We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Kenya/Tanzania zanzibar with neo destinations! please advice

Charing Cross
Level Contributor
27 posts
Save Topic
Kenya/Tanzania zanzibar with neo destinations! please advice

we have finally booked our plane tickets to go on our first Africa safari this July.

We have choosen the Kenya/Tanzania safari on the Neo Destinations website, having read glowing reviews from TA and friends who travelled to Africa two years back. In summary we have chosen the following safari option from their website. Could someone kindly advice if the long drives are worthwhile or if there are any alternative but cost effective safari routes to use?

We have been quoted £ 1700 Per adult and $1500 for the teens. Is this reasonable enough? we have recieved other quotes including Thompsons £2400 each for the same trip.

Day 1

NAIROBI

Airport transfer with private vehicle and guide. Includes Flying Doctors air ambulance emergency evacuation to Nairobi in the event of serious illness. Neo Destinations donates $50 per person toNeo Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting high school education for disadvantaged kids in remote areas of East Africa. Nairobi is the least expensive arrival city for flights with a full range of hotels and local attractions. Dubbed the "Safari Capital of the World" cool, clear and cosmopolitan Nairobi is the natural departure point for most safari itineraries. A city of contrasts, it is simultaneously the largest, the youngest, the most modern, the highest (1700m) and the fastest growing city in East Africa. High-altitude Nairobi enjoys a pleasant tropical climate all year round. There are ATMs and banks to stock up on cash, great restaurants, and malls where you can purchase any forgotten items. As the only all suite hotel in Nairobi, and a former members-only club, the Nairobi Safari Club is ideal for those wanting a bite out of this city. Close to marketplaces and tourist spots, one can wander around during the day and return conveniently. The hotel provides a number of dining choices, including exotically prepared meats and a selection of North American-style burgers. The buffets are highly commended for variety and quality. The Nairobi Safari Club is recognized for its considerate service, comfort, and enviable location. Rooms are clean and spacious, with lounging and workspace. The hotel offers many facilities at its health centre, including sauna, swimming pool, and aerobics.

Day 2

NAIROBI-NAIVASHA

Game viewing in Nakuru National Park with your skilled guide. The park is noted for thousands of flamingos which form a brilliant pink covering over the surface. Includes national park fees. Enjoy lunch at your safari lodge or hotel (included in tour price). Sign up for optional activities at your resort (not included in tour price); horse-riding, bird-watching, fishing, water sports, cycling, lake trips and nature trails. Dinner at your lodge or hotel is included in the tour price. Naivasha is one of our favorite places to pause a safari, lush, cool and relaxing - is a beautiful freshwater lake, fringed by thick papyrus. The lake is almost 13kms across but its waters are shallow and thick with hippo. Hell's Gate National Park, Longonot National Park and Mount Longonot are nearby attractions. Boat tours on the lake are popular to observe birdlife and hippopotamus behavior, or explore Crescent Island on foot. Like an African castle in the sky, Sopa Lodge Naivasha spins wondrous safaris from natural treasures below the golden Kenyan sun. It is situated on the southern shores of Naivasha, the largest freshwater lake in the Great Rift Valley. Let this dazzling resort of 21 cottages prepare you for mouth-dropping silence. Feast on the succulent meats and preparations of the hotel's talented chefs. Allow your eyes to indulge in the scenery and wildlife that draws so many to visit this hotel, built for open views of nature's activities at their most untouched. Make sure to wander around the compound. You will be enchanted by the fine architecture, cathedral ceilings, and grand windows. Stroll around the gardens, and take a swim. It's hard to leave this heavenly escape.

Day 3

NAIVASHA-MASAI MARA

Drive from Naivasha to Masai Mara with your private vehicle and guide. Stop along the way at souvenir stands and to purchase snacks and cold drinks. Game viewing in Masai Mara National Park with your skilled guide. Drives are typically done in the morning at 6:30am for a few hours and/or 4pm for a few hours. Includes game reserve fees. Enjoy lunch at your safari lodge or hotel (included in tour price). Enjoy afternoon game viewing with your skilled guide. Masai Mara is the northernmost portion of the larger Serengeti ecosystem and features the best game viewing in the region . The small size funnels animals into a tight space, and park rules allowing off-road driving which means that guests can venture into plains covered with hundreds or even thousands of animals. Take an optional hot air balloon ride over the plains, with the opportunity for amazing pictures of the animal herds below. Defining a wilderness tented camp, this elegant and exquisitely furnished abode is nestled along the bend of the Talek River, just north of the Mara reserve. With hippos grunting and splashing nearby, elephant and giraffes wandering past, this is the epitome of luxurious wilderness. A veteran staff carefully looks after the selected guests in this boutique camp. Dine in the large camping tent, where you will be served three meals daily. Local bush cuisine is cooked to perfection by camp chefs. If weather permits, service is possible on guests' private verandahs on the river bank. Sharing a connection with the local Masai, guests can hike with warriors, visit the local village, dance along with traditional songs, or hear the wisdom of generations from a local elder over the evening fire. Dinner at your lodge or hotel is included in the tour price.

Day 4

MASAI MARA

Game viewing in Masai Mara National Park with your skilled guide. Drives are typically done in the morning at 6:30am for a few hours and/or 4pm for a few hours. Includes game reserve fees. Sign up for optional activities at your lodge (not included in tour price); hot air balloon ($460pp), guided nature walk ($40pp), or other. Enjoy lunch at your safari lodge or hotel (included in tour price). Hike with a Masai warrior to the nearby village to meet the people and experience a bit of the nomadic lifestyle. Dinner at your lodge or hotel is included in the tour price.

Day 5

MASAI MARA-SERENGETI

Transit between Masai Mara and Serengeti. This full day drive includes some game drive through the park, and several hours drive on rough road to the border (TZ visa can be purchased for $50 US cash, or $100pp for US citizens). Picnic lunch near Lake Victoria with option to visit a local fishing village. NOTE: The road is unimproved in places and this is a LONG drive. Game viewing with your expert guide in Serengeti National Park. Includes national park fees. Dinner at your lodge or hotel is included in the tour price. Tanzania's oldest and most popular national park, the Serengeti is massive in size, 14,763 sq km (5,700 sq miles). Famed for its annual migration, when some six million hooves pound the open plains, as more than 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson's gazelle join the wildebeest's trek for fresh grazing. Yet even when the migration is quiet, the Serengeti offers the most expansive game-viewing in Africa: great herds of buffalo, smaller groups of elephant and giraffe, and thousands upon thousands of eland, topi, kongoni, impala and Grant's gazelle. A mobile camp in the western Serengeti, this is an intimate connection to nature in the world's finest game park. Look forward to attentive service with five course bush cuisine of the pan-African and traditional sort. Three main meals are served each day in the large canvas dining tent overlooking the plains, culminating with five course dinners ending with coffee or tea under the stars. The tents, appropriately furnished with Masai inspired style, feature campaign furniture and canvas wardrobe. The Masai theme is showcased with evocative headboards, lamps and fixtures. This is a rare opportunity to experience close contact with the world's greatest migration, which has been known to feature twenty or so lion prides and countless throngs of zebras and wildebeest.

Day 6

SERENGETI

Game viewing with your expert guide in Serengeti National Park. Includes national park fees. Enjoy lunch at your safari lodge or hotel (included in tour price). Enjoy afternoon game viewing with your skilled guide. Dinner at your lodge or hotel is included in the tour price.

Day 7

SERENGETI-NGORONGORO

Includes a stop at the famous Olduvlai Gorge where the homonid "Lucy" and other significant archeological discoveries have been made. Game viewing with your skilled guide in Ngorongoro national park. Includes national park fees. Descend into the Ngorongoro caldera to view the wildlife on the crater floor. Dinner at your lodge or hotel is included in the tour price. "The Ngorongoro Crater is often called ‘Africa's Eden' and the ‘8th Natural Wonder of the World'. A massive extinct volcano, the sheet walls drop thousands of feet to a "Noah's Ark" of animals on the verdent floor below. Large herds of zebra, buffalo, antelope and wildebeest graze nearby while sleeping lions laze in the sun. At dawn, the endangered black rhino returns to the thick cover of the crater forests after grazing on dew-laden grass in the morning mist. The world-famous Ngorongoro Crater is at the eastern edge of the Serengeti in northern Tanzania. Nearly three million years old, the ancient caldera of the once-volcanic Ngorongoro shelters one of the most beautiful wildlife havens on earth, ringed with towering walls and sheltering forests, grasslands, fresh springs and a large soda lake. Our camps features a select group of 6 tents, each with two queen beds, ensuite toilet, and hand filled hot water shower. A shaded private verandah offers space to read or view nature's beauty. Chefs sample a range of cuisines, serving up African flavors from across the continent and throughout the bush. Offering a much more intimate experience than lodges,

Day 8

NGORONGORO

Game viewing with your skilled guide in Ngorongoro national park. Includes national park fees. Descend into the Ngorongoro caldera to view the wildlife on the crater floor. Enjoy lunch at your safari lodge or hotel (included in tour price). Hike the hills of Ngorongoro with your guide. Dinner at your lodge or hotel is included in the tour price.

Day 9

NGORONGORO-AMBOSELI

Drive to Arusha where you can shop for souvenirs. Transit between Tanzania/Kenya at the Namanga border crossing. The road is occasionally potholed but in good condition. Stop for lunch at the Arusha Hotel in this tourism capitol of Tanzania. Shop the local souvenir market. Game viewing in Amboseli National Park with your skilled guide. Drives are typically done in the morning at 6:30am for a few hours, and 4pm for a few hours, since the animals are most active at dawn and dusk. Includes national park fees. Dinner at your lodge or hotel is included in the tour price. Amboseli National Park, is 260 km (160 mi) south of Nairobi, on the Kenya and Tanzania border. It is most famous for its spectacular views of Kilimanjaro. A system of swamps makes this low-rainfall area one of the best widlife-viewing experiences in the world. The park protects two of the five main swamps, and includes a dried-up Pleistocene lake and semi-arid vegetation. Noted in particular for its large elephant herds, Amboseli is the third most visited game area in Kenya after Masai Mara and Nakuru. In the heart of Amboseli National Park, touching the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, the Amboseli Serena Lodge lays its home. The 92 rooms are all equipped with en suite bathrooms and stunning views. Dining offers local cuisine and a choice of continental dishes, while specialty meals allow guests to get in touch with the environment. Take advantage of the game drives, where incredible beasts such as lions, buffalo, cheetah, giraffe, baboons, gazelle hippos and wildebeest spend their day in front of your eyes.

Day 10

AMBOSELI-NAIROBI

Game viewing in Amboseli National Park with your skilled guide. Drives are typically done in the morning at 6:30am for a few hours, and 4pm for a few hours, since the animals are most active at dawn and dusk. Includes national park fees. Includes opportunity to visit local handicrafts market to stock up on souvenirs. Enjoy a family style meal with a sampling dinner featuring indigenous dishes from the region (On request; we can arrange dinner at Carnivore game meat restaurant, though there is limited wild meat on the menu these days) . Depart from Nairobi international airport - end of itinerary.

Charing Cross
Level Contributor
27 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Kenya/Tanzania zanzibar with neo destinations! please advice

Sorry I meant £1700 for the adults while the teens get to pay £1500 each. Just been informed that it gets even cheaper with cheaper accommodation. would really appreciate any advice on this.

nyc
Level Contributor
14,852 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Kenya/Tanzania zanzibar with neo destinations! please advice

Besides the Mara/Serengeti drive which is a full day, then the day from Ngorongoro/Amboseli another full day.

With only 1/full day in the Mara, the Serengeti and Amboseli not even full, as you hae to head back to NBO which is a 4+/hr drive.

Too hectic, when you spend more time driving than game viewing... ugh!

You don't mention which lodges/where?

Hagerman, Idaho
Level Contributor
761 posts
128 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Kenya/Tanzania zanzibar with neo destinations! please advice

Agree with 4sandi-a lot of driving on some very bad roads......if anyone has back problems this is going to be painful doing the Mara-Serengeti-NCA part. also dusty and dry in southern Serengeti with less to see.

Good taking first day slow-up and running is never a good idea for something as exhausting as a long safari after a long flight over several time zones!

Day 9 sounds really long. NCA to Arusha to shop before lunch then driving to Amboseli for a game drive? Maybe if you napped on the way to Amboseli. Although I guess the only alternative is adding a day and spending night in Manyara NP or Arusha then driving to Amboseli. Hmm. at least the road is good.

I would say ask if you can eat at the new Bay Leaf instead of Arusha Hotel. Arusha Hotel buffet is kind of hit or miss and the teens can get good burgers at Bay Leaf-good salads and other dishes like chorizo and olive ravioli on the list too.

NCA-sounds like they are camping on the rim over by Sopa Lodge. Its near the research camp site and is a really beautiful spot plus the sopa road is so much better!

Hear Carnivore doesn't actually serve game meat anymore....anyone know? its been years since I've been there.

Charing Cross
Level Contributor
27 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Kenya/Tanzania zanzibar with neo destinations! please advice

Thank you all for the very helpful insight.

I have just spoken to Neo Destinations and opted make ammends for Day Nine. We might change the programme all over and go with what Barry suggested.

We might opt to enter Tanzania through Arusha as opposed to using the Mara- Serengeti option.

Price wise I think I have a a good bargain compared to quotes from other agents.

Is there any possibilty of operators going down on prices due to the credit crunch?

nyc
Level Contributor
14,852 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Kenya/Tanzania zanzibar with neo destinations! please advice

Even Barry's suggestions has some very very long days driving

Day 3 - from Naivasha to Maasai Mara

- 4-5/hrs to the reserve then whatever time it takes to get to your lodging

Day 4 - Mara

- this will be your only full day in the Mara

Day 5 - from Mara to Amboseli

- game drive leaving park early for 5-6/hr drive to Nairobi, stop for lunch or pick up something to eat in vehicle, then 4-4.5/hrs (approx. 10/hrs total) to Amboseli, not arriving till the sun goes down on way to lodging... not much of a game drive this day

Day 6 - from Amboseli to Lake Manyara

- Game drive on way out of Amboseli to Namanga border (1.5/hrs) to Arusha (1-1.5/hrs); lunch; then 2-2.5/hrs drive to Manyara; arriving in time for afternoon game drive

Day 7 - Manyara to Serengeti

- is doable and depending on where in Serengeti, easily 4/hrs drive not counting stops for game viewing

Day 8 Serengeti

- full day here, good

Day 9 - Serengeti to Ngorongoro

- another long drive, not arriving till afternoon but too late for afternoon crater visit

Day 10 Ngorongoro

- you'll do morning crater tour

- suggest in afternoon you drive to Arusha for overnight, shortening drive on Day 11

Day 11 Drive back to Nairobi

- another very very long day, not arriving NBO till dark unless you on Day 10 overnight in Arusha.

As long as you know you'll still be spending more time on the road than on game drives... it's your safari. It's might cost a few extra $$$, but flights should be considered for some of those long distances, such as on Day 11, take a morning or early-afternoon flight from Arusha to Nairobi.

Hagerman, Idaho
Level Contributor
761 posts
128 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Kenya/Tanzania zanzibar with neo destinations! please advice

Gotta agree with 4sandi again-its still too much driving. And its important to note that its not driving through beautiful open (non park) areas filled with game-Barry's also prohibits any time to stop at Olduvai! but that's just me:) Sounds like alot of "getting into the parks at sunset" days which translates to no game drive for that day. I would seriously consider dropping one of the parks.

Barry's.....

Day One Nairobi

Day Two Nakuru/Naivasha both can be covered in one day, hence you save a night....(ok fine but hectic)

Day Three

Maasai Mara (translates to driving there)

Day Four Mara (here is your one day in Mara)

Day Five

Amboseli (driving BACK towards Nairobi-not much time in park)

Day Six

Lake Manyara (no way! you will spend whole morning and afternoon getting there!!!!!!!!)

Day 7 Serengeti (again-this translates to driving there-assuming you take an AM game drive in MNP you will haul butt to get to Serengeti gate-in evening-there is NO game viewing along the way that time of year-just a bunch of archaeologists digging in the Gorge)

Day8 Serengeti (here is you game drive day-NOT ALOT OF GAME IN SOUTH THIS TIME OF YEAR)

Day9 Ngorongoro (again backtracking to NCA over same bad gameless road. also keep in mind you pay for every day you are in the NCA area so that means while you are in Serengeti you pay for NCAA fees (no not crater fees-NCAA parkland fees)

Day 10 Ngorongoro (full day in crater)

Day 11 Drive back to Nairobi

SKIP SERENGETI SINCE YOU WILL ALREADY HAVE SEEN THE GOOD STUFF IN MARA FOR THAT TIME OF YEAR! Really, driving in tiring and you have set yourself up for ALOT of non game viewing driving. You will find you dont have time to appreciate a place before having to leave. I know its tempting to visit as many parks as you can but sometimes less is more. Serengeti in the south really isn't going to be all that great after Mara and you are doing a lot of backtracking

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
731 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Kenya/Tanzania zanzibar with neo destinations! please advice

Will have to agree with the Bay Leaf or even Paciso which is close by. I'm not too fussed on the Arusha Hotel Buffet.

Carnivore has had their game meat licence remmoved I heard last night.

Charing Cross
Level Contributor
27 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Kenya/Tanzania zanzibar with neo destinations! please advice

I have asked for a new quote as follows

Nakuru x01, Mara x02 Amboseli x02 Lake Manyara x01, Ngorongoro x02 and Serengeti x02

Also asked for a quote without serengeti.

His price has so far dropped to USD 2900 each.. says we have to pay in $ as the £ rate is really down

Charing Cross
Level Contributor
27 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Kenya/Tanzania zanzibar with neo destinations! please advice

Carnivore was being offered on complimentary. I guess we are fine with the experience thanks

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
37,815 posts
374 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Kenya/Tanzania zanzibar with neo destinations! please advice

I have refrained from giving my two pennorth which is similar to the "Irish" response when asking directions "If I were you sir, I would not start from here."

There is way too much time in transit here and if nobody else will say it, it seems I must.

Don't try to visit both countries. Pick one and stick with that!

Kenya. Amboseli-Nakuru-Naivasha-Mara etc.,

Tanzania. Serengeti-Ngorongoro-Manyara-Tarangire.

Either of these two beautiful countries will have more than enough sights and sites to engage you for 10 days.