1st safari advice


Mar 12th, 2012, 01:51 PM
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1st safari advice

I've read so much but feel I need some customized advice.

Taking my wife on an african safari, for both our first time to Africa. Where to go in early to mid July? this year. yes, I know it's soon, I need to get on this planning train quick! time and money is pretty open but:
July 2012
8-16 days
10-$20k (total, not each).

Never been so not looking to do a self drive (unless you can convince me otherwise). That said, we're both around 30 yrs old, very outdoorsy, we're fine sleeping in tents on the ground, not showering for a day or a few days etc. I would prefer to spend more on an amazing guide, getting the better sights, and going where there are less tourists but perhaps give up some "nicer" accommodations. Combining safari with a Kilimanjaro summit is certainly in the cards. ending the trip with some higher end accommodations for 1-2 nights would be great too.

thoughts? advice? suggested itineraries? suggested guides\companies? I can't wait to see what all you wonderful people have to say. and thanks in advance for your help.
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Mar 13th, 2012, 03:24 AM
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www.porini.com good for me in the past also jenmansafaris.com.
Alan Fox out of Houston USA www.vacationstgo.com
Great luxury tours at great disounts.
www.zicssso.com for great value on custom tours bid it out.
Do beware all local scammers touts here and there
I always pay with CC/Paypal never wire money
have seen folks lose tens of thousands so stick
with reputable providers approved by tourism boards and well reviewed.

Happy trails PM if further help needed many do...
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Mar 13th, 2012, 03:28 AM
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Mar 13th, 2012, 12:18 PM
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If you just want to do a safari, where do you want to go? East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania) or Southern Africa ( SA, Botswana, Zambia, etc.) Our first safari was to Botswana, and the company we used is now called And Beyond (or &Beyond) and we did six nights flying in between three camps. It was a fabulous experience...and we wished we had planned for a longer time in each camp! But we started our trip by flying to Cape Town, and meeting up with friends. Cape Town, SA is a wonderful city that could be a vacation destination all on its own. So it was like having two vacations back to back.

We missed out on seeing Vic Falls on our first trip, and so our second trip will take care of that. We'll also be spending more time on safari this time, but finishing up our trip in Cape Town, staying with friends in Hout Bay for a couple days, then venturing out along the Garden Route.

This is the company we are using for our trip: http://www.zambezi.com They have been lovely to work with. We got our airline tickets back in January (and I am glad we did -- prices have gone up over 50% since then).

I do think you will get a better trip if you use a group that specializes in safari travel (and usually, those with actual offices on the ground in Africa) and take care of your international flights on your own. You may even want to see if South African Airways has a package deal that appeals to you and includes international air, but check out several options before you commit to any one.
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Mar 13th, 2012, 12:21 PM
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Here is the link for andbeyond -- you may find a deal on off-season or short notice http://www.andbeyondafrica.com/ We would gladly have used them again, but they have gotten a bit out of our budget (although you shouldn't have that problem).
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Mar 13th, 2012, 02:08 PM
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I went for a safari in Tanzania in January this year. It was a lovely safari in Tanzania northern parks of Tarangire, lake Manyara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro. It took 7 days.
For more information about the program, advice about guide and company, write me on this email address; [email protected]
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Mar 13th, 2012, 05:55 PM
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I've been to Tanzania 3 times in July; it's a great time of year to go for the migration as well as resident game. You could do your Kili hike first, then go on safari for a week or 10 days. As you say, you'll have to act quickly for July this year, but you sound flexible regarding your accommodations, so it should be entirely possible. We spent a night in a Maasai boma and would highly recommend this experience. Here's my trip report from my July 2011 trip with information about where we stayed, what we saw and the guides we had:


I can't comment much on the Kili hike, but depending on which route you take, I think you need about 6-7 days. For a safari in July, you might consider something like:

Day 1: Arusha to Tarangire National Park
Day 2: Tarangire National Park
Day 3: Lake Manyara National Park
Days 4-7: Serengeti (probably staying in both the western and northern parts of the park in July)
Day 8: Drive to Ngorongoro crater
Day 9: Ngorongoro crater tour
Day 10: return to Arusha

Have fun with the planning.
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Mar 14th, 2012, 08:13 AM
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At the low end of your budget, you can put together a 9 day safari(lodge and luxury camp lodging), 8 day kili trek on the MARANGU route with air and Visa costs through a quality outfitter like Good Earth Tours

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Mar 19th, 2012, 08:36 AM
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Thank you all so much. I've been in contact with africatravelresource.com. Anyone heard any good or bad about them? Their first email of a suggested itinerary was so wonderfully comprehensive I think they sold me from that point on. Just wanted to check to see if anything awful before I send off thousands of dollars

I started off with the idea of Kili + safari but now going with Tanz Safari + Rwanda gorilla trek. current proposed itinerary looks like this:

1. Arusha : Moivaro Lodge
2-3. Tarangire : Mawe Ninga Camp
4. Ngorongoro Karatu : Crater Forest Camp
5. Ngorongoro : Ilmisigiyo Bivouac Camp
6-7. Southcentral Serengeti : Olduvai Tented Camp
8. Southcentral Serengeti : Olduvai Tented Camp
9-11. Serengeti : Lemala Ewanjan Camp
12. Kigali : Hotel des Mille Collines
13-14. Ruhengeri : Gorilla Mountain View Lodge
15. Ruhengeri : Gorilla Mountain View Lodge
16. Kigali : Hotel des Mille Collines

I've come to the conclusion that you really can't go wrong. thoughts?
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Mar 19th, 2012, 06:32 PM
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You probably already know that Hotel des Milles Collines is the one made famous in "Hotel Rwanda"
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Mar 19th, 2012, 09:00 PM
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We just went on a trip w/ATR and enjoyed it very much (my trip report is somewhere here). Did not stay in any of the camps you list except for Olduvai, and it was nice.

However, I don't think there would be many animals there in July (dry season). Ask if you can replace this with some place further north in the Serengeti. Olakira was magnificent, and I would love to go there again when it's in the north.
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Mar 20th, 2012, 05:21 AM
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6 nights in the Serengeti, and all far away from where the likely location of the migration. While there are resident herds thet will remain in the South, I wouldnt stay there in July, let alone 6 nights. Look for Serengeti accomodations in the West and North, or if you have to stay in Lemala properties consider the Lemala Mara and Kenya w/Tanzania vs a Rwanda/TZ
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Mar 21st, 2012, 06:50 AM
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ATR doesn't have you situated well in either the highlands or the Serengeti in my opinion.

It's not ideal to be in Karatu the day of your descent into the crater...the Lodware Gate into the Ngorongoro Conservation area opens at 6am, but who knows how long it'll take to acquire your permits there, and then there's the drive from the gate to the crater access road. So, Crater Forest Camp → Karatu road → Lodware Gate → crater descent road = time the could have been spent in the crater. I'd suggest driving from Tarangire to somewhere on the crater rim for an earlier descent into the crater.

In July it's best to be in the western and northern parts of the Serengeti, not the southern and central parts.
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Mar 21st, 2012, 07:44 AM
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On N Crater specifically, Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge is the best location for quick/easy Crater access. Using it you can be in the Crater in the morning before anyone else. And early morning is the best time, it gets much much busier latter on.

regards - tom
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Mar 21st, 2012, 10:31 AM
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Brooklyn...We used ATR for our Tanzania trip. I really like them. Read my trip report. We spent 22 days for about $20,000 in Southern Tanzania in extremly nice camps -- we showered EVERY day I found them (Lenny) very easy to work with. We started with a recommended itin and then fleshed it out. Anything you don't like, just tell them. Happy to answer any questions.
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Mar 21st, 2012, 02:34 PM
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Thank you all. Thanks for confirming ATR is good to go with. I'm currently discussing other night-before-the-crater camp options on your recommendations. We might go with that Sopa Lodge one Cary999 so thanks. not too much more than the one we started with.

Also for Serengeti, might split it up, 1 night Lemala Ewanjan, 2 nights Migration Camp. better?
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Mar 21st, 2012, 03:26 PM
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For a July itinerary I think Olduvai Tented Camp is all wrong.

I'd drive directly from the crater to Lemala Ewanjan and stay there for a few days. Then a few days at Migration Camp. BUT, this depends when in July you're in the Serengeti. If closer to mid-July, you might want to spend a few nights up near the Mara River in the hopes of seeing a wildebeest crossing. At the very least, you're apt to see lots of migrating herds. Having said that, it might be too late in the planning to get accommodation in the north, and hence ATR's suggestion of Migration Camp.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 10:38 PM
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Before you finalize talk to AfricaDreamSafaris
Their website is the best and full of information:
Ask for Sharon.

We went on a private customized safari a few years ago to Tanzania in August with ADS. A private guide in your own vehicle(landcruisers with canvas convertible tops) for the duration of the safari. You can stay, in 2 day increments, in hotel lodges, tented lodges, or a private luxury camp in the wild with a staff of 10 who take care of you (You will think you are Hemingway). Dinner,lunch,breakfast included. Also drinks(mostly) included.Picnic lunches every day.

We saw the big 5, the great migration with multi Mara river crossings- wildes and crocs,kills/hunts- lions,leopards, cheetahs, more elephants-I stopped counting at 100 one day, prides of lions- we were within a few feet of them including cubs, . One day we went across the Mara via concrete bridge. to a region near the Kenyan border. We did not see another vehicle the whole day.

A brief description

Day 1 Arrived late Kilimanjaro International Airport in late evening after a flight from Amsterdam. ADS picks you up at the airport and handles all visas/ immigration while others had to wait in the normal lines.. Stayed in Arusha at the Arumeru River Lodge.

Day2 We spent a second day at the Arumeru Lodge with plan to do some local site seeing but ended up just resting and relaxing. I would not stay this second day at the Ameru but it did help with jet lag recovery from Los Angeles.

Day 3 We flew to the north serengeti-Lobo dirt airstrip in a small plane. We were met by our guide and we safaried to the Mara River to camp at a location called Nazaraen Mara River Camp ( our private camp). Here is where we saw two days of the great migration.
Day 4 same location (Hippos around our tent at night)

Days 5&6. North Serengeti Migration tented lodge. Not heavily populated with animals quaity if not quantity since the migration was up at the Mara. The lodge consisted of about a dozen luxory tents. You needed to be escorted to/from dinner which was in the main building (safety because of local animals-I saw some baboons. Great dinner and met some interesting guests while sitting on the balcony. Beautifull views of the savannas.

Days 7&8 Private Luxury Camp-Turner Springs in the Central Serengeti. Campfires, our own dinner tent for us and the guide. Roaring lions in the middle of the night. Fantastic game viewing, especially lions. Prides of lions, a little lion romance, females nursing cubs, cubs playing, family life-eating and sleeping in kopjes.

Days 9&10 South Serengeti and World famous Ngorongoro Crater. It is like a big zoo since animals are all residents inside the crater. Here we saw black rhinos to complete the big 5. We stayed at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge where a number of bus tours stayed. It was nice and they had entertainment of singing/dancing by local Maasai.

Days 11&12 Lake Manyara-many monkeys/ Tarangire National Park-hundreds of elephents. We stayed at Swala Tented Lodge, another luxury tented lodge which was near a waterhole. So we saw many animals near our tent . Included here was a stare down by a Buffalo. Met a banker from the netherlands who brought his extended family of 12. Yikes!!!$$$

Day 13 Arumeru River Lodge (Day Room) and then our late night flight to Amsterdam connecting to Los Angeles
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Mar 28th, 2012, 03:37 AM
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Interesting, maureenjane, that all of your posts seem to be an advertisement for African Game Trek Safaris!
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Mar 28th, 2012, 10:23 AM
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You have a very credible question, but do you think you are going to get your answer on this forum. Lets take a scenario here. "Take everyone here on this forum out for lunch or dinner" Do you really think they will all order the same food? I doubt it very much.
Get hold of an African Specialist who will listen to you and give you exactly what you want.

Happy Safari
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