Ngorongoro vs Tarangire?! HELP!

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Nov 20th, 2013, 12:47 PM
  #1
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Ngorongoro vs Tarangire?! HELP!

I am planning a trip by myself to the Serengeti area in March 2014 for 5-6 days and need some itinerary help!! My main goal was to see the Serengeti, but once I did some more research, I became more intrigued with Ngorongoro and Tarangire. I would like a solid 3 days in the Serengeti and am trying to figure out how to split the remaining time. I was told that it will be hard for me to do both Ngorongoro and Tarangire. My prime focus is seeing big cats, so any opinions are welcome! I would also like to do a night drive or two and/or walking safaris, which it seems are options at Tarangire.

Also, I am working with andBeyond, Planet Africa (formerly Green Footprint Adventures), Nomad Tanzania, and Uncharted Outposts. All have been extremely helpful and very responsive, does anyone have any thoughts to share on which is best? I am still waiting on final prices, but want to base my decision on other factors as well!

Please help!!
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Nov 21st, 2013, 07:31 AM
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We were on safari in Tanzania the end of October this year, and we visited Tarangire (2 nights), Lake Manyara (1 night), Ngorongoro (2 nights), and the Serengeti (3 nights). I think doing both Tarangire and Ngorongoro in 2 days would be difficult. To choose between them, look into the vegetation conditions at both places. As I understand it, the Nov-Dec light rains should leave March grass and shrubs green. That probably causes the wildlife at Tarangire to disperse and be less accessible, whereas in Ngorongoro it encourages more concentration of wildlife (and birds) in the cauldera. I'd recommend spending 2 nights at Ngorongoro, bracketing your trip into the crater. It's a uniquely beautiful place you shouldn't cut short.
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Nov 21st, 2013, 09:10 AM
  #3
 
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For my experience you will have itinerary like this
Day 1. Drive to Tarangire
Day 2.Drive to Serengeti and do game drive at afternoon then go back to sleep.camping /lodge
Day 3.Full day game drive in Serengeti
Day 4.Full day game drive in Serengeti
Day 5.Half day then drive to Ngorongoro for over night
Day 6.Drive to crater half day then go back to Arusha.
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Nov 21st, 2013, 10:44 AM
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I am not an expert in any way on this, but from some of the other posts I have read, Tarangire might not have many animals in March. I think August/Sept/October is the time to be there.

Maybe someone who knows more than I do can jump in and correct me if I'm wrong.

I've been "lurking" on this forum, because we're planning a trip for 2015--and I'm doing some advance planning!
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Nov 21st, 2013, 11:25 AM
  #5
 
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All of the companies contacted are good and reputable. Unless any come up with a weird itinerary and ridiculous prices, no need to really go futher. Remember though that as a solo traveler the dreaded single supplement. Be prepared for andBeyond to offer 'their' properties first, whereas I believe if you've provided an estimated budget the others will be more competitive.

Now, from Arusha it's a 2.5/hr drive to Tarangire; from Tarangire to Ngo it's about 3-3.5/hrs; from Ngo to the Serengeti and during March the best area would be Ndutu (about 3/hrs) or Central/Seronera (about 3-4/hrs)... the latter two as game drives, the former on paved roads. If concluding in the Serengeti, best you fly back to Arusha - fare about $225-250.

I sure wouldn't want to drive from Tarangire to the Ndutu/So.Serengeti area as until you pass Ngo, where it's all paved roads, don't hit park lands (actual bush country) till past the Crater. So the first routing above is about the best. And, upon return to Arusha which is around 12N, if you have a late flight departure from JRO, suggest you get a dayroom till later transfer for homebound.

Tarangire - at one time it was advised that July-Oct was the best time to visit as they have a mini-migration, however, with worldwide weather changes this 'gem' of a park seems to be great year-round even at some times the grasses are somewhat higher... but all the game do not leave the park. You might have to search a bit harder for smaller game or those lying in the grass, but you won't be disappointed. Besides the baobab landscape and if you're a birder, the place to visit. Many visitors actually prefer this park even over the Serengeti.

Ngo - gets mixed reviews, some as 'ho=hum' others feel it is 'amazing' so who can say. I'm in the first category... sorry! But you do have a concentration of game here, as well as humans/vehicles, often the busiest stop on the route. If you can arrange for a 'morning' crater visit, before heading into the Serengeti... you're best bet as you practically have the place to yourself. Besides, you're limited to only 6/hrs on the crater floor.

Serengeti - though the 'calving' is usually mid-Feb at the Ndutu area (part of the Ngo area, just south of Serengeti), lots of babies still born in March and those already born hang about with their mothers for months till they start moving north towards Kenya (later in May thru June to mid-July).

Do let us know what the proposals received look like and prices. No need to provide all the detail, just
Day 1 - where? staying (lodge/camp)
Day 2 - where? staying, and on-on for balance of itinerary.

Hope info was helpful. Good luck.
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Nov 21st, 2013, 12:05 PM
  #6
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Thank you all for your input! I think I may scratch Tarangire and spend most of my time in the Serengeti. Please see below for itineraries:
Day 1- Manyara (not sure I want to do this- Is it worth it?)- Plantation Lodge
Day 2- Ngorongoro drive- Plantation Lodge
Day 3- Fly to Serengeti- Dunia Camp
Day 4- Dunia Camp
Day 5- Dunia Camp
Day 6- Dunia Camp

$4,960 for a single traveler. This is actually my favorite company thus far, based on the correspondence and what I have read, but I feel the price is a bit steep. I will be getting a private vehicle for Days 1 and 2.

Everyone else has quoted me around $800/day or more! Any ideas to reduce these prices?

Any thoughts would be much appreciated!!
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Nov 21st, 2013, 02:20 PM
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Was at Ngo Feb of 2011 for two days. Will vouch for getting into Ngo when it opens in morning. Late morning and afternoon is when most tourists arrive. Also, thus best to stay at Ngo Sopa because it is on rim of Ngo and has the quickest road into Ngo.
Here is snap of kind of safari traffic you find there -
http://tinyurl.com/m6jo2z9

FWIW, same traffic jam can occur in Serengeti. Snap of -
http://tinyurl.com/kxzjakh

If you are into to serious photography, viewing situations like those will drive you crazy!!

I've not been to Tarangire. But FWIW here is my Fodors trip report of my 2011 safari, Ndutu, Serengeti, Ngo, Lake Manyara -
http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...-tanzania-.cfm

regards - tom
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Nov 22nd, 2013, 02:30 AM
  #8
 
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Hi, my family and I used AndBeyond a few years back. We stayed at Olakira Lodge (which is in the same family of lodges as Dunia Camp). We chose Olakira based on the time of the year and the game in the Serengeti. We had a fantastic time at the lodge and the viewing was great -- lots of cats which is what you want to see -- with many kills. Even one where the mama cat taught her two babies to kill. It was astonishing. The Asilia Lodge group does a really good job with comfortable accommodations and the staff/guides are good and very helpful.

We then drove to Ngorongoro Crater, where we stayed at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge which is on the rim. The drive was a highlight with lots of migration sights, beautiful birds and just really good times. We stopped twice -- first at Olduvai Gorge and then at a rest/bathroom/snack place where we were attacked by baboons! So many jumping on our car at once. Strange experience. We loved the Crater and did morning game drives only. Sitting on our decks on the rim was also a highlight. The Crater Lodge was expensive (and their single supplement is probably outrageous) but have heard great things about the Sopa lodge for years. We also had dinner on the floor of the Crater set up by the lodge which is one of my all time favorite travel memories. But by far, the Serengeti remains my best safari experience (and I've been to South Africa numerous times, as well as to Kenya and Namibia.

You can lower prices based on a shared vehicle. But I've done both and my family and I have had our fair share of wonderful sights in a private vehicle. We stared at the mother reaching her cubs to kill far longer than we would have been able to in a shared vehicle. We also watched lions kill a zebra and then the male lion feasting and not allowing the females to eat until he was good and ready for a really long time too. It was beyond fascinating! After he finished, he just sat by the remains and if a female came up to take a peak, he roared at her! So enjoy your ability to manage your sights if you can.

Just FYI -- we also took a long, bumpy (safari car broke down) trip to Lake Eyasi to see the remote Hadzabe and Datago tribes after I read about them in National Geographic. After wishing that a helicopter would rescue us because the road was so bad and with only one choice of an accommodation (which was lovely and owned by a nice expat couple), spending the day with these two remote tribes was remarkable and well worth the effort. We only stayed one night but the experience was truly joyful.

Anyway, you are bringing up good memories and I wish you a successful trip. This forum really shaped mine.

Have a wonderful, wonderful time.

Take care.
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Nov 22nd, 2013, 09:27 AM
  #9
 
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You can reduce prices by selecting other camps, which where you show Dunia located in the southern Serengeti is expensive. Nothing wrong with Dunia, it's a great camp, but as you are flying in are being charged GP/game package prices which are higher (and you then have 'shared' game drives) than FB/full-board prices that are lower which takes into account the fact you have OWN guide/vehicle.

You can select their Olakira Camp which is located at Ndutu and drive from NGO and keep guide/vehicle. Or others in the Ndutu area, another lovely camp is Lake Masek Camp or Lemala Ndutu (both again with own guide/vehicle).

Personally, I'd keep Tarangire and pass on Manyara, then move onto Ngo with a stay on the rim using the Sopa Lodge. The Plantation Lodge shown is located in Karatu which is still rather close to Ngo, but some recent comments re this property 'the manager is simply not very nice to her staff... seems she's still in Colonial times.' If you still wanted to avoid staying on the rim, right outside the NGO gate is a lovely new Lodge called Explorean's with 10/cottages and takes barely 5/min to get there

Day 1 - Drive 2.5/hrs from Arusha to Tarangire - o/n Boundary Hill or Kikoti Camps
Day 2 - After morning game drive head via Manyara for a stop at Mto-wa-Mbu and maybe a school or orphanage; continue onto Ngo for - o/n Sopa Lodge (or Exploreans)
Day 3 - Ngo; morning crater tour (these limited to 6/hrs); then game drive to Ndutu; game drives - o/n Olakira, Lake Masek or Lemala Ndutu Camps
Days 4, 5 & 6 - Ndutu; game drives = o/n as Day 3
Day 7 - Fly to Arusha for homebound.

Even if choosing Exploreans, you can be down on crater floor as soon as if you had selected Sopa. Though the camps shown are at Ndutu, if some of the herds have moved into So. Serengeti, you just pay the fee to enter (believe it's $60/pp).

Believe above will save some $$$ and you have own guide/vehicle throughout.
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Nov 23rd, 2013, 06:09 AM
  #10
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Thanks for the responses! I am working with the TOs to get prices down. I have decided to just stick with the Serengeti and the crater. Is 5000 for 6 days as a solo traveler too much?
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Nov 23rd, 2013, 01:07 PM
  #11
 
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That price is $830+/ppnt which would be average using luxury properties... if you truly want luxe camps. Why I suggested some of the others where you can probably save some money.

The four outfitters listed while reputable can also tend to be high when it comes to prices. And not knowing which of those listed offered the $5K, I'd still ask them or one of the others for the itinerary I suggested with likely less costly camps and at least avoiding 1/segment flying. And at least have the same guide throughout and thus no 'shared' game drives as you'd have flying in/out Dunia. With own guide you can stay at a site as long or short as YOU wish vs what your car mate might wish or their particular interests.

You should never be pushed into something your not certain about (regardless you are late booking for when you plan to visit) why there is no harm asking. All they can do is say 'no' or come up with some reason, likely 'they don't have availability which might or not be the case.
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Nov 23rd, 2013, 03:03 PM
  #12
 
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May I suggest that you consider as a TA - Africa Serendipity:
http://www.africaserendipity.com/
Give'm a call, ask for Sandi

regards - tom
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Nov 25th, 2013, 06:59 AM
  #13
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Sandi,

Thanks so much for your help! Unfortunately, it looks like Lake Masek is actually more expensive than Dunia, at about 925/night and it is almost full. I will inquire about Olakira vs Dunia and have placed an inquiry re: the private vehicle and no fly-in. How long is the drive from Ngorongoro to the southern Serengeti?
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Nov 25th, 2013, 08:58 AM
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WOW! Rather unusual unless the agent doesn't have a better contract rate or not offering their discount to you. Sure doesn't deserve the higher rate, though doesn't take away from fact Lake Masek is lovely.

If not Olakira which might also be booked full, this same group (www.asiliaafrica.com) does have the Ubuntu Camp which should be at an even lower price.

Drive from Ngo to So. Serengeti - is a game drive and can take anywhere from 2.5-4/hrs depending on how many stops along the way for viewing. Visitors do this daily, so not unusual. Besides, even if you fly... the airstrip if more than 1/hr from Dunia, so not much benefit.
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Nov 26th, 2013, 07:19 AM
  #15
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I just got that rate from the website for Lake Masek. Will the Ubuntu Camp be in a better location than Dunia though for the migration in March?
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Nov 26th, 2013, 07:52 AM
  #16
 
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Rates listed on specific lodge/camp websites are the 'rack' (highest) and while good for an idea, an outfitter will have 'contract' rates at lower cost and if reputable will pass on most to their client. In other words if you contacted Lake Masek direct the figure on their website is what they'll charge, but if using an outfitter the rate will be lower... maybe even $100 or more.

Ubuntu will be located either at Ndutu or So. Serengeti, but to know for certain, have agent verify where. But either area is good for March.
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