I thought I would start a new discussion because the itinerary and the details have changed for 2021.
We are scheduled to take this tour mid-August next year. I’ve only heard about a hotel change in Arusha. Are there other changes of which we should be aware?
For NancyCohen: We did our last trip in July of 2018. Our next is June 26, 2021. We saw a massive migration across the Mara in 2014, but only a dribble inn 2018 ... same time of year. I think July is a good time to go. Those trips in 2021 are now sold out ... we got the second to last booking, and the other has since gone away. The new itinerary does not ‘visit’ the Oldupai Gorge, it flies over it. We did not need to go there for a third time. The balloon ride is scheduled for the last full day, so there is no second chance if the winds don’t cooperate ... we got the ride on one trip, but not the other. I have a lot more confidence that this trip will happen as compared to our chances of going to Antarctica. If we do make it to Antarctica, we will move Africa to 2022. The downloaded itinerary also says, “the safari vehicles built exclusively for Tauck”. We had some vehicles on our last trip that were not as good as those on our first trip. I did make some comments about that ... perhaps that helped.
Thanks, Sealord. Maybe we’ll travel together to K&T in 2022. I think having the flight to the Serengeti is an improvement - the ride was quite long. I would much prefer an extra game drive. Yes, the Oldupai Gorge was great but once is enough. Our safari vehicles were absolutely fine - no complaints! In 2019 we had 3 nites at the Fairmont Nara Safari Club - it was fantastic falling asleep to the sounds of the hippos! For 2021 trip, the tour is there only 2 nites. Luckily, we had a glorious morning for the hot air balloon ride. From Nairobi we flew direct to CAPETOWN for a week of sightseeing, shopping and exploring. Needless to say, we went home exhausted but already planning a return trip to Africa. We looked at the other African trips but K&T seems to offer the most game drives. British, Alan, Sam, CathySteve: your thoughts?? Onward to Morocco in November 2021!!!!🤞
I'd go back in a heartbeat!
We loved the Tanzania Zanzibar tour back in 2014. When we counted the number of safaris Back then, there were the same number of them than the longer K and T at the time but it was also much cheaper, better bang for your buck. I think it was less expensive because there were less flights and in just one country, also only one visa. That tour also went to the less visited western part of Tanzania, the Western SERENGETI which is very beautiful there. You often see wildlife programs filmed in that area, much fewer tourists too. You have the opportunity to see the mane-less mail lions too. The camp out there did not have electrical outlets in half the tents but that was being rectified, I loved that camp.
I haven’t checked the itinerary lately but from reading here it sounds as if the hotel in Zanzibar is a much better one than we stayed at if that is important to you. Zanzibar was very interesting and different, I don’t need to see it again, but so glad we took that tour. I’d love to go back to the Western Serengeti. Also, the drive we took from one particular area to another on that tour was through the most spectacular scenery, I forget where it was, I’d have to check my notes, but it was like driving through Eden. Baobab trees everywhere, winding roads through the landscape, waterholes full of zebra etc etc, sometimes I think flying everywhere you miss out on so much. Every time we saw something of interest we would stop on the way, a safari anyway. To me, Africa is so much more than just the animals, we love the scenery and I take so many photos of it. I can go to our zoo and see everything from Meerkats to Gorillas with new babies I can touch the glass where a gorilla is right there, same with lions. , in Africa, it’s the environment you see them in that makes it for me.
There are other counties in Africa that Tauck do not visit or don't any more, lack of interest at the time they offered the tour that I think if they would put them on again it would be different now so many more people have already been to the more popular places. We went to Namibia with another company, want to go back, Tauck offered it only for a couple of years then stopped. We will be exploring other companies when there is hope of the Pandemic improving, we already were making plans to broaden our experience of Africa, but now it’s on hold. We had plans to visit Madagascar in 2022 and as soon as the Bridges tour is up for 2024, we are taking our entire family fro our fiftieth wedding anniversary.
British - I th8nk I commented once before about this, but that is what we did for our 50th anniversary and it was wonderful! We have been to almost 100 countries and people ask me all the time if we have a favorite and we don’t as we find each country interesting in their own way. BUT, since we did the bridges tour, I always say Tanzania! Our family talks about it all the time.
Our first K&T had three nights at Mount Kenya, the second had three nights at the Fairmont Mara, and this one has three nights at the Four Seasons. So we have done the drive to the Four Seasons twice, and the road was no smoother nor more interesting the second time. It was 90% repositioning and 10% sight seeing, so I think I’m happy that we will be flying the next time. I took videos to show friends how rough the ride was which we were doing at very high speed at times. While at the Four Seasons we were able to enjoy many animals just sitting on our rooms’ veranda. The property is not fenced, so you never know what you might encounter. They provide escorts to get you to your room at night. They require a signed ‘waiver’ just to stay there.
I believe the little guy may be a Klipspringer. There was a family of three that lived somewhere under the raised walkway near our room at the 4 Seasons. In addition to it being a very long, what I remember about the drive from Gorongoro Crater to the Serengeti was the dusty road. It was warm enough where we wanted our vehicle windows open- unless our vehicle was last in line or the wind wasn't blowing cross-wise. Whenever the driver saw a truck or bus coming from the opposite direction he would give us a head's up so we would have enough time to fight the windows closed. If we didn't, we would end up sucking up a pretty serious cloud of dust!
When we drove to the Four Seasons last December, there was torrential rain, thunder and lightening, striking all around us. Roads and bridges were flooded in places and we had to make detours In some areas because we could not get through. One of the highlights was stopping by a group of elephants that were literally frolicking and trumpeting in the rain. One big guy even ended up slipping and sliding. We also saw a male lion who was so wet that his huge mane was plastered down over his face and he looked so miserable. These were both great photo opportunities. It’s always good to keep your eyes peeled whatever the conditions.
The short rains persisted last year, they should have been done by the time we were visiting but it’s happened for a couple of years now. I’m glad to have seen that part of Africa in both a prolonged drought and then this. As soon as we get home we just want to go back.
And yes, it is a Klipspringer
For NANCY Cohen....I just found my notes for my Tanzania Zanzibar tour. Here is an excerpt
Sunday 6th July TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK and KIKOTI CAMP
We left Arusha this morning, heading through the main town area where we passed the building that held the United Nations war crimes trials for Rwanda in the recent past and a monument that marked the halfway point between Cairo and Johannesburg. The road beyond was very newly paved, an absolute treat compared to current Pennsylvania roads. Along the roads we could see the typical scenery of the area, scrub trees and vegetation, dry, dusty soil, because it is now early into the dry season. Herds of Maasi cattle being tended by Maasi tribesmen in their red and blue blanket capes. The younger boys were looking after goats and there were some men with donkeys carrying loads. We passed some of their homes, small round huts made of mud walls and thatch, the number of huts is supposed to show how many wives each man has in his little area. There were a few areas with small homes and shops spread along the road, just dirt footpaths around them, everyone looked busy. Occasionally there were a few children with hands extended at the edge of the roads, we are told not to give them anything, it just encourages them to do it more.
As soon as we got into the park we started to see animals. The vegetation was bushes, trees like acacia with big thorns on them and lots of dry grasses in between. Then here and there were the very odd looking BAOBAB trees that look like an upside down tree, or the Tree of Life. They really are magnificent to look at.
The park was teeming with zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, waterbuck, impalas, baboons, a few dik diks, which are very tiny antelopes. A huge numbers of elephant, some so near us you could literally put your hand out and touch one if you were so foolish. There were a few warthogs, we saw a big family of mongoose. Lots of colorful birds, eagles, vultures, ostrich and a secretary bird too ( my favorite bird)
We stopped in a shady spot where the staff from our next accommodation were waiting for us with long picnic tables and a hot lunch buffet. Amazing. More driving through the park, more animal sitings and on to KIKOTI camp, in the middle of nowhere overlooking the park, just 18 large tents in all, set on top of platforms, big bed surrounded my mosquito nets, rustic bathroom area, with a screened off shower and toilet and water heated by a fire up at the lodge area. The tents are really spread out along a sand path and during dark hours we must be escorted back and forth to the main area because there could be wild animals just outside our tents.
In the evening before dinner, 6 local Maasi entertained us by showing us how they made fire. Then they danced and jumped for us, their way of impressing their strength and to impress their women. We went to bed very tired and were awoken in the night several times by a large animal outside our tent.
And this is why the drives between camps are just like game drives
Monday 14th July
We said a sad goodbye to everyone at Kirawira Camp this morning and made our way to the airport in the Serengeti about two hours away. We viewed animals left and right on the way and saw two sets of lions. We stopped at a picnic area we remembered from our previous time in Africa and ate our packed lunches watching a family of dwarf mongooses nearby and some hyrax, a small rodent looking animal maybe a little smaller than a groundhog that is directly related to elephants. Then onto the rough dirt airstrip where we waited for our two twelve seater single engine planes to arrive. As soon as they came in we boarded and set off for Zanzibar. We flew at about 14,000 feet, unpressurized, I felt quite short of breath at times and had to alternate between slow calm breathing and then rapid breaths to get enough oxygen in my system. The flight was 21/4 hours, over land and the Indian Ocean to the islands of Zanzibar. Trivia--- Freddie Mercury of Queen was born in Zanzibar.
Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has many a mixture of old Muslim style/ Portuguese style buildings, fascinating wood doors and a four hundred year history of an Arab Slavery Center. We are staying in A Serena hotel, made of old Colonial homes, right by the sea. Dinner in the restaurant, with the waiters and a small band singing and dancing now and then. More exploration tomorrow.
One last piece to whet people’s appetites for a trip to Africa, Tanzania and Zanzibar
Friday 11th July BALLOON RIDE
UP AT 4am this morning, phew! The Balloon company came to get us at 4-45am, and then it was almost an hour's drive to the balloon field, all in the dark along the bumpy roads and seeing animals like hyenas and even a hippo making his way back to water.
There were 4 very large balloons being prepared for flight, apparently some of the biggest in the world. Our balloon had a large oblong basket that held 16 people in eight compartments of two. We got into the balloon by the astronaut method-- the basket lay on it's side and we launched ourselves in, lying on our backs but sitting down, harnessed to the basket. Then when the balloon took flight we held onto rope handles until the basket righted itself. The pilot was British and very competent, the flight was very smooth and peaceful and such a glorious site flying over the savannah. We spied lions, elephants, hippos, antelope, gazelles, baboons. The landing was very smooth, the basket lay on it's side again and we climbed out. We were in the air for an hour. Then we all gathered for champagne and then a full British breakfast out in the bush with men dressed in turbans looking like Indian servants to serve us. There was a man with a huge beautiful copper pitcher of hot water and a large copper wash basin and fresh towels to wash our hands, and bush toilets. Amazing trip. Then slowly back to the lodge with more game viewing, the highlight being lions with nine cubs. Lunch and a nap followed by a swim in a very cold swimming pool. Evening viewing of an incredible sunset and full moon at the same time. A lie in tomorrow!
Stop, you are killing me! I wanna go back, now!!
You sure know how to make us miss traveling
British - Thank you so much for the virtual trip...sounds wonderful. Let’s be honest: there really aren’t any BAD trips-every place has something to offer. I loved The Serengeti and Ngorongoro in Tanzania and was mesmerized by Masai Mara in Kenya. I could get enough of the hippos as a bedtime ‘lullaby’. To me, Zanzibar seems like a beach resort with some historic elements. One of my travel mates keeps pushing for Zanzibar...still discussing!
I’m looking at 2022...still wide open.
You are in Zanzibar for such a short time, and for us, it’s not as beachy as you would think. Interesting to visit but would rather ‘beach’ somewhere else.
Although a seasoned Tauck traveler, I have not visited Africa yet. Actually, I never really had a desire to do so but reading comments from those of you who have visited there multiple times (British), I definitely want to go. Can you recommend a tour that gives an introduction to the continent and wildlife? I am in good health and can walk for extended periods. I admit, however, that I like to have down time to rejuvenate. Thanks in advance to those who wish to offer guidance.
I’m sure you will get several points of view, but IMHO K & T offers the most bang for the buck if your interest is primarily in the animals. We also did the Zambia, Botswana, and South Africa and we love that also. It is part safari and part touring. We would do it again for the safari part, but we are not interested in ‘repeating’ the touring part. It was good once, but we don’t need to do it again. I don’t particularly want to go to Zanzibar, and that trip is relatively short. It is a long way from California to Africa.
Thanks, Sealord, for your feedback. I presume "K&T" stands for Kenya and Tanzania. That tour seems to be a favorite for many. Yes, I want to see the animals but I don't want to be on the go for days at a time. I have no problem with very early morning starts, but I like to enjoy down time in the late afternoon and evening. Thanks again.
First thing, you won’t be walking anywhere really on most of the Africa tours, in fact you are so ready for exercise once you get home after sitting in safari vehicles for hours.
Each part of Africa I have been to is different regarding the ‘rules’ on Safari, example, in Southern Africa you are generally not allowed to stand up in the vehicle In K and T, you really only get the best view by standing on the seats, so you have to have good balance.
You will have down time most afternoons. Evenings are short because you get back quite late After the evening safari, eat dinner almost immediate then go to bed because of the early start in the morning.
Everyone has their own particular favorite, I’ve taken them all, my favorite is the Botswana and South Africa. We love the animals, but also the culture, so the half and half of Elegant South Africa Was very interesting.
If you want the classic Safari, then do K and T.
For beauty, Namibia is my favorite, Tauck does not go there any more, then Rwanda. But still my favorite, just because it was my first experiences and I have been there three times now, is Tanzania.
Thanks, British, for your feedback. I will research the Elegant South Africa. I'm thinking that tour might be a good introduction. Thanks again.
Sending you a private message, check the box in Right hand corner
Have to agree with British on K and T/South Africa. We did K and T before we found Tauck and really enjoyed it. Lots of animals. With South Africa you see most of the same animals- just not as many. Plus you get the history and culture. Our tour of Robbin Island prison was with a former prisoner local guide and was fascinating. And Victoria Falls was awesome.
One issue with Safari days is they can get you "off your schedule. Up very early for a light breakfast, then safari. Big breakfast late morning when you return. Big late lunch, snack around our normal dinner time, then off on safari again. Late dinner after you return. But, seeing all the animals makes it all worthwhile!
I've told friends who haven't been that if they plan on Africa one time, I'd go with South Africa. Unless their only interest is the animals and/or lots of them. For that it would be K and T.
British - I responded to your PM.
jeffr775 - Thanks for your feedback. I think the Elegant South Africa tour would be perfect for my first African adventure.
Great photos. I have been on many hot air balloon rides in New Mexico and New England, but I have never seen this type of "loading." Only one person is smiling. Seems quite odd and very uncomfortable. Thanks for sharing, however.
I’ve done both styles of load-in. This type of load-in used on K&T was much easier! You just ‘slide’ rather than climb over the basket.
Also to take into consideration.... the balloon rides in Kenya get canceled quite often due to unsuitable weather conditions. In Tanzania that is a rare occurrence.