Rocco's Itinerary

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Nov 23rd, 2005, 04:46 PM
  #1
bat
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Rocco's Itinerary

Rocco:

I wanted to mention something else to you before you contact ATR, but I thought that we should move away from Eben's thread. This way you can keep us posted here.

If you try to switch to Sayari--remember you do not want only Sayari Piaya you also want Olakira at Ndutu [replacing the 2 different locations that you now have with Nomad]. Frankly, given what Climghigh said about Piaya, if you could only get one of the 2 I would think that it would be Olakira Ndutu.

You can take a look at the Paul Oliver website I gave you before to see the locations. Here it is again:

http://www.paul-oliver.com/safaris/s...s_olakira.html

Also, when I said that I thought ATR would have a hefty cancellation fee that would be if you tried to switch from Nomad to Asilia. The change from Moivaro should not be that bad given that 25% of 3 days at Moivaro will not be that much--ACL is more expensive of course, so your overall price will go up. But I am sure that you realize that.

Also remember that cancellation penalties go up to 50% once you are less than 60 days to arrival. So check it out now while you are still in the 25% range.

If ATR won't book Sayari/Olakira AND you find that it is available through someone else, you could consider cancelling the last 6 nights of your trip and take the 25% cancellation penalty on that segment--then book with someone else for the post MKSC segment. Basically what you have done with sandi and the Zbar portion. But as I said in the other thread who knows if Sayari/Olakira are open at this close date. [If ATR won't even inquire for you, you might email directly to Paul Oliver.]
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Nov 23rd, 2005, 05:17 PM
  #2
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Hey Rocco:
I see your post on the other thread that you are content as is. Great. Re the price for Mbuzi Mawe check to see whether some, perhaps a lot, of that is for your Nomad guide and vehicle to accompany you. I priced switching to Mbuzi Mawe from Ronjo and it was not going to be that much per day extra--would have been with my MKSC guide so the difference was solely the cost of MM vs Ronjo accommodations.
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Nov 23rd, 2005, 05:28 PM
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bat,

I will consider other camps, but it would take a lot for me to switch at this point. Nomad is $950 per night ($475 pppns) and if I were to multiply that by 4 nights, we are talking about $3,800 x 25% = $950, plus they would probably charge me a portion of the guide/vehicle charge and given that I end up at Mbuzi Mawe, they may try to make a surcharge for that, as well. In the end, I may end up paying the $7,000 that I have already paid for only Moivaro, Manyara Tree Lodge and Crater Lodge, but it probably wouldn't even cover that if the cancellation fees were too steep.

Really, I did not mean to sound the alarms. I am completely comfortable with the Nomad camps. Yes, they are more basic than I have grown accustomed to in Southern Africa, but they are really not that much off of what I experienced at Kulefu last year. Kulefu has since been upgraded, but my problems with Kulefu went way beyond the accomodations. Fortunately, Star Of Africa seems to be on the right track with Kulefu now.

Bottom line...has anyone seen any unhappy ATR customers? I have not seen any yet, so I must give them a certain amount of credit. I do wish that I had planned a bit better but even so, even the Sayari camps are not a Chiawa or Puku Ridge by any stretch of the imagination (these are two of the best tented camps in Zambia).

It could be a lot worse...I could be staying in these bigger lodges that will be full of group tours. In comparison, I think ATR helped me put together the most exclusive itinerary possible. I don't know how exclusive the Sayari camps are, but the Nomad camps allow for a maximum of eight guests. Well, now I know...the Siayari camps allow for 16 guests, double the amount of Nomad. Eight fewer guests in camp will hopefully make up for the difference in luxury.

Thanks for thinking of how to improve my itinerary but I will play the cards that I was dealt and hope for a winning hand.
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Nov 23rd, 2005, 06:01 PM
  #4
bat
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I think that we are going to have a fabulous time. Enjoy the holiday--I am certainly going to be thankful that in about 75 days I will be flying to Africa.
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Nov 23rd, 2005, 06:16 PM
  #5
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Ok, this is REALLY it--after this I will stop worrying about your itinerary and dream about my own.

A suggestion to re-read what Eben said about the Crater Lodge camps. It sounds like a personal choice between Tree Camp and South camp. Alexsandra may prefer the larger room with better room view of South camp--or the communal intimate lounge area of Tree camp with great view [I am guessing that you will be going on 2 crater drives, she will go on one.] --North Camp seems a 3rd choice. So you may want to decide and make a request for one or the other.
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Nov 24th, 2005, 12:54 AM
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Rocco and Bat

I agree that it is tot necessary to change away from either ATR or Nomad at this late stage.

I offered the alternatives just in case either Nomad decides to move away from Piaya back to Olosokwan or there is somehow a mixup with Piaya (overbooking maybe?). Neither of these are likely to happen so I'd keep things the way they are!

Mbuze Mawe cost $330 - $350 Full Board in Feb 2006 per DOUBLE ROOM (this is the rate from some travel agents in Arusha). The rack rate is obviously more.

For future reference, I much prefer a slightly larger seasonal camp in a better location over a camp at a lesser location. In the Northern Serengeti areas, Sayari (inside the Serengeti on the banks of the Mara) has a much better location than Nomad Loliondo at Olosokwan (outside the Serengeti in a crowded area with many humans). IMO, this makes Sayari more exclusive than Nomad. Since Sayari has a lounge tent and a dinner tent (Nomad has one lounge/dinner tent), a few more people are hardly noticable.

At Piaya, the locations are closer to each other and I will know in December who has the better location for wildlife viewing!

The same question needs to be answered for Ndutu! Who has the better location? Nomad or Olakira or EMC or even some of the others?

Eben
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Nov 24th, 2005, 10:46 AM
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Too bad I didn't question the Mbuzi Mawe charge originally. It is probably at least double what it should be. I had figured that it was Serena's newest property and would be the equivalent of Kirawira.

I am being charged more for Mbuzi Mawe than I am being charged for every other camp with the exception of Crater Lodge...and it is only $48 per night less for the room at Mbuzi Mawe than it is at Crater Lodge!

Perhaps, even with a 25% change rate, I should consider cancelling Mbuzi Mawe? What do you all think?

Then again, ATR does their invoices in a screwy way. I am being charged only $2,231 for an 11 night safari for the guide & vehicle. That works out to only $203 per day which sounds a little bit cheap.

Tariffs listed:

Nomad Piaya & Masek - $948 per night
Olduvai Camp - $0 included in the $2231 overland safari, making everything even harder to follow
Manyara Tree Lodge - $1,060 per night
Mbuzi Mawe - $1212
Crater Lodge - $1260
Moivaro $136
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Nov 25th, 2005, 11:21 AM
  #8
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Rocco:
Thanks Eben. Looking at your maps it looks as if the Olakira Soit Sambu camp is close to the Nomad Loliondo Olosokwan camp. Are these the names of villages?


Rocco: Re ATR pricing, I find it easier to follow than the bids I received from other companies that gave a lump sum for everything with no itemization. Based on my analysis of my own pricing here is what I understand about yours.

You have 2 different safaris back to back--one with MKSC and that is what you are being charged the $2231 for your driver and guide for the 5 days of that safari plus the accommodations price for Oluvai camp is built into that because they own it. For the MKSC portion you are also being charged extra for the accommodations you have chosen such as Manyara Tree Lodge and Crater Lodge.

You 2nd safari is your "hand-over" to Nomad. The pricing for that portion is a per day charge--$948 for 2 people at the Nomad camp INCLUDING your personal guide and vehicle.

You have added 2 days at Mbuzi Mawe WITH your Nomad guide accompanying you (that is what you indicated in an earlier post). So some, I suspect quite of bit, of your per diem for the 2 days at MM are the costs of your Nomad guide and vehicle. Why don't you ask for a breakdown? Some must be for your guide and vehicle, some for your and Alexsandra's accommodations and something for your guide's accommodations.
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Nov 27th, 2005, 02:36 PM
  #9
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Rocco:
The more I think about it that price they are quoting for MM is simply too high even with an expensive charge for a Nomad guide and vehicle. [per night correct, not for 2 nights?] I have this vague memory that when you were in discussions with your ATR agent and you wanted MM in your itinerary, which they had not yet booked for anyone, that they did not have a set price and were "ball-parking" it for you.

I would strongly recommend that you have a discussion with your agent about this charge before you make your final payment.

You can go to the Serena website to see what the rack rate is (remember that it is for the room not pp) and use that figure (around $350 I think) with your agent to find out what the large difference represents. As I said earlier, when I priced the difference between Ronjo and MM (with my MKSC guide) the price difference was small--perhaps $50 per day.

Let me know what you find out.

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Nov 27th, 2005, 02:53 PM
  #10
bat
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Hey Rocco:
Do you want to spend even more money? Did you check out these new lodges that climbhigh mentioned in his newest trip report?

I priced them and they replied:
"Our current rates are as follows, Sabora $875 and Sasakwa $1650 per person per night. These rates include all meals, game drives and walks, archery, mountain biking, horse riding, spa treatments, beverages and wines from the Fine Wine Card. (A few selected wines and cognacs on the Connoisseurs Wine
Card are excluded.)"

They are in the western corridor so not right for the migration in Feb--but you will have seen it most likely during your 4 nights at the Nomad camps. [And they might have better prices for Feb as a result.]

http://www.grumetireserves.org
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Nov 27th, 2005, 03:10 PM
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bat,

Are you kidding...my days of paying top dollar for luxury lodges are over. I have paid my "school fees" and after this next trip, it is one "familiarization" trip after another. This will be my fifth safari in less than five years, so I do think I have paid my dues!

I am not making any changes to my upcoming Tanzania trip. I am glad to be going to Tanzania to witness the Great Migration, experience the Ngorongoro Crater, visit the Olduvai Gorge which is possibly the site where human life originated, as well as visiting Zanzibar, but I will not spend another penny over to what I have already committed. This is by far the most expensive trip I have ever taken and I am just thankful that I am in a position to do it so soon after my last safari. Just 18 months ago I struggled to even visit Zambia for 11 nights at low season/last minute rates.

Next up after Tanzania??? Probably Kwando in Botswana and perhaps a visit to a luxury Mozambiquen beach lodge, hopefully by July.
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Nov 27th, 2005, 06:30 PM
  #12
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Sounds good--but do call to see if perchance they will lower the charge for for MM.
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