Back from Tanzania

Mar 31st, 2005, 09:51 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 316
Liz, Thank you so much for answering questions. Your trip sounds fascinating and I can't wait to read more. I would like to take a very simmlar trip in Feb of 2007 and just started planning.

I planned to stay three nights in the Ndudtu area, but now I think that 2 nights at Ndutu and 2 nights at Kusini would be better if possible. If Kusini is out of our budget, how was the food, etc. at Ndutu Lodge, and was there enough water for the showers? Do you know if it is possible to go over to the the GOL Kopjes from either Ndutu or Kusini for part of a day? Also, it looks like you were able to do off road driving at Kusini even though Kusini is actually located within Serengeti NP. Do you know if night drives allowed at either K or N?

Regarding Tarangire, It fits in so nicely when leaving Arusha, and I would like to stop there for a couple of nights but your experience there may make me re-think that. I am wondering why many people stay outside of the park, instead of inside at Swala or Mawe Minga (spelling?), is it all because of the night drives? Are the night drives that worth while in the Tarangire area?

Thank you very much, and I can't wait to read more!
brandywine is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 10:43 AM
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Are night game drives offered at Tarangire River Camp since it is outside the park? The night drive is a major draw for my husband, but I don't know if it is worth the expense of Treetops (especially with a thirteen-year-old).
CarrieS is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 10:57 AM
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Did I miss it? Admittedly I just skimmed, but what was the one "shocking thing" the government has done that will have an adverse impact on the animals. Sorry if I skipped over it, but I was sure you were going to tell us what it was in your original email but you just left us hanging!
althom1122 is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 11:09 AM
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Brandywine- I think it is wise to split your time between Kusini and Ndutu. The food is just wonderful at Ndutu (and of course at Kusini) as is the coffee. Drinks and wine are not included at Ndutu, but cheap. As a comparison if you like a cocktail, at Kirawira, a double Gin and Tonic was $7.00. At Ndutu it was $3.50. All of the camps offered South African wines for purchase (Kusini and the Crater Lodge included all drinks in the price of the camp) and it comes boxed, just as in the U.S. so it is good and not like bottled wine which much be consumed the same night or tossed out. Ndutu gets its produce and coffee from Gibbs Farm. It is just excellent. Hot water is available from 4:30 PM to 10PM, I think the deadline is. I know it starts at 4:30PM because we always showered then. There is plenty of hot water too. If you have your own car and driver you can go whereever you want but not into the Serengeti Park from the NCA without paying the high park fees. I really am not sure how far the GOL Kopjes are.
In both Kusini and Ndutu you can drive off road during the migration months of Jan-March or April. Because of the fewer tourists in this area the terrain recovers rather quickly after the animals leave. In the central area you never can as there are just so very many more tourists due to the large hotels there.
I think this will slowly change as the Park fees are raised next year. They are taking a tremendous jump in January, to $100 a day (from $30) per person plus a charge for the vehicle. The government has decided to pattern Tanzania more like Botswana and go for less tourists but still make the same amount of dollars. They also are requiring to be paid by bank cheques which cost $50.00 each to issue.(Too many paid by personal checks that bounced). The travel agencies are requesting a more gradual increase over a few years, but the price has been published as Jan. 2006 with the increase. We'll see how it actually holds. All of the other parks are to be raised accordingly.
By all means visit Tarangire. My feeling was that since we came for the migration we were wasting our time there.
Night game drives are offered outside the Park to all camps/lodges that are outside of the Park boundaries. We never saw much on night drives before and don't go on them anyway, choosing to get up early for the morning game drives. But to each his own. They are offered by all of the places outside the park. Hope this helps. Liz
Liz_Frazier is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 11:21 AM
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Hi, great reports and info, and while I think I read your posts closely, I can't discover what the "one quite shocking thing" the Tanzania government did that will have a long range impact. Can you please help with the answer.

Thanks, Michael
thit_cho is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 11:30 AM
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Althom- I was wondering if I could even tell this or not. I don't know how else except to relate the stories I heard about it. It happened like this.
On our trip between Arusha and JRO rather than take a short flight we drove both ways. As I glanced over to the side of the road in the open fields, I saw a huge compound. It went on as far as I could see. The walls were solid, not fenced, and you could see some buildings inside the compounds, but large open areas. There was razor wire strung all around the tops of the walls of the many, many compounds. They appeared to be new and were painted to blend in with the landscape. They were built at quite an expense. It looked for all intents like a prison that could house a very large population. I inquired around while we were there as to what it was and I was shocked to find out what it is. I have been heartsick ever since and its just as good that I leave it out of my trip report. But I will tell you since I started it.
To begin let me tell you that there is a very large tract of land that is adjacent to the Serengeti but not included as part of the Serengeti Park. The government was thinking of annexing it into the Park and everyone expected that would happen. Well, the government instead sold a 99 year lease on the property to the Arab Emirates. This was accomplished by a contract that is binding for 99 years. The Emirates, I was told are allowed to use this land as they desire without restrictions and can remove anything from it as they desire. This property is in the direct path of the migration as it begins its jouney to Kenya from the Serengeti. The animals cross this tract of land. Hunting has been set up here now and from June through August gunshots can be heard from noon to nighttime coming from it. Any animals can be taken from Tanzania by these owners and they are transported to these compounds and held there. The large C-132 airplanes I think they are called, are used to transport vehicles and guests into Tanzania and carry animals, etc out. I heard this but I didn't see anything but these huge compounds. I heard that young girls are also brought in and taken to this area where they have set up camps for their guests. This is all I heard and it seemed to be common knowledge among the people. Since it doesn't affect my country I don't know who to complain to. I guess its really too late to complain. I have never heard of such a terrible thing before and hope this is wrong. With those compounds with the razor wire though what else would it be for? Now aren't you sorry you asked? Thats all I know and I only want to forget I ever heard it.
Liz_Frazier is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 12:55 PM
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I’d never heard about this, so I did a quick search. I couldn’t find any recent information, but here - - it appears as if this UAE company’s – OBC – license will expire this year.
Nyamera is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 01:06 PM
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There is more information on but it's a couple of years old.
Nyamera is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 01:24 PM
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Welcome home! So glad you enjoyed your time in Tanzania.

On a more somber note, looks like I came in on the tail end of something very disturbing. I never heard about it either so I too just visited the website. How sad!

Here is an article from that website that many may be interested in reading.
divewop is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 01:30 PM
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And a footnote to that article. Seems the author, Ted Botha, could not find a "home" for it.

Here's what he said about "Killing the killing fields of Loliondo."

I wrote the above story in order to give closure to all the research I'd done on Loliondo as much as to vent my frustrations with freelancing. Offbeat though the article is, I submitted it to publications I thought would be sympathetic to its sentiments - The Village Voice, Utne Reader, The Columbia Journalism Review, and Two of them sent curt replies, and the other two didn't even bother with that.

Go figure!

divewop is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 01:49 PM
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This is one of those stories that often come up in conversations with locals in Tanzania but no-one I've talked to in the past had substantial facts about it. In fact the story has so many legs that I never really took it seriously as the information was never current and the concession was not that big I was told. Also I thought it was recent history.

I was wrong it seems.

During my visit in May/June, I will dig deeper and even drive out to Loliondo to see for myself. If true, we need to raise hell.

We should create a new thread on this...

Frankly I ne
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 01:59 PM
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This is the only recent article I’ve found It basically says the Tanzanian government hasn’t done anything in these years.
Nyamera is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 02:40 PM
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Welcome back and thanks so much for sharing your experiences -- can't wait to see photos. I must say though that the latter part of this thread is incredibly disturbing, especially in light of the simultaneous massive increases in park fees. We will be there in November and will keep our eyes and ears open, but frankly, the thought of this sickens and saddens me.
lisa is online now  
Mar 31st, 2005, 03:08 PM
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Nyamera- Thank you for posting the links. I was actually afraid to post the information. It so sickened me that I took the week with jet lag and just didn't know what I could do. For those of you going over, just look to the left side when driving from JRO to Arusha as you near Arusha to see the compound.
I was assured there is a valid 99 year contract signed that the AER would take them to trial in the Netherlands if they defaulted on it. Please, please, someone, if you can, DO something. When you see the razor wire around the walls and think of the poor suffering animals giving up their freedom to bring someone sick pleasure it will break you heart.
This has weighed so heavily on my heart that I needed to turn it over to someone else. Liz
Liz_Frazier is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 04:52 PM
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Thank you Liz for alerting us to this problem. We'll all be checking into it. Perhaps some of our agents may have information on it too. Now how forthright
they will be with their knowledge remains to be seen.

I'll be checking your photos soon.
atravelynn is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 06:15 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Though it is heartbreaking information, it is vital that we who leave our money in Africa know about these things. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

I have tonight written a well-known conservationist and also a safari company director to see if they know to whom we can write. It is imperative that we all show our concern.

This won't hurt the wildlife only in Tanzania. It will effect the migration into the Mara also.

Many species are now on the decline due to the bushmeat trade, and if hunters also take large numbers the wildlife won't stand a chance. Makes the vigilante in me come out and irrationally think of starting a new game of "hunt the hunters" or "poach the poachers"!

The increase in park fees to $100 a day could well backfire on Tanzania also. There are still many people of moderate means who won't be able to afford to go at those rates. Thus tourism in general will also be hurt severely.

Let's hope that more intelligent heads prevail on both these issues.

Again, thank you for letting us know of these problems.

JanGoss is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 01:42 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 56
In September I will go on honeymoon to Tanzania. I loved your stories about the accomodations. I have to admit that I am a bit sceptical about the last part. It sounds a bit too much as an urban legend.

My itenary:
Sept 12: Arusha
Sept 13: Tarangire Sopa
Sept 14: E-Unoto Retreat Manyara
Sept 15: Ngorongoro Farm House
Sept 16: Ndutu Safari Lodge
Sept 17: Migration Tented Luxury lodge
Sept 18: Migration Tented Luxury lodge
Sept 19: Fly from Serengeti to Pemba
Sept 19: Fundu lagoon - beachside room
Sept 20: Fundu lagoon - beachside room
Sept 21: Fundu lagoon - beachside room
Sept 22: Fundu lagoon - beachside room
Sept 23: Fundu lagoon - beachside room
Sept 24: Fundu lagoon - beachside room
Sept 25: Flight from Pemba to Dar es salaam.
Marynus is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 03:08 AM
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marynus- Sorry but I don't understand your post. Did you want comments on your itinerary? What do you mean about "the last part?" A bit of an urban legend? I just don't know what you are saying. Please re-pose your post. Thanks. Liz
Liz_Frazier is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 03:47 AM
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Jan- When I heard about the problem, my first thought was to remember the Wildebeests at the Mara River in 2003 when we went to see the crossings there. The animals could see the vehicles lined up on the side of the river we were on and they would turn and walk away. This went on for days. I wondered what was wrong as this is how it has been there for years. Then when I started hearing about this happening in Tanzania, I immediately thought, of course, they had just come from this tract of land and been shot at and seen men mowing them down and capturing many from the herds, and it was like.... OMG, no wonder!
Of course it has a dramatic effect on how the animals react to the tourists, thinking they all must have guns, and the vehicles must scare the daylights out of them. Why? Why? Why? I kept asking myself how human beings could be so absolutely without emotion to not understand how precious these animals are. They are found no where else in the entire world. They will absolutely destroy this for everyone. Even the Crown Prince of Jordan. That one was hard for me to swallow. I wonder if King Hussein participated in such folly? Does everyone with great wealth suffer from this brain deficiency? Apparently so.
Liz_Frazier is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 04:16 AM
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At the very least, in May/June, I can get the Maasai side of the story. My two friends (both Maasai) were born in the northern area of the Ngorongoro Highlands and their families still use Loliondo for grazing.
climbhighsleeplow is offline  

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