Need help - Tanzania Safari Choice

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Jan 26th, 2006, 01:10 PM
  #1
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Need help - Tanzania Safari Choice

I'm looking for a little advice.

I'll be in Tanzania with two co-worker/friends in February. We made arrangements for a Kilimanjaro hike months ago but have not settled on the safari.

Here are the two choices.

Option 1: Total Price $3880
21 Feb - Lake Manyara Serena (1 SGL, 1 TWIN)
22 Feb - Ndutu Lodge (1 room three beds)
22 Feb - Ndutu Lodge (1 room three beds)
24 Feb - Plantation Lodge (1 family/triple room)

Day 1 Drive to Lake Manyara, Game Drive and Picnic Lunch in Park
Day 2 Game drive in Serengeti
Day 3 Guided walk in Ndutu area
Day 4 Ngorongoro Crater tour, drive to Lake Manyara Serena
Day 5 Morning and afternoon activities cost per basis, transfer to Airport

Provider: Mount Kilimanjaro Safari Club


Option 2: Total price $3015 US
21 Feb - Ngorongoro Sopa (3 SGLs)
22 Feb - Serengeti Sopa (3 SGLs)
22 Feb - Serengeti Serena (3 SGLs)
24 Feb - Gibbs Farm (3 SGLs)

Day 1 Drive to Ngorongoro, Game Drive and Picnic Lunch
Day 2 Game drive in Ngorongoro Crater
Day 3 Game drive in Serengeti
Day 4 Game viewing in Serengeti
Day 5 Game drive at Lake Manyara and transfer to Airport

Provider: East African Safari & Touring Company

Both options include a group of three with all game viewing in 4WD land rover or Land cruiser with English speaking guide, all full board accommodation throughout, all park fees and conservation fees, all village fees, unlimited kilometers on game drives, all walking safaris and night drives as stated.

Here are my questions:
I couldn't find East African Safari & Touring Company listed with TATO. Are they an approved Agency?
The lodging with Mount Kilimanjaro Safari Club looks better but fewer rooms and only includes one day Serengeti park fees. Is it worth the extra $900?
The price for EASTCO appears to be too low. Should I be concerned?

Which one would you choose?
DJ_19563 is offline  
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Jan 26th, 2006, 01:41 PM
  #2
 
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I believe EASTCO is on the ministry of tourism list of licensed operators - http://www.tourismtanzania.go.tz/Doc...t%20Agents.pdf

I found a company listed there as The East Africa Safaris & Touring Co. Ltd and assume it's the same. Here's a trip report that used EASTCO as the operator - http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34569264

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Jan 26th, 2006, 02:22 PM
  #3
 
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Gosh, this is a toughie. I'm no expert, but I guess I might lean toward the Option 2 just because they have you in the Seronera Valley--not necessarily where the migration will be but an area with a lot of resident wildlife; there's no way you'd NOT see lions there.

If you do go with option 1, I'd skip the walk just to have another day of game drives. This is a short safari, and you'll have walked a lot on Kili already.

Curious to hear what Sandi, Eben, Sonali and other regular visitors have to say.

And, of course, good luck on your climb and safari njema!
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Jan 26th, 2006, 05:30 PM
  #4
aby
 
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Leely
don't forget it's FEBRUARY
Ndutu is the place to be in order to see the migration & Calving !
about the walk - it is not for hikimg sake (as compared to Kili)- walking among wildlife without the iron shield is another experience !!!
aby
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Jan 26th, 2006, 05:51 PM
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Oh, aby, I agree. It's just such a short safari, I'd be afraid of being stuck someplace if the herds happened not to be there for some reason!

I was just kidding about the walking/hiking (see the smiley).
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Jan 26th, 2006, 06:24 PM
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You must choose Ndutu in February (as aby said).

You mentioned in an earlier thread that you were hoping to stay somewhere after your Kili climb that you could "enjoy beds, hot showers and flush toilets. We're looking forward to game drives and would enjoy a nature walk or something similar but we'd also like to spend time in camp/lodge relaxing and enjoying the surroundings."

If East African Safari & Touring Company has accommodations confirmed for you at Ndutu Lodge, go for it.

Hopefully the migration (and calving) should have made its way to the Ndutu area by the time you arrive... Ndutu Lodge does offer "nature walks" and all of the amenities that you are seeking post Kili.

Although you would be giving up Ngorongoro Crater with your given options, the Ndutu area should be much more fascinating and exciting in February!



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Jan 26th, 2006, 06:27 PM
  #7
aby
 
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Sorry Leely guess i totally missed

you r right about the shortness of time!
maybe the best is to decide on the spot if conditons r right for a walk - even make it as an optional addition of $X
Anyhow a walk should not take the whole day. Can be combined with gameDrive. DJ - check these specific details with operator
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Jan 26th, 2006, 06:33 PM
  #8
aby
 
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DJ - r we talking about this FEB ?
starting next week ??
Ndutu is not overbooked? - quickly grab it

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Jan 26th, 2006, 06:38 PM
  #9
 
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Oh, don't worry, aby. I'm very conservative and *personally* would be afraid to miss something. But I'm a little bit of a chicken. In a longer safari I would want to split my time into 2 locations just in case...

I too am very surprised that Ndutu would have any openings for next month!
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Jan 26th, 2006, 07:28 PM
  #10
santharamhari
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Even if the migration is not around........ndutu area is still supposed to have it's fair share of resident cats........although not as many as in the seronera......
 
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Jan 27th, 2006, 06:00 AM
  #11
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Everyone, thanks for the input.

Aby. Yes! This February. I'm more than a little embarrassed that I haven't completed the arrangements yet.

EASTCO said they couldn't get us into the Ndutu Lodge. They have us confirmed at the lodges as specified.

MKSC has us confirmed at Lake Manyara Serena and Plantation Lodge. They have not been able to book the room at Ndutu Lodge yet but they stated that they are confident they will get it.

It appears that most posters are leaning toward option 1. Especially if we can pay for an extra game drive in the Serengeti. I read alwaysafrica's trip report and that was one of the reasons I contacted EASTCO.

The reprehensives for both agencies were very friendly and helpful. I regret that I can only choose one.

Since we're short on time should we avoid traveling all the way the Serengeti Serena?
Am I being paranoid about the EASTCO cost? It appears they are providing much more and yet MKSC is 30% more expensive.

P.S. JustinaL Wow you're good! I can't believe you made the effort to track-down and answer my old post as well.
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Jan 27th, 2006, 06:13 AM
  #12
bat
 
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leely: re Ndutu. They were fully booked for all of February by last April. However, they stongly encouraged me to wait list because they have openings later one. They do not require any deposit to hold a reservation--no money until 60 or 45 days prior. It seems that if you want to stay in Feb you either have to book about a year or so in advance or look for late openings. Their website has a great feature that shows their availability. I looked at it recently when sonali was thinking of going and found to my surprise some days in Feb when they had availability
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Jan 27th, 2006, 06:24 AM
  #13
bat
 
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DJ:
Both itineraries have surprises in terms of availability--Ndutu in Option 1 and the Sopa at the crater in Option 2--that also was fully booked last April for all of Feb.

Take a look at Ndutu's website where they have written about Dec/Jan.
http://www.ndutu.com/pages/whatshappening.html
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Feb 6th, 2006, 08:19 AM
  #14
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OK we made our decision. Thanks for everyone's help.
The money was wired last week and we received the conformation from MKSC yesterday. The itinerary is listed below. EASTCO had some pluses that MKSC didn't but I picked MKSC over EASTCO based mainly on the lodging. EASTCO wasn't able to confirm with the places we were hoping to use. The representative from MKSC was helpful and generous with his time and so was EASTCO's representative. Based on my interaction I'd strongly recommend either of these companies.


DATES:
ARR 21 FEBRUARY 2006 07:30 Hotel, Moshi
DEP 25 FEBRUARY 2006 20:30 JRO AIRPORT KL --- to AMS
VEHICLE: 1 4x4 Safari Vehicle; 3 guests

Plantation Lodge Family Room) in 21 out 22
Ndutu Lodge (1 SGL & 1 TWIN) in 22 out 24 (2 nights)
Lake Manyara Serena Lodge (SGL & TWIN) in 24 out 25

21/02/06 Moshi Hotel / Plantation Lodge
07:30 Meet Driver at Key’s Hotel
Drive to Lake Manyara NP & Game drive & picnic lunch Lake Manyara NP
Drive to Plantation Lodge for leisurely late afternoon
Dinner & overnight at Plantation Lodge (Family Room/Triple,advised by PL)

22/02/06 Plantation Lodge / Ndutu Lodge
Drive to NCAA / Serengeti NP - depending on location of Migration herds
Game drive in NCAA - Ndutu area, OR Serengeti N P
Drive to Olduvai Camp - welcome & Sunset rocks walk
Dinner & overnight at Ndutu Lodge (1 SINGLE & 1 TWIN TENT)

23/02/06 Ndutu Lodge (Options for Guests to decide & inform Driver)
Option 1: Game drive in NCAA (If Guests wish to re-enter Serengeti N P, They will pay own TANAPA Fees - kms are provided )
Option 2: Guided Walk in NCAA
Picnic lunch
Dinner & 2nd overnight at Ndutu Lodge (1 SINGLE & 1 TWIN TENT)

24/02/06 Ndutu Lodge / Lake Manyara Serena
Drive to Ndutu Lodge to Ngorongoro
Crater Tour with picnic lunch
Guests decide when to depart for Lake Manyara Safari Lodge
Drive to Lake Manyara Serena Lodge
Dinner and overnight at Lake Manyara Serena Lodge(1 SINGLE & 1 TWIN)

25/02/06 Lake Manyara Serena Lodge / Kia Lodge
Morning at leisure - any activities c/o Guests - no reentry to Lake Manyara N.P.
Lunch at Lake Manyara Serena Lodge c/o MKSC
Drive to Kia Lodge, shopping stops if requested
Any afternoon teas, drinks etc., or other arrangements at Kia Lodge, c/o Guests
Transfer to JRO & assistance with KL--- flight to AMS
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Feb 7th, 2006, 12:17 AM
  #15
 
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DJ,

My wife and I are on the road and left Moshi where we had our Safari back in jan. We actually lost some money to a unknown safari company named Mako Safari Tours (AVOID THEM they are a scam) who left us and a couple from Switzerland without their safari and kili climb after paying most upfront...that said, do research. We did however have a great experience with Ashante Tours (listed on TATO). A similar package to your option #2. We paid about 1100/person and included everything. Ashante has excellent NEW Land Cruisers which did not seem important at first but was very important once we saw what some of the other companies were driving and based on how much time you spend driving around the Ngoro and Serengetti. For us, Lake Manyara was very dry so we opted to have an extra day in Serengetti.

Also if in Moshi, I highly recommend a cultural tour in the hills of Kilimanjaro with Oscar Basil and his family. Oscar is 25, speaks English well and runs a unique 1 or 2 day tour of his Chagga tribe's village - Materuni. His father was the town's former chief and english teacher at the local school. We have not met more gracious, loving people and this 2 day cultural trip has been the highlight of our 6 months traveling thus far. We spent the first day hiking the kili foothills to a beautiful water fall, then joined Oscar and his parents and family at the local "watering hole" for banana beer. Oscar set up a tent for us and we spent the night camping on their property. The next day we hiked some more, visitied with his 100 yr old grandmother and the whole trip enjoyed wonderful traditional Chagga meals cooked over an open fire. This is true immersion into a remote culture and was amazing! If you are interested, you should be able to reach Oscar at [email protected]

Have a great trip!
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Feb 8th, 2006, 06:14 AM
  #16
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Ewado,

Thanks for the input. I greatly appreciate responses from posters that can report firsthand. The cultural tour sounds like an activity that would be perfect for us but I think it's too late to change our itinerary now. I wish we had a few more days to take-in more of these type activities. I'm a little concerned that the locations we picked may be a more touristy that we would like.
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