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Jvigano Jun 12th, 2007 04:14 PM

Jose Vigano trip to Tanzania
My wife and I are leaving at the end of the month for our first safari trip. A lot of the planning was done leveraging from valuable input I got from several of you through this forum. THANKS A LOT!!!

Iíve built a buffer day in Arusha in the itinerary just in case we have a flight problem and get there a day later (in order not to compromise all the tented camps bookings). So, Iíd need suggestions on WHAT TO DO IN ARUSHA. Should I go to Arusha NP? Any other suggestions?

Our itinerary is below. Itís a private safari booked with Good Earth. We are getting there from California with the KLM Amsterdam flight:

July 1 2007: Arrival Kilimanjaro; Arusha, Ilboru Safari Lodge
July 2 2007: Arusha: ACTIVITY TO BE PLANNED
July 3: Arusha / Tarangire National Park; Swala Camp
July 4: Tarangire; Swala
July 5: Tarangire / Lake Manyara National Park; Kirurumu Luxury Camp
July 6: Lake Manyara / Ngorongoro Crater; Sopa Lodge
July 7: Ngorongoro / Serengeti; Serengeti Serena
July 8~9: Serengeti; Migration Camp
July 10~11:Western Serengeti, Kirawira Tented Camp
July 12: Serengeti, Mbalageti Camp (chalets)
July 13: flight to Arusha, day room at Ilboru Safari Lodge, JRO for the return trip

Leely Jun 12th, 2007 04:42 PM

Jose, I really enjoyed the day trip and canoeing in Arusha NP, so if you have the time and the funds, I'd say go for it. It might be a bit disappointing after you've hit the major parks of the Northern Circuit, but as an aperitif, yes, yes, fun and relaxing.

Have a great trip!

Duane Jun 12th, 2007 05:06 PM

Hi Jose,
I don't have any recommendations for the day in Arusha, but did notice that we will be in Migration Camp the same nights, also on a private tour with Good Earth. There is someone else on this board that will also be there the same 2 nights too. Sorry, forgot who it was. Small world.

We are going the other way as we are flying into Grumeti River airstrip and staying 2 nights at Kirawira Tented Camp then working our way back.

Have a great trip and we'll see you in a few weeks,

MikeDeb60 Jun 12th, 2007 07:12 PM

We did almost this same safari routes last year at the same time with Good Earth. I am so envious, you will have a fantastic time. I absolutely think you should see the Arusha NP. We saw some wonderful sights there, more giraffes in one spot than any where else! It was amazing to us to see how green and lush Arusha was as compared to the dry grasslands everywhere else. Although I know you will like all of the camps you have chosen, you will Love Swala, Migration and Mbalageti, we sure did. However, we did not see as much wildlife around Migration Camp when we were there.

Have a fantastic trip!

eco2 Jun 12th, 2007 07:17 PM

There is lots to do in Arusha itself, particularly if you are interested in the culture. You can definitely walk downtown and look around and see how people live. You can buy souvenirs as well - beads and carvings. There is a tour, I've been told, conducted by the WaMeru and WaArusha people of the local villages. We're also doing a cultural excursion to a local Maasai village and using Arusha as our base. Perhaps your tour operator can tell you something about these options. Good luck.

bat Jun 13th, 2007 04:24 AM

We also enjoyed our Arusha NP visit (with canoeing) which we booked with Green footprints. We also visited the UN Tribunal for the genocide crimes in Rwanda.

morgiane Jun 15th, 2007 01:12 PM

Hi Jose!

We are the other couple who will be at the Migration Camp the same two nights as you! :) And we, like you and Duane, also booked with Good Earth.

Small world indeed...have a fantastic trip & we will see you there!!


gene1414 Jun 15th, 2007 05:32 PM

YOU ARE WASTING YOUR TIME. Way too complicated and far more than necessary....

you schedule was:

July 2 2007: Arusha: ACTIVITY TO BE PLANNED
July 3: Arusha / Tarangire National Park; Swala Camp
July 4: Tarangire; Swala
July 5: Tarangire / Lake Manyara National Park; Kirurumu Luxury Camp
July 6: Lake Manyara / Ngorongoro Crater; Sopa Lodge
July 7: Ngorongoro / Serengeti; Serengeti Serena
July 8~9: Serengeti; Migration Camp
July 10~11:Western Serengeti, Kirawira Tented Camp
July 12: Serengeti, Mbalageti Camp (chalets)

What you should do is fly from Nairobi to Kilimanjero airport and have Leopard Tours meet you and drive you that afternoon to Sopa Lodge in Tarangire. N airobi Flight leaves Wilson Airport around 1 pm arriving Kilimanjewro around 3:30 pm and it is 2 hour drive to Tarangire park gate and then a 1 hour game drive to lodge - all daylight.

Not a lot to see in Arusha except 2,000 tourist offices and tourist traps. We bought a camera there and still had plenty of time to get to the lodge before sundown.

Leopard Tours is the largest and about the best guide agency in Tanzania

Skip Manyara - hear it is drying up and has less to offer. Prices are high and you will be disappointed.

A couple of days later take a 3 hour drive to Sopa Lodge at Ngorongoro Crater with tour driver and he will give you a game drive in Ngorongoro Crater that day. The lodge is spectacular and you have to leave the crater by 6pm anyway so it all works out.

2 nites/3 days in Tarangire. 1 nite at Ngorongoro Crater and on to Serengeti. The Sopa sunset and sunrise is spectacular! One of the best scenes we saw in our many, many travel trips over 25 years.

Pleaty of time to see it all and both spots are entirely different so you get a lot of variety.

gene1414 Jun 15th, 2007 05:35 PM

We had a very authentic Maasaii village tour all to ourselves for 2 hours as we left the Crater and headed to the Sopa. Not another tourist in sight for hours. Terific and we went into the lodges and were with the people. We bought their jewelry and learned about their culture.

atravelynn Jun 15th, 2007 05:45 PM

Gene, how come you bought a camera in Arusha?

I would enjoy where you are going and I'd include Arusha National Park. Just staying in the city of Arusha probably would be a waste of time, but the park and surrounding villages would be a nice activity.

MikeDeb60 Jun 15th, 2007 07:33 PM

Gene -

"Leopard Tours is the biggest and..." Biggest isn't necessarily the best. Jose has stated that he has booked with Good Earth Tours. Many people have given Good Earth wonderful reviews on this board, including me. As I stated above, we had a fantastic time with them and their guides were fantastic.

We were in Lk. Manyara for 2 drives and absolutely loved this park. We had fantastic elephant encounters, the birds were awesome, just to mention a couple. I am glad we included Lk. Manyara on our itinerary.

I am also glad we included Arusha NP. This is the only place we had an armed guide take us on a walking tour, we had a wonderful time.

Jose, you have a wonderful itinerary planned, I think staying in Arusha would be a great addition to your stay.

Have a great trip!

wildebeestus Jun 16th, 2007 08:22 AM

Jose, Definately a day trip to Arusha NP. It was a lovely way to meet Africa, scampering Colubus monkeys, vines dripping from trees, large and small lakes covered in flamingos, giraffes munching leaves on the hillside. Arusha, the town, is just that, a bustling town, lots of touts and street activity. Mbalageti is delightful - we were there about the same time last year, high on the hill above the snuffling of the migration down below, stars like you've never seen above! Your trip sounds lovely, enjoy!! Deb

Jvigano Jun 16th, 2007 09:59 AM

Thanks a lot everybody for the Arusha tips. We'll do the Arusha NP.

Duane&Morgiane: I'm looking forward meet you guys at Migration Camp. See below a photo (my wife Rejane, me and our kids) to facilitate the recognition. Kids are staying with the grandparents:

lenlu Jun 18th, 2007 09:08 AM

Having just returned, I think your plan is perfect. It's good to have a day to catch your breath after landing...we did a night in Amsterdam first. Suggestions for Arusha are all good. It's a busy, colorful and a bit polluted place so getting out might be good. You can visit the Cultural Center but many curios you can buy on the road. It's very lush and beautiful. I have to say I liked Lake Manyara National Park and thought it was very pretty. We got our greatest shots of elephants and babies right in front of us there and the drive was nice. It isn't called Mosquitoe River for no reason though and we visited an orphanage which was an eye opener. There's quite a bit of HIV in the area so these kids had no parents. Still, we brought some supplies that lighted their faces. It was a great experience. We stayed three nights in Tarangire and didn't see much game like we did in Serengeti but it's a nice park. Lastly, I can't say enough about Mbalageti. It's amazing. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Have a fantastic time!

rsnyder Jun 18th, 2007 04:19 PM

Still working on trip report. On recent (late May thru early June) to East Africa we opted to spend first day at Arusha National Park. Really glad we did--what an appetizer for the rest of the trip! And, to think we have been to northern Tanzania twice before and are just now seeing it. Even though quite small by other park standards I think we saw only one other safari vehicle the whole day while in the park. Dick

cat_lover Jul 13th, 2007 09:37 AM

Since so many people on this post have booked and had great experiences with Good Earth, can you suggest some guides that we should request? We're going in December, and I want to get the very most out of our trip. We're most interested in big cats and other mammals (as opposed to birds). Any advice you can offer would be appreciated.
Jose and Duane- Can't wait to read your trip reports!

Treepol Jul 13th, 2007 09:29 PM

Hi Jose,

Kisali was a great spotter, however, other guides who have been recommended by Fodorites are Goodluck, Abdul, Saidi and Raphael.

Have a wonderful safari,


MikeDeb60 Jul 14th, 2007 09:41 AM

We had 3 guides, (our trip was broken up in an unusual way) from Good Earth. We had Raphael, Aaron and Abdul. They were all great, I would say that Raphael was our absolutely favorite, though. We just "clicked" better with him, he was really in to teaching our kids about everything! I would go out on safari with any one of these wonderful men again in a heartbeat!

atravelynn Aug 3rd, 2007 11:29 AM

(I printed out your report and read it. Now I want to comment on it and cannot find it here on Fodors. I can only find this. Feel free to copy and paste my comments/questions into your report.)

Your report is written in such a helpful style. I like the reasons not to go on safari and I'll have to check out the 31 safari mistakes on the website you listed.

Saidi seems like a winner!

Those giraffe herds in Arusha are becoming a famous sight. On your full day in ANP, did you have a boxed lunch? When was the waterfall walk? That's great you saw blue monkeys. Any colobus?

I got a kick out of one of your Tarangire highlights. Maybe others have mentioned it also.

"Large groups (4 groups of about 20 each) drinking at the end of each day"
Quite a social crowd there at Swala, eh?

Ha Ha. I assume you mean elephants or something like that.

Thanks for contrasting baskets and boxes.

A spare camera is a good idea. Hope you did not have too many frantic moments as you came up with that solution.

The crater packed a punch for you. Cheetahs, rhinos (which can be elusive there) and a lion kill! Also nice to read about the honest chief.

I don't blame you for being ticked at a 30 minute delay to the start of your game viewing day at Serena.

Grumeti River proved to be exciting too.

Great report. Thanks. Again, sorry I couldn't find it. I wanted to comment, though.

Patty Aug 3rd, 2007 11:48 AM

Lynn, it's here;tid=35041254

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