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

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Dec 12th, 2003, 02:24 AM
  #21
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Thanks SusanLynne, WelltraveledBrit and Sandi for the latest feedback.

A week after requesting such, I did get a quote back from the Palms-Zanzibar and I was very unimpressed with the email, which appeared to be nothing more than a copy and paste from their brochure, quoting me $365 per person per night.

If it is that mechanical and impersonal, I may be better served at the Emerson & Greene for less than 1/4 the price. Thinking back to when I have emailed very exclusive places in the past, the responses always seemed a bit more personalized, making me feel like I REALLY wanted to visit.

With the money that I save, I can possibly buy an economy seat from LAX-AMS-Kiliminjaro and Dar Es Salaam-AMS-LAX. I don't know if I have the patience to deal with the airlines on a frequent flier Business Class seat, since my schedule will need to be EXACT. I think I would rather save it for my next visit to South Africa (and either Botswana or Zambia), possibly in 2005 when I may have enough miles to even fly out my in-laws and force-feed them a little culture (and luxury).
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Dec 12th, 2003, 03:03 AM
  #22
 
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Hi Rocco,
2 comments:

Emerson & Green is in the midst of Stone Town, but be aware that the nicest rooms on the top floor are not air conditioned. There are no windows that can be closed (it is hot), so it is noisy. The call to prayer started at 5 a.m., but it made for an unforgettable memory. I hope this is not an issue for STD.

Souds like the Palms is a bust - I would not stay there with that kind of response.

I would also suggest you take the direct flight from DAR to AMS. If you are leaving DAR at 5:30 pm and arriving AMS at 5 am, that is not direct - you will probably go thru Nairobi. And, frankly, a stop in Nairobi on the way to LAX would be brutal.

The KLM flight leaves DAR around 23:30 and arrives AMS 7:50 the next morning. Much, much easier.

Also an FYI, in the summer TZ is 1 hour ahead of AMS, in the winter it is 2 hrs ahead as they dont change their clocks.
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Dec 12th, 2003, 04:26 AM
  #23
 
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Roccco: A word about Leopard Tours, if I may. A friend of mine booked a trip to Tanzania stateside, and the tour operator subcontracted to Leopard Tours. My friend, who has traveled extensively throughout Kenya, Tanzania and even lived in Nigeria for a time, was thoroughly unimpressed with the guide they had from Leopard Tours. It is not like me to "bad mouth" an operator, but I feel compelled to give you a heads up on this. If I recall correctly, the Leopard Tours guide she had was not very social, or maybe he was burned out? Anyway, FYI. When my friend returned to Tanzania a couple of years later, she distinctly made sure she steered clear of Leopard Tours. Again, FYI. I have heard nice things about Kikoti and am seriously contemplating a stay there myself. Those tents look fantastic! You know, I am convinced that STD will yet fall in love with Africa, and that next year she will say, "Hon, why don't we take a trip back to Africa?"
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Dec 12th, 2003, 05:46 AM
  #24
 
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Having said all of the above, I must add that I am sure there are people out there who are very pleased with Leopard tours ... choosing a tour operator is always a toss of the dice though, isn't it??
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Dec 12th, 2003, 10:00 AM
  #25
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I received a quote of $6,200 USD per person from www.go2africa.com:

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (2)
Kirawira (4)
Palms-Zanzibar (3)
Sand Rivers (4)
Includes all transfers and Full Board.

I think this is a very fair price and that this is a known, trusted and established company, but I will see if I can beat them up a little beat and possibly get it down to $5,750 per person, either with this operator or another. They are a South African company, so chances are they are subbing it out to a local operator, meaning that maybe I can even get it for $5,500 USD per person or less?
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Dec 13th, 2003, 12:42 AM
  #26
 
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I loved staying in Stone Town. From there you can easily take a day trip to one of the surrounding islands. For me, the 5:00 am call to prayer Queenie mentioned added to the exotic flair.
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Dec 15th, 2003, 06:01 AM
  #27
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Here is another competitively priced quote for one of the itineraries that I am considering. The only thing I would change to this quote is perhaps substituting the Zanzibar Serena Inn for the Emerson & Green, adding perhaps $125 per person to the price to do so. Also, I would have to confirm that Kikoti did not allow night game drives because I read elsewhere that they do allow night game drives. The part that I like about Kikoti is that it is staffed by Masai's in their full tribal wear:

Thanks for your email
Please note that we suggest you to book for International flights. Regarding
night game drive non of the below lodges is doing except for Tarangire Tree
Tops. Kindly find below itinerary and net rates as per your request:
June 05th Meet on arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport and drive transfer to
Arusha for briefing
After briefing proceed to Kikoti with game drive en-riute
Lunch at Kikoti Camp
Afternoon game drive in Tarangire National Park
Dinner and overnight Kikoti Camp
June 06 th Breakfast
Morning and afternoon game drive in Tarangire National Park
Meals and overnight Kikoti Camp
June 07th Breakfast
Morning game drive in Tarangire National Park
Lunch at Kikoti Camp
After lunch drive to Ngorongoro Crater Lodge for dinner and overnight
June 08th Breakfatst
Full day crater tour with picnic lunches
Dinner and overnight Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
June 09th Breakfast
Drive to Serengeti Serena for lunch
After lunch proceed to Kirawira with game drive en-route.
Dinner and overnight Kirawira Tented Camp
June 10th Breakfast
Morning and afternoon game drive in Serengeti National Park
Meals and overnight Kirawira Tented Camp
June 11th Breakfast
Morning and afternoon game drive in Serengeti National
Meals and overnight Kirawira Tented Camp
June 12th Breakfast
Morning and afternoon game drive in Serengeti National Park
Meals and overnight Kirawira Tented Camp
June 13th Breakfast
Transfer to Grumeti airstrip for Shedule flight to Arusha departing at 1040h
1220h meet on arrival at Zanzibar airport and transfer to Emerson & Green
Overnight Emerson & Green BB.
June 14th Day at leisure
Overnight Emerson & Green BB
June 15th Breakfast
Lunch not included
Transfer to Zanzibar airport for Schedule flight to Selous departing at
1400h
1515h meet on arrival by Sand River Vehicle and transfer to the camp
activity with Sand Rivers
Dinner and overnight Sand Rivers
June 16th Breakfast
2 activities with Sand Rivers
Meals and overnight Sand Rivers
June 17th Breakfast
Meals and overnight Sand Rivers
June 18th Breakfast
2 activities with Sand Rivers
Meals and overnight Sand Rivers
June 19th Breakfast
Morning activity with Selous Safari Camp
Lunch at Sand River
Transfer to airstrip for Schedule flight to Dar departing at 1515h
1640h meet and assist to connect International flight

Net Rates
Each of 2pax Usd 5147.00 per person sharing double
Above rates include: Ground transport in 4x4 vehicle with the service of our
professional driver guide, accommodation and meals as per the itinerary ,
park fees with pick up and drop off JRO

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge Rates Include:
Accommodation, Three meals Daily, Teas and coffees, Emergency medical
evacuation insurance, Soft drinks, house wines, local brand spirits and
beers.

Kirawira Tented Rates include:
Includes accommodation and meals only.

Sand Rivers Rates Include:
Full board accommodation, airport transfers, drinks (except champagne)
laundry, park fees, all safariActivities including game drives, game walks,
fishing, boat trips

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


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Dec 15th, 2003, 08:48 AM
  #28
 
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I am a little confused about their notation of "two activities" and "activity" at Sand Rivers. Also, what are you doing that you need a "morning activity at Selous Safari Camp?" Please let me know.
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Dec 15th, 2003, 09:46 AM
  #29
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SusanLynne,

I did not ask for two activities but that I am allowed two activities. This does sound similar to when I stayed at Matetsi in Zimbabwe and Kafunta in South Luangwa where each place had more than only game drives available.

Kafunta, for example, offered morning game drives, night game drives and game walks.

Matetsi, on the other hand, offered morning game drives, night game drives, canoeing, sundowner cruises and possibly even fishing.

Possibly they are just limiting me to two activities per day so that I do not go on a morning game drive, followed by canoeing for a couple hours, followed by fishing for a couple hours, followed by a sundowner cruise and ending with a night game drive.

I will have to enquire about that further. I do think that at Matetsi that I was provided with a morning game drive, canoeing, a sundowner cruise and a night drive all in the same day. While it was a long day, the Zambezi River is a magical place and the more activities, the better.
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Dec 16th, 2003, 04:18 AM
  #30
 
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Roccco: Yes, that makes sense. When we stayed at Sand Rivers we did a couple of things each day. For example, morning game drive and bush breakfast, then in the afternoon went to the Hot Springs. Another day, we took the morning boat ride to Steigler's Gorge (breakfast alongside the river) and an afternoon game drive. Then the next morning we took a morning walk with the camp manager Alex - who is armed, so make sure STD is aware of that - and then an afternoon game drive. I just cannot for the life of me, figure out what activity you will partake in that would take you to Selous Safari Camp. If you could find out, my curiousity is getting the best of me ...
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Dec 16th, 2003, 06:16 AM
  #31
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Here are two quotes that I just received, one with Tarangire and one without Tarangire but with 3 nights at the Palms-Zanzibar instead of 2 nights at the Zanzibar Serena Inn.

While both are excellent prices, the best I have yet come across, the quote for option #2 looks TOO good:


Hoping your are all fine, Sorry for a bit delay i was working through it and hear is the pricebr />

For the 1st Option
June 05th - morning arrival at JRO. Transfer to Tarangire. 2 nights at Tarangire Tree Top. Day and Night game drives included.
June 06th - T.T.T. Day and night game drive requested.
June 07th - Transfer to Ngorongoro Serena Lodge. Half day game drive requested.
June 08th - Ngorongoro Serena Lodge. Full day game drive excursion requested.
June 09th - Transfer to Western Serengeti with stop at Olupai Gorge and lunch at Serengeti Serena, en route. 4 nights at Kirawira.
June 10th - Kirawira.
June 11th - Kirawira.
June 12th - Kirawira.
June 13th - Air transfer to Zanzibar. 2 nights at Zanzibar Serena Inn.
June 14th - Zanzibar Serena Inn.
June 15th - Air transfer to Selous. 4 nights at Sand Rivers.
June 16th - Sand Rivers.
June 17th - Sand Rivers.
June 18th - Sand Rivers.
June 19th - Air transfer to Dar Es Salaam for evening international flight home.

The price will be $ 4850 Per person.
The price is including All Park fees,Transport during safari , Transfer from airport on the day of Arrival before safari and after safari,Accommodation in Serena lodges Ngorongoro and Serengeti and Tarangire Tree Top in Tarangire National Park.
We are sorry that by the moment we are not dealing with Kikoti as it is not a nice place to stay so we chooce the best hotel for you and find that Tarangire tree top will be the best.And it has the best facilities as well as nights game drives.
Also price is include Air fares from Arusha- Zanzibar- Selous,Selous game drives and Accommodation,Accommodation in Zanzibar,and Balloon Safari Serengeti.
The price will exclude:All things of personal nature,Tips,Alcoholic drinks,Airport taxes.



2nd Option
Alternately, I would be interested in the following itinerary:
Please quote the following itinerary:
June 05th - Transfer to Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. Half day game drive requested.
June 06th - Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. Full day game drive excursion requested.
June 07th - Transfer to Western Serengeti with stop at Olupai Gorge and lunch at Serengeti Serena, en route. 4 nights at Kirawira.
June 08th - Kirawira.
June 09th - Kirawira.
June 10th - Kirawira.
June 11th - Air transfer to Zanzibar. 3 nights at Palms Zanzibar.
June 12th - Palms Zanzibar
June 13th - Palms Zanzibar
June 14th - Air transfer to Selous. 4 nights at Sand Rivers.
June 15th - Sand Rivers.
June 16th - Sand Rivers.
June 17th - Sand Rivers.
June 18th - Air transfer to Dar Es Salaam for evening international flight home.

On this Alternative, the price will be USD 3200 per person
And it include: All park fees,Crater fees,Accommodation at Serena lodges,Air fares Arusha-Zanzibar-Selous-Dar. &Accommodation Zanzibar.

Price excluding: Alcoholic drinks,Things for personal nature,Tips,
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Dec 16th, 2003, 06:32 AM
  #32
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I think I should be reconfirming and booking NOW for option #2. No Tarangire, but the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (2), Kirawira (4), the Palms-Zanzibar (3) and Sand Rivers (4) for $3,200 per person?! This cannot be right but I will enquire further and if it is I will be giving myself a nice Christmas present if American Express hasn't wised up yet and deactivated my Platinum card.

How could this possibly be $1,600 per person less than the first option when the first option didn't include the Palms-Zanzibar at $700 USD+ per room per night?

As I said before, both are excellent prices. Maybe I should bring an entourage along to cheer me along at these prices???
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Dec 16th, 2003, 12:56 PM
  #33
 
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Hi Roccco,

Wow! What cheap prices. Have you checked out if both companies have liability insurance? According to our travel agent and Mark Nolting, many small companies do not carry the insurance. He recommends that they should have at least $1,000,000. They take your money and leave for Bali. Also, as someone mentioned before, it is also a good idea to purchase trip insurance ( at least for the Africa part of your trip ) So many things can happen there. We are even considering MedJet this time around.
Our Tanzania trip in Feb. is costing around $5,200 per person for 8 days which I think is outrageous, however, it is totally private and mobile.
I will be eager to hear how this unfolds for you.
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Dec 16th, 2003, 01:27 PM
  #34
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MedJet is a good idea for anyone traveling anywhere at least 50-miles (or 150-miles, I don't recall) from home. They provide fully equiped medical planes to evacuate you if needed, plus they provide excellent advise whether you need evacuation or not. Their annual fee for a family is about $300/350-yr. and from situations I've heard they are excellent.

However, they "do not" provide cancellation or interruption insurance, so MedJet would be in addition to C&I insurance.

iflower - $5200 sounds like alot of $$ as you say and for only 8-days, may I ask what does your itinary looks like? Thanks.
 
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Dec 16th, 2003, 02:41 PM
  #35
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I agree that $5,200 for a mobile safari sounds very questionable. That is $10,400 for 8 days for a couple sharing, working out to $1,300 per day.

Considering that for 14 nights that you can likely travel all by yourself and still stay at lodges such as Kikoti or Tarangire Tree Tops (2), Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (2), Kirawira (4), breaking up the trip with a couple nights at the Zanzibar Serena Inn (2) and finishing up with Selous Sand Rivers (4). While I am sure that Mobile Safaris have their place within the realm of safaris, it doesn't seem like they should be nearly double the price as staying at the very top lodges available.

Really, you may want to throw your weight around a little and reconsider if you are not provided a hefty discount. As was discussed before, you will likely have the vehicles to yourself anyway and depending on the personality of you and your travel partner, you may NOT want to be alone for the entire length of your trip, at least having the opportunity to enjoy dinner and drinks with other guests.

Personally, I really enjoy meeting my fellow guests at the lodges.

Anyway, on a different note, I do want to mention for those considering Tarangire, that Tarangire Tree Tops is 90 minutes away from the park entrance while Kikoti is only four miles away (15 minutes?). Although one operator was talking badly about Kikoti to me, it looks like a great place and is one of only a small handful of places offering night game drives in the Tarangire area.
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Dec 17th, 2003, 05:33 AM
  #36
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I may have it backwards with Kikoti being close to the entrance and Tarangire Tree Top being far away. I have received my second recommendation against Kikoti, so I am starting to shy away from it.

Because I think the previously stated $3,200 USD per person itinerary is a mistake, I have received what I now believe is by far the best quote, and it is from Tanzania Serengeti Adventures:

Thanks for your email.
Cost based on your adjusted program,
( inclusive additional day - ie June 5th to June 19th )
Cost per person sharing: USd 4597 per person.

( this includes night at Kikoti, 2 night game drives )
What time are you schedule to arrive on June 5th? - as Kikoti
is situated about 3hrs drive from Kilimanjaro Airport.
Driving at night is not recommended.


We have lots of competitors in the business, over 200 companies
itself in Arusha, however what I can assure you is that we provide
quality services, excellent drivers, and more personalised service,
and also flexible at times when possible to make your trip more
enjoyable.

You can be assured that you will enjoy the trip very very much,
this is a fanstastic program.


Point of Note:
Kikoti is far out of Tarangire National Park, so game drives involve
a distance, and sometimes have water problems.


Another Newly built excellent place is Tarangire River Tree Camp,
it has much better views of the Park and situated on the Tarangire River cliff,
its a permanent luxury tented camp, and offer short sundowner or sunrise
wildlife walks, following the footsteps of the animals, and very friendly staff.
All the people who have been there loved it.
Here you will be amazed by the scenery, its just fanstastic experience.
We can book this tented camp instead of Kikoti at same costs.

June 05th - Arrive Kiliminjaro. Transfer to Tarangire. Kikoti Lodge (2). Day and night drives requested.

June 06th - Kikoti.

June 07th - Transfer to Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. Half day game drive. 2 nights.

June 08th - Full day game drive with picnic lunch in Crater.

June 09th - Transfer to Western Serengeti with Oldupai Gorge excursion en route to Kirawira Lodge. 4 nights.

June 10th - Kirawira.

June 11th - Kirawira.

June 12th - Kirawira.

June 13th - Transfer to Grumeti Airstrip. Transfer to Zanzibar. 2 nights at Zanzibar Serena Inn.

June 14th - Zanzibar Serena Inn.

June 15th - Transfer to Selous. Sand Rivers Lodge (4). Two game activities daily.

June 16th - Sand Rivers.

June 17th - Sand Rivers.

June 18th - Sand Rivers.

June 19th - Transfer to Dar Es Salaam in time for evening flight.
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Dec 17th, 2003, 07:03 AM
  #37
sandi
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Correction of annual fees for MedJet

$195 - individual;
$295 - family

if interested, the site is:

www.medjetassistance.com
 
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Dec 17th, 2003, 11:58 AM
  #38
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 42
Sandi and Roccco,
Thank you for sending all your good advice. Sadly, the trip was paid for December 1st. Knowing what I know now thanks to all of you, I most certainly would have researched more throughly to save a sou or two. The company that we are going with came highly recommeneded from a friend of a friend who is a member of The NYC Explorers Club and raved about this place. He did mention that the cost would be high as it is more costly to move the camps and help.And, we wanted to have a different kind of safari from last years in SA and Botswana. I forgot to mention that there are 4 nights at The Norfolk in Nairobi and one at The Serena in the price. We chose not to stay at The Crater Lodge as we are going on to Namibia for 3 weeks. Just to late to throw my weight around this time. So, the itinerary is as follows:
2 nights Norfolk Hotel
4 nights Ngaroi Camp
4 nights Serengeti Camp
1 night Serena Lodge
2 nights Norfolk Hotel
Thank you also for the medjet website.
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Dec 17th, 2003, 12:37 PM
  #39
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iflower -

Regardless that the trip was paid for December 1, you can still buy Trip Cancel & Interruption Insurance. If for some reason whichever company asks why you didn't purchase by the time you made final payment, just tell then you were out of town. They'll take your money!

When you mentioned the NYC Explorer's Club - did they rave about the NYCEC or the tour operator they recommended??? It's just that NYCEC is not known to do anything on the cheap.

That said, yes, there is an added cost for mobile safaris, as extra people have to be provided as well as equipment, food, supplies and vehicle.

You will have an excellent experience.
 
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Dec 17th, 2003, 03:50 PM
  #40
 
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Sandi,
Thank you. I already purchased the trip insurance. At this point, we are going, even if we over paid. Will let the forum know how things went when I return. It was the family owned operator in Tanzania that came highly recommended. His name is Gary Strand. Please let me know if you or anyone else knows of him and has been.
I have been emailing Arusha every other day for information regarding if the rains have begun. So far, they are late - so we are keeping our fingers crossed. One more point - I understand that staying in the SE Serrengeti this time of the year it is much better to be out of the Park and in The Conservation Area. More freedom. The area is close to Ndutu. Do you have any feed back on this subject? Thank you again.
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