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Tanzania/Kenya itinery

Houston, Texas
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Tanzania/Kenya itinery

We have just been informed that we will be in Nairobi on business near the end of June 2013-July 3. I have been trying to take advantage of this by throwing together a safari plan. Here is what a Kenyan travel agent has advised based on what is available at this late date.

Day 1 Leave Nairobi (fly) arrive Arusha ...overnight

Day 2-4 Go to Serengeti (fly) multiple game drives overnights at Kirawira tented camp

Day 5-6 Ngorongoro (fly) overnights at Ngorongoro Exploreans Lodge

Day 7-8 Head to Amboseli (drive) overnightsTortilis camp

Day 9-10 Meru National Park (fly) overnight Elsa's Kopje

Day11-13 Masai Mara Main Gov. Camp (1 night) Little Gov Camp 2 nights (includes balloon trip)

Day 14 head to Victoria Falls

What do you think about the Itinerary? If you had to cut something out what would you cut? About how much should I expect to pay for this plan? Is there an advantage to this many flights...would I be better off driving between some of the parks? Any thought will be appreciated.

Thank you so much for your time and expertise.

Nashville, Tennessee
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1. Re: Tanzania/Kenya itinery

I think you are trying to do too much in a short time. Lots of traveling. Also, you are missing Tarangire which many think is a fabulous park. Stick to Tanzania. 13 days is doable for both countries, but a hassle and rushed.

How are you getting to Victoria falls? That can be an expensive flight and take some time. Are you sure you want to do East Africa and Southern Africa in the same trip? Skip Victoria falls and add it to your current itinerary and then maybe do both countries.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Tanzania/Kenya itinery

My only comment is that Elsa's Kopje is absolutely spectacular. Try to get room 1 which is across the rope bridge.

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3. Re: Tanzania/Kenya itinery

Days 5 6 don't really make any sense. The drive from Seronera to the crater rim is something like 4 hours. The airstrip at Ngorongoro is often closed due to winds, so you can't really depend on flying there. You would more likely fly to the airstrip serving Lake Manyara NP... and then have a backtrack by road up to the crater rim.

and for most of us, 2 days is overkill for the crater.

I'd do a half day in Serengeti, then drive to lodgings on the rim... The next day I'd do an early morning entry, tour the crater until early afternoon, then drive part of the drive toward Amboselli... maybe staying in Arusha...

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4. Re: Tanzania/Kenya itinery

One question how many days do you have off work?this would help you to plan your trip,on the same do you have enough time to do both Kenya and Tanzania safari considering your business trip will be in Kenya.

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5. Re: Tanzania/Kenya itinery

What you should pay? Why not advise what the price provided for above.

As June 1, starts peak season in Tanzania, at highest prices; Mid-season in Kenya most properties till July 1, though some increase to peak mid-June.

Surprised there is room at Kirawira (in Western Serengeti) this late date, but if so... you got lucky.

Sure wouldn't fly to Ngo as the airport here isn't open, instead flight to Lk. Manyara with a transfer by lodge at crater by 2.5/hrs back. Sure no crater tour this afternoon. And if next day, morning crater tour (limited to 6/hrs), there is no way to drive 4/hrs to Arusha, another 1.5/hrs to border, border time and once in Kenya about a 3/hr drive to Amboseli.... not doable as it's dark by 6:30pm and you can't be on park lands after 6pm. You'd have to o/n in Arusha and head to Amboseli next day. And this would probably leave you with only 1/full day Amboseli.

For that matter if you switched our Amboseli for Tarangire in Tanzania, you'd have same/similar transfer issues even with flights, i.e., from Tarangire via Arusha to JRO for flight to Nairobi, where flights to Meru are only in the morning, necessitating an o/n in NBO.

Something doesn't make sense in this planning. You can't just toss in a flight without knowing for sure schedules; or if drives knowing how long it takes between marked points along the way.

So yes, for the distances you wish to cover, flights are required.

I'd suggest:

Day 1 - Fly from NBO to JRO (you will besides USD$100 Visa need a Yellow Fever inoc* and proof of same for entry). Met/transfer to Arusha - o/n

Day 2 - Fly to Grumeti airstrip, here outfitter's guide/vehicle meets you for transfer to Kirawira - o/n

Days 3-4 - W.Serengeti - o/n Kirawira

Day 5 - Game drive thru Central/Southern Serengeti to Ngo; on arrival at leisure - o/n

Day 6 - Ngo; crater tour; drive via Arusha to JRO for late=afternoon flight to NBO; met/transfer to hotel for - o/n

Day 7 - Fly to Amboseli - o/n Tortilis

Day 8 - Amboseli - o/n Tortilis

Day 9 - Fly to Meru - o/n Elsa's

Day 10 - Meru - o/n Elsa's

Day 11 - Fly to Mara - o/n

Days 12 & 13 - Mara - o/n

Day 14 - Fly to NBO; connect to flight to VFA (via Lusaka or Johannesburg... schedule dependent).

* YF inoc also required if even stopping in South Africa on way to VFA.

In Tanzania you will have own private guide/vehicle throughout; in Kenya you will be sharing game drives with other guests conducted by camp guides/vehicles.

Good luck!

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6. Re: Tanzania/Kenya itinery

Make it easier on yourself and fly from Nairobi to Mwanza to get to the Serengeti/Kirawira. The flight is cheap and clearing customs there is a breeze. Also Mwanza is 2 hours by decent roads to the Serengeti Gate near the Grumeti River. You save a lot of pounding on bad roads going first to Mwanza.

Second, you are trying to do too much in a strange order spending too little time where the animals are the most concentrated. The northwestern Serengeti and Mara are where the Great Migration herds will be at that time. You get the Big 5 (lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, and cape buffalo) in profusion mixing it up with the giraffe, crocodiles, zebra, wildebeest, gazelles, and other antelope species. Why chase your tails all over creation when it is all there? Spend at least 3 days there. It gives you time to watch the animals not just point and click photos.

A one day ride in Ngorongoro is plenty. It is worth seeing, but it isn't that big. We stayed at the Sopa Lodge there and were very happy. Also, you could fly from the Seronera airstrip to the Lake Manyara strip to save a bumpy miserable ride. The roads suck up there.The road from Manyara to the border with Kenya is in terrible shape. There is extensive road work so the pavement portion is disrupted and rutted roads prevail. We did that ride 10 days ago and it was a mess, added to the fact a bridge washed out over Mosquito River (Mto Wa Mbu). If you can get a flight from Manyara to Arusha's regional airport (not JRO) then do it. Totally worth it. Plus the border is under construction and is a mess. It took 3 times as long to process across there than at Mwanza.

Re: Amboseli... you see many of the same species as in Tarangire N.P. but the elephants in Amboseli have really destroyed a goodly part of the acacia trees there making it less elephant friendly. The pro is that you see Kilimanjaro better than from the Tanzanian side without Tse Tse flies. The con is that at the time of year you are going, Tarangire is probably a better choice, Tse Tse flies notwithstanding. And Tarangire is close to JRO for a international flight to Kenya to continue your trip. I'd spend at least 2 if not 3 days in that area to do Tarangire and Lake Manyara.

Re: Kenya... have you considered Sweetwaters Tented Camp in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Nanyuki north of Nairobi? Amazing. Lots of rhinos and every other living thing in deluxe accomodations. They have a watering hole to attract the animals as well as tens of thousands of acres of preserve. You can do a night game drive there because it is a private conservancy whereas the National ones do not allow night drives. The drive up from Nairobi is interesting and takes about 3 hours.

Hope you enjoy your trip. Pare it down and spend enough time to enjoy what you see.

Edited: 12 April 2013, 22:27
Houston, Texas
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7. Re: Tanzania/Kenya itinery

Thank you for your helpful comments. I should have been clearer...IdiotsAbroad we do fly to Lake Manyara and then drive exactly like you suggest.

CheatahKenya... our business will be finished when we start day 1 of this itinerary. We will have already been in Nairobi for 3 days before the start of day 1 of the vacation itinerary.

I think we have decided to save Victoria Falls for another trip. I hope we will get to go back someday.

I do have one more question. We will be doing a lot of flying on (I assume) small planes onto grass runways. How competent are the pilots and how reliable are the flights? Our agent did not say what airline carrier we will be using for each leg. Should that be spelled out ahead of time? Or are they basically all the same?

Thank you for your help. I will certainly write a trip report when we are finished...

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8. Re: Tanzania/Kenya itinery

Small planes, allowing up to 33/lbs of luggage in soft-sided duffle-type bags that will be checked/stored in the small compartment under; you can have as carryon a small tote-back/backpack and your camera bag (the latter within reasonable weight).

Planes land-on/take-off from dirt/gravel runways. Few, if any are grass as if wet you'd be slipping/sliding... you don't want that nor does the pilot.

Many of the pilots are from 1st world countries - UK, US, CA, OZ, etc. - having worked previously for the international carriers, but prefer life 'in the bush.' Others are borne Kenyan/Tanzanian and and have been properly trained with more than sufficient qualifying hours to do so.

There are a number of small air carriers in both countries, which agent should be able to advise once you indicate your wish to book safari. This will be based on where flying to/from, who has seats on the day/s you are flying and should be included in your final documents. But know that last minute carrier changes aren't unusual - one carrier to another - dependent on #/pax on particular day and destination. Also, not unusual these flights aren't 'non-stop' - rather a few stops before you arrive at final destination.

9. Re: Tanzania/Kenya itinery

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