Help with Tanzania Itinerary

Reply

Apr 9th, 2005, 02:55 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 20
Help with Tanzania Itinerary

We are about to book a trip to Tanzania in February, 2006. I was hoping someone could review our itinerary and see if we're on track. The best quote we've received for this trip is from CC Africa so if anyone has any reviews on CC Africa, I'd appreciate that too. I know there are less expensive lodges than the one's we've chosen but I want this to be blow out trip since it is an early 50th birthday present to myself.
Here's what the itinerary looks like:
Day 1 - Arusha Coffee Lodge
4 nights Greystoke
1 night Arusha Coffee Lodge
2 nights Tarangire Treetops Lodge
2 nights Lake Manyara Tree Lodge
3 nights Kusini Tented Camp
3 nights Ngorongor Crater Lodge
2 nights Zanzibar Serena Inn
4 nights Mnemba Island Lodge

Does this provide us adequate time in each spot? I am a bit concerned that Treetops lodge is too far from Tarangire park gates and we'll spend too much time treking back and forth. Is there a better option for Tarangire?
Thanks!
Karen47 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 9th, 2005, 04:30 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Karen47

Looks like a nice trip to me with enough time in the various places.

4 nights Greystoke! Wow! Please post your experiences upon return. Would love to go there.

Tarangire Issue:
Here is what Climbhighsleep low said about Treetops vs. Mawe Ninga.

For me, location, new tents and sunset views are pluses for Mawe Ninga. Uniqueness, romance, lounge/dining room layout, baobabs and the "wow" factor are
pluses for Treetops.

There is also Tarangire Tented Lodge, with a convenient location and some good wildlife viewing. Id love to tell you about it, but the 2 times I was booked there, I found no room at the inn. Once I was put in a 9x12 along the river (great alternative) and once upgraded to Sopa, which was a really lovely lodge with beautiful views of baobabs, but not the tented camp I had in mind. Sopa is quite a ways into the park too.

Swala (especially) and Kikoti are pretty far away too, same issue as Treetops.

Moving from accommodations to time of the year. February is not the very best time for Tarangire and is a better month for Manyara. Of course the magnificent baobabs are always present in Tarangire. Maybe youd like to trade one day in Tarangire for a day at Kusini, where the wildebeest action will likely be. But I can see how you would want to avoid any 1-nighters.

Ngorongoro:
Your explanation of an extra special birthday would explain the choice of Crater Lodge with personal butlers. This would be the high-end choice in this location, or probably any location. Is there a reason you wish to stay 3 nights? I would think 2 should be plenty and allow ample time to fully enjoy the crater. Staying only 2 nights would again free up a day for Kusini. As you can see, my bias is to spend at least 4 nights in the heart of the migration action, when lucky enough to be traveling during the time such a spectacle takes place.

I found Sopa at the Crater to be beautiful and it has its own private road into the crater. But Crater Lodge does offer a more luxurious, pampered birthday experience than anything else there.

No comments on Zanzibar or Mnemba Island Lodge because no experience. But does seem to be a relaxing finale to a celebration of 5 decades!


atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 10th, 2005, 04:04 AM
  #3
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
What a great way to celebrate a birthday. You have an interesting itinerary, especially so Greystoke at Mahale; we would like to hear the details on your return.

As to the balance of the itinerary - Tarangire isn't at it's best in February. You can cut this down to 1-nt, then continue on.

Your commennts re Tree Lodge being at a distance at Lake Manyara is correct, but it is a lovely romantic camp. You'll have to decide whether you stay with this.

As to the Ngorongoro Crater, 3-nts is a bit much; 2-nts max here is sufficient inasmuch as crater floor tours will be limited to half-days only. On arriving from Manyara you can easily do an afternoon crater tour, and even a tour the next morning. Then I'd head out to the Serengeti, where the action should be taking place ' wildebeest "calving."

Kusini here is excellent, but try adding another day or two, moving toward the central area... there are no guarantees exactly where the herds will be from season to season. Covering both Kusini and central provides more possibilities. Here in the central area you can do hot-air ballooning and it's easy to get the flight back to Arusha for ongoing to Zanzibar.

Once in Zanzibar, while I believe in "keeping the best for last" - Mnemba - I'd do Mnemba first as it's furthest from the airport. When your time on Mnemba is finished, return to Stone Town to end your holiday. And I'd consider Emerson & Green here which is "in" Stone Town... quite romantic. Also, from ST you're only 10-minutes from the airport and if you have an early homebound flight, you won't have to get up at "oo-dark-30" (middle of the night) for the short boat ride from Mnemba to main island Zanzibar and at least an hours drive to the airport.
 
Reply With Quote
Apr 10th, 2005, 12:40 PM
  #4
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 20
Thanks for your great suggestions. Perhaps what we'll do is shave one night off both Tarangire Treetops and Ngorongoro Crater lodge and spend more time in the Serengeti. We're already going to be at Kusini for three nights. Is there another place perhaps in central Serengeti that would be a good place to stay and where we could do the hot-air balloon fligh?
Karen47 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 10th, 2005, 01:08 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
The only accommodations located in the central Serengeti that I know of are 3 lodges: Sopa, Seronera, and Serena. I stayed at Seronera many years ago and it was nice but not really special.

Some agents have their own private camps or have contacts to private camps more centrally located. You could also consider ending with a couple of days of mobile camping.

The suggestion to spread out a bit in the Serengeti is a good one and would work well with your itinerary.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 10th, 2005, 01:45 PM
  #6
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Karen - Besides the lodges listed above in the Seronera/Central Serengeti area, there are semi-permanent tented camps (up for a few months a year) that could suit your needs in this area. From year-to-year these camps set up depending on where the herds can be found.

For mobile camping your provider would have to send a team (vehicle/s with tents, cots, mattresses, linens, food, pots & pans and everything else - guide/drivers) required for your stay. You'd have to pay for the transport to get all this to you and then pay for them to return to Arusha.

So if you prefer not to stay at the lodges, of which I think the Serena is the nicest (even if you'll run into some tour groups) do have CCA check out semi-permanent camps in this area.
 
Reply With Quote
Apr 10th, 2005, 02:33 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,821
I'm trying to understand the difference between a semi-permanent tented camp and a mobile tented camp. Here's what I think they are, please correct me if I'm wrong:

mobile camp - set up by your tour operator, camp can move with you as you travel from location to location, camp is set up/taken down just for you

semi-permanent camp - set up seasonally, location varies by season, can anyone book these camps (much like a permanent tented camp) or are they bookable only through certain operators? who owns and runs these camps? any online source to find out their locations/costs?

Thanks!
Patty is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 10th, 2005, 06:04 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Those are good glossary definitions from what I know.

Thomson Safaris, Natural High Safaris, and Africa Dream Safaris have their own semi-permanent tented camps in the Serengeti, but I've never stayed in one, just investigated them for a future stay. And I'm sure there's many more.

In fact one of the websites says that a camp that moves around the Serengeti seasonally but does not require you to move each day is the most "civilized" way to see the migration.

From what I have found, it appears you have to be associated with the company that owns the semi-permanent camp. You cannot just pop in and use the accommodations without using the agent.

I'd be interested in the experience of others who have enjoyed a semi-permanent Serengeti camp.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 10th, 2005, 06:10 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Back to your balloon comment, Karen47...that might be a great way to end the safari part of your trip.

If you do end up at one of the lodges (Sopa, Seronera, Serena), I think they all offer balloon rides. Probably any of those semi-permanent camps can also get you to the balloon safari also.

One more comment, since you've told all of us this is a 50th celebration, be sure your agent is also well aware. The camps and lodges can do some special things if they know about the occasion.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 11th, 2005, 06:07 AM
  #10
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Patty - You got it right.

Mobile camps move with you to different areas and are set up for a day or two or three in each area.

Semi-permanent tent camps are set up in the permanent place (location can vary from year to year) and they stay in place for a given number of months. Usually these camps have 5 or less tents total.

There are a number of these in Tanzania - the Serengeti specifically, and any reputable tour operator/outfitters should be able to book these. Many, though not all, tend to be on the high end pricewise, running in the $400-$600/pp/pn.

Semi-permanent tent camps are also available in Kenya, specifically in the Mara. Two I can think of are Mara Bush Camp and Little Shompole... there are others. Likewise, during the season they are in place, the prices are on the high-end.
 
Reply With Quote
Apr 11th, 2005, 09:42 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,821
Thanks, atravelynn and sandi!
Patty is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 12th, 2005, 12:11 PM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 20
Thanks, everyone, for the excellent advice. The CCAfrica rep has suggested that we stay at the Serengeti Serena and do our balloon flight while there. Then it's off to Ngorongoro Crater Lodge for three nights. The reason for the extra night's stay is to accommodate a day trip to Olduvai Gorge.

So, we have decided not to do Tarangire at all - perhaps we can get back there some year during July, August, or September.
Again, many thanks for your advice and assistance. I promise to keep a trip diary and share some of my experiences with you!
Karen
Karen47 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 12th, 2005, 01:04 PM
  #13
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Karen - Please, you do not need a day for the Oldupai Gorge. There is a small interesting museum here and a guide who explains things on the outside where things were unearthed. This is usually a stop on the way to/from the Serengeti from the Crater or the reverse. In total maybe you'll stay for an hour... more like half-hour, but certainly not a full day.

You can use this third day for one of the other stops.

Remember, you're dealing with CCA and they'd prefer to have you at one of their properties (Crater Lodge with is tres expensive), then book you into some other owner's property.
 
Reply With Quote
Apr 12th, 2005, 03:08 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Karen47,

I agree Oldupai Gorge in exchange for Tarangire is not a good trade off. A couple hour visit at Oldupai is sufficient.

The only reason I can suggest in support of the trade is if you wanted 3 nights instead of 2 at your most luxurious stop.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 15th, 2005, 05:22 AM
  #15
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 20
Just as I thought we had our itinerary perfected, the difficulty we have had in booking our international flights (on points) has put a wrench in our plans. The bad news is that our departure has been delayed by a bit more than a week. The good news is that our stay has been extended by about 4 days. So, it looks like I won't have to sacrifice Tarangire after all and we will get to spend 3 nights at the ultra-luxurious Ngorongoro Crater Lodge! That should prove a nice rest in the middle of the adventure.

By the way, my CC Africa rep has confirmed that drives in the Crater will be limited to half days - he thinks beginning in Jan, 2006. He has also heard that the park fees will be increasing quite dramatically around that same time, although he is not sure of the exact amount.
Karen
Karen47 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 15th, 2005, 06:52 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Looks like a win win win win situation! Thanks for the latest on Tanzania fees and crater drives.
atravelynn 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 04:28 PM.