We began planning our trip last June (2007) when we unexpectedly found ourselves with the ability to go on a special vacation. Within a few weeks we had decided to go on a private tented safari to Tanzania. Here is a link to the thread containing more details about our preparation:
My husband is a talented amateur photographer so I ended up consulting with Andy Biggs (thanks Andy!) and got quotes from 4 companies. We ended up going with Thomson Safaris. Which company any one of us goes with depends on so many factors, many of them personal, so I see why there are so many different outfitters out there. Everyone can find one that will fit their personal parameters.
In July we put down our deposit and began the long list of necessary preparations including gathering Montana-specific gifts to give to people we might find special in some way. Thomson had assured me when I booked that a car battery would be provided to power my CPAP throughout my trip, including at Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel. However, only two weeks before, our pre-departure specialist emailed me that since the hotel had electricity I should just be sure to bring a converter and adaptor on the trip. Little alarm bells went off in my head but I didn’t act on it. Instead, I hunted around town but couldn’t find what I needed in stock. I had to special order it. It arrived only the day before we left. I was so pressed at that point that I just threw it in my duffle that night without even opening the box.
Our friends and neighbors, Jerry and Judy picked us up and took us to the airport early the next morning. We left Bozeman on Friday, March 7th at 840am, transited MSP and AMS and landed at JRO at 845pm on Saturday, March 8th. All three flights had been overbooked. We had a 15 minute delay leaving MSP when, after pushback, the engines wouldn’t fire up properly. They emitted a tremendous volume of grey and brown smoke each time the pilot tried which, I must admit, DH and I both found alarming. Finally, about the 4th try something “unstuck” according to the pilot and we were on our way. Our stopover in Schiphol was long enough to allow me to get a pedicure for our beach time at XpresSpa as I had run out of time to get one at home. On our final leg a native Tanzanian sitting next to me taught us the greeting “Mambo” with its reply “Poa” which proved to be wonderful to know.
This was our planned itinerary while in Tanzania:
Sunday, March 9– Safari briefing, church in Arusha, game viewing in Tarangire NP en route our camp. Overnight Thomson tented camp (Thomson calls them Nyumbas.)
Monday, March 10 – Game viewing, Tarangire. O’nt Nyumba
Tuesday, March 11 – Drive to Ngorongoro Thomson camp w/arrival in time for lunch. Game viewing drive in the afternoon. O’nt Nyumba.
Wednesday, March 12 – Visit with Maasai in the morning, Game viewing in the crater in the afternoon. O’nt Nyumba
Thursday, March 13 –Game viewing in Serengeti en route Thomson camp. O’nt Nyumba.
Friday, March 14 – Game viewing in Serengeti, celebrate 15th wedding anniversary. O’nt Nyumba.
Saturday, March 15 – Game viewing in Serengeti while changing to different Thomson camp. O’nt Nyumba.
Sunday, March 16 – Game viewing in Serengeti. O’nt Nyumba.
Monday, March 17 – Game viewing en route to airstrip, fly to Zanzibar via Arusha. O’nt at Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel.
Tuesday, March 17 – Full day at Ras Nungwi at leisure.
Wednesday, March 19 – Full day at Ras Nungwi at leisure.
Thursday, March 20 – Morning in Stonetown, fly to Dar, day room at the Slipway. Catch late night KL flight.
Friday, March 21 – arrive back home in Bozeman.
Next up – arrival, questionable water practices, church, our first game viewing and tse tse fly zapping.
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