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Feb 2013 - Please help me choose among accommodation options

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Greetings!

Long story short...we'd been planning on India for 2 weeks end of February with friends. Change in plans as friends need to postpone that trip and it turns out we have fewer nights than originally thought due to DH's work schedule. We've switched gears and made a crazy last minute decison to go to Tanzania. I've been to South Africa twice, but DH has never been to Africa. We are very excited.

Want upscale experience but not necessarily top deluxe in every place. Like good food and service. Want a diversity of experience...mix of lodge, mobile, permament tented. Excellent guides a must. Would love opportunituy for a walking safari and/or night drive. I understand some areas can get crowded but would like to avoid mobs as much as possible. I was definitely spoiled in Sabi area (Londolozi and Lion Sands) and would like to avoid a huge number of vehicles around every sighting.

As we are a bit late in booking and need to wrap this up quickly it looks like we have a couple of choices to make. Fast.
Will be on the ground for 9 nights. One night near Arusha for flight.

Choices to make based on availability and my requests/interests:

1. Manyara Ranch Conservancy OR Swala in Tarangire. Looks like Manyara may be best this time of year? Preference between the two? Both properties seem great, but locations different. Leaning towards Manyara Ranch.

2. For Crater area: Lemala Ngorongoro OR Exploreans? Lemala N seems to be getting some mixed reviews, but I like the location and access to crater. Exploreans looks and sounds gorgeous and comfortable with good food. Pretty setting. But about a km from park entrance.

3. 2 nights Lemala Ndutu and 2 nights Kusini or all 4 nights at Lemala Ndutu? Don't like to move too much, but leaning towards 2n/2n combo. Thoughts?

Thanks for any input you may have. Availabilty is very tight so I am trying to make some decisions quickly. Cheers!!

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