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Northern circuit, Tanzania ; a first safari perspective

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Nov 20th, 2011, 04:35 PM
  #1
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Northern circuit, Tanzania ; a first safari perspective

Hello everyone,

Recently came back from my safari to Tanzania. Detailed (very long and detailed ramblings alert) can be found on this link from SafariTalk

http://safaritalk.net/topic/7549-nor...i-trip-report/

Safari planned by Bill Given from The Wild Source and guided by Deo Magoye- Bill's Tanzanian operations' partner. A big thanks to the whole Fodors regular gang, for giving me the idea to touch base with Bill and also the many inputs on Dunia, dropping 1 day from crater etc. Every advice given to me on my Tanzania planning thread was spot on and a heartfelt thanks to Bill & Deo for making this first safari so memorable!

Itinerary ( 2nd September to 17th September)

-2 nights Olakira, N. Serengeti
-5 nighs Sayari, N. Serengeti
-3 nights Dunia Camp, S.C. Serengeti
-2 nights Lemala Ngorongoro, crater rim
-3 nights Oliver's camp, Tarangire
tanya_1976 is offline  
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Nov 20th, 2011, 06:00 PM
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Wow! What a fantastic trip and pictures.
thanks,
PD
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Nov 20th, 2011, 10:30 PM
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Wow! Some amazing photos, especially of the three cheetahs. I am also enjoying your written report. Many thanks for sharing! We are heading to the Mara and northern Tanzania in August - your photos make me wish it was a bit sooner! CR
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Nov 21st, 2011, 07:47 AM
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Your Tarangire report is now up! You left there just before I arrived. Your accounts prove it is an action-packed place!

You asked how can a lion pride be named after you if you've never seen them?

I think that's like the tree falling in the forest if no one is there to hear it.

You got plenty of lion cub pictures even so.
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Nov 21st, 2011, 09:50 AM
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Wow, your photos are fantastic, what amazing sightings. You were smart to do several days in Tarangire in September, most people do the one day drive-by and miss the boat. Serval was nice too, took us three safaris to catch one, in Crater last February.

We went to Ngorongoro three different trips, first two were OK. Third time (Feb 2011) was over the top, great sightings through each of two days. Safaris are all about patience and good fortune. You hit the jackpot!

Jim.
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Nov 21st, 2011, 04:44 PM
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Great report and photos, Tanya. I've been following along on ST. Will comment there as well.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 06:40 AM
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I am about to go on my first Safari next fall. can you recommend a good camera for this type of trip?
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 08:45 AM
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Thanks for the trip report, Tanya_1976. I'm traveling there next year on a safari planned by Bill and myself. We'll be using Deo and another guide (8 travelers.) I, too, love Tarangire and am glad we'll be spending more time there than most people do. I think that's a smart move.

Denise_Boland, I'd suggest the Canon "superzoom" SX-40. It's got a great 35x zoom (equivalent to about an 840mm lens) and takes HD videos. You'll find that a safari is the perfect venue for videos, with all that wildlife action. I've used the earlier version (SX-10) after using the Canon digital Rebel cameras... wanted to go with less gear. I'm considering moving up to the SX-40 with it's longer zoom, better sensor and high-end video capabilities.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 05:29 PM
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Thanks a lot everyone for your kind comments. I loved Tarangire and whenever the next trip to this part happens will be a mix of Serengeti and Tarangire.

Denise- hoping other people will chip in as my experience is severally limited and ShayTay's advice is a good one.

I went very overboard with camera equipment- what and how much totally depends on your involvement with photography and want you want to achieve. Only thing I would say is if going the DSLR way, more than the camera look at getting the longest lens you possibly can for Tanzania. If not the DSLR way, then everyone from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic and Fuji makes these 30-35x cameras which when used with a beanbag can produce very decent results so you can compare the features and decide the ones you want. If you are into post-processing then some of these non-DSLR options even have a shoot in Raw option now. I agree with ShayTay I would look closely at the HD Video capabilities as well.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 06:26 PM
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You may have gone overboard, but you got good results Tanya.

Check these threads, Denise.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 07:24 PM
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Really enjoyed your photos and trip report. I was there during some of the same time you were. Even tho I thought we had a fantastic guide and sightings, yours seem even better-at least the Cheetah brothers. We saw them also, but we didn't get to stay long-had to drive to our next camp instead It seems we were always rushing at sunset to get to camp, due to park rules about not being on the roads after 6PM. Did you experience that too? That was tough on me, as the light was so great at that time and I wanted to photograph!! Am toying with return trip but maybe to mobile camps that are more near the action, or going to Kenya next time, where people are not restricted by such rules.
Will get to writing trip trip report soon. My main question now is-would you mind sharing how much did you paid for your safari, and were you solo or were lodging and other costs shared? I went with Africa Dream Safaris, and have nothing but good to say about them, but am curious as to your costs versus ours ($8742 pp, for 10 nights private safari shared by 2 people, including 2 nights pre-safari & all meals in Arusha)
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 07:56 PM
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"...going to Kenya next time, where people are not restricted by such rules."
If you are serious about the 6pm, or sundown thing, some (most?) Kenya parks/reserves may be no different. Best check on it. I can tell you from experience that many camps in South Africa private reserves, Sabi Sand and Timbavati, have no such restrictions.

FWIW, $8,700 pp for 10 nights sounds on the high side to me. In Feb of 2011 I went on "private" safari Tanzania (with operator Roy Safaris, Arusha), only two of us (photographers) per vehicle and cost was under $450pppn. (So 10 nights much less than $5K). Here is link to my Fodors report -
http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...-tanzania-.cfm

regards - tom
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 10:58 PM
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Hi Karn

We may have crossed each other! Deo knows a few ADS guides and we stopped to talk a couple of times. I was this Indian female with a monster of a beanbag on my window sitting next to the guide. I agree the 6 pm curfew is very painful.

On a per person per night basis I paid more but I was solo with single supplements and noone else to share the guide cost- For 2 people but everything else same, my itinerary would price at around USD 725 pppn 15 nights on safari and inclusive of 2 domestic flights(Killi-Kogatende and Arusha-Dar)all park and crater fees and guide+pv -I just took out the single supplement and divided the guide costs by 2 to get to this leaving everything else the same.

Obviously as Tom says lot more to save by staying at the Sopa/Serena but I really loved the tented camps and the locations, especially Olakira, Dunia and Lemala.

ADS also has their own private mobile camps apart from booking clients into Asilia/Nomad etc etc. Their ground operations in Tanzania are often referred to as Unique Safaris locally. Were you in Lemala Ngorongoro as well? I was there 12th and 13th September nights and on 13th evening there was a ADS vehicle there as well.
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Nov 23rd, 2011, 08:01 AM
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Whether Kenya or Tanzania, if camp/lodge is located inside the national parks or reserves, you have to be off the lands by dusk. Only if staying outside the parks/reserve boundaries (private conservancies), do you have more flexibility and can often enjoy a night game drive on the return to camp/lodge after 6pm.

Africa Dream Safaris, from various posts and clients who have used them, do seem to be more expensive than what other outfitters offer. That said, however, if as a solo traveler and staying at the properties indicated... the $700+/pp/nt isn't off base especially when visiting in peak-season which Sept is.
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Nov 23rd, 2011, 08:03 AM
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"Obviously as Tom says lot more to save by staying at the Sopa/Serena but I really loved the tented camps and the locations, especially Olakira, Dunia and Lemala."
No question, the camps you stay at have a LARGE part in your safari cost. No matter what country.

regards - tom
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Nov 23rd, 2011, 05:47 PM
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Sounds like a wonderful trip. Perhaps PixelPower will join in with the EU perspective of cost. Apparently we americans are paying far too much.
just sayin"
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Nov 23rd, 2011, 06:07 PM
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PixelPower, I dare say, can do this (10 days) for less than half the above cost. But again I'll say, it -largely depends- on your safari camps.

regards - tom
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Nov 23rd, 2011, 06:10 PM
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I never put in the camera links for Denise.

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...nikon-p500.cfm


http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...he-amateur.cfm

"...going to Kenya next time, where people are not restricted by such rules."


To avoid park rules, you can stay in conservancies. I think Kenya has more of those than Tanzania.


Regarding the comment about mobiles being "more near the action," those camps have to commit where they are established in advance. They don't follow the wildes day by day and nobody knows just where the predators will pop up. It can be hard to predict what goes on where in a park as large as the Serengeti. Staying for several days in several locations is the best strategy, but can be a costly one.

Those cheetah bros were a really fantastic sighting! Definitely in the right place at the right time on that one, Tanya.
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Nov 25th, 2011, 07:58 AM
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Regarding cost, my husband and I are in preliminary planning for a trip with our grandson who will be 13 in about 2 years. There is no way we can pay $10,000 per person. I have to believe we could plan a good, safe trip for much less. Which companies should I contact? Is it best to deal directly with, for instance, a tour group in the Serengeti? Who is PixelPower?
Thank you.
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Nov 25th, 2011, 08:14 AM
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There is no reason to have to pay $10K/person for safari, nor is it necessary to travel on a 'group' safari. You can certainly design your own private itinerary - based on total number of days you expect to be in-country, which areas you want to visit, selecting the accommodations... all based on your budget.

There are a wide-array of tour operators in your home country or you can contact an in-country tour outfitter to assist in your plans.

A 'search' on this board will bring up names of reputable operators/outfitters, so you can get started.

I'd also suggest, that you start your own thread for your upcoming trip, keep all subject re the trip under the same thread (always easier to find and for you and responders to follow your process) rather than piggy-back here.

Good luck.
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