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Trip Report Two Mzungus back from incredible Tanzania and Rwanda

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We’re a couple from NYC that got back from an incredible 2 week trip to Tanzania and Rwanda a little over a month ago. The title of the thread refers to Mzungus because that is what we were called in Rwanda especially in the Lake Kivu area. We were surprised at the reference because neither of us is “white” by any stretch of the imagination, but we found that the term loosely defined also means “tourists”.

Anyway, back to our story. We traveled from 17 January to 1 February. This was our itinerary.

18 Jan: KIA Lodge o/n
19 Jan: Flight to Kigali, o/n at Paradis Malahide in Lake Kivu
20 Jan: Lake Kivu, o/n at Kinigi Guest House
21 Jan: 1st gorilla trek, o/n at Kinigi Guest House
22 Jan: 2nd gorilla trek, o/n at Chez Lando in Kigali
23 Jan: Flight to JRO, Game drive in Arusha NP, Canoeing in Small Momella Lake, o/n at Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge
24 Jan: Morning in Arusha, Afternoon game drive in Tarangire, o/n at Tarangire River Camp
25 Jan: Maasai village visit, Afternoon/Night game drive in Lake Manyara, o/n at Manyara Serena Lodge
26 Jan: Morning in Karatu, Afternoon game drive in Ngorongoro Crater, o/n at Sopa Lodge
27 Jan: Morning game drive in Ngorongoro Crater, Afternoon game drive en route to Ndutu Lodge with o/n
28 Jan: Morning/Afternoon game drives in Ndutu, o/n at Ndutu Lodge
29 Jan: Morning/Afternoon game drives in Ndutu, o/n at Ndutu Lodge
30 Jan: Full day game drive in Southern and Central Serengeti, o/n at Ndutu Lodge
31 Jan: Full day game drive in Southern and Central Serengeti, o/n at Mbuzi Mawe Camp
1 Feb: Game drive en route to the Seronera airport, flight to Arusha, Day room at KIA Lodge, Flight back to NYC

The thread for the Rwanda segment of our trip can be found at http://www.fodors.com/community/africa-the-middle-east/rwanda-january-2009-trip-report-using-rn-xplorer.cfm

Our extensive photo report for Tanzania can be found at http://www.culturesconnected.smugmug.com/Travel/719191

There are 9 galleries broken down by areas visited. We apologize in advance for the number of pictures, but we ended up taking pictures totaling 60GB, so editing those down to less than 500 pictures was a challenging exercise. We hope you enjoy!

For those of you not interested in the trip report, but only in the pictures, we have created a Best of Tanzania gallery at http://www.culturesconnected.smugmug.com/gallery/7566417_FuTzK#489062515_aNSjx

We used Good Earth for the Tanzania portion of the trip. They were very easy to work with, especially Narry in Florida and Ndashy in Arusha. We always got prompt responses to emails and their quote was competitive. Our guide Salim was excellent. We had requested Abdi Saidi or Moses or Raphael based on reviews we had read here, and were initially skeptical when we found out that Salim was to be our guide, but he put us at ease right away. He is fairly new to the Good Earth team which is probably why he isn’t mentioned much on these forums. Salim had an easy going and affable personality, was an excellent spotter and provided us with a wealth of information on animals, plants, the culture, life in Tanzania and so on. He made sure we had good camera angles for our shots, but at the same time, kept a reasonable distance from the animals. He is an accomplished guide with several years of experience, but still maintains an energy and enthusiasm to show travelers the best that Tanzania has to offer. We would recommend him without hesitation.

Most things in Tanzania went off without a hitch. The only issue we had was when we found that we had been booked at Ndutu Lodge for 4 nights, instead of 3 nights there with one night at the Serengeti Savannah camp as we had originally requested. Narry had confirmed our lodge/camp bookings a few months prior to the trip, so this was surprising. While we would have loved an extra camp night, staying at the Ndutu Lodge was not a problem really, so we didn’t complain to the Arusha office at the time. After we got back, I wrote an email to Narry about my concerns and received a reimbursement check in the mail very promptly. I have to commend them for taking action so swiftly and would definitely recommend them to others.

Our trip was amazing, it was exciting and adventurous, we never knew what to expect at the next turn and therefore never a dull moment. We came back with memories that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives!

Even though we were lurkers on the forum for the past year, we want to thank everyone for the wealth of information provided that helped us plan our trip. We hope our trip report can do the same for others.

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