Just Back From Tanzania!

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Oct 6th, 2005, 12:38 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Aug 2005
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Just Back From Tanzania!

Wow, our trip was fantastic! The animals, the people, the landscape, it was all that I hoped it would be!

Here was our iten:
NYC, London, Nairobi, Arusha.
Taragire 2 days
Lake Manyara 1 day
Ngorongoro 2 days
Serengeti 3 days then,
Arusha, Nairobi, London (stay over), NYC (stay over).

We felt like we stayed at each of the parks long enough to "get the feel" for each. Now, we know that to really get it, we would have needed to walk-about in the parks, but we had to do the best that we could on a budget safari.

I do, however, want to say that there are a few things that should be stated if you are about to go on a safari. Keep in mind we went on basically a bus tour, no trekking.

#1 - You don't need to go out and spend $$$ on a new wardrobe. You can wear pink, you can wear white t-shirts, you can wear the things you already own. Just keep in mind, it will get dirty and show dirt. Muted colors are best, but they can be outside the standard olive drab!
#2 - Footwear is flexible. You don't need special hiking boots or anything. These will only make your feet warmer! You can wear sandals (teva, etc.) We didn't, but you can, and have no fear of critters chewing on them. Remember,though, your feet will get dirty if you do!
#3 - Drinks are NOT INCLUDED!!!! You may get two bottles of water in each room (in hotels), but by the time you brush your teeth, and wash down that malaria pill, you still buy more @ 1.50 small (usually warm), or @ 3.00 large (usually cold). Keep this in mind. We did have water on our day trips, but it wasn't enough during the dry season. Other than coffee/tea/fruit juice, you will need money!! Cokes tasted wonderfull out of the glass bottles (@ 1.50 each), fantastic!!
#4 - You won't need six bottles of different kinds of repellant. I know this differs from area to area and varies with the time of the year, but we only encountered the rotten flies twice. We applied our chosen repellant, (mine was OFF deet 29% in the little foil packets) and the beggars left off quickly! We only had to use the stuff twice. Don't over pack it!
#5 - Zip off pants rock!! I had nylon, they were great! Hubby had cotton and loved his too! They were fabulous!
#6 - ExOffico undies were the saving grace for underwear! We both loved ours and wouldn't trade it. As few places will launder women's undies, washing these things over and over, they dried quickly, and wore beautifully!
#7 - WARNING!!!!! Your battery charger can die!!! Ours did after only charging one set of batteries!!! Energizer, thought it was a great name, no concern about quality, however, it still died!!! You can find batteries in the parks, but they are expensive and they may only carry the AA alkaline. You will pay, just like we did if you want to take the pics! Take precautions!
#7 - Accessories - sunglasses (wrap around if possible for the dust factor), hat/scarf, binocs, all are necessities for each person. If you really want to see the animals, take your own binocs. One couple with us did not, and that's all you could hear, "Do you want to see?, Can I see?, Are you done yet?" Shuffle, Shuffle, it was annoying in a silent wilderness, for that to be the the constant whisper. If you are not so hot and bothered by seeing the animals, the binocs are optional.
#8 - Pray your van-mates don't bring beaded trinkets for the local children. Another van's occupants made countless stops to give the children toys that they had made. This is not a good thing to do. If you want to contribute to the wellness of the children, do so though the proper channels. Legitimate charities, schools, etc. You cannot bring enough to give to each child, and the sadness on some faces should be indication enough that this is a bad thing to do.
#9 - Learn a little swahili, you will enjoy it. There is a small guide book available in the Nairobi airport, that would be very beneficial if you are going through there. It has short helpful phrases, and the locals love it when you at least attempt to make conversation! The faces light up!
#10 - Ask you guide when shopping about bargaining. They will know what is appropriate, to bargain or not. Don't take the first price, cut it in half, then go up!
#11 - Ask about bathrooms, toilets, loos, whatever. Some may be surprisingly good, or also bad. Always bring your own tissues though. We used little pocket Kleenex tissues.

I will get off of my soap-box now. I hope you find this a little helpful. Just also remember that it will always be different that you think, go with the flow, and have a great trip like we did! Everyone should make this trip at least once!
TanzaniaBound is offline  
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Oct 6th, 2005, 01:02 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Oh, how funny. I was the person with six bottles of different kinds of repellent.

I am glad your trip was "all that [you] hoped it would be!" You are so right that everyone should make this trip at least once.

Thanks for the great, sensible tips. I'd like to add 11a) Whenever your guide says, "Would you like to use the bathroom here?" go ahead. You never know how long before you'll see another one.

Thank you for reporting back, TanzaniaBound.
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Oct 6th, 2005, 03:02 PM
  #3
MPJ
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 7
Thanks so much for this wonderful report - I learned so much that was practical and helpful!

This board has been interesting - especially the answers to my summer safari question - which went way off topic. That's fine, but I wonder if there's room for people who want a more "traditional" or "conservative" approach...just a thought
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Oct 6th, 2005, 03:20 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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MPJ, to sort of answer your question, as you know so many people on this board use local operators. But I think if you do a search you should find some older Micato reports. I do think I've seen more from Abercrombie & Kent than Micato here, though.

While I used a local operator last time, this next trip we are using a UK-based operator, primarily because my friend's mother is joining us and she felt more comfortable using her cc to pay for it. And, yes, I'm aware I'm paying a bit of a surcharge for this "safety net."

But you are so right, TanzaniaBpound has offered great tips, particularly about not bringing "goodies for the children" and why.

TanzaniaBound: I'm looking forward to some photos.
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Oct 6th, 2005, 05:35 PM
  #5
bat
 
Join Date: May 2004
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TanzaniaBound:
Thank you so much for the practical tips--very helpful.
[MPJ-my apologies for my part in re-directing your thread. Keep reading and then decide for yourself.]
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Oct 7th, 2005, 01:22 PM
  #6
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Thanks for all of the encouraging replies, it makes me feel good to know that someone besides me is interested in my pics!

Leely, Great advice on the bathroom bit!

I think the best idea is to put the pics on snapfish. I will do this probably Tuesday.

Thanks again so much!
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Oct 7th, 2005, 07:36 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Glad you had such a nice trip. Your reminder on battery chargers dying was a good one. Maybe bring a second one.

You're right when people have to share binocs, everyone suffers.
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