Northern cirquit safari itinerary

Jan 9th, 2008, 11:19 AM
  #1  
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Northern cirquit safari itinerary

My partner and I are going to Tanzania mid-March and would appreciate you advising us on a safari itinerary.

We´ve gotten some offers from different companies and I hope you can give us some comments about them. (Prices are for 2 persons) Any experinces of the operators are also appreciated.

#1 Nyika Treks & Safaris
DAY 1 – ARUSHA – MANYARA – OVERNIGHT; Kirurumu tented lodge or Kiboko tented camp

DAY 2 – MANYARA – NDUTU – SERENGETI – overnight; Mbuzi Mawe Tented camp or Serengeti Sopa lodge.

DAY 3 – SERENGETI – SERENGETI – overnight; Ikoma bush tented camp

DAY 4 – SERENGETI – NGORONGORO – Overnight; Ngorongoro Sopa lodge or Ngorongoro Serena lodge.

DAY 5 – NGORONGORO – ARUSHA

Price: 3220 US$


#2 Nature Discovery
14/3/08 Fri
1
Departure for Manyara National Park - picnic lunch and game drive in the park
Migunga Forest Camp

15/3/08 Sat
2
Drive to Serengeti - game drive en route - picnic lunch and game drive in the park
Ikoma Safari Camp

16/3/08 Sun
3
Full day in Serengeti
Ikoma Safari Camp

17/3/08 Mon
4
Drive to Ngorongoro - game drive en route - visit Olduvai (archaeological site "cradle of mankind") - picnic lunch
Ngorongoro Farm House

18/3/08 Tue
5
Morning game drive in the Crater with picnic lunch (max. 6 hrs allowed in the crater) - afternoon return to Arusha

Cost: 3124 US$


#3 Duma Explorer
Day 1: Arusha to Lake Manyara National Park overnight Kirurumu Tented Lodge

Day 2: to Southern Serengeti overnight Ndutu Lodge

Day 3: Southern Serengeti overnight Ndutu Lodge

Day 4: to Ngorongoro overnight Serena Lodge

Day 5: Crater game drive back to Arusha

Cost: 3650 US$


#4 Africa Travel Resource

Fri 14-Mar-08 Karatu : Gibbs Farm
Sat 15-Mar-08 Southcentral Serengeti : Olduvai Tented Camp
Sun 16-Mar-08 Southcentral Serengeti : Olduvai Tented Camp
Mon 17-Mar-08 Central Serengeti : Ronjo Camp

Cost: 3962 US$

#5 Swala Safaris
1
Lake Manyara - Bougainvillea
2
Serengeti - Ngome tented camp
3
Serengeti - Ngome
4
To Ngorongoro via Olduvai Gorge - Bougainvillea
5
Ngorongoro - Out Post Lodge

Cost: 2540 US$ (Seems strangely cheap compared to the other alternatives..)


Many thanks
Anna
Anna85 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2008, 12:19 PM
  #2  
 
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Posts: 8,675
Duma Explorer is the only company that has you in the right place for a March trip. The Ndutu or Southern Serengeti locations. Of course, until they can actually confirm they can get you into these lodges/camps, you won't know for certain.

The other itineraries, have you in central or western Serengeti, where there is resident game (no migrating wildebeests and their recent young), but long long drives and likely to be disappointing.



sandi is offline  
Jan 9th, 2008, 12:23 PM
  #3  
 
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Posts: 14,440
Never heard of Ngome, maybe that is why it is the least expensive.


No wonder Duma is the most. That's where everyone wants to be that time of year to maximize migration viewing chances.
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 9th, 2008, 04:53 PM
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I just googled Ngome and this came up

"At Ngome Camp and Ikoma Bush Camp the big herds pass through in June-July and October..."

A location away from the migration will bring down the cost.
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 10th, 2008, 01:49 AM
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Posts: 53
Regarding the ATR itinerary - Olduvai is slap bang in the middle of a grassy plain - if the herds are in the area it would be absolutely fantastic. It is not far from Ndutu and when we were there our game-viewing leads me to believe if the herds aren't there, they won't be too near Ndutu either. We went in the summer but I do have it pegged to visit if we ever go back in the spring. You would see good resident game at Ronjo. We had a great time but these are slightly more rustic camps than some people prefer. Gibbs is a very nice stopover with super food.
Despite this, considering the price difference I think you would be best to go with Duma as I was surprised ATR were more expensive for those camps than the Duma itinerary.(based only on what I have heard or read about those camps and trying to compare with our ATR camps)

regards

Julie
jul_uk is offline  
Jan 10th, 2008, 11:10 AM
  #6  
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Thank you so much for your comments!

When looking closer at the ATR itinerary I found that they are flying us back from Seronera. Do you think that this is a better option than the Duma itinerary?

Anna
Anna85 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2008, 12:53 PM
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Anna
I guess that the flight may account for some or all of the extra cost I was surprised about. Presuming you have a crater game drive on leaving Gibbs and en route to Olduvai (we did exactly that, arriving in time to do a short walk to the viewpoint) then some people would consider it a good thing to fly back to Arusha from seronera as it avoids going both ways on the bumpy "washboard" road down into the Serengeti. We flew back from Sayari in northern Serengeti and enjoyed the flight.
Other more experienced people will chime in I hope. I do think some will tell you that Ndutu is a better camp (I also suspect from other postings it is often fully booked well in advance so it might be worth checking its availability before agonising - anybody else know about this?)

Julie
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Jan 10th, 2008, 01:12 PM
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ndutu.com has an online availability checker.
Patty is offline  
Jan 10th, 2008, 02:49 PM
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Since Olduavai was mentioned...In general, do you Olduvai should be included in a Feb. safari if a several day stay in Ndutu is also included?
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 11th, 2008, 06:36 AM
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atravelyn

Probably not but I would be tempted to do a night at Olduvai on the way and one less at Ndutu, from the little I know. Firstly because of the position of Olduvai on the plain it would be spectacular if the herds are there. Apparently it can be very noisy though and sometimes a struggle to get back to your tent for animals.(some tents are quite a way from the main dining room etc). Secondly because it is in the NCA and once you are at Ndutu which is just over the Serengeti line the only way you can go from one to the other is paying those park fees again. We had a great day in the dry season driving around here and towards Ndutu but not allowed over the Serengeti line unless we paid. Lions, Leopard and cheetah etc etc and no other vehicles. Have tried to send you a pic of the view from front of tent but you will need to imagine the herds!
I am planning to go back and I am a bit confused as to when the most likely time to catch the herds here will be. Isn't everybody ! Is Anna most likely to be at the tail-end of the likely season for this area? Is late February a "safer" bet ?

Julie


jul_uk is offline  
Jan 11th, 2008, 10:02 AM
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Secondly because it (Olduvai) is in the NCA and once you are at Ndutu which is just over the Serengeti line the only way you can go from one to the other is paying those park fees again

Julie, Ndutu is in the NCA, not Serengeti. It's close to the border but still in the NCA ...

Also you wrote "It (Olduvai) is not far from Ndutu and when we were there our game-viewing leads me to believe if the herds aren't there, they won't be too near Ndutu either."

It's probably an hour's drive from Olduvai to Ndutu and most pro wildlife photographers feel Ndutu is much better located because there are two lakes plus woodlands, in addition to the nearby plains. So much more reliable water than Olduvai, which means more reliable wildlife viewing.

Bill
Bill_H is offline  
Jan 11th, 2008, 11:12 AM
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Bill

Whoops - Thanks for that - I must have become dsorientated or misunderstood our guide! There were markers when we were in woodland and near the lake and he said they denoted the boundary and also pointed out the Ndutu lodge. Obviously I got mixed up or, heaven forbid, we were on the wrong side of this (possible?)at the time. Or don't take everything the guide says to heart!
I agree and did imply that most people seem to prefer Ndutu. Much of our game-viewing was towards it as you say but we were often out for all / most of the day so it doesn't seem far at all.
Some non-gifted amateurs on safari will also seek to avoid lodges that are so popular with the BBC and pro-photographers !
Do you have an opinion or wild guess on the best "safest bet" time to go there if wanting to see the migration / birth time in that area, please Bill ?

Julie
jul_uk is offline  
Jan 11th, 2008, 11:32 AM
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Julie, no big deal, here's a map: http://www.go-safari.com/images/NdutuMarch2007JPG.jpg ... the white line is the Serengeti - NCA border and as you can see the lodge is pretty much directly on the border, but just inside the NCA boundary. When we stay there we always do our game drives in the NCA except for maybe going to Gol kopjes one day in Serengeti (when we have to pay extra).

Do you have an opinion or wild guess on the best "safest bet" time to go there if wanting to see the migration / birth time in that area

Mid-January thru mid-March is considered the ideal time, but what you'll actually see depends somewhat on rainfall. We were at Ndutu 5 nights in late January 2006 and it was exceptionally dry, so there were scattered herds near the lake and woodlands, but not enough grass and water on the plains for the masses. We still saw 56 lions and seven cheetahs.

In April 2006 after three weeks of rain (which meant grass on the plains) we drove past on our way to central Serengeti, and there were two huge herds of probably over 500,000 wildebeests between the Naabi Hill gate and Ndutu. Eleven cheetahs and 35 lions this trip, with higher grass blocking views at times.

In January 2007, after very heavy rains in Dec, conditions were perfect when we were at Ndutu for 7 nights (Jan 19-25), and we had 170 lion sightings, 20 cheetahs, hundreds of thousands of wildebeests (and a mouse-catching serval and 5 honey-badgers). We'll be there late February - early March in 2008, when there should be more wildebeest calving activity, though they could easily be a bit north of Ndutu into the Serengeti by then.

You can check the 'availability' chart on the Ndutu home page and see they usually fill up those 8 weeks very quickly.

So I think that's the ideal time, and the best conditions are heavy rains a few weeks before you go, followed by 10 days of no rain to dry it out

Bill
Bill_H is offline  
Jan 11th, 2008, 11:45 AM
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Bill, thanks for the comprehensive answer to an impossible question. In other words, go every year until you get it just right! And even getting it wrong is fantastic!
Julie

jul_uk is offline  
Jan 12th, 2008, 09:50 AM
  #15  
 
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Hello All,

4 of us are planning to go about the same time - last week of Feb 08. Primarily interested in wildlife photography.

From all the replies it really seems like Ndutu lodge is the best place to be. However, if we stay at Ndutu do you think we should also do NGO crater or it is not as worth?

Thanks in advance.
Senthil
cumar is offline  
Jan 12th, 2008, 09:59 AM
  #16  
 
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cumar -

Suggest you start a new thread for your trip.

If for next month, likelihood to get space at Ndutu Lodge is nil.

Until you contact an outfitter will you know what is available, where and costs.

And to answer re Ngorongoro... if driving you pass the crater on way to the Serengeti. Can visit on the way out or on return.

Drive from Arusha to Ngorongoro is 5/hrs, then another minimum 2/hrs to Ndutu, longer if farther into the Serengeti. From Serengeti to Arusha drive time is about 8/hrs.
sandi is offline  
Jan 12th, 2008, 10:12 AM
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4 of us are planning to go about the same time - last week of Feb 08. Primarily interested in wildlife photography.

From all the replies it really seems like Ndutu lodge is the best place to be. However, if we stay at Ndutu do you think we should also do NGO crater or it is not as worth?


Senthil, the crater is unique, with a very dense population of predators (around 100 lions and 400 hyenas), many rhinos, and the heaviest-tusked elephants we've seen in Tanzania. You will certainly find many things to photograph in there. We photographed several things here that we haven't seen elsewhere, including hyenas fighting with lions, plus two of the huge bull elephants and many black rhinos.

However, there are many downsides ... it is crowded after about 8 AM, so crowded it detracts from the experience; you cannot drive off the roads (unlike Ndutu area), which makes it tougher to get the right angle of light for photos or to get as close as you might wish; you are usually limited to one visit per day instead of going out early AM and late PM for good light, so you have half the good light compared to elsewhere; and the cost is higher than anywhere else, the $50/person NCA fees plus $200/jeep to descend to the crater floor.

For a first-time or one-time trip I'd say you should probably visit the crater for a day or so. We spent 3-4 nights there on each of our trips in Jan 06 and 07 but skipped it April 06 (due to concerns about flooding) and are skipping it again late Feb this year because of the cost and lack of time available for photographing there.

Bill
Bill_H is offline  
Jan 18th, 2008, 08:03 PM
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Hi Bill,

I did manage to accommodation at Ndutu for Feb 26, 27 and 28th.

Do you think I should go to Seronera region/Serengeti for a day or not worth it?

Cheers,
Senthil
cumar is offline  
Jan 18th, 2008, 08:04 PM
  #19  
 
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Hi Bill,

And what time frame are you at Ndutu?

Cheers,
Senthil
cumar is offline  

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