A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

1. Trip planning

Ugh! I hate packing

This African Safari trip was essentially our first big retirement trip and we splurged a bit. AKA a "SKI" vacation as our fellow traveler Tim put it. (Spending kids inheritance). Our plan for retirement is to take "big" trips while we can then settle down.

Note to reader: We completed this trip in August, and it is now October. But I will write this as if it were in real time, so the dates going forward will align with the actual dates of the trip. Be forewarned: This log is photo heavy! Feel free to take the time to read each entry separately rather than trying to get through it all at once.

Who we are:
Deb, age 60, self employed, semi-retired consultant
Rick, age 59, retired engineer

This is a trip that has been in the making for a few years, however the details of the itinerary were determined earlier this year. The Tanzania Wing safari was selected first, then Kenya was added once we realized that we were flying all that way, it seemed silly not to see more. The Kilimanjaro trek was added last, after a minor mistake in booking our flights cause us to reschedule our return flight home. Once we realized that, I told our travel agent this was Rick's 60th birthday trip and he would like to do a day hike on Kili. She found us an overnight trek, so that is how the third week was added to the trip.

Travel agent: Wendy at Solo to Group Travel, Windham NH
US Booking agent used by Wendy: United Travel Group (UTG)
Kenya agent: Pollman's Tours and Safaris
Tanzania agent: Wing safari by Elwana Resorts via Ranger Safaris
Kilimonjaro Climb through Altezza Travel

Packing was a bit of a challenge for Rick and I, since we were not sure about the climates at each camp and we needed clothes for Kili and we were limited to 20kg in a soft sided bag. I did ok with just a few extra things I didn't need clothing-wise, he over packed (as usual). We did laundry often, it was included in Tanzania, but the cost to have it done in Kenya was very reasonable, so we took advantage when we could. Where we really over packed were the "extras". We carried everything we brought with us through Kenya, but when we got to Tanzania, we found out we could leave our "Kili specific" stuff behind at the lodge in Arusha. So glad Rick though to bring an extra duffel bag. This made it easier sorting and repacking at every stop. Then before we went up the mountain, we were able to pick up that bag, repack again and bring only the clothes and things we needed for those two days leaving the rest behind at the hotel in Moshi.

Here was the basic clothing I packed:
pants: 4 pair (including what I wore on the plane)
shorts: two pair (only needed one), plus one pair of gym shorts in case I decided to work out (ha! didn't, but wore the shorts the one warm night to sleep in)
tshirts/short sleeved tops: 5
Long sleeved t-shirts: 2
LS tops for layering (button down): 1, plus an anorak
Rain coat (didn't need, thank goodness!)
Bras: 5 including 3 exercise bras which were recommended and very appreciated on the very bumpy roads
underwear: 12, I planned on wearing and tossing or hand washing, since I read that they won't wash underwear at the camps. What I read was wrong.
socks: 6 pair
Sneakers and sandals
Extras for the hike: hiking boots, three pair wool socks, leggings

Rick had more LS layering shirts, shorts, pjs and pants and a jacket. And a handy safari vest. He managed to wear most even though they weren't needed.

The extras:
Diabetes supplies were something I wouldn't find so I brought 2.5x what I knew I needed. I did not use any of the extra, but was glad I had them.
Meds: we brought Advil, pepto, tums, Imodium, cold meds, allergy meds, z-packs, and altitude sickness meds. I broke in the zpacks when I had an upset stomach one night and didn't want to take any chances, but it was nothing. Everything else we brought home.
We brought three pump spray bottles of bug spray, a bunch of Off wipes and two bottles of sunscreen. We used one partial bottle each of bug spray and bottle of sunscreen. Extras went to to the hiking staff.
We had bandaides, creams and ointments, chapsticks, that we never used. I think most came home.
I brought snack cookies and candies in case I went low. Lots were left for the hiking staff.
I brought a monopod for my camera I never used but came home.

For the trek we rented sleeping bags so we brought sleeping bag liners and inflatable pillows with us. The airline also gave us pillows to take, so we did. They were all left with the porters. Our bags on the way home were considerably lighter than on the way there!

The final stress was how much cash to take to tip. It was all very confusing because each section of the trip was booked differently, and there were the hotels and meals at the "non-safari" lodges that we had to contend with. I won't detail what I brought, but will say that the tour guide you use will make recommendations to follow, which is what we did. We paid all tips in US dollars.

The only other thing we needed to prepare for the trip was vaccinations. Since we were going to Kenya, we required a yellow fever vaccination, which they checked for when crossing the border into Tanzania. I also needed to update my tetanus, and since neither Rick nor I had our childhood vaccination records, we each had an MMR shot as well. We could have had a blood test to check for measles response, but the shot was easier. We had oral typhoid to take prior to the trip as well as anti-malarial drugs that we took during and one week after the trip. We already had our hepatitis vaccines.

The final itinerary:

Aug 9, 2019 BOS to NBO via Doha traveling on Qatar Airways
Aug 11: arrive NBO, Nairobi Sarena hotel one night
Aug 12-13: Drive to Maasai Mara, stay at Serena Mara Lodge 2 nights
Aug 14: Drive to Lake Nakuru then on to Soysambu Conservancy and spend one night at Lake Elementaita Serena for one night
Aug 15-16: Drive to Amboseli NP, stay at Amboseli Serena Lodge for two nights
Aug 17: Transfer to Tanzania, stay at Arusha Coffee Lodge one night
Aug 18-19: Fly to Tarangire NP, stay at Tarangire Treetops two nights
Aug 20-21: Fly to Ngorongoro Crater, stay at The Manor at Ngorongoro for two nights
Aug 22-23: Fly to Serengeti, stay at Migration Camp for two nights
Aug 24: Fly back to Arusha, transfer to Moshi, stay at Aishi Machame 1 night
Aug 25-26: Hike on Mount Kilimonjaro for two days on the Marangu trial, stay overnight at Mandara Hut
Aug 27-28: Relax at Machweo Wellness Retreat for two nights
Aug 28: Depart Tanzania to BOS, via Doha on Qatar Airways
Aug 29: Home!

Posted by debinnh travels 12:47 Archived in USA Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 1 of 14) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. » Next