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If a Layover in Amsterdam is recommended, which way?

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Sep 12th, 2013, 05:31 AM
  #1
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If a Layover in Amsterdam is recommended, which way?

I'm planning to go to TZ in November with Thomson Safari (and words of advice there?) for the Northern Serengeti, Crater, etc.

For a flight just to Europe, I am always wasted on the day of arrival....so I wonder what adding the AMS-JRO 8 hour flight will do to my body. My question is whether it is recommended to spend a night in Amsterdam to get over jet lag or just keep on going and hope for sleep on the plane. I will be flying from ATL-AMS-JRO. I am not interested in going into the city or sightseeing in Amsterdam since the focus of this trip is Tanzania. Any recommendations for a hotel close to the AMS airport?

If a stop-over is recommended, do you find it more beneficial on the way to TZ or on the return. The return flight is 34 hours as compared to 23 hours outbound.

One last question...how do you on the Forum feel about mid-late November for a safari? Does the short rain season hinder wildlife viewing...or help with crowd control.

Many thanks!
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Sep 12th, 2013, 06:08 AM
  #2
 
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If you are taking the KLM flight then remember it gets into AMS from the US early in the morning. So to just stay by the airport and not go into the city is sort of a waste, and what would you do at the hotel for 24 hours? A better option is to arrive a day early in Tanzania, stay an extra night in Arusha. There are some lovely hotels on the outskirts where you can relax and even see wildlife (birds, monkeys...) We stayed at Ngere Sero Lodge an extra night before heading off on our safari and it was a great way to recover from the flight. Black and white Colobus monkeys on the property which you won't see elsewhere, unless you go to Arusha National Park. This also gives an opportunity for delayed luggage to catch up with you, if that should happen.
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Sep 12th, 2013, 06:40 AM
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I've been through Amsterdam twice on the way to and from Africa and I prefer to just push on through. When I went to Tanzania the layover was only about 4 hrs. For me, once I arrived in TZ I slept well (the flight will arrive in the evening) and was up and ready to go the next morning - you'll be so excited to be there you won't feel that tired I suspect.

Depending on the length of your time in the AMS airport, there is a hotel of sorts right in the airport where you can rent a bed for a few hours, take a shower etc. I have not personally used it, but saw it just a month ago when I was in that airport.
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Sep 12th, 2013, 07:58 AM
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TC
 
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We've done this route twice and also prefer to push on. I do, however, book a hotel for us upon arrival in Africa and spend at least one night before pushing on to camps/safari. I find it is enough to get us over the worst of jet lag and then the excitement of the rest of the trip is sufficient to do the rest.

KLM is partners with Delta, you know. The flights are actually the same. There are three non-stop flights to get you to AMS from ATL. The 5:35PM departure, arrives at 8:10AM, the 8:00PM departuere, arrives at 10:35AM and the 10:45PM departure, arrives at 1:00PM. So you can book the flight that forces the least lay-over time.

We traveled in January and did stop over for a couple of days in AMS on the return to aclimate to cold weather again before returning home to MN.
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Sep 12th, 2013, 09:28 AM
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I agree with TC and have done the same - have a hotel/lodge in Arusha for the night of your arrival.
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Sep 12th, 2013, 10:18 AM
  #6
 
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I agree with all of the above. I just pushed on through to Arusha from AMS. There is only 2 hour time difference between AMS and TZ, and if you're wasted on the first day anyway, why not just spend it traveling onward and know you can go to sleep when you arrive (we got there around 8 p.m. so were in bed by 10-10:30 local time, and ready to sleep!)

I like to preserve my paid time off however I can, so getting there and back is usually my prime consideration anyway, maximizing my time on the ground at my destination.
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Sep 12th, 2013, 03:00 PM
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Replied on TA. Just keep on keeping on. Besides, the KLM flight arrives JRO 7:30pm, and by time at your hotel, shower off the eau de Boeing, and go to sleep. You'll be bright and fresh next morning. At least I am and have done this flight more times than I can remember.

And, if you've never flown thru AMS, know it's probably one of the most civilized airports anywhere and easy to navigate with signage in English... a breeze overall.
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Sep 12th, 2013, 08:26 PM
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We did a few days stopover in Amsterdam and really enjoyed them (but we were happy to visit the city.) We fly from San Francisco so the flight time is quite lengthy. I was glad to arrive in Africa well rested without a hint of jet lag but we we fortunate to have those extra days to spare.
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Sep 12th, 2013, 08:46 PM
  #9
 
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Coming from the west coast of Canada I always stay at least one night in London both ways. It's just too damn long on a plane for me however everyone is different and only you can decide what will work best for you.

Totally agree your excitement will get you thru a lot of the jet lag once you arrive at your destination.

Is there ever a bad time to be on safari???
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Sep 16th, 2013, 06:35 PM
  #10
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Everyone...this is very helpful information, and you've convinced me to press on to Arusha. Thomson's suggests the first night at Rivertrees which, I believe, is a good ways out of the city. Are there any recommendations on whether to go into Arusha...or not? I'm under the impression that it's not safe to venture out solo.

On another note, I've done some Googling about Thomsons (Watertown, MA) and there seem to have been some questionable land dealings with Thomsons displacing Maasi a few years back. That makes me not want to support them (although in checking their references, former travelers have loved them and their trips) ...it's been recommended that I use a local TZ company but I've not been able to find one that offers a group safari when I can be away (Nov. 18-Dec. 1). Any suggestions?

Many thanks!
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Sep 16th, 2013, 07:17 PM
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I remember reading that issue regarding Thomsons but the guide we had (from another company) said he heard good things about the way Thomsons treated the Tanzanians they hired. I don't know how this could be verified but it made me feel a bit better about the company.
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Sep 17th, 2013, 08:58 AM
  #12
 
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There are 'issues' with Thompsons and some years back quite a number of threads here on the subject.

Though Thompsons does put together good programs, and may very well treat their guides well, but seems lots of their dealings in Tanzania have been questioned though their management did post here or on TA that what we've heard is 'a lot of bs.'

To me if any questions about a specific company with many negatives, I feel there are other options, so why ask for trouble or be disappointed if/when you find out the truth. It's a shame, but happens.
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Sep 19th, 2013, 05:30 AM
  #13
 
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I stayed 2 nights at Rivertrees in 2010. It's a nice place, small, quiet, nice surroundings. I recall the food was just ok. It was about a half hour drive from the airport. After arriving from AMS late in the evening we slept great. Next day our guide took us to Arusha National Park - small but lots of animals and a nice introduction to our safari. We spent that night at Rivertrees (did not really go into Arusha except to buy drinks on our way out of town) and next morning headed off for the main part of our TZ safari.

Personally, if you like what Thompson's is offering I see no reason not to travel with them. The negative stories were several years ago. BTW they now own Gibb's Farm (we stayed 2 nights here), a very nice place near Ngorongoro. You can read my trip report here...

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...liwarriors.cfm
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