Planning 5 to 6 week trip Tanzania/Kenya
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Dec 5, 2012 5:38 AM Last Post By: usambaras
Nov 9, 2012 6:59 AM
Planning 5 to 6 week trip Tanzania/KenyaCan anyone help me with this? I'm 66, female, reasonably active and fit, and hope to be in Africa (Dar es Saleem, Nairobi, etc) mid Feb to late March 2013. Some of possibly all of this will be solo. I'm considering 2 wks volunteering with an NGO (where you pay and they cover all aspects of the experience), then some kind of 2 weeks travelling around, incl. safari; also a week relaxation..beach/resort, maybe Zanzibar. Can fly into Dar, out of Nairobi, or even Johannesburg. Need to do all of this on some kind of practical budget, re hotels, fares, taxis, local deals etc. Thanks A LOT in advance, if you can think of ANYTHING I know it would help, not just with the practical planning but just with visualizing how this can evolve and become a reality!!
Nov 9, 2012 7:58 AM
1if you are on a tight budget, I´d recommend to pick Kenya for your safari part - Tanzania is even more expensive when it comes to safari. Keep in mind that the long rains start mid-end March, so try to do the safari part first and spend the last week at a beach place, be it Mombasa, Malindi or Zanzibar.
As far as the concerns about the election go - it is true that people are wary of a repeat what happened in 2007, however, no tourist was harmed by the post-election violence, and both the beach resorts and the safari places where perfectly safe, as long as there was no road passage through the Rift Valley or towards Kisumu/Western province or Nyanza. In Nairobi the violence was most of the time limited to the slums and there were riots only in a few residential areas close to Kibera or Mathare. If you are in Nairobi at the time of the elections and whatever might follow up, you should follow up on the news, avoid crowded places and keep away from demonstrations and you should be fine. The violence of 2007 was ethnic driven - as a tourist you are visibly not part of the conflict.
I´d usually reconmend Lake Naivasha, Hells Gate NP or Crater Lake as not overly expensive options to travel close to Nairobi, but should there be a repetition of 2007, the area would be a no go-area as the roads there would not be safe.
If you prefer top stay close to the coast, Tsavo East and West would be good safari destinations, or possibly Taita Hills. Or, if you head to Tanzania, Amboseli is just next to the Tanzanian border.
Nov 9, 2012 9:16 AM
2The OP is from Canada and I'm not sure how travel advisories affect insurance there. However in the UK, if the Foreign Office advise against all travel to a place (as they did last time) then your travel insurance is no longer valid should you choose to ignore the warnings.
Nov 9, 2012 9:49 AM
3Well thanks to you both. Illuminating to say the least, and I don't want to be stupid about it. Hopefully these elections will be peaceful, but for planning purposes I'm kind of thinking maybe best to avoid Kenya altogether.Have option of flying in to Dar es Salaam, out of Kilimanjaro, do Zanzibar in between the volunteering annd the safari. Do you know anything about travelling around the Kilimanjaro area? Many thanks!
Nov 9, 2012 10:15 AM
4as I said - no tourists came to harm in the violence in 2007/2008. I live in Kenya and I was there back then, and many of the reactions and travel warnings were quite frankly hysterical. It was a huge blow to Kenyan tourism though and hundreds of thousands jobs were lost. The country needed years to recover from this loss of income. My honest opinion is you will be perfectly safe even if things get messy again as long as you stick to tourist areas and give Nairobi/Rift Valley/Western Kenya a miss.
As for Kilimanjaro area - there are a number of "cultural tourism" projects around Arusha (as well as the Serengeti safari circuit, but if you are on a budget, be aware it´s going to be costly). The cultural tourism has been developed with local communities, aiming for something more holisitc than the "tribe tours" elsewhere - it can be a hike to a village or something combined with a homestay. Another nearby option is Arusha NP - you can even stay at a lodge right outside the park that is run by former street children, with the income helping to run streetboy projects in the Moshi/Arusha area.
Nov 9, 2012 11:08 AM
5I don't live in Kenya but I visit often as I support an orphanage there. We have a dozen or so children who were orphaned during the post-election violence including one boy who lost his family in the infamous church fire at Eldoret. We are still paying his medical expenses. Its very real to me Askari.
I hope that this time the elections aren't marred by violence but I fear the worst. I will be in Kenya at the beginning of April - praying that we will actually be able to go. Kenya needs tourists for sure but it needs to sort out some of its biggest problems too. Tribalism and corruption are still the scourge of Kenya - sadly.
Nov 9, 2012 1:13 PM
6Wigstan, good luck with your April trip to Kenya. This story is touching..well said, these things are "infamous" indeed. I think best, given my age/circumstances (part or all of this trip "solo) surrounding the election, to focus on Tanzania.
Askari, your comments on Arusha are well taken. Thank you for the sensitivity surrounding the expense issue!! I've looked up the area today on the map (I've really only started all this stuff today!). I'm already visualizing a cultural tourism experience around Arusha/Kilimanjaro, followed by a Serengeti circuit safari, if do-able. If y ou can think of anything specific, contacts, place name of lodges whatever, let me know. What is the name of that lodge you mentioned right outside the park. And is it easy to get there from Arusha/the town?
Thanks so much!
Nov 10, 2012 5:26 AM
7the name of the lodge run by former street children is kiboko lodge (kiboko meaning hippo, as there is a hippo frequemting the neighboring waters. I think the organisation running it is called watoto foundation, if you google them/the lodge you should be able to find a contact email. When I was there, someone picked me up at the bus station, and I´m fairly sure they have arrangements for people without their own transport.
Nov 12, 2012 5:29 AM
8Thanks so much, Askari..I've googled them and put out an email. One last question. If I stay with them in Arusha would you say I could avoid doing the safari booking to Serengati until I get there? I find it relaxing appealing to maybe just hang around the lodge for a week or so, with a few days trips eg to Kilimanjaro park, whatever, and then do the Serengati safari for about 10 days, eventually flying out of Kilimanjaro. Could you offer one last piece of advice on this? Thanks!!
Nov 12, 2012 5:43 AM
9The lodge is about 20 kilometres outside Arusha, if I remember correctly, and Arusha NP is mostly a destination for mountain hiking. I´m sure they can also organise a tour with some hired car there, but as I just stayed for a day, I really used the time to relax, enjoy the views and chat to the guys working there. It might get a bit too quiet if you are there for a week, but again, when you hear from them, you could ask for suggestions how to make most of a longish stay, The more spectacular wildlife experience will certainly be rather in the Serengeti area.
This said, the lodge was quite affordable when I was there about 2 years ago - I think they charged about 50 $, so compared to what you pay at many places in Tanzania it is a nice place to hang out with some books or so, or walk to the neighboring village.
As for the safari booking - Arusha is full of safari touts. You can certainly book a safari there, the problem is knowing whether you get crap or some good quality. If you read forum posts, there are a number of dissapointed travellers who felt let down by the companies who promised a great experience and failed to deliver. On the other hand, there seem to be people trying to fill up a safari group all the time.
Flying out of Kilimanjaro should be an option, especially in case your international flight is KLM/Air France/Kenya Airways. KQ has international flights to and from Kilimanjaro, usually with a stop in either Dar or Nairobi. Ethiopian also connects to Kilimanjaro, with a stop in Addis to connect to international flights outside Africa.
Nov 12, 2012 6:18 AM
10Great reply, v. helpful, thanks Askari!!
Maybe I need to cut down on Arusha NP destination..or if go there (because I love what I saw on their website, and what you shared) stay just a couple of days. I'm NOT a mountain hiker (i.e. a reasonably fit, but..) so maybe a week would be too long, however relaxing. I think need to stay closer to Arusha and also to arrange safari either from before I travel or from Dar when I'm there , to get the quality and avoid the touts.
Yes, can fly KLM , into Dar/out of Kilimanjaro.
Nov 21, 2012 4:28 PM
I have volunteered twice with a grass-roots NGO called Give a Heart To Africa, based in Moshi, and my life is no longer the same (for the better, of course!). Give a Heart To Africa runs a small school for adults who have not had the opportunity to go to secondary school. Priority is given to women, with the breakdown usually being 80% women, 20% men. The school is completely free for the students and is run solely from volunteer fees. Because it's a small organization, you really get a chance to see and participate in a lot. During my recent time there (14 months), we not only had volunteers in their 20s and 30s, but also in their 40s, and three volunteers in their 60s and one volunteer in her early 70s. There are a maximum of 6 volunteers at any time, and it's like being in a family. The students learn English, entrepreneurial skills, and vocational skills. You don't have to have previous experience to volunteer - just the desire to help! Neighborhood kids come to play twice a week in the afternoon, which is also a nice addition to being with the adults. If this sounds interesting to you, take a look at the website (www.giveahearttoafrica.org) and the Facebook page under Give a Heart To Africa. Also, feel free to send me a personal message if you would like to ask me any questions.
All the best!
Nov 23, 2012 7:06 AM
For your volunteering time you might want to consider Give A Heart to Africa (GHTA). It's an NGO in Moshi, Tanzania (very close to Mt. Kilimanjaro and many parks). It's a small NGO run entirely by volunteers so it is very hands on. GHTA runs a free school for older women, teaching them English, Business, and vocational skills. You live in the volunteer house with no more than 5 other volunteers and it is in a safe area next to a university. I volunteered there for 4 weeks this year and had an amazing time. I am a 51 year old female. Check out the website at Giveaheartto Africa.org.
Dec 5, 2012 5:38 AM
with your plan, Friends of Usambara Society could be the best NGO to work with, as they have several projects you can volunteer and trekking around the Usambara mountains with good views for relaxation. this could be the best option in Tanzania.
contact them through email email@example.com, web usambaratravels.com
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