please advise of tanzania and botswana itinerary

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Sep 11th, 2005, 08:39 AM
  #1
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please advise of tanzania and botswana itinerary

Greetings--After months of reading the posts we and getting such great opinions and advice we are now hoping to hear from those who know or have thoughts on this itinerary. We will travel June 2006 with our family of 8 adults--ages 24-50. We are getting close to the end of this planning journey and really would appreciate feedback.
In this order
day 1: Arusha-- Moivaro or Kigononi
day 2: Ngorongoro Serena
day 3-4: Olduvai or Kisima Ngeda or E'unoto
!!!we really need some feed back on this
days: 5-6-7: Serengeti/Nomad Serengeti or Migration Camp any opinions here??
days: 7-8-9-10: Mahale/ Greystoke
day 11: Arusha same as above (is this necessary??)
days: 12-13-14: Zanzibar/ Matemwe Bungalows or Ras Nungwi--any thoughts???
days: 15-16 Zanzibar/ Emerson's & Green
day 17: fly Johannesburg /Holiday Inn or Belgrove House ???
day 18-19-20: Botswana/Kwetsani Camp
day 21-22: Botswana/Duma Tau
day 23-24: Livingstone/ Royal Livingstone or River Club or Tongabesi or Songwe--again really need some feed back here as well
Again we would love to hear from any and all about this plan/trip many thanks
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Sep 11th, 2005, 09:54 AM
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Hello,

Your itinerary is a bit unusual -- most people visit either east or southern Africa in one trip, not both!

I'd advise at least one more night at Duma Tau -- the Linyanti reserve is wonderful, and if you only stay for two you'll wish you'd booked three. When I was there in June, a father and daughter pair managed to swap a day at another Wilderness camp for one at Duma Tau, but I wouldn't count on being able to do that at the last minute.

The options you have listed for Livingstone are very different from one another -- it depends on what your priorities are. Do you plan to take part in a lot of activities, such as river rafting or bungee jumping? If so, you may prefer the Royal Livingstone because it is right next to the falls, but it's pretty much a standard 5-star hotel.

Tongabezi and River Club are located upstream of the falls, and are much smaller and feel more like lodges, and are more expensive than the Royal Livingstone. They do have shuttles to/from the falls, but it's not quite the same as being able to stroll over whenever you feel like it. Tongabezi has a family house you can rent, which might be a great option for your group.

Songwe is quite a distance from the falls -- far enough to make it awkward as a base if you plan a large number of activities -- but offers an interesting cultural experience.

You may also wish to consider the options on the other side of the falls in Zimbabwe, such as Ilala Lodge, the Victoria Falls Hotel, and Matetsi Water Lodge. Accommodation in Zimbabwe is much less expensive, and crossing over to Zambia is relatively easy (unlike crossing from Zambia to Zimbabwe).

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 11th, 2005, 10:46 AM
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I'll echo the one point I know something about--stay one more day at Duma Tau. Having stayed there and having heard about Kwetsani, I'd swap one Kwetsani day for three nights at Duma Tau, if you can not extend your trip by a day.

Congrats on your 4 nights at Greystoke!
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Sep 11th, 2005, 11:34 AM
  #4
bwanamitch
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atravelynn,

Have you been at Kwetsani? I remember some people here telling very positive things about it.

I havn't been there yet, but it's the most favourite WS camp of my travel agent.

Mitch
 
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Sep 11th, 2005, 11:56 AM
  #5
sandi
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cheryll -

Very interesting to be doing such a wide area in one trip!

When leaving the Serengeti, are you returning to Arusha for your flight to Mahale, or is your pick-up for that flight in the Serengeti. I also hope you realize it's at least a 4-hr flight from the Northern Circuit to the Southern area - Mahale.

As to whether the night in Arusha is required when returning from Mahale? Again, it's a long flight, so depending when you return to Arusha, you may have missed the afternoon flight to Zanzibar. I would suggest you fly instead from Mahale to Dar-es-Salaam (DAR) which is a short 15-minute flight to ZNZ. But this depends on the flight schedules. I'd definitely check for this option.

For days 3-4 the lodges you have listed are all over the place, one is near/in Lk. Manyara (E'unoto) and Olduvai is closer to the Serengeti. What do you hope to accomplish on these days? Where are you supposed to be? Lk. Manyara or the Serengeti? (Can't comment on Kisima Ngeda)

We were in ZNZ in June and it's very hot and humid. Matemwe has only a few bungalows that are air conditioned. I believe all of Ras Nungwi is air conditioned. Check this out if a/c is of importance.

Emerson & Green is lovely, but it's a 3-story building without elevators. While most of the rooms are air conditioned, not all are - especially some on the upper floor. Again, check about a/c if important.

If you wish to have dinner at the restaurant on the top floor of E&G, you have to pre-book.

Hope you are aware that the flight between East Africa to JNB is 4-hrs. From where are you departing to JNB.
Where is your initial arrival point of entry for Arusha? Hope it's Kilimanjaro. And am I correct in assuming you're departing for home from JNB?
 
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Sep 11th, 2005, 12:12 PM
  #6
bat
 
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I do not think that any of the bungalows at Matemwe Bungalows have a/c. Some of the units at Matemwe Beach do.
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Sep 11th, 2005, 01:51 PM
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thanks for the quick feedback--it is really helping us think about some things we had not considered--my husband is thrilled to know about the airconditioning situation--we were in London this summer at the height of a heat wave in a top floor flat without AC whew!!! As to the flying--we will fly into Tanzania and out of JNB but flights are not made yet--for us the 4 hours to another country is like a trip to NYC from our city of Denver so different and so worth the time and effort. As to Duma Tau we are wait listed for night 3 but needing 4 tents presents some availability issues--We still need some thoughts on Olduvai and Eunoto--our goal is to spend some quality time with people and culture--we are haveing a go with it as ATR seems to be one of the few who can book Olduvai and others pricing our trip can not seem to make a booking---we have plenty of time for animals.
And yes we fly from Serengiti to Mahale and the Arusha part is for the return on the way to Zanzibar. The information on Livingstone is great--we will indeed look at the new suggestions--we tend to go for the lodge experience but do want to shop a bit before the USA flight
Thanks for the discussion--the travelers with experience in Africa are
to quote a phrase "priceless"
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Sep 11th, 2005, 02:06 PM
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bwanamitch,

I have not been to Kwetsani, only Duma Tau. I was just relating comments that I heard from others when I was in Botswana a few weeks ago. They said the game viewing was ok. My experience at Duma Tau makes me think it would be better there.

But I'd be interested in learning why it is your travel agent's favorite. If your agent has convinced you to go, then you can give a report too.
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Sep 11th, 2005, 02:38 PM
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Hello,

A lot of the shopping in Livingstone is in the town, not near the falls -- some of the lodges and hotels also include free transfers to the town.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 11th, 2005, 02:39 PM
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Interestingly, my TA also has high praise for Kwetsani, though not necessarily on the basis of its gameviewing. She said that it was a beautiful camp in a lovely area of the Delta, and that while it wasn't a game-viewing hot-spot like the Linyanti it had a very special atmosphere.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 11th, 2005, 03:09 PM
  #11
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cheryll:
You may have some difficulty receiving first hand observations about Olduvai. A number of us have stops there in our itineraries but no one is traveling sooner than December if I recall correctly. The only specific references I found from someone having stayed there were comments by Marius1. He primarily discussed another, newly-opened camp owned by the same company but made some comments about Olduvai in the process. I believe that he indicated that he liked the opportunity for contact with the local masaai. You can search for his posts.

Perhaps you can ask for a reference from your ATR rep. of a former customer who stayed there.
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Sep 11th, 2005, 03:25 PM
  #12
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atravelynn,

I really don't know why Kwetsani is my travel agent's favourite. She just told me, that she has visited all WS properties in Botswana and that she has fallen in love with Kwetsani.

I remember that during my voluntary stay at lion research in the Delta, the researchers highly praised the wildlife of the Jao flats. So Kwetsani is still on my wishlist, maybe combined with a short 2-day photo shooting at Jao. (Julian, yes, I know, these are both 'walkway' camps.)

Btw, my TA will never convince me to go anywhere. It's more the other way, that I'm telling her about unusual destinations.

Mitch
 
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Sep 12th, 2005, 03:23 PM
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Hi Mitch,

Think you may be confusing me with Napamatt -- I'm fine with walkways!

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 12th, 2005, 03:59 PM
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bwanamitch
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Yes, I know. I just dropped that line before you (or someone else) remind me that I don't like them. (Btw, today I got the impression that Mr. McIntyre don't like them either.)

Mitch
 
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Sep 12th, 2005, 10:47 PM
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Hi Mitch,

Did you talk to Chris? I've spoke to him a few times, and he definitely prefers smaller, more rustic camps -- based on your posts here, I think you and he would get along well.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 13th, 2005, 01:27 AM
  #16
bwanamitch
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Julian,

No, I didn't talk to Chris. (We have a more 'faulty connection' after my fateful Sunvil experience.) I read between the lines of the camp descriptions in his guide.

Mitch
 
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Sep 13th, 2005, 05:09 AM
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Re: Kwetsani - we did not stay here but at Xigera, another Wilderness water camp. It may be the atmosphere and serenity of a water camp that Bwanamitch's agent fell in love with. Several people we met on our safari last year had high praise for Kwetsani. I know that although we did not see a lot og variety of animals at our water camp, we would not hesitate to go back there or try Kwetsani, and would in fact probably add another day there. The mokoro rides were so peaceful, I could have stayed out all day on the water.

We did stay at Duma Tau and I would suggest an additional night there if you can manage it. The game viewing was quite good.
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Sep 15th, 2005, 07:35 AM
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Interesting how opinions differ. We stayed at both Duma Tau and Kwetsani for 2 nights each. I would definitely have wanted to stay 3 nights at Kwetsani, but 2 was enough at Duma Tau.

The reason is there's nothing except game drives at Duma Tau, and the landscape gets a little boring and you're driving in the same areas (it was also by far the hottest and dustiest camp). The Linyanti is nowhere near as beautiful as the delta.

At Kwetsani (or another water camp), there's so much to do. Game drives locally, on Hunda island, mokoro ride, walks, or even go fishing. True, there's less game, but still quite a lot (we managed to see one lion, one leopard, one buffalo, in addition to the usual game), and such beautiful birds and scenery. Kwetsani itself is an extremely beautiful camp located in a stunning area. And with only 5 tents, very intimate. In terms of sheer beauty, I think it's even better than Mombo (of course the game viewing does not at all compare).

Judy
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Sep 15th, 2005, 09:27 AM
  #19
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linjudy,

Up to now your opinion is the most important since you know both camps at first hand. Pure game numbers are no longer such important to me, the small things and variety of scenery have become high priority over the years. So it sounds, that Kwetsani is really a camp for me.

Mitch
 
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Sep 15th, 2005, 10:04 AM
  #20
 
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I like the walkways, they are great places to dry your beach towels.
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