OK to travel in April?

Old Jan 9th, 2008, 05:34 PM
  #1  
spy
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OK to travel in April?

We are planning to go to Tanzania in April. We have hard that this is the rainy season and don't mind the occasional shower, but wonder if our plans might be seriously impacted by rain. Do folks think its just "not ideal" to travel then, or is it downright silly to spend so much money to sit in the rain?? Any thoughts would be very appreciated
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Old Jan 9th, 2008, 05:48 PM
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Somebody else asked that very question and here is the link to it.

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...4&tid=34955096

BillH went in Apr. Here is his report...

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34827612

...and photos
http://members.aol.com/bhilton665/tanzania_rainy_2006/ (pictures & commentary)


Kiliwarriors lists best itineraries for each month of the year on their site, so you can check out april.
http://www.kiliwarriors.com/

If I could go at another time, I would avoid April. If it were April or no trip, I'd take rain gear and go.
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Old Jan 9th, 2008, 06:11 PM
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Lynn posted a link to our trip report from April ... I'd say if it's the ONLY time you can go then go, or if you are really into birding and want to see as many birds nesting as possible then go in April. Other benefits include lower costs on lodging and many fewer people.

But there are downsides, mainly the chance that the rains will be so heavy that you cannot drive many places without a good chance of getting stuck. Also the insects are simply incredible, with literally thousands of flies on some of the animals (especially lions near kills) ... we had two flying termite hatches on our trip (it has to REALLY rain to trigger these) and were in tsetse fly zones twice, which is not real pleasant.

Finally most mornings the light was poor for photography (but OK for general game viewing), though we did get a couple of days with breaking storms and rainbows. The usual weather pattern was overcast early AM skies with the clouds burning off by say 9 AM, then hot and clear until mid-afternoon, when tall cumulus clouds would build up, often followed by evening rains.

I would do it again in April because we enjoyed the bird photography and liked the sparse crowds, but it's a bit of a gamble because you can get stuck if the roads wash out due to excessive rains.

Bill
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Old Jan 9th, 2008, 06:13 PM
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BTW the AOL link Lynn posted is out of date (we switched to cable), the new URL for that trip's photos is here now:

http://www.hiltonphotography.net/afr...ania/index.htm

Bill
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Old Jan 9th, 2008, 06:31 PM
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How about good rates as pro for April?
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 05:15 AM
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spy
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Getting stuck in mud, abundant FLIES (are these on the animals or on me and my precious kids???) Sounds like a potential nightmare. Yet the sparse crowds scene is VERY appealing to me and it will not be easy for us to go at another time for a couple of years. I have traveled on a very low budget before and am not a "high class" tourist so can handle moderate inconveniences, but I don't want to be foolish.Am I crazy to take a 11 and 13 yo into this sort of situation. I wish others out there could reassure me a bit........
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 06:46 AM
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How about good rates as pro for April?

Hi Lynn, I mentioned "lower costs on lodging" in my first post. But the park fees and the jeep/guide fees are typically the same.

Here's an example of a Serena/Sopa-type trip with Good Earth, $1,850 April 1 - May 20, $2,590 the rest of the year ...

spy ... abundant FLIES (are these on the animals or on me and my precious kids???)

I have a couple photos of lions that are almost covered in flies and you think "I couldn't stand that for five minutes", but for some reason these flies don't swarm on people. The only time we had even 100 or so in the jeep was when we stopped in the middle of 200,000 wildebeests for about 30 minutes and when we started the jeep a hundred or so flies were attracted by the movement and glommed on to us. But we got rid of them in a few minutes. These are not tse-tse flies (stinging biters), which were in only two areas on our trip.

So it's not as bad for people as it is for the poor animals.

I don't want to be foolish.Am I crazy to take a 11 and 13 yo into this sort of situation.

You sound a bit worked up about the mud and bugs to me, so I'd probably advise you to go when it's drier. But not TOO dry, I feel the choking dust is worse than the flies

Bill
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 06:56 AM
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Here's an example of a Serena/Sopa-type trip with Good Earth, $1,850 April 1 - May 20, $2,590 the rest of the year ...

Meant to post a link to this ...
http://www.goodearthtours.com/tanzan...i_special.html
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 09:13 AM
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I personally prefer dust to too many flies.

Thanks for the specific comparison figures on travel in April.


I wonder if your kids would care about the flies and mud. I don't believe they are disease-carrying, just a nuisance.
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 11:26 AM
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spy
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I did not mean to sound worked up over the mud and bugs. I only care if its raining so hard we can't safari at all, or see animals.

I am very much inclinded to be adventurous, but since its a shit load of money and my kids must put up as well, I am only trying not to be completely foolish. SO I was hoping for some diversity of opinion and some reassurance of my sanity!


Would it be advisable to build in a couple of extra days to compensate for weather issues??

Thanks so much for the help.
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 12:00 PM
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I only care if its raining so hard we can't safari at all, or see animals.

The heavy rains were at night when we were there, which is supposedly the normal pattern. In 10 days we only had the roof of the jeep covered I think 3 times during the day, the rest of the time it was open for photos.

Would it be advisable to build in a couple of extra days to compensate for weather issues??

You can fly into and out of Serengeti to avoid possible road delays. We didn't do this because of the weight restrictions but instead drove. If you drive then the main snags are a couple of low water crossings on the backside of Ngorongoro heading to Serengeti. These can flood during rains and jeeps and trucks simply have to sit there and wait for the water to recede. So plan it so you are on the Arusha side of these washes (ie at the crater rim or Manyara or Tarangire) a day or two before you are due to leave. The main road thru Serengeti is actually quite good (all-weather gravel) but the section near Ngorongoro lacks culverts or bridges.

You can see one of these two washes here, scroll down to the first photo: http://www.hiltonphotography.net/afr...ia/ndutu-1.htm ... this was during the supposedly 'short dry' season in 2007 (January 19) ... a week later when we returned it was almost dry but a week after that heavy rains flooded it and supposedly 100 vehicles were backed up here all afternoon waiting to get by. So be on the Arusha side of these washes near the end of the trip, or plan on flying back to Arusha to avoid them. Then you should be OK.

Bill
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 12:27 PM
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I haven't been in April but if it's the only time you can go, I'd do it.

We traveled to Kenya/Tanzania in Nov/Dec 2006 when they were having an unusually heavy "short" rainy season. We were told it was the most rain they'd had in 7 years so probably an average April would be no worse.

We found there were more insects than when we'd traveled in drier periods but they weren't intolerable and I'd do it again.

We were lucky and didn't have to alter our itinerary nor did we experienced any travel delays (we mostly drove) during our trip, but another Fodorite who traveled right after us had to spend an extra night "stuck" at Elsa's Private House (boo hoo, lots of sympathy from me ) because the river was too high to cross, so just be prepared for the possibility of delays and alterations to your itinerary.
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