Northern Circuit itinerary critique please!

Apr 14th, 2009, 05:17 PM
  #1  
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Northern Circuit itinerary critique please!

This will be our first trip to Africa (me and my hubby) and I have received this itinerary for $3250 per person. We will be doing a Zanzibar extension afterward for 6 nights which is not included in that price.

6/24: Arusha to Manyara National Park. Game drive overnight Kirurumu Tented Lodge.

6/25: Morning Rift Valley hike. Transfer to Central Serengeti. Game drive overnight Mapito Tented Camp (night drives and walking available)

6/26: Central Serengeti overnight Mapito Tented Camp.

6/27: Transfer to Western Serengeti. Game drives overnight Kensington Camp.

6/28: Western Serengeti overnight Kensington Camp.

6/29: Transfer to Ngorongoro. Overnight Sopa Lodge (on Crater rim but large lodge)

6/30: Crater game drive transfer to Lake Eyasi. Overnight Kisima Ngeda Tented Camp.

7/1: Full day cultural tour. Overnight Kisima Ngeda Tented Camp.

7/2: Transfer to Arusha Airport.

I'm thinking about asking for Tarangire instead of Lake Eyasi. I also want to skip the second night at Mapito camp and head to Western Serengeti, but don't know if that's possible.

Do you think the price is right for these dates/accommodations? I saw a similar itinerary in one of the posts that seemed way less expensive although it was for a family of four.

Any other recommendations as far the itinerary goes?

I will post a trip report upon returning

Many thanks.
poemorella is offline  
Apr 15th, 2009, 05:25 AM
  #2  
 
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Is this a private trip for 2? It seems like it if you are considering swapping locations and activities. I think about $400/pp/pn is about right.

"I'm thinking about asking for Tarangire instead of Lake Eyasi."

If you would prefer not to do the cultural activities with the Hadzabe, such as going on a morning hunt, then staying in Tarangire would be a good move. But your time at Lake Eyasi and visit with the Hadzabe is a unique opportunity that won't be available elsewhere on the trip. You can't visit the Hadzabe by staying in Tarangire.

You'd likely hit Tarangire first if you made the switch.

"I also want to skip the second night at Mapito camp and head to Western Serengeti, but don't know if that's possible."
I agree for the time of year you are traveling. If this is a private trip, there's no reason it wouldn't be possible. I don't know anything about Mapito camp.

Four traveling together would get a better price per person than two.

Why 6 nights in Zanzibar? Is there an event you are attending there? Unless there is something in particular that requires 6 nights, I'd reduce the number there.

Then you could add a night in Arusha and see the forested Arusha National Park. You could visit Tarangire for 2 nights, in addition to Lake Eyasi and the Hadzabe. That would still leave 3 nights in Zanzibar.


Have a great trip.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 15th, 2009, 06:24 AM
  #3  
 
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For travel end of June, I'd head out to the Serengeti first to catch the migration. If you check Eben's map on www.go-safari.com you will see Mapito Camp located at a bend in area northwest of central... good for night drives and walks. And, after the long driving day to get here from Manyara, having the next full day in the area is good. Herds can be anywhere between here and western corridor end-June.

On the return, in place of Eyasi, hit Tarangire, where by end-Jun/early-Jul, the high grasses often found earlier will have been eaten/trampled down by the herds returning here... easier to spot game.
sandi is offline  
Apr 15th, 2009, 08:32 AM
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Great timing suggestions Sandi. Tarangire would be better at the end.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 15th, 2009, 09:33 AM
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To reduce your time at Lake Eyasi which is something that seemed to appeal to you to and include as much variety as possible in your itinerary, maybe you could do this?

24 Arusha to Manyara, per itinerary
25 Manyara to Lake Eyasi
26 Do your morning hunting or other cultural activity—you don’t have to hunt, you can visit with the ladies-- then head to Sopa at the Crater. Just a morning with the Hadzabe is commonly done.
27 Morning crater tour and to Central Serengeti, Mapito
28 Serengeti at camp of your choice
29 Serengeti at camp of your choice
30 Serengeti at camp of your choice
1 Get to Tarangire
2 Tarangire
3 Back to Arusha Airport

The above requires one more day on safari than your original itinerary, but you get 2 nts Tarangire at the end and you can still partake in the unique Hadazabe experience with less time at Lake Eyasi.


Maybe this would work too and it would get you to the Serengeti about as early as possible if you are doing a driving trip and put the other game viewing areas at the end.

24 Arusha to Manyara, per itinerary
25 Manyara to Central Serengeti Mapito (per itinerary)
26 Serengeti at camp of your choice
27 Serengeti at camp of your choice
28 Serengeti at camp of your choice
29 Drive to Lake Eyasi
30 Do your morning hunting or other cultural activity—you don’t have to hunt, you can visit with the ladies-- then head to Sopa at the Crater.
1 Morning crater Tour and get to Tarangire
2 Tarangire
3 Back to Arusha Airport

Request drive times from your agent to help you decide how feasible this is.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2009, 08:54 AM
  #6  
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Hi atravelynn and sandi,

Thank you for your feedback. I've followed some of your advice and had our tour operator change some of the itinerary and we are coming out at about $280 per person (two people private safari). This is out it looks now. We still have some room for changes, so please let me know if you think anything needs to be changed. Also, do you usually tip your guide every day or at the end of the trip?, and, do you know what type of car is usually the most comfortable where we can also do photography?

Itinerary:

Day 1—Kilimanjaro / Arusha: 25/6/2009 - O/N African Tulip
Day 2—Lake Manyara National Park (BLD): 26/6/2009 - O/N Kirumuru Tented Lodge
Day 3—Manyara to Serengeti (BLD): 27/6/2009 - O/N Kensington Camp
Day 4 —Central Serengeti (BLD): 28/6/2009 - O/N Kensington Camp
Day 5—Central Serengeti (BLD): 29/6/2009 - O/N Kensington Camp
Day 6—Western Serengeti (BLD):30/6/2009 - O/N Olakira tented camp
Day 7— Serengeti to Ngorngoro (BLD): 1/7/2009 - O/N Sopa lodge
Day 8—Ngororo to Kisima Ngeda (BLD): 2/7/2009 - O/N Kisima Ngeda Tented Camp
Day 9—Lake Eyasi- Tarangire (BLD): 3/7/2009 - O/N Boundary Hill Lodge
Day 10 Tarangire (BLD): 4/7/2009- O/N Boundary Hill Lodge
Day 11 Tarangire to Arusha 5/7/2009 - O/N African Tulip
Day 12 6/7/2009 Arusha to Zanzibar by Zan air 1415hrs - O/N Ras Nungwi Superior Chalet Room.
Day 13 Zanzibar 7/7/2009 - O/N Ras Nungwi Superior Chalet Room.
Day 14 8/7/2009 the Beach to Zanzibar stone Town - O/N Asmin Palace Queen Basic Rom
Day 14 8/7/2009 the Beach to Zanzibar stone Town - O/N Asmin Palace Queen Basic Rom
Day 15 Transfer from Asmin to Zanzibar Kisauni airport for flight to Dar for your final flight home.

Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks.
poemorella is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2009, 08:55 AM
  #7  
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I just realized I put day 14th twice in there. Should be just one.
poemorella is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2009, 10:51 AM
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I haven't been to Tanz at that time of year so haven't been to the same area in the Serengeti to comment. But I will tell you that having stayed in 3 different N crater lodges the Sopa is our favorite. Not because it is the best accom necc but the location is the best in our opinion with the easy access to the road on that side of the crater. We stayed at the African Tulip this Feb & it is a lovely hotel. Very nice & the food we had there was great. If you have the same driver/guide for your whole trip then just tip at the end. The vehicle we prefer is the pop up roof Toyota Landcruisers. I like the pop up a lot for the sunshade it provides & you can get it up & down easily. We are keen photographers & this vehicle worked well for us. Sounds like a great trip. Be prepared to be planning another African trip on your way home from this one! J
jules39 is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2009, 03:19 PM
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Hi jules39,

Thank you for your input. I will see if we can request one of those cars.

Thanks!
poemorella is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2009, 04:16 PM
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Jules, having stayed in 2 accommodations at the Crater, I'd echo your comments on Sopa. I thought those rooms/cottages whatever you call them with the fireplace and the balcony and the rocking chairs in front of the glass sliding doors with the fantastic view were really lovely. So was the view from the cocktail, lounge area.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2009, 05:23 AM
  #11  
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Do you think anything should be changed from the above itinerary? How should the migration be in those locations at those times of the year, any clues?
poemorella is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2009, 06:04 AM
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End of June, migration should be in the Western Corridor. Though you list Olakira in Western, it is moreCentral. However, no problem, distance between the two areas is close, about 2/hrs but game drive in both directions.
sandi is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2009, 08:42 AM
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We also stayed at the Kirumuru tented lodge in November 08. It is up a hill on a very bad road, quite a long drive.
The reason I am mentioning this is because on our drive to and from the camp little children would run out from the bushes and upon asking our driver found that they were hoping for pencils and school supplies. We would give them pencils, sharpeners, paper pads, solar calculators etc. They were very much appreciated and made the long bumpy ride much more enjoyable.

We were also lucky enough to be serenaded by the local church gospel group for dinner. I hope you are that fortunate as they were amazing.

we also had the same vehicle that Jules had and loved it. We did a private safari as well, just my husband and I and were very glad we did.

I may have missed it, but which company are you using?
live42day is offline  
Apr 24th, 2009, 08:20 AM
  #14  
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I am using an unknown company called Lipi Adventures. It is run by a Tanzanian man and he´s had lately a really bad post in Trip Advisor so he has tried to win our business very hard since I contacted him. I mean REALLY hard. He´s gone out of the way to honor all of our requests, which were not little, as we have never been to Africa and are clueless as to how the whole thing goes. I have, of course, gotten references from people that traveled with them before and they have been the best references from all the other companies I contacted. And yes, I did contact all the other known outfitters. I just decided the right thing to do was to give this guy a try, since he´s local.

I will post a trip report upon our return. We are SO excited we cannot wait another two months!

Thanks for all the feedback. So far it looks like we are doing the right itinerary, but please feel free to pitch in if you think something should be changed. Thanks!
poemorella is offline  
Apr 24th, 2009, 05:57 PM
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I'd feel better about Lipi if it were a member of Tanzania Assoc of Tour Operators.

http://www.tatotz.org/members-directory.html

I did not see it under L.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 24th, 2009, 06:07 PM
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Also looked under KATO since I saw they have a Kenya ofice but didn't see it.

Anyway your itinerary looks good and I'm sure you'll have a nice time. I couldn't hurt to let them know you'll be reporting on Fodors and anywhere else you plan to report.

Any company can have one bad report, perhaps even from a competitor.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 24th, 2009, 06:58 PM
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I am very glad you are using a local company. I was quite dismayed to learn that most of the companies, ours included which we thought was local, most of the money goes to either India, South Africa or England. Very little stays in Tanzania so good for you to use a local guy!! I am sure it will be fantastic.
live42day is offline  
Apr 25th, 2009, 05:27 AM
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KATO and TATO are membership organizations and not every outfitter joins. I've been surprised at which companies don't show up on this sites, yet they're reputable.
sandi is offline  
Apr 25th, 2009, 06:14 AM
  #19  
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From what I have read what they do need is yearly renewable TALA license (Tourist Agent License), without which they cannot go into the parks, etc.
As far as I know, Lipi Adventures does have valid one.
poemorella is offline  
Apr 25th, 2009, 07:58 AM
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I would not be concerned about some of the big, established names not being there--and I've noted some of their absences as well. But for the smaller ones, it just seems as though affiliation with these organizations would be a responsible move.

I hope you can come back with a great Lipi report.
atravelynn is offline  

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