safari in Tanzania

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Sep 11th, 2013, 07:14 AM
  #21
 
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Hello there,
I am from African Adventure Advisors,based in Arusha Tanzania.This company organizes trips in East Africa mostly Tanzania.Please contact us so that we can arrange your holiday here.The company is registered and valid,its owned by the professional guides who knows where to sell the tour.Write on [email protected] or visit www.africanadventureadvisors.com
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Sep 11th, 2013, 12:54 PM
  #22
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Our plans have gone through a few changes, but we are settled now on working with Shidolya Tours and Safaris. We'll spend 12 nights altogether, starting in Tarangire, to Ngorongoro, then into the Serengeti, finishing with a flight to Mahale and back to Arusha for our departure. Lazarus at Shidolya has been wonderful in presenting options and responding to our ideas. We started with an itinerary that involved camping in dome tents at public campgrounds, and has evolved to primarily private tented camps, with a splurge on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater. We'll be 3 nights at Whistling Thorn Camp in Tarangire, 2 nights at Serena Ngorongoro, 3 nights at Mbuzi Mawe Tented camp in the Serengeti, and 4 nights at Kungwe Beach Lodge near Mahale Park on Lake Tanganyika. The scope and cost of our trip grew quite a bit, but we are so excited about it! Thanks to all you forum folk for your advice.
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Sep 12th, 2013, 02:29 PM
  #23
 
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A whole lot of tour outfitters posting and touting their companies... shame on them.

Ulrich - well, of course the budget increased if heading to Mahale. Remember though it's about a 4/hr flight from Arusha and not direct to the camp. Plane lands at Lake Tanganyika, where you board boat for about a 1/hr ride on open lake water to shore at Mahale. Consider packing a 'barf' bag (as the airlines proved)... who knows how your tummy will react... just a heads up
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Sep 12th, 2013, 04:32 PM
  #24
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Sandi, it sounds like you've been to Mahale - how was it? We've got 3 full days for trekking to find the chimps, but wondering if we might take some of that time for other activities, like boating the lakeshore. Suggestions?
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Sep 13th, 2013, 09:19 AM
  #25
 
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Ulunick - Sorry to advise I have NOT been to Mahale. It's not so much the flight time in a plane without a loo (I'm good for hours without one), but you won't get me on a boat on open water... why I'm not a cruise person... too much H2O for my comfort.

The only boat ever was a Nile cruise as it's got a flat bottom and from where you can see both shores... the most cruising I'd ever do and that took a lot of convincing.

Besides chimp tracking, consult the camp for other activities available.
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Sep 13th, 2013, 11:13 AM
  #26
 
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I was at Kungwe in September 2009. It's a great camp with one of the best chimps guides around, Sixtus... don't know if he's still there. Within 30 minutes of our arrival, the chimps actually showed up in camp, feeding on fruit behind one of the tents. Guests from other camps were rushing to our camp to see them! That happened twice while we were there. There are other things that you can do there such as boat safaris along the lake shore or fishing for your supper. They also have kayaks that you can use. I went snorkeling in the lake right in front of the camp. The water is absolutely clear and pristine. You can also take shorter hikes to see some of the other wildlife like the other primates, birds, etc. It was never boring.
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Sep 13th, 2013, 12:50 PM
  #27
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What an encouraging post, Shay Tay. I'm glad you had such close encounters with the chimps - hopefully, we'll have a good time with them, too. Are there hippos in the lake? Crocodiles? I've been leery about swimming there, but it sounds like the lake water is ok....
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Sep 14th, 2013, 08:16 AM
  #28
 
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We didn't see hippos. There are crocs in certain areas, but not near the camp. Because there is little, if any, agriculture or manufacturing around the lake, the water quality is excellent.
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Nov 20th, 2013, 07:22 AM
  #29
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We're back from our trip in October-November, and it was fantastic! Our tour operator in Tanzania was great - Shidolya Safari Tours totally saved our vacation time after we missed a flight (and therefore a day) from South Africa. The rearranged our itinerary and completely preserved our reservations at no extra cost, even though they were at a low price to start with. I'll post our travelogue below.

We started off in South Africa at Ezulwini's private reserve contiguous to Kruger National Park. We were gifted with a 5 night stay at about 1/4 normal cost by a friend who won it in a charity auction; it turned out just about everyone we met there had also bought their Ezulwini's safaris through charity auctions - odd. We went on morning and evening game drives in open Land Cruisers with bench seats. It was the end of the dry season, and the scrub was pretty bleak, but the wildlife was plentiful and accessible. The lodges were very beautiful and the food much better than I expected, so we could bear the rigors of the game drives without too much strife. They have viewing decks built out from the main lodges, where we could see elephants and giraffes and baboons and crocodiles and birds and vervets. On the game drives we saw hippos and rhinos and lions and a leopard and elephants (including a charge!) and impala and Thompson's gazelles, waterbuck, diko diko, wildebeasts, zebras... most of the range of animals except Cape buffalow, black rhino and cheetahs. We were able to follow a lone leopard for about 10 minutes! What a treat to see the sensual way they move. Our host Lawrence Saad was welcoming and gracious and shared his unique dug-in wine cellar with us. There were generally only 6 or 7 of us in a jeep and never more than 2 or 3 at any one sighting, usually just us.

After our flight snafu, we got to Kilimanjaro airport early, early AM. Priscus met us and brought us to a small lodge at the entrance to Arusha NP for a little sleep before heading to the Shidolya office, where we were so pleased to learn that Philo had done a workaround to preserve our itinerary. I'll say it again - Shidolya was fantastic!

First stop: Tarangire NP for 2 nights at Kirurumu tented camp. We had hoped for Whistling Thorn, but I have no complaints about Kirurum; the accomodations and meals were excellent, and one night we had an elephant in camp. In some ways, Tarangire was our favorite park, probably because of the green around the river and bogs, while everything elsewhere was dry and grayish brown. We was huge numbers of elephants and game ungulates, as well as cheetahs, giraffes, and lions, including a mating pair. Again, we were lucky to see a leopard lazing in a tree.

We toured Lake Manyara NP on our way to Ngorongoro Crater, staying 1 night in the Kirurumu Lake Manyara lodge, which is sculpted into a hillside overlooking Lake Manyara. Delightful. We liked Lake Manyara; part of the park is a lush forest with clear running streams due to the groundwater runoff from Ngorongoro. At this time of year it wasn't great for seeing flamingos, but we had a great visit with a large troop of baboons and some vervet monkeys.

Our lodge for 2 nights at Ngorongoro Crater was the Serena rock-faced building, with incredible views into the cauldera. The crater floor was dry and tan, and the wildlife a little more scarce than we'd heard, but still it was a super experience. I can only imagine what it must be like when transformed to green! Not to be repetitive, but we saw most of the list of animals except for rhinos and cheetahs and leopards, I guess. We're not serious birders, but we really enjoyed learning about so many different birds; we must have seen 4 or 5 different sorts of eagles, bustards, hornbills, superb starlings, vultures, secretary birds, ostriches, Egyptian geese, helmeted guinea fowl, white headed buffalow weavers, etc. We felt so grateful for this experience, punctuated by streaming shafts of lights streaking down through the clouds to illuminate the cauldera floor.

Next, Serengiti. We stayed 3 nights at the Serena Mbuzi Mawe tented camp, which is beautiful and serene and home to kilpspringers (seriously cute!) and hyrax. Two male lions had a fight at the edge of Camp one morning. As it turned out, we were kind of distant from the best game viewing areas (the Seronera area) for this time of year, but that was our fault; I pushed for the Mbuzi Mawe camp based on very positive reviews (that were justified). Still, we saw a lot going to and returning from Seronera, and the Serengeti is definately the most amazing animal environment we saw in Africa. We had thought about not going there, and we weren't really interested in seeing the migration, but boy, are we glad we did. We had an especially wonderful afternoon with a herd (?) of giraffes, where we felt like we merged with their community - so gentle and quiet! We saw a LOT of lions, including a pride of lionesses and their cubs eating a kill, another similar pride resting and scoping out game, a mating pair, and 3 old males finishing off a zebra meal. Two separate times we saw different pairs of leopards in trees, one time with a meal of gazelle. Of course we got to develop our love affair with elephants, glad to see how many babies there were and how careful and protective they are of their young. Speaking of yound, we also saw baby warthogs! A pair of jackels were lurking around, but mama warthog kept a close watch. For the first time we also saw hyena, coming too late to a lion's kill site. Our good fortune with finding such a vast variety of animals and birds was, of course, due to Priscus' great vision and knowledge. The list of sightings is just too long to itemize....

Priscus took us to the Seronera airport, and we took our leave, flying to Mahale NP across the country at Lake Tanganyika. We had 4 nights at the Greystoke camp in an amazing thatched roof banda made out of salvaged wood from boats. Wow. Shidolya somehow booked us there instead of Kungwe (which was on our original invoice), maybe for scheduling reasons, but I think it was a significant upgrade at no extra cost to us. Greystoke is incredible, right on the beach. There was a resident juvenile pelican that had appeared after a storm a couple of weeks earlier, that the Camp manager was trying to teach to fly! I befriended the camp cook and learned a little about local spicing (Indian influenced).

But Mahale is all about chimpanzees. We trekked out to see them 3 days, and on the last two days we found a small group after about an hour fairly strenuous hike. With surgical masks in place, we got 1 hour with the chimps each day. We couldn't approach closer than 15 meters, but if they moved towards us, that's ok. Several times, some chimps walked right by us, almost touching our pants. We saw lots of grooming activity, and very dear connections between mothers and kids. And lots of PLAY, too. It is disturbing, though, to read and hear about some horrible things high ranking chimps sometimes do to rivals, females and babies.... As human's closest evolutionary link, we had to wonder how the primates took such a turn toward savagery. Fortunately, we didn't see anything like that, so we just have some sweet memories.

We hopped on a small plane to Kilimanjaro, caught Ethiopian Air, and via Addis Ababa ended up in Cairo. It was a rude awakening to be back in the urban world! We expecially felt like fresh meat for the touts as we floundered around the airport at 2 am. After missing our flight in South Africa, we had been in touch with Debbie (Miss Casual Cairo), and she was wonderful in helping us shift our hotel reservation in Cairo on arrival night. We were pretty incommunicado during safari time, but through text messages and some emails, she was able to shift our night for us. Since the Morsi trial was to begin the day we arrived, we left Cairo to fly to Luxor at noon that same day, and we arranged with Debbie for a guide our first day in Luxor. That was a good decision; we were able to relax in the slower pace and cleaner air of Luxor. Debbie had recommended a small, older, simple (and inexpensive) hotel that was just fine for our 4 night stay. We toured the Valley of the Kings, Hetsupshet's Temple, Medina Habu, and the workers village that first day. We never was more than a couple dozen other tourists (at the King's tombs), and we were alone at the other sights save for a handful of tourists at Hetsepshut's temple.

Unfortunately, we didn't get along very well with our first guide, Mamdouh. We felt like he was lecturing us rather than engaging us, and he seemed distracted and almost disinterested. We switched to a different guide recommended in the forums, Hassany at Love Egypt Tours. Although it was a difficult decision to make after all the help Debbie had given us, Hassany's guide Abdul was enthusiastic and really brought the Luxor temples and tombs alive in a way that hadn't happened with Mamdouh. We saw the Luxor Museum (a little gem!), Karnak, and Luxor Temples. The following day we went to Dendera, a lovely and intact temple dedicated to Hathor, with much of the original color still apparent, and then some of the Nobles Tombs that are nearly pristine! amazing! In the evening I visited to meditate at the mosque of Yusuf Abu al-Hajjaj, a sufi saint from the 12th century built on the grounds of Luxor Temple.

On to Aswan the following day, with stops at Edfu and Koum Omo (sp?). We stayed at the Anakata Nubian House in a Nubian village on the west bank at the north end of town, very quiet and beautiful.

I've run out of time, so... to be continued.
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Nov 20th, 2013, 07:22 AM
  #30
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We're back from our trip in October-November, and it was fantastic! Our tour operator in Tanzania was great - Shidolya Safari Tours totally saved our vacation time after we missed a flight (and therefore a day) from South Africa. The rearranged our itinerary and completely preserved our reservations at no extra cost, even though they were at a low price to start with. I'll post our travelogue below.

We started off in South Africa at Ezulwini's private reserve contiguous to Kruger National Park. We were gifted with a 5 night stay at about 1/4 normal cost by a friend who won it in a charity auction; it turned out just about everyone we met there had also bought their Ezulwini's safaris through charity auctions - odd. We went on morning and evening game drives in open Land Cruisers with bench seats. It was the end of the dry season, and the scrub was pretty bleak, but the wildlife was plentiful and accessible. The lodges were very beautiful and the food much better than I expected, so we could bear the rigors of the game drives without too much strife. They have viewing decks built out from the main lodges, where we could see elephants and giraffes and baboons and crocodiles and birds and vervets. On the game drives we saw hippos and rhinos and lions and a leopard and elephants (including a charge!) and impala and Thompson's gazelles, waterbuck, diko diko, wildebeasts, zebras... most of the range of animals except Cape buffalow, black rhino and cheetahs. We were able to follow a lone leopard for about 10 minutes! What a treat to see the sensual way they move. Our host Lawrence Saad was welcoming and gracious and shared his unique dug-in wine cellar with us. There were generally only 6 or 7 of us in a jeep and never more than 2 or 3 at any one sighting, usually just us.

After our flight snafu, we got to Kilimanjaro airport early, early AM. Priscus met us and brought us to a small lodge at the entrance to Arusha NP for a little sleep before heading to the Shidolya office, where we were so pleased to learn that Philo had done a workaround to preserve our itinerary. I'll say it again - Shidolya was fantastic!

First stop: Tarangire NP for 2 nights at Kirurumu tented camp. We had hoped for Whistling Thorn, but I have no complaints about Kirurum; the accomodations and meals were excellent, and one night we had an elephant in camp. In some ways, Tarangire was our favorite park, probably because of the green around the river and bogs, while everything elsewhere was dry and grayish brown. We was huge numbers of elephants and game ungulates, as well as cheetahs, giraffes, and lions, including a mating pair. Again, we were lucky to see a leopard lazing in a tree.

We toured Lake Manyara NP on our way to Ngorongoro Crater, staying 1 night in the Kirurumu Lake Manyara lodge, which is sculpted into a hillside overlooking Lake Manyara. Delightful. We liked Lake Manyara; part of the park is a lush forest with clear running streams due to the groundwater runoff from Ngorongoro. At this time of year it wasn't great for seeing flamingos, but we had a great visit with a large troop of baboons and some vervet monkeys.

Our lodge for 2 nights at Ngorongoro Crater was the Serena rock-faced building, with incredible views into the cauldera. The crater floor was dry and tan, and the wildlife a little more scarce than we'd heard, but still it was a super experience. I can only imagine what it must be like when transformed to green! Not to be repetitive, but we saw most of the list of animals except for rhinos and cheetahs and leopards, I guess. We're not serious birders, but we really enjoyed learning about so many different birds; we must have seen 4 or 5 different sorts of eagles, bustards, hornbills, superb starlings, vultures, secretary birds, ostriches, Egyptian geese, helmeted guinea fowl, white headed buffalow weavers, etc. We felt so grateful for this experience, punctuated by streaming shafts of lights streaking down through the clouds to illuminate the cauldera floor.

Next, Serengiti. We stayed 3 nights at the Serena Mbuzi Mawe tented camp, which is beautiful and serene and home to kilpspringers (seriously cute!) and hyrax. Two male lions had a fight at the edge of Camp one morning. As it turned out, we were kind of distant from the best game viewing areas (the Seronera area) for this time of year, but that was our fault; I pushed for the Mbuzi Mawe camp based on very positive reviews (that were justified). Still, we saw a lot going to and returning from Seronera, and the Serengeti is definately the most amazing animal environment we saw in Africa. We had thought about not going there, and we weren't really interested in seeing the migration, but boy, are we glad we did. We had an especially wonderful afternoon with a herd (?) of giraffes, where we felt like we merged with their community - so gentle and quiet! We saw a LOT of lions, including a pride of lionesses and their cubs eating a kill, another similar pride resting and scoping out game, a mating pair, and 3 old males finishing off a zebra meal. Two separate times we saw different pairs of leopards in trees, one time with a meal of gazelle. Of course we got to develop our love affair with elephants, glad to see how many babies there were and how careful and protective they are of their young. Speaking of yound, we also saw baby warthogs! A pair of jackels were lurking around, but mama warthog kept a close watch. For the first time we also saw hyena, coming too late to a lion's kill site. Our good fortune with finding such a vast variety of animals and birds was, of course, due to Priscus' great vision and knowledge. The list of sightings is just too long to itemize....

Priscus took us to the Seronera airport, and we took our leave, flying to Mahale NP across the country at Lake Tanganyika. We had 4 nights at the Greystoke camp in an amazing thatched roof banda made out of salvaged wood from boats. Wow. Shidolya somehow booked us there instead of Kungwe (which was on our original invoice), maybe for scheduling reasons, but I think it was a significant upgrade at no extra cost to us. Greystoke is incredible, right on the beach. There was a resident juvenile pelican that had appeared after a storm a couple of weeks earlier, that the Camp manager was trying to teach to fly! I befriended the camp cook and learned a little about local spicing (Indian influenced).

But Mahale is all about chimpanzees. We trekked out to see them 3 days, and on the last two days we found a small group after about an hour fairly strenuous hike. With surgical masks in place, we got 1 hour with the chimps each day. We couldn't approach closer than 15 meters, but if they moved towards us, that's ok. Several times, some chimps walked right by us, almost touching our pants. We saw lots of grooming activity, and very dear connections between mothers and kids. And lots of PLAY, too. It is disturbing, though, to read and hear about some horrible things high ranking chimps sometimes do to rivals, females and babies.... As human's closest evolutionary link, we had to wonder how the primates took such a turn toward savagery. Fortunately, we didn't see anything like that, so we just have some sweet memories.

We hopped on a small plane to Kilimanjaro, caught Ethiopian Air, and via Addis Ababa ended up in Cairo. It was a rude awakening to be back in the urban world! We expecially felt like fresh meat for the touts as we floundered around the airport at 2 am. After missing our flight in South Africa, we had been in touch with Debbie (Miss Casual Cairo), and she was wonderful in helping us shift our hotel reservation in Cairo on arrival night. We were pretty incommunicado during safari time, but through text messages and some emails, she was able to shift our night for us. Since the Morsi trial was to begin the day we arrived, we left Cairo to fly to Luxor at noon that same day, and we arranged with Debbie for a guide our first day in Luxor. That was a good decision; we were able to relax in the slower pace and cleaner air of Luxor. Debbie had recommended a small, older, simple (and inexpensive) hotel that was just fine for our 4 night stay. We toured the Valley of the Kings, Hetsupshet's Temple, Medina Habu, and the workers village that first day. We never was more than a couple dozen other tourists (at the King's tombs), and we were alone at the other sights save for a handful of tourists at Hetsepshut's temple.

Unfortunately, we didn't get along very well with our first guide, Mamdouh. We felt like he was lecturing us rather than engaging us, and he seemed distracted and almost disinterested. We switched to a different guide recommended in the forums, Hassany at Love Egypt Tours. Although it was a difficult decision to make after all the help Debbie had given us, Hassany's guide Abdul was enthusiastic and really brought the Luxor temples and tombs alive in a way that hadn't happened with Mamdouh. We saw the Luxor Museum (a little gem!), Karnak, and Luxor Temples. The following day we went to Dendera, a lovely and intact temple dedicated to Hathor, with much of the original color still apparent, and then some of the Nobles Tombs that are nearly pristine! amazing! In the evening I visited to meditate at the mosque of Yusuf Abu al-Hajjaj, a sufi saint from the 12th century built on the grounds of Luxor Temple.

On to Aswan the following day, with stops at Edfu and Koum Omo (sp?). We stayed at the Anakata Nubian House in a Nubian village on the west bank at the north end of town, very quiet and beautiful.

I've run out of time, so... to be continued.
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