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Request recommendations for Safari in 2011

edited February 2011 in - East Africa
I would like to ask for assistance with the following:

I am a US Citizen who will be traveling with a Filipina for vacation this year. We have traveled over much of SEA together and would like to branch out. One of our thoughts is to go to Africa primarily to go on Safari. I have done some reading in the various threads and some research using various search engines. My initial (not written in stone) requirements in approximate order of importance are:

1. Only countries where both a US Citizen and a Filipina can obtain visas relatively easily.

2. Low cost but decent, or better, Safari experience.
a. "big 5", but Filipina particularly likes giraffes and elephants [Safari World, TH] (Is there any chance of riding an elephant as in Thailand?)
b. lodging preferred but camping is acceptable
c. good season, if not the "perfect" season (i.e. do not want to be out in the rain that much but some is ok as long as the animals are there.)

3. Good tourist experience (before and after the actual Safari)
a. inexpensive but clean hotel (private room with en-suite bathroom)
b. good, but inexpensive restaurants (not really picky eaters but organs and sweetbread are off the acceptable list)
c. interesting places to see (either man made or natural)
d. decent shopping for local arts and crafts (souvenirs and gifts)
e. "friendly" locals (it would be nice to get to know some local people if time and communication barriers allow. [English, Thai, Chinese, Cebuano and Filipino spoken by traveling couple])

4. I am reluctant to go to South Africa due to its history, the African countries we are considering are Egypt, Morocco, Ghana (though from what I have read these aren't the countries for the Safari experience), Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa. The reason South Africa is on this list is that I have read Kruger can be done as a self drive which may (or may not) help it better to fit into our budget and there is a train ride from JNB to CPT that is appealing.

5. We can depart anytime from about 01 April until 31 December 2011. We have about 14 days or so for the trip. But do not want (or need) to spend the whole 14 days on safari as we'd like to see something of the city life. There is some flexibility in the number of days available.

6. The budget is about USD$2,000.00 per person (total $4,000.00) NOT including airfare to/from Africa (what the travel agencies/brochures call land only). There is some flexibility in the budget. However, we are not seeking luxury or exclusivity.

So, my questions are:

1. Where is the best place to go for Safari and what time of year given that we may only get to do it this one time?
2. Is it better to book a Safari in advance or can we do it when in country? The two concerns here are cost and availability. Of course, we'd like to spend as little money as possible but would rather not risk showing up and finding out that all the good/decent guides/tours/sites were booked.
3. Recommendations for drivers, car rental, safari guides, etc.
4. Recommendations for hotels for the nights before and after the actual safari.
5. Recommendations for hotels in the city.
6. Recommendations for reliable low cost carrier for intra-Africa flights? (ala Air Asia/Tiger Airways/JetStar Asia or something like the Cathay Pacific All-Asia Pass)?
7. Comments on the proposed budget vs the requirements? Two weeks in SEA is certainly doable at USD$2000/pp (ex. international airfare) and one would be at least comfortable and probably experience some luxuries. Will USD$2000/pp be enough for 14 days at a moderate standard for hotels and meals?

I hope I have provided enough information but if not please ask.



  • edited 8:03PM
    Dear Sheric,

    Please send your email adress so that i can email various tour packages.

  • edited 8:03PM
    I would recommend you do a Kenya - Tanzania safari in July/August. Then you can get to see the wildebeest migration -one of the natural wonders of the world. You can get good tour operators who will put together an entire package for you based on your budget and desired experience. It would normally include things like domestic or inter country flights as well as park fees.
    A visa can be obtained at the airport in Kenya with ease. There are several good travel companies - just do a search and then ask on forums about specific experiences people have had.
    Happy planning!
  • edited 8:03PM

    Im going to JNB and would like to have a 2 - 3 days tour there, would you please send me some info , it will be 2 people. my email: [email protected]

    thank you
  • edited 8:03PM

    With a budget of $2000 per person for 14 days safari, i suggest splitting between kenya and Tanzania. You will however barely manage a decent Safari with that budget ($3000 per person will be ideal) that stays in basic campsites.

    Lets break it down this way -$2,000 per person for 14 days =$143 per day. Park entrance fees alone is $75 per person per day in the parks, that leaves $68 to cater for accomm and transport which is highly unlikely unless in the months of April and May. I would therefore say $2,000 per person will get you a great 9 nights 10 days safari covering both Kenya and Tanzania.

    Both Kenya and Tanzania have the greatest wildlife parks in Africa -google the Serengeti National Park, the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Lake Nakuru National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Amboseli National Park under Mt Kilimanjaro and see what i mean. Yes Kruger might be convinient and budget friendly but surely in terms of wildlife -i got to be honest.

    All the best
  • edited 8:03PM

    I suggest Kenya. An itinerary covering Nakuru/Masai Mara?Amboseli would be memorable. Try a tour company called LetsGoKenya Ltd. ([email protected]). I used them a while back and they were excellent. My Tour consultant was called Alphie.
  • edited 8:03PM
    Hi!I will be in SA in July, would like to go on a 2-3 day tour to Kruger, with stopping by Blyde River Canyon, Three Rondavels, Bourke's Luck potholes on the way to the park. From Kruger I would like to fly to Durban (no help needed from there). Can somebody recommend me some reasonably priced tours? Email [email protected]: [email protected]
  • edited 8:03PM
    Hi Sheric,

    I joined this forum yesterday and have noted your request. Have you been assisted? If not, and based on the information provided I would suggest you travel in November, since its a mid/shoulder season and both park fees and accommodation are relatively low. Also, Kenya is a cheaper destination than Tanzania and since the 2 countries give the same safari experience, I would advise you to consider all day in Kenya and your itinerary would be something like this:
    2 nights in Nairobi, 2 nights in Tsavo East, 1 night in Tsavo West, 2 nights in Amboseli, 1 night in Lake Nakuru, 1 night in Lake Naivasha & 3 nights in Maasai Mara. With this, you will have covered 4 major parks in Kenya and will have seen all big five. The price will be slightly higher than you budget, but the experience will be worth it

    Let me know if you may require more information on [email protected]
  • edited 8:03PM
    Hello, I have been on safari in many African countries but found that Tanzania was by far the best in terms of the wildlife, the scenery and the people as well as prices (depending on the time of year). July and August is peak time there so things are more expensive but the migration is in full swing in the Serengeti. All in all I would suggest going in April to catch the good weather, quieter lodges and much, much better prices. I travelled with Safari Care ( email [email protected] ) there in Tanzania and our guide was more than fantastic! The entire service they provided was faultless and I have been recommending them ever since. Happy travels :)
  • edited 8:03PM
    I'm going to Sydnei Janeiro/12 and will scale in Johannesburg two days, one day I will know the Lion Park and another plan to use to know the sights of the city. I will be with car rental and GPS. I'm terrified of assault, I ... I would suggest that I can visit without taking risks.
  • edited 8:03PM
    ITS within our budget to vist All of Afriuca in one safari, tanzan n Kenya have all thiese your intersts and the big five plus the world reknow 7 wonder on the Maasai mara/ serengeti weelderbeast migration,fine weather and enomous wildlife and destinations
  • edited 8:03PM
    cathy pacific and Qatar KQ and emirates are the airlines to contact and compare the fares
    their coonction times are good and reasonable
    Nairobi Hotel are good and these many to choose from
    Kivi Milimani
    the Sarova panafric
    the Safari park hotel
    Lenana mount
    the Stanley in the city center
    on safari he itinerary will layout the best hotels are there are factors to consinder when you have made up and decided on a chosen itinerary
  • edited 8:03PM
    MICS Safaris Ltd are highly rated Tour operator and they should be in a position to offer you either scheduled or tailor-made safaris. Both in Kenya and Tazania.
    Hope this helps
  • edited February 2013
    I simply flew to Nairobi airport and walked into a tourist agency and booked the trip for the next day. Mind you I'm talking about 1984; there has, of course, been a bit of unrest in Kenya recently, so you should check with your local travel agent before deciding.
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