivore Restaurant.
    This open air meat specialty restaurant offers every type of
    meat imaginable including four choices of wild game, roasted
    on the traditional Maasai swords (skewers) over a huge
    charcoal pit. Maasai warrior waiters carry these around the
    restaurant carving unlimited portions of meat onto
    sizzling plates.
    Arrival meet and greet guide assistance and departure
    guide assistance. Local English-speaking driver/guide.
    Trip Insurance including Trip Cancellation for accident
    or medical and Trip Interruption, provided by
    Travelex Insurance Company
    Trip price excludes:
    J Roundtrip International airfare from St. Louis to
    Nairobi for the international portion.

    Continue to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for
    your onward flight back home, Nairobi to London. Our
    representative will re-confirm your onward flight, and assist you
    at check-in. B, D
    J Personal items
    J Meals unless listed in itinerary

    DAY 13 Friday June 17 Tips and Gratuities
    London to St. Louis

    Early check-in and late check-out of rooms

    Visa/passport handling fee
    Trip Price includes: Note: air fares as included in pricing are subject to change
    J Moderate and First Class (3-4) Star Lodges and tented until actually ticketed.
    camp accommodations as per the itinerary based on
    twin share.

  • Report Abuse

    The Meru area is a bit off the beaten path. If before the trip, how many days.... it's not the kind of trip one makes to visit Elsa's grave and return same day. Though I guess some would do this. I'd spend at least 1/nt.

    I'd also check whether with the air tickets the group provides you can either arrive earlier or stay later.

  • Report Abuse

    Not an easy read with no blank lines.

    1 6th NBO
    2 7th Sweetwaters
    4-6 8th-10th Samburu
    7 11th Mt Kenya
    8 12th Nakuru
    9-11 Mara 13th-15th
    12 16th Drive back to NBO and fly home

    I see it includes your travel insurance.

    It is unlikely you will see the migration that enters Kenya with these dates, but who knows? This past season the migration was early. You also never mention the migration as one of your goals, so I wouldn't be concerned if you miss it.

    First, looking at this trip itinerary, it is a basic, standard trip. But it does spend 3 nights in Samburu, which is longer than usual and I think is a good idea. It also spends 3 nights in the Mara, which I believe is the minimum # for a decent itinerary. Two nights in the Mara would have been poor. You'll have a good chance to see lions at 3 locations: Mara, Samburu, Sweetwaters. The security of a local connection, the expertise of the zoologist accompanying you, and the possibility of avoiding a single supplement are positives.

    Considering an extension, first as Sandi mentions, check that you can deviate from the group flight plan. Next realize that Meru at one end or the other of the trip is not the logical spot to place it. You'll be duplicating some of your transportation. But that may be an acceptable price to you to pay in dollars and in time in order to take advantage of the group trip.

    If deviations in the international flights are possible, I'd suggest adding 3 nights to go to Meru at the end. Here's why the end:

    1. Later into the dry season in Meru is better for wildlife viewing.

    2. You'll be more confident on your own after spending almost two weeks in Africa. Going solo at the start might be less comfortable.

    3. You will have seen lions so you won't be anxious about that, whereas if you went to Meru first, you might be worried about not seeing these cats.

    4. You might want to splurge and stay at Elsa's in Meru and that would make a nice grand finale to your trip. Flights from NBO to Meru work well.

    Here's even more of a splurge. Somebody mentioned this to you in one of your posts: If you are an Elsa fan then you may want to visit Joy's Camp (named for Joy Adamson) in Shaba. It would be a luxurious splurge at the end, similar to Elsa's.

    Shaba is near Samburu, where you spend 3 nights and game drives are generally done in Samburu when guests stay at Shaba. That would mean you are spending at least 4 nights, maybe 5 in this region. While that may seem a lot, I just spent 4 nights in this region and saw 3 lion prides and a wonderful variety of animals. I think you could do either Joy's or Elsa's first if you wished to combine them, then fly back to NBO to head home. I suggested flying, but you could visit these camps by road, with a driver, if you preferred.

    You could ask to company doing the zoo trip to price out the extra nights at the end and see what you think.

    Good luck.

  • Report Abuse

    Thank you sandi and atravelynn for the responds.

    I would stay a few days in Meru and not do a day trip there.

    The whole thing had blank lines but they did not show up here for some reason.

    After seeing the reasons to go after the trip I will go after the trip. I think the tour company can do airline tickets for other dates and I think some other people want to add more to this trip, but in Tanzania.

    Now I have to find out the prices.

    From this trip right at my local zoo and the composure of Born Free passing on and the TV special on making the Born Free movie that got me started on really wanting to go to Africa like I always used to and then inheriting some money by surprise it was meant to be.

    Thank you for the ideas to get me on the way.

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