Another Tanzania itinerary needs help

Jun 20th, 2005, 02:29 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Another Tanzania itinerary needs help

I am looking at the last week of June/first week of July 2006.

I have received the following itinerary and would like to know how you all would tweak it. Right off the bat I'm thinking an additional day in Serengeti, but I defer to expert opinion.

Also, the quote I got for this is on the low side, so we have some wiggle room in the budget.

Where, if we can only bump this up for one/two/three nights, would you recommend splurging? We'd prefer to spend more for "authentic"/non-lodgey accommodations, but luxury isn't really important for any of us. (i.e., We're not really Crater Lodge types--I don't want to get romantic w/my best friend and her mom!)

Day 1nbsp; Leave Arusha 9:00 a.m. for Lake Manyara National Park, have lunch before proceeding to the Park for game-viewing.  Dinner and overnight at Lake Manyara Serena / Kirurumu tented Lodge
Day 2nbsp;  After breakfast, drive to the Serengeti.  Game-viewing with picnic lunch en route dinner and overnight at Serengeti Serena Lodge .
Day 3nbsp; Full day Serengeti tour.  Meals and overnight at Serengeti Serena Lodge.
 Day 4: Full day Serengeti tour.  Meals and overnight at Serengeti Serena Lodge.
Day 5nbsp; Morning game drive.  After lunch proceed to Ngorongoro via Olduvai Gorge and the museum (optional).  Dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge .
Day 6nbsp; After early breakfast, descend to the Crater floor for a day of game-viewing with picnic lunch.  Dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge.
Day 7: After breakfast drive to tarangire National Park for game viewing, dinner and overnight at Tarangire Sopa .
Day 8: Full day Tarangire tour dinner and overnight at Tarangire sopa Lodge.
Day 9: Full day Tarangire tour dinner and overnight at Tarangire sopa Lodge.
Day 10: Game drive in Tarangire, after lunch return to Arusha

Any advice is appreciated! I know I still have a lot of work to do w/the itinerary.

Thanks to all.

Leely is offline  
Jun 21st, 2005, 03:22 AM
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Is this really the kind of trip you want? I suspect not, from what you say about "authentic" accommodation. Ndutu, for example, sounds more your kind of thing.
I wouldn't call what you have received a custom itinerary. Did you consult an Africa specialist?

Misaotra is offline  
Jun 21st, 2005, 03:53 AM
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Leely -

I know you're traveling with your friend's mom (glad you convinced her), so the reason for lodges versus permanent tent camps. But you can consider some camps that are rather civilized that "mom" would like.

Now to the itinerary - Having just returned end/May in the Serengeti the wildebeest herds hadn't yet arrived in the Western Serengeti. But for travel end-June/beginning July, the herds should definitely be in the Western Serengeti heading into the Mara in Kenya. So I wouldn't stay in the Central/Seronera area where the Serena Lodge is located. Also, unless pricing policy change for 2006, you might get lower prices for June travel.

So since the Serengeti would be in the June period, consider the Western Serengeti... consider Serena Kirawira or Mbalegeti Camps. Since you're considering Serena at Ngorongoro you might get a break on price at Kirawira. Kirawira is a relatively expensive camp during July-October, but can be reasonable in June. You and your friend and especially mom will be duly impressed with this property. But I doubt you can get a "triple" here for 3-adults.

Likewise, Mbalegeti is lovely, though price might be higher. Again, I doubt you can get a "triple" for 3-adults.

If you choose the Western Serengeti, the drive from Lk. Manyara will be a very very long one, taking a full day. It would be a good idea to stop mid-way at the Central area/Serena Lodge and continue your drive the next day.

If you go with the Western Serengeti the drive back to Ngorongoro will also be a long one, not arriving until late afternoon.

For Tarangire - a camp option here is Kikoti, or consider Tarangire River Camp; otherwise stay with the Sopa. While Tarangire is one of my favorites, 3-days here might be too much as it is a small park. You might want to return to Arusha for the day, pick up a cultural visit, do some shopping and relax before heading home.

If the Western Serengeti, I would fly out there and work your way back by road.

Day 1 - Arv Arusha - o/n somewhere
Day 2 - Fly to Grumeti to Kirawira or Mbalegeti
Day 3 - W.Serengeti - Kirawira or Mbalegeti
Day 4 - W.Serengeti - Kirawira or Mbalegeti
Day 5 - Drive to Ngorongoro Crater - Serena Lodge
Day 6 - Crater Tour - Serena Lodge
Day 7 - Drive to Lk. Manyara - Serena Lodge or Kirurumu
Day 8 - Drive to Tarangire (2-hrs) - Sopa Lodge or Kikoti or River Camps
Day 9 - Tarangire - Sopa Lodge or Kikoti or River Camps
Day 10 - Drive to Arusha; afternoon cultural tour
Day 11 - Depart for home

Kirawira, Mbalegeti and maybe Kikoti might add to your budget, but see what prices you can get. And remember the Park Fees will be higher in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro for 2006 - by double the 2005 fees.

Just some suggestions to mull over.
Jun 21st, 2005, 07:24 AM
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Misaotra and Sandi,

Thank you both for your replies. I didn't think Ndutu was really a good option for the time of year we'll be travelling but I'm certainly not averse to it if that's not the case.

Flying west and driving east would be ideal, but we may have to sacrifice west for $$'s sake, given the dear prices of the western camps. I will look into it.

All else being equal, I think "splurging" in Tarangire might be the way we go because at least then we'd end on a high note. If we do that, it might be possible to spend our time in the Serengeti at Mbuzi Mawe. However, I'm not sure where exactly it's located; if we can't make it west, at least I'd like to be in the Seronera area because of the high numbers of lions.

Can't believe I'm planning anything this far in advance--very out of character!

Any other comments/opinions welcome.
Leely is offline  
Jun 21st, 2005, 01:00 PM
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Mbuzi Mawe is in the wrong area for that time of year - more towards the Northeast - ideal for October/November.

As to Nduto - again wrong time, but if this year was any indication, the zebra and tommies were still in the Southeastern plains in early June. Though I'm sure by now, end-June, they're long gone.

So if cost is a factor, Seronera/Central at the Serena is your best bet. But you're likely going to have to drive long distances daily to find lots of animals. On our recent trip, except for the wildebeest herds which were still in the Central area (very confused animals) there really wasn't a wealth of game, so spending 3-days here might be too much. By end- June/begin-July they'll almost definitely be in the Western area.

I agree that the accommodations in this area are on the expensive end, but from your earlier comments your friend's mom wouldn't be into "camping" there aren't many options.

You may want to cut some of the game viewing days (Serengeti & Tarangire) for a few in Zanzibar. I know you visited here on your last trip, but your friend's mom might appreciate some R&R after bumping around the roads.

No harm planning ahead - gives you time to work out the kinks.
Jun 21st, 2005, 01:11 PM
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What areas did you visit last time and did you ever post a trip report? If so, I'd love to read it. More important question... are you going to try to fit in a gorilla trek?
Patty is offline  
Jun 21st, 2005, 01:47 PM
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We did the same circuit, plus Zanzibar, although I think our order was a bit different. And yes, I posted a pretty wimpy-but-enthusiastic trip report.

I would love to add Uganda/Rwanda but I don't think it's viable this time; I don't want to freak this woman out when I tell her the cost!

However, I'm pretty much mentally prepared to go back at least every 2-3 years for the rest of my life, time.

I do think, once I get a sense of how long the safari will be and a ballpark cost, that we will add a little something on, be it Zanzibar or some time in/near/convenient to Arusha or even Nairobi. You know, a place where I can take a bush run or something.


I think JazzDrew and cookndoc are both in E. Africa right now. I'm eager to hear how their trips go. (hint hint, Sandi.)

Thanks again for the help.
Leely is offline  
Jun 21st, 2005, 02:28 PM
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Leely -

Got the hint, but still fiddling around with the digi photos. Waiting on my friend's pics (maybe tomorrow from her). I started the trip report but got sidelined with the photos.

I'm usually much better about this, but there's other stuff that's getting in my way. For myself, I'd like to get the report done, and the photos - buy, hey - life!

Can guarantee, before you leave on your '06 safari!!!
Jun 21st, 2005, 02:40 PM
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Is this it?

You never finished it. I expect a better effort next time!

I recommend you add on a visit to Tsavo and stay at Finch Hattons. You can enjoy a fantastic swim with the hippos there, so much more exciting than a, yawn, bush run
Patty is offline  
Jun 21st, 2005, 04:24 PM
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Good idea, Patty--I'm such a strong swimmer and I love hippos.

I think I finished that report on another thread (I know, Fodors faux pas but I was new) called Tanzania on the Cheap and on the Fly. Now that I see what I posted I can't believe I had the nerve to nag Sandi.

By the way, congrats on getting your old guide to join you again in December. How fun for all of you.
Leely is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 01:06 PM
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Another question:

I get the impression that some (many) of you start planning before getting your airfare. I have never done this, and still have to wait around a month before I can purchase.

I suppose I should sit tight before refining any itineraries, it that correct?

Frankly, I'm itching to send off Sandi's suggested itinerary to the operators I'm considering and see what they come back with. But maybe I'm just overeager?
Leely is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 01:57 PM
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I started planning my next trip on the plane ride home

Seriously, I think I started emailing my Kenya tour operator and others like Makoa Farm back in March. I figured I could start looking for ff award space sometime in May and wanted to have at least the majority of our itinerary worked out by then. There's no reason why you can't ask for custom itinerary quotes now. And since you're purchasing your airfare, you're not as limited as far as departure/return dates as I was using awards.

It seems like it would be easier to decide on your itinerary first, then book air. You may even want to hold off on purchasing air until it gets closer to departure, depending on what fares are like at the moment. I'm not advocating waiting until the last minute, but you have a year so no need to rush unless of course you happen to find an incredibly good fare a month from now.
Patty is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 02:27 PM
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Thank you, Patty; that makes sense.

Somehow I'm just as confused as the last time I was arranging all this...
Leely is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 03:21 PM
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Leely and Patty -

You girls are good. Air first, then land; No, land first, then air. I laugh. We're all so flustered and it's not as if it's the first time!

I get just as confused. But I do work on the land first, figure out what I want and if it's available... then go for the air. Of course, with FF miles you've go to reverse the action, but hey... in the end you'll be in Africa.

Yes, Patty - go for it, see what your outfitter has for prices on my listed itinerary. I haven't the foggiest what it might be. In this case I was more concerned with "mom" then the "girls." Though, I have to ask - "how old is mom?" Realize that the majority of travelers to East Africa are between 50-80 and they do real well. Admittedly, most stay in lodges, but even some lodges can be a challenge to even younger people - steps, lots of steps and various levels. The Ngorongoro Serena in particular I recall had a number of levels. So then, why not a camp, but not the very rustic type!

Leely, you've got a year and I well understand how anxious you are - it'll all come together way before you imagine. I understand that 2006 prices should be available by August, so wait till then so you get real numbers to work with.

And it's okay to nag, nag! I'm doing just that... if I'd only get the disk from my travel partner (got the 35mm from my other travel partner and have most of those uploaded), I'd finish the photo album and get back to the trip report... I'm barely on Day 6 and we were on a 15-day in-country trip. Remember, "good things come to those who wait." LOL!
Jun 23rd, 2005, 03:54 PM
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I need a vacation from planning my vacation. And Sandi needs a vacation from reporting on her vacation!

It's far too easy for me to get caught up in all the details. I lose sight of how wonderful it is just to be there and how privileged I am just to be able to go at all.

Thanks to both of you for the sensible advice.

I will wait. Patiently.

Leely is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 04:07 PM
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Leely _ I'm with you! I am counting the days unil I can try and book my air using FF miles. We are going at about the same time I'm doing a few days in Kenya first and then a few on Zanzibar at the end otherwise a very similar route - only in reverse Tarangire, Ngorogoro, Western Serengeti. I will probably book with Good Earth - they are neck and neck with Roys price wise, but I like that I can call them at a US office and they have been very helpful.

I am so excited to hear Jazzdrew's trip report as he is basically doing the same trip as me.

csuss is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 04:37 PM
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csuss, I think you have a fabulous itinerary. You and your husband will love E. Africa.

Until then...tick-tock.
Leely is offline  
Jun 28th, 2005, 01:18 PM
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for beachmama and/or others who may be wondering about prices

We are not really looking for luxury, but definitely want to stay in some camps for our next safari (3 people) June/July 2006.

I am far from booking with this operator and haven't solicited other quotes. Waiting.

Day 1: Fly from Arusha to Grumeti airstrip o/n at Kirawira 

Day 2: o/n in Western corridor,  Kirawira 

Day 3: to Seronera, o/n at Seronera Wildlife lodge
 Day 4: o/n Seronera Wildlife
 Day 5: to Ngorogoro via Olduvai Gorge w/visit to museum o/n Ngorongor  Sopa 
 Day 6: tour of Crater--o/n at Ngorongor  Sopa  lodge

 Day 7nbsp; to Lake Manyara, tour park--o/n Kirurumu tented camp

 Day 8: Tarangire--o/n at Tarangire River Camp 
Day 9nbsp; to Tarangire--stay at River Camp 

 Day 10: back to Arusha
Each of 3 pax to pay $ 2410
Single room supplement will cost $ 480
INCLUDEDnbsp;   Flight Arusha / Grumenti, Transport, all park fees, Crater service fees, Driver guide, 3 meals a day and 1 litre of Mineral water per person per day.

 NOT INCLUDED: Alcohol, fees of Olduvai Gorge ($ 4 per person) tips to the driver/guide  and all other items of personal nature.
NB: This prices are subject to change as we expect flights and accommodation rate, park fees, crater service to change at any time.

Leely is offline  
Jun 28th, 2005, 01:29 PM
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FYI, the first quote, from same operator (see top of thread) was $1700 pp, no single supplement.

Actually, so far I think it's a decent plan. We are loving the idea of the look on the Mom's face when she arrives at the Wildlife after being at Kirawira.

Might need to get better camera equipment just to capture that.
Leely is offline  
Jun 28th, 2005, 02:57 PM
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So far, I like the 2nd itinerary much better (of course, I'm not the one going ). The flight saves a lot of drive time and you've got 2 nice camps anchoring the trip. The price seems very reasonable too. For Day 5 & 6, you could also consider staying at Ngorongoro Farmhouse or Plantation Lodge if you don't mind the longer drive to the crater. I don't know how they compare pricewise to the Sopa lodge but I don't think they're very expensive. This will give you even more of a mix of accomodation styles.
Patty is offline  

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