Africa & the Middle East Forums

Post New Topic

Recent Activity

  • Announcement:
  • Recent Spam Attacks
    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
View all Africa & the Middle East activity »
  1. 1 Morocco 6 days Itinerary..Need Help
  2. 2 Kenya Safari Tour Operator Recommendations
  3. 3 Trip Report Nine months to Egypt (but you should go now)
  4. 4 Attractions in Cairo and around
  5. 5 Uganda Visa
  6. 6 Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
  7. 7 Driving Distance from Kalahari Tented Camp to Western Etosha NP
  8. 8 upcoming Africa trip ... gift ideas needed?
  9. 9 Trying to contact Rabbi Jay Karzen, Jerusalem
  10. 10 South Africa/Safari/12 days in May
  11. 11 Is Egypt OK to visit now with family ?
  12. 12 "Salute Africa" travel agency
  13. 13 Need feedback on my itinerary
  14. 14 DANCING ZEBRA SAFARI CO
  15. 15 The Heat and Dust of Kafue & the Busanga Plains
  16. 16 Calculating Conservancy Fees - Kenya's Mara North
  17. 17 Trip report about self-driving in Northern Namibia for 2 weeks in May 2014
  18. 18 Fes or Marrakech?
  19. 19 Transfer at JNB airport
  20. 20 Egypt - Need Help!
  21. 21 Your Thoughts on 5 Days in Morocco in Beg Dec
  22. 22 NBO Airport Transfer?
  23. 23 Morrocco single traveler on group trip
  24. 24 Safety in Dubai airport night take a taxi
  25. 25 Adapter Plugs
View next 25 » Back to the top

Tanzania Northern Circuit Self-drive Itinerary August 2013

Jump to last reply

Hi all. I finally found some time to finish planning our itinerary for this trip. My apologies for not replying on my earlier thread, life got in the way.
My wife and I are planning our first safari trip, which has been a long-time dream for us. We like photography and remoteness/camping.
Here is the rough itinerary that I have so far. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
Aug. 1: Arrival KIA, transport to Arusha, pick up Landrover and supplies. Drive down to Tarangire and stay at special campsite in the park.
Aug. 2-8: Six days Tarangire at one or two special campsites. Hope to include a night drive and a walk. Leave last night for public campsite at Lake Manyara. Do a day game drive and/or canoe rental. Leave for Ngorogoro Crater, camp at public campsite (Simba).
Aug.9: Early morning Gnorogoro crater game drive. I believe we can only stay for 6 hrs? in the crater so we would leave early afternoon and drive to Central Serengeti. Camp at special campsite.
Aug. 10-15: Seronera area and Moru Kopjes game drives. Camp at same special campsite.
Aug. 16-21: Game drives around Lobo area and into northern Serengeti. Camp at special campsite around Lobo.
Aug. 22-29: Camp somewhere in, or close by, Lamai Triangle. Ranger camp Kogatende? Special campsite?
Aug. 30-31: Drive back to Arusha
I still have some specifics to figure out. Places for food, gas, water. Does anyone know the contact email for special campsite bookings? I tried the TANAPA website link for their email but that appears not to be functioning. I would also be grateful for any suggestions on specific special campsites that members have had good experience with.
Thanks!

  • Report Abuse

    Aug. 1: Arrival KIA, transport to Arusha, pick up Landrover and supplies. Drive down to Tarangire and stay at special campsite in the park.

    This will be an incredibly long day. The vehicle handover, if done thoroughly, with a demo of all safety equipment and the roof-top tent etc, should take 2 to 3 hours so, depending on what time you arrive in Arusha, you are not leaving much time for shopping/banking (you'll need cash for fuel and park fees) and driving to the park. The best shopping in Arusha is at the Shoprite on the west end of Sokoine Road. There are several fuel stations in the same area, but shop around - the prices vary a surprising amount. Bottled drinking water you should purchase at Shoprite and you should fill the vehicle water tank with (washing) water before you leave Arusha - we used the (garden) hose at the lodge where we stayed. You can refill your vehicle water tank at the public campsites in the parks. We made a funnel from an empty 1.5 litre water bottle.

    Aug. 2-8: Six days Tarangire at one or two special campsites. Hope to include a night drive and a walk. Leave last night for public campsite at Lake Manyara. Do a day game drive and/or canoe rental. Leave for Ngorogoro Crater, camp at public campsite (Simba).

    In Tarangire, we found much of the action to be near the river and picnic site, so try to choose a special campsite in that area. We are booked for Mibuyu Mingi SC this time. I would be tempted to spend a second night in Lake Manyara - we had excellent sightings in July 2009, including an amazing beside-the-road view of the famous tree climbing lions. The Bagayo SC is in a perfect spot - out of the tsetse zone, central, and near most of the action.

    Aug.9: Early morning Gnorogoro crater game drive. I believe we can only stay for 6 hrs? in the crater so we would leave early afternoon and drive to Central Serengeti. Camp at special campsite.

    The NCAA website states that the $200 crater service fee allows you to stay in the crater for 1/2 day/6 hours. However, when we were there last in 2009, we were told that we could stay for the full day. In retrospect, we probably should have had the rangers (this was at the gate at Naabi Hill) put it in writing on our permit in case we were challenged - we will this time.

    Aug. 10-15: Seronera area and Moru Kopjes game drives. Camp at same special campsite.

    Our absolute favourite campsite is at Seronera - Turner Springs SC - the springs bring in the predators - we had to retire to our roof-top tent around 8:30pm on one of the three nights we stayed there because we were surrounded by spotted hyenas and lions. Great fun as long as you are comfortable with close encounters with predators!

    Aug. 16-21: Game drives around Lobo area and into northern Serengeti. Camp at special campsite around Lobo.

    Best game viewing we had in the Lobo area was on the Ngare Naironya Loop - lions everywhere - try to get a SC near there - we are booked for Lobo 3 SC. Lobo Hills SC is also nearby.

    Aug. 22-29: Camp somewhere in, or close by, Lamai Triangle. Ranger camp Kogatende? Special campsite?

    Have not camped further north than Lobo, so can't help you here I'm afraid.

    Aug. 30-31: Drive back to Arusha

    If you are driving from Lobo, it will be an incredibly long day. You might want to spend the night at Olduvai Camp, and enjoy the opportunity to mix with the Masai (who run the camp) in a non-touristy setting.

    Booking the campsites in Tanzania by email or telephone is very difficult. Safari Drive, who we rent our Land Rovers from, uses a local agent. CR

  • Report Abuse

    Hi Robin! I was hoping you would see my post. I thought you might be getting ready to go on a trip yourself (if I remember correctly you were planning to go do the Northern Circuit again this year). Your trip report has been of great help to me so far. Thanks for sharing that! I have done quite a bit of research the last few months. I also have been in contact with Safari Drive and received a quote from them. Unfortunately it was way over our budget. If we want to go for a month there is only one way we can do it and that means organizing it all ourselves. I also posted the same question on trip advisor and most people strongly advised against driving ourselves and recommend to get a driver instead. I hope that I am not underestimating the trip but it seems to me quite feasible to me, and your trip report was very encouraging to me. I also quite look forward to driving there myself, it's part of the fun. That said; thank you very much for your reply. Of course I have some further questions if you don't mind....

    "This will be an incredibly long day." - I originally took two days for this. I don't know yet what time the flight to KIA will arrive. It depends a bit on that but I think I will book a lodge for the first night around Arusha. That way we will also have some time to see the market etc.

    "In Tarangire, we found much of the action to be near the river and picnic site, so try to choose a special campsite in that area. We are booked for Mibuyu Mingi SC this time." - I have been trying to figure out if it would be better to do two SC locations, one north and one south, or one (central). I hear that the north has more game along the river, like you say, but the south is quite nice and very quite. Do you have any suggestions for this? Six days Tarangire; too much?

    " I would be tempted to spend a second night in Lake Manyara" - Would you give up one day in Tarangire for an extra day in Manyara? or take a day from the time spent in the Serengeti?

    "Great fun as long as you are comfortable with close encounters with predators!"- That is why we go!

    "Have not camped further north than Lobo, so can't help you here I'm afraid" - I was hoping to get as close to the Lamai Triangle as possible (it seems that is the area where most of the activity will be around that time). Does it take long to drive from Lobo to Lamai Triangle? Is it feasible to visit it daily from Lobo CS?

    "If you are driving from Lobo, it will be an incredibly long day. You might want to spend the night at Olduvai Camp, and enjoy the opportunity to mix with the Masai (who run the camp) in a non-touristy setting." - After posting I realized that one day is not enough. We probably also need a day at a lodge near Arusha to freshen up! I also considered to take the northern route via Lake Natron back to Arusha. Olduvai Camp is another good option.... (we need more then one month! ;-) It looks like I have to cut a few days in either the Serengeti or Tarangire; any suggestions?

    "Booking the campsites in Tanzania by email or telephone is very difficult. Safari Drive, who we rent our Land Rovers from, uses a local agent. CR" - I am finding this out.... I've tried to contact them by email but so far no replies. It definitely would have been nice to have a local agent do the bookings, but allowing one month of travel forces me to keep the costs down.

    Thanks again for all the help. Greatly appreciated! Have fun with the preparations for your trip!!

    Jaap

  • Report Abuse

    Hi Jaap! Lucky I caught this thread - I almost missed it! Too busy packing!
    Hi Robin! I was hoping you would see my post. I thought you might be getting ready to go on a trip yourself (if I remember correctly you were planning to go do the Northern Circuit again this year). In fact, we leave in 4 days. Things are a bit chaotic at the moment. We are heading back to Canada after our year in Cape Town, but stopping in Kenya and Tanzania en route. This has made the packing up a tad complicated! Your trip report has been of great help to me so far. Thanks for sharing that! Happy it has been helpful! I have done quite a bit of research the last few months. No doubt! It usually takes me a year to research our trips and come up with an itinerary - it changes many times! I also have been in contact with Safari Drive and received a quote from them. Unfortunately it was way over our budget. If we want to go for a month there is only one way we can do it and that means organizing it all ourselves. I also posted the same question on trip advisor and most people strongly advised against driving ourselves and recommend to get a driver instead. Yes, we have had that response many times. We enjoy the freedom of self-drive and love camping and the roof-top tent. I hope that I am not underestimating the trip but it seems to me quite feasible to me, and your trip report was very encouraging to me. We set off on our first trip to Botswana with some trepiation because of all the negative feedback about the risks/dangers/challenging driving - after the first few days, we wondered what all the fuss was about! I also quite look forward to driving there myself, it's part of the fun. That said; thank you very much for your reply. Of course I have some further questions if you don't mind....

    "This will be an incredibly long day." - I originally took two days for this. I don't know yet what time the flight to KIA will arrive. It depends a bit on that but I think I will book a lodge for the first night around Arusha. That way we will also have some time to see the market etc. A night in Arusha would be good - shopping and organizing everything into the Land Rover always takes us far longer than we expect.

    "In Tarangire, we found much of the action to be near the river and picnic site, so try to choose a special campsite in that area. We are booked for Mibuyu Mingi SC this time." - I have been trying to figure out if it would be better to do two SC locations, one north and one south, or one (central). I hear that the north has more game along the river, like you say, but the south is quite nice and very quite. Do you have any suggestions for this? Six days Tarangire; too much? We spent one full day in the south - left when the gates opened and were just back on our campsite when required (at sunset). The south was lovely and it was well worth spending a day there, but we saw little in the way of game.

    " I would be tempted to spend a second night in Lake Manyara" - Would you give up one day in Tarangire for an extra day in Manyara? or take a day from the time spent in the Serengeti? Such a tough question! This time we are spending 4 nights in Tarangire and 2 nights in Lake Manyara. I might take a day from Tarangire but not from the Serengeti.

    "Great fun as long as you are comfortable with close encounters with predators!"- That is why we go! We just had to be very alert after dark. Banging pots together would scare the spotted hyena away momentarily, but they would quickly return. The lions were frightening just because they were difficult to see in the dark - Turner Springs campsite is at the base of a kopje, so visibility is limited.

    "Have not camped further north than Lobo, so can't help you here I'm afraid" - I was hoping to get as close to the Lamai Triangle as possible (it seems that is the area where most of the activity will be around that time). Does it take long to drive from Lobo to Lamai Triangle? Is it feasible to visit it daily from Lobo CS? Be careful in the Lamai area - it is frequented by poachers and has a bit of a reputation. The rangers warned us to be wary if we drove that way. I would think you could be there and back in a day from Lobo without difficulty - the roads were in good shape when we were there.

    "If you are driving from Lobo, it will be an incredibly long day. You might want to spend the night at Olduvai Camp, and enjoy the opportunity to mix with the Masai (who run the camp) in a non-touristy setting." - After posting I realized that one day is not enough. We probably also need a day at a lodge near Arusha to freshen up! I also considered to take the northern route via Lake Natron back to Arusha. We considered this route as well - Safari Drive suggested it. In the end, we decided it was too much driving. Olduvai Camp is another good option.... (we need more then one month So true! ! ;-) We enjoyed Olduvai and are returning there on this trip. It looks like I have to cut a few days in either the Serengeti or Tarangire; any suggestions? Looking at your dates again, I think you could afford to give up a day or two in the Serengeti.

    "Booking the campsites in Tanzania by email or telephone is very difficult. Safari Drive, who we rent our Land Rovers from, uses a local agent. CR" - I am finding this out.... I've tried to contact them by email but so far no replies. It definitely would have been nice to have a local agent do the bookings, but allowing one month of travel forces me to keep the costs down. So true! It isn't cheap by any stretch of the imagination!

    Happy planning! If you have any more questions, post them quickly and I will try to get back to you before we leave.

    If not, I'll post some feedback for you when we are back in Canada in late August. Go well! Robin

  • Report Abuse

    Hi Robin, I figured you would be heading off soon. Thanks again to take time for my questions, it's been very helpful. I think I got things figured out, rough and dirty. I think we will do an overnight in Arusha when we get there. One day extra in Manyara, one day less in Tarangire. One day, or two days extra to go back and take them from the Serengeti :-( and I am not sure yet if we will return via the north or south. I am going to try...... to contact TANAPA regarding camping close to the ranger post in Lamai. If that is not possible we'll just drive into there on a daily basis from Lobo. Have a GREAT trip!!

  • Report Abuse

    I forgot; I'll report here on how things went when we get back. Too bad Canada is such a big country otherwise we could catch up on our trips over a cup of coffee! Safe travels, enjoy!

  • Report Abuse

    Two days and counting - actually, two days and madly packing! :-) Yes, a great pity that we are not able to get together - it would be great fun. I'll report back here on our return to Canada in mid-August. In the meantime, happy planning! Robin

7 Replies |Back to top

Sign in to comment.

Advertisement