safari in Tanzania

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Oct 21st, 2005, 07:36 AM
  #1
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safari in Tanzania

Hello

We are going with my wife and our two children (both 8y old) next february in Tanzania.
Africa Travel Resource proposed us the following:
Night 1 Tree Lodge (manyara)
Night 2 Day in Ngorongoro and night in Masek Camp (south Serengeti)
Night 3 Masek Camp
Night 4 Piaya Camp
Night 5 Piaya Camp
then 3 nights in Metwemwe bungalows

I know that many always ask the same thing....

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Oct 21st, 2005, 07:39 AM
  #2
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sorry small problem is positing the message !!!
so it will be our first Safari, and of course I would like to be sure that the different place are adapted for children, that with this program we will see the best of Tanzania (considering that we can't stay longer and that dates if I did not specify were 16feb to 26feb)...all looks great on web site, but if anyone have any advice , it would be more than welcome...many thks in advance !
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Oct 22nd, 2005, 07:19 AM
  #3
bat
 
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Pascal:
As I mentioned in the other thread these camps are Nomad camps and they are a highly reputable company. So far we have not had a report from someone who has stayed at a Nomad camp--I have been watching. Apparently these seasonal type camps have become more prevalent and popular over the last couple of years so I think that we will start to see a number of reports on them. There are at lest two other posters who will be staying in Nomad camps next year--but not before your trip. I will be traveling in Feb also--but earlier than you. Here is an American Express article about staying in a Nomad camp.

http://www.departures.com/tr/tr_0505_serengeti.html

As for traveling with your children, go to a recent thread with some information about that in general [Family Safari in Tanzania and/or Kenya]

As for activities especially for the children--have you asked your ATR rep about that? At Piaya camp you can go on walks so they would not be trapped in a car all day. You will have to judge how they will feel being in a tent rather than a lodge. I am sure that some children would prefer the tent and others would prefer the lodge.

My other main question about your itinerary--and here the folks who have been are more knowledgeable--but I understand that Manyara Tree Lodge is deep within the park--perhaps 2 hours to the gate. So on day 2 you will have to drive 2 hours to get out of the park and then drive to the Crater, then drive into the crater for several hours there, then out of the crater and over to Masek Camp. That seems like a very long day for the children to be in a car.
Where and when are you flying into TZ? If the night before Day 1, then the children may be exhausted from a long international flight and then this long day 2 seems very tiring. If they had 2 nights to recuperate at Manyara it might not be as bad. But you are there only one night.

Perhaps you would be better to drive from Arusha and stay at a lodge either preferably on the crater rim (although they may all be booked for Feb by now)--or near by. I know that ATR favors Gibbs farm for example. You could drive through Manyara Park on the way from Arusha to it. Then on day 2 you would be much closer to the rim than you would be from Manyara Tree Lodge.

Finally re Matemwe Bungalows, I am staying there also and I am looking forward to it. But--Sandi always points out--and rightfully so--that Zanzibar is hot and humid. Matemwe Bungalows are not air conditioned. They say that they usually have a good breeze (and fans) but one recent poster indicated that if there is no breeze then it is like spending the night in a sauna. Are your children used to a climate controlled environment? If so, you may want to consider a more traditional resort--with air con, a bigger pool, etc.

Hopefully some parents will post and someone more knowledgeable about the timing issues for your day 2.
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Oct 22nd, 2005, 08:18 AM
  #4
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Dear Bat

Many thanks for your answer, you point many aspects I was not so sure of....so first we are flying from Dar es Salaam to Arusha (well our flights from London arrive at 08.20am...and the flight to arusha is at 09.30 am ...so let's hope we are not late and that customs is worth one hour !).

About these nomads camps. They looks fantastic, but I would have loved getting more feed back...maybe I should change the program by starting with Tree Lodge (even if it is deep in the park), but the stay day 2 and 3 in Ngorongoro (Gibb Farm or the Serena ...any feed back on this one ? for sure not so authentic than the others, but great view and some commodities for the children..??).
We would then go either on Masek or Piaya camp (for 2 nights instead of 4).

I really expect a lot of this experience in one of the camps. Children enjoy as well (but for saure they don't realize..),but my wife is a litle bit scared by this adventure (but excited as well..!).
So maybe having 2 nights in camps is enough ...?

About Matemwe, the choice is very difficult with Breezes (Palms is out of our budget). The first look so nice with very good review, but as the secound (which is maybe more adapted for children )

Anyway, I am so excited to leave, and this is the first time I chat on a forum, and this is just great to share experience in such holidays !
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Oct 22nd, 2005, 08:54 AM
  #5
bat
 
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I definitely would NOT stay 2 days at Gibbs--you would be back-tracking from the crater on your 2nd day there. Tough choice giving up the 2 Nomad camps. The two locations give you two different experiences. Piaya allows the children to go on walks. You cold do what you suggest and stay 2 nights on the rim or you could also consider 1 night Manyara, 1 night on the rim and then 3 at Masek or Piaya.

Even if you could not stay at a lodge on the rim and had to stay at Gibbs for one night, that would allow you to lounge around Manyara Tree camp in the morning of day 2 and lesurely drive out of the park to Gibbs. They have a pool I think and the children can walk around. So day 2 could be an easy day as a transition from the flight. Then an early start on day 3 to stop in the crater on your way to Masek camp seems much more doable. I think that Masek might be within driving range of the Olduvai museum so that could be one activity to do with the children. [but I guess I do not know how kid-friendly it actually is]

Have you asked ATR how long it will take to get from Manyara to Masek with a stop at the crater? That just seems too much to me with children.

You know that there are other choices at Manyara that would be closer to the park entrance for an early start on day 2? [if you stayed with your current Manyara, Masek, Piaya itinerary.] Are you set on Tree Lodge?

Can you access google earth on your computer? Go to eben's website www.go-safari.com--you can find a map of all of the lodges at Manyara to show you the distances.

Can someone else jump in and offer advice?
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Oct 22nd, 2005, 09:22 AM
  #6
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Date Description Note 1 Note 2 Price St


Fri 17-Feb-06 Arrive : BA0047 : London Heathrow to Nairobi arrives 08.20hrs customer arrangement

Meet and transfer : Dar es Salaam International to Domestic 4 pax

A representative with a signboard from Zanair will meet you off your flight and transfer you to Dar es Salaam Domestic Airport for your
connecting flight to Arusha

Fly : Zanair : Dar es Salaam Domestic to Arusha 09.10/11.15hrs 4 pax $634.00 NC

Safari : Tanzania Northern Parks : overland safari inclusive 4 pax $981.00 NC

Safari vehicle : Landrover 110 : private 1xldr
Start : Arusha airport 11.15hrs

Safari : Arusha to Makayuni : across the Maasai Steppe : approx 1hr
Safari : Makayuni to Manyara : to the Rift Escarpment and the town of Mto wa Mbu : approx 3/4hr
Safari : Manyara : game drives and a picnic lunch inside the park : 2 to 5 hours

Accommodation : Manyara : Tree Lodge bed, meals and drinks 4 pax $1,616.00 NC
Room request : 2xtwn

Note : the lodge will be expecting you to arrive by road with MKSC any time after 15.00hrs


Sat 18-Feb-06 Safari : Manyara : game drives from the lodge to the gate : 1 to 4 hours
Safari : Manyara to Karatu : up the Rift Escarpment and across beautiful high altitude farmland : approx 1/2hr
Safari : Karatu to Ngorongoro Gate : gently rising farmland towards the highlands : approx 1/2hr
Safari : Ngorongoro Gate to Crater View : steep and winding ascent through the Ngorongoro Forest : approx 1/2hr
Safari : Crater View to Sopa Descent : scenic winding road around the crater rim : approx 1hr
Safari : Ngorongoro Crater : game-drives and picnic lunch inside the crater itself : 2 to 7 hours
Safari : Crater to Olduvai : scenic descent into the Serengeti : approx 1hr

Safari : Olduvai to Serengeti Gate : across short-grass plains : approx 1hr
Drop : handover to Nomad : at Serengeti Gate and Loliondo turnoff : about 20km south of Naabi Hill : 10.00hrs
Note : NCA park fees need to be valid until 14.00hrs minimum in order for Nomad to go slowly to Ndutu
Note : extra picnic to be provided for the Nomad driverguide

Tips : driverguide : recommend $20 per day customer arrangement

Start : handover from MKSC : at Serengeti Gate and Loliondo turnoff : about 20km south of Naabi Hill : 10.00hrs
Safari : Serengeti Gate to Masek Camp

Accommodation : South Serengeti : Masek Camp inclusive 4 pax $1,652.00 NC
Room request : 2xtwn


Sun 19-Feb-06 Safari : game-drives : as recommended by the camp guides

Accommodation : South Serengeti : Masek Camp inclusive 4 pax $1,652.00 NC


Mon 20-Feb-06 Safari : Masek Camp to Piaya Camp : game-drives on the way : 3 to 8 hours

Accommodation : South Serengeti : Piaya Camp inclusive 4 pax $1,652.00 NC
Note : this may be changed to Olosokwan Camp if the weather and game-viewing are better up there at this time
Note : in which case there may be a charge of around $75 per person to cover the additional cost of the departure flight


Tue 21-Feb-06 Safari : game-drives, walks and night-drives : as recommended by the camp guides

Accommodation : South Serengeti : Piaya Camp inclusive 4 pax $1,652.00 NC


Wed 22-Feb-06 Safari : Piaya Camp to Seronera : 4 hours 4 pax $470.00 NC

Drop : Seronera airstrip 1hr before departure

Tips : driverguide : recommend $20 per day customer arrangement

Fly : Coastal : Seronera to Zanzibar 10.45/13.50hrs 4 pax $972.00 NC

Car : airport to Matemwe Bungalows approx 1hr 4 pax $50.00 NC

Accommodation : Zanzibar Island : Matemwe Bungalows bed & all meals 4 pax $736.00 NC
Room request : suite : 1xdbl


Thu 23-Feb-06 Accommodation : Zanzibar Island : Matemwe Bungalows bed & all meals 4 pax $736.00 NC


Fri 24-Feb-06 Accommodation : Zanzibar Island : Matemwe Bungalows bed & all meals 4 pax $736.00 NC


Sat 25-Feb-06 Car : Matemwe Bungalows to Serena Inn approx 1hr 4 pax $50.00 NC

Accommodation : Zanzibar Stonetown : Serena Inn bed & breakfast 4 pax $516.00 NC
Room request : prime : 1xtwn : 1xdbl


Sun 26-Feb-06 Taxi : Zanzibar Stonetown to airport approx 20 mins approx $12 customer arrangement

Fly : Zanair : Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam Domestic 06.50/07.10hrs 4 pax $218.00 NC

Meet and transfer : Dar es Salaam Domestic to International 4 pax

Departure : BA0046 : Dar es Salaam to London Heathrow departs 09.35hrs customer arrangement


TOTAL $14,323.00
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Oct 22nd, 2005, 09:44 AM
  #7
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sorry for the presentation of the programm earlier....the message was so long that it did not take my comments !
So this is the detail...with the budget..I have never spent so much in holidays, so really want to do the right choice ! after talking with the family, it seems that everyone enjoy to stay in a camp, maybe 4 nights out of 5 is a bit too "risky" if some of us are frightened...So I will ask ATR on monday if Serenea Ngorongoro is available. I would have loved to stay at the crater, but it is full...but as well was told that the area was very nice to stay 2 days there...

Then it won't be easy to choose between the two camp...so if anyone has any view on the area (as the two camps are similar)...

I am not fixed on the Tree Lodge, but I have seen so good reviews there....

Mnay thanks for your help Bat, it will be great to talk together after the trip !!
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Oct 22nd, 2005, 10:20 AM
  #8
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pascal:
Yes, when you add up the drive time on day 2 it is really long.

So you can try for 2 nights on the rim (but remember, not 2 nights at Gibbs). That way you can still lounge at Manyara Tree Lodge in the morning if you want to--not worry about even getting into the crater that day, perhaps a short afternoon walk for the children, and then go for the early morning crater drive on day 3)

If that does not work or alternatively, then you can consider 1 night at the rim (or Gibbs if the rim is not available) then 3 at one Nomad camp.

Re choosing between the two camps--I believe that Masek may be positioned closer to where they expect the migration to be--but there are no guarantees about that.

If you can download google earth and go to Eben's website, you will be able to see where the piaya camp is and where Lakes Masek and Ndutu are--Masek camp will be in that area.

Good luck.
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Oct 22nd, 2005, 10:28 AM
  #9
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pascal:
Hopefully not to confuse things but if you did not spend the one night in Stonetown and shifted the itinerary a day as a result--you could add a day to safari. If I read your itinerary correctly your flight from Zbar to Dar is late afternoon, yes? If so, you can get from the beach (whether Matemwe or Breezes) to the airport on the day of your flight. So you could do:

Manyara Tree lodge 1 night
Serena Crater 1 night
Masek 2 nights
Piaya 2 nights
Beach 3 nights

Maybe I should not have mentioned this--now that I think of it you said the family was concerned about 4 nights in camp. Any way--good luck.
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Oct 22nd, 2005, 10:32 AM
  #10
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oops--never mind that must be an early am flight--you would have to give up one night at the beach to do my proposal.
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Oct 22nd, 2005, 02:07 PM
  #11
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yes this is an early flight so we will need to stay one night in Stonetown.

I imagine that if you book as well with ATR, you trust them fully on the organization (guides, transferts etc ??). I have been in contact with small agencies in France, but to be honnest they looked much less professional...
About Metwemwe, I understand the pblm of air conditionning. As leaving in London, our children are not used with air conditionning...but neither with very high temperature !! so will think about it again tomorrow...would you have other advice in Zanzibar (imagine that if you chose Metwemwe, you would not advise elsewhere !!!! ).
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Oct 22nd, 2005, 02:35 PM
  #12
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On that Saturday of arrival from DAR, it's 90-miles from Arusha to Manyara and considering that this road isn't a super highway, at minimum with no traffic it will take a good 2-hrs. Then it's close to 2-hrs through the park (with game drive along the way) to Tree Lodge. I'm sure your children will be exhausted by then.

The following day, you won't be able to leave Tree Lodge before the park opens at 6:30am. Again, game drive and through the park can be 4-hrs. From Manyara to the Crater is about 2-hrs, so arriving by 12N or 1pm and then right into the Crater w/ lunch. And after 4-6 hrs. leaving here and heading to the Serengeti. Way way too long a day even for adults.

ATR has a problem with booking client's at the Crater - they just don't like the lodges here - rushes clients to the Serengeti. Please, maybe adults are fine with this and go along. You'll be traveling with children. I'd definitely spend a night at the Crater rim. If not the Serena, at least the Sopa has a pool that the children can enjoy at the end of this very long day.

In fact, I'd not even do the Crater tour that afternoon, rather maybe before arriving at the Crater, leaving Manyara do a short cultural tour at Mto-wa-Mbu - the children would probably enjoy this. Then do lunch at Gibbs farm, leisurely and then head to the Crater and overnight here.

The following morning early, do the Crater Tour, have lunch at the lodge or a picnic lunch. Then head via Olduvai Gorge with a brief stop to visit the museum here. Continue to your camp here.

The number of days at the tented camps can be adjusted accordingly. And I'm sure the entire family will enjoy the tents. They are rather civilized; a true African experience.

As to the days on Zanzibar, as bat mentions, I'm an advocate of air conditioning in this humid climate. But only you can make this decision. Matemwe is small and intimate but if you find it uncomfortable to sleep, you won't have a happy bunch of campers in the mornings. While Breezes is larger, it is received very well, the rooms are lovely and they have a/c and a pool and likely to have other children as guests.

Definitely, because you have an early morning departure from DAR, to stay in Stone Town the day prior. The early flight from ZNZ to DAR is specifically scheduled to make the connection with your BA flight.

Definitely shorten the Day 2 going to the Crater. Your family will appreciate it, as will you.

Hope this helps.
 
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Oct 22nd, 2005, 03:12 PM
  #13
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Many thanks for all these details, this is more than helpful...Hopefully I got all these advice before booking everything. I realize now that these first 2 days were not adapted for a family (maybe even adults...!). In staying 2 nights in the crater, this safari looks much more balanced...thks again Sandi and Bat
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Oct 23rd, 2005, 12:07 PM
  #14
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Pascal--
sandi's idea of a cultural visit for the children on the way to the crater seems like a good idea. Especially if you choose Masek where they would not have the maasai contact that they would at Piaya camp.

Re trusting ATR, I emailed prior clients plus my rep gave me a contact at Nomad. I emailed her directly and she told me that I was in good hands. I think I mentioned that we should receive a trip report from someone soon who will have just returned from an ATR trip.
I'll keep my fingers crossed that you can get a hotel on the rim.

Re an alternate (aircon) resort on Zanzibar, I considered Ras Nungwi and Breezes (the Palms was beyond our budget also). Breezes has a spa in case that is a plus.
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Oct 27th, 2005, 10:06 AM
  #15
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I did follow the advices of Sandi and Bat, and feel much more comfortable with our programm with ATR:
Arrival in Nairobi by Kenya airways connection for Kilimanjaro
day 1 Manyara (Tree Lodge)
day 2 Ngorongoro (crater lodge)...staying there will let us enjoying a bit more the two days rather than going straight to the nomad camp.
day 3-4-5 Piaya Camp (long grass plains in Serengeti)
days 5-6-8 Breezes in Zanzibar (we finally chose A/C for the children....
I have to say that ATR have been fantastic by all their advices and disponibility. We are really excited for this trip, and hope to be able to add comments on Piaya camp as it seems that we are few people to go there without any feedback...
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Oct 31st, 2005, 06:45 AM
  #16
bat
 
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Pascal:
Sounds very nice. We will not be back in time to report before your departure--we will be lounging on the beach in Zanzibar when you arrive!
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