Mawe Ninga - Tarangire

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Jan 4th, 2006, 04:11 PM
  #1
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Mawe Ninga - Tarangire

(I wanted to separate this from my existing thread on the issue, in order to hopefully capture the attention of anyone who has visited Mawe Ninga or other Tarangire camps)

I was trying to book myself two nights at Swala for the end of February, but I have been told by my agent, ATR, that it is sold out. As an alternative, they have suggested that I visit Mawe Ninga, and there is availability at this camp. I am a bit skeptical on whether or not Swala is actually sold out, so I am investigating further.

Mawe Ninga would be $300 less than Swala but it still does not appeal to me after reading a few less than glowing reviews on this forum. It is ranked as the top lodge in the area by ATR, but this does nothing more than heighten my suspicions!

Meanwhile, I have responded to ATR by requesting that they check availability at Olivers Camp. This will be even more expensive than Swala, but I just want the best available option. I do really like Olivers Camp website and it does seem like a very upmarket camp.

CURRENT ITINERARY

Moivaro Coffee Lodge (3) I was planning on running a marathon, but I am now flaking out on it.
Lake Manyara Tree Lodge (2)
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (2)
Olduvai Camp (1)
Nomad Masek (2)
Nomad Piaya (2)
Mbuzi Mawe (2)
Palms Zanzibar (3)
Serena Inn Zanzibar (2)

DESIRED REVISED ITINERARY

Moivaro Coffee Lodge (1)
Olivers Camp (2) Unless I can find Swala through another operator
Remainder of itinerary the same as above.

POSSIBLE ACCEPTABLE ITINERARY IF I CANNOT FIND ACCEPTABLE TARANGIRE ACCOMODATIONS

Moivaro Coffee Lodge (2)
Lake Manyara Tree Lodge (2) This would require moving up Lake Manyara and Ngorongro Crater by a day, which would be a challenge and likely result in a change fee.
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (2)
Olduvai Camp (2) I realize that this is the same company that runs Mawe Ninga, but I have heard good things about this camp with the exception of the Civets acting as the dishwashers...still not clear whether or not the Olduvai Camp staff washed the dishes afterward or simply reset the tables with the plates that had been licked clean. I can live with feeding the Civets, providing the plates/utensils are then washed with soap & water...after all, I have 10 dogs!
Nomad Masek (2)
Nomad Piaya (2)
Mbuzi Mawe (2)
Palms Zanzibar (3)
Serena Inn, Zanzibar (2)


Please feel free to chime in if you have any other Tarangire suggestions. Unfortunately, it seems that ATR, like most operators, has their favorites. While I can completely understand this, as I have my favorites also when suggesting camps/lodges, when their favorites don't match my favorites, it starts to be a problem!

Ultimately, I may accept Mawe Ninga, but I am not sure. Olivers Camp is almost as satisfying to me as would a Swala booking, but then it falls way off the chart from there. If anything, while not quite as reputable, Olivers Camp looks even nicer to me than Swala.

Here is Olivers Camp website:

www.oliverscamp.com
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Jan 4th, 2006, 05:33 PM
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I can't recall: what, other than not-so-good food, the issues were at Mawe Ninga? I mean, I understand it's not exactly Rocco-level accommodations, but what were the problems? Dirty tents, poor management, unfriendly staff...?
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Jan 4th, 2006, 05:34 PM
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p.s. This "It is ranked as the top lodge in the area by ATR, but this does nothing more than heighten my suspicions!" made me laugh out loud. Rocco, you are becoming the Sherlock Holmes of the safari circuit.

Good luck with your sleuthing!
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Jan 4th, 2006, 05:54 PM
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I like this link from Africa Dream Safaris that has many photos of Mawe Ninga:

http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/lo...inga-camp.html

Although it seems to have nice views, being perched so high on that hill, I would believe that gameviewing from camp would be rather limited. I experienced the same at Chichele Presidential Lodge in South Luangwa, as it is perched atop Chichele Hill. Meanwhile, a mere kilometer away and 3/4 of the way down the hill, Puku Ridge offered very good gameviewing right from camp, with leopards and lions spotted each day from camp.

More on Mawe Ninga:

Here are a couple posts made on different Fodors threads that have me concerned about Mawe Ninga:

Author: basto
Date: 12/28/2005, 04:43 am
Hello Safari274,
My impression of Mave Ninga is that it is a small, intimate and nice camp. The tents are new and have a great view. Dining area also have a nice view, especially during sunset. But wildlife was not present during our visit in October, we had to drive a bit before starting to see animals. As a conclusion: itīs a good camp but perhaps not as perfect as when you read the rating on ATR homepage...


Author: amfs
Date: 11/01/2005, 12:17 pm
mawe ninga - a beautiful remote camp with amazing views and really friendly staff. BUT even though its in the middle of the camp you still had to drive a good 40 mins to see any animals. And the food wasnt great. One night it was coconut cake for dessert and my piece had mould on it. so if you're into your food its probably not the place for you.


Author: climbhighsleeplow
Date: 11/01/2005, 02:11 pm
It is great to hear feedback on some of these often-talked about camps and lodges!

Thank you!

I am disappointed that the food issue at Mawe Ninga and Oldupai Camps are still an issue. It was a serious issue when when I visited with friends (and climbing clients) in 2004 and while trip reports about these camps are rare, the service issue has remained a common theme ever since. It gets worse if you are picky or have special dietary needs.

I've always liked these camps (for reasons other than wildlife viewing I must say), and my pictures on www.go-safari.com clearly show the beautiful views at both places.

My sincere hope is that someone at MKSC will finally take action and start training their staff and kitchen to be on par with increasing accommodation competition in the NCA, Serengeti and Tarangire.



>>>Now Eben's (Climbhighsleeplow) is an opinion that I greatly trust. Although I could probably find more issues with Mawe Ninga, the above are enough to give me hesitation in booking two nights there. Hopefully Olivers Camp will be available. I will pray to the safari gods tonight, and I would appreciate it if anybody reading this would do the same!
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Jan 4th, 2006, 06:08 PM
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Ohhh. Thanks for digging those comments up. I do remember being disappointed when seeing them, primarily the not-great-fame-area ones, as that's my #1 consideration. I could have saved some bucks by staying at the (not Rocco worthy) Tarangire Safari Lodge, which I believe is in a fantastic location.

Fingers are crossed for Oliver's Camp for you. But hey, big spender, what about private luxury mobile camping???
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Jan 4th, 2006, 06:08 PM
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Too bad eben can't quote himself--but not too bad that he is in Africa!
Here is another Eben quote comparing Mawe Ninga with Treetops--rocco have you considered Treetops?

BTW, these comments predate the "bad food" comments from recent visitors.

"Both are good camps. But they offer different experiences.

Treetops is about 40min outside the park which can be problemmatic if your main aim is seeing wildlife (especially cats) and you have to drive back & forth - although you may see wildlife along the way. Mawe Ninga is inside to the west and while we did not see any wildlife round the camp (in Jul-Oct the big game tend to be more east towards the swamp), you are closer to the general viewing areas.

Treetops is unique in that you stay in elevated open rooms in Baobab trees! I love these trees and find this very exciting. They have a little pool and the lounge/dining room is also built around a huge tree. Sleeping at night with the canvas wide open in a "tree house" complete with shower and toilet is quite romantic and perfect for couples.

Mawe Ninga has new permanent tents with great views towards the west. A nice place to sit and watch the sunset with a drink and afterwards gather around the open fire on the deck. You can also relax on the balcony of your tent. They use young Maasai men to provide security.

For me, location, new tents and sunset views are pluses for Mawe Ninga. Uniqueness, romance, lounge/dining room layout, baobabs and the "wow" factor are pluses for Treetops."

Here is the link
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34597806
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Jan 4th, 2006, 06:09 PM
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Oops. I meant not-great-Game-area comments.
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Jan 4th, 2006, 06:11 PM
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rocco:
Don't forget that if you get "stuck" in Arusha, you can do a very nice day trip to Arusha NP and go CANOEING [can't do that anywhere else you are going].
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Jan 4th, 2006, 06:36 PM
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After seeing more of Tree Tops, I do think I would also enjoy this camp very much. I did not realize that each room was set in a Baobab Tree...wow, what an amazing and spiritual, if you will, experience!

Okay, Olivers Camp and Tree Tops would both work out just fine, although I am still investigating Swala.
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Jan 4th, 2006, 06:48 PM
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bat,

Unfortunately, my wife is not one for canoeing when there are crocodiles and hippos around. If I do get stuck in Arusha, I will likely do a half day visit to Arusha NP and a cultural visit. It would be something like this:

http://www.roysafaris.com/cultural.html
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Jan 4th, 2006, 07:12 PM
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rocco:
If you wind up with an Arusha cultural visit--there is a women's collective in the area. If you do not have the info I can find it.
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Jan 4th, 2006, 07:15 PM
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bat, and Rocco too, I guess, have you booked your Arusha NP thing with ATR? I was thinking of playing that part by ear a bit because we will be with The Mom, and I'm not sure just how exhausted she'll be after 2 long-haul flights in steerage class.
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Jan 4th, 2006, 07:25 PM
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leely:
I booked the Arusha NP directly with Green Footprints [they do the canoeing even if your day trip is scheduled with someone else--as I understand it--but they will do the whole day trip as well.] We are in Arusha our first 3 nights--so I scheduled a massage, a yoga lesson and a school visit (all through our lodge Ngare Sero) for our first day and then the Arusha NP day trip with canoeing through GreenFootprints. I dealt with Mary-
[email protected]

Remind me how long you are in Arusha before you start--2 nights? You can schedule a late start for the next day if that is what you want. Or ask her if it is possible to book when you arrive.
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Jan 4th, 2006, 07:30 PM
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bat, thanks, you are a lifesaver! We have two nights in Arusha. Over the weekend, so no UN Tribunal for us.

Wish I could remember the name of that fun roadhouse we hit the last time we were there--if it even has a name.
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Jan 5th, 2006, 06:16 AM
  #15
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Leely:
I do not know if we will make it to the tribunal. Our only weekday is our first day. The website does not have the Feb schedule up yet so I don't know yet if we will be able to go that morning. We have a school visit for the afternoon and that is the only time to do that. Since you do not have to make prior arrangments to attend the tribunal, we can play that by ear.
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Jan 5th, 2006, 06:17 AM
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ps, you are welcome and now I want to know the name of that roadhouse!
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Jan 5th, 2006, 06:37 AM
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Leely - The roadhouse - is that the garage during day, restaurant at night? If so, and I don't recall the name, but it's one of the busiest places in Arusha at night.
 
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Jan 5th, 2006, 08:29 AM
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hi roccco

I check fodors the odd time to see if any new photos have been posted up and saw your thread.
I think you quoted me on what I said about Mawe Ninga.
It is a beautiful camp but there is no wildlife around (apart from the lizards) but I'm not too sure if thats because of the time of year it was.
We really wanted to stay in treetops but ATR kept telling us MN was much better. We kept hassling them about booking us into treetops and they finally admitted that they dont have a 'working relationship' with the owners of treetops, so could not book us there. This was very dodgy in my opinion but it was so close to our wedding that we relented and went with MN. they said the same about migration camp.

Looking back I loved staying at MN, but if you really like luxury then go with treetops, as you will still have a long enough drive to see game from MN anyway. and treetops does look amazing, and I have heard glowing reports on it.

Hope that helps...
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Jan 5th, 2006, 10:18 AM
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amfs-
Really enjoyed your trip report; thanks.
That is so weird that ATR said they don't deal with Treetops....it is featured on their website as one of the top places to stay:
http://www.africatravelresource.com/...tl/18-TTTT.htm

Something is weird about that....
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Jan 5th, 2006, 11:07 AM
  #20
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Thanks for the feedback.

Wow...this is really going to be a tough decision. If I am not offered the possibility of Treetops, then I am left with the two below choices:

1. Bite the bullet and stay two nights at Mawe Ninga.

2. Do one night of fly-camping near Olivers Camp and then one night at Olivers camp.

I am still awaiting word whether or not the Lake Manyara Tree Lodge is able to bump up my visit by two nights. If so, I would do Lake Manyara BEFORE Tarangire, and Swala has confirmed availability for the 27th and 28th (where I am currently booked at Lake Manyara Tree Lodge). Although it creates 2 hours more driving in each direction, this may likely be the best option. Since I have started doing boxing photography, I have been driving MYSELF almost all over the State of California, so I think I have built up at least an immunity to having a chauffeur driven safari vehicle for a couple extra hours through Africa!

ATR, to their credit, has been working diligently and has been in constant communication with me since I requested this change. I have been promised availability and pricing on each option by tomorrow (including a request by me to spend two nights at Treetops). So far they have not told me that they do not deal with Treetops, but curiously, they have not acknowledged the Treetops request either! ?????
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