Can you help me tweak our Tanzania itinerary?

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Apr 14th, 2006, 09:56 AM
  #1
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Can you help me tweak our Tanzania itinerary?

Hi, it's me again! So many helpful people on this board I decided to come back for more (many thanks always).

We've pretty much decided on our intinerary and our tour company. Sunny Safaris has been very helpful and significantly less expensive than the other quotes we've received. This is a private safari for 4 leaving late Nov. Here's the tentative itinerary:

Day 1: Check in dinner and overnight at Impala Hotel (half board).
Day 2: After breakfast 09h00, P/up from Impala Hotel, depart for Ngorongoro, descend to the Crater floor for gamedrive, lunch at hippo pool picnic site, ascend to the rim, dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge
Day 3: After breakfast depart for Serengeti National Park, en-route gamedrive to Northern Serengeti, picnic lunch and afternoon a short gamedrive in Serengeti Park, dinner and overnight at Lobo Wildlife Lodge.
Day 4: Early morning gamr drive, after breakfast, drive back to Central Serengeti with lunch boxes, morning and afternoon game drives, dinner and overnight at Seronera Wildlife Lodge
Day 5: After breakfast full day in Serengeti National Park(early morning, mid and afternoon gamedrives), all meals and overnight at Seronera Wildlife Lodge
Day 6: After breakfast full day in Serengeti National Park(early morning, mid and afternoon gamedrives), all meals and overnight at Seronera Wildlife Lodge
Day 7: After breakfast depart for Tarangire National Park, picnic lunch and gamedrive Tarangire National Park, dinner and overnight at Tarangire Sopa Lodge
Day 8: After breakfast full day in Tarangire National Park(early morning, mid and afternoon gamedrives), all meals and overnight at Tarangire Sopa Lodge
Day 9: After breakfast, drive back to Arusha, then transfer to Kilimanajaro International Airport, flight to Zanzibar, transfer to Tembo Hotel (bed& breakfast)
Day 10: After breakfast to Pongwe Beach Hotel (bed & breakfast)
Day 11: Pongwe Beach Hotel (bed& breakfast)
Day 12: Pongwe Beach Hotel (bed& breakfast)
Day 13: Transf to Zanzibar Intarnational Airport

Now I have a few questions that we could use some guidance on.
1) as I mentioned in a previous post,we'd like to spend at least one night in a permanent tented camp. We are thinking we will either upgrade to Tarangire Treetops or Kikoti (which might be quite nice as it will be the end of our safari)...or change to Tarangire Safari Lodge (though the other couple might prefer the bungalow, my husband and I will prefer the tent). Any comments / suggestions? We are leaning to upgrading to Treetops or Kikoti (depending on cost) as we'd like to add a night drive.
2) Our initial quote included a 3 hr trek to the Olmati Crater in Ng. We've asked them to add it. Anyone done this trek? Good? (I thought I remember seeing a trip report that included this but I can't seem to find it...)
3) Is there an alternative to Seronera Wildlife? I've noticed all tours operators have included this in our itinerary, is this because it is central and good for attempting to 'catch' the migration? The Sopa appears to be cheaper and a bit nicer but maybe the location isn't right for our trip?
4) Ng. Wildlife - looks fine - is this one of the places with a great view? If so, it's more than fine... Just keep getting them all confused!

Again, thanks so much everyone for all your help.
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Apr 14th, 2006, 12:27 PM
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There is another tented camp at Tarangire that you might consider, the Tarangire Tented River Camp. It's a beautiful permanent camp with great views from a cliff above the river. It's also close to the entrance of the park for easy access. It's on Maasai land, so you have the opportunity to go on a walk with Maasai warriors and perhaps visit a nearby village. On my last stay there, I stood at the window of my tent at midnight and watched two bull elephants meander between the raised tents, feeding as they went. Their tusks gleamed in the moonlight. I don't you'd get that experience in a lodge.

That trip from Arusha to the Crater sounds awfully rushed, if they intend to get you into the Crater for lunch. I suppose your "half day" would be the afternoon. Has anyone else done this drive, including descending into the Crater, in a half day?

The Serengeti lodges are in the Northern and Central Serengeti, which should be a good location in November, according to Eben's maps. I've visited but not stayed in the Seronera Wildlife Lodge. It's where the balloon safari company is headquartered. The Seronera area is good any time of the year, Migration or not.
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Apr 14th, 2006, 01:17 PM
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I agree with ShayTay in that the ride from Arusha to the crater may be very rushed. Although it can be done, it will be frantic.

Also, although I have only stayed at Kikoti, which btw was very nice, I agree that the tented river camp may be better due to Kikoti being further into the park at Tarangire. Is it possible for you to add or pull a day from another part of your itinerary to make this trip more liesurely?
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Apr 14th, 2006, 01:23 PM
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I don't think that the drive to the Crater will be that bad--that Japanese built road is very nice. It will be a full day in the vehicle though.
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Apr 14th, 2006, 01:48 PM
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It is a 5-hr drive from Arusha to the Crater but it's black-top till entering the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Many itineraries do this. But I'd prefer if you'd be on the road earlier than 9am, say 7:30am. Not ideal considering having arrived late the night prior. However, you're so exhausted from the flight you'll sleep with no problem. And be so pumped to start the safari, that an early wake-up will be your intro into safari schedule. With 5-hrs ahead of you, you can certainly take a nap on the way.

The drive, however, from Ngorongoro to Lobo, is a long drive; it would be nice if you could do 2-days here instead or turning around the next day to head down south again.

At Tarangire, the Sopa Lodge, Kikoti and Tarangire River Camps should be the same or close in price. If you want a tented camp, I'd go with TRC. Though larger (18 tents) vs Kikoti (10 tents) it's more convenient. And by the time you get to Tarangire your friends will be chomping at the bit to sleep in a tent. If they don't like it, they can bitch 'n moan on the long stretch of white sand at Pongwe.

It's looking good.
 
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Apr 14th, 2006, 02:00 PM
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bat
 
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I am sure sandi is correct but I did not remember it being that long--perhaps because we spent time in Manyara and so I had a distorted sense of how much was pure drive time to the Crater.
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Apr 14th, 2006, 02:05 PM
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Stay at a tented camp at Tarangire. Split up time in Serengeti evenly: 2 Lobo, 2 Seronera.

And of course have a womnderful time!

I've stayed at the Wildlife on the Crater (yes, view is excellent, dramatic, etc.) and Seronera (not good soundproofing from your neighbors but on the other hand we heard the hippos out and about, grubbing all night long--fun!).
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Apr 14th, 2006, 02:06 PM
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womnderful...oops. Also, I see Sandi has already rec'd what I've said. Oops again.
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Apr 14th, 2006, 02:28 PM
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bat -

Absolutely, if you break up the trip with Manyara on the way, it doesn't seem all that long. It's about 2+/hrs to Manyara and then 2.5 hours to the Crater... always traffic dependent.

CT - It's blacktop.. so much better than the first time I drove that route. Be thankful. But start out earlier from Arusha.
 
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Apr 14th, 2006, 06:17 PM
  #10
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As usual, you guys are fantastic! We'll definitely consider a night at Lake Manyara to break up the drive or head out earlier.

Hmmm...should we consider another day in Ng.?

I had originally considered TRC but then for some reason forgot about it! Thanks for the reminder. ShayTay, the image of watching elephants out a tent window sounds fantastic...thanks!

BTW, can anyone tell me where there would be an opportunity for a night game drive, from what I understand they cannot be done within the parks?

Thanks again!

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Apr 14th, 2006, 07:07 PM
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Night game drives are allowed in Lake Manyara NP, so if you decide to include Manyara, that could be your opportunity - http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34663438

Other than that, if you choose a camp located outside of the park boundaries at Tarangire or Serengeti, they may offer night drives too. I believe Ikoma (outside of the Serengeti) offers night game drives and is a moderately priced camp. However, I don't know if it's in a good location for the time of year you're going.
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Apr 15th, 2006, 04:25 AM
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Kikoti offers night drives and hiking with the Maisai.

Canadian,
Is there a reason your not flying from the Serengeti to Arusha?
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Apr 15th, 2006, 05:21 AM
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bat
 
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CT:
Just to clarify--we did not spend the night at Manyara. We did a late (10am) start out of Arusha, drove to Manyara and did lunch and game driving then drove on to the crater arriving at the Serena by 6pm (and wished we had arrived a little earlier to enjoy our balconies longer before dark). We were not trying to get into the crater that day--instead we went in early am the next day (spending a 2nd night at the crater)
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Apr 15th, 2006, 07:27 AM
  #14
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Hmmm...that makes a lot of sense bat, thanks. It's definitely something to consider. Unfortunately that means pulling a day from somewhere else! This trip started out as a 10-day itinerary and has somehow evolved to 14 days...I'm really thankful we're able to swing it but I doubt we could add another day.

Cybor, flying to Arusha was never included in the quote. I suppose we could ask but I just assumed it would be rather expensive. Do most tour companies offer this?
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Apr 15th, 2006, 07:31 AM
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A one way fly/one way drive (you can do it either direction) is very common for the northern circuit in Tanzania. It saves time but will cost more than driving both ways.
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Apr 15th, 2006, 08:49 AM
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Canadian,
We drove in and flew out from the Serengeti - Arusha - if I recall it wasn't too costly ?152pp. does that sound right, experts out there?

It may be less costly to fly rather than staying an extra night or 2 on the way back, if that's what you were thinking. Sandi could tell us better on the pricing, as E.Africa is her area of expertise.
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Apr 15th, 2006, 09:21 AM
  #17
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CT;
You can do what sandi suggested--get an earlier start.

My Feb 06 trip shows $151 pp for the Seronera to Arusha flight.
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Apr 15th, 2006, 10:35 AM
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I just realized that our last nights on safari are in Tarangire so the flight Seronera - Arusha wouldn't work for us.

I think we can definitely start earlier in Arusha (at least I will request it). I guess it might have to do with what time Impala starts serving breakfast but I'm sure we can work around that. After the thousands of $'s skipping one free breakfast isn't going to hurt too much.

If we were to get an earlier start it still seems like we might want to stick around Ng. for another night. Would anyone suggest losing a night at Seronera or Tarangire?

Also, can anyone tell me roughly how long each of the following drives is:
1)Ng. Wildlife to Lobo Wildlife?
2)Lobo W. to Seronera W.?
3) Seronera to Tarangire (Treetop or Tar. River Camp)?
4) Tarangire to Arusha?

Some of you have mentioned that this might be a bit hectic so I'd like to see if we can slow things down a bit. As I mentioned, we'd like to do a night drive and a trek or bush walk so really long drives might eat into some of that.

Any recommendations are welcome.
Thanks again!
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Apr 15th, 2006, 02:33 PM
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You could still add a one way flight, but you'd change the order of your itinerary to Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Serengeti and at the end of your safari you'd fly Seronera-Arusha-Zanzibar. That way you'd only be driving half of the distance of your current itinerary.
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Apr 15th, 2006, 02:41 PM
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The Impala should be serving breakfast early, for sure at 7am, maybe even earlier... or there's always Room Service.

The fare sounds about right. But if Tarangire is your last stop, the closest airport from Seronera would be Lake Manyara, then drive to Tarangire. But what would you do with for a guide at Tarngire, as your guide will be driving back from Seronera. It'll cost you, to have another guide meet you at Tarangire.

If I recall from one of my trips, leaving Western Serengeti, with a fairly long stop at Seronera (long story, but worth the stop at the open air museum), we arrived at Manyara for a late lunch. Had we not delayed at Seronera, we would have been at Manyara before noon. So leaving Seronera by 7:30am/8am, you can be at Tarangire in time for lunch. Of course, if staying at TRC or Sopa will be closer than at Treetops for which you have to drive thru the entire park plus another 40-minutes... all of this not counting stops for game viewing along the way.
 
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