Moment of Truth-Tanz Safari Choice

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Oct 18th, 2005, 09:45 AM
  #1
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Moment of Truth-Tanz Safari Choice

Hi All!
Thanks to all of your help, I have finally narrowed it down to four operators. They are Hoopoe, Green Footprint, Africa Dream Safaris, and Duma Explorer. The itineraries start out all pretty similar, so I'll ask only about the parts that differ. Each one has two nights each Tarangire, Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater. It gets different for the Serengeti and for Zanzibar. This trip is for the first two weeks of December this year:
Option 1-- Two nights Southern Serengeti at Ndutu TWo nights Central Serengeti at Kirawira
Option 2-- One night "small luxury tented camp" and 3 nights Southern Serengeti in Sayari
Option 3-- Two nights "central" Serengeti Acacia Seronera Spec Camp and 2 nights Southern Serengeti Kusini Tented Lodge
Option 4-- One night Ndutu, 3 nights Olakira.
In the Serengeti, we want some great camping experience and it's hard to tell which would be the better option.

In Zanzibar, the different itineraries have for Chumbe, The Palms, Matemwe Bungalows, or Mnembe Bungalows. Any thoughts here?

Last, only difference in front part of itinerary is at Tarangire, 3 recommended Swala and one recommended Tarangire Treetops.

Price-wise, they're all pretty close (expensive). It's a private safari for two and at what I guess are considered upscale accommodations.

Any final advice is very much appreciated, and I will be booking this week!

Thanks.
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Oct 18th, 2005, 09:59 AM
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Marcus,
Could you refresh my memory re: when you'll be travelling?

"It's a private safari for two and at what I guess are considered upscale accommodations." That made me smile. Yes, I think so.
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Oct 18th, 2005, 10:29 AM
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Hi,
The trip is for the first two weeks of December this year! And in Zanzibar, I meant Matemwe, The Palms, or Mnemba Island Lodge.
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Oct 18th, 2005, 10:34 AM
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Option 1 - Kirawira is in the western not central Serengeti and I don't think there's any particular reason to choose this location in early December. Plus this is the only option that sounds like it doesn't include any nights spent at semi-permanent/mobile camps which I think is what you're looking for (great camping experience)?

Based on those factors, I might rule out this option first.

Option 2 - where is the small luxury tented camp on the first night?

Option 4 - according to Eben's map, the location of Ndutu lodge and Olakira camp are very close so not sure if it makes sense to split the stay unless it's an availability issue.

Others can probably better advise but I would think that you'd want to split your stay between two different locations - perhaps between the central and southern Serengeti areas?

Have you taken a look at Eben's website which has downloadable Google Earth maps with the locations of camps and lodges in the Serengeti and other parks?

Here's the link to the Serengeti page -
http://www.go-safari.com/Serengeti/serengeti.htm
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Oct 18th, 2005, 10:35 AM
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Marcus

Good choices! You can hardly go wrong with any of these!

But, I will throw my hat into the ring and say the following:

Option 1. Kirawira is not the central Serengeti! Early Dec is not the best time for Kirawira.

Option 2. Sayari is at Piaya so the game drives will be a bit long to see the herds on the plains but you get walks, etc. I hope the small luxury camp is near Seronera or Ndutu!

Option 3. It is early for Kusini, but I like the central Serengeti option although I've never heard of Acacia Special Camp!

Option 4. Placing you in the Ndutu area for 4 nights. A gamble as the herds may not be there yet.

I like options 2 & 3. Option 2 is using a well-known high-quality camp in a great area. Option 3 has that Acacia camp which I don't know.

On Zanzibar, Mnemba and the Palms cannot be compared with the others. Ultra luxury vs. the rest. Chumbe is rustic but eco-friendly and unique but certainly not exclusive.

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Oct 18th, 2005, 10:44 AM
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If Option 3 is the Africa Dream Safari itinerary, then it could be a private camp similar to what's described here -

http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/lo...xury-camp.html
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Oct 18th, 2005, 10:45 AM
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We just got back from Swala and Fundu Lagoon on Pemba Island - both were fantastic. Fundu is very upscale - you should look into this as well. See my other post - trip report will be forthcoming very soon...
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Oct 18th, 2005, 10:47 AM
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Marcus, you couldn't ask for better input than Eben's. Maybe you could try to find out where the Acacia campsite is.

Also, in Tarangire I might go with Swala just because it's in the park and Treetops is outside of it. Someone recently returned and had great things to say about her time at Swala--although of course different time of year. However, I understand Treetops is pretty amazing. You probably can't go wrong with either of these two.

Good luck.
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Oct 18th, 2005, 11:41 AM
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I forgot about Tarangire!

Yes, given the choices Swala also gets my vote. Staying inside the park has its perks. I have a video of Swala from 2 years ago here: http://www.go-safari.com/Tarangire/Swala.htm

You can just sit and watch the wildlife at the waterhole about 75 yards away! No other camp in Tarangire has this luxury!

Treetops is a different experience with great rooms but the 45min drive to/from the park will always be a bother if your focus is mainly on seeing wildlife. http://www.go-safari.com/Tarangire/Treetops.htm
Eben
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Oct 18th, 2005, 11:59 AM
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Marcus:
Sounds fantastic. Re your Zbar choices there are very large price differences among them. The Palms is at least twice the cost of Matemwe bungalows and Mnemba is even more than the Palms. Besides cost you will have to decide what style you prefer--Matemwe bungalows and Mnemba are eco-resort style, no air con. The Palms is "villa" style with aircon. It is next to Bluebay (or some other resort). The most exclusive will be Mnemba--the only resort on the island and no day-trippers allowed.
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Oct 18th, 2005, 12:19 PM
  #11
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In case you want to consider this--I looked at Paul Olver's web site re their camps (Olakira and Sayari) and he recommends splitting time between the two. Here is the website that shows the locations for the camps.

http://www.paul-oliver.com/safaris/about_recent.html
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Oct 18th, 2005, 12:30 PM
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Another website I can drool all over, thanks, bat
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Oct 18th, 2005, 12:45 PM
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That is funny Patty because that is what I have been doing--thoroughly reading that website--while intermittently checking for my AMEX rewards prize to pop up! [I am really scaring myself.]
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Oct 18th, 2005, 12:56 PM
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Hi All,
On option 3, it is ADS and the Acacia camp site is very close to Seronera, within a few km. I understand. On option 2, I still don't know where the "luxury camp site" is. It sounds like from Eben's post that Seronera is somewhere I'd want to be that time of year? This would certainly boost option 3?

As for Zanzibar, how much of a haul is it to get to either The Palms or to Mnembe Island? If only for two days will I be losing a lot of it in transit?

Last, I've noticed that some operators will hold the space for you at accommodations, and others don't really check until you've signed something/sent a deposit. What's the word on this? Is there a risk of signing on and paying and then not having your accommodations available?

Thank you all for this ongoing help!
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Oct 18th, 2005, 01:08 PM
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I wouldn't send a deposit until I have the tour operator's confirmation in writing that all accomodations have been secured.

I know accomodation isn't being held in the initial quote process, but I've always thought that once I ask an operator to go ahead and book the itinerary that they would confirm that everything's available first before I send my deposit. Is this not how all of them work?
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Oct 18th, 2005, 01:26 PM
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Now that you've located Acacia, I'm liking option 3 better and better. Because the Seronera is central, you run less of a risk of being "stuck" somewhere far from the herds. And there is quite a bit of resident wildlife in the Seronera area as well--many cats, esp. lions.

Please someone correct me if I'm wrong.
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Oct 18th, 2005, 01:34 PM
  #17
bat
 
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re deposit without confirmation, I seem to recall that some companies did want a deposit pre confirmation with the promise of no obligation if they could not commit to the agreed accommodations--cannot recall which companies.
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Oct 18th, 2005, 01:48 PM
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Marcus

ADS don't operate their own safaris & camps. Do you know who the operator is of Acacia Camp? My current list of special camps from TANAPA is only 5 months old and there is no such camp site according to this list!

There is an Acacia camp in the NCA though.
Eben
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Oct 18th, 2005, 01:56 PM
  #19
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Marcus:
Options 2 and 4 both use one or the other of the Olakira/sayari camps (which are operated by the same company)--are you sure you do not want to ask them to do a 2/2 split between the two? [Eben, please quick jump in if this is bad advice]. You said you wanted some incredible camping.
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Oct 18th, 2005, 02:02 PM
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ADS website says they use "Seronera 10" (?) as their special campsite in December. Maybe they've given it a special name?

Question for Eben: who does ADS use for this kind of special luxury camping?

Marcus, sorry to get off topic. If you can verify the camp is Seronera I think option 3 is a winner. And sorry, I don't know anything about high-end options on Zanzibar. (You should see where we stayed
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