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OAT: Safari Serengeti: Tanzania Lodge & Tented Safari (Laundry and Visa ?s)

OAT: Safari Serengeti: Tanzania Lodge & Tented Safari (Laundry and Visa ?s)

Feb 2nd, 2010, 08:02 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 14
OAT: Safari Serengeti: Tanzania Lodge & Tented Safari (Laundry and Visa ?s)

I am going on this trip August 23-September 5, 2010. (Counting the days!) Anyone else going then?

I have a question about laundry services so I can plan what I need to pack. Is laundry only available at the lodges? Is it something you leave in the morning and get back at night?

I was thinking of packing three pants and three tops; I would have two of each sent to laundry when I needed. Can anyone tell me how you worked out sending clothes and making sure you were still there to receive them back? I don't want to overpack if I can avoid it.

Also, regarding the Visa. I work in DC about 10 blocks from the Embassy, I'm thinking I can save money by going directly to the Embassy with my passport. Does anyone know if I can get an instant Visa there, or do I still have to leave my passport and have them mail it back with my visa? I don't like the fear factor involved with the parting with my passport.

Thanks in advance!
mrscherry2000 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2010, 10:03 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
Laundry will be done at all the lodges and camps, even the mobile tented camp in the Serengeti (it's free, there, I think.) Yes, you leave it in the morning and get it back at night (unless it's wet weather... not a problem in Aug - Sept.) Just make sure it's not your travel day. I usually take 3 pairs of "zip-off" pants and a mix of about 5 short- and long-sleeved tops. You'll need to wash your own "smalls", as they call underwear. They may offer to wash socks, but they have a tendency to disappear, so I wash my own. Layer your clothes; it will be quite cool when you leave on the early morning game drives, but will warm up quickly. The reverse will be true in the afternoons/evenings.

Yes, you can get your visa at the Embassy and not use OAT's visa service. I don't know if you have to leave your passport with them, or not, though. I think the best way is to get it right at Kilimanjaro Airport upon arrival (no photos, bank statements, etc. needed.) You can print out the visa form from the Embassy website and fill it out in advance. Then, just line up at the Visa window on the right-hand wall with your form, $100 (2 $50 bills or 5 $20 bills), and landing card that you'll be given on the plane. You don't have to go through the Immigration lines after you get your visa; just proceed directly to the baggage claim area. you'll be through just as fast as those who purchased their visas in advance.

I suggest the smaller bills as the $100 bill is often counterfeited and can be rejected (saw that happen in Nairobi.) Make sure that all the bills you take are of the new "big head" style and are 2003 or newer. Also make sure that none of the bills are marked or torn. Locals can't accept those.

Enjoy your safari! The local outfitter is Kibo Guides, with whom I've traveled several times. If you have Peter, Allen, John B, or Nickson as one of your guides, tell them "Jambo!" from Sharon.
ShayTay is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2010, 12:57 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
ShayTay covered pretty well.

However, "free" laundry isn't a guarantee unless specifically stated in your docs. Best to have funds for this service, which prices are quite reasonable.

As to the Visa, just as easy, if not easier to just purchase on arrival at JRO or land border crossing area. And, while USD$100 notes may cause issues in Kenya, these seems to be welcomed in Tanzania... go figure. Personally, I never use anything larger than $50s for... mostly $20s, $10s, $5s and $1s. Also, bills should be no older than 5/years, so for 2010... with dates of 2004 or 2005 forward.

Safari njema!
sandi is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2010, 01:23 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
The info regarding what's free and what's to be paid for will probably be in OAT's final documents, which will come closer to departure. When I went with OAT in 2004, drinks and laundry were free at the mobile tented camp and paid for elsewhere... don't know if that is still their policy. Kibo did the same for my other three safaris with them.
ShayTay is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2010, 05:47 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 437
I went on the 'best of Kenya and Tanzania' trip, not the exact one you are going on, but I found that sometimes the laundry took an extra day. Since we were at most locations for 2 nights it works fine -- just drop off your laundry when you check in, in case it doesn't get done in one day. Also, I didn't think it was as cheap as everyone else seems to think. I guess it is cheap compared to hotel laundry prices, but anything where you pay by the piece is expensive compared to what I'm used to.
I brought clothes in quick-dry materials, and washed most of them myself, just sending the dirtier or heavier items to be laundered.
ann_nyc is offline  
Jul 28th, 2010, 10:16 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 2
Just took this trip last Jan/Feb 2010 and you are in for a great experience. About clothing and laundry..3 pants, three tops and you will be fine. Laundry is available at all the places except the tent lodge and Serengeti tents and it was always same day service if you got the laundry out early. Everything was washed nicely but don't expect ironing. Suggest you bring clothing in fabrics that dry quickly.
If you are flying with the group get the visa before you enter the county or you will keep everyone waiting while you are on line at Kilimanjaro Airport. SOme people on our trip got visas on their own, others used the OAT process. On your own is cheaper.
If you are lucky enough to get Iddy, Nelson or Herbie as yoru guides you will have an enriched experience. There knowledge of everything Tanzania is amazing. Have a great time.
mis3mis3 is offline  
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