Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page > East Africa veterans, if given a choice between the following three Tanzania itineraries, which would you choose???

East Africa veterans, if given a choice between the following three Tanzania itineraries, which would you choose???

Reply

Dec 8th, 2003, 07:57 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
East Africa veterans, if given a choice between the following three Tanzania itineraries, which would you choose???

Because of a scheduling error on my part, it looks like I may have an extra night available in Tanzania, and that allows me a lot more flexibility. I may not have to even spend a single night in Dar Es Salaam or Arusha if I am able to fly directly into Kiliminjaro (JRO) airport and directly out of Dar Es Salaam.

Lastly, if I were to see both Tarangire and Lake Manyara, I may elect to skip Selous, entirely. Selous looks incredible, but so do Lake Manyara and Tarangire, although they are tiny in comparison.

So, that leads me to my question. If given a choice, which itinerary would you pick???

A.
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (2)

Lake Manyara Tree Lodge (2) OR Swala (an A&K
camp in Tarangire)(2)

Kirawira Lodge (3)

Emerson & Green (2)

Sand Rivers (4)

B.
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (2)

Kirawira Lodge (4)

Palms-Zanzibar (3)

Sand Rivers (4)

C.
Mountain Village (Arusha) (1) (to allow for
rest and an early start to my more expensive lodging ahead)

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (2)

Lake Manyara Tree Lodge (2)

Swala (in Tarangire) (2)

Kirawira (W. Serengeti) (3)

Palms-Zanzibar (3)

---------------------------------------------

Swala looks like an incredible camp to me and I love the lush landscapes. www.akhotelsandresorts.com/aksafarilodges/ swala/index.php

I do really like the idea of being pampered and doing nothing other than possibly a little snorkeling for three days at the Palms Zanzibar. This wouldn't usually appeal to me but because this place only has six rooms, and all measuring 1,400 sq. ft. each, it is able to match, and perhaps surpass, the level of exclusivity that I enjoy while on safari, unlike any other beach resort that I have seen.

River Sands in Selous looks great and I may not want to miss it.

Kirawira looks fabulous also, but do I commit to four nights or cut it down to three. If I stay the full four, I will either have to sacrifice River Sands or Palms-Zanzibar...not a pretty prospect.

Although Swala looks like it would win if I had to choose between it and Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, I do have to seriously consier LM Tree Lodge due to the great report recently by fellow Fodorite, hlphillips2.

Emerson & Green may be VERY interesting, in the heart? of Stone Town, offering culture and a lot of vibe over being wined, dined and never mind (oh, I'm bad), at the Palms-Zanzibar.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Oh, and how the hell am I going to pay for all this? Three consecutive years of Africa does start to pinch the pocketbook some, but I can't take it with me, right?

Please rate in your order of preference. So far I am personally leaning this way:

A - 1
B - 2
C - 3
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 9th, 2003, 07:46 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,916
To go to Tanzania and not visit the Serengeti during migration is to not go to Tanzania. I have been to most of the major African national parks, and the Serengeti/Masai Mara is BY FAR the very, very best from the point of view of game viewing. So I would vote for B which will take you to four UNESCO world heritage sites (Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Stone Town if you visit, and the Selous). I think three parks is plenty for a two-week safari. Are you going on safari or to pen an article for Architectural Digest? Go to the parks that provide the best wildlife encounters -- the lodges are all great.
thit_cho is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 9th, 2003, 07:59 AM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Hey, hey, now...what is wrong with Architectural Digest?!

Really, it is not only about the over-the-top lodging that appeals to be, it just so happens that these places offer the most exclusivity and the fewest guests per camp.

I do like the idea of only four different places, but it is unfortunate that I will not have a chance to see Tarangire if I go this route.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 9th, 2003, 08:22 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,916
Nothing wrong with AD -- its on my coffee table right now, but it gets read much less than Africa Geographic (treat yourself to a subscription for Christmas).

From what I know of you based on your emails, this will not be the only trip you take to Tanzania, so unlike others, you do not need to try to squeeze in everything in one trip. I just think the Serengeti is incredible -- the scenery, the plains of endless grass, the sky, the rock formations and the wildlife. If you can hit it during migration, my two cents is that its an essential stop and much, much more interesting than Manyara or Tarangire.

That being said, each of your three proposals are "trips of a lifetime" so you can't go wrong with either of them.
thit_cho is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 9th, 2003, 12:38 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 532
While I'm nowhere near a veteran, and perhaps a little biased I'd go with option A or B.

Would it be possible to spend two days at the Palms rather than Emerson & Green for option A? From the description on this board and the web site, it seems incredible (plus snorkeling would be a nice change of pace).

While I haven't experienced Tarangire, our guide noted that the topography is similar to the Serengeti -- flat plains. Manyara provided a change of scenery from that perspective, which we found very welcoming. Okay, maybe I'm a little biased ;-)

Some caveats about the Tree Lodge though, it is very buggy and very loud. You're sleeping in a screened porch in the middle of a jungle. The bush babies are loud, the cicadas are loud, and occasionally some other unidentifiable animal joins in. Wow, I miss it. I will be treating myself to Africa Geographic this holiday.
hlphillips2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 9th, 2003, 12:57 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,182
What is Africa Geographic? Haven't come across that, even at Stanford's in their magazine rack!
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 9th, 2003, 05:13 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 723
Roccco: You know how I feel about Selous, so, of course, I would choose itineraries A or B. Manyara and Tarangire are small in comparison to Selous, but also more tourists in either park than you will see in Selous.

Hlphillips2: Tarangire and Serengeti are not similar at all. Tarangire is more rolling hills/scrub and its giant baobab trees are prolific throughout the park. Serengeti is more acacia, which are just as spectacular, and savanah. The Serengeti has a phenomenal lion population, but the real star of the show in Tarangire are its elephants.

Kavey: Hello to you!!! Africa Geographic is a must, my friend. Website address is www.africa-geographic.com Loads of articles, photos - all about Africa - whether it be Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana, etc.
SusanLynne is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 10th, 2003, 05:02 AM
  #8
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Roccco -

If I recall, this all started out with you wanting to visit The Selous, which doesn't show up in B or C, so my 2-cents says A. The Selous is not a stop of most itineraries and you have such a wide variety of activities here. And since there is really only one (1) viable camp operating here, namely Sand River, you'll have the place to yourself.

And if it were a choice between Tarangire or Manyara, I'd go with Tarangire which is larger and has the ellees.

Whether you are in the Serengeti during Migration or not, the Western Serengeti has herds that never migrate and are always there; as are many lion prides in the Serengeti. For the later, we did plenty of off-road driving to get to some prides way off in the distance, though some prices hang around the may Kopjes in the Serengeti. And do drive between Crater and the Serengeti as there is lots of wildlife to see along the way - and return flight from there to Arusha/Kili for the onward trip to Zanzibar or Dar - but DO NOT omit The Selous - that's what go this whole trip started.

But again, it's your trip, your choice and based on air schedules into/out of Tanzania is to be considered.
 
Reply With Quote
Dec 10th, 2003, 10:02 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,916
http://www.africa-geographic.com/

Its a South African published Africa travel magazine that I first encountered among the reading material at some of the Wilderness Safaris lodges. Well worth checking out.
thit_cho is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 10th, 2003, 01:12 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 723
Sandi: I wouldn't completely discount two other camps in Selous, namely Selous Safari Camp and Rufiji Camp. Selous Safari Camp played host to Prince Charles and the two princes a few years back, and Rufiji Camp, while certainly not as luxurious as either Sand Rivers or Selous Safari Camp, is very adequate. We almost went to Rufiji, but then we decided to really splurge for Sand Rivers ... well worth the money, I might add. Imagine lying in your bed and just looking out over the Rufiji River, watching the hippos and relishing in the most magnificent sunrise you have ever seen. Its a little piece of heaven, I tell you!
SusanLynne is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 10th, 2003, 01:31 PM
  #11
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Susan - I based my comment on information recently received from an acqaintance that said Sand River was the only one currently operating. Yes, I've seen the other two listed as viable alternatives, but "maybe" with the tourism (or lack of tourists) situation in East Africa, the other two might no longer be open?

Maybe the Prince did visit two years ago, but we all know that a lot has changed in two years.

If would be nice to know that there are alternatives to Sand River - hopefully these other two are, in fact, still operating. Nowadays, it seems it's a day-to-day situation with camps opening and closing depending on the number of tourists.
 
Reply With Quote
Dec 10th, 2003, 06:40 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 723
You are right, Sandi. Perhaps Selous Safari and Rufiji camps have closed due to lack of tourists. There are so few in Selous to begin with! Such a shame that tourists are backing away from Africa. Personally, I would feel safer in the African bush than I have many a night here at my own home, which is less than 15 miles from a nuclear power plant! I've heard that Australians are flocking to Kenya and Tanzania, as well as a lot of tourists from India and Japan - but apparently not enough Europeans and Americans are going. Such a shame. Downright shame.
SusanLynne is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 10th, 2003, 07:28 PM
  #13
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
SusanLynne,
I agree whole-heartedly. While I do feel privileged to be able to enjoy the beauty of Africa, I am so saddened that most Americans will never witness such extraordinary sights. Even worse is that I would guess that most Americans have no desire whatsoever to even go to Africa and that most have preconceived notions that are simply not true, at least to those of us that are vacationing in Southern Africa and Eastern Africa rather than in Somalia or Sudan.

I have had more than my share of people respond almost dumb-founded that I would want to spend my holiday in such a "dirty" and "dangerous" place as Africa, as if I have to run and hide from spear-wielding tribes while I am on vacation.

When I do have the rare opportunity and make the rare effort to sit down and really tell someone about the magic and beauty of Africa, sometimes I think I am able to change an opinion or two, but for the most part I don't even waste my breath.

I am reminded of listening to the radio the other day, when some radio station was giving away vacations to "ANYPLACE IN THE WORLD" that the winning listener chose to go. I could not believe my ears when they replayed the choices of some of the "lucky winners" in their promo. There were people that, from Los Angeles, were actually picking places such as Hawaii, Jamaica (?!) and, of course, various destinations in Western Europe. I just wanted to bang my head against the nearest wall and could not for the life of me understand how these people have such limited imaginations, some choosing not even to leave the country, yet less the continent or so called "Western Civilization."

In the end, I guess we can only be hopeful that there are enough of us around to keep supporting the type of Africa that we know, love and would not trade for anyplace else in the world, even Jamaica!!!
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 10th, 2003, 09:09 PM
  #14
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
I am becoming partial to the following itinerary:

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (2)
Kirawira, W. Serengeti (4)
Zanzibar Palms (3)
Sand Rivers, Selous (4)

This would allow me to return home on a Saturday. After being gone for 23+ days, I will welcome at least one full day of vegging out at home before returning to reality.

Although Selous is huge and I did consider adding a fifth night, the guide book states that really only the northern 20% of the park is really used for safari, an area slightly smaller than the Serengeti as a whole, but still more than enough to warrant four nights.

Tanzania Serengeti Adventures does look like the best way to go, offering vehicles that appear identical to Roy Safaris, complete with HF radios.

Although the Palms-Zanzibar is on the main island of Zanzibar, it appears to be isolated in its own little corner with its own private beach. I fear that if I went to Pemba, that I would not have time to explore Stone Town and that the transfers would be too much hassle. I am, after all, going to Zanzibar to recharge my batteries for my final assault on Selous and Sand Rivers!

I fear Emerson & Green is just not going to do the trick for Scared To Death. One thing that we cannot stand is too much noise when we are trying to sleep. Plus, how could you possibly go wrong with the Palms-Zanzibar other than the king's ransom that they are asking for each night? But, I will check the other Zanzibar lodging options, but although the Zanzibar Serena? has received good reports, I have no desire to be 1 of 100 guests anyplace...just a room number on the books.

I am going to be SO ready for a vacation by May that it is not even funny. Other than a four day getaway to Quebec City in late August, I have been captive in my hometown Los Angeles since last June.

Any other ideas for Zanzibar will be appreciated.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 11th, 2003, 04:02 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 723
Yes, Selous is huge with only a small percentage of it open to tourists. But I use that word loosely. You will be hard-pressed to see another vehicle while out and about. Remember, there is big game hunting on the other side of the Rufiji River but your paths will not cross. I hope you see some painted dogs and perhaps a rhino. There are enough in Selous to warrant a study, although they are rarely seen. But there are lion, giraffe, buffalo, etc. The thing I love so much about Selous is the other activities you can do: boat excursions, walking, a visit to the Hot Springs is a trip, fishing - you just can't do some of these activities in many other parks - except in Lake Manyara, where you can now partake of canoe and cycling safaris or the Crater Highlands, where you can do some hiking. Your trip will be wonderful and I think you will find the contrast between South and East Africa interesting. STD will have a fantastic time as well!
SusanLynne is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 11th, 2003, 04:12 AM
  #16
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Roccco -

Re: the Zanzibar Serena - while a larger facility than you and even I and others posting here would choose to stay, I don't think you will find a full-house - unless, by some fluke a convention is staying there. LOL

As to your former response about the reaction of Americans specifically turning up their nose when you mention vacation in Africa - I believe most of us have met these same folks - who can't thing "outside the box" when it comes time to decide on a destination.

And yet, they'll choose Jamaica???, Hawaii, which though beautiful, needs no more than one visit incorporating a few of the islands, and Western Europe??? For $500 including air and hotels, anyone from the East Coast can grab a quick 5-day weekend, often, whether France, England, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Iceland, Scotland, Scandinavia, and on and on.

Like you, I don't bother discussing it further until for whatever reason they ask to see the photos "from Africa" and you see eyes pop open with awe. And they realize you returned home, safe and healthy with favorable reports about the people, culture and history, and in most cases "the four-legged animals" - they might start thinking of opening their horizons.

Hey, it's a big world out there, let others choose their own destinations, so we can have Africa for ourselves - and there is lots more Africa than just safari countries that we too have to give ourselves the opportunity to discover.
 
Reply With Quote
Dec 11th, 2003, 04:19 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,182
Thanks Rocco and Susan for the link...

Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 11th, 2003, 04:20 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,182
I meant Michael, not Rocco!
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 11th, 2003, 09:23 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,552
Rocco,
on the question of the Serena I had lunch there and while it is certainly the most luxurious accomodation in the Stone Town area, with a pool and a nice ocean view, it had a rather generic luxury feel. I think it may be the kind of place they bring upscale groups...think Abercrombie and Kent. I wouldn't consider it a resort hotel and it doesn't compare to somewhere that you can lounge on the beach if that's what you're planning. Outside of the Stone town the beaches on Zanzibar are spectacular.
welltraveledbrit is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 12th, 2003, 01:41 AM
  #20
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Okay, its getting serious now when I am up at 2:35AM researching my options for this trip. I keep flip-flopping on whether to include Tarangire or not, knowing that if I skip Tarangire that I will have the opportunity to stay 3 nights at the Palms-Zanzibar and still arrive home on a Saturday, having part of Saturday and all of Sunday to reintroduce myself to my 11 dogs (will probably be down to 7 after I give away all but one of the now 3 week old puppies).

Although I really love the looks of Swala in Tarangire, because it is within the actual borders of Tarangire National Park, there are no night game drives allowed. This has led me to consider changing to Kikoti Camp, a nice looking camp right outside the border that does have day and night game drives allowed, which I have specified as a requirement to the tour operators that are quoting me.

I have to go with 2 nights in Tarangire/2 nights at Emerson & Green/Sunday return home over 3 nights Palms-Zanzibar/Saturday return home.

So, my newly revised itinerary looks like this:

After further study, I believe that I may not need to spend my final night in Arusha, or even Dar Es Salaam, if I am able to fly out of Dar Es Salaam, directly back to Amsterdam. This will allow me an extra night of safari.

Please requote the following itinerary:

June 05th - After morning arrival in Kiliminjaro (JRO), transfer to Kikoti Camp in Tarangire for two nights. Day and night game drives requested.

June 06 - Kikoti camp. Day and night game drives requested.

June 07 - Transfer to Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. Two nights.

June 08 - Ngorongoro Crater Lodge.

June 09 - Transfer to Kirawira in the Western Serengeti, with a stop at the Olupai Gorge. Four nights.

June 10 - Kirawira.

June 11 - Kirawira.

June 12 - Kirawira.

June 13 - Transfer to Zanzibar. Emerson & Green. Two nights.

June 14 - Emerson & Green.

June 15 - Transfer to Sand Rivers in Selous Game Reserve. 4 nights.

June 16 - Sand Rivers.

June 17 - Sand Rivers.

June 18 - Sand Rivers.

June 19 - Transfer to Dar Es Salaam in time for 5:15PM international flight back to Amsterdam. Arrive Amsterdam on June 20th at 5:15AM.

I have to add Leopard Tours to the list of competitively priced local Tanzanian tour operators, along with the previously mentioned Tanzania Serengeti Adventures and Roy Safaris.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:23 PM.