Round 2 - Safari Planning June/July 2006

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Apr 12th, 2005, 11:12 AM
  #41
 
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Well, I got the official greenlight from my past travelling companion AND her mom (like a second mother to me): they will *save*, they are okay for the last 2 weeks of June.

Their caveat: no camping! Darn...I like camping. So the budget will be bigger for this trip.

You will love Tanzania and/or Kenya. Even the color of the earth: it's such a deep rich red. Well, except when everything is dusty.

Hang in there with the planning. It is so very worth it.
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Apr 12th, 2005, 11:22 AM
  #42
 
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Csuss,

On Tarangire vs Manyara, I don't have strong feelings. Either is very nice.

Tarangire positives:
-Slightly better time of year for game.
-A little different environment with baobab trees.
-I found normally elusive species to be very comfortable here. For example we watched a family of dik diks playing on the side of the road. These tiny antelope normally are quite shy. The babies were the size of a cat. The best facial closeup of a jackal I've seen was here.
-There may be just a few less people here than Manyara.


Manyara positives:
-Good elephant (but that's true in Tarangire too)
-One of the best places for hippo.
-I saw more baboon, vervet, and blue (also known as black) monkey activity here than most other places.
-Involves a little less travel.



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Apr 12th, 2005, 11:22 AM
  #43
sandi
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csuss - Mbalegeti Camp is no longer semi-permanent, not that they now have a pool. In fact, instead of 4 tents they have more like 25. And the prices on the website I posted are way off. See their direct website:

www.mbalegeti.com

Based on the website I provided there were 4 camps noted as semi-permanent of which Mbalegeti was once one of them. The remaining semi-permanent camps are Masek in Southern Serengeti (Dec-Apr); Piaya in South Centeral (Dec-Jun); and Olosokwan in the Northern area (July-Nov). Now it is possible any of these three have since expanded and become permanent, the Mbalegeti is no longer. Also remember, camps change ownership from year to year, and new owners make new decisions.

With so few camps in the Western Serengeti - Grumeti and Kirawira being very expensive, Mbalegeti is an alternative in a more moderate range.
 
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Apr 12th, 2005, 11:59 AM
  #44
 
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Leely,
That's great! I'm still waiting for my 'official' greenlight for November and am starting to run out of patience Doesn't stop me from researching and planning though! Do you know where you will go?
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Apr 12th, 2005, 12:17 PM
  #45
 
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Patty,
You better get your husband with the program!

The cost is so daunting, I know. Personally I don't like to think about totals--gives me an anxiety attack. I think in bits and pieces: airfare is X, safari is y, in-country airfare is z. Then I don't add them up!

Just playing around with ideas so far in terms of itinerary, although it may well "just" be your standard Northern circuit. We will skip Zanzibar this time and pump the $$ into more mom-friendly accommodations.

Have you all come across the safari-portal.de website? It's mostly in Dutch (uh, I think), but gives links to most accommodations. TZ north link is:

http://www.safari-portal.de/Lodging.TZ.North.d.html

As with all sites, I guess the up-to-datedness is somewhat questionable. But it's a great way to kill a few hours!

Best of luck to you, csuss, you Patty, and all others who are trying to plan. Sandi and JazzDrew: sigh...you will both be there so soon. I am thrilled for both of you.

Leely

p.s. csuss, I totally agree with atravelynn's summaries of Tarangire and Manyara.
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Apr 12th, 2005, 01:05 PM
  #46
 
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Thanks, Leely!

I've come across the safari-portal site too (I believe it's in German). It's a great resource for links to the more obscure camps. Sometimes google search just doesn't do the trick.
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Apr 12th, 2005, 01:25 PM
  #47
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Thanks Sandi for the update on mbalageti - here I was thinking I had found this little gem with just 4 tents!

Good feedback on Tarangire it's looking like that will be my choice (I have to differ from jazzdrew somewhere).

Leely we will have to carefully compare notes - we will be travelling about the same time.
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Apr 12th, 2005, 01:49 PM
  #48
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Also in Nairobi - anyone heard of a hotel called Macushala? Also near Giraffe Lodge?
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Apr 12th, 2005, 02:21 PM
  #49
 
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I haven't heard of it, but I'm no expert. On the web site it looks quite nice--and way less $$ than the Giraffe Manor.

Link, in case you don't have it, is:

http://www.macushla.biz/
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Apr 12th, 2005, 03:11 PM
  #50
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Leely thank you - I was spelling it wrong and cou8ldn't find a website! Check out Ngong House as well - it looks lovely and I'm told way less pricey and not as stuffy as Giraffe Manor.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 04:12 AM
  #51
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Also, in Nairobi (rather the burb of Karen) check out House of Waine, also in the area of Ngong House, Giraffe Manor, and depending on room selected, prices might be better. Believe this might be the newest in the area.
 
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Apr 13th, 2005, 08:39 AM
  #52
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Thanks Sandi - I'll check the website today.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 04:00 PM
  #53
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When I am quoted a price by the operator (say 5K) is that per person or for the two of us?

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Apr 13th, 2005, 04:32 PM
  #54
 
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Is it faint-or-do-the-happy-dance time, csuss?

What does the e-mail say? If it's unclear you're going to have to ask them to clarify.

My fingers are crossed for you.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 04:47 PM
  #55
 
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Found a number of sites that feature Giraffe Manor for those interested.

This site has a video clip of a tape I purchased called "Tall Blondes" all about giraffes including the Giraffe Manor. The tape is certainly worth purchasing, especially if you like giraffes. A number of close-ups in and around the Giraffe Manor. This, and the book "Raising Daisy Rothschild" help us decide to splurge at the Manor!

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/php/s...&search=Search

Here are a number of other links that feature Giraffe Manor:

http://www.forbes.com/2004/09/23/cx_...dow_print.html

http://www.travelandleisure.com/invo...31992A5491A3FB
http://www.concierge.com/cntraveler/...affeManor.xml/

http://seasickgiraffe.com/manor/giraffemanorhp.htm


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Apr 14th, 2005, 04:42 AM
  #56
sandi
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csuss -

The price (5K) should clearly indicate whether "per person sharing/double/twin"
or
"total cost for two sharing."

If not, do have this clarified.

And as other prices come in, compare apples-to-apples; what's included and what is not, whether park/conservation fees, alcoholic beverages, all beverages, taxes, VATs, etc.
 
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Apr 14th, 2005, 09:12 AM
  #57
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It's not faint or do happy dance time yet - just preparing myself for all contingencies.

Sandi - your advice about comparing apples to apples is excellent - I could see myself getting all excited about a quote and then realizing they are leaving things out (like a bed or a driver).

For everyones info - I got a quote from Mbalageti Camp and they sent along some beautiful photos. Price is $550 per double or $310 for a single. I sent them an email back asking if the 510 is per person -but I kind of already know the answer. Perhaps I'll do 2 nights there as a splurge and 2 nights at the Serengetti Serena. I think Kirawira is a little less than Mbalageti but I don't have those prices.

NOW - on to the next step: We decided last night to add a few nights in Zanzibar on at the end of the trip - you only go around once right? SO I need some feedback on beach hotels please?

Also - anyone heve info on trip cancellation insurance? We both have aging parents so we need to have a contingency.

Thanks - csuss

Jazzdrew - I netflixed Tall BLondes so I should receive it next week.
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Apr 14th, 2005, 09:30 AM
  #58
 
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"I got a quote from Mbalageti Camp and they sent along some beautiful photos. Price is $550 per double or $310 for a single. I sent them an email back asking if the 510 is per person -but I kind of already know the answer. Perhaps I'll do 2 nights there as a splurge and 2 nights at the Serengetti Serena."

Deja vu--even without the price info that is exactly what I was thinking of doing!

I was under the impression that Kirawira was/is much more expensive. Maybe because my friend wants to stay either there or Grumeti. LOL.

On Zanzibar we stayed on the East Coast at a very low-key, simple place called Sunrise Guest House. I think Africa Travel Resource has them listed. Georges, the owner, is Belgian and a very nice guy. We really just hung out, played cards, drank wine.

Food is good there, but very European in style. We were ready for that by then. Seafood "carpaccio" was a starter one night. Oh, chocolate desserts, all made with Belgian chocolate.

We were also interested in Pongwe, but they were booked. And Matemwe Village...whatever the cheaper option in Matemwe is.


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Apr 14th, 2005, 10:32 AM
  #59
 
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csuss,
I think since the price is $550 double and $310 single, then that's the price per night and not per person. Do you know if that price includes game drives? I forgot if you're planning on driving or flying. If you're driving (not yourself but with a driver and vehicle), then you can ask if they have an accomodation and meals only option. Many camps have 2 prices - one including game drives/activities for fly-in guests and one without for drive-in guests. A few camps (mostly higher end ones) require that you take game drives with their drivers/vehicles in which case, if you're on an all drive safari, then you're sort of paying twice as you still have to pay the daily rate for your driver/vehicle.

Kirawira's posted prices can be found here:

http://www.serenahotels.com/tanzania/kirawira/rates.htm

Some tour operators may have better contract rates, I'm not sure.

For travel insurance, a good site to compare policies from multiple insurers is www.insuremytrip.com
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Apr 14th, 2005, 11:04 AM
  #60
 
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Patty,
Thanks for the link--I guess if I could get a reservation and could travel before July 1, little old me could actually "afford" Kirawira...for a day or 2.

Also, csuss, were the quotes you got from Mbalageti for June or July? I know you're travelling on the cusp.

p.s. I would splurge on safari and go cheaper on Zanzibar. The tourist infrastructure is pretty solid on Zan., so you don't need to spend a fortune there to stay somewhere nice.

Of course if you want to...
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