Seeking help with finalzing my Tanzania trip

Sep 28th, 2005, 06:42 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 10
Seeking help with finalzing my Tanzania trip


In order to use my FF miles, I had to book my flight. We arrive JRO on June 2 and depart June 15. Now I need to plan the itinerary. My wife and I want to do a private safari. After reading the messages posted here, I have started the process with Roy's and Good Earth. Roy's proposes the following:

Day - Lodge - Park
1) Mountain Village
2) Mountain Village
3) Sopa Lodge - Ngorongoro
4) Sopa Lodge - Ngorongoro
5) Sopa Lodge - Serengeti
6) Kirawira Camp
7) Kirawira Camp
8) Kirurumu - Lake Manyara NP
9) Kirurumu - Lake Manyara NP
10)Sopa Lodge - Tarangire
11)Dhow Palace - Zanzibar
12)Matemwe Beach Village
13)Matemwe Beach Village
14)To DAR and flight to AMS

Price for above is $3420

If stay Breezes - $3530
If stay Karafuu - $3490

Stay in Serena vs Sopa, add $105 pp

Any suggestions on this itinerary would be appreciated, to include order of visits and choices of lodging. We are mainly interested in wildlife viewing, meaningful cultural experience, and snorkeling. We would prefer mid level accomodations such as Serena or similar.

Zekester is offline  
Sep 29th, 2005, 08:16 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Zekester, I think this is a nice itinerary at a nice price. You have a good mix of accommodations.

Most people do not stay 2 nights at Manyara (the park, while lovely, is small), but Kirurumu offers cultural interaction (?), walks, etc., so that may be the reasoning there.

I would like 2 nights in Tarangire for myself, but early June is dicey: could be dry already and thus good gameviewing, or could be less so. Maybe Sandi or atravelynn or someone can comment on this.

You can probably tinker with this itinerary and make it a bit "better," but it already sounds most enjoyable to me. It's a lot of driving, but for a first trip that's not a big deal--fun even. And it doesn't look like you have any really, really long drives.

I'm sure others will have comments.
Leely is offline  
Sep 29th, 2005, 11:05 AM
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Pretty nice itinerary. However, I don't believe you need 2nts at Mtn. Village in Arusha unless you want a day to recoup, but do plan something for that day.

Like Leely, agree that Manyara doesn't really warrant 2-nts; I'd take one of those days or the 2nd day in Arusha and add it to Tarangire. Since Tarangire is towards the end of your itinerary - seocnd week of June, it should be dry by then. Besides, Tarangire is always good.

Re the properties in Zanzibar, remember it is "tropical" so humid. Matemwe Village does not have a/c and I wouldn't count on breezes and only ceiling fans for comfort. For the few dollars difference, go with Breezes which has a/c. Fundu Lagoon also has a/c, but caters mainly to an International clientel... few Americans, but a nice property. Don't know about the standard rooms here, which appeared to be smaller, but the cottages - on beach front (most expensive) or one row behind are large.

Sep 30th, 2005, 03:24 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 10
Hi Leely and Sandi

Thanks for the feedback. I will take your suggestions and discuss some options with Roy's. I have also done some more research on other island / lodging options. AC is a good idea. We prefer to snorkel. Any recommendations on good spots - Pemba or Mafia?

After reading several other posts, many seem to prefer Emerson and Green in Stonetown. Other options to consider for our one day stay here?

Thanks in advance for your additional thoughts and those of others.
Zekester is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 05:33 AM
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Zekester -

Firstly, Pemba will require another flight once you reach ZNZ, and while it is still uspoiled, currently the only 4*/5* property is Fundu Lagoon. Other accommodations are rather basic - more in the realm for back packers. The island isn't yet up to those visitors desiring a bit more then cottages and bungalows as accommodations - in a few years, hopefully. Snorkeling here, as well as, on Zanzibar will be fine.

Mafia on the other hand is an excellent "dive" island, with some of the best diving this part of the world. You'd have to fly here from DAR. There are only 3 lodges - Pole Pole, Kinasi Lodge and Mafia Island Lodge, all lovely, few with a/c (though you'd have to double check). While prices are still in the reasonable range, if you're not avid divers (for which you have to pay extra), I'd stay with Zanzibar or Pemba.

As to Stone Town, you can always take one of your days on the beach to tour Stone Town. Otherwise, you can spend an entire day here, departing the beach early, touring here and overnighting till your return flight next day. Other then Emerson & Green (can be considered expensive) - a few rooms here don't have a/c. Then there is the Serena Inn (tres expensive); Tembo House, Dhow Palace and the Beit al Chai (Tea House) - these last three more reasonably priced; all have a/c. Serena, Tembo and Dhow have pools, E&G and Beit don't.

Hope this helps.
Sep 30th, 2005, 05:36 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 56
Last week I stayed at Fundu Lagoon!

It is simply marvellous. Please read my trip report for more information.
Marynus is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 08:52 AM
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Hi Sandi

Great advice on the island issues. Thanks! Since you seem to have a lot of knowledge of the area, would you mind commenting on the proposed itinerary from ATR as it relates to the one from Roy. Price is about $2900 or $600 less than Roys. Also the itinerary seems reversed.

Thanks again.

02JUN2006 Arrival into Kilimanjaro airport

02JUN2006 Arusha : Moivaro Lodge
03JUN2006 Arusha : Moivaro Lodge
04JUN2006 Safari : Tarangire : Mawe Ninga Lodge
05JUN2006 Safari : Tarangire : Mawe Ninga Lodge
06JUN2006 Safari : Karatu : Gibbs Farm
07JUN2006 Safari : South Serengeti : Olduvai Camp
08JUN2006 Safari : Central Serengeti : Ronjo Fly-camp
09JUN2006 Safari : Central Serengeti : Ronjo Fly-camp
10JUN2006 Safari : South Serengeti : Olduvai Camp

11JUN2006 Fly : Manyara to Zanzibar : 2hrs

11JUN2006 Zanzibar : Matemwe Beach
12JUN2006 Zanzibar : Matemwe Beach
13JUN2006 Zanzibar : Emerson & Green

14JUN2006 Fly : Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam : 20mins

14JUN2006 Depart from Dar es Salaam airport

Zekester is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 09:10 AM
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Hi Marynus

I tried your link, but it did not take me to your report. Could you repost. Thanks
Zekester is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 10:46 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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I'm booked with ATR for the 2 weeks after your trip is scheduled. I didn't bother to perfect it too much (I get easily frustrated), but I do have a few comments for you.

The Roy trip and the ATR trip feature different types of accommodations. I believe ATR leans more toward "rustic" (not to say inexpensive). Are you okay with this? What would you prefer? There's nothing on your ATR itinerary with the luxury factor of Kirawira.

I don't think you need 2 nights Olduvai in June. You probably don't need any time at Olduvai, but it is an appealing-looking camp, isn't it?

I'd opt to stay on the Crater rim somewhere and delete Gibbs Farm. Regardless of the level of the lodge, why not enjoy that stunning view?

I'm sure others will have further thoughts. Kind of a nerve-wracking process, isn't it?
Leely is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 10:51 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Oh, I also meant to say if you ditch Olduvai, definitely add that time to the Serengeti.

My ideal 1st-time itinerary, with no lodge recs would be something like this:

1 night Manyara
2 nights Tarangire
2 nights Crater
4 nights Serengeti (or longer if $ and time permit)
fly back to Arusha fr. Serengeti

By the way, that's not what I did last time and not what I'm doing next time. It just seems like a reasonable skeleton itinerary.
Leely is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 10:59 AM
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Here is the link to Marynus's trip report -
Patty is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 02:00 PM
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Zekester -

First to clarify the earlier comment - it was Karafuu Resort (quoted by Roys) that caters primarily to an international clientel - not Fundu Lagoon. What was in my head and what the fingers input - not working together!!

As to the ATR itinerary - Leely hit it right on. Her comments re the camps and there locations should be noted. And, Kirawira is what brings your price up on the Roys itinerary. ATR properties are geared to more rustic. Besides, they have no stop at the Crater (they seem to do this often with their itineraries - something about the lodges here?)- did you notice that the Crater was missing?

I see no reason to be in the Southeast Serengeti at this time, normally. This last comment based on this past June when the wildebeest herds were in the Seronera/Central area, yet the Zebra still on the Southeast plains. There are no guarantees, but normally, the Southeast area is best mid-Jan thru March.

I believe you should be comparing apples-to-apples when it comes price. Otherwise, an itinerary that meets the stops you want to make and the accommodations you wish. That's your decision to make.
Oct 3rd, 2005, 05:36 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 10
Hi Sandy and Leely

Thanks for the continued help. Based on your valued comments I have revised my itinerary as below. I have put Tarangire at the end to try to avoid the rain. I am leaning toward Chumbe as we prefer "walk in" snorkeling versus a beach and taking a boat out to the snorkeling areas. Interestingly, I sent this itinerary to ATR for comments and they would not quote as it does not contain the properties they normally use? Roy's will quote and I will try some others. I am thinking Goodearth. Suggestions on others to try?

Thanks in advance for your comments and those of others who would like to comment, to include the route and accomodations.
Day Activity Overnight
1 Arrive JRO Dik Dik or similar
2 Ngorongoro Serena Lodge
3 Ngorongoro Serena Lodge
4 To Serengeti Serena Lodge, Mbuzi Mawe or similar
5 Serengeti Serena Lodge, Mbuzi Mawe or similar
6 Serengeti Kirawire Tented
7 Serengeti Kirawire Tented
8 To Lake Manyara Kirurume
9 PM to Tarangire Kikoti,Tree Tops,or similar
10 Tarangire Kikoti,Tree Tops,or similar
11 To Zanziabar Chumbe Lodge
12 Chumbe Chumbe Lodge
13 Chumbe Chumbe Lodge
14 Tour Stone Town and depart for AMS

Zekester is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2005, 05:52 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354
Leely and Sandi gave excellent advice. The itinerary is looking good!

In the Serengeti, opt for Mbuzi Mawe instead of Serena as the combination of Kirawira and Mbuzi Mawe offer a nice wide area to try and catch the migration. The tented experience is also more authentic IMO. You can see tyhe locations of these camps on my Serengeti map

In Tarangire, try to stay inside the park if you can. Oliver's has a really good location and Tarangire Safari Lodge has some of the best views despite the less luxurious tents. But Treetops and Kikoti are both very fine if you prefer them. My Tarangire map shows the locations, drive times and distances for all these camps.

climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2005, 07:11 AM
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Hi Eben

Thanks for adding your thoughts. The web site you suggested is awesome. Also thanks for the thoughts on lodging. You suggest to stay inside Tarangire Park, and others suggest outside to allow night drives. ????
Good Earth has also suggested reversing my itinerary to end it at the Crator so as to end on a high note. This makes some sense, but I was trying to avoid the rainy season in Tarangire by going there last. ????Thanks again!
Zekester is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2005, 08:03 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354

I think the possibility of seeing the wildebeest migration around the Grumeti River will be the highlight of your trip - not the Crater!

One can argue that (in June) it is best to get out to Kirawira as quickly as possible in case the migration gets there early. But you need a stopover between Arusha and Kirawira which is why Ngorongoro makes sense.

On the other hand, considering recent history early June may be be too early for Kirawira and you may want to do Tarangire & Ngorongoro first to give the herds a bit more time to reach the western corridor.

It's all about timing and luck and we have no idea how next June will play out on the plains of the Serengeti.

In Tarangire, the night-drives are somewhat overrated IMHO. Especially in early June when the wildlife is still scattered. The potential of game walks inside the park offered by Oliver's really gets my interest!

climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2005, 11:20 AM
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Posts: 12,845
In addition to Good Earth, you could also try contacting Tanzania Serengeti Adventure (I believe Marynus had a good experience with them recently) and Bushbuck Safaris (several posters on the flyertalk board have used them) or go to for a list of member operators. Good luck with your planning!
Patty is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2005, 11:41 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Your itinerary is coming together nicely. This new one might be more expensive (!), though you never know.

Climbhigh's point about Tarangire Safari Lodge is excellent, and if you do choose to "downgrade" at Tarangire, you could probably save some $$ with that camp. Don't know if this is a concern, but something to think about. I'd stay there in a heartbeat, but I'm not known for being very particular.

Someone else on this board has mentioned that she was a bit disappointed in the night drives at Kikoti. Still, it looks like a very nice camp.

Enjoy your planning.
Leely is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2005, 11:59 AM
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As Eben and I can attest - we were both in the Serengeti this past June - the herds were everywhere, but where we expected them to be. At the beginning of June the Wildies were only in the Central/Seronera area (we expected they'd be in the Western); the zebras were still out on the Southern plains. Whereas, by the time JazzDrew (find his trip report) were in Tanzania two weeks later, by which time the zebra and Wildies met up and his family caught them in the Western Serengeti.

I believe we all try to time of safaris in any of the areas perfectly... but we're dealing with animals and they're certainly not coordinating their movement based on our schedules.

As to nite drives - I also believe these are highly overrated, though we've had a few interesting experiences returning to camps (in the dark) - again, no guarantees. So at Tarangire, it's a toss-up. Go with your gut as I feel Tarangire is great regardless where you lay your head.

The itinerary is lookin good!
Oct 6th, 2005, 06:40 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 10
Thanks to all who responded to my request for help. Leely, Sandi, Eben, Patty, you were all a big help. I think I am now pretty well set on the itinerary and will be getting some quotes to see if there is any big difference in price. I do plan to go local per the advice of most of you. If you have any further thoughts on potential safaria companies you recommend, let me know. For now, Roys, Goodearth, 2Africa, AfricaDream seem to be the finalists. Thanks again!
Zekester is offline  

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