Critique this itinerary please!

Dec 27th, 2003, 12:50 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 69
Critique this itinerary please!

We are planning a 10 day safari to Tanzania:

DaresSalaam/Selous(2 days in park - Rufiji River Camp or similar)
Selous to Ruaha (2 days in park) - Mwagusi Camp or similar
Ruaha to Tarangire (2 days in park)- Tarangire Safari Lodge or Tarangire Tree Tops or River Camp
Tarangire to Lake Manyara (2 days in park)- Lake Manyara Serena or similar
Lake Manyara to Serengeti (2 days in park) - Serengeti Lodge or similar
Serengeti to DaresSalaam

--Is the itinerary too ambitious? Would you delete or add anything?
--Have we chosen the right accommodation? If not, do you have any suggestions?
--Any recommendations on agents would be welcome!
Thank you for your time.

travellinbug is offline  
Dec 27th, 2003, 03:17 PM
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I would do a search on this board for "Roccco" - his posts re Tanzania travel that have appeared these past 6-weeks or so. There should be a number of names of in-country Tanzanian tour operators. It is also most likely that Roccco will respond to your post
(Roccco, sorry to be taking liberty in assuming you will respond).

Re the Selous and Ruaha, I would check as to which camps are actually open in these parks. Tourism to East Africa is down and some camps are closed. But a local tour operator should be able to advise current information.

I know the distance between The Selous and Ruaha is not great, but how do you plan to get between Ruaha and Tarangire? Also, if going to The Selous do you also need to do Ruaha?
Instead of Lake Manyara, you might consider 2-nts at the Ngorongoro Crater which will provide you with 1-full day in the Crater itself. And from the Crater you can drive via Oldupai Gorge to the Serengeti.

You should also consider air flights from Ruaha to Tarangire (maybe), definitely from the Serengeti to Arusha/Kili to catch a flight back to Dar, but think you'd be better flying back to home from JRO (Kilimanjero)

You also do not mention what time of year you are planning your holiday, this can impact the areas you visit.

Dec 28th, 2003, 05:27 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 69
Hi Sandi:
Thank you so much for all the information.

We are planning to go in early March?
Your point about Ruaha is well taken - it did cross our minds!
We will be flying from one destination to another. Will we be missing much? atmosphere, etc., if we fly?

I will do the searches as suggested.
travellinbug is offline  
Dec 28th, 2003, 05:43 AM
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You don't have to fly between all destinations.

It is doable to drive between Tarangire and Ngorngoro Crater and get some feel of the land and people. And from the Crater if you were to fly you'd have to drive back to Manyara to fly to the Serengeti and still have to drive to the Serena. And I can't comment on where or if there is an airport close to Tarangire (the closest might be Arusha???).

Again an in-country tour operator will have the specifics. You will also notice in Roccco's posts re Tanzania travel, that some of the camps you mention for Tarangire are not very close to the park itself. So do read all those posts and the comments on each camp in this area.

If you modify the itinerary you could:
Fly into Dar
Fly to The Selous
Fly to Dar to Arusha/Kili
Drive to Tarangire
Drive to Ngorongoro Crater
Drive via Oldupai Gorge to Serengeti
Fly from Serengeti to Arusha/Kili
Fly home

See how this works with the info you find in Roccco's posts and the replies to his posts.

Dec 28th, 2003, 07:07 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

In the body of your text you repeatedly write "2 days in park" or similar, but you are not taking into account the tremendous amount of time it takes to travel to and from each place. Each time that you may think that you have 2 days in each place, it is more likely that you have only 1 full day in each park.

I suggest that you either eliminate a couple of destinations or that you add more time, if possible.

I have a planned itinerary of:

Tarangire (2)
Ngorongoro Crater (2)
Serengeti (4)
Zanzibar (2)
Selous (4)

I feel that this is barely enough time in each location and wish that I could add a night each in Tarangire, Serengeti, Zanzibar and Selous, but with a likely pre-Tanzania 8 night stay in Italy, it is just not possible.

Ngorongoro Crater is glaringly absent from your itinerary. With only ten days, it seems to make better sense to drop the Southern parks of Selous and Ruaha, or concentrate only on these parks and drop the Northern Circuit, with the exception of possibly one place conveniently located to Kiliminjaro such as Tarangire or Ngorongoro Crater.

I will not be so presumptious as to attempt to design an itinerary for you. That is up to you to decide. But, with the current itinerary, you are going to spend a fortune on transfers and spend as much time travelling between parks as you will at the actual parks. That sounds fine if you are writing an article on Tanzania, but not fine if you want to actually enjoy a holiday.

As the others suggested, do a search on some of my recent threads. I have received tremendous feedback from the other Fodorites and have extensively researched solely Tanzania for the last five weeks. Prior to then I didn't have a clue about Tanzania or any of Eastern Africa, but now I am pretty confident that I have an itinerary that is unrivaled, at least for my taste, given that I have only 14 days.

Good luck.
Roccco is offline  
Dec 28th, 2003, 07:24 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Having been to Selous and having considered going to both Selous and Ruaha on our last trip, I would say that visiting one or the other would suffice. They are strikingly similar. Now having said that, if you are looking to travel in March, you may want to consider NOT going to Selous or Ruaha, since the game viewing is "fair" at best. Both are closed April and May due to the heavy rains. Those days you have set aside for Selous/Ruaha would best be spent in the Serengeti, in my opinion, especially the southeastern section of the Serengeti. As Sandi suggested, you need to make sure you can fly from Ruaha to Tarangire - I don't think you can. And as Roccco pointed out, the travel time between parks will diminish your actual game-viewing time. But, I am sure you will get plenty of feedback ...
SusanLynne is offline  
Dec 29th, 2003, 06:52 AM
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Posts: 532
You may be able to fly from Selous into Lake Manyara airstrip, from which you can easily drive (or be driven!) to both Tarangire and Lake Manyara.

I'm in the minority it seems when it comes to Ngorongoro Crater. It's certainly excellent if you have to see as many animals as possible in a short period of time, or really want to see Rhino. But with all of your other excellent park choices I don't think the Crater is a necessity. At one point I counted 18 vehicles stopped along the road waiting for a rhino and her baby to cross in order to reach the lake. The mother finally decided against it because of all the vehicles. On the contrast, the next day we experienced a game drive in Lake Manyara where we saw the same animals (minus rhino and plus giraffe) and only saw one other vehicle the entire time.

I agree that two days in Serengeti is not enough. Based upon SusanLynne's comments I'd spend two days in either Ruaha or Selous and then four days in Serengeti. I'd suggest flying from Lake Manyara airstrip into the Serengeti. While I do wish we'd had a chance to see Olduvai Gorge, it was really exciting to see the expanse of the Serengeti (and Ngorongoro Crater and the Gorge) from the air. Depending upon the time of year you will be traveling, certain areas of the Serengeti would be more ideal than others, and if you're heading to the northwest corner you really should fly. You could even do two days in Tarangire and one day in Manyara, to be:
Day 1 - DaresSalaam to Ruaha or Selous with PM drive
Day 2 - Selous / Ruaha with two game drives
Day 3 - Selous / Ruaha with two game drives
Day 4 - AM fly into Lake Manyara airstrip, drive to Tarangire in PM
Day 5 - Tarangire with two game drives
Day 6 - AM drive to Manyara for full day or two game drives
Day 7 - fly into Serengeti, PM game drive
Day 8 - Serengeti with two game drives
Day 9 - Serengeti with two game drives
Day 10 - AM game drive and depart to Dar es Salaam

We used CCAfrica for our trip and will be using them again in the future, though you must stay in their lodges. Wilderness Safaris and LetsGoSafaris are also highly recommended here.
hlphillips2 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2003, 04:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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travellinbug: Apparently my earlier posting was not clear enough, so I will reiterate that if I were you, I would NOT travel to either Selous or Ruaha at the time of year you are looking to visit Tanzania. Game viewing is not good in either Selous or Ruaha that time of year. I think the days you set aside for Selous or Ruaha would best be applied in either the Serengeti or Lake Manyara, with maybe an extra day in the Crater Highlands. As for the recommendation of flying from Selous or Ruaha, it is not possible to go to either direct. You would have to go via Arusha. I would beg people to remember that East Africa's airline infrastructure is not set up to hop from place to place!
SusanLynne is offline  
Dec 30th, 2003, 05:09 AM
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travellinbug - further to SusanLynees post, considering that your time of travel are not ideal for The Selous or Ruaha, and unless you want to spend "resort/beach" time in Dar es Salaam, that you arrange to travel into Arusha/Kilimanjaro (JRO) and do your safari from there.

You can drive from Arusha to Tarangire, then onto Lake Manyara, onto the Crater and the Oldupai Gorge and Serengeti - then from the Serengeti you should fly back to Arusha/Kili for your trip home.

If you desire some resort/beach time, you can think about Zanzibar as an alternative - again this can be done via the JRO airport.
Dec 30th, 2003, 06:18 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 532
Ah, I'm afraid I missed that the trip will be in March. That said, one day in Ngorongoro wouldn't be a bad stop for more animal viewing with another day to Olduvai Gorge and Shifting Sands, although Zanzibar would be an excellent choice as well.

As for flights, I thought I'd been told of a flight from Manyara to Selous through an airport security fellow who befriended us, but it's quite possible I misunderstood him.
hlphillips2 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2003, 07:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You can fly from Selous to Manyara if you charter a private plane, which even in the African bush is extremely expensive. A luxury I would like to experience one day, but, alas, is not possible at this time - unless I win Wednesday's Powerball lottery drawing, which is for an estimated $220 million. Oh, the trips I can plan with that money!
SusanLynne is offline  
Dec 31st, 2003, 04:58 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 69
Hi Sandi,Roccco,SandiLynne & Hlphillips2:

Thank you for your "posts". We appreciate the advice. We are re-thinking our time and locations and will be posting again.
Happy New Year!
travellinbug is offline  

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