Another Tanzania itinerary needs help

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Aug 31st, 2005, 01:59 PM
  #41
sandi
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Leely -

I have to agree with Patty re June 26. The drive from Tarangire to the Crater is about 4-hrs. Just in time for quick lunch, then the 6-hrs on the Crater floor. That gets you out of the Crater about 6pm. If I recall correctly, you have to be off park/reserve grounds by sunset 6:30-7pm, latest... so how are you getting to Olduvai Camp?

I'd try for the overnight at the Crater - one of the lodges (which is probably less expensive then Olduvai Camp), then continue to Olduvai Camp the next morning. This way you'll have game drive along the way in daylight!

 
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Aug 31st, 2005, 02:13 PM
  #42
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It's so strange to me the resistance I'm encountering fr. tour ops. ATR "doesn't book" Kirawira. Roy likes only Kikoti at Tarangire. My first guy will do the Tarangire River Camp but won't book anything along the lines of Ronjo.

I think I need to be a little more decisive to get what I want. A little more firm. A little more Roccco.
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Aug 31st, 2005, 05:54 PM
  #43
 
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Amen, sister!

(Sorry for the new handle. I got a new computer at home, and, well, it was just easier to sign on this way.)
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Sep 1st, 2005, 08:18 AM
  #44
sandi
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Leely -

It's been mentioned before. Some outfitters just can't get contract rates with certain lodge/camps and without that feel they can't provide prospective clients competititive pricing.

But the idea of one outfitter "not liking to book such 'n such," "don't like a particular camp/lodge," - poor excuses. What they like or not is helpful if a client has no idea (maybe), but if a client is specific and knows what they want, then give them the real answer - "we can't book with that lodge/camp" and tell them why; then offer a comparable alternative - not a fly-camp vs. Kirawira if people want a lux environment; don't want bush showers vs. 24/7 electric. You get the idea.

What matters is "What do you want?" "Where do you want/prefer to stay?" If you can get all (or most) of what meets your requirements at the budget you have - go for it. If not you look elsewhere, but be prepared that not all outfitters can be all things to all travelers. Even CCA or A&K or Micato can't do that. Often they work with "who's going to give them the biggest range for mark-up."

So go with your gut!
 
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Sep 1st, 2005, 09:01 AM
  #45
 
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Leely,
I believe the camps owned by MKSC can only be used by their clients which is why ATR, Africa Dream, etc. can book them but not Tanzania based operators like Roys and your other contact. As to the other camps, I don't know why you're finding so much resistance. I'd keep looking until you find a tour operator who's more agreeable to booking exactly the trip that you want. It's your money, your the client, time to put your foot down! Good luck!
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Sep 1st, 2005, 09:11 AM
  #46
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Actually, I feel pretty good about the service I've gotten--I'm really not demanding and I tend to "aim to please," sometimes to my detriment.

I showed the itineraries to my friend and her only response was "They're all great. Can't we make them longer?"

I also managed to dig up the pricing for our last safari, a very budget affair. $1200! Eight nights! And we had such fun! Ah, the good old days before Fodor's.

cooncat, go to East Africa. You won't regret it.
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Sep 1st, 2005, 09:50 AM
  #47
 
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Leely - Too funny. I've just sort of come to terms with this whole thing and for several reasons I think I'm actually leaning heavily towards Zambia. I haven't contacted the two operators I've been working with regarding East Africa yet, because, of course, being me, I haven't made the final call just yet. I think the main thing for me is the cost, given what I want to do and the single supplement charges. If I go to East Africa, I def. would want to include primates, and I'm selfish enough that I'd probably want to see Samburu. Julian (Jasher) is insisting that I go to the Laikapia area, plus the Serengeti, Ngorongoro... I know, it's a lot. But I can't see going that far and not seeing all of this. And I can't afford to do this alone. So...I'm thinking Zambia would provide me with a wonderful introduction to Africa...still a bit more pristine, lovely camps, lower cost, a lotta soul...OK, so there is soul everywhere in Africa. Anyway, this is where I am ...today. LOL. But I am feeling more certain about this than I have in awhile. Thanks for letting me share!
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Sep 1st, 2005, 10:30 AM
  #48
bwanamitch
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Sharon,

Laikipia? Beside Lewa rhinos, star beds, spas and Kuki Gallmann - what is so special with this area (compared to Samburu/Shaba and other areas in Kenya)? I found the landscape rather dissapointing when passing by Lewa and other of those ranches last year.

Mitch
 
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Sep 1st, 2005, 10:51 AM
  #49
 
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Mitch - I'm not sure why he suggested this area; it wasn't on my radar before, only Samburu that far north. Maybe it was the chimp sanctuary...but he thought it seemed like a nice area ...Julian???
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Sep 1st, 2005, 10:55 AM
  #50
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Mitch -

Laikipia is perfect, but would say it might not be for a first-time safari goer if they're expecting to see animals every second. Definitely agree that Samburu more then fits as do most of the other "ordinary safari" stops/parks/reserves for a first safari.

We, however, wouldn't have missed Laikipia on a bet, but then we've been to Kenya any number of times and wanted something different - our own schedule, what we wanted to do and when. There are so many options other then game drives. And it's nice feeling as if you're a house guest then a tourist! I can guarantee that Laikipia, the Northern Frontier, Mathews Range and Chalbi Desert will be on my future itineraries.

Jan loves her ellees and visits them twice yearly; Patty is planning time in the Lakes area on her upcoming safari; others are into the cats; others just have to be there for the Migration (either Kenya or Tanzania); others want the chimps at Mahale; or canoe safaris at Arusha NP - we have many choices for different types of safaris. None should be discounted for whatever reason someone choose one area over another.

Different strokes for different folks.
 
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Sep 1st, 2005, 10:59 AM
  #51
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and don't forget, sandi, some of us dream of seeing/doing it all!

I have already decided that my next-next safari will *have* to be Kenya shoulder season to save a little do-re-mi.

What a sacrifice!
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Sep 1st, 2005, 11:00 AM
  #52
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Sandi,
Northern Frontier, Mathews Range, Chalbi Desert and Lake Turkana are on my wish list, too.
Mitch
 
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Sep 1st, 2005, 11:04 AM
  #53
sandi
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Mitch -

Good, another with the same set of "must sees."

Oh, and do see "The Constant Gardner" - it opened in NYC yesterday - I just needed my "Kenya fix." Hadn't read the LaCarre book, but the film is dedicted to "those who give a damn."
 
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Sep 1st, 2005, 11:12 AM
  #54
 
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"and don't forget, sandi, some of us dream of seeing/doing it all!"

DITTO!!!!!
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Sep 1st, 2005, 11:19 AM
  #55
benidormaardvark
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Me too!
 
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Sep 1st, 2005, 11:42 AM
  #56
bat
 
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Leely:

I am not advocating one way or the other that you continue discussions with ATR but if you are still interested in them and you have been communicating only by email with the rep, I would recommend that you send an email asking the rep to call you around a certain time tomorrow. My rep did that and I found that phone conversations were very helpful. [Your email will be waiting for him/her when they get in the office tomorrow–tell them what time zone you are in, your phone number, and a window of time to call you.]

Neither am I defensive for ATR because I have booked with them. They gave me what I wanted–Nomad camps, in February with a late start in May to be booking for that prime time (and I liked the description of Olduvai and Ronjo.) Ronjo seems to be (I'll be able to say first-hand in Feb.) a good, central valley alternative to the lodges. Eben confirmed that the location is good. It is tents with "en-suite" bathrooms and mid-price. You can find less expensive camping but with an external shared bathroom or significantly more expensive camping–the totally private luxury camping. That is what I found at least.

Sandi, I do not think that ATR offered her a fly camp as an alternative to Kirawira. As I understand it they offered her Mbalageti which, if I recall correctly, Eben gave high marks.

It does seem very strange that your rep says they "won't" book Kirawira. I know that they do take this position on certain properties. In fact, my rep said they "don't" yet book Mbuze Mawe but then Rocco was able to get them to do so. Since Kirawira is a Serena it does not seem that they would be unable to offer it–i.e. lack of an economic relationship. I know that they consider themselves somewhat of a "boutique" company (my word) and that they are after a "niche" in the market (their word). They seem to care not only about the quality of the place but also the type of clientele that place attracts. For example, I think that they are genuinely impressed with Olduvai and their targeted kind of client is a person to whom that place appeals. Similarly I do not think that they see themselves as targeting an A&K or Micato clientele.

So perfectly reasonable if you want to look elsewhere but if you are still interested I would have a phone conversation with the rep.

Last thoughts if you do pursue it–of course they can and will book a crater lodge (a number of us have them booked). So you could add that between Mawe Ninga and Olduvai. You would then have 3 one-nighters in a row though. You would have to decide about that–add a 2nd day at Ronjo? (Does anyone want to balloon? You can do it from there.) Or 3 one-nighters in a row but then 4 nights at Mbalageti?
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Sep 1st, 2005, 11:56 AM
  #57
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bat,

I'm finding the flow of communication excellent; I don't even think I'll need a phone call. It's now VERY likely I'll book with ATR. I'd like to send some money to someone quick, before I spend it.

We'll probably add a night at the Crater. They actually said they prefer the location of the Wildlife there, so I don't think that will be too pricey. It will mean three one-nighters in a row, yes, but relatively short driving distances between them as far as I can remember.

Also, I sent the photos of Olduvai Camp to my friend and her mother; they are smitten and think, even if not wildly game-heavy at the time, that it will make a nice stop.

We also might add another night at Ronjo.

Please, no one tell me what the actual cost per night is. I sincerely don't want to know.
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Sep 1st, 2005, 12:02 PM
  #58
bat
 
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Hi Leely:
It sounds like you are back to having fun instead of frustration--glad to hear it.
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Sep 1st, 2005, 12:47 PM
  #59
sandi
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bat -

I wasn't really trying to equate a fly-camp with Kirawira. I am well aware that Mbalageti would fit the role instead and either would be ideal in that area.

However when Leely originally started planning she was very concerned with her friend's mom and not going overboard with "too rustic" that's why I found it surprising to see Ronjo thrown in there and for 1-nt only after attempting the trip from Tarangire -doing the Crater tour and then heading to Olduvai. It's exhausting just to consider - rush, rush, rush.

Certainly we had a two 1-nighters on our recent safari, but the distances were relatively close (1-hr) and we knew what we were in for. It's a bit different for a newcomer especially with Leely consideration of "mom." Not to say "mom" wouldn't be game, but Leely's original thoughts remained with me.

Leely - question? How is Mbalegeti providing for a triple? They don't have triples except for a young child. I believe they house the third person in a separate building, not a chalet that is for two.
 
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Sep 1st, 2005, 12:48 PM
  #60
sandi
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Leely - and there should be a different rate for the two sharing the chalet and the single in the separate building. Suggest you verify the sleeping arrangements here.
 
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