Please review our Tanzania/Zanzibar honeymoon

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May 25th, 2005, 02:21 PM
  #1
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Please review our Tanzania/Zanzibar honeymoon

Hi everyone,

After reading this forum extensively, I think we are about ready to book, but thought I'd run it by the forum's knowledgeable experts (sandi, atravelynn, climbhighsleeplow, etc.). We are an active couple in our 20's who have never been to Africa and are going for our honeymoon. Lodging in parenthesis.

Day 1: Arrival Kilimanjaro, transfer to Arusha (Ngurdoto Lodge)
Day 2: Transfer to Arusha airport to fly to Serengeti. Our driver meets us & takes us for a game drive in Serengeti (Migration Camp)
Day 3: Full day game drive in Serengeti (Migration Camp)
Day 4: Drive to Ngorongoro Crater, afternoon game drive in crater (Ngorongoro Serena Lodge)
Day 5: Morning game drive in crater. Drive to Arusha to connet with 3:15pm flight to Zanzibar. Transfer (Breeze Beach Club)
Day 6-11: Breezes Beach Club
Day 12: Transfer to Stone Town (Emersons & Green)
Day 13: Transfer to Zanzibar airport, flight to Dar and back to US

I have a few concerns: one being the drive from the Serengeti to the Crater (I think it's a long one?) and one about a fire at Migration Camp that I read about in another thread re: Migration vs. Mbuzi Mawe.

Does this timetable look reasonable/any comments on the lodging? I realize that we're on safari for so short a time, but we had wanted a relaxing beach vacation (Seychelles is too pricey!) and we figure that we'll be back again. We greatly appreciate your help and comments! Thanks in advance.
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May 26th, 2005, 04:05 AM
  #2
sandi
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Hi tazzie -

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. For a honeymoon, Migration Camp has a great Honeymoon Suite, so do make sure your tour outfitter requested this for you.

About the fire here - it was last year, while the camp (under previous owners) was being refurbished (by new owners). But by late-Sept '04 when it re-opened, all was fine and it is absolutely lovely.

As far as Mbuzi Mawe - this property is presently being refurbished and should be complete and ready for guests in a week or so (see cookndoc comments - he's due here beginning of June). While the photos look great, no one has yet stayed here. So Migration is a great option.

Yes, it is a long drive from Migration to Ngorongoro Crater. I would suggest you stop at the Serena in the Central area for a nite (sure it takes a day away from Zanzibar) but cuts the drive time. Also, if interested in doing a hot-air balloon safari, this is the place from where they take off. Early morning you can do this (cost runs $400/person) then continue to the Ngorongoro for your afternoon on the Crater Floor.

What time of year is this honeymoon scheduled, as you don't mention?

The balance of the itinerary is fine.
 
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May 26th, 2005, 05:24 AM
  #3
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Hi Sandi,

Thanks so much for your response! I was hoping that you'd comment, as you seem to be one of the foremost experts of the area! Sorry, forgot to mention that our trip takes place the 3rd and 4th wk of November of this year.

That is great news about Migration. We're relieved. As for the drive b/w the Serengeti and the Crater, would you happen to know how many hours that would be please?

So, to clarify, your suggestion would be on Day 4, drive to Central Serengeti, game drive there and stay the night. Day 5, do an early morning hot-air balloon safari and land at the Crater to do an afternoon game drive. Day 6 would encompass the morning game drive in the Crater and then off to Zanzibar. Is that right? Is the hot-air balloon safari worth it in your opinion (i.e. can you actually see the game as one is so high up)? Do you know how many hours the drive is b/w the Crater and Arusha please?

Many many thanks for your help - we're very grateful that you've taken the time as I know from your thread yesterday that you're preparing for your trip yourself!
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May 26th, 2005, 09:14 AM
  #4
sandi
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tazzie -

On Day 4 after breakfast at Migration, drive to Central Serengeti... the Serena Lodge here is good. Spend balance of day game viewing and be sure to reconfirm the hot-air balloon for following morning, if you choose to do this.

I cannot comment on the balloon as it's never been my personal interest. There are some threads on this board with comments - pro and con - so you have to decide for yourself; do a search for them.

Day 5 - The balloon takes off and lands in the Central area; with a breakfast at landing site in the Serengeti. After breakfast drive to the Crater arriving in time for lunch and then you'll do the afternoon Crater tour.

From Migration Camp to the Central area is about 3-hrs +/- always depending on game sightings along the way. And from the Central area to the Crater is about 3-hrs +/- again, depending on sightings to your destination. You may want to make a brief stop at Olduvai Gorge - don't need more than 1/2 hr - interesting small museum here. Then a short drive (1/2-hr) to the Crater.

From the Crater to Arusha is about 5-hrs, the reason you're scheduled on the later afternoon flight to Zanzibar. Trying to make the earlier flight would be cutting it very close. This way, you're not rushed and you have sufficient time for lunch in Arusha.

November is the perfect time for the herds in the Northern and Central Serengeti - so you've picked in the right location. Also, the major crowds will be gone... not likely to come across many other vehicles at game sightings. The exception may/will be at the Crater, but the Crater is always busy.

Except for this coming trip of ours, we usually travel in November even if it is during the "short" rains. We've never had all-day rains... maybe a brief afternoon thunderstorm which settles the dust, but rarely brings humidity. Otherwise, we've sometimes had overnight rain, but the sun was shining the following morning. Do, however, expect the daytime temps to be in the low 80s, with cooler nights/mornings - maybe low 60s, but into the low 50s at the Crater rim which is at 7,000'. The coast will be tropical - warm/hot and humid.

I'm now outta here.

 
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May 26th, 2005, 09:41 AM
  #5
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Hi Sandi,

Thanks so much for everything, especially since you must be running around trying to sort last-minute things for your trip. We greatly appreciate all of your wonderful help and wish you a safe travel! We hope to hear your trip report when you return!

-Tazzie
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May 26th, 2005, 06:42 PM
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Tazzie,

This is the thread for the balloon discussion.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34566261
Balloon rides/worth it? was the topic

Looks like a great trip and congratulations!
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May 27th, 2005, 07:37 AM
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Hi Atravelynn,

Thank you very much for the congratulations and the link. After perusing the thread, now we're torn on whether to schedule a hot-air balloon ride! I think we're leaning towards saving that for a future, more extensive safari - I can't imagine that we wouldn't be back to East Africa again as so many of the travelers on this forum have done so. Again, many thanks for your help!
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