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leaving for tanzania on 11/29/06 with Overseas Adventure Travel

leaving for tanzania on 11/29/06 with Overseas Adventure Travel

Nov 1st, 2006, 08:25 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2006
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leaving for tanzania on 11/29/06 with Overseas Adventure Travel

Have never been to Africa and booked this trip somewhat impulsively, after hearing from a friend about a very positive experience with OAT's South Africa/Namibia trip, as well as their trip to India.
Two of us are going (my husband and myself). We have both had hepatitis A boosters and tetanus and will take malaria (malaron) pills. Did anyone get yellow fever or other vaccinations? Also, wonder if anyone's did this particular trip with OAT (Essence of the Serengeti) and wondering also about the lodgings and specifically the bathroom facilities.
elainegary is offline  
Nov 1st, 2006, 09:36 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
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It does not hurt to get a yellow fever shot but no-one will ask to see your yellow certificate because it is a non-issue in Tanzania!

Your safari is actually operated by Kibo Safaris. These guys are good so no worries!

Mama Wilson is owned by the Kibo owner's wife I believe and is comfortable. Bathroom/Shower is normal and flushing!

Maramboi Camp is new. Bathroom/shower is normal and flushing! You can see its location here: http://www.go-safari.com/Tarangire/tarangire.htm

And I have some pictures here: http://www.go-safari.com/Tarangire/Maramboi.htm

I believe you will use the Kibo Deluxe Camping tents in the Serengeti with wooden beds, proper linen, private bucket shower and flushing toilets in the back of each tent (all-enclosed).

Farm House is very nice with normal bathrooms and while not on the Crater Rim it is the closest of the lodges outside the NCA. Location is here: http://www.go-safari.com/NCA/nca.htm

Pictures here: http://www.go-safari.com/Manyara/Farmhouse.htm

Enjoy your safari!
Eben
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2006, 05:22 AM
  #3  
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Eben, thank you so much for your reply. This is the first time I've actually posted something, although I've been reading the Africa&Middle East forum for the last few weeks with great interest. We are so excited about our trip. I have so wanted to see the animals in Africa for so long and I felt overwhelmed when I started researching. So, unlike me, I decided to go with the OAT trip because, as I said, a friend had used them and had a great time on their South Africa/Namibia trip. Always, when I go to Europe, which I go to frequently, I make my own itinerary. Now I'm realizing that the world of Africa travel is enormous and after this trip, I'm sure I'll feel more comfortable and confident about making plans more independently. I looked at your links and see that it is through killwarrior. Is this another tour operator? Are you a tour operator? Anyway, if you have any other information to share, we would be so happy for it. We have each got a camera and binoculars and now we're working on buying deet and hats and we'll be bringing mostly khaki colored clothes. One big question: have you heard of any bad incidents with tourists being hurt by animals? There are two opportunities for walking expeditions. Do you have any opinions about doing them? You seem to know our particular itinerary...so I won't bother sending it to you. Again, thank you so much for your input. Elaine
elainegary is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2006, 05:51 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Elaine-
If you go to the New East Africa Trip report index
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34860283
look for a report from EVELYNTRAV from Feb 2005 - she did up a trip report from her trip with OAT. (Tanzania)
To find it in the index, the reports are more or less in chronological order. Feb 2005 wouldn't be too far into the index.
I'm sure you'll have a great trip & please write a report, when you get back, for us!
LyndaS is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2006, 06:11 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Hi Elaine

Since I have not traveled with OAT, I have to leave the packing tips, etc. to others (maybe that trip report will help).

For a first safari you did fine with your booking with a nice mix of lodges and tented camps.

I know OAT simply because I see their clients so often around Tanzania! They always seem happy! I also know Kibo Safaris and they are first-class (disclaimer, I have no business connection to them).

Yes I do own a safari/trekking business in Arusha.

Interesting interactions with wildlife do occur and over the years there have been a few unpleasant events in Tarangire, Serengeti, Ngorongoro but these are very rare indeed. If you follow your guide's advice you will be perfectly safe. There are guards at the lodges and camps.

You will have opportunities to walk near Maramboi outside Tarangire park, Arusha, Oldupai and the Farm House. None of these are in areas known for big game or cats so with just a little common sense your guides can safely guard you.

Eben
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2006, 12:10 PM
  #6  
 
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I traveled with OAT/Kibo in 2004 and also with Kibo (non-OAT) in 2005. I'm also putting together a group with Kibo for 2007. Kibo will take good care of you! Eben has given you good info on the camps and lodges. One thing that might be different is this: in the past, OAT hasn't paid to have Kibo's luxury mobile tents in the Serengeti. That meant that the toilet was simply a hole dug in the ground with a box set over it as a toilet. A bucket of dirt was next to it to dump in the hole after you "did your business." I don't know if OAT has now upgraded to the tents with the flush toilets, or not. I would check with them. Either way, you'll have a great experience!

It's extremely rare for anyone to be injured by a wild animal while on safari. You'll be in enclosed vehicles with roof hatches that will be open for game viewing when you are in the parks. The drivers are especially careful around elephants, to ensure that they are not encroaching into the animal's comfort zone. At Maramboi and then mobile tented camp, you'll have an escort to your tent at night, in case there are animals about. The animals look at a tent wall as if it were a brick wall, so they don't try to enter. You'll love hearing all the sounds of an African night!

There have been quite a few posts here on Fodor's about packing for safari. You can get laundry done at any lodge or camp. In fact, it's free at the mobile tented camp. Don't overpack. I think OAT still supplies you with a duffel bag that they recommend you use, as there isn't much luggage space in the safari vehicles for transfers between locations.

One suggestion I would make is to get Mark Nolting's "African Safari Journal". It has a TON of info that is helpful while preparing for your safari, as well as while you're on it. I've found them at Border's or you can order it online.

If you'd like to see my photos from the 2004 OAT trip, go to http://sharontaylor.smugmug.com. The main differences are that OAT now uses Kibo's new camp Maramboi, instead of the Tarangire River Camp, which they sold. Also, they no longer go to Arusha NP or Lake Manyara NP.
ShayTay is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2006, 06:35 PM
  #7  
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Lynda, Sharon, Eben...Thank you all so much for your responses, regarding my very first trip to Africa on Nov. 29th. Have looked at all of your fantastic photos, Sharon, and also went to the New East Africa trip report that Lynda suggested, and the various links that Eben included. You are all so knowledgeable! You already know that we'll be at the Maramboi Camp, which we have not yet been told. (It just says Tarangire Tented River Camp for nights 4 and 5, and OAT's private tented camp for nights 8-11.
No matter. We're so excited. We booked only about two weeks ago...there were just 2 vacancies left for this trip and nothing for December, which I had initially asked for. We're awaiting our tickets. They're probably still working on booking the flights. OAT only mentioned bringing dollars; so we're happy about Eben's suggestion of changing money at the airport for Tanzanian money. Any thoughts about phoning if we want to phone home occasionally? I guess maybe a pre-paid card for the few times we'll have the possibility...also, thanks for the suggestion of buying Mark Nolting's African Safari journal. I bought his book "Africa's Top Wildlife Countries" when I was researching and it was great. I actually called his company, but I had already been in contact with OAT and felt that I should seize the opportunity of the two slots available end of November. Any thoughts about weather beginning of Dec. through Dec. 12th? I guess, dress in layers!

Okay, again, thank you a million.
elainegary is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2006, 08:42 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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I haven't had a chance to write a trip report yet, but I just returned from the OAT Kenya/Tanzania trip, which I enjoyed a lot. OAT is a perfect choice for a safari beginner.

While my trip was not the same as yours, I can pretty much guarantee that while they will do their best to have reasonable bathroom accomodations in the lodgings, you will also encounter quite primitive situations during the day.

Bring hand sanitizer and a sense of humor.

I had a wonderful time.

Their packing recommendations are pretty good, but they put too much emphasis on bringing 'polo-style' shirts, which take too long to dry. It is very helpful to take a few quick-dry T-shirt style shirts.

Also, my best find was to bring a buff kerchief (you can do an online search for 'original buff'. It is overpriced, yet worth it. It is an elastic tubular kerchief that can be work as a scarf or hat, or kerchief, or whatever. It is great for keeping dust out of your hair. I hunted around until I got mine on sale ($13 instead of the normal $20).

I'll try to write a trip report with other details on what was helpful.
ann_nyc is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2006, 03:27 PM
  #9  
 
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Given the itinerary of the OAT Tanzania trip, you don't really need to exchange dollars into Tanzanian shillings. Most of the gift shops, etc, price everything in dollars. If you really want TZ shillings, you can do that at Mama Wilson's. When you arrive at the airport and proceed out of the baggage area with your luggage, the guides will be waiting for you. They will immediately load you and your luggage into the safari vehicles for the trip back to Arusha. It's in the evening and you won't really have a chance to go looking for a currency exchange place (don't know if they are open that time of night.)

You won't find anywhere to make a phone call while on your safari. Most of the prepaid cards don't have a Tanzania access number, anyway. You might be able to send an e-mail from Mama Wilson's or the Farmhouse (?), though. In a real pinch, there is an internet cafe in Karatu and you might be able to catch a ride there from the Farmhouse if one of the guides was going into town for fuel.
ShayTay is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2006, 03:39 PM
  #10  
 
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For weather check pages 58-59 of your book plus here is a link that includes the Serengeti.

http://www.safarilands.org/np_serengeti.php

You might also consider taking along the Safari Journal a handbook by Mark Nolting.

No endless weighing this park vs that, hand wringing on accommodations, or rewriting itineraries for you. You just jumped right in with just enough time to get excited and pack.

Have a wonderful safari.
atravelynn is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2006, 08:22 PM
  #11  
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Ann, Sharon, Lynn...my most recent responders...Thanks again for your help and insights. I am so hooked on reading this forum! It has opened up a whole new world for me.
Anyway, Ann, I would imagine your recent (how recent was your trip?) OAT trip was very similar to my upcoing one...at least the Tanzanian part? A friend of mine who was on safari in Kenya last year, loaned me Orvis buzz-off clothes. I think they'll be great. And I'll bear in mind your recommendations about the buff kerchief and the t-shirts. I've got bad allergies to dust, among other things. Just how bad was it? I'm wondering if I should take some of those dust masks along? And also, one writer suggested buying a Magellan inflatable cushion for the rides in the jeep. Were they really that bumpy and uncomfortable? Is it okay to wear white-ish sneakers or should I bring hiking boots? Boy, I'm re-reading my questions and realizing that I'm sounding more cautious than I like sounding! Oh well, may as well do the asking now.

Thanks, Sharon, for clarifying about the money issues. OAT did say to just bring dollars and we'd be fine.

And Lynne, thanks for the support. I could start "second-guessing" myself with my pretty quick decision to do this trip. But each time I start, I must stop, because of the support I get from folks like all of you.
elainegary is offline  
Nov 4th, 2006, 05:01 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Dust--if you have allergies, it could be a problem in areas, so you'll want to take precautions. I've seen people with a thick light colored scarf covering their entire face for protection, also from sun. With sunglasses and a big hat they were like the invsibile man (woman). Whatever does the trick is fine as fashion matters not. Throw in some dust masks by all means. The whole safari was not one entire dust bowl, though.

Sometimes it gets real bumpy. I would think that sitting on wadded up clothing would provide as much cushion as a special pillow. The best advice is to just roll with it, like riding a horse. Don't tense your muscles and fight the bumps. You can take some Aleve with you.

For a traditional safari, even one with short bush walks around the camp, regular sneakers are fine. Boots are not needed unless you are doing long hikes.

It is better to ask all the questions now.

atravelynn is offline  
Nov 4th, 2006, 05:27 AM
  #13  
 
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Hmmm, it is interesting that OAT encourages using dollars! IMO it encourages bad habits. It is not just Americans who travel to Tanzania.

While it is fine to drop dollars in the tip boxes at lodges and camps, I prefer to pay in shillings when I am quoted in shillings. If not, most smaller places will simply say $1= 1000sh. Larger places will use a calculator with a horrible exchange rate. This quickly adds to a good some of money being lost - I guess it's just me who has a tight budget

When they quote you in dollars always ask for the price in shillings as well. You may be surprised.

BTW, the exchange facility at JRO is modern and efficient and right next to the meeting area - 20 feet away! In my experience they offer a very good exchange rate much better than any of the hotels including the Impala and I am sure Mama Tembo's!

Shaytay, please tell us more about your upcoming group tour!

climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Nov 4th, 2006, 06:32 AM
  #14  
 
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Mama Wilson, not Mama Tembo!
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Nov 4th, 2006, 09:30 AM
  #15  
 
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Hi Eben,

I'm sure Willy's wife (and son Wilson) appreciates the correction! I didn't mean to totally discourage the use of TZ shillings. It's just that the places that OAT stops seem to have their pricing in dollars. Even the Maasai village quoted prices in dollars. Given that the exchange rate is now closer to TZS1300 to $1, rather than TZS1100 to $1 when I was there last, it may be wise to go ahead and exchange a few dollars for shillings. If ElaineGary would ask their guide, he might give them time to do so at the airport. Of course, the guides are trying to get the group together and go (14 to 15 people), so they may prefer to have them exchange somewhere else. A light supper is served upon arrival at Mama Wilson's, so they don't want to delay very long at the airport.

I put together a trip last year for an Oregon bank club that was similar to Kibos' OAT itinerary. I had several people say they would love to go to Tanzania, so I'm putting together another one for June 2007. I'm NOT a travel agent or planner, just someone who loves Africa and wants people to visit. I think that Tanzania is the perfect place to start. As we all know, once you go to Africa, you'll always want to return! I've been to Africa 7 times, from groups of 14 in Tanzania to two people in Botswana and Zimbabwe. Each trip was wonderful and I actually enjoy the groups. I hesitate posting the details of my trip here on ElaineGary's thread, but if anyone is interested, they can e-mail me at DIVEDIVE99 at aol dot com. It includes more than OAT's trip (Lake Eyasi and the Hadzabe and/or Datoga, for instance.)
ShayTay is offline  
Nov 4th, 2006, 09:12 PM
  #16  
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Author: elainegary ([email protected])
Date: 11/05/2006, 01:08 am
Hi to Lynn, Eben, and Sharon on this newest round of posts...I'm all for not being so "U.S.-dollar-centric and will be happy to change some money into shillings, if it turns out to be do-able. On another note, have bought Ultrathon insect repellent and will buy permethrin to spray on clothes and feel that will cover us...Received our airline tickets today plus the list of the other folks we'll be with (15in all) and am happy about OAT's find organizing thus far...I am really getting so excited about the trip. I am so thrilled about seeing the animals and being in Africa...






elainegary is offline  
Nov 5th, 2006, 05:33 PM
  #17  
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hi again. As we prepare to leave on the 29th of november, we are slowly organizing. We bought deet and today ordered online sawyer's permethrin to spray our clothes with. Is this overkill or appropriate? It will be early December when we're in Tanzania and not really sure what to expect as far as mosquitos,tse-tse flies,etc.
elainegary is offline  
Nov 6th, 2006, 06:52 AM
  #18  
 
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As far as the dust goes, expect it to be VERY dusty. On the other hand, this is not the same as house dust with the allergic dust mites, it is simply powdered dirt. So it is irritating, but you may not be as allergic as you expect. That being said, I have to do another plug for the 'buff' kerchief, since you can pull it over your nose and mouth if you need to and breathe through it.

I didn't need hiking boots, but used sturdy walking sneakers. If your trip has hikes that may be different for you. You don't want to have to take multiple shoes, so be sure to take something comfortable that you can walk and stand in, and that you don't mind getting dirty.

I did spray my clothing with the permethrin spray before I left, and I'm not sure whether that is why I was not overly troubled by the bugs. Actually, I was a minimalist and just sprayed the collars and cuffs!

I was worried about the bugs too, but it was all manageable. I brought the Sawyer controlled release Deet, and wore the permethrin clothes, and most days it was no problem at all. There were a few days when the tse tse flies were troublesome, and a few evenings when the mosquitos were a pain, but less than I was afraid of.

All my life I've been the person who got bit/stung the most, and suddenly it was the reverse. I'm not sure whether to attribute it to the clothing treatment, the Sawyer, or what. Also, I avoided floral scented toiletries, but since I love washing with a nice scent I compromised by using the Eucalyptus aromatherapy bath gel from Bath and Body (on the theory that Eucalyptus is a bug repellant anyway). I'm not sure why my combination worked, but it did. I brought 2 bottles of bug repellant and only used 1/2 bottle.

The travel is definitely bumpier than any roads we are used to. Bring a sports bra -- really! I appreciated my inflatable cushion. Some people used them and some did not. I also found a secondary use for it when trying to pack a bottle of liquor to take home, suddenly realizing I couldn't take it in my carry-on. (Try Amarulo if you get a chance - it tastes like a combination of Baileys and Frangelico).

Have a wonderful time!

ann_nyc is offline  
Nov 6th, 2006, 07:46 AM
  #19  
 
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And with enough Amarula you may not care about the bumps.

Good point on the sports bra, Ann!
atravelynn is offline  
Nov 6th, 2006, 11:48 AM
  #20  
 
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If you have access to an unlocked GSM 900/1800 cell phone, you can buy a local SIM card and airtime credit on arrival. That would be the easiest way to make a few occasional calls. You'll have a Tanzanian phone number, so you'll need to give your new number to those at home if you want them to be able to reach you. Anyone calling you will pay long distance to Tanzania.

You can also ask your cell provider to activate international roaming (provided you have a compatible phone) if you just plan to use it for emergencies. The cost of the calls will be more expensive using your cell provider's intl roaming (around $5 per min) vs a local SIM but you keep the same phone number as you would at home and anyone calling you will pay the same rate as what they would normally pay to call your cell number.

A third option if you don't have a compatible GSM phone, is to ask to use your guide's cell phone and either buy airtime credit or reimburse him in cash for the calls you make.

Have a great trip!
Patty is online now  

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