Unfortunately for Tanzania,seems you have to use two different Tour Operators. We traveled with Africa remote safaris in August this year but only managed to visit Lake Nakuru and Maasai Mara. Read my review(tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g294209-d146…) I have spent the last month trying to put together an extensive safari combining Kenya,Rwanda,Tanzania and South Africa and it seems you need a local Tour agent(except SA) in every country. In South Africa there is a self drive option.
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I have been back home for three months and I still find my mind wandering back to East Africa. I must say that I met some of the most hospitable people on earth especially the friends I made in just three weeks and the experiences that traveling with Africa Remote Safaris afforded me.
In a way East Africa worked its way into my bloodstream and ARS found a perfect balance between educating us about our surroundings and letting the splendor of the location speak for itself. No feeling in the world compares to riding down the winding streets of Stone in the local ‘Dala Dala bus’ or meeting the ‘Jemps’ indigenous tribe off Lake Baringo. Sounds cheesy to say I will never forget this trip. It was like nothing I have ever experienced before, in the best possible way.
My friend and I had spent months researching about the trip because we did not want to go through Tour agents. As a matter of fact, we basically noted down some suggested companies on TA, put down some contacts and flew on a Package flight to Mombasa , while in Mombasa we stayed at Capricho cottages where we made our contact with Christine of Africa Remote Safaris. She managed to arrange our trip within a day and also booked our Train tickets to Nairobi. The train ride though adventurous took a toll (12hrs) on us, if I had to do it again. I would have preferred flying. Nevertheless, they were able to change our Itinerary since it was too late in the day to take the drive to Maasai Mara. We drove to Lake Nakuru for an overnight stay outside the Lake Nakuru National Park.( Waterbuck hotel) The next morning we were early into the park and although we had experienced some rainfall, there were some flamingos on this day…The water level had risen so much that most of the Acacia trees were submerged in water. Our highlight of Lake Nakuru was seeing a family of 5 Rhinos that our Evans(our guide) sadly informed us last month that they were gunned down by poachers. We left Morning for Lake Baringo where again floods had swept away what remained of the Lake Baringo country Club. We ended up camping at the Island Camp which was spectacular. A thousand and one nights is the correct description clear sky with Stars was a sight to behold. Hearing Hippos right outside our tents was nerve wrecking but a great experience. The following morning Paul a local guide from the Turgen Tribe took us around the Island and to his village where we had Lunch(Smoked fish) and Ugerlee.. a local meal ,baked with corn. We visited the caves and saw dozens of Birds species. We also learned how to milk a goat.
The following day to woke up early since we wanted to view Kerio Valley and also visit Kabarnet town where some of Kenya’s prominent runners hail from. The roads were PERFECT; I think the best in Kenya. We continued to Maasai Mara via Bomet road(where we stopped to visit a local school).
We arrived at our camp outside Talek late in the evening and missed the game drive. The camp proved to be beyond what we had expected, surprisingly, we had beds and hot water. Ben the cook was exceptional. (20 years experience). Three nights spent in Maasai Mara, I could go on and on about the game drives but can never forget the sight of meeting a pride of 16(yes 16)! Lions together on our last day.(having missed out 2 days) Since we had seen all the Big five. I wondered if Evans the guide had choreographed that moment.
On the 6th day, we left for the sleepy town of Mwanza via Isbania border where we changed Cars and were introduced to Shaffie our Tanzanian guide. We spend the night at Speke Bay Lodge. (This drive took us almost 10hrs) where we met a very rude manager(owner) who had no meals prepared for us since we arrived after dinner(we were the only guests) . All the same we were happy to just shower and sleep after the drive. By 10am the following morning we were in the Serengeti where we spent two nights at Ikoma Safari camp operated by a German manager/Owner?(cant recall his name) .
Our safari also took us to Ngorongoro crater and lake Manyara. I will be posting in the Tanzania forum of our experiences especially in Nyika and Mto wa mbuu.
After Tanzania we traveled back via Arusha to Amboseli with the only lows being the 20 minute wait for Evans at the border. We spent another night at Kibo Safari camp, with the Mt Kilimanjaro within our sights. We were back in Nairobi the following day and connected a Precision air flight to Zanzibar.
All in all I want to thank Africa Remote Safaris, especially our guides Evans and Shaffie whose knowledge, companionship and experience made this trip truly magical and enriching.
I would really prefer paying on arrival. Any chance you could advice on the mode of payment? Did you pay by card?
Most Local Tour operators prefer advance payments of at least 30-40% down payments so as to book accommodation. Kenya and Tanzania tend to fill up in Summer. Most companies would have no problem with card payments except in Zanzibar(Tanzania) where you are likely to run into problems if paying by card.
Thank you Paul. Would you know if we need Visa to Enter Zanzibar as well? I am also puzzled on why there is such a significant difference in the safari quotes.
Hi, should you decide to use A R S , I would not hesitate to recommend their guide Eustace.
We have just returned home from a memorable 10 day tour of Kenya with Eustace of Africa Remote Safaris. He was an excellent guide. I cannot find the right words to describe this guide’s exceptional skills. We were in Amboseli on our second day of the safari. As we drove back to Kibo Safari camp Eustace spotted a sickly looking Lion lying under a tree. He was very observant and pointed out to us that the Lion must have either been injured in a territorial fight or by a charging Buffalo. We returned to the camp as it was getting past 6pm. The next day Eustace mentioned that he had alerted the local Ranger about the weak Lion. Eustace explained to us that due to the arrival of a new alpha in his pride, the young Lion must have been kicked out of the Pride before he could learn how to hunt for himself. Out of curiosity I decided to pursue the full story with Eustace and found out that the Ranger who had initially been alerted was unresponsive . Eustace unsatisfied insisted that the local ranger inform his superiors or he would end up doing it himself. On being informed, the Boss agreed with Eustace’s observation of the weak Lion, sent for Meat from the Local Butchery and directed his colleagues to feed the young Lion appropriately. Eustace understood how the Lion Pride works and had great knowledge of all the wild animals of Kenya. He proved to us that there is more to being a Tour guide with the compassion he had for the wild animals. He could not accept a lazy response from the Ranger.
In Maasai Mara, we were lucky to witness a Cheetah hunting.It had a young Impala in its Mouth. After it had chocked the prey, Eustace explained that the mother was calling her cubs .It was exciting to see the young cubs racing each other to where there mother stood proudly with theKill. Soon the mother gave the Kill to the young Cubs and Eustace explained the significance of this as a learning process where the Cubs had to learn how to open up the Kill. Soon we spotted a Lion almost 900 yards away, Eustace explained that the Lion must have smelled the Kill and was moving towards the Cheetahs direction, I was amazed as the Cheetah held her fort by remaining Frozen on the Kill, She did not move an inch as the Cubs mimicked her. No sooner had the Lion walked past the cheetah than the Cubs came back to take a bite of the Kill. By this time some vans and Tourist cars with Chinese tourists had driven to where we were, quickly taking some snapshots and taken off oblivious of the story that was unfolding in front of us. The Lion returned after about 20 minutes with a pack of Noisy Jackals in tow. Eustace explained to us that the Jackles were trying to distract the Lion from the Kill because if the Lion found the Kill, there would be nothing left. All this events took place within one game drive within one day. There was more that I would highlight but in brief, Game viewing with a knowledgeable guide was an experience never to be forgotten. Eustace was definitely a bar above the average. During the safari days we discussed several conservation issues, including the Human wildlife conflicts, co-incidentally 6 Lions from the Nairobi park had been killed by local Maasais, we viewed first hand the impact of the Northern Corrider road that cuts through part of the Nairobi National park, we also discussed maintaining wildlife corridors and of course Kenyan politics. Eustace Baragu was an excellent guide and made or Kenya Tour a wonderful experience.
A big thank you to Africa Remote Safaris. Joe and Erin.
Which travel dates are better for Zanzibar? We are thinking of June when there are less crowds.(Or is it already tourist season? ...Between Zanzibar and Lamu which one would be better? or can one travel by Sea between the two Islands? Joe-We also travel to Northern Serengeti and have requested for Eustace.