Booking Kenya and Tanzania

While we cannot travel right now...it has not stopped dreaming and researching for future trips. This one has been on my radar for Fall 2023 and as soon as it becomes available, we will book it. I would love to see your photos from your trips. I would love to hear your advice. Tell me about your experiences, your favorite parts of this trip and your least favorite parts. What did you do before the tour began? What airline did you use and what were your layovers? Are there any inoculations required? Do we need a visa? We have done the Botswana, Zambia, South Africa tour so this will be our second African trip.

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Comments

  • edited July 27

    Cathy - This is our number one tour. Liked pretty much everything about it. The highlights are numerous, but I'll mention a couple (that don't include the unbelievable wildlife and scenery): visiting a schoolroom while staying at the Ngorongora crater, eating amazing Baked Alaska at the Mt Kenya Safari Club, the sunrises and sunsets (Amboselli and Masai Mara), ...

    We travelled LAX to Amsterdam to Arusha and then Narobi to Amsterdam to LAX on KLM. For this trip we flew Premium Economy (I forget its actual name) because the best business class tickets we could find were over $6K per person. The layovers weren't bad. The worst would be getting across the Amsterdam airport from our LAX inbound flight to our Arusha outbound flight within the 2+ hour layover. We had to do some brisk walking (the airport is huge).

    Not sure about the required nature (it's been a while), but we did get inoculated.

    Here are a couple of pictures (non-animal) of things I described.

  • LOVE IT! and perfect information for me to print and put in my folder. Feel free to add more of your favorite photos. One of my favorite parts of the B,Z &SA trip was visiting a xaxaba village and meeting the folks who lived there...so I can see that visiting a school would be amazing.

  • We have taken this tour twice, once about 2007, the other last year.
    You might not want to go in the Fall, as if I remembered correctly, that is one of the two rainy seasons.
    You need visas for both countries
    You should already have hash all the shots you need from your last Africa tour
    Clothing, I know you criticized my suggestions about clothing for the other tour, so I won’t mention that again.
    It doesn’t get as cold here as it does in Southern Africa
    If you want to visit a school, be sure to pick a date when the kids are in school
    You will love visiting the Masai People
    Look out for Geranuk in Kenya, they are quite rare to see these days, we did see some last visit, I love them. You won’t see wild dogs, you might not see leopard or cheetahs
    Our second K and T, we did not like the Four Seasons, a big disappointment, you could be anywhere really, not Africa and the dining area is almost dark. I know you like fancy hotels, you may find some accommodation below your standard on this tour, especially the first hotel in Arusha, but we love it there.
    We have been to Tanzania three times. Twice we flew KLM, once was economy.
    Third time Qatar air, business, best flights we have ever taken.
    Avoid traveling via Nairobi.

  • edited July 27

    You might not want to go in the Fall, as if I remembered correctly, that is one of the two rainy seasons.
    When I say Fall I mean our fall...September I think the rainy seasons are April May June...November and December. Please correct me If I am wrong about this. We went to BZ&SA in September and it was the dry season.

    You need visas for both countries
    Did you get these when you arrived or did you get them online ahead of your trip?

    Clothing, I know you criticized my suggestions about clothing for the other tour, so I won’t mention that again.
    You offered your advice and I completely followed...not considering my own preferences and tastes. That's my fault. I know better next time since I now have more experience.

    Our second K and T, we did not like the Four Seasons, a big disappointment, you could be anywhere really, not Africa and the dining area is almost dark. I know you like fancy hotels, you may find some accommodation below your standard on this tour, especially the first hotel in Arusha, but we love it there.
    I like nice hotels...not necessarily fancy...and I have certainly stayed in my share of less than fancy accommodations...lol I am sure the hotels will be fine.

    Look out for Geranuk in Kenya, they are quite rare to see these days, we did see some last visit, I love them. You won’t see wild dogs, you might not see leopard or cheetahs

    I had to look up Geranuk! What an interesting animal!!! I hope we see leopards and cheetahs...but I understand it is not a guarantee. We did not see Cheetahs in the wild on the BZ&SA so I am hoping maybe this time.

    We will certainly look at both KLM and Qatar to compare flights and pricing.

    Thank you for all of this information

  • The visas, for us, were obtained prior to the tour (this was 2015).

    Although British didn't like the Four Seasons, we enjoyed it. The rooms have balconies that face right out onto the Serengeti. British's point about you could be anywhere, is part of what made it special. Right in the middle of the Serengeti pops up this luxury resort. The tented resorts that you stay at are very nice as well, but we're not the type that feel that you have to live like bush people in order to enjoy Africa.

    You will see so many zebras, wildebeests, lions, hippopotamus, elephants, ...
    Once you get to Kenya you will even see a bunch of rhinos. Some are even curious.

    Here are a couple Gerenuk Wallers gazelles:

    Here is a pregnant cheetah:

    Here is a leopard (which was the most elusive to see during our tour):

  • Hopefully when you go you get to witness the Crossing of the Mara (part of the Great Migration). We were lucky (we went in August - but still probably just luck). Here are a couple of pictures. One shows that not all of the animals make it across. We had to park the safari vehicle near the crossing point for several hours to witness everything. The animals crossing would scout out the area prior to crossing. They actually made a couple of aborted attempts (charged down to the river, but stopped short of crossing) before they actually did a crossing. For whatever reason, we actually saw animals crossing in both directions at different times (within the same few hours).


  • edited July 27

    oh wow!!! the only Rhino we saw on the BZ&SA were in a reserve! So that is exciting to see they are roaming. The Four seasons looks very nice. I see you found a cheetah!!! That will make my day if I am so lucky! and I see you found the Geranuks! They are interesting! I hope we will see them as well.

    The safari vehicles are much taller than the ones on BZ&SA...are folks seated below the top as well?
    Keep the pix coming! I am enjoying them immensely!

    Did Tauck get the visas for you?

  • Here are some of the places you stay at during this tour (at least in 2015):

    Arusha accommodations, on the shore of Lake Delta.

    A sunrise from the hotel room in Ngorongoro Crater

    Grounds of the hotel in Amboselli

    Mt Kenya Safari Club - Grounds include a 9 hole golf course, a shrubbery maze, horseback riding, ...

    Tented room in the Masai Mara (which included a canopied bed and marble countertops in the bathroom)

    View from the tented room. At times there were several hippos in the river.

  • They look amazing...and similar to some of the places we stayed on the BZ&SA. It thought the tents were simply amazing...lol and it looks like the views will be as well.

    Do you remember who your Tour guide was?

  • edited July 27

    Cathy - The safari vehicles seat six people guests a driver and perhaps a tour director. You can sit or stand. I chose to stand almost the entire time even when driving for better viewing. That is dusty at times and required a bandana to protect against the dust. We actually used 'buffs' from the show Survivor. They worked great. There were 4 vehicles used for the entire tour, since the tour only had 24 people. The vehicles are in constant communication with each other so if one vehicle spot something amazing the others can come a running.

    Our tour director's first name was Seth, but I forget his last name. He was very good.

    We had to obtain our own visas. We went through Visa Central (the firm recommended by Tauck).

    You will be blown away by the amount and variety of animals. Multiple types of lots of animals. In addition to the thousands of animals that are basically posing for you we were able to see the following:

    1) bloodied lions (apparently after being in battle)
    2) lions stalking and attacking a wildebeest
    3) rhinos doing battle (this was at a distance, but it still stirred up a large dust cloud)
    4) elephants charging (almost out of a Tarzan movie, where one trumpeted and then dozens came running from all over the place)
    5) crocodiles with wildebeest in its jaws

    These things remind you that you aren't in a zoo, even though for the most part the animals seem to care less that you are there.

  • Cathy - Here is our Tour Director, Seth, and the ballon pilot. They were describing to us, on the patio of the tented resort in the Masai Mara, what to expect for the next morning's balloon ride. By the way, the balloon ride and breakfast following was amazing.

    Like I said previously, I liked almost everything about this tour. It is our number one favorite tour of the nine Tauck tours we've taken.

  • We will certainly bring our buffs we used in BZ&SA and our safari clothing. We never saw a kill so I am torn ...I want to see it...yet I don't.

    I used Visa central to obtain my visas for Australia and New Zealand so it is nice to know I can use them again for this trip. Thank you for telling me that. Getting the visa in Zambia....was less than desirable...we waited in a huge long line. UGH

  • Smiling Sam
    11:47AM
    Cathy - Here is our Tour Director, Seth, and the ballon pilot. .. . .

    We had the "legendary" Seth, in 2015 too!

  • Sam...have you also been on other African tours?

    Alan...I was waiting for your input! pictures please!

  • Cathy - I have not been on any other Africa tours. The Tauck tours that I have taken in order are:
    Treasures of the Aegean (2011)
    Peru & Galapagos (2013)
    Spain & Portugal (2014)
    Kenya & Tanzania (2015)
    Venice & Dalmatian Coast (2016)
    Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand (2017)
    Berlin, Danube, & Krakow (2018)
    Portrait of India (2018)
    Israel & Jordan (2019)
    Cancelled in 2020 - Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice
    Will be cancelled in 2020 - Egypt: Jewels of the Nile

  • We have a short list
    Amsterdam to Budapest by riverboat 2017
    Botswana, South Africa & Zambia 2019

    Booked
    Antarctica 2020
    Northern India and Nepal 2022

    on our bucket list
    Kenya & Tanzania 2023
    French Escapade: Paris to the Rivera 2023

  • As far as Africa goes we have only done K&T it 2015 and B,SA,Z in 2019. Other than Egypt which is still Africa, if we go back again it will be to either of the two we have already taken, or, depending on health and pocket book, K&T + R, but that is a lot of money for 15 - 30 minutes with my friends the Silver Backs. We have three in the queue, if and when they ever go. XMAS Mkts 2020, #12 (2021 backup), Egypt & Jordan, #13, Jan 2021 (no backup yet), Treasures of the Aegean, #14 , May 2021 (no backup)

  • If Antarctica is cancelled we will try to do it December 2021. The trouble is...many trips require early bookings or they fill up. So we have several things booked. If they get cancelled rebooking could be difficult simple because of TIME.

    We already have an NCL cruise booked in Feb 2021, Jamaica April 2021, A regent Baltic cruise booked August 2021 and now we have rebooked our New England road trip for Sept. 2021 and if Antarctica is cancelled...rebook for December 2021.

    For 2022 a Regent Asian cruise in March, and Northern India Nepal for October. But what happens if the 2021 trips don't transpire either?

    Now we are looking for 2023 trips.

  • edited July 27

    Cathy, our previous tour directors for Africa have been, Rachel, twice...not sure she is still doing Africa, Chris Mancini who you have had, you could get him for K and T, Susan, probably still around and most recently Anna .... more in a private message to you. Seth is supposed to be the best of the best, I believe Sealord had him for his first K and T Tour.
    You will enjoy being able to stand up in the vehicles for the K and T tour, which are much lower than the Southern Africa vehicles. Be careful. On most of our tours, the driver would caution you he was about to move and even encourage you to sit while the vehicle was in motion because of the bumps and sudden changes in direction. On our most recent tour, we soon learned that one driver did not. He suddenly moved very fast and turned, I was still standing on the seat, I was thrown back hard against the open car Top, right in the middle of my back, it took the wind from me and I was in pain for a couple of hours. You really have to learn to steady and brace yourself when the vehicle is still while taking photographs because you are on a springy car seat.
    We only have two more tours booked with Tauck, Israel and Jordan in April and Scandinavia by land in July, I’m not convinced they will go. We have a tour with another company in September 2021. We don’t want to book any more tours with Tauck because we don’t want to lose any more money with them since the Dreamsaver money from insurance cannot be carried any further than 2021. As soon as tours are definitely back on, we will start booking. We realize the most desirable tours for us might be booked up, but there are plenty of places we would love to go and we have already been to our Dream places. It will take careful planning both for time of year and for getting visas, you have to be really careful your passport is not out for a visa when you are supposed to be traveling somewhere else. We got our visas from Visa central, though I believe Tauck used another company before them, so it could have been the equivalent company.

  • If we return to Africa, it will probably be a third ‘K&T’. It is just a spectacular trip. We did have Seth and he was quite good at changing tires.

  • Sealord...I guess you must like it?!?!? lol

    Honestly...I keep adding trips to my bucket list. AS long as the health and the money hold out...we will keep traveling. We are so glad we discovered Tauck.

  • British...I honestly would be thrilled to have Chris again. I know his wife is from Tanzania so maybe there is the chance. He was amazing.

    The visas are now mostly electronic...so if i can apply online we will probably not be sending the passports anywhere. Did you have to submit your passport to get the visas last year?

  • For those of you who like animals I have a story. Yesterday a hawk with prey in it’s mouth flew into my patio door where I was sitting, backed off and flew into the house. I had a hawk with around a three foot wingspan flying around our living room (vaulted ceiling). I tried to bag it with a grocery bag, but the bag was way too small. My wife brought a plastic garbage can bag and rolled it open. I cornered the hawk next to a stairway ‘fence’ and used a spatula to ‘help’ it into the bag. Then I dropped it out of the upturned bag from a second story window, and it flew away before the ground arrived. Amazingly, no damage to hawk or captor. Falconers wear big leather gloves, I had just bare hands. My wife says it was a ‘good omen’.

  • Sealord -- I would have moved into a hotel until animal control got rid of it!

  • edited July 28

    MCD ... you probably have the right answer, but we were on autopilot. That bird could have done some serious damage to the house or to me. The artwork survived, and I avoided the emergency room, so it was a good day. I did do some post event research. Birds don’t get rabies. I was just curious. The bird did not lay a talon on me.

  • Thanks for starting this thread, Cathy. We took our first Tauck trip to B,Z,SA in June 2019 and just fell in love with Africa and Tauck. We are looking at booking K&T for August 2022. Is it too early to book? There are no prices yet.

    Thank you for sharing all the information and photos. This is so helpful and gets me excited at the thought of traveling again.

    For those of you that have done both trips (B,Z,SA and K&T), what are the differences that stand out?

  • edited July 31

    Luv2Travel02
    1:00PM
    Thanks for starting this thread, Cathy. We took our first Tauck trip to B,Z,SA in June 2019 and just fell in love with Africa and Tauck. We are looking at booking K&T for August 2022. Is it too early to book? There are no prices yet. . . .

    The dates are posted, so you can book now. Remember folks who were cancelled from 2020 are rebooking, and who knows what will happen in 2021 so go for it, especially if you have a preferred date!! Once prices are published, you will have two weeks to cancel with no penalty, but with things the way they are right now, maybe even longer.

    When did you go in June? We were on the 25 May - 5 June 2019 Botswana departure.

    Botswana- slightly more varieties of animals and wider range of sizes, Meerkats, Pigmy Mongoose, Bat eared Fox, wild dogs up to Elephants and Giraffe, etc. in Botswana. Higher numbers and larger gatherings of animals, except for maybe elephants and Hippos, on K&T. On K&T, except in the Masai Mara, you stay in hotels. On Botswana, except for Livingstone and Cape Town, you stay in "tents" (glamping). In Botswana there was more variation in terrain, more savanah, etc. along the Zambezi, Khwai River Camp and Eagle Island camp and in the Okavango Delta, then you are in part of the Kalahari dessert near the Makgadikgadi Pan salt flats. On K&T- the Masai Mara in Kenya is just the northern section of the Serengeti in Tanzania so have nearly identical landscape. Both are truly fantastic and I give them both a 10, maybe a 10.25 for Botswana.

  • We were on the June 29, 2019 B,Z, SA trip. We had Anna as our TD and only 13 in our tour group. We were a small group but all got along so well! We loved seeing the different terrain so that is good to know that the K&T trip is not so we won't have unrealistic expectations. The tents were so luxurious that it didn't feel like camping except for maybe the Kalahari. We are excited to explore this part of Africa!

  • We also had Seth as our Tour Director in July 2018 (two of our traveling companions were Sealord and his spouse). Seth was outstanding and we are so glad we had him as our TD. The trip of course was beyond belief. Of our 5 Tauck trips K&T remains our number one.

  • Interesting comparison Alan. I was afraid we did the best first...but I am confident K&T will be just as wonderful.

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