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Guidance on Single Supplement Fess

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I am a single female in my late 40's and travel frequently internationally. I am going to make my first trip to Africa (outside of Egypt) next August/September 2017. I plan on spending my first 4 nights with a friend in Cape Town and then fly to Tanzania for a 7-9 night safari. Looking to do my last 3-4 nights in Zanzibar.

I am looking for luxury accommodations that charge minimal single supplement fees or even better yet, none at all. I have started doing research and Singita looks like it will "fit the bill, albeit a big bill" for 6 nights of my safari in Tanzania. Would also like to spend 2-3 nights in either Tarangire or Ngorongoro. Was considering traveling with &Beyond until I realized they changed their policy and now charge a 50% supplement charge. The camps that Asilia offers look amazing, can't determine what SS fee they may or may not assess.

Would be great to get some recommendations for the 2 parks mentioned above. I also am just starting my research for Zanzibar so that would be wonderful to get information there too, I am a certified diver so will want to stay in a spot that offers diving. Thank you!

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    I travel solo on safari regularly (3 times a year) and so avoiding single supplements is a bit of a specialised subject of mine.

    Having said that, I usually avoid the northern circuit of Tanzania as an area that isn't a great option for a solo safari because the most logical way to do a safari there is by road, because the parks are close together and most itineraries I see include short stops, like 1 night at the crater, 2 nights Tarangire etc, and to do that by air would be expensive. But to do it by road means that as a solo traveler you are covering the guide and vehicle costs all to yourself and then you have the accommodation on top that might also charge a single supplement.

    On the whole, I find a fly in type safari works out the best value for a solo safari goer. For that reason, I would choose either Kenya or the Southern parks of Tanzania (Selous and Ruaha), where a fly in safari makes more sense. You could fly into camps in the northern circuit too, but unless you want to spend a fortune on the flights it would make sense to have fewer longer stops (3 or 4 nights at each camp).

    One great way to travel single supplement free is to travel off peak season. Many areas in Kenya/Tanzania can be equally good for game viewing outside peak season, but without the crowds, but usually that means going for example to the Mara when the migration is not there. There are many camps that don't charge single supplements outside peak season. Travelling in peak season, you will find it a lot more difficult, and Aug/Sept is as peak as you get.

    So if you are wedded to the Northern Circuit of Tanzania and Aug/Sept timescale I am not sure I can help you much. You mention Asilia- they do not charge single supplements outside peak season, although in northern Tanzania I think "peak" can vary from area to area because of the movement of the migration. But Aug/Sept is certainly peak season for the northern Serengeti, and probably for all other parts of Tanzania too.

    Here are some ideas outside the northern circuit-
    Beho Beho in Selous is a lovely camp, it's quite pricey but there's no single supplement all year round.
    In Ruaha, Kwihala (Asilia) charges only in peak season (1 July to 31 October). There is a new camp opening shortly called Ikuka- I have booked them for next year and my agent said the single supplement was quite low. That might be worth looking at for Aug/Sept in combination with Beho Beho. Also, I think Mwagusi has quite a low single supplement, so for peak season would be a good option.

    In Kenya, the Kicheche group only charge from mid July to end of October. I like Kenya in January/Feb, which would actually be a much better time for Cape Town. Offbeat Safaris don't charge all year round. Asilia, again, only in peak season (1 July to end Oct I think). Mara Plains is a very high end camp and I think the owner's policy is single supplements only in peak season (but that is from their Botswana camps so I could be wrong there).

    There are other safari areas that might be easier to combine with Cape Town. As I said above, the weather in CT will be much nicer in Jan/Feb, and at that time there are great deals to be had in Botswana at luxury camps and single supplement would be very easy to avoid.

    In Zambia, look at Robin Pope safaris who do not charge a single supplement all year round and would be a great choice for Aug/Sept. Also Norman Carr have some 7 or 10 night packages with no single supplement.

    If you want to add Zanzibar, the southern parks of Tanzania would work really well as you can fly direct from Selous/Ruaha into Zanzibar.

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    Singita, all three properties (and few private houses), though most select the tents (w/ air conditioning as during daytime hours it does get pretty hot... turned off at night as that's when it gets cool), but does cost a chunk of change. Besides the NO single tents at full rate for single supplement only goes into effect if there are 3 single tents booked, thus the 4th tent isn't charged the SS.

    Also note that Aug/Sep isn't the ideal time to be in the Western corridor where Singita is located... better in June to early-July.

    When I visited Faru Faru it was full, while the Lodge was empty but for a family that had spent day horseback riding and took their dinner in their own cottage. I was the only guest so had dinner with the chef... it was interesting. Sabora is nice and the farthest south overlooking the Grumeti River, but few guests.

    For Aug/Sep if for TNZ, then consider Sayari or others in the No. Serengeti/Kogatende as there are a few luxe properties up this way. Or consider Lemala's Kuria camp... 2yrs old on it's own conservancy.

    Alternative could be Kenya's Masai Mara at Mara Plains that has been completely redone and a beauty. It's barely a 5min drive to the Reserve (located on the Olare Motogori conservancy) and you will have own vehicle, but again a chunk of change.

    With a better price on the Naboisho conservancy would be Ol Seki,, with only 6 very large tents, 2 family tents, amazing views and also likely own vehicle.

    Best part of being on conservancies is that besides game drives you can also participate in bush walks, meals... yet still lots of game and visit the Reserve itself.

    Further to consider are the comments by Stokeygirl covering various areas

    There are many luxe camps throughout KEN, whether in the Mara or elsewhere. So question? Where else do you plan to visit in either country?

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    Thank you both for your thoughtful replies to my post! I am basically set for July and August because I have several other trips lined up from now until that timeframe in 2017.

    I am starting my investigation for this trip and Tanzania appears to be one of the better countries for a newbie on safari. Would love to hear other recommendations. Am open to also looking at Kenya and will start looking at the locations you both mention above.

    Regarding Tanzania was looking at the Northern circuit as most of the travel sites state that is where I will see the "Big 5" with some regularity (?). Please advise if that is not the case. I am aware that the parks will be crowded so again any thoughts on locations that have lots of wildlife and scenery without the crowds. I am not so into birds so that is not a factor in my choice.

    Am interested in spending some time at the beach, was looking at Zanzibar although again open to recommendations. Greatly appreciate your assistance! Sorry for lateness on my reply, I was away on a trip and arrived home yesterday.

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    Firstly, I don't really believe in certain destinations being "good for newbies". What do you think makes a country good for beginners? I don't really know why some destinations are suggested as good for first timers (usually by people who haven't been anywhere else!). To me it often seems a bit patronising to send first timers to the busier, popular destinations. A bit like saying someone who is new to wine wouldn't appreciate the good stuff.....

    Secondly, think about the term "big 5" and what it means. Historically, this term was coined by big game hunters to describe the 5 most aggressive/dangerous animals to hunt. What relevance does that have to today's photographic safaris? They are not the 5 rarest animals, the 5 most interesting animals or the 5 most photogenic animals. Why is a buffalo more interesting to see than a giraffe or a zebra? Why is a leopard more interesting than a cheetah or the highly endangered African Wild Dog?

    If you look at destinations for the "big 5" you will rule out a lot of excellent choices, mainly due to the rarity of rhino. The other four can be seen fairly easily in many safari destinations, with leopard being the most elusive. South Luangwa in Zambia has the most consistently excellent leopard sightings of any park I've been to, but you won't find any rhino there. Ruaha has 10% of the world's remaining African lion population but again, no rhino.

    If you must go in July/August, you are going to struggle to avoid single supplements, especially in N Tanzania and Kenya. For July/Aug, my best suggestion would be Zambia- try Robin Pope in SOuth Luangwa, plus there are a few in Lower Zambezi who don't charge single supplements- Sausage Tree, Potato Bush,Amanzi, Anabezi. If you want to add on beach, you can fairly easily combine with Lake Malawi. They do offer scuba diving there, which is obviously fresh water diving, with the attraction being the fresh water cichlids.

    Alternatively, Southern Tanzania- look at Beho Beho in Selous and Mwagusi or Ikuka in Ruaha (these last 2 are not single supplement free but have pretty low single supplements). These parks are really easy to combine with Zanzibar or Mafia.

    If you want Kenya, then the only single supplement free option I know of is Offbeat Safaris, although they are not higher end luxury which you seem to be after. I'd suggest you save Kenya for another time and go in, say, Jan or Feb.

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