Help us pick an itinerary

Aug 22nd, 2005, 05:25 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 20
Help us pick an itinerary

We are planning possibly our last trip as a family unit with our 3 sons ranging in age from late teens to early 20's. It will be to Tanzania for Christmas Break this year and I need your help because I need to make a decision tomorrow about airline tickets. Seats are hard to come by that time of year.
Itinerary #1 is organized through a travel agent in our state called Ultimate Safaris. The ground company is Kibo Safaris and the trip sounds wonderful. It is a private tented safari with two days in Tarangire, 2 days in Karatu, two days at the crater (at the Kibo camp), and 4 days at the Serengeti. They have to shave a day off somewhere to make it work, so this is still a "work in progress."
The second itinerary is through Predator, directly through Tanzania and it is 3 nights at Ngorongoro Serena, 3 nights at Serengeti Kirawira Camp, 2 nights at Lake Manyara Serena, 3 nights at Zanzibar Serena.
The third itinerary is through Naipenda Safaris, through their office here in the US. They are suggesting 1 night at the Lake Mayara Tree Lodge, 2 nights at the Ngorongoro Sopa, 2 nights at the Serengeti Sopa, 3 nights of luxury camping in the Serengeti, and 3 nights at the Zanzibar Serena, but seem very willing to adjust anything. All three are private tours and are similarly priced. Your suggestions about any and everything would be very much appreciated! We live near the ocean and don't really care too much about going to Zanzibar except to rest up a little for the 23 hour flight home. A stop in Amsterdam might be a better choice except that it'll be Dec 31st...
family5 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2005, 06:07 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 100
Dear family5,
In Jan/Feb 2001 I took 2 nieces aged 17 & 18 on a trip that included Bahamas, New York and on the way home to Australia, we stopped for a week in Tanzania - first bit was for them, the last bit was for me! I did it though A&K in Australia - yes I know, it was a huge mistake, both money wise and camp wise and compared to any other trip to Africa, it was the only one that was beyond disappointing!

We went to 2 camps, one on the Ngonogoro Crater for 3 nights and 4 nights at Kusini Camp which should have been perfect for animal movement. Kusini ended up being dreadful for animals as they had really late rains and the animals were scattered wide and far. From memeory, we often drove 4 hours to animal viewing, had 2 hours animal viewing, then a return 4 hours home. The mud was horrific and more often than not we got bogged and needed assistance to get out. The tsetse fly around the mud areas were beyond belief. So it was disappointing in a big way, the crater was good and my only real viewing to date of black rhino. Heavily car populated both at the crater and at Kusini gameviewing some of the great cheetah sightings they had up to 20 vehicles.

I prefer not to move too much but in this instance I wish I had not had the 4 nights at Kusini and from what this forum says now, the crate for 3 nights would be too much, as I think that they are now saying that you can only go into the crate either morning or afternoon. I'm sorry I do not know of your camps, but try to find out about the gameviewing being around the camps, I would not have even minded the 4 hour drives each way if it involved gameviewing, but it didn't.

I also travel a lot to South Africa now with nieces now aged 13 to 23, and they love coming gameviewing with me especially in the summer season as we have quite a break in the middle of the day for them to swim, read or whatever.

My choice would always be to get the gameviewing in, I also live near the ocean and resting by it is something that I can do at home. A week's gameviewing will go very quickly, and I don't know about your boys, but I love that the girls can see these animals in the wild, it is unbelievable to sit in a vehicle and have a lioness or leopard sit right next to you - I always think that this may be some of our last chances to see this, with the habitat disappearing as it is!

Hope you and your family have a fantastic holiday.

austkaye is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 03:55 AM
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family 5 -

I'm glad to see that these itineraries do include some tented camps and/or camping - both provide a real safari experiences.

However, maybe due to the time of year and many places already booked, you may be provided those properties that have space. But I can make some suggestions/comments:

Itinerary #1
A) Tarangire - while not at it's peak in December, this has always been a favorite of mine if for only the landscapes, the baobab trees, birds and those ellees. So worth a visit. Which accommodations are being offered?

B) Karatu - probably being offered as availability at the Crater proper is limited. Normally, I would feel 1-day sufficient, but since you'll have to travel to/from to visit here - the additional time is justified.

C)The Serengeti - 4-days good, but which area, which lodges or camp?

Itinerary #2
A) Ngorongoro Crater (Serena) for 3-days is too long, as above, max would be 2-days. While here you can consider 1/2 day to do the trek to Olmoti Crater nearby, inquire about this. Believe it will be a nice family activity and you'll be out of the vehicle and getting some exercise.

B) The Serena Kirawira Camp in the Western Serengeti is another of my favorites

C) Lake Manyara (Serena) 1-nt is fine.

D) Zanzibar (Serena) - 3-days, nice for R&R after safari. Located in Stone Town which is quite interesting. They have a pool. You can consider one of the resorts along the Southeast or Northeast or Northern tip if there is availability. These are actually on beaches providing ability for snorkeling, scuba. You can do 2-days at one of these, then return to Stone Town for your last day. Also consider, and depending on what time your homebound flight departs and from where (JRO) or (DAR) - ST is 10-min from theairport, whereas the beach resorts are a good 1 to 1-1/2 hour drive.

Itinerary #3
Sharp extremes in quality of properties being offered -
A) Lake Manyara - Tree Lodge is the top ofthe line for accommodations and you will definitely like this.

B) Ngorongoro Sopa - a big lodge, but the 2-days good.

C) Serengeti Sopa - a sister lodge to that above, big and 2-days good.

D) Camping in Serengeti - which camp, where located - if in the right area - 3 days good. The Central area or a bit north of there is probably ideal as you should find the herds in the vicinity.

Only you can decide whether you want 5-days in the Serengeti.

E) Ending in Zanzibar - fine, as noted above under Itinerary #2.

I too live near the ocean, but a beach holiday after safari is most appreciated for many safari goers, especially after spending days on the bumpy roads, little real exercise - being able to stretch out your legs and enjoy the sun before returning is a nice plus.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, because you came late to these plans, you may have no alternative but to use the properties that have availability. But it's nice to see that you've included some camps. Do be prepared for crowds during the time you'll be visiting.

Sure hope you can get airline tickets. Try to get into JRO and out of DAR (especially if ending in ZNZ). If you can't get into JRO direct, there is always Nairobi (NBO) in Kenya with a connecting flight to JRO. Check KLM (for JRO/DAR & NBO), BA (DAR/NBO), Air Kenya (NBO from London, I believe), even routing thru Dubai on United Arab Emirates that has a number of flights into/out Nairobi. Good luck.

Additional Costs:
Don't forget the need for VISAs (USD$50/per) for all of you and which can be obtained upon arrival; malaria (Malarone recommedned) medicine, suggest all of you update inoculations for Tetanus, Hep-A at minimum. Of course, tips for guide/drivers, camp/lodge/hotel staffs, alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages, meals not included (usually in Arusha and maybe some on Zanzibar)... and SOUVENIRS.
Aug 23rd, 2005, 07:57 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 20

-Great things to think about. Thank you!
My concern about the Tree Lodge is that it is a long 2 hour drive from the gate and back and that there are usually not many animals to see. I was actually going to ask to trade it for something more convenient, though I know it wouldn't be as nice.
The other decision is in cutting one day. I've suggested that it be taken from Zanzibar.
family5 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 08:12 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501

I think you may be confusing Tree Lodge with another lodge -- Lake Manyara Tree Lodge is the only lodge INSIDE the park, so there's no to/from the gate to get to the park.

jasher is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 09:57 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 20
Right. The lodge is a two hour drive inside the park. We probably wouldn't go into the park if it weren't for the lodge. We'd spend our time in adjoining areas where there is more game instead.
family5 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 11:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501

Hello family5,

Around the time you'll be at Lake Manyara, the birdlife will be spectacular. That being said, if you're not a birder (I'm not) you might prefer to skip Lake Manyara entirely and spend that night in the Serengeti. The Lake Manyara area isn't, generally speaking, terribly game-rich in general, though there are the famous tree-climbing lions. On the other hand, it would make a nice, easy start to your safari.

I'd agree with dropping a day from Zanzibar if you're not that interested in laying on the beach. It will also be very hot and humid in December, so you may find it less than relaxing.

jasher is offline  

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