Planning Safari #2! Tanzania in Nov./Dec.?

Oct 24th, 2007, 11:52 AM
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Planning Safari #2! Tanzania in Nov./Dec.?

So, you can definitely count me among those with an Africa addiction after my first trip to Southern Africa in Aug./Sept.! I've decided to start planning safari #2(aka "second trip of a lifetime") for next year. Due to other travel commitments, to maximize my time I will need to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, and so am looking at a trip in late Nov./early Dec. 2008.

My preliminary thoughts are to spend time at the Ngorongoro Crater and Northern Serengeti. I had a great experience with CC Africa in South Africa, and so was looking at Crater Lodge, Klein's Camp, and Tanzania Under Canvas. I like the thought of flying between camps (I will likely be traveling with my mom and we both tend to get carsick on long drives), and don't mind sharing a vehicle on game drives.

I'll be flying into NBO due to using frequent flier miles, and will have about 16-17 days total, including travel time, which will probably translate into about 8-9 nights on safari once I square away flights and stopovers, and 3-4 nights in Zanzibar after the safari.

I've found conflicting info about the best places to be in late November/early December. Should I consider the central Serengeti instead of the northern? Are there other properties I should be looking at with great game viewing at that time of year and a level of accommodations similar to the CC Africa properties? Any advice would be appreciated, as I try to focus my thoughts and ideas!
hlg22 is offline  
Oct 24th, 2007, 05:07 PM
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The conflicting advice is understandable with the unpredictable weather and rains.

CCAfrica will provide excellent accommodations (at a price) and Kleins would be in about the right place. There is also Migration Camp and Lobo. I've only stayed at Lobo and believe it would be way inferior to Kleins, but it was very nice.

“Should I consider the central Serengeti instead of the northern?” Not instead of but in addition to because Central Serengeti always has resident game and basing yourself in the central part gives you coverage of another area of the Serengeti in case the migration does not go according to plans.

Below there are several sites showing migration routes in normal years, but who knows what will be normal next year. --this site has perfect safaris in Tanzania for any month, including Nov. and Dec.

Here are some posts discussing Nov in Tanzania.

I've never traveled at that time of year, but Lynda's East Africa Index made it easy to find reports of lots of people who have. She includes a link to the full report with accommodations, etc.

Traveling with Good Earth on a private drive safari, Lisa gives us an amazing descriptive narrative of their 15 days sighting hundreds of animals and birds. And what is more amazing is that Lisa lists them all in her report, it truly makes you feel that you are right there with her sighting them. Their itinerary took them from Arusha, the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara and finally to Tarangire NP. Staying at mid to upper end lodges and camps, with a farm thrown into the mix, her descriptions of the accommodations and food also makes you feel you are there. A highlight is her encounter with the large green mamba snake at Mbuzi Mawe!.

This was Patty & Mark’s second trip to East Africa this year – their first trip was so incredible that they just had to go back! It was an ‘off-the-beaten-path’ private drive safari with Eastern & Southern Safaris as the operator. It is a well written report that will keep you reading until you finish, the details are amazing! Staying at smaller guest cottages/ ranches and tented camps, Patty and Mark’s travels took them from various places around and about Mt. Kenya NP, south through Aberdare NP, west to Nakuru, and finally southwest through Lake Naivasha to the Mara. Flying back to Nairobi for a night, and then on to Kilimanjaro for an intriguing 4 day stay at a farm for a horseback safari! Pictures on Kodak Gallery.

Eezam’s short, but very informative report on their private drive safari with Affordable Tours.Com/ Brendan takes us to Samburu, Lake Nakura, Masi Mara and then Nairobi. From here they fly to Arusha for the Tanzanian portion group drive safari with Rangers Safaris, taking them to Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro, staying mostly at Serena and Sopa lodges. This report is full of delightful animal sightings, and a few helpful hints as well.

Marcus has given us a fabulous report of their safari with Africa Dream Safaris. Staying at upper end permanent, as well as mobile camps and tree lodges, their safari started with the ‘tourist circuit’ in Nairobi, flying to Kilimanjaro with stays in Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. Their trip finished with some historical sightseeing in Stonetown (Zanzibar) and then three ‘glorious’ days of doing nothing on Mnemba Island – a small, exclusive island off the island of Zanzibar.

Eben gives us a fabulously detailed report on up-to-date information on the Mara migration patterns, a Google Earth maps update (see his web site – fabulous site!), and best of all – up to the minute reports on loads of camps, seasonal camps and lodges in Tarangire, Loliondo (borders the north-eastern Serengeti), Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. As per his disclaimer, this is not a typical safari report, it was to update the GPS/lodge/road info on his site and see new safari routes. Eben definitely proves to us that once Africa gets in your blood it just WON’T wash out.

This thread is an introduction with a link to Andy & Jennifer’s first trip to Africa on a private drive safari booked through SAFARILINE, with ground operators TRANSWORLD in Kenya, and SHIFTING SANDS In Tanzania. In the thread Jennifer gives us great summaries on their flights, vehicles, immunizations, food, pictures and a brief overview of the lodges and camps they stayed in. After arriving in Nairobi (Serena Hotel) and staying the night, their itinerary took them to Amboseli (Serena Lodge), Tarangire (Kikoti Tented Lodge), Lake Manyara (E Unoto Retreat), Ngorongoro (Serena Lodge), Serengeti (Serena Lodge) and Arusha (Kigongoni). In the thread there is a link to their web pages (LOVE the name of their site – ‘Why We Work’!) that has an incredible detailed diary of their trip, audio of Maasai songs, and their pictures. It’s a great read, full of detailed descriptions of the lodges and camps, the food, the roads and the game runs.

Here is a trip report with a different perspective – Maria starts out on this thread in Sept 2005 with two tickets to Nairobi and no other plans. With the help of those incredible regular Fodorites - Michael, Patty, Leely and Sandi, Maria puts together a great trip for her and her husband which covers Kenya and Tanzania! At the end of the thread, Maria tells us about her trip arranged through KANIA TOURS and AFRICAN TRAILS – starting in Nairobi (Norfolk Hotel), and driving to the Maasai Mara (Kania Tours tented camp), Lake Najuru (a charming colonial guesthouse), Arusha (a Lutheran Hostel), Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara (different Lutheran hostels), and then flying to Zanzibar (Matemwe Baharini Bungalows) for a little taste of paradise. There is a link to her pictures on her website mentioned in the thread.

Nikao has written a short report on his trip in Nov/Dec to Tanzania. Booked through GREEN FOOTPRINT ADVENTURES, Nikao set out with his girlfriend, her mother and brother on an incredible adventure. After spending 10 days in Arusha where they did several nature walks at Kigongoni Lodge, canoed on Duluti, and explored Arusha National Park in depth, they then went to Tarangire (Tarangire Safari Lodge), Lake Manyara (Serena Lodge), Karatu (Plantation Lodge), Ngorongoro Crater, and finally to the Serengeti (Ndutu area – Camp Olakira and Sayari camp in the Gol Mountains). Nikao and his family did some pretty exciting and different activities while on safari – mountain biking down a mountain at Lake Manyara, as well as a wonderful dinner in the bush and a night game drive. His truly amazing pictures are on Flickr – the link is mentioned at the top of the thread. Don’t miss the one of the mother cheetah with her cub – National Geographic could snap that one up any day now!

Good luck in your planning.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 24th, 2007, 06:44 PM
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“a level of accommodations similar to the CC Africa properties?”

Crater Lodge—nothing close from what I’ve heard. I like Sopa because of the private road and I thought it was wonderful. Serena is supposed to be nicer. Further away is Gibbs Farm. I’ve only eaten there—a meal is a trip highlight—but the place looked charming.

Tanzania Under Canvas—I think Nomads is similar but never used either.

You can do some flying. Check this site
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 25th, 2007, 05:41 AM
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Wow! Thanks Lynn. I thought I had found all of the relevant posts and trip reports but clearly you are much better with the search function than I am!

Though we definitely like luxury, I guess one of the main reasons I was initially leaning toward the CC Africa properties was the quality of guiding, if we do a fly-in type trip - our ranger/tracker in SA were fantastic, and from what I have heard they are similarly great in Tanzania. I will have to do some more reading to see what I can find out about the rangers at some of the other camps.

hlg22 is offline  
Oct 25th, 2007, 09:46 AM
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have you done a trip report on your last trip? I really loved the structure of your itinerary and am working to see if it's in our budget, but I'd be curious to see if you were happy with it or had any pointers.
kak113 is offline  
Oct 25th, 2007, 11:07 AM
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Yes, I did do a trip report:

The trip was fantastic - there wasn't much I would have changed, except where we stayed in Vic Falls, and perhaps extending the safari time. It was a great "first taste" of Africa - hence my desire to return as soon as possible!
hlg22 is offline  
Oct 25th, 2007, 04:59 PM
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If quality of guiding is key, then I think a good travel agent can assure that without the CCAfrica pricing or luxury.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 26th, 2007, 04:59 AM
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With regards the CCA props in East Africa, most offer these on both a FB-full board basis where you travel with and use your own vehicle/guide for game drives; others, offer only on a GP-game package basis, where you have to use their guides. Klein's Camp in the Serengeti, is one of these; I believe also their Tanzania/Serengeti Under Canvas. In these instances, your game drives are on a shared basis with other camp guests.

If working with a reputable company, the quality of guides, their experience and knowledge is as good (often better) than the individual camp guides.
sandi is offline  
Oct 26th, 2007, 06:13 AM
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Thanks all for the advice. I am pretty sure (at least at this point) that I would not want to use my own vehicle/guide, so I am more looking at the difference between CCA guides and those at other camps - If I am traveling with my mom, I love her but we would drive each other crazy if it was just the two of us in a vehicle for a week, and if it was just me, I think I'd get lonely! I really enjoyed having vehicle mates to share the experience with on my last safari.

Price with CCA isn't really an issue, and I definitely prefer accommodations on the luxury end of the spectrum, all things being equal, but would be inclined to accept lesser accommodations with superior game viewing. I guess I have some more reading to do!!
hlg22 is offline  
Oct 26th, 2007, 09:11 AM
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We stayed at CCA properties in Tanzania last year and they were great. The guides (including two women) were superb. Here's our report:
Marija is online now  
Oct 26th, 2007, 12:00 PM
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Thanks Marija! I've read your great report. If I do go with CCA, I won't book through them.
hlg22 is offline  
Oct 26th, 2007, 04:42 PM
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Your comment of being willing to accept lesser accommodations for superior game viewing but not because of budget is key. I think CCAFrica has very good guides, which is what you discovered too.

If a private vehicle is not a plus, then a shared vehicle at CCAfrica would work well.

Your mom might prefer the luxury and comfort of CCAfrica and that could be important too.

You should also let your agent know the other CCAfrica camps you have been to. That might win you some VIP points at your locations.
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 6th, 2008, 07:46 AM
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Woo hoo! I'm booked!!!

I didn't want to jinx myself before things were confirmed but I'm really going back to Africa! My mom decided she definitely wanted to join me after seeing the pictures and video from trip #1 over the holidays.

I requested quotes from a few agents right before Christmas and ended up going with Africa Serendipity as Sandi was by far the most responsive and helpful.

We'll be leaving in mid-November and our itinerary is:

Park Hyatt Zurich (1) (used Hyatt points to book this...we're flying through Zurich from the U.S. and spending a day there before continuing on to Nairobi)
House of Waine (2)
CCA Crater Lodge (2)
CCA Klein's Camp (3)
CCA Serengeti Under Canvas (Central Serengeti) (3)
Zanzibar--Matemwe Retreat (3)
Stone Town (probably Beyt al Chai...still finalizing) (1)

We'll have a private vehicle for the crater and then use CCA vehicles at Klein's and SUC - I am very interested to compare the two experiences.

I finalized our flights this morning(booking biz class with United miles has been a pain in the neck, I have by now probably spent more time on this than on planning our safari!). Now I just have to wait (the hardest part!) and figure out what I'm going to do about a new camera...

hlg22 is offline  
Feb 6th, 2008, 08:41 AM
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We went this last Thanksgiving to Northern Tanzania and found it to be a perfect time to go. Very little rain and it wasn't too dusty or hot (except a bit in Zanzibar). (See report on "safari for photography with Roy.") Have fun!
pattyroth is offline  
Feb 6th, 2008, 09:59 AM
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Looks great hlg22.

Type in camera in the search box for lots of advice for all skill levels.
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 7th, 2008, 06:42 AM
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Thanks so much for the reference to your trip report! I somehow missed it the first time around but it was great.
hlg22 is offline  
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