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Helpful Hints & Preparations for going on a Safari

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Re: Helpful Hints & Preparations for going on a Safari

Post  littlewid on Fri Aug 07, 2015 10:32 pm

Thanks Lai thats brilliant, we will definitely be asking

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Re: Helpful Hints & Preparations for going on a Safari

Post  Safariman on Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:00 pm

As Lai has said LW, I would also be pleased to offer whatever advice I can and answer any queries you may have.
A safari takes lots of planning and should not be rushed. The 3 main points I always raise when anybody asks me about planning a safari are no.1 WHEN? Do you have to go at a specific time of year for school holidays etc. as this can determine no.2 WHERE? You do not want to go during rainy seasons if you can help it and possibly try and avoid any high seasons and do you want to combine it with time on a beach or sightseeing etc. Which brings us to no.3 COST? This is probably the most important. Most countries that are suitable for safaris, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia etc. tend to price in US$, so the exchange rate with the £ can make a big difference. The exception is South Africa which prices in SA Rand, which is particularly favourable at the moment. There are lots to think about!!!

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Re: Helpful Hints & Preparations for going on a Safari

Post  littlewid on Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:22 pm

Hi SM, thanks so much for that, lots to think about. Ours would have to be in the school holidays because of Lara and Kian. Tom and I are keen for just a whole Safari but Emma is also keen on the beach included as well, she is very keen to go to Mombasa. Tom and I are keen for Kenya whilst Emma would love Kenya but also SA. The kids would go anywhere as long as animals are involved Very Happy I suppose cost is also a thought as there is only one of me and there is four of them and also accommodation........I can see me ending up with the kids or one of them, I suppose that again depends on the cost and how the accommodation is for sleeping people or whether we could all share one accommodation. so there is lots to think of and as you rightly say the seasons as well.
I think it will be a huge discussion and then asking you and Lai how you can help/advise with all our questions. So I am really grateful for the offer of help. Thanks so much.

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Re: Helpful Hints & Preparations for going on a Safari

Post  Laikipia on Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:34 pm

Stay clear of SA and canned hunting, Kenya and the coast is easy to arrange although I have never been to the coast as I don't like beach holidays. Lots of camps in Kenya have family tents, so it's worth plenty of research. Also Heathrow to Nairobi is 8 to 9 hours only whereas SA is 11 or so hours.

Lai cheers
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Re: Helpful Hints & Preparations for going on a Safari

Post  littlewid on Sun Aug 16, 2015 10:51 pm

Thanks for that Lai. We had more discussions last night and at the moment we are interested in an 8 day safari in Kenya and then going to Mombassa so we can see the turtles and other marine life.......no lounging on the beach. We also need to have advice as to what time of year is best and if the kids need to come out of school so we go at the best time. Obviously coming out of school is not good but if the kids get a better experience then Emma and Tom are happy to pay the fine and neither of them have any major exams next year.

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Re: Helpful Hints & Preparations for going on a Safari

Post  Laikipia on Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:11 am

All good ideas Littlewid and I agree totally. Get some good advice on when it is best to see what and also the temperature, don't go when it is raining or roastie toastie hot affraid

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Re: Helpful Hints & Preparations for going on a Safari

Post  Safariman on Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:56 pm

I agree with Lai LW, try and get some expert advice. It is probably worth looking at the websites of some of the Safari specialists such as Imagine Africa, Expert Africa, Gamewatchers Safaris (porini.com) and ATR (Africantravelresource.com).
The later website ATR is very good as it lists all the various lodges and camps and rates them and indicates costs etc. You don't have to use any of them but they can provide ideas and information.
Given a choice my ideal time to visit would be Jan/Feb time, the camps are a lot quieter and cheaper and the weather at the coast is ideal. Perhaps you could arrange to holiday during half-term so the children do not miss too much school. July, August, Sept. is the peak season particularly for the Mara due to the migration, meaning it is very expensive with more vehicles than wildebeest and the weather at the coast is not good!!
Internal travel by air can be expensive particularly x5 so if you want to do a lot of travelling around a vehicle would be a lot cheaper but you would also see a lot of Kenyan roads!! You can fly direct to the coast from the Mara without having to go via Nairobi but it is fairly expensive. The other alternative as there are 5 of you is to find out how much an air charter would cost, it might work out cheaper.
Another website worth looking at is Offbeat Safaris.com (I am biased as I use them for my trips) but there website is very good and details their various camps with safari ideas.
The big imponderable is cost, how much do you want to spend, as that can be a big determining factor. You really need to have a budget in mind as the costs can vary dramatically i.e. how long is a piece of string?
Hope this doesn't confuse you too much.
Enjoy your deliberations!!

SM
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Re: Helpful Hints & Preparations for going on a Safari

Post  Laikipia on Mon Aug 17, 2015 6:44 pm

Safariman, biased you? Surely not! Also another thought is you don't have to visit the Mara, Kenya has other beautiful areas not so touristy. Ol Pejeta is lovely and has rhinos You could also use an agent in Nairobi as we do. But we are getting ahead of ourselves here, sorry.

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Re: Helpful Hints & Preparations for going on a Safari

Post  Safariman on Sat Aug 29, 2015 4:04 pm

Lai, I have just checked with the Kenyan evisa website and found out that they have changed the format of the evisa and when I printed the new visa off, shock horror the visa is only valid for 3 MONTHS!!!!!!! That would mean that my original evisa would not be invalid when I go to Kenya in October. I have just had to apply again on a new application form for another visa and another $51!!!
You probably need to check your evisa to ensure it is valid for when you are in Kenya!!

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Re: Helpful Hints & Preparations for going on a Safari

Post  Laikipia on Mon Aug 31, 2015 11:03 am

YIKES affraid  no way, that's awful Safariman.  They always used to be 3 months when applying from the UK but with the eVisa it didn't say that.  I had better check what I printed off, it only says date of issue 14th July which would be a disaster by a few days!

I had better go on-line and take a look - if that's the case that is a real pain.

Thanks for the heads up - can you imagine getting there and finding that out affraid

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Re: Helpful Hints & Preparations for going on a Safari

Post  Safariman on Mon Aug 31, 2015 11:51 am

Lai, I have just received evisa approval for my SECOND application!!!
They actually sent an approval e-mail to me which again ended up in my junk mail. The e-mail stated that my visa will be valid for 90 days from date of issue. The only problem now is trying to get a copy of the visa as I am having problems accessing their site; I will just have to be patient and try later.
I think when we applied at the beginning of July they had not sorted their website out properly and the visas we received were not properly thought through. It is very annoying to have to pay twice for the same visa but a lot better than being refused entry.
I am travelling to Nairobi with BA and they sent me an e-mail saying that you must present your visa at check-in or they will not allow you to board. That was the reason I decided to check again on the e-citizen website; I am glad I did!!!
I think unfortunately you will be in the same boat as me and have to reapply.

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Re: Helpful Hints & Preparations for going on a Safari

Post  Laikipia on Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:11 am

Good  morning Safariman.  Yes you are spot on.  I went on-line after your news and saw that my evisa was now going to expire on 12th October!  As you say a new system and trial and error!

So I am re-applying and paying a further $51.  Just now their website is not working, or the visa section isn't so I will re-apply later today.  I also had the BA e-mail but never gave it a second thought!  I am so pleased you did Very Happy

Hey ho - it will be worth it when we get there and are enjoying the first Tusker of the day http://www.picgifs.c   I certainly owe you a few Thanks

Lai

ps which day do you fly?  We are on the BA dayflight and spending a night at Ole Sereni hotel.
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Re: Helpful Hints & Preparations for going on a Safari

Post  Safariman on Tue Sep 01, 2015 12:18 pm

Lai, as today is the first day when evisas are compulsory, their website is probably extremely busy and likely to crash. It will be a matter of keep trying and hope; at least you are registered as an e-citizen and there is plenty of time before you head out.
I am flying out on the 14th Oct. also with BA and staying overnight at the Aero Club of East Africa which is actually within the Wilson Airport complex and it means I can then walk to the Safari-link check-in in the morning and avoid the traffic. The rooms are pretty basic and very noisy due to the proximity of the Langata Road but it is cheap and they do a great English Breakfast.
I am not sure which date you are flying out on but as from 14th Oct. BA's flight to Nairobi is moving from Terminal 5 to terminal 3, something else I will have to remember!!
As you say can't wait for a Tusker or 2!!

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Re: Helpful Hints & Preparations for going on a Safari

Post  Laikipia on Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:24 am

Good morning Safariman. Well by the afternoon the site was up and running and I re-applied for my e-visa. I have an e-mail which says it has been approved so I will download it today.

Oh yes, I know the Aero club, we had a day room there once before a night flight and had a good lunch there. Rooms basic and noisy as you say but very convenient!

I am flying BA from Manchester so have to change terminals which is a pain. Ali is London based so will be okay. cheers I must remember that!!!

So we'll see you on the 18th

Lai
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