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One night - arrive NBO late, to Arusha early

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Washington DC...
posts: 37
reviews: 60
One night - arrive NBO late, to Arusha early

Hello all,

Thank you for your insightful comments, experts!

My wife and I arrive into NBO at 8:30, and are headed to Arusha the next morning. (Unfortunately, I found out KLM flies directly to Kilimanjaro after purchasing tickets - would've been the best option). We have five days before beginning our Kilimanjaro trek, and will organize 4 days of safari from Arusha. (We have transport back to Nairobi post-climb, and will stay in Nairobi a few days).

Due to the short stay, I'm considering two options:

1 - Stay close to NBO and fly to Arusha in the morning (US200 ea);

2 - Stay at a hotel where the shuttle bus stops (I read Norfolk, Stanley, and Hilton) and take the 8:00 am bus (cost=?? ea).

I'm interested in your recommendations - to fly or bus? And, if that option, where to stay? The cheapest one way flights to Arusha seem to be from Wilson airport, but it'll probably be worth a few bob to avoid the hassle and depart from JKIA. Since we ride back to Nairobi on the same route, I'm not worried about missing any sights on the road (are there any?). Thank you!

Washington DC...
posts: 37
reviews: 60
1. Re: One night - arrive NBO late, to Arusha early

One more thing - I haven't booked the safari company yet, but have three itineraries here. If anyone has a recommendation of a tour company that would start in Nairobi, go to Maasai Mara/Serengeti, Ngorongoro and drop us off in Arusha, that would be an option too!

Basically your recommendations to get from arrival on Tuesday night at 8:30 pm until being in Arusha at Noon on Sunday! Thanks again! - MoDC

nyc
posts: 13,479
2. Re: One night - arrive NBO late, to Arusha early

Besides the fact you don't mention when you are traveling? Month? Difficult to say whether you should visit Masai Mara or Serengeti.

If you only have 1/nt NBO, you con't have time to visit the Mara, unless you head next morning here. To drive will take 5-6/hrs and the same on the return. With so little time, you can't do more than 2/nts. Then, fly to Arusha if you can get back to Wilson from the Mara in time for the 12:40 or 1pm flight to Kilimanjaro. Once here, you're already into the 3rd day and can make it as far as Lake Manyara for late game drive and o/n. (There is a 2pm shuttle bus from NBO, but won't get you into Arusha till late and will have to o/n here)

Next day (if you did shuttle bus vs flying) you can drive to Ngorongoro for afternoon game drive and overnight.. Next morning you'd have to depart very early for the 6+/hr drive to departure hotel for your Kili climb.

Day 1 - Arv. NBO 8:30pm - o/n

Day 2 - Drive to Mara - o/n

Day 3 - Masai Mara - o/n

Day 4 - Drive to NBO; fly to JRO; drive to Manyara - o/n

Day 5 - Drive to Ngorongoro; afternoon game drive - o/n

Day 6 - Drive to JRO/Moshi for Kili climb

or

Day 1-3 - as above

Day 4 - Drive to NBO, connect to 2pm shuttle to Arusha - o/n

Day 5 - Drive (6/hrs) to Ngorongoro; afternoon game drive - o/n

Day 6 - Drive to JRO/Moshi for Kili climb

No way you can fit in the Serengeti, unless you forego the Masai Mara and then you still have many long drives, spending more time on the roads than game viewing.

Day 1 - Arv. NBO 8:30pm - o/n

Day 2 - Shuttle bus to Arusha; arv bet. 12-2pm; drive to Manyara - o/n

Day 3 - Drive to Ngorongoro; afternoon crater tour - o/n

Day 4 - Drive to Serengeti - o/n

Day 5 - Serengeti - o/n

Day 6 - It's a full day to drive back to JRO/Moshi

- would suggest you fly from Serengeti to JRO for transfer to your Moshi Kili climb hotel.

There's just so much you can cover in 5/days... and then you expect to climb. Most visitors, do the Kili climb first, then use the safari for R&R.

Washington DC...
posts: 37
reviews: 60
3. Re: One night - arrive NBO late, to Arusha early

Thanks for the reply!

I didn't plan to do both the Mara and Serengeti - I was just being open to what kind of options I have with this time frame. Sounds like it isn't likely to find one operator that can do the Mara and get us to Arusha. If we fly to JRO, we could have the tour operator pick us up there and go directly to Manyara (we'll be tired, I'm sure).

I am pretty much resigned to either of two options:

A: (your itinerary)

Day 1 - Arv. NBO 8:30pm - o/n

Day 2 - Flight or Shuttle bus to Arusha; arv bet. 12-2pm; drive to Manyara - o/n

Day 3 - Drive to Ngorongoro; afternoon crater tour - o/n

Day 4 - Drive to Serengeti - o/n

Day 5 - Serengeti - o/n

Day 6 - Fly from Serengeti to Arusha (where we meet our climbing group)

B: "current" itinerary

Day 1 - Arv. NBO 8:30pm - o/n

Day 2 - Flight or Shuttle bus to Arusha; arv bet. 12-2pm; drive to Manyara - o/n

Day 3 - From Manyara - Drive to Serengeti, via Oldupai Gorge;

Day 4 - Serengeti - o/n

Day 5 - Serengeti to Ngorongoro Crater - afternoon crater tour - o/n

Day 6 - Drive from Ngorongoro to Arusha (where we meet our climbing group)

nyc
posts: 13,479
4. Re: One night - arrive NBO late, to Arusha early

Your itinerary works and omits the flight from Serengeti, so saves $$$. But, note... the drive from Manyara which is doable, will still be a long day driving, by at least 2.5-3/hrs over driving from Ngorongoro. As long as you're aware, either itinerary will work.

And, while there are few operators who do both Kenya & Tanzania, an outfitter in Kenya can arrange the flight/shuttle from NBO to Arusha and have their partner operator pick-up the Tanzania portion. Or vice versa, a Tanzania operator can arrange thru their Kenya partner, the Kenyan portion of the itinerary.

Washington DC...
posts: 37
reviews: 60
5. Re: One night - arrive NBO late, to Arusha early

4sandi,

Great tips, thanks.

I think i'm resigned to staying overnight in Nairobi and taking the shuttle bus to Arusha, since we'll likely be sleeping anyway. We'll head to Manyara for the afternoon, or possibly stay somewhere outside of Arusha with a nice view to relax and recover from jet lag before starting off the next morning.

Does anyone have a strong opinion about Manyara? After talking it over, we're thinking a day of rest and then just doing Ngorongoro crater and a couple days in Serengeti might be sufficient! If this trip, we'll fly from Serengeti to Arusha to avoid the 8 hour drive back, and give us an extra morning safari trip.

Thanks again!

MoDC

Washington DC...
posts: 37
reviews: 60
6. Re: One night - arrive NBO late, to Arusha early

Well, the unfortunate political unrest in Kenya helped make this decision much easier in the end. I was able to plead with KLM/NWA to allow us to change our flight destination from NBO to JRO, so we're flying directly to Tanzania.

This violence and the political corruption that catalyzed it is terrible and sad and sounds as if it is getting uglier. I lived in Kenya in 1997, and the riots pre-election with Moi forced me to leave. Never would have guessed 10 years later the same thing would happen (or that I would be so oblivious to the timing!).

Phoenix, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
posts: 6,648
reviews: 43
7. Re: One night - arrive NBO late, to Arusha early

Good for you, MoDC! Getting KLM to give you that change in flights will make it all easier. FYI, the flight arrives in the evening, and I suggest Mountain Lodge as a good place to overnight. And I strongly suggest flying back from the Serengeti. The best money you could spend. I would think about driving to Manyara from Arusha and doing a game drive and then continue to Ngorongoro to spend the night. Next day, spend 5 to 6 hours in the crater and stay another night. Then, early start to the Serengeti. Oldupai? Been there enough times to tell you frankly that more people don't care for it, than really like it. The experience includes a short lecture by one of the staff and a chance to see the reproductions of some of the 'finds' that were made both there, and in another site some distance away.

What is there not to like? The time you spend there. The drive from the crater to almost any lodge you will visit in the Serengeti is a full half day. The hour or more that it takes to stop at Oldupai - for some visitors - dilutes the pleasure & information it offers.

8. Re: One night - arrive NBO late, to Arusha early

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