Honeymoon October

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Feb 5th, 2006, 12:51 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Honeymoon October

Hi Guys & Girls
I am from the UK and getting married in September 2006. Planning a honeymoon to Tanzania or Kenya for october. PLanned to do a safari for about 7 days then off to the beach for 7 days (possibily Zanzibar).
ATR have offered me a trip including;
Moivaro x 1
Swala camp x 3
Olduvai camp x 1
Migration camp x 3
Matemwe Bungalows (Zanzibar) x 4
Emerson & Green x1

They have quoted me $11,773 for both of us. I think this is a bit too much. WOndered what you guys thought? Also do you think that is a good trip for the time of year we are going?
I have nejoyed reading many of the reports on this noticeboard, you lot seem to know what you are talking about.
I look forward to your answers.

From JG
Gordon1979 is offline  
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Feb 5th, 2006, 02:03 AM
  #2
 
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Gordon,

I am paying about $20,200 for two persons for the following itinerary. I leave in 18 days:

Moivaro (1)
Tarangire Treetops (2)
Lake Manyara Tree Lodge (2)
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (2)
Olduvai Camp (1)
Nomad Masek (2)
Nomad Piaya (2)
Mbuzi Mawe (2)
Palms Zanzibar (3)
Serena Inn (2)

The safari portion is through ATR and the Zanzibar extension is through Africa Serendipity, a New York based company. I do think that Africa Serendipity may offer slightly better pricing than ATR. The main reason I went with ATR was for the opportunity to do Nomad camps, but since you do not have any Nomad camps, I see no reason to not consider Africa Serendipity or another company.

www.africaserendipity.com

Just eyeballing the numbers from ATR, they seem a little high to me, but not outrageously so.
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Feb 5th, 2006, 04:31 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Kenya (Masai Mara) is certainly a better option in October for wildlife viewing. And the following tented camps are very romantic:

Little Governors, IlMoran, Rekero, Mara Explorer. Problem is that many are fully booked already!

You may want to split the stay with 4 nights inside the Mara and 2 nights outside at Richards Camp or Elephant-Pepper where you can walk and night-drive. Fy to/from the Mara from Nairobi and on to Zanzibar.

Your current itinerary covers a huge distance (lots of driving). Swala is good, Olduvai is OK but you are missing out on the Ngorongoro with incredible rim views if you stay there instead.

Migration camp in Oct is dicy. Very nice camp but a long drive to get there and your game drives will be very long towards Seronera, Lobo and the Mara River area. In Oct I would split the time between a tented camp at Seronera and beautiful Sayari tented camp next to the Mara in the northern serengeti.

You have to consider that some days will probably be spent just hanging out in camp and it is nice to have a view from your tent!
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Feb 5th, 2006, 05:04 AM
  #4
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Migration casmp was the only one I was sure of, it had been recommended by several people to me. That has really thrown a spanner in the works. ATR said that the drive from Taragire to Olduvai will take in much of the crater. The only lodge worth staying in at the crater is crater lodge and that is a bit too expensive for me unfortunately. We are now thinking of changing Matemwe Bungalows to Breezes just to free up a bit more money for the safari part. Kenya does sound good, it was suggested that the migration should be on its way to the serengeti (around Migration camp) in October, it was ATR that told me that! Do you think the Mara is a better option then?
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Feb 5th, 2006, 05:28 AM
  #5
sandi
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I don't know what's with ATR and the Olduvai Camp? Amazing.

You certainly don't have 7-days on the beach based on the itinerary shown, but in order to do proper safari, beach time may have to be reduced.

There is also no mention of at least a stop at Ngorongoro Crater, or are you doing this on way from Swala to Olduvai? Or do you even want to stop at Ngorongoro? And, it seems, as you dont mention, which legs you are flying, so assume that it is drive from Swala to Olduvai to Migration.

Tarangire - Swala, while a lovely park and a favorite of mine and Swala a very romantic intimate camp, 3-days is too long here.

Though I don't normally recommend certain "fly" legs, I would like to suggest:

Day 1 - Moivaro
Day 2 - Drive to Tarangire - Swala
Day 3 - Tarangire - Swala
Day 4 - Drive to Ngorongoro; afternoon crater tour - o/n here (ATR is not keen on putting clients at the Crater, why you have the Olduvai Camp which is on the way into the Serengeti)... you can instead at dusk, leaving the crater drive back towards Plantation Lodge (about 1-1/2 hrs but on blacktop road). I know, backtracking... which everyone here is aware I avoid recommending, but it might work as:
Day 5 - Having stayed at Plantation, you're close to the Lk. Manyara airstrip from where you can fly to the Northern Serengeti for stay at Migration Camp. The flight is early, but being at Plantation it's closer than the drive back from a Serena or Sopa Lodge at the Crater. There is also an afternoon flight, around 2pm if you prefer not to be up at the crack of dawn for the early flight at 8:15am.
Day 6 - NSerengeti - Migration
Day 7 - Migration
Day 8 - From Klein's airstrip via Arusha to Zanzibar - Matemwe*
Day 9 - Matemwe
Day 10 - Matemwe
Day 11 - Matemwe
Day 12 - Matemwe
Day 13 - Drive to Stone Town - Emerson & Green.
Day 14 - Very early ZNZ/DAR - this is specifically for connection to BA flight to LHR

*With the exception of 2-rooms at Matemwe, believe the Asilia suites, which are air conditioned, the others are not. If a/c is important, on this hot & humid island, consider Blue Bay... larger property, but quite lovely.

You may also want to consider 1-day less at Matemwe for more time to discover Stone Town. You won't be into Stone Town from Matemwe until about 12N. Your choice.

Don't know if the above recommended adjustments will change your price +/-, but ask ATR to reprice this itinerary which I believe works better.

 
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Feb 5th, 2006, 06:57 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354
Gordon, I don't know where ATR gets their information!

I was in the Northern Serengeti in November 2005 and my observations were the same as these migration reports from very respected sources:

http://www.atta.co.uk/heritage/2005/...wednesday.html

http://www.atta.co.uk/nomad/2005/11/...mber-2005.html

http://www.wildwatch.com/sightings/migration.asp

In OCT/early NOV the migration moves back and forth between the Masai Mara and North/West Serengeti (the Mara River area).

This is why I recommend the very romantic Sayari in the Serengeti.

The area around Migration Camp is full of trees and the migration is scattered when they reach that area. You also have to battle pockets of tsetse flies. To the north, the landscape opens up (less trees, fewer tsetes) and you can see huge crocs and 100s of hippos in the Mara basically from your tent at Sayari, with lines of wildebeest crossing back and forth.

This camp is new and ATR is probably not be familiar with its location and the Mara attractions. You can fly or drive to Sayari.

I agree with Sandy that 3 nights at Swala is a bit long. At Ngorongoro you can quite possible stay at a shared luxury tented on the rim (Sancurary Lodges and others have camps there) but ATR may be unable to book these as they use mostly a fixed set of lodges/camps.

I'd still go for the tented romance in the great Masai Mara though!
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Feb 5th, 2006, 07:23 AM
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Hello Gordon,

I agree with Eben and Sandi that in October the Masai Mara is where you want to be to see the Great Migration. ATR doesn't do Kenya, which is probably why they haven't mentioned it to you, but remember that this is YOUR honeymoon, not theirs -- if they won't offer the Mara, which will have the best wildlife viewing at that time of year, by all means go somewhere else. It doesn't sound as if they are offering the best options for the time of year you will be in Africa.

I worked with Africa Serendipity and strongly second Rocco's recommendation. Their rates are very competitive and they are very responsive.

Cheers,
Julian
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Feb 5th, 2006, 07:34 AM
  #8
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sandy,
I think the plan is to drive through the crater on the way to Olduvai. Maybe I could swap a night at Swala for a night at the crater lodge? As for the flying bit, I love that idea but I think as I am absolutely pushing the budget already I think it would be cheaper to drive that distance.
Its funny isnt how all the ATR trips seem to include Mawe Ninga, Olduvai and Ronjo. I had to fight hammer and tong to get Swala camp instead of Mawe Ninga!!!

I think the plan after migration camp was to fly direct to Zanzibar from somewhere near there.

Climbhighsleeplow
I am having problems finding the Sayuri camp you speak of, is it only a temporary camp, or just so new that it hasnt been discovered yet? Can you recommend any companies that go there?

The other place I did like the look of Mbuzi Mawe!
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Feb 5th, 2006, 08:24 AM
  #9
aby
 
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Dear Gordon !
u've been given very professional advice which i agree to.
let me sum it up:
1. ATR doesn't operate in Kenya
2. Kenya, in October may be a better option (earlier in Oct- the better)
this is a marginal time of migration in N. Serengeti, herds keep coming & going especially if the grass is being burnt on one side or another and a few showers green up the area...
3. It seems ATR is pushing Ol-Duvai into itineraries IMHO it is better to be on the rim
4. even from Ol-Duvai (the original maasai name is Ol Tupai) it is still a hell of a drive ! (& i love the bumpy roads)
since it is the first encounter with serengeti u'll probably wish to stop & watch game on the way. i suggest another night on the way to Migration camp. somewhere in central Serengeti

@ For the view from the crater rim u can "sacrifice" one night & stay (god forbid! especially in honeymoons) at Serena or Sarova ... with the mortals

unless u do get a night at Crater L.

@@ consider Sandi's a/c remark. it is not only hot but very humid

enjoy it

aby

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Feb 5th, 2006, 08:31 AM
  #10
 
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Pics and info for Sayari are here:

http://www.go-safari.com/Serengeti/Sayari.htm

Budget is obviously a concern so take a look at the rack rates!

ATR can book it I am sure !

I think these days with open discussions on the internet, the business model used by overseas agents to push clients to a limited selection of lodges/camps is outdated!

East Africa now has so many choices for different budgets and for different times of the year - it really pays to use boards like this to shop around before settling on one particular agent!

Good luck and have a fantastic honeymoon!
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Feb 5th, 2006, 03:58 PM
  #11
 
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I'd suggest contacting other agents or operators. You shouldn't have to 'fight hammer and tong' to get what you want. I think ATR often forgets who the client is!
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Feb 6th, 2006, 01:03 PM
  #12
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Thankyou everybody for your comments and suggestions. You will pleased to know that I am in contact with another travel company, thanks Sandy! I will be sure to write a full review on my return!
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