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Help! Anyone who's done Tanzania Safari before can you weigh in?

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Dec 26th, 2013, 10:24 AM
  #21
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Especially in the waders!

Happy New Year!

Happy Tanzania in 2015 JulieGarry!
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Dec 30th, 2013, 06:43 PM
  #22
KBD
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 13
Get some suggestions from Casey with Access2Tanzania.
I booked a family trip for 4 adults (2 in their 40's and 2 in their late 60's) with them this past October and loved what they helped us choose. That's right, we made the choices. They give suggestions but you really choose what you want to do. When we thought it was too expensive at one hotel, they suggested a few less expensive options. We looked at pictures and reviews of various hotels and camps and they worked to get reservations where we wanted to be. When we wanted one night in a location, they strongly recommended two nights there and now that I've traveled the roads, I know that your game viewing gets primarily done on your day off, and to a much lesser extent on your travel days. Back to back travel days would be suicidal. They were absolutely right to recommend 2 night stays. Start reading other peoples reviews of Access2Tanzania and you'll hear raves about their successes. I totally agree. Their guides are top-notch and your trip will hinge on how knowledgeable your guide is to find wildlife, know the roads and how to travel them safely, provide information and be ready to problem solve any emergency. You do not want to trust just anyone with the success of your trip.

We paid about what Abram paid (fewer days though) but got a better deal on airfare. We found lower price airfare by going Air France to Nairobi via Paris and Nairobi to Arusha on Precision Air. (used Cheapo Air to book tickets) No view of Mt. Kilimanjaro since it was midnight when we arrived and it hopefully would be your "descent" not ascent into Tanzania. We did see it later when we flew out of the Northern Serengeti(Kogatende airport) on the way to Zanzibar. We spent 10 nights on mainland Tanzania and 3 in Zanzibar. 1st night Mt. Meru Game Lodge, 2nd & 3rd nights at Tarangire Safari Lodge (large elephant herds and much wildlife in October dry season and a breathtaking view from their terrance) Elephants right outside our tents the 1st morning. 4th and 5th nights at the Rhino Lodge - unique place and very friendly - herd of cape buffalo munching grass on the otherside of the dining room railing. Who needs off-roading when animals feel comfortable coming to you? Stopped at Olduvai Gorge on the way to Central Serengeti for 2 nights at the Central Wilderness Camp. Then 3 nights at LaMala Mara in the Northern Serengeti. They were my splurge and I loved it there. We said goodbye to our guide Ray and felt like we were leaving a good friend as we flew Regional Air to Zanzibar. We spent 2 nights at Flame Tree Cottages and one night at Kisiwa House in StoneTown. Kisiwa felt luxurious and wish we had 2 nights there instead of one.
Casey had a different suggestion for a beach stay that might have been better than Flame Tree. Listen to him - he knows Tanzania - and had a trip planned for himself to Zanzibar this December so should be really up to date on what's the best he found with various prices to chose from. We didn't use a guide in Zanzibar, just a driver for safety, but you'd learn more if you did. So what I'm saying is "Ask Casey." You can talk with him on the phone - he's based in Minnesota - he honestly spends time working with you and doesn't get pushy. To read more details of my trip look for Rebecca's review on Trip Advisor. I liked the food everywhere, but I like lamb and she doesn't, so with being afraid of salad's at first, it limited food choices for her. Notice that I said at first, by La Mala Mara we were eating salads and we never had a single day sick. We brought Cipro and Immodium along and never needed them. That speaks well of the kitchens that prepared our breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Tanzania is a trip of a lifetime. Plan well - read lots of reviews, ask a lot of questions and have a blast.
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Dec 30th, 2013, 06:51 PM
  #23
KBD
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 13
Re-reading my reply above, I failed to mention that Rhino Lodge is just inside the 1st gate at Ngorongoro. We had one 6 hr. trip into the crater (which is not really a crater - more research fun for you) and loved it. Yes, we had to stay on the road, but the lions layed in the shade of our vehicle which is somewhat typical of them in Ngorongoro. We could have reached out our windows and petted them - did not. We had lunch at a Hippo pool as well.
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Dec 31st, 2013, 05:35 AM
  #24
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,685
I'm also a very happy Access2Tanzania traveler. I went with three friends in February. My trip report is here on Fodors (click my name for details) and I reviewed A2T on TripAdvisor in March.

I agree with everything KBD said. We told them that our goal was to see the wildebeest migration in or near the Serengeti. Karen at A2T (she's co-owner) spent a ton of time with me on the phone and in email tweaking the itinerary, adding hot air balloon, village visit, etc. She is more patient and helpful that I could ever hope for and she worked well within our budget. I never felt pressured or that I was getting a sales pitch. Our guide Said was a rock star. A2T has had the same guides for ever (they are A2T employees, not contractors) and Karen wanted to know our personalities in order to best match us to one of her guides. He was just incredible, not just his driving and wildlife sighting skills, but his personality was perfect for four type A women!

Get lots of quotes from various sources. Make sure all of your questions are answered before you do anything. Run ideas by us here if you're unsure. It's definitely one trip you want to get right the first time and all the research now will pay off in the end.
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Feb 4th, 2014, 07:41 AM
  #25
TC
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
I wonder at posters who never return to comment. What was the point?

At any rate, I agree with all the others, this is overpriced. You could find much better value with a little work. We spent 22 nights in high end camps in S. Tanzania for a total of $20,000. I also agree that this is an itinerary that will result in the least satisfying sightings.
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Apr 9th, 2014, 02:56 PM
  #26
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 209
I personally liked Lake Manyara and saw a ton of animals within 20 yards that I wasn't able to get as close to later including Elephant, Giraffe, Hippo, water buffalo, warthogs, baboons and vervet monkeys. It was my first safari experience though.
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