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Northern Tanzania and Kenya or not?

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My husband and I are planning a trip this Oct. to Tanzania and maybe Kenya... any one know of Great Safaris (out of Glendale) Happy World Safaris, Kapolondo, Swala and Access2? So many to choose from!
Great Safaris is recommending Samburu National Reserve along with the Northern Tanzania group and Mara Masai... but I think being closer to Arusha, I should head to Mt. K and Amboseli instead. They are recommending flying everywhere, which of course, ups the expense... though not sure when I'll be back, and I have up to 14 days total. Any suggestions?!?! Budget is midrange, but can splurge on inter flights or tree top lodges when appropriate.... Thanks!

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    P.S. I'm not sure where I'm flying in and out of, as that depends on what itiniary I decide on... at this point it's all open... I want to see animals, large game, lions, elephants, etc. and maybe some of the migration without the overcrowdedness of humans everywhere... I hear Masai Mara is better in October though I also hear Kenya is overly touristed with large hotels, etc.

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    I see you have been checking in on those other posts. Good you followed the suggestion to post here.

    It is hard to see river crossings of the migrating wildebeest and zebras in Kenya’s Maasai Mara without lots of other vehicles.

    River crossing in northern Serengeti have far fewer cars than the Mara. But in Northern Serengeti it can be expensive because the lodging (luxury permanent tented camps) in the north are expensive. The further from the river, the less costly the camps, but the more time you will spend driving to get to/from the river. That driving is a game drive where you see animals, though.

    Seeing a river crossing in either country can take hours of waiting and some luck. Seeing big herds of wildebeest and zebra that are not crossing the Mara River and having them to yourself without other vehicles is easy in either country.

    With 14 days total, it probably makes sense to stick with just Tanzania, your first choice in destinations.

    If just Tanz and you are driving:

    1 Leave home
    2 Arrive Kilimanjaro and overnight probably 45 minutes away in Arusha. There are numerous hotels in Arusha.

    3-4 Drive 3-ish hours to Tarangire. Spectacular at the end of the dry season. Huge ele herds come to the river to drink and to the swamp. I like Tarangire Safari Lodge. It’s actually tents. One of best views in Africa, overlooking the Tarangire River, which has lots of wildlife in dry season. One of the more economical options.

    5 Drive 2-ish hours to Lake Manyara. Good for monkeys: baboons, blue monkeys (somewhat rare), vervets. You mention splurging for Tree Hotels. AndBeyond has a very fancy Tree House in Lake Manyara that is expensive, as in $1000 pp/pn. It is quite a ways into the park and takes some time to get there. For that reason people sometimes spend 2 nights, making it even more expensive, and extending your trip timeline. There are many other less expensive options. Lake Manyara Wildlife Lodge has the best location for views, as it was the first lodge in the park. Very nice. Room #94 has a nice lake view of the (shrinking, shriveling) lake.

    6 Drive 5-ish hours, about half of which are game drive to Central Serengeti. Many options from very lovely, secluded permanent tented camps to lodges. Fantastic location and one of the least expensive places to stay in Serengeti is Seronera Wildlife Lodge.

    7 Remain in Central Serengeti because the Seronera River attracts animals all season. Include a trip to the Retima Hippo Pool.

    8 Drive 3 or more hours north. North is likely where the migration will be. Where you stay depends on how badly you want to try to see the herds crossing the Mara River and your budget. The farther north, the better your crossing odds because you are nearer the river. Way north, really close to the river are the most expensive camps $800-over $1000 pp/pn. The other thing about those camps is you usually have to fly in to them and use their guides as opposed to driving in. There are some options that cost less, but they are not as close to the river. Flycatchers, Wild Frontier are a couple of options. I think Nasikia too. That’s not a complete list. Further from the river means you spend a couple of hours driving to get to the river to look for/wait for a crossing. If the crossing happens early in the morning, you’re out of luck cause you’re not there yet. If it is very late afternoon, again out of luck because you have to head back to leave the park by sundown. But if the goal is to see herds, not necessarily crossing the river, then that’s a much easier task that requires less luck and waiting. You can also stay at Lobo Lodge, which is not quite as far north as any of the other options mentioned. The pros are Lobo costs less. The cons are it may be farther away from the bulk of the herds and a lodge is not as intimate, remote, secluded as a smaller camp. But who knows exactly where the herds will be, the weather and rain dictate the wildes’ movements.

    9-10 Remain in Northern Serengeti. Schedule some full days out with 2 boxed meals to maximize your time here.

    11 Drive to Ngorongoro Crater, maybe 6-8 hours, at least half is a game drive. If you are way north in an area called Kogatende it is possible that it is too far north to get to the crater in one day. In that case, you’d do 2 nights way north and the 3rd (night of day 10) come back south a wee bit to Lobo, which is definitely close enough to the crater to make it in 5-6 hours. I like Sopa Lodge at the crater because Sopa, along with about 3 other accommodations, uss a separate access road into the crater. Many options at the crater including Lemela, a camp which uses that access road.

    12 Do a full day in the crater. Definitely take a breakfast box to beat the crowds. A lunch box is good too. Crater visits are expensive so some people just go for a half day to save a little. Overnight Sopa again.

    13 Option 1: If you wanted 2 crater visits but not all in one day, you could do one of them on Day 12 and spend the other half of the Day 12 doing an escorted walk, village visit, or just relaxing. Then do a morning crater visit on Day 13 before heading back to Kilimanjaro for the evening flight. Option 2: Just head back to Kilimanjaro for the evening flight on Day 13, maybe stopping at some markets along the way. Crater to Kilimanjaro is about 5 hours.

    14 Arrive home

    To make this itinerary better, add one more day in Tarangire, meaning it is a 15 day trip. Tarangire in the dry season is marvelous and 3 days allows ample time at river and at the Silale Swamp, both for ele activity.

    To make this itinerary shorter, not better, on Day 12 do only a morning crater visit and then head the 5-ish hours to Kilimanjaro for the eve flight.

    The reason you were encouraged by agents to do some flying is because it takes a lot of time to get way up to Northern Serengeti, where the migration is. If you fly, it cuts down on time. It also means you can go to the camps near the river where odds of a crossing are best. Flying boosts costs, plus commissions, so that’s an incentive to have you fly too. But flying can make very good sense. If you added some flights to the above itinerary, you could do

    1-2 Leave home arrive JRO and o/nt nearby at KIA Lodge in JRO or someplace else

    3 Fly to Seronera airstrip in Central Serengeti. Use the camp/lodge local guide
    4 Central Serengeti

    5 Be driven by your Central Serengeti guide north to Lobo or Kogatende and dropped off. Now your guide is the resident guide for your northern camp.
    6-7 At northern camp

    8 Fly from Lobo or Kogatende airstrip to Manyara Airstip. Met by a different guide who will accompany you for the rest of the trip. Afternoon drive in Lake Manyara and o/nt Lake Manyara

    9 Full day in crater and o/nt Crater

    10 Drive 4-ish hours to Tarangire and o/nt Tarangire
    11-12 Stay in Tarangire. Flying saved time, so 3 nights in Tarangire to both spend time at the swamp and lots of time at the river are possible.

    13 Do a morning drive in Tarangire and drive 4-ish hours to Kilimanjaro for eve flight
    14 Arrive home

    To make this itinerary better, add one more night in Northern Serengeti for 4 nights there. That's a 15 day trip.

    To make this itinerary shorter, not better, do only 2 nights Tarangire.

    If your Tanzania options come back too expensive, you could try Kenya, which is often a little less expensive than Tanzania, depending on your accommodations.

    For the companies you mention, Access2Tanz is well known. I see lots of their vehicles. I know of Swala too. There are many good companies and it is best to contact a couple of them. I just got back from my 3rd Tanz trip in 3 years using Guide George Mbwambo. He is with The Wild Source, which has offices in Arusha and Colorado. Really great guide and company. They also do Kenya, if you decided to go there instead.

    Have a great trip.

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    I used Access2Tanzania in Feb 2013 for an absolutely wonderful trip in only Tanzania. We did much the route described above, my trip report is here if you want to read it.

    I went to Porini Camps through Gamewatchers for safari this Feb and liked it even more (haven't had time to write a trip report yet). I don't know whether it was that I had the first safari under my belt and I knew what to expect and what I wanted to see more of and that's what I focused on (staying only in tents and looking mostly for cats and rhinos). I loved both safaris and I don't think you could go wrong with either. I don't know about combining them into two weeks though, seems like a lot of travel. I'd minimize the amount you move around, that made a big difference to me this time in terms of amount of game rides. Even flying between camps, which minimizes transit time on roads, eats into those precious early morning game rides, which are my favorite part of the day!

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    atravelynn provide some very useful info. And here's a bit more:
    With over 1/million wildies, zebra and gazelles not all head into the Mara.... about half remain behind in Serengeti's Kogatende area And while is it assumed the herds that have been in the Mara since July will depart for the No. Serengeti in Sept, it's not unusual for them to depart as late as Oct. Or as they did this past year departed in Sept and then turned back to the Mara and hung about for another 3+/wks... ugh! Who ever knows? We're talking animals and the rains, so varies from year-to-year. The reason many choose to visit both Mara for min 3/nts and minimum 3/nts No. Serengeti.

    Admittedly Lynn was somewhat liberal with some drive times especially thru the Serengeti (really no bit deal) even though from Central to North can be about 4/hrs, it's a game drive and you can keep your guide or if choosing to fly, with the camp at which you plan to stay will collect you from airstrip, your guide can drive up and meet you for your afternoon game driver.

    And instead of the very long drive back from Kogatende to d Ngo, I'd still recommend the splurge for the flight back to Arusha/JRO. In otherwords, follow the usual route from east to north west - Tarangire, Ngo, Central Serengeti, No. Serengeti.

    I've omitted Lobo as this area while beautiful though a rather rustic lodge is a good 3+/hrs drive from Kogatende where river crossings hopefully will take place. But Lynn did mention that most of the camps at the Kogatende area are rather costly, the Bolognia Tented Camps is a bit more reasonably priced. And for certain I wouldn't attempt the drive south from Kogatende to Ngo which is an entire day with likely an o/n needed somewhere.

    You can consider:
    Assume arriving nBO
    Day 1 - Arv. NBO - o/n
    Day 2 - Drive or fly to Masai Mara
    Days 3 & 4 - Masai Mara
    Day 5 - Drive or Fly to NBO for flight to Kilimanjaro; drive
    2/hrs to Tarangire
    --------
    Day 6 - Tarangire
    Day 7 - Drive 3.5/hrs to Ngo; afternoon crater tour
    Day 8 - Ngo; option: morning crater tour or game drive via Oldupai onto Central Serengeti
    Day 9 - Central Serengeti
    Day 10 - Game drive about 4/hrs to Kogatende
    Days 11 & 12 - Kogatende
    Day 13 - Fly to Arusha/JRO for home or flight to NBO

    Granted flights within Africa are costly, but I personally feel worth the areas covered and your value - time vs cost - to get from Point A to Point B. Hope this helps some.

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    Wow... how am I ever going to figure this out... I have looked into several companies: access2tanzania, kapolondo, Africa Safari Direct, Swala Safaris, Happy World Safaris, African Odyssey, Great Safaris, and a local travel agent with African Travel... I think I need to hone this down, as I'm getting very confused. I've gotten a lot of good info from the above, and have now looked into Game Watchers and The Wild Source... Best I think if I pick one...
    It seems like I should stay in Tanzania, or not, not sure. I like the idea of seeing game in early morning (when I'm at my best too) and not flying, as I don't like travel (ironic) too much... Some say 2 countries and the borders is too much, others say do it... hard when I've never been and it's a long way from home. thanks for all your suggestions and grafeful for any more...

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    Thank you for the detailed answers... can you recommend a tour company. Atravelynn I see you went with the African Adventure Co. on your first safari and the Wild Source more recent. Any thoughts?

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    You are right. The other company I used for Tanz now does almost all flying, Eben Schoeman Signature Safaris. All are great.

    Fortunately there are many good companies to choose from.

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    So sorry to keep asking, but do you think I should combine, or just stick to Tanzania. which I believe up top you said stick to T, since I only have 2 weeks, and maybe do one flight back to avoid long drive.
    Then tour companies: Prices also vary a lot, such as Kapolondo, Happy World and Swali are on the lower end, about $5000 in Oct. 10 days; vs. $6000 for Wild Source... others, such as African Odyssey get higher, with, of course more flights, nicer tree tops etc. Now you've given me 2 more to consider... how can I choose?

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    No need to be sorry. Ask whatever you want. Nobody is forced to respond to your questions.

    Yes, stick to Tanzania if you have 2 total weeks for your trip. You have not given a reason that would indicate your trip would be incomplete by remaining in only one country. Lacking a reason, save your time and resources and remain in one country.

    A flight back from N. Serengeti makes sense and frees up precious time. If you are open to flying in a small plane, then add a flight. I've done the flight to/from N. Serengeti and think it is worthwhile for the time it saves.

    To answer "How can I choose"?

    Note the interaction you have with the companies. Are they friendly, prompt, responsive?

    You may wish to ask for a reference or two and ask those people what they thought. With the proliferation of online reviews, this step is not done as frequently as in the past, but it can be helpful.

    What is the method of payment offered by the various companies and does it fit with how you want to pay? Check, wiring money, credit card, etc.

    Review the itineraries you receive back or post them here, if you wish, for further comments. Getting input from people who have done what you are about to do is a valuable resource. They'll think of things you won't.

    You can't compare 10 days for $5000 or 12 days for $6000 or whatever until the details of the itinerary are shown.

    How to choose and planning are all part of the FUN and EXCITEMENT, and part of the overall journey.

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    Realize that during peak season at a combo of nice and even nicer lodges/camps,, an average of $500/ppnt is a very good price. This includes not only your room/tent, but meals, park fees, game drives, guide/vehicle, flights as required, flight taxes, other taxes, meet/greet and all transfers. So those #s aren't off.

    However, if someone is offering Treetops... that's expensive, very very expensive, so I'd drop that and find another at Tarangire. Have to wonder what other really hi-end properties included.

    Must say though if you do indeed have 14/days in-country, you can certainly visit both countries with proper planning. Normally it's not recommended to visit both countries with 10/days or less. Unless, you have in mind only 3-4/places and very very carefully planned.

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    I am still looking into other operators. These below I know offer private guides. The cheaper ones I now see do not have flights and may be one or so fewer nights. The top Wild source may be be most geared for wildlife viewing, which is what I'm looking for, ... Also some have Mara Masai because I had initially asked for that loop, as I'm afraid I'll miss the migration, as I may not get there till late Sept./early Oct. These can still be rearranged ...

    Here are my choice of itineraries so far:

    WILD SOURCE, $6150/person/12 days, includes flight back from northern seregeti to kilamanjaro airport

    Oct 3 Depart LAX

    Oct 4 Arrival into Kilimanjaro international airport where you are met on arrival by your private guide from The Wild Source, George Mbwambo, and transferred to The African Tulip hotel in Arusha.

    Oct 5 Following breakfast depart on a two hour drive to the entrance of Tarangire National Park. Game drive deep inside the park to Lemala Explorer Camp.

    Oct 6 Tarangire National Park. Lemala Explorer Camp

    Oct 7 Tarangire National Park. Lemala Explorer Camp

    Oct 8 Depart in the morning for a 4.5 hour drive to Ngorongoro Crater. You can stop along the way for village shopping or cultural experiences. Overnight Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge.

    Oct 9 Enjoy a morning game drive in the Ngorongoro Crater. After a picnic lunch you have a two hour drive to the Naabi Hill entrance of the Serengeti, followed by three hours of game driving to reach Lemala Ewanjan Camp in the Central Serengeti.

    Oct 10 Full Day Central Serengeti. Lemala Ewanjan Camp

    Oct 11 Full Day Central Serengeti. Lemala Ewanjan Camp

    Oct 12 Full day safari as you transfer from Central Serengeti to the Northern Serengeti. The drive takes approximately six hours with it mostly game driving but you may exit the park for two hours. Arrival at Lemala Mara Camp near the Mara River in the late afternoon.

    Oct 13 Remote Northern Serengeti. Lemala Mara Camp.

    Oct 14 Remote Northern Serengeti. Lemala Mara Camp.

    Oct 15 Morning game drive followed by your flight from Kogatende to Kilimanjaro International Airport. Take a five minute complimentary shuttle to your dayroom at KIA Lodge. Shuttle back in time for your homeward bound flight.
    Safari Cost is $6,150 per person

    (price includes a special deal of 3 free nights of accommodation with Lemala Camps)

    Cost includes one internal flight, accommodation, meals (except dinner in Arusha), drinks (except at African Tulip Hotel, Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge & KIA Lodge), park fees, and a private guide/vehicle with unlimited mileage throughout Tanzania.


    HAPPY WORLD SAFARI,

    11 DAYS, $5000 PER PERSON, 2 flights; includes Mara Masai but could keep in Tanzania... also private guide

    DAY 01: ARRIVAL AT NAIROBI

    Arrival: Arrive at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Nairobi (NBO), warmly welcomed and greeting from our staff, after followed by transfer to your hotel in Nairobi, Dinner and Overnight at Nairobi Serena Hotel. Meal Plan HB(Dinner and Breakfast)



    DAY 02: MAASAI MARA GAME RESERVE

    Morning breakfast, at 07:00am drive to Maasai Mara Game Reserve(249km, 3hrs driving)with packed lunch boxes, afternoon gamedrive at Maasai Mara, later Dinner and Overnight at Maasai Mara Sopa Lodge. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch)



    DAY 03: MAASAI MARA GAME RESERVE

    Morning breakfast, at 08:00am full day gamedrive at Maasai Mara Game Reserve with packed lunch, searching for the migration and other wildlife, later in the evening drive back for Dinner and Overnight at Maasai Mara Sopa Lodge. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch)



    DAY 04: AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK

    Morning breakfast, at 09:00am transfer to Mara Aistrip for a flight to Wilson Airport Depart Time: 10:15 Arrival Time: 11:45, hot lunch at Nairobi followed by another flight from Wilson Airport to Amboseli Airstrip, Depart Time: 14:00 Arrival Time: 15:20, transfer to the Lodge, Dinner and Overnight at Amboseli Sopa Lodge. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch)



    DAY 05: AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK

    Morning breakfast, at 08:00am full day gamedrive at Amboseli National Park, hot/packed lunch, later evening Dinner and Overnight at Amboseli Sopa Lodge. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch)



    DAY 06: ARUSHA

    Morning breakfast, at 07:00am half day gamedrive at Amboseli National Park, after lunch transfer to Arusha(272km, 4hrs driving),Tanzania via Namanga Border. Arrive at Arusha for Dinner and Overnight at Mount Meru Hotel. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch)



    DAY 07: TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK

    Morning breakfast, at 08:00am depart to Tarangire National Park(120km, 2hrs driving) with packed lunch boxes, full day gamedrive in the Park, later Dinner and Overnight at Tarangire Sopa Lodge. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch)



    DAY 08: KARATU

    Morning breakfast, at 08:00am full day gamedrive at Tarangire National Park with packed lunch, later drive to Karatu(150km,2hrs 15mins driving) for Dinner and Overnight at Ngorongoro Farm House. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch)



    DAY 09: NGORONGORO

    Early Morning breakfast, at 06:30am drive to Ngorongoro Conservation Area(15km, 20mins driving) with packed lunch, descent to Ngorongoro Crater, half day gamedrive(6hrs allowed), after ascent back to the rim, continue to Serengeti National Park(145km, 2hrs driving) via Olduvai Gorge (Optional Visit, Payment Direct), later Dinner and Overnight at Serengeti Sopa Lodge. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch)



    DAY 10: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

    Morning breakfast, at 08:00am full day gamedrive at Serengeti National Park, hot/packed lunch, later Dinner and Overnight at Serengeti Sopa Lodge. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch)



    DAY 11: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

    Morning breakfast, at 07:00am full day gamedrive at Serengeti National Park(Northern Serengeti) with Packed Lunch, later Dinner and Overnight at Serengeti Sopa Lodge. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch)



    DAY 12: DEPARTURE

    Morning breakfast and relax at the Lodge, at 10am transfer to Seronera Airstrip for a flight to Arusha, Depart Time: 11:30 Arrival Time: 17:00, followed by lunch at Mount Meru Hotel, after transfer to Kilimanjaro International Airport, assistance at the Airport, Check In with your flight ready to fly back to USA or your next destination


    SWALA SAFARI $3400/person, private guide, though again no flights and only 10 days...

    Day 01: KILIMANJARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT >> ARUSHA
    meet and greet by your professional driver guide who will drive you to Arusha for overnight stay at Planet Lodge.
    Meal plan: Bed and breakfast
    Website: www.planet-lodge.com

    Day 02: ARUSHA >> TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK

    After breakfast drive to our office for short briefing of the safari before heading off to Tarangire National Park for game drive with your lunch boxes to be served within the park at a recommended picnic site, late afternoon drive to your lodge for evening at leisure. Dinner and overnight at Tarangire Safari Lodge
    All meals included
    Website: www.tarangiresafarilodge.com

    Day 03: TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK

    Full day will be spent here with a choice of driving back to your lodge for hot lunch or collect lunch boxes from lodge which will be served within the park at a recommended picnic site return to your camp before dusk for dinner and overnight at Tarangire Safari Lodge (Option: night game drive also bush walking safari conducting within the lodge)

    All meals included

    Day 04: TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK >> SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

    Go for morning game drive to park return to your lodge for breakfast before driving to Serengeti National Park via Mto wa Mbu where you will have an option to visit authentic Masai village after that you will proceed with your safari via Karatu village also Ngorongoro Conservation Area while on your way you will have a choice to visit Olduvai Gorge which is a historical site whereby Dr. Louis and Mary Leakey found the skull of the first human being then proceed with your safari, on arrival enjoy your game viewing en route to your camp for dinner and overnight at Serengeti Katikati Camp

    All meals included

    Website: www.tanganyikawildernesscamps.com



    Day 05: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

    After early breakfast drive to park for full day game drive with an option of driving back to your camp for hot lunch and leisure or collect you lunch boxes which will be served within the park at suitable picnic site recommended by your driver guide, return to your camp before dusk for dinner and overnight at Serengeti Katikati Camp

    All meals included



    Day 06: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

    An option of balloon safari conducting at early morning before game drive or go for morning game drive to park then drive back to your camp for breakfast followed by another game drive with your lunch boxes to be served at a recommended picnic site within the park, late afternoon drive to North Serengeti at Lamai wedge with game viewing en route for dinner and overnight at Serengeti North Wilderness Camp

    All meals included

    Website: Website: www.tanzaniawildernesscamps.com



    Day 07: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

    After early breakfast drive to park for full day game drive with your lunch boxes to be served inside the park at a recommended picnic site then return to your camp before dusk for dinner and overnight at Serengeti North Wilderness Camp

    All meals included



    Day 08: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK >> NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA

    After breakfast drive to park for farewell game drive before driving to Ngorongoro with your lunch boxes to be served at suitable area selected by your guide, on arrival you will be dropped to your lodge for leisure with an option of doing nature walk conducted by Masai warriors. Dinner and overnight at Rhino Lodge

    All meals included

    Website: www.ngorongoro.cc



    Day 09: NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA >> LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK

    After early breakfast descend into crater floor for a wonderful game viewing with your lunch boxes to be served inside crater floor. Afternoon ascend from the crater rim and drive to Lake Manyara National Park for game drive then drive to your camp for dinner and overnight at Rift Valley Photographic Lodge

    All meals included

    Website: www.riftvalleylodge.co.tz



    Day 10: LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK >> ARUSHA >> KILIMANJARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

    After early breakfast drive to park for morning game drive before driving to Arusha with your lunch boxes to be served on the way, on arrival you will have ample time to explore the city before heading off to airport to connect your onward flight back home.
    TOTAL COST FOR ABOVE SAFARI PACKAGE IS US $ 3,400 PER PERSON SHARING IN A DOUBLE ROOM / TENT


    KAPOLONDO safari
    ITINERARY FOR 2 per/$3750 each, no flights, one less night, though can be added and kept in Tanzania...

    TANZANIA AND KENYA

    Day 1: Arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport

    Pick up and transfer to Arusha for overnight at Palace Hotel

    Day 2: Arusha National Park

    Drive to Arusha National Park for game drive. Picnic lunch at the site. Return to Palace Hotel for dinner and overnight

    Day 3: Arusha - Tarangire National Park

    Drive to Tarangire with picnic lunch. Game drive. Dinner and overnight at Heaven Nature Lodge

    Day 4: Tarangire – Ngorongoro Conservation Area

    Drive to Ngorongoro crater for game viewing. Picnic lunch at the crater view. Dinner overnight at Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge

    Day 5: Ngorongoro – Serengeti National Park

    Drive to Serengeti via Olduvai Gorge. Picnic Lunch at the site. With game drive en route proceed to Serengeti for dinner and overnight at Seronera Wildlife Lodge

    Day 6: Serengeti National Park

    Full day game drive in Serengeti. Picnic lunch. Dinner and overnight at Ikoma Tented Lodge

    Day 7: Serengeti – Isebania – Masai Mara

    Drive to Isebania Boarder for immigration formalities. Picnic lunch and drive to Masai Mara for dinner and overnight at Siana Springs Tented Camp

    Day 8+9: Masai Mara Game Reserve

    Full day game drive in Masai Mara. Picnic lunch. Dinner and overnight at Siana Springs Camp

    Day 10: Masai Mara – Nairobi

    Drive to Nairobi for lunch at Serena Hotel. Transfer to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

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    I guess I'm having a hard time swallowing $500/person per day, though I am planning towards end of season, at 10 days, that's a lot of money, plus it's another $4,000 plus more for air fare for 2 and maybe a night in Amsterdam.
    I see that's why they say the trip of a lifetime, though many here have done several times...

    I am adding this tour operator now though I'm still not sure this includes a private guide, but this was among the higher end ones I've found; it does look tempting, however, I'm not sure it's even what I want, which is to see animals; I can drink fine wine at home...

    here goes:

    $8,403/person, 12 days, 11 nights, 4 flights
    African Odyssey

    features mostly &Beyond properties with discount for staying 6 or more nights at their properties.

    05-Oct-14


    Sun


    Met off international flight into Kili and transferred to Machweo. Overnight on b&b basis

    06-Oct-14


    Mon


    Flown to Tarangire,. Met and transferred to Oliver's on an all-inclusive basis

    07-Oct-14


    Tue


    Oliver's on an all-inclusive basis

    08-Oct-14


    Wed


    Flown to Manyara. Met and transferred to Lake Manyara Tree Lodge on an all-inclusive basis

    09-Oct-14


    Thu


    Lake Manyara Tree Lodge on an all-inclusive basis

    10-Oct-14


    Fri


    Driven up to the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge on an all-inclusive basis

    11-Oct-14


    Sat


    Game drive on the Crater floor. Overnight at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge on an all-inclusive basis

    12-Oct-14


    Sun


    Flown from Manyara into the Serengeti and transferred to Serengeti Under Canvas on an all inclusive basis

    13-Oct-14


    Mon


    Serengeti Under Canvas on an all inclusive basis

    14-Oct-14


    Tue


    Serengeti Under Canvas on an all inclusive basis

    15-Oct-14


    Wed


    Serengeti Under Canvas on an all inclusive basis

    16-Oct-14


    Thu


    Fly from the Serengeti to Kili via Arusha to meet flight home




    http://digital.africaodyssey.com/Itinerary/Landing/882aa855-ef74-06a5-0c7b-e464e8c9ef2a?cl=2

    Includes Lake Manyara Tree Lodge.owned by &Beyond,
    It’s in the far south of the park, away from other vehicles, and you will see incredible numbers of elephants.

    And also the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge on the crater rim, has unbelievable views at $1,200 per person per night it’s the splurge of all splurges. Like Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, it’s owned by &Beyond.

  • Report Abuse

    >>amyb: having done both Tanzania and Kenya, you seemed to like Kenya even more? At least with the gamewatchers Tent experience?<<

    I loved them both. I think I made Kenya "better" by just focusing on what I wanted to see (big cats, rhinos). Everything accommodations-wise was perfect in Tanzania with A2T, but we mixed lodges with tents. We were in tents the last two stops in the Serengeti, and that was just an incredible experience, which is why I chose to do just tents in Kenya. The game ride starts as soon as you step out of your tent, literally.

    Re: cost, it is a lot of money up front, but the one notable thing about that is that once you get there, you pretty much only need money for tipping. When I add up what a vacation to Paris costs, usually $200-300 a night for hotel, then food and transport and sightseeing and meals...this ends up being about the same if you add it up, at least the way I travel which is not necessarily high-end.

    Did you get an itinerary from A2T yet? I paged through the above and didn't see one. Not that it should be your deciding factor, but they did come in lower than most others I talked to. And Karen (who I worked with there) could tweak the accommodations within your budget pretty easily. The guides for A2T have all worked for A2T and only A2T for a long time (ours 15 years!) and the vehicles are A2T's own, so no risk in possibly getting a subcontracted out guide and vehicle.

  • Report Abuse

    amyb: yes I did talk to Karen and am waiting for an itiniary from her. should be here any day... I have plenty more itiniary's on the way actually, Now that I think I'm honing in on Tanzania I am more open to A2T, as she was a bit more challenged with the Kenya factor... I will definitely suggest the tents you mentioned above, Thanks for the tip! I think so much of it is learning what you want, as many operators look good but may not be what I'm looking for... Funny you mention Paris. I was there last year... I thought it would be the same, too, and it's close, but for me the flight to Africa is even further, and this may top $600/day per person, when I add internal flights... more than I spent in France...

  • Report Abuse

    The top Wild source may be be most geared for wildlife viewing, which is what I'm looking for, ...

    All these itineraries and companies put wildlife as the focus, but The Wild Source has a couple of advantages.

    1. Excellent and motivated/enthusiastic guides. You’ll never need to plead for earlier start times or staying out during lunch/brunch. In fact…

    2. Wild Source routinely stays out all day, taking 2 boxed meals. If you prefer meals in camp, and a rest midday certainly that is your choice and an option you can do. But no problem staying out all day. Their lodging choices also reflect animal movements, not fancy digs.

    3. This point is more for photography than just looking at animals, but it benefits both: Their vehicles have full roll down windows on the sides, not half sliding windows. Their last vehicle is being converted to these.


    Also some have Mara Masai because I had initially asked for that loop, as I'm afraid I'll miss the migration, as I may not get there till late Sept./early Oct. These can still be rearranged ...,

    Ok, this revelation is important, Now you’ve stated a compelling reason to hit both Mara and Serengeti. You are keenly interested in the migration. Your previous comment of ..., “and maybe some of the migration without the overcrowdedness” ..., did not elevate the importance of the migration to where it appears you want it. More on increasing time with the migration at the end, in blue.

    Here are my choice of itineraries so far:

    WILD SOURCE, $6150/person/12 days, includes flight back from northern seregeti to kilamanjaro airport

    1Oct 3 Depart LAX

    2Oct 4 Arrival into Kilimanjaro international airport where you are met on arrival by your private guide from The Wild Source, George Mbwambo, MY MAN GEORGE! To have a top notch guided named for you at the outset is a big plus. and transferred to The African Tulip hotel in Arusha.

    3Oct 5 Following breakfast depart on a two hour drive to the entrance of Tarangire National Park. Game drive deep inside the park to Lemala Explorer Camp.

    4Oct 6 Tarangire National Park. Lemala Explorer Camp

    5Oct 7 Tarangire National Park. Lemala Explorer Camp
    3 nights Tarangire—excellent—it’s where the eles are in dry season. Kudos to Wild Source for sticking 3 nights in Tarangire because when you compare itineraries it can look like the other ones do more/go more places. But you want to go where the action is, not just drive around or fly around Tanzania checking off locations. Each Tarangire day will be filled with elephant herds and other animals in a gorgeous setting. Tarangire Safari Lodge, could chop some costs. Great views, not as intimate, secluded camp as Lemala, a step down from Lemala. The deal mentioned at the end may only apply if all Lemala facilities, so that’s a strike against my suggestion Tarangire Safari Lodge.

    6Oct 8 Depart in the morning for a 4.5 hour drive to Ngorongoro Crater. You can stop along the way for village shopping or cultural experiences. Overnight Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge. Excellent choice and value and location

    7Oct 9 Enjoy a morning game drive in the Ngorongoro Crater. After a picnic lunch you have a two hour drive to the Naabi Hill entrance of the Serengeti, followed by three hours of game driving to reach Lemala Ewanjan Camp in the Central Serengeti.

    8Oct 10 Full Day Central Serengeti. Lemala Ewanjan Camp

    9Oct 11 Full Day Central Serengeti. Lemala Ewanjan Camp

    10Oct 12 Full day safari as you transfer from Central Serengeti to the Northern Serengeti. The drive takes approximately six hours with it mostly game driving but you may exit the park for two hours. Arrival at Lemala Mara Camp near the Mara River in the late afternoon.

    11Oct 13 Remote Northern Serengeti. Lemala Mara Camp.

    12Oct 14 Remote Northern Serengeti. Lemala Mara Camp.

    Though it would likely add to the cost, I’d do 4 nights in Northern Serengeti and 2 in Central. But nothing wrong with 3 and 3.

    13Oct 15 Morning game drive followed by your flight from Kogatende to Kilimanjaro International Airport. Take a five minute complimentary shuttle to your dayroom at KIA Lodge. Shuttle back in time for your homeward bound flight.
    Safari Cost is $6,150 per person

    (price includes a special deal of 3 free nights of accommodation with Lemala Camps)

    Cost includes one internal flight, accommodation, meals (except dinner in Arusha), drinks (except at African Tulip Hotel, Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge & KIA Lodge), park fees, and a private guide/vehicle with unlimited mileage throughout Tanzania. This is important, some companies limit mileage but don’t tell you unless you ask and even then may not flat out say they limit it per day or per safari. I can attest that Wild Source does not limit mileage
    Looks great. All the highlights of that time of year in the right places are here.
    -------------------------
    HAPPY WORLD SAFARI,

    11 DAYS, $5000 PER PERSON, 2 flights; includes Mara Masai but could keep in Tanzania... also private guide

    1-2 because you leave home on 1DAY 01: ARRIVAL AT NAIROBI

    Arrival: Arrive at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Nairobi (NBO), warmly welcomed and greeting from our staff, after followed by transfer to your hotel in Nairobi, Dinner and Overnight at Nairobi Serena Hotel. Meal Plan HB(Dinner and Breakfast)



    3DAY 02: MAASAI MARA GAME RESERVE

    Morning breakfast, at 07:00am drive to Maasai Mara Game Reserve(249km, 3hrs driving)with packed lunch boxes, afternoon gamedrive at Maasai Mara, later Dinner and Overnight at Maasai Mara Sopa Lodge. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch) Big lodge, good for saving money. Not like the smaller more remote camps in The Wild Source itinerary



    4DAY 03: MAASAI MARA GAME RESERVE

    Morning breakfast, at 08:00am full day gamedrive at Maasai Mara Game Reserve with packed lunch, searching for the migration and other wildlife, later in the evening drive back for Dinner and Overnight at Maasai Mara Sopa Lodge. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch)

    just 2 nights in the Mara, not a sign of an excellent itinerary

    5DAY 04: AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK

    Morning breakfast, at 09:00am transfer to Mara Aistrip for a flight to Wilson Airport Depart Time: 10:15 Arrival Time: 11:45, hot lunch at Nairobi followed by another flight from Wilson Airport to Amboseli Airstrip, Depart Time: 14:00 Arrival Time: 15:20, transfer to the Lodge, Dinner and Overnight at Amboseli Sopa Lodge. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch)



    6DAY 05: AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK

    Morning breakfast, at 08:00am full day gamedrive at Amboseli National Park, hot/packed lunch, later evening Dinner and Overnight at Amboseli Sopa Lodge. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch)
    If you would like to try to see Kilimanjaro, this is very good


    7DAY 06: ARUSHA

    Morning breakfast, at 07:00am half day gamedrive at Amboseli National Park, after lunch transfer to Arusha(272km, 4hrs driving),Tanzania via Namanga Border. Arrive at Arusha for Dinner and Overnight at Mount Meru Hotel. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch)



    8DAY 07: TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK

    Morning breakfast, at 08:00am depart to Tarangire National Park(120km, 2hrs driving) with packed lunch boxes, full day gamedrive in the Park, later Dinner and Overnight at Tarangire Sopa Lodge. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch)

    1 night Tarangire in October? Not good planning because it takes a good 2 hours from Arusha to get there and then out to your next destination.

    9DAY 08: KARATU

    Morning breakfast, at 08:00am full day gamedrive at Tarangire National Park with packed lunch, later drive to Karatu(150km,2hrs 15mins driving) for Dinner and Overnight at Ngorongoro Farm House. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch) Not as good of location as Sopa on the rim with its own access road



    10DAY 09: NGORONGORO

    Early Morning breakfast, at 06:30am drive to Ngorongoro Conservation Area(15km, 20mins driving) with packed lunch, descent to Ngorongoro Crater, half day gamedrive(6hrs allowed), after ascent back to the rim, continue to Serengeti National Park(145km, 2hrs driving) via Olduvai Gorge (Optional Visit, Payment Direct), later Dinner and Overnight at Serengeti Sopa Lodge. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch) Now, you’re at Sopa. But you have 3 consecutive one nighters. Yikes, that’s bad, bad.



    11DAY 10: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

    Morning breakfast, at 08:00am full day gamedrive at Serengeti National Park, hot/packed lunch, later Dinner and Overnight at Serengeti Sopa Lodge. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch)



    12DAY 11: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

    Morning breakfast, at 07:00am full day gamedrive at Serengeti National Park(Northern Serengeti) with Packed Lunch, later Dinner and Overnight at Serengeti Sopa Lodge. Meal Plan FB(Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch)
    Biggest Giant FLAW of the whole itinerary. You never get to where the migration is most likely to be—up north. FORGET THIS ITINERARY. NO GO


    13DAY 12: DEPARTURE

    Morning breakfast and relax at the Lodge, at 10am transfer to Seronera Airstrip for a flight to Arusha, Depart Time: 11:30 Arrival Time: 17:00, followed by lunch at Mount Meru Hotel, after transfer to Kilimanjaro International Airport, assistance at the Airport, Check In with your flight ready to fly back to USA or your next destination

    ---------------
    SWALA SAFARI $3400/person, private guide, though again no flights and only 10 days...

    1 you leave home and 2 you get to JRO Day 01: KILIMANJARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT >> ARUSHA
    meet and greet by your professional driver guide who will drive you to Arusha for overnight stay at Planet Lodge.
    Meal plan: Bed and breakfast
    Website: www.planet-lodge.com

    3Day 02: ARUSHA >> TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK

    After breakfast drive to our office for short briefing of the safari before heading off to Tarangire National Park for game drive with your lunch boxes to be served within the park at a recommended picnic site, late afternoon drive to your lodge for evening at leisure. Dinner and overnight at Tarangire Safari Lodge
    All meals included
    Website: www.tarangiresafarilodge.com

    4Day 03: TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK

    Full day will be spent here with a choice of driving back to your lodge for hot lunch or collect lunch boxes from lodge which will be served within the park at a recommended picnic site return 8to your camp before dusk for dinner and overnight at Tarangire Safari Lodge (Option: night game drive also bush walking safari conducting within the lodge)

    All meals included
    Very nice start, nice lodge. So far very good.

    5Day 04: TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK >> SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

    Go for morning game drive to park return to your lodge for breakfast before driving to Serengeti National Park via Mto wa Mbu where you will have an option to visit authentic Masai village after that you will proceed with your safari via Karatu village also Ngorongoro Conservation Area while on your way you will have a choice to visit Olduvai Gorge which is a historical site whereby Dr. Louis and Mary Leakey found the skull of the first human being then proceed with your safari, on arrival enjoy your game viewing en route to your camp for dinner and overnight at Serengeti Katikati Camp

    Check how long the drive is. I’m thinking 6-7 hours??? Unusual to go from Tarangire to Central Serengeti

    All meals included

    Website: www.tanganyikawildernesscamps.com



    6Day 05: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

    After early breakfast drive to park for full day game drive with an option of driving back to your camp for hot lunch and leisure or collect you lunch boxes which will be served within the park at suitable picnic site recommended by your driver guide, return to your camp before dusk for dinner and overnight at Serengeti Katikati Camp

    All meals included

    2 days central Serengeti, good. Camp is fine.

    7Day 06: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

    An option of balloon safari conducting at early morning before game drive or go for morning game drive to park then drive back to your camp for breakfast followed by another game drive with your lunch boxes to be served at a recommended picnic site within the park, late afternoon drive to North Serengeti at Lamai wedge with game viewing en route for dinner and overnight at Serengeti North Wilderness Camp

    All meals included

    Website: Website: www.tanzaniawildernesscamps.com



    8Day 07: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

    After early breakfast drive to park for full day game drive with your lunch boxes to be served inside the park at a recommended picnic site then return to your camp before dusk for dinner and overnight at Serengeti North Wilderness Camp

    All meals included

    only 2 nights in the north where the migration will be? You need more. Nice camp, though.

    9Day 08: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK >> NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA

    After breakfast drive to park for farewell game drive before driving to Ngorongoro with your lunch boxes to be served at suitable area selected by your guide, on arrival you will be dropped to your lodge for leisure with an option of doing nature walk conducted by Masai warriors. Dinner and overnight at Rhino Lodge
    I’d prefer Sopa at the crater, but ok with Rhino. Nature walk is by reputable company, should be good.
    All meals included

    Website: www.ngorongoro.cc



    10Day 09: NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA >> LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK

    After early breakfast descend into crater floor for a wonderful game viewing with your lunch boxes to be served inside crater floor. Afternoon ascend from the crater rim and drive to Lake Manyara National Park for game drive then drive to your camp for dinner and overnight at Rift Valley Photographic Lodge
    don’t know that lodge
    All meals included

    Website: www.riftvalleylodge.co.tz



    11Day 10: LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK >> ARUSHA >> KILIMANJARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

    After early breakfast drive to park for morning game drive before driving to Arusha with your lunch boxes to be served on the way, on arrival you will have ample time to explore the city before heading off to airport to connect your onward flight back home.
    TOTAL COST FOR ABOVE SAFARI PACKAGE IS US $ 3,400 PER PERSON SHARING IN
    This itinerary has 11 days, not 13. One more night Tarangire and one more night in N. Serengeti would bring it to 13 and not cut short your visits to those 2 locations. They are too short now with 1 night Tarangire and 2 nts N. Serengeti.
    Do check on the Tarangire to Central Serengeti driving day. And you are doing a game drive that morning too? Get those times laid out for throughout that long day.


    A DOUBLE ROOM / TENT

    -----------------------------------------------------
    KAPOLONDO safari
    ITINERARY FOR 2 per/$3750 each, no flights, one less night, though can be added and kept in Tanzania...

    TANZANIA AND KENYA

    1 you leave home so 2 you get to JRODay 1: Arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport

    Pick up and transfer to Arusha for overnight at Palace Hotel

    3Day 2: Arusha National Park

    Drive to Arusha National Park for game drive. Picnic lunch at the site. Return to Palace Hotel for dinner and overnight

    This is a forest/jungle setting, different from the other locations you have. Good place to see the beautiful colobus monkeys. You can even do canoeing and a ranger walk if you have the day in the park. Very nice, safe activities.

    4Day 3: Arusha - Tarangire National Park

    Drive to Tarangire with picnic lunch. Game drive. Dinner and overnight at Heaven Nature Lodge
    don’t know this lodge. Just one night Tarangire in Oct is bad, bad. Missing out on a highlight.

    5Day 4: Tarangire – Ngorongoro Conservation Area

    Drive to Ngorongoro crater for game viewing. Picnic lunch at the crater view. Dinner overnight at Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge
    this means you do an afternoon crater drive, not as good as a morning, but ok, at least you still get into the crater. Wildlife Lodge is ok, not as good as Sopa’s locations, but it’s ok.

    6Day 5: Ngorongoro – Serengeti National Park

    Drive to Serengeti via Olduvai Gorge. Picnic Lunch at the site. With game drive en route proceed to Serengeti for dinner and overnight at Seronera Wildlife Lodge

    one night in Central? I’m not a fan of one nighters and the central region has abundance to justify 2 nights any time of year. The lodge is a great location, and good value, so nice choice.
    7Day 6: Serengeti National Park

    Full day game drive in Serengeti. Picnic lunch. Dinner and overnight at Ikoma Tented Lodge

    8Day 7: Serengeti – Isebania – Masai Mara
    ANOTHER one night stay? And in the Grumeti, western region? The area is chosen it appears so you can drive to the Mara in reasonable time, not to best position you for the migration.

    Drive to Isebania Boarder for immigration formalities. Picnic lunch and drive to Masai Mara for dinner and overnight at Siana Springs Tented Camp

    9-10Day 8+9: Masai Mara Game Reserve
    The location of this camp is actually outside the park. Not the ideal location for your only stop in the Mara. But it’s close for the border crossing and close to driving to the airport the next day.

    Neither the Serengeti nor the Mara locations are ideal for the migration in this itinerary. Don’t like it much.


    Full day game drive in Masai Mara. Picnic lunch. Dinner and overnight at Siana Springs Camp

    11Day 10: Masai Mara – Nairobi

    Drive to Nairobi for lunch at Serena Hotel. Transfer to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

    I guess I'm having a hard time swallowing $500/person per day, though I am planning towards end of season, at 10 days, that's a lot of money, plus it's another $4,000 plus more for air fare for 2 and maybe a night in Amsterdam.
    I see that's why they say the trip of a lifetime, though many here have done several times...

    I am adding this tour operator now though I'm still not sure this includes a private guide, but this was among the higher end ones I've found; it does look tempting, however, I'm not sure it's even what I want, which is to see animals; I can drink fine wine at home...

    Those are typical costs for a quality private safari. You are going end of season, but in most cases unless it is into Nov, no price break.
    You can certainly trim costs substantially by doing group budget camping. Or look at Overseas Adventure Travel for a quality group trip with a set itinerary. A real wildlife enthusiast, such as myself who may want to sit for several hours with a cheetah family or wait several hours for a leopard to hunt or search several hours for a wildebeest in labor, would not be as thrilled with OAT as a custom itinerary. But I pay for that thrill.


    here goes:

    $8,403/person, 12 days, 11 nights, 4 flights
    African Odyssey

    features mostly &Beyond properties with discount for staying 6 or more nights at their properties.

    1 you leave home and 2 you get to JRO05-Oct-14


    Sun


    Met off international flight into Kili and transferred to Machweo. Overnight on b&b basis

    2 06-Oct-14


    Mon


    Flown to Tarangire,. Met and transferred to Oliver's on an all-inclusive basis

    3 07-Oct-14


    Tue


    Oliver's on an all-inclusive basis
    You’ve got a top notch camp but AGAIN only for one night. What the heck is all this one night in Tarangire at the end of the dry season? You belong there longer than a night. The Wild Source has you there for 3 nights. Last time I was in Tarangire it was for 3 nights with Guide George. You can have a safari of a lifetime in a park like Tarangire with a guide like George for 3 nights late in the dry season even if you went nowhere else.
    4 08-Oct-14


    Wed


    Flown to Manyara. Met and transferred to Lake Manyara Tree Lodge on an all-inclusive basis

    5 09-Oct-14


    Thu


    Lake Manyara Tree Lodge on an all-inclusive basis

    6 10-Oct-14

    Here’s your 2 nights at the fancy tree lodge. Though I have not been, I am certain it is lovely in every respect. But you are spending 2 nights in Lake Manyara, not the premier destination in Tanz, and especially not at the end of the dry season. If property over wildlife is the goal, then you should do this. If you want to maximize animal sightings and especially time with the migration, then 2 nights here is not advancing that goal.
    Fri


    Driven up to the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge on an all-inclusive basis

    7 11-Oct-14


    Sat


    Game drive on the Crater floor. Overnight at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge on an all-inclusive basis
    If you’d like a butler for a couple of days, then this is your place. I think you also get rose petals in your bathtub. End of dry season can be water shortages. Local people conserving water, and you can fill a tubfull of water along with the petals. Something to consider. One of the most expensive places in Africa. Doesn’t have its own access road like Sopa. Never been here, but no doubt it is spectacular. Do those animals in the crater care where you stay? You know the answer.
    8 12-Oct-14


    Sun


    Flown from Manyara into the Serengeti and transferred to Serengeti Under Canvas on an all inclusive basis

    9 13-Oct-14


    Mon


    Serengeti Under Canvas on an all inclusive basis

    10 14-Oct-14


    Tue


    Serengeti Under Canvas on an all inclusive basis

    11 15-Oct-14


    Wed


    Serengeti Under Canvas on an all inclusive basis

    12 16-Oct-14


    Thu

    I assume this mobile will be in the north. Do check. This will be fabulous. Money spent for Serengeti Under Canvas is probably well worth it. You get the location, the seclusion. But any of the tented camps in the other itineraries would have a lot of this same feel. Probably not quite as nice and the big question is where are these located. Again, check but Serengeti Under Canvas should be in a great spot.

    It’s hard for me to tell by the formatting, but it looks like 4 nights here, which would be great. One possible downfall is it appears there is not time spent in Central Serengeti which has more cats than Northern Serengeti, but the migration is north.






    http://digital.africaodyssey.com/Itinerary/Landing/882aa855-ef74-06a5-0c7b-e464e8c9ef2a?cl=2

    Includes Lake Manyara Tree Lodge.owned by &Beyond,
    It’s in the far south of the park, away from other vehicles, and you will see incredible numbers of elephants.

    Maybe, maybe not, for the eles. I saw no elephants on 2 game drives recently in Manyara. The incredible #s of eles are in Tarangire end of dry season. If the cool property is what you want, then go for the Tree Hotel.

    And also the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge on the crater rim, has unbelievable views at $1,200 per person per night it’s the splurge of all splurges. Like Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, it’s owned by
    AndBeyond is top notch and a quality company. No way would I spend that kind of money on PROPERTIES.
    Picking up on your desire to see the migration, email or call Bill at The Wild Source and ask him for an itinerary that maximizes time with the migration, given your 2 week travel time frame--assuming that is indeed a major goal of this trip. Also be sure to state how important it is to you to see the herds CROSS THE RIVER. Compare migration-intensive that option with the one he has already provided and look at the Access2Tanzania itinerary or any others that are be in the works. You’ll find a winner.
    One final very biased comment. After you go to Africa, you’ll go be going Paris, where?

  • Report Abuse

    Thank you so much for all of the great information.

    (atravlynn: I already went to Paris, last year: and Dordogne (cave paintings), Bordeaux wine tour and drop car off before flying to Nice (Cannes was mistake, should have seen Antibes instead), I got a lot of help on Rick Steeves Forum. Very nice trip again too short 2 week trip.)

    Back to Africa:
    I only have 2 weeks total, including flight from Los Angeles.
    so I may only have 11 days; to be fair to the above operators, they may have been trying to accommodate my requests in going all over the place.

    In any case, looks like so far it's Wild Source !!! ... still waiting to hear back from go2Tanzania and Basecamp...

    Wild Source/Bill Given leaves L.A. Oct. 3 and is with George; I'm a little concerned it's too late for the migration, which is why I kept adding the Mara Masaii, but apparently this is all hard to predict ahead of time. I'm not sure it's a major goal as the Tangerine and rest may suffice... only not sure I'll ever have the chance again and so close to migration....

    There is an earlier opening Aug. 27 departure with WS, a safer migration bet says Bill Given, however, I can't make this because of work, I think... it's also not with George, but Francis Thomas....

  • Report Abuse

    Dordogne Cave Paintings - You have my attention. Cave paintings are what could get me back to France. I am fascinated by them and have gone to the traveling Lascaux paintings exhibit in the US.

    Could you go into the cave? How much time did you spend at Dordogne

    Right, back to Africa...

    1 day departing home
    1 day arrive JRO in eve

    11 days on safari

    1 day flying home
    ___
    14 days

    If you want to see the big herds of wildebeest and zebra that make up the migration, that's not so tough. But witnessing them cross the river takes time, timing and luck.

    The migration is not one single long line of marching wildebeest and zebras. It is herds in groups scattered about the landscape, some grazing, some heading this way, others heading that way. It is likely you'll see some big herds, which are part of the migration, in Oct., whether they have just returned from the Mara or have not made it there yet.

    What are the earliest dates in the fall (North American fall) you could travel, regardless of company or guide?

    Would you consider travel in February? At that time the herds are definitely all in Tanzania, probably all grouped in Southern Serengeti or Ndutu. Or they are enroute to the south from the Central Serengeti. At that time the guessing turns to when the wildebeest will drop their calves. Tarangire is not at its prime in Feb, though.

  • Report Abuse

    in Dordgone, stayed 3 nights in Sarlat, a good base to visit some of the caves, went to Lascaux II ( a good replica near the now closed original) Font de Gaume, have to arrive early to get tickets, and Rouffigniac, takea train inside the cave to the paintings. Can read info on their websites and at Rick Steeves forum. More may soon be closed to public; others are further south and in Spain.
    BACK TO AFRICA; earliest dates for fall for me are the Aug. 30, or later would be Sept. 27; I need to leave late month and get back mid month for work.... Trip home may take an overnight in Amsterdam if I'm reading KLM right...
    February would work, but then again very crowded and also so many unknowns with wild animals.

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    by the way, it's a challenge to get to the Dordogne region, it's recommended to rent a car, which we did.... but others manage with trains and hiring a guide to drive them to the caves once there....

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    Thanks for the cave info. Might be closing so the images can be preserved is probably right. Good warning to heed. Merci beacoup!

    I just checked one KLM and one Delta flight. Each had NO o/nt in Amsterdam. Change planes but no o/nt.

    For dates:
    So Aug 30 is ok, but not Aug 27, is that correct? What about Sept 27, can Bill do a trip for you that works for your end of Sept days? Though I've been thrilled with George since that's who I've used, I'd be very comfortable with any Wild Source guide.

    Check out these migration blog entries for various months, including Oct, for the past couple of years. Note the date of the blog, which is often late in Oct.

    http://www.nomad-tanzania.com/blogs/serengeti-migration/archive/2013/11

    and this one
    http://blogs.andbeyond.com/carla_glasspool/category/the-great-wildebeest-migration/


    From the Kenyan side

    http://www.governorscamp.com/blog/masai-mara-game-report-september-2013

    African Odyssey also has a migration update but I didn't want to download the extra required software to see it right now so I couldn't get it.

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    "I just checked one KLM and one Delta flight. Each had NO o/nt in Amsterdam. Change planes but no o/nt."

    To clarify that was using LAX, since you mentioned that's your base.

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    Thanks for info on flight... will check better... yes Aug. 30 or Sept. 27, though the Aug. 30 he may not get 3 nights at the Lamala Mara Camp and deal, bill is checking into the schedule for me.

    Here's an itinerary from Base Camp; cheaper, but fewer days, and they can add on the flight from Kogetende cost $283 pp What do you think?

    BASECAMP

    DAY 0

    Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport - Collection via Base Camp and transfer to www.ilborusafarilodge.com situated at the foot of Mt. Meru.• The perfect place to spend your first night in Tanzania D

    DAY 1

    Arusha NP http://www.basecamptanzania.com/NP_Arusha.htm days mixed hiking (circa 2 hours) and game drives, in this special little park at the foot of Mt Meru – chance to see Mt Kilimanjaro – overnight www.ilborusafarilodge.com BLD

    DAY 2

    Leaving Arusha we drive circa 120 km on tarmac and circa 4 km on piste arriving at our first park - Tarangire National Park We take you on your first Game Drive arriving back just before dusk to • overnight in luxury tents, self contained/shower etc., situated on the slopes overlooking the Tarangire river, a permanent water source, enabling you to enjoy the sight of the wildlife coming to drink. Overnight www.tarangiresafarilodge.com OR www.sopalodges.com BLD

    DAY 3

    Rising early we game drive until lunch, after which we continue our safari to Lake Manyara National Park. We shall take a short Game Drive in this spectacular park at the base of the western wall of the Great Rift Valley before retiring to our hotel on the rim of the Rift Valley.• Overnight www.kirurumu.net OR http://www.moivaro.com/pages/migunga_forest_camp/lodge.htm BLD

    DAY 4

    We drive to and enter the world famous Serengeti National Park.• Game Driving from the entrance gate to your hotel in this the probably most famous of all National Parks in the world!• Overnight in tented camp http://www.wildfrontiers.com/mailimages2011/SerengetiWildernessNC_FactSheet2011.pdf BLD

    DAY 5

    A full day, dawn to dusk Game Driving in the Serengeti National Park Overnight in tented camp next too the Mara river http://www.wildfrontiers.com/?q=con,82,Tanzania's%20Lamai%20Wedge%20-%20Migration%20fly-in%20Safari BLD

    DAY 6

    A full day, dawn to dusk Game Driving in the Serengeti National Park Overnight in tented camp next too the Mara river http://www.wildfrontiers.com/?q=con,82,Tanzania's%20Lamai%20Wedge%20-%20Migration%20fly-in%20Safari BLD

    DAY 7

    A full day, dawn to dusk Game Driving in the Serengeti National Park.• Today we have over 14,000 km in which explore the ever changing flora and fauna, in this park made famous in the Film "Serengeti shall not die" by Dr. Bernhard Grzimek. • You too shall never forget the splendour of the rolling savannah and open plains, home to the most spectacular migration on our planet! • Overnight in tented camp http://www.wildfrontiers.com/mailimages2011/SerengetiWildernessNC_FactSheet2011.pdf BLD

    DAY 8

    . Our last game drive in Serengeti National Park taking in some of the "Kopjes / Inselbergen" granite outcrops in which many predators love to sit and look out over the plains for their prey.• Lunch is a packed lunch. En-Route to Ngorongoro Crater:.• Overnight in www.sopalodges.com BLD

    DAY 9 Ngorongoro Crater - a World Heritage Site - where we spend the maximum of six hours allowed game driving! • Down inside the Worlds Largest Perfect Caldera (collapsed volcano) with a permanent residence of circa 30,000 animals.• Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtakingly exciting place to see the only remaining Black Rhinos in East Africa.• En-Route to Arusha Cultural village tour http://mtoculturalprogramme.tripod.com/ Overnight www.ilborusafarilodge.com BLD

    DAY 10 Departure transfer B

    TOTAL PP BASED ON TWO PARTICIPANTS 2014 PRICES.

    MIXED LODGES SAFARI $3,25O PP

    TOTAL PP BASED ON FOUR PARTICIPANTS 2014 PRICES.

    MIXED LODGES SAFARI $2,75O

    TOTAL PP BASED ON SIX PARTICIPANTS 2014 PRICES.

    MIXED LODGES SAFARI $2,65O

    TOTAL PP BASED ON EIGHT PARTICIPANTS 2014 PRICES.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    OPTION OF MASSAI VILLAGE (BOMA) VISIT $50 PER VEHICLE PAID DIRECT.

    OPTION OF BALLOON SAFARI $499 PP www.balloonsafaris.com

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    ALL INCLUSIVE OF AIRPORT TRANSFERS -ARRIVEL & DEPARTURE / ALL PARK FEES / RANGER FEES / 4X4 TRANSPORT / ENGLISH SPEAKING

    DRIVER-GUIDE/ BOTTLED WATER ON SAFARI/ FULL BOARD = BREAKFAST+LUNCH+DINNER / HOTEL ACCOMDATION DAYS AS SHOWN

    ABOVE. / FLYING DOCTORS SERVICE

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.

    NOT INCLUDED ALL THINGS OF A PERSONAL NATURE IE: ALCOHOL / TIPS-GRATUITIES/LAUNDRY,SOUVENIRS / AIRPORT TAX'ES.

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    Here's an itinerary from Base Camp; cheaper, but fewer days, and they can add on the flight from Kogetende cost $283 pp What do you think? I would get this itinerary reworked as shown below with the flight. I would utilize all of your 14 days and do

    1-2 Leave home, get to JRO
    3 Arusha
    4-5-6 Tarangire - Choose Tarangire Safari Lodge
    7 Go to crater, stopping along way at markets, etc. Get to crater in time to enjoy the view at Sopa
    8 Morning drive in crater, go to Central Serengeti
    9 Central Serengeti
    10 N. Serengeti
    11 N. Serengeti
    12 N. Serengeti
    13 Back to JRO on the flight from Kogetende
    14 Get home

    I see pricing is based on 2. I was under the impression you were going solo. Are there 2 people? Perhaps more than 2?

    The above would differ from The Wild Source in parks visited by adding Arusha and removing 1 night Central Serengeti. Pros: A very good chance to see the beautiful black and white colobus monkey in Arusha. A chance to hike in the park, where you may also see the colobus or who knows what. Cons: You miss a day in the far more diverse and far larger Central Serengeti. There are many different directions you can go in Central Serengeti from Moru Kopjes (where lions like to sit) to the Retima Hippo Pool, to staying along the river, etc. etc. More days in central increases your options and puts you in an area with a higher density of cats, eles, herds than Arusha Nat Park can offer.

    Of course Bill of The Wild Source (or any of the companies you list) could do the above itinerary with Arusha National Park.





    BASECAMP

    1 you leave from home and 2 you get to JRODAY 0

    Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport - Collection via Base Camp and transfer to www.ilborusafarilodge.com situated at the foot of Mt. Meru.• The perfect place to spend your first night in Tanzania D

    3DAY 1

    Arusha NP http://www.basecamptanzania.com/NP_Arusha.htm days mixed hiking (circa 2 hours) and game drives, in this special little park at the foot of Mt Meru – chance to see Mt Kilimanjaro – overnight www.ilborusafarilodge.com BLD
    Don’t know the lodge. But nice to hike and drive in Arusha Nat Park

    4DAY 2

    Leaving Arusha we drive circa 120 km on tarmac and circa 4 km on piste arriving at our first park - Tarangire National Park We take you on your first Game Drive arriving back just before dusk to • overnight in luxury tents, self contained/shower etc., situated on the slopes overlooking the Tarangire river, a permanent water source, enabling you to enjoy the sight of the wildlife coming to drink. Overnight www.tarangiresafarilodge.com OR www.sopalodges.com BLD
    Recommend Tarangire Safari Lodge for the view. In fact the description provided is that of Tarangire Safari Lodge, not of Sopa Lodge.

    5DAY 3

    Rising early we game drive until lunch, after which we continue our safari to Lake Manyara National Park. We shall take a short Game Drive in this spectacular park at the base of the western wall of the Great Rift Valley before retiring to our hotel on the rim of the Rift Valley.• Overnight www.kirurumu.net OR http://www.moivaro.com/pages/migunga_forest_camp/lodge.htm BLD

    Once again only 1 night Tarangire. With a choice of 2 nt sTarangire or (1 nt Tarangire + 1 nt Manyara) I’d take 2 nts Tarangire. But the problem is if you need to be in Central Serengeti on Day 4, it is too far to go from Tarangire to Central. That’s why the day in the middle at Manyara.

    6DAY 4

    We drive to and enter the world famous Serengeti National Park.• Game Driving from the entrance gate to your hotel in this the probably most famous of all National Parks in the world!• Overnight in tented camp http://www.wildfrontiers.com/mailimages2011/SerengetiWildernessNC_FactSheet2011.pdf BLD
    Note you have 3 one-nighters in a row. Not ideal.

    7DAY 5

    A full day, dawn to dusk Game Driving in the Serengeti National Park Overnight in tented camp next too the Mara river http://www.wildfrontiers.com/?q=con,82,Tanzania's%20Lamai%20Wedge%20-%20Migration%20fly-in%20Safari BLD

    8DAY 6

    A full day, dawn to dusk Game Driving in the Serengeti National Park Overnight in tented camp next too the Mara river http://www.wildfrontiers.com/?q=con,82,Tanzania's%20Lamai%20Wedge%20-%20Migration%20fly-in%20Safari BLD

    9DAY 7

    A full day, dawn to dusk Game Driving in the Serengeti National Park.• Today we have over 14,000 km in which explore the ever changing flora and fauna, in this park made famous in the Film "Serengeti shall not die" by Dr. Bernhard Grzimek. • You too shall never forget the splendour of the rolling savannah and open plains, home to the most spectacular migration on our planet! • Overnight in tented camp http://www.wildfrontiers.com/mailimages2011/SerengetiWildernessNC_FactSheet2011.pdf BLD

    DAYS 5-6-7 are great

    10DAY 8

    . Our last game drive in Serengeti National Park taking in some of the "Kopjes / Inselbergen" granite outcrops in which many predators love to sit and look out over the plains for their prey.• Lunch is a packed lunch. En-Route to Ngorongoro Crater:.• Overnight in www.sopalodges.com BLD
    great

    11DAY 9 Ngorongoro Crater - a World Heritage Site - where we spend the maximum of six hours allowed game driving! • Down inside the Worlds Largest Perfect Caldera (collapsed volcano) with a permanent residence of circa 30,000 animals.• Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtakingly exciting place to see the only remaining Black Rhinos in East Africa.• En-Route to Arusha Cultural village tour http://mtoculturalprogramme.tripod.com/ Overnight www.ilborusafarilodge.com BLD

    12DAY 10 Departure transfer B
    What do you do all day long prior to your evening flight? If you had the Arusha National Park day here at the end, you could add one more night to Tarangire, for a total of 2 nights Tarangire. That would make this better.

    Don't care much for this all drive itinerary. The one I listed above with flights, 3 nights Tarangire, 2 nights Central would be good, though. Now for the costs on that.

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    Then there's this from Go2Africa

    If you are looking to see the migration herds during your trip in October then the Masai Mara is the best place to do this as the herds would have crossed the rivers from Tanzania during July / August and are grazing in the plains of the Mara waiting for the short rains which start around November. These rains will prompt their movement and the herds will start making their way down to the Serengeti.


    Whilst in Kenya it is also recommended to visit the beautiful Amboseli Reserve where you will have iconic views of Mount Kilimanjaro as well as a visit to Lake Nakuru. If you are looking to travel for around 2 weeks you can combine Kenya with a visit to Tanzania, which is definitely worth including with the game rich Serengeti and iconic Ngorongoro Crater amongst the most visited sights in East Africa.


    This one starts at $7000:
    The Migration, Lake and Crater adventure is a wonderful luxury fly in safari that offers the best of the African bush with some of Africa’s best hosts. Accommodation is in small intimate camps located in prime safari areas allowing you to enjoy the wildlife, sunsets and exquisite cuisine.

    This is in $4500 range with 7 people
    You can also opt to do this safari on a private basis if you preferred not to travel with others.

    13 daysStart: NairobiEnd: NairobiDestinations:
    Tanzania
    Ngorongoro Crater,
    Serengeti,
    Lake Manyara
    Kenya
    Lake Nakuru,
    Amboseli National Park,
    Masai Mara
    Accommodation:
    1 night at Safari Park Hotel
    2 nights at Mara Simba Lodge
    1 night at Lake Nakuru Lodge
    1 night at Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge
    2 nights at Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge
    2 nights at Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge
    1 night at Tarangire Sopa Lodge
    2 nights at Ol Tukai Lodge Comfort Level: Mid-rangeType of Tour: Guided & Scheduled

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    Quick question, or not so quick...

    How does this work exactly... don't we go out looking for animals, and move around, in which case, wouldn't the tents be in different places every night?
    Or is that the camping version?

    Thanks

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    Good question.

    In all of these itineraries you are not nomads following herds or predators with no designated accommodations. You go to the lodges or camps listed in the itinerary each night and the lodges and camps stay put for weeks at the minimum or years at the max.

    But your question raises an important point. You will be looking for animals within the parks only. When you go from park to park (with the exception of traveling within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti) you are on a regular highway. You won't see animals.

    So you want to maximize your game drives within the parks and not spend a lot of time going between the parks.

    Even if you are on a camping safari in pup tents, you look for animals in the parks and put your tent up in the designated camping area at night that has been reserved in advance (can't just pitch it anywhere you want). If you spend several days at one campground, then you return there each night to your tent. When it's on to the next park, pack up the tent and go. Some large parks have more than one public camp area and you can go between those.

    Moving to a different place every day for several days in a row is a big pain and you can't get a feel for the place and you can't follow up on interesting animal activity. For example, you find a lion pride. It's nice to locate the pride the next day and see if they are on a kill or maybe hunting. Or there is a hyena den. It's nice to check for pups at the den at both dusk and dawn.

    ---------------


    Go2Africa quote:
    "If you are looking to see the migration herds during your trip in October then the Masai Mara is the best place to do this as the herds would have crossed the rivers from Tanzania during July / August and are grazing in the plains of the Mara waiting for the short rains which start around November. These rains will prompt their movement and the herds will start making their way down to the Serengeti."

    That’s true. Your desire to avoid crowds moved N. Serengeti to the fore, which also is a good place in Oct.

    13 daysDo you have 13 days? If you have 2 weeks total, then you do not have 13 days on safari.

    Start: NairobiEnd: NairobiDestinations:
    Tanzania
    Ngorongoro Crater,
    Serengeti,
    Lake Manyara
    Kenya
    Lake Nakuru,
    Amboseli National Park,
    Masai Mara
    Accommodation:

    1 night at Safari Park Hotel

    2 nights at Mara Simba Lodge OK, generally an option for people who are trying to save money. Location is just ok. Not very near the Mara River. But look at this. They just said above that the Mara is the best place for the migration in Oct, but you only get 2 nights. And, you're in the wrong place for the migration in the Serengeti.

    1 night at Lake Nakuru Lodge Flamingos and rhino. 1 night here is typical

    From Kenya to Tarangire.
    1 night at Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge

    2 nights at Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge You never get to northern Serengeti where the herds are. For Central Serengeti, this is good.

    2 nights at Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge Fine, I think
    Sopa is better at the crater, but Serena is a fancier property, so fine.


    1 night at Tarangire Sopa Lodge
    1 night is too little, Sopa not first choice

    Now you are back in Kenya. This drive from Tarangire to Amboseli where Ol Tukai is located is like 7 hours. The trips that do this are usually the cram and jam types. This is not a classy itinerary; it is a shotgun, been there, check it off itinerary.
    2 nights at Ol Tukai Lodge nice choice of lodging, thoughComfort Level: Mid-range


    If you really want Tanz and Kenya, then focus on N. Serengeti and the Mara in each of the respective countries. Throw in the crater too. If anything else fits, fine. That is a good use of two weeks time. Not all this shuttling about.

    Is your husband in on all of this or are you sparing him until you have a very limited number of concrete options and can see "We're doing this or this, dear"?

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    This is the itinerary I was referring to. Basecamp would have to cost it for you. Basecamp offered a flight from Kogatende. Along with that flight they would have to make some changes from their all driving trip. I think this itinerary would be good. You can see it is almost like The Wild Source. The only difference is The Wild Source has 3 nights Central Serengeti and 0 nights Arusha.

    Pros of adding Arusha, subtracting Central Serengeti: A very good chance to see the beautiful black and white colobus monkey in Arusha. A chance to hike in the park, where you may also see the colobus or who knows what. Cons: You miss a day in the far more diverse and far larger Central Serengeti. There are many different directions you can go in Central Serengeti from Moru Kopjes (where lions like to sit) to the Retima Hippo Pool, to staying along the river, etc. etc. More days in central increases your options and puts you in an area with a higher density of cats, eles, herds than Arusha Nat Park can offer.

    Of course Bill of The Wild Source (or any of the companies you list) could do the below itinerary with Arusha National Park.




    1-2 Leave home, get to JRO

    3 Arusha

    4-5-6 Tarangire - Choose Tarangire Safari Lodge

    7 Go to crater, stopping along way at markets, etc. Get to crater in time to enjoy the view at Sopa

    8 Morning drive in crater, go to Central Serengeti

    9 Central Serengeti

    10 N. Serengeti
    11 N. Serengeti
    12 N. Serengeti

    13 Back to JRO on the flight from Kogetende
    14 Get home

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    So still with the Wild Source pending new itiniaries... Husband us more of an in the moment kind of person... lucky him ... though he did say the other day the comment about tents following us with a cook, which made me think and wish he'd said that earlier... so now I understand how/why best to stay in parks and not travel around too much, and I guess staying in Tanzania this trip makes most sense...

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    Best to stay with Wild Source? I chose them believing it would be best. So I would say yes. I'm very pleased with my decision and will go with them again.

    I'll stick in my recent trip report with them. It was for Feb, not when you are going, but you can scroll through and see how George helped me see amazing things, and I spent fewer days on safari than you are planning.

    http://safaritalk.net/topic/12456-the-circle-of-life-in-just-9-days-tanzania-mid-feb/

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    I have done a trip with a cook along (plus the driver/guide) but we stayed in Kenya Wildlife Safari (KWS) properties, some tented some lodging. Very simple but really nice and quite secluded, plus very inexpensive facilities.

    Such a trip is a possibility. No KWS properties in the Mara though.

    Husband can be spur of the moment because you're doing all the research and planning! ;)

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    On a private trip, you can almost always avoid "the killing part." In fact it usually takes a lot of waiting to see something like that and most trips do not see a kill. Coming upon animals that are eating something they have killed previously is far more common. But again, on your own trip you can stay and look or go elsewhere.

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    Just a technicality, but in one itinerary above:
    >>Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtakingly exciting place to see the only remaining Black Rhinos in East Africa.•<<

    I just saw a bunch of black rhino in Ol Pejeta in Kenya.

    atravelynn's last comment is bang on. I've seen two failed hunts (the cheetah didn't get their prey) but I've come upon at least a dozen meals in progress. That can get gory. If you don't want to see it, just tell your guide to move on.

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    Yes, hope to see rhino! and plan on the crater if head out with Wild Encounters

    here is another 2, 10-night itiniary from &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas moves between 4 locations in the Serengeti annually and it stays in each place for a couple weeks or months at a time

    Option 1 (Kenya/Tanzania)

    Fly into Nairobi Kenya, overnight

    3 nights Masai Mara in Kenya

    3 nights Serengeti Under Canvas (Northern Serengeti)

    2 nights Lake Manyara

    2 nights Ngorongoro Crater

    Fly back to Nairobi for departure



    Option 2 (Tanzania)

    Fly into Kilimanjaro airport Tanzania, overnight Arusha

    3 nights Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp (Western Serengeti)

    3 nights Serengeti Under Canvas (Northern Serengeti)

    2 nights Lake Manyara

    2 nights Ngorongoro Crater

    Fly back to Kilimanjaro airport for departure



    In October the Great Migration usually starts to leave the Masai Mara and head back into Serengeti, often the herds cross earlier in September so I can almost guarantee that you’d see herds on the Serengeti side and its possible you’d see some herds on the Masai Mara side too – it all depends on the rains which affect the grazing but my feeling is that they mostly would have crossed back to Serengeti by then.

    Option 1 would cover both sides of the Mara river (Masai Mara and Northern Serengeti) just in case they are located on both sides still.

    Option 2 keeps you in one country and gives you the opportunity to explore the fairly remote (quiet in terms of seeing other vehicles while out on drives) corner of the Serengeti as well as spending some time in the north where you should cross paths with the migration herds.

    andBeyond said:
    There is no price, yet, but said it would be over my $6000/per person budget....

    I am still aiming for Wild Source, but itiniaries still coming in.... so interesting to compare.

    Thanks again!

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    Another itiniary: Great Safaris, 9 nights, $5400/person

    Arrival Arusha JRO: September 30, 2014

    September 30

    Arrive Kilimanjaro JRO airport ( flight booked by clients ) on arrival met by Great Safaris Representative and transfer to Lake Duluti Serena Hotel for Overnight (Bed & Breakfast)

    October 01

    After breakfast drive to Lake Manyara Serena Lodge for lunch. PM Game drive , dinner.

    Overnight Lake Manyara Serena Lodge

    October 02

    After breakfast drive to Serengeti Serena lodge, lunch, pm Game drive , dinner and Overnight Serengeti Serena lodge

    October 03

    Full day Game drive in Serengeti national park,

    Overnight Serengeti Serena lodge Fullboard

    October 04

    Excursion Olduvai , picnic lunch , pm continue to Ngorongoro Serena lodge for dinner and Overnight.

    October 05

    Full day Ngorongoro crater tour with picnic lunch,

    Overnight Ngorongoro Serena Lodge Fullboard

    October 06

    After breakfast drive to Tarangire Sopa Lodge for lunch , pm Game drive.

    Dinner and Overnight Tarangire Sopa Lodge Fullboard

    October 07

    Full day Game Drive in Tarangire national park,

    Overnight Tarangire Sopa Lodge Fullboard

    October 08

    After breakfast drive to Arusha for lunch , pm shopping and then transfer to Kilimanjaro airport for departure flight

    (flights not included

    End of services

    Rate: US$5395. 00 per person, in one double room

    Including an extra night in Tarangire Sopa Lodge

    Cost Includes - One 4x4 vehicle on safari on private basis + Services of experienced English speaking driver-guide + accommodation + Park fees + game drives + Meals as shown in the itinerary + airport transfers + Government taxes + ½ litre of mineral water per person per day during Game Drives

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    Nice spotting skills amyb! There are black rhino in the Serengeti too, plus the Mara, Lake Nakuru and even Nairobi National Park. Ol Pejeta is probably the best place in Africa to see black rhino, white too.



    Option 1 (Kenya/Tanzania)

    Fly into Nairobi Kenya, overnight

    3 nights Masai Mara in Kenya

    3 nights Serengeti Under Canvas (Northern Serengeti)
    3 nights rather than 2 is more like it for parks like Serengeti and Mara. You probably will be at Kichwa Tembo or Bateleur Camp, both in nice locations for the migration in Oct. The Serengeti Under Canvas is in the right spot and should be outstanding.

    2 nights Lake Manyara
    Here’s the lovely tree house

    2 nights Ngorongoro Crater
    Crater should be included and it is. With AndBeyond, it is included at a tremendous cost.

    Fly back to Nairobi for departure

    Check on your logistics for going between the countries.
    This looks good for 2 countries. I’d prefer Tarangire to Manyara for the park and the animals you’ll see, especially late dry season. But if you’d like the tree hotel, you have to go to Manyara.

    I personally would not pay the price for this because I want my money going for what’s out there, not fancy properties. But this looks like a quality itinerary to me. If ambiance of lodging rates right up there with game viewing for you as ingredients for a good vacation, you couldn’t top this.



    Option 2 (Tanzania)

    Fly into Kilimanjaro airport Tanzania, overnight Arusha

    3 nights Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp (Western Serengeti)
    Ok, because with 3 nights you have time to drive to Central Serengeti because it’s only about 2 hours away from Western. It is possible some of the herds will be more western in woodlands. But you want to be sure you can stay out all day to get to Central Serengeti where the river is and where the resident animals are likely to congregate. The reason they have you in Grumeti is that is where one of their permanent camps is. So again, property over location. But from what I understand it is a truly lovely property. And you can get yourself to Central for likely a more optimal location in Oct. Be sure an all day outing (or 2) is possible at your discretion.

    3 nights Serengeti Under Canvas (Northern Serengeti)
    As mentioned, a highlight, should be great.

    2 nights Lake Manyara

    2 nights Ngorongoro Crater

    Fly back to Kilimanjaro airport for departure



    “In October the Great Migration usually starts to leave the Masai Mara and head back into Serengeti, often the herds cross earlier in September so I can almost guarantee that you’d see herds on the Serengeti side and its possible you’d see some herds on the Masai Mara side too – it all depends on the rains which affect the grazing but my feeling is that they mostly would have crossed back to Serengeti by then.” I’d agree with this.

    Option 1 would cover both sides of the Mara river (Masai Mara and Northern Serengeti) just in case they are located on both sides still.

    Option 2 keeps you in one country and gives you the opportunity to explore the fairly remote (quiet in terms of seeing other vehicles while out on drives) corner of the Serengeti as well as spending some time in the north where you should cross paths with the migration herds. That’s spinning it well for Western Serengeti in Oct.
    Both of these are quality itineraries. #1 more than #2 I think. Both of them have your safari dollars tied up more heavily in exquisite, elegant, awe-inspiring properties. You can visit all of these locations, or even slightly better locations for Oct, for less. You can not visit these locations in quite this level of luxury or elegance or uniqueness of lodging with The Wild Source or any of the other options you've presented.

    But you can have really nice accommodations for less than AndBeyond's pricing.

    I want my safari dollars going toward wildlife, not facilities. If you like the facilities angle, these will delight you.


    andBeyond said:
    There is no price, yet, but said it would be over my $6000/per person budget.... That may be the deciding factor right there.


    Another itiniary: Great Safaris, 9 nights, $5400/person To improve, add 2 nights in Northern Serengeti, even if it is only Lobo, or better yet, Bolongonja so you could get to the northern part of Serengeti where the herds are likely to be.

    Arrival Arusha JRO: September 30, 2014

    September 30

    Arrive Kilimanjaro JRO airport ( flight booked by clients ) on arrival met by Great Safaris Representative and transfer to Lake Duluti Serena Hotel for Overnight (Bed & Breakfast)
    Cool, I’d be more enthused if you had a little more time to enjoy this location.
    October 01

    After breakfast drive to Lake Manyara Serena Lodge for lunch. PM Game drive , dinner.

    Overnight Lake Manyara Serena Lodge
    ok.

    October 02

    After breakfast drive to Serengeti Serena lodge, lunch, pm Game drive , dinner and Overnight Serengeti Serena lodge

    October 03

    Full day Game drive in Serengeti national park,

    Overnight Serengeti Serena lodge Fullboard
    2 nights Central, makes sense. Serena very good. But wait no Northern Serengeti to follow central? Then no migration most likely. Bad plan for Oct if you’d like to see the migration.

    October 04

    Excursion Olduvai , picnic lunch , pm continue to Ngorongoro Serena lodge for dinner and Overnight.

    October 05

    Full day Ngorongoro crater tour with picnic lunch,

    Overnight Ngorongoro Serena Lodge Fullboard
    I like Sopa over Serena for Sopa’s access road. But Serena is fine and actually a nicer lodge. Sopa is really nice, though. Interesting a full day in crater. That’s nice.

    Be sure the full day crater tour is costed into the itinerary and they are not just saying full day but really only by a morning a morning permit and are just hoping to stay the afternoon without another permit. Full day crater is costlier than morning only. Worth the cost, but it’s times 2.


    October 06

    After breakfast drive to Tarangire Sopa Lodge for lunch , pm Game drive.

    Dinner and Overnight Tarangire Sopa Lodge Fullboard

    October 07

    Full day Game Drive in Tarangire national park,

    Overnight Tarangire Sopa Lodge Fullboard

    October 08
    Rather than shop, spend as much of the morning as you can in Tarangire. If you can stay until noonish, you’ll get another shot at eles at the river. They come out in mass not at daybreak but around 10 am. I’d choose Tarangire Wildlife Lodge over Sopa.
    After breakfast drive to Arusha for lunch , pm shopping and then transfer to Kilimanjaro airport for departure flight

    With the changes I suggested, this would be acceptable to me. Without the extra time in N. Serengeti that I think they should add, I'd forget this one.

    (flights not included

    End of services

    Rate: US$5395. 00 per person, in one double room

    Including an extra night in Tarangire Sopa Lodge

    Cost Includes - One 4x4 vehicle on safari on private basis + Services of experienced English speaking driver-guide + accommodation + Park fees + game drives + Meals as shown in the itinerary + airport transfers + Government taxes + ½ litre of mineral water per person per day during Game Drives


    Looking at all the itineraries so far as they are printed and not with tweaks I'd make, I'd sum it up:

    Wild Source has you in the right parks at the time you are traveling, staying in really nice accommodations, and seems to be in your price range. AndBeyond "Option 1 (Kenya/Tanzania)" has you in the right parks, with one exception, and has you in outstanding to spectacular lodging, and is probably over your budget.

    All the others, as is, are lacking in some respect.

  • Report Abuse

    And, now Go2 Tanzania, is here: out of my budget, though as over $9,000... and too many days, so can be trimmed by at least 2 days which would bring the budget down somewhat and looks nice overall but may cost too much in comparison.

    Oct. 4• Arrive Kilimanjaro (JRO) Airport

    • Arumeru River Lodge Transit time from JRO to the Usa River area is
    approx 35-40 min. • Transfer to Hotel • www.arumerulodge.com

    Oct 5

    • Kili Day Hike & Chaga Village Visit (with local lunch)

    • Arumeru River Lodge Transit time from the Usa

    River area to Kilimanjaro

    Day Hike area is approx. 1 hr. each way.

    www.arumerulodge.com

    6-Oct 3

    • Masai Boma Visit • Lemala Explorer Tarangire

    Seasonal Camp

    Transit time from Usa River area to Tarangire is approx

    2.5 hrs. • Tarangire National Park • www.lemalacamp.com

    7-Oct 4

    • Guided Bush Walk • Lemala Explorer Tarangire

    Seasonal Camp

    • Tarangire National Park • www.lemalacamp.com

    8-Oct 5

    • Tarangire National Park • Lemala Explorer Tarangire

    Seasonal Camp

    www.lemalacamp.com

    9-Oct 6

    • Ngorongoro Conservation

    Area

    • Sopa Ngorongoro Lodge Transit time from Tarangire to Ngorongoro Crater is

    approx 2.5 hrs. • Olmoti Crater Hike • www.sopalodges.com

    • or Empakaii Crater

    10-

    Oct 7

    • Ngorongoro Crater Game

    Drive

    • Sopa Ngorongoro Lodge

    www.sopalodges.com

    11-

    Oct 8

    • Olduvai Gorge (extended visit)

    • Lemala Ewanjan Seronera Valley Camp

    Transit time from Ngorongoro Crater to the Serengeti Gate is approx 2 hrs.

    Transit time from the Serengeti Gate to the Central Serengeti is approx 1 hrs.

    • Serengeti National Park via Ngorongoro Conservation Area
    12-

    Oct 9

    • Serengeti National Park • Lemala Ewanjan Seronera Valley Camp

    13-

    Oct 10

    • Serengeti National Park • Lemala Ewanjan Seronera Valley Camp


    14-

    Oct 11

    • Serengeti National Park • Lemala Mara North Serengeti Transit time from the

    Central Serengeti to the Kogatende Area is approx. 4 hrs. via Mugumu Village

    (outside of park boundary)

    www.lemalacamp.com

    15-

    Oct 12

    • Serengeti National Park • Lemala Mara North Serengeti

    www.lemalacamp.com

    16-

    Oct 13

    • Serengeti National Park • Lemala Mara North Serengeti

    www.lemalacamp.com

    17- Oct 14

    • Fly from Kogatende

    (10h00) to Arusha (12h15)

    • Depart Kilimanjaro (JRO) Please arrive 1 hour in advance of your scheduled

    flight departure time. Your luggage is limited to 15 kgs per person on domestic flights. Transit time from Usa River area to JRO is approx 35-40 min. Please arrive 2 hours in advance of your international departure time.

    • Day room & meal at

    Arumeru

    • Have a safe journey home!

    • Transfer to Airport

    The total cost for this itinerary is $9,100 USD per person for a private group of 2 people.

    BUDGET NOTES:

    ~ Room type: 1 Double room -

    ~ Vehicle type: 1 Standard Toyota Land Cruiser -

    ~ Safari Guide: Full-time professional guide exclusive to Access 2 Tanzania -

    ~ All lodging subject to availability

  • Report Abuse

    And, now Go2 Tanzania, is here: out of my budget, though as over $9,000... and too many days, so can be trimmed by at least 2 days which would bring the budget down somewhat and looks nice overall but may cost too much in comparison.

    Oct. 4• Arrive Kilimanjaro (JRO) Airport

    • Arumeru River Lodge Transit time from JRO to the Usa River area is
    approx 35-40 min. • Transfer to Hotel • www.arumerulodge.com
    This place is a dik dik paradise. A 3-day old baby on the grounds was a highlight of my whole trip last year. Dik diks are small antelope. The baby was the size of a rabbit!

    Oct 5

    • Kili Day Hike & Chaga Village Visit (with local lunch)

    • Arumeru River Lodge Transit time from the Usa

    River area to Kilimanjaro

    Day Hike area is approx. 1 hr. each way.

    Interesting activity. For just one day, I’d probably opt for Arusha Nat Park because of the colobus monkeys. But this looks intriguing. I will keep this in mind. Very nice.
    www.arumerulodge.com

    6-Oct 3

    • Masai Boma Visit • Lemala Explorer Tarangire

    Seasonal Camp

    Transit time from Usa River area to Tarangire is approx

    2.5 hrs. • Tarangire National Park • www.lemalacamp.com

    7-Oct 4

    • Guided Bush Walk • Lemala Explorer Tarangire

    Seasonal Camp

    • Tarangire National Park • www.lemalacamp.com

    8-Oct 5

    • Tarangire National Park • Lemala Explorer Tarangire

    Seasonal Camp

    www.lemalacamp.com
    3 nights, very good. Even a walk.

    9-Oct 6

    • Ngorongoro Conservation

    Area

    • Sopa Ngorongoro Lodge Transit time from Tarangire to Ngorongoro Crater is

    approx 2.5 hrs. • Olmoti Crater Hike • www.sopalodges.com

    • or Empakaii Crater
    nice activity for afternoon. Sopa is good.
    10-

    Oct 7

    • Ngorongoro Crater Game

    Drive Check if this is am, pm, or all day. If am or pm, what goes on the other part of the day? You may just prefer to enjoy the views from the lodge and relax if you have a half day free in the crater.

    • Sopa Ngorongoro Lodge

    www.sopalodges.com

    11-

    Oct 8

    • Olduvai Gorge (extended visit) You don’t want too extended a visit at Olduvai. You don’t want to spend hours there I don’t think. I’d have to see what all the “extended visit” entails, though.

    • Lemala Ewanjan Seronera Valley Camp

    Transit time from Ngorongoro Crater to the Serengeti Gate is approx 2 hrs.

    Transit time from the Serengeti Gate to the Central Serengeti is approx 1 hrs.

    • Serengeti National Park via Ngorongoro Conservation Area
    12-

    Oct 9

    • Serengeti National Park • Lemala Ewanjan Seronera Valley Camp

    13-

    Oct 10

    • Serengeti National Park • Lemala Ewanjan Seronera Valley Camp
    3 nights in central in a camp, very nice

    14-

    Oct 11

    • Serengeti National Park • Lemala Mara North Serengeti Transit time from the

    Central Serengeti to the Kogatende Area is approx. 4 hrs. via Mugumu Village

    (outside of park boundary)

    www.lemalacamp.com

    15-

    Oct 12

    • Serengeti National Park • Lemala Mara North Serengeti

    www.lemalacamp.com

    16-

    Oct 13

    • Serengeti National Park • Lemala Mara North Serengeti

    www.lemalacamp.com

    17- Oct 14

    • Fly from Kogatende

    (10h00) to Arusha (12h15)

    • Depart Kilimanjaro (JRO) Please arrive 1 hour in advance of your scheduled

    flight departure time. Your luggage is limited to 15 kgs per person on domestic flights. Transit time from Usa River area to JRO is approx 35-40 min. Please arrive 2 hours in advance of your international departure time.
    3 nights in north, also very nice
    • Day room & meal at

    Arumeru

    • Have a safe journey home!

    • Transfer to Airport

    The total cost for this itinerary is $9,100 USD per person for a private group of 2 people.

    BUDGET NOTES:

    ~ Room type: 1 Double room -

    ~ Vehicle type: 1 Standard Toyota Land Cruiser -

    ~ Safari Guide: Full-time professional guide exclusive to Access 2 Tanzania -

    ~ All lodging subject to availability

    If you had the time and it was within your budget, this looks like a quality, well crafted and well thought out itinerary. It also has 3 opportunities to get out and walk, which is a nice bonus: #1 Kili walk #2 Tarangire #3 crater hikes. (Maybe even something at Oldupai)

    But unfortunately you need to chop 2 days.
    "trimmed by at least 2 days" I’d suggest the second night in Arusha for REMOVING ONE DAY. That means no Kili Day Hike & Chaga Village Visit. FOR REMOVING THE SECOND DAY I’d see if on 9-Oct 6 you could visit Tarangire in the am, then drive to the crater in the pm. Then on 10-Oct 7, if the crater game drive were half a day, you could do that in the morning and do your Olmoti or Empakaii crater hike in the afternoon. If the 10-Oct 7crater game drive were a full day, then it looks like you’d miss a hike in a crater. But these moves on 9 Oct and 10 Oct would allow you to remove one of the 3 days from Tarangire and spend only 2 nights there. Those 2 nights would be 6-Oct 3 and 7-Oct 4. My changes would remove 2 or all 3 of the walks I was enthused about.

    Alternately, if you wanted to keep Tarangire and the crater exactly as stated, you could REMOVE THE SECOND DAY by staying only 2 nights in Lemala Ewanjan Seronera Valley Camp, Central Serengeti. If only 2 nights, I’d really inquire on the time and activities of the “extended” Olduvai visit.

    Some of the unique features that make this itinerary stand out require the number of days shown. Cuts to the # of days remove those unique features.

  • Report Abuse

    Further to atravelynn's point, I'd skip the Masai boma visit if you're looking to cut from somewhere. I didn't feel it was terribly authentic at the time (and more so now that I've been to Kenya and met them there) and had a rather pressure-filled "buy our stuff" experience as we tried to leave. If you ever get to Kenya, you can do a walk with the guides who work with your camps that's a lot more authentic.

    Also we had a late day 1/2 day in Tarangire and then 3/4 of the day the next day starting early. I'd opt for earlier than later, if you have any control over that. The game was just better, at least for us.

    Arumeru is wonderful, both for that first overnight as well as the day room before the airport.

  • Report Abuse

    SUCCESS!!! We are booked on Wild Source beginning of September, 11 nights.... I am so excited... Thank you all in what must be the longest forum correspondence ever.... I have a few days before the safari begins and I am considering stopping in Amsterdam for a few nights, as that is where the flight heads, and to offset jetlag, and to see the town a bit.... any recommendations .... ? and again thank you all so much....

  • Report Abuse

    Congrats! I wish you a speedy countdown! I will warn you, this will change your life and make you only want to ever do safaris forever more. I wish someone had told ME that! ;-)

    I love Amsterdam, it's a great, fun city with lots and lots of art and history. My favorite hotel switched hands last year though, so no reccos there.

  • Report Abuse

    The Wild Source is a great choice, Bellatravel. I've gone with them several times and will be in Kenya in September on a TWS safari myself. I've also traveled in Tanzania with them and the guides are great!

    As for your question about stopping over in Amsterdam, I've done that a couple of times. It's a good way to shake off the jet lag and be ready to go on safari when you arrive in Tanzania. If you're there for several nights, stay in the city itself. I've stayed at the Ambassade Hotel and found it to be well located. Check out the reviews on Trip Advisor or other websites. For just one night, staying at an airport hotel such as the NH Hotel would be better. Either way, you can take the train into town from the airport. Heading back to the airport, leave yourself plenty of time to figure out the right train to get there. I always find European train schedules a bit confusing.

    Amsterdam Restaurant tip - Blue on the third floor of the shopping center Kalvertoren has great views over the city. Just head down Kalverstraat from the main plaza until you reach the shopping mall, then find the elevator up to Blue.

  • Report Abuse

    Thanks; I found a B&B on tripadvisor, so am looking forward to that as will be there 3 nights, and will definitely check out the Blue restaurant and glad to hear you had good reviews with TWS. Very much looking forward...

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