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drive from Arusha to Nairobi worthwhile?

Milton, Canada
6 posts
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drive from Arusha to Nairobi worthwhile?

Our family of 5 (youngest 17) will be on safari with GAP in August. On the last day of the tour, GAP describes the itinerary just as a '9 hour drive with a border crossing'. No one who I have spoken with at GAP has done this tour... What we are wondering is, is this drive something we wouldn't want to miss, or is it something we could forfeit so we can get to our adventure on Zanzibar one day sooner? We would be able to fly from Kilimanjaro airport to Zanzibar, but not until 5:50 at night. Has anyone done this drive? Any suggestions please? Thanks!

Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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1. Re: drive from Arusha to Nairobi worthwhile?

I have traveled from Nairobi to Arusha many times, none have been for the pleasure of it. It's a long rather bumpy ride broken in half by a stop at the busy border which is crawling with Maasai women pushing their trinkets onto you.

There are drives in Tanzania which are pleasant, this isn't one of them.

Michigan
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2. Re: drive from Arusha to Nairobi worthwhile?

Done it before as well only because I was on overland safaris and it was the direct way to drive between the spectacular parks of Kenya and the northern circuit of Tanzania. You get a look at some of the culture of the two countries, surely would stop at a curios shop for a pit stop, but as Karl said, at the border crossing you will be swamped by Maasai women who do not take no for an answer. I'd rather have the extra day in Zanzibar.

Minneapolis...
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3. Re: drive from Arusha to Nairobi worthwhile?

I'm also wondering... if you choose to go straight to Zanzibar, could you get a flight from Arusha (ARK) rather than Kilimanjaro (JRO) to Zanzibar earlier in the day?

As I understand it, Arusha airport is smaller, but closer to Arusha, than JRO - correct me experts if I'm wrong about this.

I believe there are several non-stop flights a day from Arusha... about 70 minutes... and I think there are some others that connect through Dar... probably could get you to Zanzibar much earlier and with less drive time and with less transfer cost to the airport at Arusha rather than JRO...

Saint Paul...
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4. Re: drive from Arusha to Nairobi worthwhile?

Are these your options for that day?

1) Drive from Arusha to Nairobi, then catch a flight to Zanzibar

or

2) Catch a flight from Arusha (or Kilimanjaro) to Zanzibar

If so, then it's actually a silly question. #2 is the best answer. Absolutely no reason to go to Nairobi. None. Zero. It's totally counter-productive, costly and a complete waste of time.

Milton, Canada
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5. Re: drive from Arusha to Nairobi worthwhile?

Thanks for the information! So good to know!

We're having trouble purchasing tickets (we live in Canada) and have asked GAP to do this for us. They are reluctant to have us fly from Arusha - saying that flights get cancelled frequently and that it's not a reliable place to fly from... Is this true?

Saint Paul...
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6. Re: drive from Arusha to Nairobi worthwhile?

Not true.

Findlay, Ohio
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7. Re: drive from Arusha to Nairobi worthwhile?

Definitely not true. The flights from Arusha, either Arusha airport or Kilimanjaro airport, are as reliable as those from Nairobi. I wouldn't know why someone would actually suggest this, and in fact if someone would suggest that to me I would definitely question their ability to do anything else for me there; they obviously don't know the area, no matter what they say.

I am like Brian; this is a complete waste of your time, a complete waste of your money, and absolutely no reason for you to do that. Why would someone have you go over 250km out of your way just to catch a flight that also leaves from where you came from??? That's nuts. Plus you will need to get visas for Kenya.

I will almost guarantee you that if you had a delay in your flights it wouldn't be for as long as the sure trip to Nairobi.

Don't listen to them. Either have them get the tickets for you from Arusha or book the flight yourself from their website, either Precision Air or Coastal Air, and there are others also. Google them and you'll find them.

Edited: 27 May 2011, 19:25
Milton, Canada
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8. Re: drive from Arusha to Nairobi worthwhile?

I'm sorry, I should have said that they are recommending flying out of the airport at Kilimanjaro, rather than the smaller one at Arusha. Do flights from Arusha land at Kilimanjaro en route to Zanzibar? I've written an email to Precision Air but haven't heard back yet about availability of flights.

Thanks! Aslo, in an earlier post, it was mentioned that it's possible to take a free/inexpensive shuttle from the town of Arusha to the airport in Kilimanjaro. Is this reliable? Is it something that needs to be booked ahead?

Saint Paul...
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9. Re: drive from Arusha to Nairobi worthwhile?

Last I heard, Precision only flies out of Kilimanjaro, not Arusha, because their planes are either too big for the runway or they just don't feel like it. They are notoriously unable to respond to emails... sometimes.

That said, in January, I flew from JRO to ZNZ on Precision with my family. All was perfectly fine and cool. But the tickets were booked by my staff, in their office. Perfectly fine. No problems.

Maybe you could tell us where you wake on that last day and whether you have been offered a free ride to either or both airports. You can get flights from either airport and the flights from ARK to Zanzibar may or may not stop in JRO. The flights from JRO to Zanzibar will not stop at ARK.

Precision has for years tried to figure out whether it likes ARK and loves (seems to love) changing its mind about those two airports. I haven't experienced the same indecisiveness with the other airlines.

If you want to fly from Arusha, try companies like Coastal Aviation, Air Excel, ZanAir, what else? There are a few.

Findlay, Ohio
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10. Re: drive from Arusha to Nairobi worthwhile?

At one time there was a shuttle from/to JRO to Arusha. I don't know if they still operate this or not. It was great while it was done. They sometimes collected 2,000 Tsh, about $1 for the ride. And sometimes it was there for their incoming flights. Don't know if they do this anymore