Cooncat has an itinerary!! Please critique

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Aug 16th, 2005, 06:26 AM
  #1
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Cooncat has an itinerary!! Please critique

Hello everyone. I finally bit the bullet and contacted an outfitter to get the ball rolling in my plan for next year. Please, anyone, take a look and tell me what you think. Also, how will the weather be at this time? The cost for this is about $5,500. Please keep in mind that this is for a PRIVATE safari for one person. I would have my own vehicle and guide throughout. I have concerns about staying in Arusha that long and also at Gibb's farm. In addition, bear with me here....the southern parts of Tanz, such as Sand Rivers has an appeal to me as well. Could I sneak that in somehow? This is the first, very preliminary itinerary I've been given. Not tweaked by me, since I'm waiting for your expertise! OK have at it, and thanks so very much!


xxOCT2006 Arrival into Kilimanjaro airport?

xxOCT2006 Arusha: Moivaro Coffee Lodge
xxOCT2006 Arusha: Moivaro Coffee Lodge
xxOCT2006 Safari: Tarangire: Mawe Ninga Lodge
xxOCT2006 Safari: Tarangire: Mawe Ninga Lodge
xxOCT2006 Safari: Ngorongoro: Ilmisigyo Fly-camp
xxOCT2006 Safari: South Serengeti: Olduvai Camp
xxOCT2006 Safari: Central Serengeti: Ronjo Fly-camp
xxOCT2006 Safari: Central Serengeti: Ronjo Fly-camp
xxOCT2006 Safari: Northern Serengeti: Lobo Lodge
xxOCT2006 Safari: Northern Serengeti: Lobo Lodge
xxOCT2006 Safari : Karatu : Gibbs Farm
xxOCT2006 Safari : Karatu : Gibbs Farm
xxOCT2006 Safari : Karatu : Gibbs Farm
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Aug 16th, 2005, 06:34 AM
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Do you have any links to the chosen camps? Would make it easier to view them and see if we could think of any comments?
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Aug 16th, 2005, 06:48 AM
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Oh geez...I thought you all knew about all the camps, and everything...;-)

I'll try to find the links. How do I make them directly linkable on this forum?
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Aug 16th, 2005, 07:07 AM
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Hi Cooncat,
My initial thought is why so much time at Gibb's Farm? What's ATR's reasoning there?
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Aug 16th, 2005, 07:12 AM
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I don't know how to make directly clickable links either, but here are a few copy and paste ones

Moivaro Coffee Lodge

http://www.moivaro.com/

Mawe Ninga Camp

http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/lo...awe-ninga.html

Ilmisigyo Fly-camp
not familiar with this one

Olduvai Camp

http://www.tanganyika.com/acccueil/accueil_gb.php

http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/lodges/olduvia.html

Ronjo Fly Camp

http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/lodges/ronjo.html

Lobo Wildlife Lodge

http://www.hotelsandlodges-tanzania.com/lobo.cfm

http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/lo...-wildlife.html

Gibbs Farm

http://www.gibbsfarm.net/index.html

http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/lo...ibbs-farm.html

I also question why they have you staying at Gibbs Farm for 3 nights. What do they propose you do here? You could put Sand Rivers at the end. You'd probably have to fly Kilimanjaro-Dar Es Salaam-Selous. Then fly home from DAR at the end of your safari. KLM would be the easiest carrier to use for your international flights as they fly to both JRO and DAR from Amsterdam.
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Aug 16th, 2005, 07:16 AM
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He he no I don't have all the links - I haven't moved on to looking into accommodation in depth yet... still thinking about all the various reserves, national parks and conservation areas in Tanzania and Kenya at the moment!

Looking...
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Aug 16th, 2005, 07:17 AM
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On the first Olduvai link, after you get into Tanganyika's site, click on 'Olduvai' on the left hand bar.

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Aug 16th, 2005, 07:22 AM
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If you want to try to fit in Sand Rivers, I would just cut out one of your nights in Arusha and two of your nights at Gibbs, giving you 3 nights for Sand Rivers. This would certainly add to the cost.
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Aug 16th, 2005, 07:23 AM
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Patty - bless your heart. Thanks for posting those links!

As far as Gibb's farm, I'm not sure either, except to rest after an adventurous trip. They have me hiking one day to get to my next camp! It sounds like fun, really. But what would y'all suggest instead of Gibbs? And the two nights in Arusha? I think one would be enough. Don't be hard on ATR, it is just a starting point!
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Aug 16th, 2005, 07:31 AM
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All my comments are purely based on reactions to what I can find out about the camps on the net, not actual experience.

Whether one or two nights at Moivaro is worthwhile depends (to me) on what time of day your flight actually arrives in Kili on that first day and also whether you have a specific interest in some of the special activities offered there that cannot be done elsewhere (horseriding, cultural village visits, canoe safaris).

Mawe Ninga looks nice. I like the fact that it consists of only 12 tents - quite small compared to many camps/ lodges in the area. What were the alternatives offered by the operator (if any) and did these have price implications?

Can find nothing at all on Ilmisigyo. Is this one of the operator's own? Where is it to be located exactly and what level of service/ amenities will it offer? Will it just be you there or how many in total?

Olduvai Camp looks nice. The setting and views certainly look great and the reasonably small size of the camp overall is a positive. The Masaai walking safari activity sounds a lot of fun.

Regarding Ronjo, I'd ask similar questions - amenities, number of other guests etc.

I assume for both fly-camps that their locations fit in very well with the locations of the permanent options?

Lobo doesn't appeal to me at all, I have to say. It looks huge and not particularly beautiful. I just prefer more intimate camps myself.

Gibbs seems pleasant enough (though again, a touch larger than I'd opt for) and there is a good range of activities but... 3 nights does seem rather a lot.

Some of their activities sound interesting - coffee visits, cultural visits, birding, school visits etc but... I'd personally probably narrow down the list and do them in one day or one and a half day - i.e. 2 nights worth. And I'd choose extra nights out on safari over all of them.

Are any alternatives to Gibb's offered?
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Aug 16th, 2005, 07:48 AM
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It is hard to judge the itinerary without knowing more about your interests and required level of comfort.

For example, the Ilmisigiyo camp is mostly used by hikers taking the hike to the summit of Lemagarut. There is really no wildlife-related reason to camp there.

2/3 nights in Arusha?

In Oct the area around Ronjo will be rather quiet. Also, it is a very basic camp. Is this what you're looking for?

Lobo is a large budget lodge in a good location, but there are wonderful private camps in that area in October. Again, are you into large budget lodges?

The Gibbs farm thing makes no sense to me. What are you plans for the 4 days there?

Oldupai camp is NOT in the Serengeti! That NCA area will be rather dry and empty in October. What are your plans there?
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Aug 16th, 2005, 07:52 AM
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bwanamitch
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October in the Serengeti?
That only makes sense to me if you stay at a camp directly at the Kenyan (Masai Mara) border!

Why not go directly to Masai Mara?

Mitch
 
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Aug 16th, 2005, 08:13 AM
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Yes, I was thinking the same as Mitch.

Cooncat, what is your main objective for your October safari?

To see lots of wildlife? Then the Masai Mara is a top contender as well as Southern Tanzania.

Or is this a cultural trip with many days of walking with the Maasai and/or other local communities? If so then this itinerary still does not make a lot of sense.
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Aug 16th, 2005, 08:22 AM
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This is exactly the type of feedback I need. Thanks a lot, everyone. Mitch, Climbhigh, I didn't give them any dates. I said I was flexible, and to fix me up given my roughly $5,000 give or take, budget. This is just a starting point, but I did tell them I wanted the Mara, and they said that the Serengeti would be better, that the Mara is "just an extention of" the Serengti, basically. I really do want to include the Mara if I go to East Africa. Cripes, it's still really confusing.....When I looked at it, and looked at the links...it all sounded pretty good. That's the beauty of this forum and I truly thank the maker that you're here! October is not set in stone. I would prefer to go later in the year to save more money, basically, but that's about all I told them. Now what??

The other thing, is that I'm going to contact someone about Zambia/Zimbabwe. That area is still very much on my radar. Mitch, if I go this soutern route, when would you recommend going?

Finally, to clarify (sorry for the stream of (un)consciousness): I told ATR that I wanted off the tourist track, as much as that is possible. Tanzania looks so beautiful, but in my heart, I am not sure how I will feel if I am utterly surrounded by other vehicles!!! Thanks again, please, more thoughts!!!
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Aug 16th, 2005, 08:28 AM
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Mitch - to clarify: when I say southern route, I meant southern Africa, Zim/Zam, not southern Tanz. Thanks again...
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Aug 16th, 2005, 08:50 AM
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Also wanted to say, re: Wildlife Lodges (haven't stayed at Lobo, although I understand its location is wonderful), if you are a child of the 70s, as I am, you may delight in the kitsch factor!

Not ideal in terms of luxury/intimacy, etc., but if you need to bring costs down a bit, I honestly didn't think they were bad. It all depends what you're looking for and your expectations.

Good luck.
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Aug 16th, 2005, 08:56 AM
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Like others, the two days/nts in Arusha are a question. If arriving at night, you should be at your hotel by 9:30pm latest and your pillow will look so good, you'll be out in seconds and wake the next morning ready to go. Unless you want to visit Arusha NP for a canoe safari or do a cultural visit in the area - move out to your first stop - Tarangire.

More then once I've read the comment from ATR "the Mara is only an extension to the Serengeti" - well maybe the "Serengeti is an extension of the Mara" - what does ATR have against the Mara, especially if the early part of October? Their response is very questionnable.

If you choose the Serengeti for October you should be in the area from Mbuze Mawe (1-hr north of Central) and others further north - for a few days. So in my mind, that eliminates Olduvai and Ronjo. And Lobo doesn't seem to get very good responses from travelers - though haven't they recently remodeled and brought it a bit more up to date. If so, do you want a large property? Though the surrounding area is lovely.

Gibbs Farm - for 3-days. Don't think so.

I'd fly out to my chosen accommodation in the area north in the Serengeti, spend 3-days, then drive to the Central as most outfitters prefer not to have their guide/drivers do the drive to the Crater in one day. It's hard on them, vehicle and YOU! From the Crater a stop for a day at Gibbs Farm would be nice and time to catch your breath. Then back to Arusha for a flight to Dar/Selous and final days at Sand River or other camp here, remember that Sand River is $$$$. So another, may work better for your budget.

If going to the Selous, you'll have to set your schedule on the flight days to/from Selous from Dar. My brain says to Selous is daily, but Ruaha alternate days... so check.

Day 1 - Arv JRO, transfer to Arusha - Moivaro
Day 2 - Fly to Kleins airstrip for real northern camps - Lobo, Migration, other OR Fly to Seronera for stay Mbuze Mawe or other camp.
Day 3 - As Day 2
Day 4 - As Day 2
Day 5 - If real north Drive to Seronera - Serena Lodge or other
Day 6 - Drive to Ngorongoro Crater - afternoon Crater Rim Walk or Olmoti Crater Trek
Day 7 - Crater tour in morning (afternoon Olmoti Crate if not done the day before)
Day 8 - Drive to Gibbs Farm
Day 9 - Drive to Arusha - if you can't get a flight to Dar, then do a cultural tour or shopping in afternoon - o/n here
Day 10 - Fly to DAR to Selous - Sand River or other
Day 11 - Selous
Day 12 - Selous
Day 13 - Fly to DAR - homebound flight.

How does this sound to you - other comments welcomed.


 
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Aug 16th, 2005, 08:59 AM
  #18
bwanamitch
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cooncat,
IMO the best time to visit Zambia and Zimbabwe is September.
 
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Aug 16th, 2005, 10:38 AM
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I don't think ATR books Kenya, do they? They only list Tanzania on their website. Perhaps you should contact other operators that can put together a trip for you in both countries if you want to go to the Mara as well. If you decide to go in November or later, then I believe the Serengeti would make more sense.

Sand Rivers is expensive, but looks wonderfully atmospheric to me

http://www.digitalfrontier.com/sandrivers/index.html

http://www.sand-rivers-selous.com/

I think Selous Safari Camp costs a bit less -

http://www.selous.com/sscoverview.htm
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Aug 16th, 2005, 11:04 AM
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Thanks - Yeah, Patty the Selous areas really look nice. I'd love to hear from anyone regarding their experiences here - more in terms of the wildlife, guding and outdoor experiences than the luxury of the lodges. In all honesty, I want to stay at a couple of pretty places, but the people I meet and the animals I see are most important! Thanks again!
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