Last minute June Tanzania safari help!!!

Old Mar 9th, 2005, 08:53 AM
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Last minute June Tanzania safari help!!!

I realize that my post has some repetetive questions but I highly respect opinions coming out of this board.
My family (52,52,22,19) wish to celbrate my daughter's college graduation with a safari. Classic Safaris (they do lots of work with US Zoos) has the following itinerary starting June 6:

1 Nt Serena Mountain Lodge
2 Nt Kirawara Camp - Serengeti
2 Nt Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge
2 Nt Ngorongoro Serena Lodge
1 Nt Manyara Serena Lodge
3 Nt Ruaha Riverlodge - Ruaha NP

This is a pretty expensive trip but my concerns are:
1) Is June the right time for this specific trip (i.e., migration spots, animal viewing)?
2) I haven't read much on Ruaha and we'll be spending 3 days there. Any comments?
3) Anyone heard of Classic Safaris? Anyone previously travel with zoos?

I could use some reassurance before I spend half of my children's inheritance.
cookndoc is offline  
Old Mar 9th, 2005, 10:56 AM
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Is Classic Safaris a US based company? I did a cursory search and couldn't find them. You'll find that most on this board prefer to work directly with a local safari operator. You'll likely save a lot of money by booking through a Tanzania based operator. Zoo organized trips tend to be very expensive (not that it may not be worthwhile, just giving you other options to consider). June is also low season as this is the period of the long rains. I'll leave it at that and perhaps someone who has actually traveled during this time frame can give you more details.
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Old Mar 9th, 2005, 11:52 AM
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Message: we were there last year in early March and had fabulous weather. The Long Rains are mid March to early June. We stayed at exactly the same places except Ruaha. Best time for visiting is December - May when the animals are gathered on the short grass plains south of the Serengeti. We travelled with Takims Holidays. If you have not booked, I suggest you get a quote from them. Their service is impeccable, They have very knowledgeable drivers and vehicles. Make sure you are getting your own vehicle! We were given a good tip on this site to fly back to Arusha rather than drive back - it was well worth it!
I know it is pricey but it is worth every penny - Tanzania is amazing!
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Old Mar 9th, 2005, 12:18 PM
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It turns out that the name is Classic Escapes, and not Classic Safaris.
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Old Mar 9th, 2005, 12:28 PM
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Howard -

I have to agree with Patty - who is Classic Safaris? Where are they located? If they work in conjunction with zoos, and you indicate their prices are expensive, I can only assume that part of your payment, as a contribution, goes towards that. Now, there is nothing wrong with this, as many of the camps in Africa do work with local communities and some of what visitors pay go towards these communities.

Since you don't mention what you're paying (or your budget), realize that during the month of June, most accommodations haven't yet raised their prices (not till 7/1/05), so June is still "shoulder" season. As well, with the exception of Kirawira Camp, the other Serena properties are considered in the mid-price range, so "what do you consider expensive" per person? Not prying, but this gives us an idea of whether the prices are in line for what you're getting.

From the Serena Mountain Lodge in Arusha, I have to pressume you're flying to Kirawira - is that correct? At Kirawira in the Western Serengeti, this is probably the place where you will find the migrating wildebeests, zebras and antelopes. Therefore, I would suggests at least 3-nts.

From Kirawira you'll be driving back towards the Serengeti Serena, so here 1-nt is sufficient. Then you'll continue by road to the Crater, and then by road to the Lk. Manyara Serena. From Lk. Manyara, you'll be returning to Arusha/Kili for a connecting flight to Ruaha, which I pressume will be via Dar-es-Salaam. This is going to be a very long day. At what time does Classic Safaris have you arriving at Ruaha? Something to consider - a full day of traveling when you can be watching game. Sometimes it's difficult to combine both the northern circuit (first part of your itinerary) with the southern circuit (Ruaha).

An alternative, since it would be mid-June, is to visit instead at Tarangire National Park which is a favorite of all who visit. Tarangire has a mini-migration from mid-June thru October. This park is small, but has the magnificent landscape of the giant baobab trees, unbelievable birds, in addition to the elephants, zebras, lions, wildebeests and on and on.

As mentioned, many on this board prefer to work with in-country outfitters, who offer very competitive pricing. You might want to send your request to Roy Safaris at - they get very good reviews here at Fodors - and see what price they can offer for comparison.

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