Help plan a family safari (5 & 8 yr old kids)

Jul 7th, 2007, 11:22 AM
  #21  
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The reason I asked about driving between Mara and Serengeti is the Serena website lists the drive time between their locations in each place as 5 hours?
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Jul 7th, 2007, 11:57 AM
  #22  
 
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5-hrs the way the crow flies. No way between the Mara and Central Serengeti.

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Jul 7th, 2007, 01:02 PM
  #23  
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They list the drive time from Arusha to Ngorongoro as 3.5 hours. Is that accurate?
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Jul 7th, 2007, 03:37 PM
  #24  
 
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here's a discussion on drive times from the crater to Arusha. read til the last post:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/27aob4
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Jul 8th, 2007, 04:06 AM
  #25  
 
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... the way the crow flies.

It can sometimes take 30/min just to get out of Arusha.

A recent visitor mentioned that they made the drive from Ngorongoro/Kili in 4/hrs, but that was on a Sunday where these is little, if any, local (trucks, carts, donkeys, cattle, people walking) traffic on the roads. On a recent Sunday, I made the trip from outside Arusha to Tarangire in just over 1/hr... that's excellent time.

While the road from the turnoff to Ngorongoro is the best in northern Tanzania, getting out of Arusha and then the road once you reach the Ngorongoro Conservation Area isn't in anyway at all.

Drive times are estimates and the lodges give the shortest possible; in actuality it tends to be longer.
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Jul 8th, 2007, 07:41 AM
  #26  
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I finally got the rack rates from Heritage (Intrepids) and Serena yesterday. There appears to be a HUGE difference in prices for propoerties in the same reserves (for example, if I am reading the rates correctly,: rack rates for our family of 4 at Samburu would be $715/night at Intrepids versus $330/night at Serena)!

The Boss (my wife) is not too thrilled with the thought of leaving the children's programs at any location. How do the Serena properties compare with the Intrepids ones in Samburu and Mara? Particularly interested in room size and food (wife and daughter only like plain food - no fru fru stuff for them).
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Jul 8th, 2007, 08:23 AM
  #27  
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Meant to say the Boss is not too thrilled with the thought of leaving the kids at the children's programs while we leave the camp.
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Jul 8th, 2007, 11:35 AM
  #28  
 
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Intrepid's is a camp, while Serena is a lodge. With few exceptions, camps are more expensive than lodges; Intrepid's is definitely more expensive than those camps that might be in the same price range as the Serena Lodge.

But even those prices you indicate seem way off (for which year? '07 or '08), especially so the Serena price. Is that for 4/pax/per night, or per person per night? And is that adult only or also the child rates which should be at a discount.

In addition, you have to consider daily park fees; transport (by road or air) to get to Samburu or the Mara.

As to the children's program... this doesn't have to be when the parents are on game drives, unless you wish. It's for those hours when you are not on game drives.

Food - you can eat whatever you want; doesn't have to be fru-fru food. Can be as basic as peanut butter/jelly, burger/fries, cheese melt sandwiches, finger food, chicken strips. These properties cater to visitors with all kinds of food preferences.
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Jul 8th, 2007, 12:11 PM
  #29  
 
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Could it be that one is a game package rate while the other is fullboard? Make sure you're comparing the same type of rates. Fullboard is just that, room and board only. This is what you would book if arriving with your own vehicle/guide. Game package includes game drives and other activities and is what you would book if flying in. But yes, in general, tented camps are going to be more expensive and since the Intrepids camps are undergoing refurbishment, I wouldn't be surprised if rates are raised accordingly.

There's no problem asking tour operators to quote for different accommodation options at each location. What I usually do is ask for a base itinerary price for the using the least expensive of the accommodations choices I've given them and ask for the additional cost of upgrade accommodations at each location. Then I can decide which properties to upgrade and where.
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Jul 8th, 2007, 12:31 PM
  #30  
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All costs I listed are for the 4 of us sharing one room. The Serena terms indicate children are charged 50% of the single adult rate (i.e. 2 kids = cost of one adult). With a double rate of $350 you get $525 for the 4 of us. Intrepids breaks out the child cost without having to do the math.

Intrepids provided costs for Full Board and with game drives (but not park entry fees and such). The costs I listed are for Full Board only. Serena does not specify, but there is no language in the Terms that indicates game drives are included.

We are looking for places to stay where we will be comfortable, with decent food and convenience to activities. To provide an American analogy, we are looking for the Residence Inn instead of the full-service Marriott. Are there other properties I should be looking into? I find a lot of travel planners are too focused on "wowing" their customers so I want to do my own homework first. We want the best value, not the "wow."
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Jul 8th, 2007, 01:55 PM
  #31  
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sandi - my head is starting to hurt from all of this so you've got mail!
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