Planning trip to Africa

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Jan 18th, 2006, 05:02 AM
  #1
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Planning trip to Africa

Planning three week trip starting in Tanzania including overland from Arusha to Angorongoro Crater Lodge, to a camp in Olduvai and another in Northern Corridor of Serengti with Tanganyyika Expeditions and Nomad Safari Guides; then fly into camps in Katavi and Mahala, a two night stop at Victory Falls then fly into two Botswana Camps one in Linganti Kwando Concession the other in Okavango Kwara Concession. This is a once in a lifetime trip for two couples 65 plus, tentatively arranged through Africa Travel Resource, ATR.

Does this trip make sense to give us the best of Africa or is it a bit overkill and we are nuts?

We would be interested in hearing from anyone who has used ATR and their experience and satisfaction with them and/or comparisons with others.
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Jan 18th, 2006, 05:22 AM
  #2
sandi
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When are you planning this trip - month, year?

How long at each park/reserve?
Why not list the day-by-day details, including flights or road transfer, accommodations. We can then comment.
 
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Jan 18th, 2006, 01:17 PM
  #3
aby
 
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God
sounds like one hell-of-a-dream-safari
like sandi said give more details get more responses.
already waiting to read your after-report
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Jan 18th, 2006, 01:22 PM
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Great trip -- one long travel day from Tanzania to Vic Falls, but an amazing itinerary.
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Jan 18th, 2006, 01:25 PM
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I am available for adoption, you know.

Yowza on the itinerary, although could be a tiny bit tiring.

amfs (screen name) took a trip with ATR fairly recently; you might want to search for it. bat, who also posts here, is using their services for a trip to TZ leaving Feb. 1 (yayyyy!). And the Mighty Roccco, another frequent poster, will be using ATR in March. I will be using them, including Nomad camping in the Serengeti, in June.
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Jan 18th, 2006, 01:31 PM
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We did the drive from Arusha to Serengeti via Ngorongoro Crater, be prepared for some amazing scenery on route. Maasai morans standing by the roadside in their traditional ostrich head dresses. I noticed the game started appearing the closer you got to Lake Manyara. I recall stopping off at a toilet stop on the road above Lake Manyara and whilst the others used it I stood with this amazing view of Africa in front of me. And I was always thinking this is where Hemingway could've stood. But I doubt these toilets existed in his day! Ask you driver to stop off for photographic opportunities. Huge boabab trees by the side of the road. Totally amazing. Totally totally amazing. The road from Arusha through to Lake Manyara NP is very smooth and well kept.

Have fun. Lots of fun.

Matt
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Jan 18th, 2006, 02:40 PM
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Curiosity. How are you transferring/connections from Mahale or Katavi to Vic Falls and how long is it?

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Jan 18th, 2006, 02:54 PM
  #8
bat
 
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Hi ESDC:
sounds like a great trip to me--as suggested, by posting when and how many days at each place you will receive better advice.

Also, as leely indicated, I am taking an ATR/Tanganyika/Nomad trip departing in 2 weeks (also as Leely said, yayyy!). So far I have found ATR's customer service excellent (my rep continues to promptly, and patiently, reply to my questions).

Here is an older report that Leely found from someone who spent time with Nomad.
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34466030

Here is amfs report (ATR/MKSC (which is Tanganyika); she did not stay in Nomad camps)
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34701084

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Jan 18th, 2006, 04:21 PM
  #9
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Thanks Sandi; Detail follows:
August 12 through September 4, 2006
Day 1 Kilimangaro Airport to Arusha/
Moivaro Lodge
2 Moivaro Lodge
3 Overland/Tanganyika Exp./Manyara
to Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
4 Crater+S.Ascent to Olduvi Tent
Camp
5 Olduvai TC /East loop/Gol Mts.+?
6 To Banagi Br./Handover/Nomad S.G.
to Bolongonia Camp/ NE Serengeti
7&8 Bolongonia Camp
9 To Kleins/Airstrip/Fly Nomad to
Chada Camp
10&11 Chada Camp
12 Fly Nomad to Mahale Mts./Zoe's
13 Zoe's Camp/play tag w/the Chimps
14 Fly Airwaves to S.Luangwa Mfuwe
Airstrip & car to Tena Tena Camp
15 Tena Tena Camp
16 Fly to Livingston/V.Falls/T. Ldg
17 Tongabezi Lodge
18 Car&Boat to Kasane airstr./Moremi
Air to Linyanti: Lebala Camp
19 Lebala Camp
20 Moremi/Air to Okavango/Kwara Cam
21 Kwara Camp
22 Moremi Air to Maun& Johannesburg
23 Johannesburg to U.S. & Home !

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Jan 18th, 2006, 04:32 PM
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Hello,

Are you only spending one or two nights in each camp? If so, I think you're moving around way too much -- you'll spend so much time in planes and packing and unpacking you'll never get a chance to relax. You'll enjoy Africa a lot more if you slow the pace down a bit and spend 3 days or so at each camp.

You mentioned that you're all 65-plus -- if you're retired, take advantage of the time you have on your hands and spread the trip out a bit.

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 19th, 2006, 05:08 AM
  #11
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Thanks all for initial responses.

NOTE DAY-BY-DAY DETAILS ADDED.

Having read and enjoyed many trip reports on this forum I look forward to further critiqe of our proposed trip, particularily about experiences and knowledge of the camps we have listed, before I have to confirm booking next week.
THANKS ALL IN ADVANCE !! Ed
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Jan 19th, 2006, 05:24 AM
  #12
sandi
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I too am tired just reading this itinerary (though great) and I'm staying home! Two days (3 as some) at each stop is just too short, and you're not having the time to enjoy your camps, let along have sufficient game viewing time.

It's also about time that ATR call Zoe's Camp, "Greystoke" which it has been for many years. Also, note that the flight to Chada will be a long one in a small plane. I'd also check the flight times for departures, waiting for connections, when you actually arrive at your next destination. Distances are long, flights don't depart on the hour... you may be spending more time getting to, then time at your destination.

As to Mahale, realize that there is no guarantee of seeing the chimps, and getting to them entails a bit of hiking from 1/2 hr to 2-hrs on some pretty rough terrain. Consider this, please. And are you prepared for tents here and at Katavi that do not have ensuite bathrooms, but outside your main sleeping area.

While you may feel this is a one-in-a-lifetime trip, it may very well be if you're trying to get in so much into these three weeks. I can almost hear "if it's Tuesday, it must be Belgium." You won't know from day-to-day where you are.

Personally, I believe you'd be better off using the 3-weeks to concentrate in East Africa and leave Vic Falls, Zambia and Botswana for another time. Besides, it's just easier to do these southern African countries via Johannesburg (JNB), SA. Concentrating on East or Southern Africa, you'll better enjoy your time and be ready to return the next year or year after.

Besides, if travelling August/September you should be spending time in the Masai Mara in Kenya where the migration is taking place. Sure, ATR has you at a camp in the NE Serengeti, but here, and for only a few days, you'll find spill-over herds, but not the main herds as if in the Mara.

But, if I recall, ATR doesn't do the Kenya. Someone correct me here if I've got it wrong.

My suggestion is to take it "pole pole" - slowly, slowly!
 
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Jan 19th, 2006, 05:31 AM
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Ed....I think you've been told..
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Jan 19th, 2006, 10:31 AM
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As fantastic as this sounds, I agree that it's too wearing to rush around so much; I would be exhausted and I'm 30+ years younger than you (though admittedly a bit lazy).

Consider what you're willing to cut, even if it means that you'll only be able to extend *some* of your stops.
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Jan 19th, 2006, 10:35 AM
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Yes as someone who just came back from his month-long trip of a lifetime in October, I would say less camps more time.

I am glad for all the places I saw, but we very very rush and ultimately never had more than 1 full day anywhere. But it is always tough call on trips like this.

Years earlier I did a marathon trip through Europe, primarily Italy and often spent less than a day in some cities (4 hours in Pisa & late night & morning in Florence, 1 day in Venice) but now looking back I am glad I went to those places.

How would I have made the decision on what to give up? Likewise with my Marathon Africa trip.... though that one is a little easier.

I would give up Amboseli, Aberdares, Nakuru an Mayanara for more Sengeti, Mara and Crater.
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Jan 19th, 2006, 01:55 PM
  #16
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Thanks all for your direct and honest responses.

I caused some of this by telling ATR we wanted diverse experiemces, a cross section o Africa and stay away from high density tourist/traffic areas.

This all started with plans for a March/April trip that coincided with my 70th birthday. Gregg with ATR convinced me that March was not the best time of year so he layed out a trip for May/June that include 4 days at Greystoke/Zoe's. I really want to be in Chimp country and this sounds like a beutiful remote part of the world besides. We also had more 3 night stays in the orginal schedule. Unfortunately one of our 12 grandkids decided to get married between job/promotion in May, in the middle of the trip, and my wife felt we had to be at the wedding. Down went a better trip..

This trip is built around Mahale Chimp country which evidently is hard to get into and normally 3 or 4 day stays. For some reason they had these 2 days available in the 3 month trip window we were looking at. I am not sure why I have such a desire to pursue the chimps; maybe its an ancestral calling, but I told Gregg to go for it.

Enough of my screwy thinking; For those of you that know about the areas and camps we are looking at,
WHAT WOULD YOU ELIMINATE AND/OR TRY TO COMBINE AND EXTEND?
Please leave my two days chasing the Chimps alone !
We could extemd the trip a few days on either end,but I have another grandkid wedding September 9th, also one on July 1 ( next will come "great" grand kids; time to run away from Home !)

Regarding sandi's concern about no ensuite bathrooms in Chada and Greystoke. ATR tells me that Chada has new Tents with adjoining Private baths as does Greystoke if you believe their web site, but I will double check as this was one of our criteria for us old folks. As far as the hours of walking in pursuite of the Chimps, we all do considerable walking and I did my normal 50 pushups this morning while running the Dog. Thanks for your concern, but I plan to die on the move.

I spent four years in Alaska and enjoyed flying around in small aircraft, great views and saw lots of game. I would think you could see alot of Africa from the air; Anyone have experience flying in Africa and site seeing?

I don't think ATR pushes Kenya, but I never asked. We did review Gorillas in Uganda, which it sounded like ATR could arrange, but besides the logistical nightmare Gregg thought Greystoke Chimp interaction and surroundings were better.

Thanks again everyone for your input and we look forward to more suggestions on how to slow this trip down a bit with out eliminating unique experiences.

I doubt if we will get back to Africa after this trip; too many other places we want to visit. We have not done much traveling and the only out of North America experience my wife has had was a two week trip to New Zealand where we had a head on collision the 3rd day and two weeks in a hospital. Great friendly people and we want to go back. The day before we left we chartered a helecopter and flew all over the North Island which was a great quick way to see this beutiful country.
Thanks again, Ed
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Jan 20th, 2006, 02:31 AM
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Something that has had me a little baffled since this posting. You say that Airwaves is making the transfer from Mahale to Mfuwe. The only quote I have seen on an airline doing this so far is over $6.95K for the plane divided by 4. This is a charter, so its going to be expensive no matter what, unless there is something new that I missed. I am checking with 4 other charters currently.
Another can quote only out of Katavi because of Operational restrictions.So, a light aircraft will need to transfer you out of Mahale to Katavi 1st.
I recommend you get back with ATR and clearify this. You will need to clear customs 1st before leaving Tanzania, which might mean a stop at an airport like Mbeya. Then and only then can you fly on to Mfuwe.
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Jan 20th, 2006, 06:46 AM
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Hi I am a Dutch woman mid fifty - who lives in the South of France and I have been travelling all over the world. You mentioned that you have not been travelling a lot and indeed this may explain your too full schedule. I 200% agree with other people telling you so - it is not only a question of being in physical shape, but... having the time to really enjoy things and how many impressions you can take in.
Africa from the air may be nice but this is not really sightseeing what about smells and atmosphere, private game lodges can be an unique experience, whatever you decide stay 3 nights at a camp, you loose twice half a day arriving and departing. To add to your possible confusion: do not ignore South Africa with the most sensational camps just near Kruger.... Good luck and... relax!
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Jan 20th, 2006, 07:26 AM
  #19
 
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Dear ESDC

Short point on loos at Mahale and Katavi.

Greystoke loos are now ensuite.

Chada loos were a very short walk away a year ago and private. As the loos were 'long drops' the separation was useful to keep any whiffs out of the sleeping area (perhaps too much detail, but for explanations sake). I'm not sure if they have changed this.

As for the trip, I agree that you should slow it down. I would personally take all the time you have to do a slower trip around Tanzania. Keep the chimps and Katavi in, they're great and there is enough variety in Tanzania to give you a real sense of having seen lots of different animals and wildlife.

Good luck - back to the drawing board a bit. Richard
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Jan 20th, 2006, 07:37 AM
  #20
 
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Or a Kenya/Tanzania combo, given the time of year you're travelling.

I guess another option would be just Botswana + Mahale/Katavi. But the flight schedules in that case could be such a bother that it wouldn't be worth it.

Perhaps Botswana experts and inter-Africa flights experts have some ideas?
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