serengeti camp site

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Jan 24th, 2006, 10:42 PM
  #1
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serengeti camp site

hi, I asked Sunny Safaris to make me a price offer for a mix of camping and smaller lodges where possible. This is what they offered (I was really pleased as they followed the exact itinary I asked them, with 2 times a descent down the crater):

Day 01: P/up from Karatu Village and drive to Ngorongoro Crater, descend to the Crater floor for gamedrive, lunch at picnic site, ascend to the rim, dinner and overnight, Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge.
Day 02: After breakfast descend to the Crater floor for full day gamedrive, lunch at hippo pool picnic site, ascend to the rim, dinner and overnight, Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge.
Day 03: After breakfast depart for South Serengeti National Park, en-route gamedrive, picnic lunch and afternoon a short gamedrive in Serengeti, dinner and overnight, Serengeti South Campsite.
Day 04: After breakfast full day in South Serengeti National Park(early morning, mid and afternoon gamedrives), all meals and overnight, Serengeti South Campsite.
Day 05: Early morning gamedrive in South Serengeti, brunch and depart for Western Serengeti National Park, en-route gamedrive, dinner and overnight, Serengeti West Campsite.
Day 06: After breakfast full day in Western Serengeti National Park(early morning, mid and afternoon gamedrives), all meals and overnight, Serengeti West Campsite.
Day 07: Early morning gamedrive in Western Serengeti Park, brunch and depart for Central Serengeti Park, en-route gamedrive, dinner and overnight, Serengeti Central Campsite.
Day 08: After breakfast full day in Central Serengeti National Park(early morning, mid and afternoon gamedrives), all meals and overnight, Serengeti Central Campsite.
Day 09: After breakfast depart for Tarangire National Park, en-route gamedrive, picnic lunch and afternoon a short gamedrive in Tarangire Park, dinner and overnight, Tarangire Campsite.
Day 10: After breakfast full day in Tarangire National Park(early morning, mid and afternoon gamedrives), all meals and overnight, Tarangire Campsite.
Day 11: Early morning gamedrive in Tarangire National Park, brunch and departure for Arusha End of Services.

Now my question is a: What do I picture with these campsites ? Is it one place crowded with tents from different operators ? (different from a fly-in camp from ATR's offer, which seems rather private) We're going in June.

As well, included in their price is tent, bucket shower + tent, etc... do you set up tent yourself or does your guide do that ? I'm new at 'camping', so not sure how to see the level of 'comfort'... at these camp sites, if the operator provides you a bucket shower, can you get warm water ?
sorry if these questions are silly.

Hope someone has already gone with Sunni and done some of these campsites and can comment on it, thanks
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Jan 25th, 2006, 04:16 AM
  #2
bat
 
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janischa:
While you are waiting to hear from someone who may have gone camping with Sunny, here are some thoughts.

It is my understanding that companies can have different levels of camping so you have to ask your operator the specific questions about what they are proposing.

So, even if somone else went camping with them, I believe that you will still need to ask your own questions of Sunny because that other person's trip may not have been exactly what you are being quoted.

For example, sonali has used Sunny and she was looking into some private camping that would have been the expensive kind (large walk-in tent with attached tent bathroom)

I have friends who went camping with Roy's and they did what might be considered "medium" camping. They did no work themselves around the camp. Everything was set up for them. They had a smaller dome tent and their "bathroom tent" was separate from their sleeping tent. They were quite pleased with it.

I expect you will be able to have hot water. These are so-called "bladder" showers. The camp staff would heat the water and put hot water in the bladder for your use.

I believe you will also need to ask whether the campsites are private or public.

Perhaps, some other folks have additional suggestions for questions that you should ask.

P.S. Some companies offer "participatory" camping where the client does some of the work. Obviously, this costs less than the medium camping.

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Jan 25th, 2006, 04:26 AM
  #3
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thanks, you are right
anyway, one of the things I've noticed is that these type of more comfort camping comes quite close in price to staying in the standard lodges like Sopa.
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Jan 25th, 2006, 06:13 AM
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I don't think those are the actual names of campsites but rather they're just telling you the locations of the Serengeti where you'll be camping, so you'll need to ask Sunny whether this is private or public camping.

We did private 'medium' camping (separate sleeping, shower and toilet tents) for a few nights on our last trip and it was very comfortable, but as bat said, the set up will vary depending on the tour operator and level of camping you've requested. Again only Sunny can tell you exactly what will be offered.

We didn't have to set up anything ourselves and hot water was available for showers, but the amount is limited so you can't take long, leisurely showers

Private camping costs at least as much if not more than a lodge based safari. I think private campsite fees alone are $50 per person per night in the Serengeti plus your daily park fees of $50 per person, so you're looking at $100pppn without any tour operator costs added. It's not done to save money, but rather to have a wilderness experience away from crowds.
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Jan 25th, 2006, 06:21 AM
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janischa28,

Agree that you need to clarify with Sunny, but I would be very surprised if this was participatory camping. Even when we did budget camping we didn't set up/take down anything. We offered to help because it seemed weird to us to have other people doing all the work for us, and they looked at us like we were insane.

The only thing you may consider is that we camped fist and then moved to lodges. While the wilderness "experience" was lessened at lodges, after a few days of camping it was sure nice to have a real bathroom, shower, restaurant, etc.

On the other hand, I think it would be a great experience to camp in the Serengeti. So, there are pros and cons to everything. Now, that probably didn't help you at all, did it?

Hopefully Sonali will chime in; I know she's used Sunny, and I think has camped with them.
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Jan 25th, 2006, 06:22 AM
  #6
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did you go with Sunny then ? I believe this should also be private 'medium' camping as included in the price Sunny quote

Price Includes: Vehicle 4wd Land Cruiser, fuel, professional English speaking driver cum guide, all park entrance fees, gamedrives unlimited, camping fees, tents (3x3x225cm), bed, linen, pillows, sleeping bags, table, chairs, cook, 3 meals whilst on safari, mess tent, toilet seat + tent, bucket shower + tent, wash basin, hand towel, soap, toilet paper, kerosene lamp.



Price Excludes: Tips, drinks, laundry, personal and luggage insurance.



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Jan 25th, 2006, 06:23 AM
  #7
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do you have any pictures of what your safari accomodation looked like ?
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Jan 25th, 2006, 06:28 AM
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No, we didn't use Sunny. Regardless of what they're calling the camping--whether budget, medium, or luxury--if you're okay with the set-up and price, then it sounds good.

But definitely clarify whether you will be at public or "special" campsites. Special ones are devoted to your party only. However, if budget is an issue, I really don't see anything wrong with staying at public campsites. I think it could be really enjoyable.
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Jan 25th, 2006, 06:29 AM
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then who did you go with ? if i may ask
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Jan 25th, 2006, 08:10 AM
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Not that I have any experience with Sunny but I stayed at Seronera Public Campsite I think A: When I stayed there there were a few parties but it wasn't overly crowded. We were on a budget safari: 1300 dollars per person 1 week, SNP, NC, LMNP: we used the facilities there and were well looked after. As for the experience - wildlife in the camp overnight, gazelle etc, in the night Hyenas rummaging through someone's kit and shoes - do not leave ANYTHING outside. Weaver birds in the trees, lions roaring close by waking us up and a Cheetah guarding the entrance track in the sunset. Oh what great memories!

Be back there soon with luck...

Matt
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Jan 25th, 2006, 08:38 AM
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Not sure if you were asking me or Leely, but we didn't use Sunny either. I believe sonali has used Sunny before but I think it was for a lodge based safari.

I do have photos of a 2 different camp set ups if that would help. Go to http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=...&x=0&y=-r5e7ji (photos 198-201) and http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=...&x=0&y=-dle0fg (photos 24-28).

If you're looking for photos of lodges try Africa Dream Safari's site http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/lodges/tanzania.html and also Eben's site http://www.go-safari.com/safari_Tanzania.htm
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Jan 25th, 2006, 08:48 AM
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janischa,
We used Easy Travel, but Sunny is, as you know, a reputable budget operator, so I don't think you need to throw another company into the mix. Unfortunately, we didn't take pictures of campsites or other accommodations; that trip was before I really knew how much people on Fodor's like to see such things.

Your question:
What do I picture with these campsites ? Is it one place crowded with tents from different operators ?

has been answered by Matt. We actually only camped outside of the parks for a couple of days, but we did drop our cook off at the central Serengeti public campsite and took a look around. It's as Matt described--you know, a campground.

I think whether or not you're happy with this arrangement is up to you. I go camping (not backpacking) probably a couple of times a year. When we went to TZ we did have some fears about "camping in Africa--oh my god!" but it really wasn't any big deal. Because you're not setting up or taking down camp or doing any cooking, it's actually much more relaxing than camping on your own. You do need to be able to deal with certain camping realities: it's harder to get and stay clean, there are not flush toilets, etc. But if you're okay with these inconveniences and can rough it a little...well, then you've got yourself an itinerary.
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Jan 25th, 2006, 09:41 AM
  #13
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thank a lot everybody !! well, i definite got the answer I was looking for ! especially the pictures helped me a lot.. on the risk of sounding like a spoilt brat, I don't think camping is anything for me.. I don't mind the sleeping in a tent, the showering in open air, but I don't think I'd feel comfortable with the toilet and the 'kitchen'. I'd love to do it for one or two nights, just for the experience, but not longer.. atleast that's one alternative I can scrap of my list... Besides this, I also wanted to leave a note to Patty that her photo's are marvellous !
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Jan 25th, 2006, 10:31 AM
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Thanks, janischa! I'm not much of a camper either and agree with you that 8 nights straight may too much. I was surprised how comfortable it was, but I think I'd need a real shower after 2-3 nights. You could always ask your tour operator to mix 1 or 2 nights of camping with lodges if you just want to try it out.
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Jan 25th, 2006, 10:35 AM
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If you think you might want to camp--and you may not, nothing wrong with that--you could camp at Tarangire and/or Manyara, then move to lodges for the rest of the trip. Camping first makes the lodges seem really luxurious.
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Jan 25th, 2006, 10:49 AM
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p.s. Janischa28, when are you going? We will be there the last two weeks of June--maybe we'll run into each other.
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Jan 25th, 2006, 11:31 AM
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hi leely, we'll be going from 10/06/2006 till 30/06/2006. Have you already got everything booked ? I know maybe it's somewhere here, but if you don't mind telling me again ?

Basically I'm actually really going nuts.. it's so incredibly difficult to make a choice.. oh well, atleast I've managed to make up my mind about one lodge I'm determined to stay at.. this is Karama Lodge.. it's in Arusha, and it's going to be my before safari getting-adjusted-to-the-climate spot and possibly also my after safari just-sit-and-relax-now spot you know what makes it extra difficult, is the fact that not all operators are willing/able to offer all lodges..

The first week we'll be doing on our own, taking the local bus from nairobi to arusha, there visit arusha national parc, do village walk, take bus to Mto Wa Mbu (stay in Migunga Forest Camp), visit Lake Manyara, visit Tarangire?, maybe pass on Lake Eyasi (stay at Kisima Ngeda), visit Hadzabe people there. So, up to there, I got rates and contact with all lodges, and a pretty fair idea of how our itinary will look like (in total coming in below 1000 USD a person, for all accomodation, parc visits, village walks)This itinary is from 10/06/2006 till 19/06/2006.

From 19/06/2006 untill 27/06/2006 I am going to try and find a tour operator for safaris. Though I am a bit afraid for an overkill, I want to take my time, and especially be able to make beautiful photographs... until now I've had a nice offer of Tropical Trails for 1800 USD on 7 nights, but that will still need some adaption as it only goes in the Crater for one day, and I'd like to go for 2 days (despite what people say one day is enough ??), so that might make it a bit more expensive.

anyway, let me know your thoughts... and tell me all about how it's working out with you guys
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