Please help - Honeymoon Northern Circuit

Nov 30th, 2005, 06:14 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 3
Please help - Honeymoon Northern Circuit

Hi All

I am going on my first safari for my honeymoon 5 June '06. Can you please help me make the best decision around our itinerary. Currently proposed:

5th June a.m. - 1 nt at Arush Coffee lodge
Q: Is this a good/luxury place to relax after wedding?

6th Kirurumu
Q: Is it worth stopping off here for 1 night, and is this a decent place?

7th/8th Kirawira
Q: Is this a good lodge (great views, good food etc.) and is this the right place to see migration in June?

9th/10th Ngorongoro Serena Lodge
Can't really afford the Crater Lodge, so is this next best?

11th-20th Ras Nungwi or Matemwe Bungalows.
Q: which is better, and is weather going to be good enough for us to sunbathe all week, or should we head to Mozambique?

Sorry for all the questions but HELP!!!
Thanks guys
PaulAdams is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 06:49 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354
Hi Paul

Congrats! It's a great time to be in Tanzania! I just hope you can still get rooms in the places you mentioned...

If it was me, I would fly from Arusha to Kirawira then drive back - this way you can skip the Kirurumu night which is a bit of a waste with so much going on in the Serengeti at that time. Maybe spend one night at Mbuze Mawe or one of the seasonal tented camps near Seronera to really hear the lions roar!

Arusha Coffee Lodge - perfect for honeymoon and start for the safari despite being a bit pricey. You can see my pictures here:

Kirurumu - You need a place to break up the drive to Kirurumu so this is fine. The Serena has better views but is always very crowded. The tents are being upgraded (should be done by June). Try to get a newer tent in the front row anyway. Lounge area has great views - tents don't really due to the bush fence. My recent pics are here:

Kirawira - this will be a long drive but it is a great tented lodge and June is a good time to be there. My pics are here: There is also a video on the Google Earth map.

Ngorongoro Serena is a good second choice on the rim. I have a few pics here:


climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 06:52 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,790
Hi Paul:

By my count you have 10 nights on Zanzibar--can you take a day or 2 from that to add to your safari to make it more relaxed?

Others who have been will give you their advice. I have not been yet but I have researched these places extensively (including here on this board) for my own upcoming trip in Feb.

Arusha Coffee Lodge looks very nice--it is one of the most "upscale" lodges in the area. But if you are arriving on a late night flight on your arrival day and leaving first thing in the morning for your safari, there is not much time to relax. When do you arrive in Arusha?

If you cannot add nights to the safari, I would take your Kirurumu night and add it to Kirawira--Kirawira receives consistently good reviews and 3 nights would be much more relaxing than 2--Are you flying to it?

I would guess that many would say that the Serena is second to the Crater. Keep in mind it is much larger. But as you know there is a huge price difference

Re Ras Nungwi vs Matemwe Bungalows there are significant style and size differences--have you explored websites to get a feel for them? Plus RN is air conditioned and Matemwe Bungalows is not.

If you would like to see pictures of these different lodges, especially to be able to compare them to others-go to www. You will see pictures for the Arusha, Manyara Serengeti and Crater lodges there.
bat is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 07:10 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,790
Eben gave you the specific addresses for your accommodations--when you go to them, keep in mind that one of the geat things about his website is that you can look at other lodges in the same area to compare.
bat is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 07:51 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

For a honeymoon, you may also want to consider the Palms Zanzibar. I will be here in March and it was the most luxurious place that I was able to find:

I do think you should consider adding Lake Manyara, Tarangire and the Ngorongoro Crater, as well.

The most luxurious places, keeping your honeymoon in mind, would likely be:

Lake Manyara - Manyara Tree Lodge
Tarangire - Swala
Ngorongoro Crater - Crater Lodge

Roccco is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 08:03 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 3
Thanks guys. Good advice. I am hopiong that because we are going early June availability will be easier.
Is it going to be hot in Zanzibar in June? (worried about my week relaxing...)
PaulAdams is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 08:41 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,790
Here is a temperature table for Zanzibar--shows average is high 70s in June. My understanding is that it is warm year round and quite hot in its summer (Dec-Feb). Are you worried about it not being warm enough or being too warm?
bat is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
My 2 cents: basically, your itinerary looks great, but I'd take bat's advice and add a day or two to your safari. I know the beach sounds more romantic, but safari is wonderfulllll.

Also, I might drive out and fly back just so, in terms of your safari, you end with the absolute best (Serengeti!). Then again, climbhigh knows best what is most likely going on when and where, so flying out and driving back is also a good option. We are going again in June, about 10 days after you, and are flying back to Arusha from Serengeti. For our first safari (July 2004) we did an all-drive and loved it, so I wouldn't worry too much about this point; it's interesting to see the country for a first-time visit.

Also, in July 2004 we spent time on the east coast of Zanzibar and didn't find it too hot. It was actually quite breezy. Stone Town, which maybe you'd like to see, was very very hot, though.

Congrats on your upcoming wedding! And book your accommodations soon if you haven't done so already.
Leely is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 08:48 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,790
Leely has a very good point about finishing in the serengeti at Kirawira--that will be your nicest safari accommodations and you may hit the migration. So if you cannot add days I would drive to the crater for your 2 overnights, then drive to Kirawira for 3 nights and then fly to Arusha and on to Zanzibar.
bat is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 11:50 AM
Posts: n/a
Paul -

I'm with Eben, there isn't much available even for June 2006.

That said, if arriving in Arusha in the sunlight morning a.m. like 08:00 versus 02:002, then one day in Arusha to catch your breath after the wedding is fine and the Arusha Coffee Lodge will fit the bill. If arriving at 02:00, then anyplace to lay your head - you'll be on your way first thing the next morning. Ngurduto Lodge, even Serena Mountain Lodge are fine for the few hours of sleep and less costly.

As Leely mentions and I concur, believe in saving the "best for last," in otherwords, the Serengeti. However, with only a stop at Lake Manyara and then heading to the Western Serengeti - long long drive (easily 7 hours, a full day, without gameviewing along the way)I would do the Ngorongoro stop first, then head out to the Serengeti. From the Serengeti you can fly back via Arusha connecting to flight to Zanzibar.

I would also take a day or two from the beach for the Serengeti as this is where you'll find outstanding game viewing.

An alternative to Kirawira if there is no room is Mbagaleti, only 1-yr old with lovely accommodations.

Like you, we were on Zanzibar early June 2005 and the weather here was hot and very humid. Though Matemwe gets good reviews, no air conditioning; it can be quite uncomfortable for sleeping. We spent only 2-days and except for a brief (5-minute) shower one mid-morning, the days were bright and sunny.

Ras Nungwi is a good air conditioned option. Also Blue Bay, though larger, if you can afford the Sultan Suite here is to be considered. Roccco's suggestion for The Palms is great, but is quite costly. So concentrate on RN or BB.

Recommend - whomever your tour operator/outfitter is - be sure they can hold the space at the accommodations you want before sending your deposit. It's rather disheartening to have your lodgings changed once you have particular ones in mind.

And though honeymoons are usually taken right after the wedding, there is nothing that says you can't postpone it, if there is no room... mid to late-October is great in the North/Northeast Serengeti. Always have a back-up plan.

My best wishes on your upcoming wedding.

Nov 30th, 2005, 12:32 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 3
Thanks for all the comments. You guys are great, this has been the most useful resource on the net I found for quite some time. Will keep you posted, I am going to book tomorrow given your comments on availability.
PaulAdams is offline  

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