Comparing two itineraries

Jul 8th, 2006, 09:17 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 12
Comparing two itineraries

First, thanks to everyone on this board for all the great info. I knew I was officially obsessed when I woke up at the crack of dawn this morning thinking about this trip and fired up my laptop (even before coffee!) for yet more research.

I've reached an impasse in my planning, so I thought it might be time to bring in the big guns and get your advice on which of these basic itineraries looks better for maximum game viewing, with a fair amount of comfort.

We're planning on travelling in late Feb./early March '07 for just 10 days. We want to spend half on safari in Tanzania and half in Zanzibar. We're hoping to be in the 10k riange.

From Africa Travel Resource (ATR):
1 night Moivaro Lodge
1 night Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
1 night Olduvai Camp
2 nights Olakira Camp
5 nights Fundu Lagoon (Zanzibar)

From Africa Dream Safari (ADS):
1 night KIA Lodge
2 nights at Mbuzi Mawe Tented Camp
2 Kusini Tented Lodge
1 Ngorongoro Crater
4 nights Fundu Lagoon

The accommodations from ADS look a lot more comfortable than the ones pushed by ATR, but I'm worried they're more inconvenient? Since we're on the safari for such a short amount of time, I want to make sure we maximize our time for game viewing.

Also, I understand there are concerns with ATR's ground operator, so any experiences with ADS much appreciated.

Thanks again for all the help!
Tremizzle is offline  
Jul 8th, 2006, 09:39 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Tremizzle,

At least ADS has you for four nights in the Serengeti. ATR would rather force you into Olduvai Camp for a night, thus limiting your time in the Serengeti to a very scant 2 nights!

However, my concern with ADS is that they don't have you in the Ndutu area and this area should be excellent at your time of year. I would go as far as to suggest to invest all of your Serengeti time in the Ndutu area:

1 night at Kia Lodge
(next morning, fly Precision Air or similar to Ndutu airstrip)
4 nights Nomad Ndutu
2 nights Ngorongoro Crater
4 nights Fundu Lagoon

(one extra night really does make this so much nicer)

If you were to wait until the beginning of April, you would enjoy excellent pricing, but I do understand also wanting to be there at or shortly after the time of the wildebeest calving.

With a shorter itinerary like this, I think you will be sorry if you end up driving from destination to destination each day. The ATR itinerary is especially exhausting with single night stays at three different properties. The itinerary I suggested will provide you with the maximum amount of time on your game drives rather than spending the majority of your time hopping from one destination to the next (even if put on a level playing field and dropping Ndutu by a night to get down to your current 10 nights).

Again, it would really be a shame to miss Ndutu at this time of year. After many safaris, it has been my best wildlife experience yet.

(However, for other reasons, Zambia remains my favorite overall destination, but for February/March, Tanzania is an easy choice over Southern Africa)
Roccco is offline  
Jul 8th, 2006, 10:16 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354
Did you specifically ask for Fundu Lagoon? It is on Pemba, not Zanzibar!
Are you a serious scuba person? 5 nights are long time there.

I agree with the point Rocco is trying to make - the only thing is that Olakira is actually at Ndutu in late Feb/early March unless the migration is stalled somewhere else! So you are OK with Olakira.

With ADS, how do you get from KIA Lodge to Mbuzi Mawe? It is a major drive. Also, the camp is too far north IMO for your dates.

Kusini is hit or miss. If your timing is right, great. If not, you have very long game drives. How much of a gambler are you? A mobile camp that moves with the flow is a safer bet.

I also think you should give a few local outfitters a crack at your itinerary. It is an easy one and your savings may be substantial.
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Jul 8th, 2006, 10:48 AM
  #4  
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 12
Thanks for the help!

Yes, we realize Fundu Lagoon is on Pemba and no, we are not serious divers -- we are serious beach loungers. We're thinking of cutting our beach time to 4 nights to have extra safari time. Fundu Lagoon was recommended to me, but if you have other preferences, I'd love to hear them!

With ADS, we were going to fly from KIA Lodge to Mbuzi Mawe, but I also had a feeling this camp was too far north for this time of year.

Climbhighsleeplow, can you recommend a few local outfitters?
Tremizzle is offline  
Jul 8th, 2006, 12:25 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 258
Tremizzle - here's a discussion thread on another poster who's compared pricing across local E. Africa Operators. http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34829905

If you have the 10 days, think the layout with 1 night Arusha, 1 Night Ngorongoro, 4 nights Serengeti and 4 in Zanzibar is better.

Here's a link to Leely's trip report where she travelled with ATR and includes coverage of Olduvia. http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34830142

Here's a link to Bat's Trip Report with ATR and some of the same camps. http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34760129

Central Serengeti as well as Ndutu region have been suggested for many safaris. If you did choose only Ndutu, might be a gamble on the migration timing.
lovetodiscover is offline  
Jul 8th, 2006, 12:40 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 258
Found some links which may help with ADS:

This one first talks about African Dream Safari, but based on the camps and ensuing discussion makes me think it could be ADS: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34563508

ADS information more recent: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34830877

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34807900
lovetodiscover is offline  
Jul 8th, 2006, 01:26 PM
  #7  
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Posts: 12
Thanks, again everyone. I think I will contact Sunny Safari as well.

Would the following make sense to ensure (as much as possible) that we see some great wildlife?

1 night KIA Lodge
2 nights Kusini Tented Lodge
2 nights Nomad Ndutu
1 Ngorongoro Crater
4 nights Fundu Lagoon

In your opinion is 1 night at the Crater enough?
Tremizzle is offline  
Jul 8th, 2006, 01:28 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
The only problem with your new itinerary is that you would not make it to the Crater in time to do much of a visit. 2 nights in the Crater would be best and would allow a full day game drive within the Crater on your second day.
Roccco is offline  
Jul 8th, 2006, 01:40 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354
Recent threads suggest Sunny Safaris is very competitive. They have a good reputation in Arusha and their cars always look good.

I am not aware of early morning flights from Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti. ADS may have it wrong but I am not 100% sure. I think it is better to stay closer to Arusha Airport for the 8am flight - Coffee Lodge or Arusha Hotel or similar, but not Kia Lodge.

When you choose a seasonal camp such as Olakira or Nomad, you don't have to worry about animal movements. These camps to their best to be close to the action. So it does not make sense to split your stay between Seronera and Ndutu unless you want to do a balloon ride. In that case I would spend one night at the Wildlife Lodge in Seronera and 3 nights at Olakira or Nomad. By late Feb the odds are good for the migration to be near Ndutu.

The best beach in Zanzibar is Mnemba Island. Nothing beats a stay there but it is expensive! With the money you save by booking local you can probably do a night or two there! See my pics: http://www.go-safari.com/Zanzibar/Mnemba.htm

The north(west) coast don't have a reef so swimming is possible all day but it is so crowded. On the east coast you cannot swim during low tide and at high tide you have to swim with shoes due to urchins.

Matemwe Bungalows is in a great location as it is way north an not near other resorts and the beach is almost empty of tourists - just locals fishing and women farming seeweed. Pics here: http://www.go-safari.com/Zanzibar/MatemweBungalows.htm

The best part of Matemwe is the rooms - right on the ocean which is hard to find on Zanzibar. You sit on the private balcony and there is nothing between you and the sea.

Maybe you can spend 2 nights there and 2 nights at Mnemba? I would rather stay at the Wildlife Lodge/serena at Ngorongoro and add Mnemba instead of Crater Lodge and a cheaper place on Zanzibar.

I agree with lovetodiscover.
1 night Arusha, 1 night Ngorongoro, 4 nights Serengeti and 4 nights Zanzibar. But I would drive out to the Serengeti and fly back, connecting to Zanzibar.
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Jul 8th, 2006, 02:43 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 258
Eben - your pictures and contributions through your web page and responses are rich and concise. Loved the look of Mnemba, Tremizzle this looks like a great trade-off for a night at Crater Lodge!
lovetodiscover is offline  
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