onsdag, marts 23, 2005

Preliminary thoughts on what to see !

Looked a little on www.kenya-safari.blogspot.com and www.kenya.com . Posted afterwards on rec.travel.africa, where I got the following reply from Liz:

IMPORTANT enough to top-post:
Number one big hint:
*Don't* try to cram too much in, or you'll spend all your time travellingbetween destinations rather than seeing the animals.

In message <42404a8b$0$201$edfadb0f@dread11.news.tele.dk>
"Simon wrote:
[> I am going to Kenya in December and will have app. 7 days to spend doing
> tourist stuff. Obviously it will not be a problem to spend this time, but I
>will been very happy for suggestions on what will the best way to spend this
>time on a somewhat limited budget. ]

Depends *how* limited the budget!Can't be all that limited if you're thinking of gorilla trekking - IIRC, thepermit *alone* is $250 per day in Uganda.
[> Both Safari, (gorilla) tracking and mountain trekking etc. seems very
> interesting - but given the limitations in time I suppose something has to
> give. And perhaps something else would actually be just as interesting? ]

Depends what you're interested in!

[> I imagine some sort of Safari is a must? And that both a Masai Mara trip or
> a Serengeti trip into Tanzania will be available from Nairobi. Looking at
> some of the agencies offerings - a 3 to 4 day trip seems reasonable? Any
> comments? ]

Serengeti would be preferable to the Mara in December, as that is where thebig numbers of animals will be.If I had - only :-((( - a week in Kenya in December (the short rains shouldbe over, but nothing is guaranteed)
I'd probably spend 3/4 nights inSamburu/Buffalo Springs, a night at either Treetops/The Ark or MountainLodge and 2/3 nights in Amboseli.
Alternatively, if you wanted to include Serengeti, you could do 2 nights inAmboseli, 3 nights in Serengeti and 2 nights at the Ngorongoro caldera.Or some combination of the Northern Circuit in Tz, leaving out Amboseli butincluding Tarangire or Lake Manyara.

My ***number one big hint*** repeated:
*Don't* try to cram too much in, or you'll spend all your time travellingbetween destinations rather than seeing the animals.

[> More ambitious - I have been looking at Gorilla tracking expeditions in> Uganda:
> http://www.uwa.or.ug/
> http://www.uwa.or.ug/gorilla.html
> http://www.uwa.or.ug/bwindi.html
> > Is that realistic in the given timeframe -
>or/ and is that something you> would normally only do on a much longer trip? ]

If that's your *priority*, i.e. it might be your only trip to Africa (don'teven think about betting on it!) and you really want to see gorillas, thanit's realistic. The last time I was in Kenya ('02) you could apparentlyarrange a gorilla trek from the tour desk in Nairobi hotels (craftily,they gave a price "not including permits", but without an indication of whatthe permits would cost, which was quite naughty, I thought!There are only so many gorilla permits per day. I don't know how likely theyare to be full up in December: they usually advise you to book well inadvance. Friends who went one July said that people on another tour thoughtthey had permits for two consecutive days. It turned out they only had one,and the permits for the second day were sold out so they just had to 'hangaround the camp' for the morning, pretty miffed.

[> > Reading websites on Kenya I cant really get an easy handle on treks around
> Mt. Kenya and Mt. Kilimanjaro. Often one reads something about 5 or 6 day
> treks for each mountain. But does shorter trips make sense - and what would
> be a good introduction? ]

I'm not a hill walker, but I believe that time is ready to minimise yourchances of getting altitude sickness, which apparently has nothing to dowith your age or general physical condition.

[> Starting in Nairobi I find the net crowded with horror stories from Nairobi.
> People afraid of stopping at (the few) stoplights in the city because of
> carjackings? What is the truth here? Is this a city to avoid as much as
> possible. ]

Yes.Get a taxi arranged from your accommodation if you need to go anywhere inthe town.They'll wait for you for ages, usually for no extra charge.If you really must wander around Nairobi on your own, look very scruffy andpoor - dusty shoes are a big help!.

[Torben: Turen ind fra Lufthavnen til bymidten er notorisk farlig i Nairobi - skal arrangeres af hotel?]

Info about all the places mentioned above except Uganda on my non-commercialwebsite: main index http://www.v-liz.com/



I also got a reply from Jan concerning th Gorilla tracking:

The price of the permits has gone up last year :
For Uganda it is now $360.
In Rwanda a permit is now $375.For both visits you may have to add the cost of a visa (Uganda : $30, Rwanda : $60).You will also spend at least day travelling to Uganda/Rwanda and back. So it will take at least 3 days. The road to Bwindi in Uganda is not very good, so I think going to Rwanda is may be easier (may be flying from Nairobi to Kigali). The main roads in Rwanda are in very good condition.
I visited Uganda+Rwanda last year in an organised tour.
The travel company has more detailed informat on their website (http://www.gorillatours.com).



Hans-Georg Michna <hans-georgNoEmailPlease@michna.com> offered the following advice:

essentially I only repeat what Liz already wrote.
If I had onlyone week, starting and ending in Nairobi,
I would aim for twomajor destinations to cut down on travel time.

If you'd try more, I'd retort that what you might gain in width,you'd only lose in depth.

I would skip the gorillas, because they are too far away and toodifficult to get to. I think it is not a good idea to aim forthe gorillas on a first time trip to east Africa.

I'm not sure if I'd go to Tanzania either, because of the longerdistances, except perhaps if you fly in, but that's again moreexpensive.

My first thought is always Samburu and Maasai Mara, followed byAmboseli, all in Kenya. A night in The Ark may or may not be agood idea, depending on whether you enjoy the night and can feelgood while not sleeping much that night. If, however, you preferto go to bed early and sleep long, then skip those mountainlodges. They wouldn't be worth the money and the time.For travel preparations and background information have a lookat http://www.michna.com/kenya.htm .



Lots of stuff to consider.