Planning Safari to Tanania, Help!

Reply

Mar 15th, 2006, 04:25 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 187
Planning Safari to Tanania, Help!

Hi there. I am planning a safari to Tanzania in late August and it seems the more research I do, the more confused I get! Has anyone worked with Africa Travel Resource out of the UK? I live in the US but found them online and they seem to have a very nice, forthright style . . . and their suggested itinerary seems different from the standard safaris. Can anyone shed some light on this? I am a single woman traveling with another single woman. We are both in our mid-40's, very athletic and adventurous -- but also love our creature comforts. Thanks.
sueblue is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 15th, 2006, 04:52 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Hi, mid-30s woman, active and adventurous but not a backpacker, was in TZ July 2004 with a friend and we're returning this June booking through ATR. No worries, but are you aware that August is Mara time (in Kenya)?

Rocco, a poster on this board, and bat and others...all have recently returned from TZ booking through ATR. There are many, many operators to choose from.

To get you started on research, here is a link to the East Africa Trip Report Index:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34725679

Good luck! What itinerary are you thinking about???
Leely is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 15th, 2006, 04:54 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,774
Bat has just come home from going with ATR - her report is at:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34760129

Rocco also went with ATR, but he has probably just got in the door and is saying hello to his dogs.

There are a few more I am sure though - check out the East Africa Trip Report Index at
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34725679

Hope this helps!

LyndaS is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 15th, 2006, 04:55 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,774
Leely, looks like you & I posted at the same time!
LyndaS is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 16th, 2006, 08:57 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,822
In the East Africa index thread, look for amfs' Tanzania honeymoon trip from Oct 2005 and Sarvowinner's RTW Tanzania/South Africa trip from Dec/Jan. They both used ATR.

You mentioned that you love your creature comforts. Keep in mind that ATR heavily favors the MKSC/Tanganyika camps (Mawe Ninga, Olduvai, Ronjo) and works them into most of the itineraries that I've seen. These camps are on the rustic side and may not suit everyone. See some comments here - http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34771820
Patty is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 16th, 2006, 09:03 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,822
Though if Rocco can survive Olduvai, I'm sure anybody can!
Patty is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 16th, 2006, 09:44 AM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 187
Thank you all. I had a feeling that ATR has their favorites and that perhaps they are compensated for such. After briefly reading some of the trip reports, I am thinking we would want much more in the way of amenities than what they have proposed. (They had also suggested not staying at the rim on N Crater and only spending one day there because of the crowds. This seems to contrast with other things I have heard about this area.)

It looks like we will have 13 solid days to play in Tanzania and/or anywhere else. We fly in and out of Kilimanjaro but the return flight goes thru Dar so we could probably leave from Dar directly if we want. Any thoughts on itineraries? We wanted to do the usual northern park circuit and then weren't sure if we should go into the Masai Mara in Kenya or do something else entirely in Tanzania that does not include game drives. Any suggestions?

We need to lock our air in by tomorrow nite so we need to decide whether to keep the in/out from Kilimanjaro or change one to Dar or even Nairobi, if possible.

Thanks so much!!
sueblue is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 16th, 2006, 10:25 AM
  #8
bat
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,790
sue:
You are in a bit of a jam trying to decide on the departure city without an itinerary. Some things to think about.

As leely mentioned, if you are interested in the wildebeest migration, then in late August you want to include some time in Kenya in the Masaii Mara.
See eben's maps at http://www.go-safari.com/Serengeti/serengeti.htm

Dar is an advantage if you are going to end in Zanzibar or the southern circuit. If you are going to spend all of your time in Kenya and the TZ northern circuit then Kili (or Kili/Nairobi) makes sense.

If you are forced to make a decision now, you would probably be OK with the Kili/Kili arrangement--you could still fly or drive into Kenya for the Mara. If you added Zbar later you might be able to change the departure to DAR (the KLM flight, yes?)

I am not sure what the accommodations situation is like for the Mara in late August--2006 has booked quite a bit.

Sandi would know.
bat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 16th, 2006, 10:44 AM
  #9
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
bat -

... sure blame it on Sandi LOL!

Patty - we don't know the details yet and whether Rocco actually survived Olduvai!

Sue -

The Mara in Kenya will also be busy, and right now, I'm waitlisting some clients with the hope space will clear, though do have cover bookings. Still, that's not to say nothing is available.

As others have mentioned ATR does tend to direct their clients to specific accommodations; and the "don't stay at the Crater" is ridiculous. Sure on the Crater floor will be busy - it almost always is. But once at your lodge, you have the same number of people, with a max of about 150-200 guests.

"Standard" itineraries can mean anything. Sure you generally visit many of the same areas, just stay in different accommodations.

If you prefer not to go into Kenya, you can ask if ATR can get space for you near the Kenya/Tanzania border - Sayari; nearby the Migration Camp (both more luxurious than the "standard" ATR camps) or camps in the Loliondo area, maybe Nomads or Olakira. Eben's website listed above shows the various camp locations.

Being so close, it would be a shame to miss the Migration, so try to catch it somewhere. Only problem with ATR - they don't do Kenya.

To confuse you even more (sorry), and if you want to use DAR as your departure point, see if ATR can get you into a camp in the Selous or Ruaha. Both can be accessed by air (via Arusha & DAR) and returning to DAR for your homebound flight.

Should you also consider concluding your safari with some R&R, Zanzibar is easily accessible from Arusha, DAR, even Nairobi. Or catch a few days at Ras Nungwi a short drive south of DAR on mainland Tanzania.

Don't know whether this has helped, rather more questions to be answered by ATR and decisions for you to make.
 
Reply With Quote
Mar 16th, 2006, 10:46 AM
  #10
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
... Sue, sorry - that's Ras Kutani south of DAR (Ras Nungwi is on Zanzibar Island)
 
Reply With Quote
Mar 16th, 2006, 10:55 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,822
I agree with others that you're in a bit of quandary having to decide on a flight routing without knowing accomodation availability.

If you definitely want to see the migration, then book your flight into or out of Nairobi in one direction and accept that you may have to settle for your second or third or fourth choice of accomodations at this point.

If the migration is not so important to you, then book Kili/Kili and stay in northern Tanzania. If you want to include Zanzibar and southern Tanzania (Ruaha/Selous), book your return from Dar. Having said that, does anyone know what accomodation availability is like on the southern circuit for late August?
Patty is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 16th, 2006, 11:04 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,822
I wanted to add that I've been on two incredible safaris in East Africa without being anywhere near the migration (I know that's sacrilege to some ), and you can plan around the migration all you want and still miss it (though it's more of a sure thing in the Mara in late August than anywhere else).

My point is you can have a fabulous time just about anywhere. Does this ease the pressure?
Patty is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 16th, 2006, 11:10 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
I too missed the migration my last trip (TZ and visited the Serengeti in July). Loved it and plan to return as frequently as budget and health permit--for the rest of my life.

Leely is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 16th, 2006, 11:14 AM
  #14
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hey, in all my trips, I have yet to catch the Migration in full bloom! It's not so terrible if you don't see it, as there is just so much else.

In the south, space is also tight on top of the fact that there aren't all that many camps from which to select.

A friend booked her 2004 honeymoon for late August/September as late as June that year and had no trouble getting space at CCA properties. Things sure have changed.
 
Reply With Quote
Mar 16th, 2006, 11:22 AM
  #15
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 187
Thanks again, everyone. I think I have now been swayed toward seeing the migration in Kenya. If I cannot get one way out of Nairobi, I will keep the Kili/Kili flights (even though one stops in Dar anyway -- and yes, it is KLM) and work around that. We are using frequent flyer miles so it seems worth it no matter what we need to do. So, with 13 days, would you do Arusha, Lake Manyar, Tarangier, N. Crater, Serengeti, and Masa Marai and call it a day? We hope to do some interal flights and stay mostly at permanent tented camps and perhaps a lodge. Our budget is up to $5,000 and we don't need to pay Intl air. Suggested accomodations beyond the Serena and Sopa Lodges? Suggested itineraries?

Has anyone worked with United Touring Group?

Thanks again, everyone!
sueblue is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 16th, 2006, 11:58 AM
  #16
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Being August you can do the Mara at the beginning or the end. Oh, shame on me, as I always tend towards "save the best for last." And KLM does fly in/out of NBO and Kili.

The Mara deserves at minimum 3, preferaby 4-days. Tarangire 2-days (Sopa Lodge, Kikoti or Tarangire River Camp are all in the same price range; Swala and Treetops are tres expensive), Ngorongoro 1 or 2-days (Serena, Sopa or Wildlife Lodges are right on the rim; nearby is the Farmhouse). Lake Manyara is small and doesn't need more than 1-day, if you must (Serena Lodge, Kirurumu Camp). And the Serengeti, 2-days in the Central area where there is lots of resident game (Serena or Wildlife Lodges or Mbuzi Mawe Camp). Though if you want a bit of luxury, you could travel further north to Migration Camp.

In the Mara there are a wide range of accommodations - lodges and permanent camps. Within the Mara itself, there are actually few properties. Most visitors prefer the camps on the Western and Northwestern private lands. There are also many on the Eastern side of the Mara, which those on private safaris try to avoid as there are many day-trippers from NBO. However, if you are flying to/from the Mara, which is suggested as the roads are lousy and the drive is 5-6/hrs on way... you'd have a seat in shared camp or lodge vehicle. If staying at lodges, this share may be as many as 6 people today; at the smaller camps they often max at 4-guests/vehicle. And with a fly-in/out sharing game drives, you have morning and afternoon game drives only. Believe Intrepid's camp does 3-drives daily (second is mid-morning). The small camps outside the Mara or any national park/reserve either country, also provide other activities including night game drives, game walks usually at no additional feel. At all properties you can arrange visit to local Masai Manyattas/villages (fee at $25-$30/person). And, of course, there is hot-air ballooning in the Mara or Serengeti with prices in the $400/range/person.

Hope this helps.
 
Reply With Quote
Mar 16th, 2006, 12:28 PM
  #17
bat
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,790
sandi--not blame, recognizing expertise. And while I am at it, sue, sandi has a company that books TZ and Kenya--www.africaserendipity.com (U.S. based)

BTW, if you want creature comforts, you could also consider crater lodge at the crater. There is no single supplement so you and your friend could each have your own units for the same price as being in one together.

As for missing the migration, I missed it even though I stayed at 3 locations within the area in which they "normally" would be. It was a great trip anyway.
bat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 16th, 2006, 02:03 PM
  #18
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 187
Thanks for all of those suggestions. Would we still be able to catch the migration if we do it in early Sept? Our dates are 8/21-9/5 and it might be easier to switch our return flight from Kili to Nairobi rather than the other way around. Based on your suggested time schedule, Sandy, I think we might still have 2 days left . . . any other thoughts?
sueblue is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 16th, 2006, 02:08 PM
  #19
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
The migration is in the Mara thru mid-October... sometimes earlier, sometimes later, all depends on when the rains come and the herds are on their way back to the northern Serengeti.
 
Reply With Quote
Mar 16th, 2006, 02:10 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,822
Early Sep is still a good time to catch the migration in the Mara.
Patty is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:11 PM.