Serengeti Safari - Januray 2006 - Advice please

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Apr 26th, 2005, 05:00 PM
  #1
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Serengeti Safari - Januray 2006 - Advice please

After having my connection between Nairobi and Johannesburg cancelled due to the failure of the BA affiliate Regional Air, I have just bitten the bullet and we are flying into Dar es Salaam istead of Nairobi, transiting to Mt Kilimanjaro (spending New Years eve in the air) and flying to JoBurg via Dar with Air Tanzania on the 11th. SAA flights were AUD 560pp and Air Tanz are AUD 490. It really p's me off paying for flights in additon to our round the world ticket but as we keep saying - we will only have this chance once.
We figure we will offset the internal transfers with Precison Air (AUD 230) by not having to pay Kenya visa fees and return shuttle cost plus we are saving a night's accommodation (New Year's eve so would be quite expensive!) in London by flying overnight.

Our itinerary (with Roy Safari) right now is

7nights, 8days Safari to Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Serengeti & Ngorongoro.
Day Program
1 Drive to Tarangire National Park. Game viewing in the park with
picnic lunches. Dinner and overnight at Tarangire River camp.
2 After breakfast drive to Lake Manyara National Park. Game
viewing in the park. Dinner and overnight at Kirurumu tented lodge.
3 Am cultural tour at Mto wa mbu village + then drive, with picnic
lunches drive to Serengeti National Park.Game viewing en-route to KUSINI
CAMP for dinner & overnight.
4 06h00 Begin the Sunrise game drive followed by late breakfast
at 09h00. 10h30 With picnic lunches continue game viewing for the rest
of the day. Dinner and overnight at KUSINI CAMP.
5 Another full day game viewing in Serengeti.Lunch,dinner and
overnight at KUSINI CAMP.
6 After breakfast,with picnic lunches drive to Ngorongoro for PM
Crater tour. Dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro SOPA lodge
7 AM crater tour. PM Olmoti crqter hike o/n Ngorongoro SOPA lodge.
8 After breakfast, descend the crater for a morning tour then
drive back to Arusha.

However, after looking at Liz's comments on Tarangire, I'm thinking of skipping that and putting in a night at The Serengeti Sopa before Kusini. I know it is not the best but my 14 year old daughter will be with us and I think breaking the trips with a pool may be good. It could also cut the price a little. I would really welcome any comments and advice.

We will also now need accommodation in Arusha for the night before and after our safari any suggestions?

Thanks

Julie

Sarvowinner is offline  
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Apr 27th, 2005, 01:53 PM
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Julie,

Your revisions make sense to me. Tarangire is not at its height in January, while the Southern Serengeti is. One night in Tarangire and then one night in Manyara, then on to Kuisini the following day is a lot of moving about in a short time. Serengeti Sopa will be a nice first stop in Serengeti, reducing long drives (with a teenager). The pool is a bonus for your daughter and the cost savings a bonus for you!

Am I reading your itinerary correctly so that it shows 3 crater tours?

6th a pm crater tour
7th an am crater tour
8th an am (after breakfast) crater tour

Three would be a bit unusual. Such a sensational place with its high concentration of wildlife could sustain your interest and your daughter's for 3 visits, but this many visits is rare, even for gung-ho safari nuts.

If you wish to do the Olmati Crater hike, I can see how 3 crater visits becomes a good use of the time available. If you did not do the 3rd crater visit on the 8th, you might be able to get to Arusha earlier and see Arusha National Park, a more forested environment. You'd have to see if that was a worthwhile tradeoff for you.

Sorry about your airline cancellation.
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Apr 28th, 2005, 03:59 PM
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Thanks for your help. I've emailed Roy Safari to find out just what the Olmati Crater hike involves. I also have asked if we are visiting the Oldvui Gorge. I'm not sure if it is on the way? Is it worthwhile - it seems a pity to miss the cradle of human kind lol. Can anyone suggest anything else my 14 yr old should do. She is a good traveler and is studying photography. She is bringing her ancient Minolta SLX!
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Apr 28th, 2005, 04:16 PM
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Olduvai takes about 2 hours at most and should fit easily into your itinerary.

You can visit the Masai at Ngorongoro also. A couple of Masai visits would be of interest to everyone, but may make even more of an impression on your daughter.

If she is a good traveler and interested in photography, this should be a great experience for her.
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Apr 30th, 2005, 12:25 AM
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Just received this reply from Roy Safari:
What is involved in the Olmoti crater hike?
ANS; drive to Nainokanoka village, trek about 1-1.5 hrs to olmoti crater
with an armed ranger& back & drive back to the lodge. You can also visit a school at Nainokanoka village and distribute any gifts (eg note books,
pencils, sweets)...

Roy have also suggested accommodation in Arusha at either the Impala hotel; US$125 triple ( BB)or Ngurdoto mountain lodge(Cottage)(BB) US$175. Can anyone suggest anything cheaper in Arusha for the night before we leave on Safari? Also where is the best place to buy water & other provisions to take with us? Is it a good idea to buy a cask of wine to take with us for Sundowners?
Any other suggestions on where we should go or what we should bring?

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Apr 30th, 2005, 03:20 AM
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Hi Sarvo

In Arusha, the Impala is excellent value for money and you won't find much cheaper unless you want to step down in overall quality.

To go cheaper, the Outpost Lodge gets good reviews from the backpacking crowd. http://outposttanzania.com/index.html

Food & drink: Roys should provide bottled water and you are staying in very nice lodges/camps. You don't really need to buy much refreshments, but ask your driver to stop at the supermarket on Sokoine Rd out of Arusha. It is big, modern and clean and a good place to buy water, beer, wine and snacks.

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Apr 30th, 2005, 03:55 AM
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Sarvo -

Ngurduto is owned by the Impala Hotel, so this may be an alternative - check if they can accommodate you as a triple here.

As to munchies and drinks, check with Roy's - Kusini's price may include beverages including beer and wine; the other places you'll be staying probably don't, but the prices aren't expensive. And Roy's does provide a litre of water per person per day.

If, however, you wish other "goodies" and even soda, especially for your daughter, you can purchase at the supermarket (as Climbhigh... mentioned above). Your vehicle should have a "cool box" for these. It is a good idea when arriving at a camp/lodge to swap out - say a few beers and sodas which may be warm by time of arrival to the property for cold ones from their refrigerators - even, one-for-one. Most places are accommodating. Do Not drink any beverage direct from its'container... they may have been sitting in ice water. Wipe off the bottle or can top and pour into a glass or buy/use sipping straws. Just an extra precaution for a pleasant safari.

 
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Jun 30th, 2005, 11:29 AM
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Hi Sarvowinner,

I saw your finalized itinerary on the lodge/tented camps thread, and wanted to say I think it looks great!

I am particularly interested in hearing more about Ronjo (if you know anything more; I realize you haven't left yet!). Did ATR give you any additional info about this camp?

And was it basically a question of Roy vs. ATR for you? How did you make your decision?
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Jul 2nd, 2005, 06:14 AM
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Leely
Ronjo was suggested to us because there is not a lot of choices in the Central Serengeti other than the bigger lodges. We had considered a combo of camping and lodges so it fitted in well with our plans. This is what ATR told us: "It is a private campsite, where camp is already set up prior to your arrival. Accommodation is in large walk-in tents with ensuite toilet and shower. This camp is used exclusively for our customers with a maximum of ten tents occupied in camp at any one time. There is a cook who will be there to prepare your meals over the campfire. It really is a wonderful way to experience safari and it means that you can really get to explore the central region which has a high density of game but avoid the touristy areas." Of course you seen the pictures on the website.
I guess the reason we went with ATR is that they spent the time to discuss our initial itinerary and make suggestions such as the internal flights, they helped educate us on all the options. Where as with Roys, I only got direct answers that did not provide any other options. Don't get me wrong - they were very prompt but in the end it comes down to to who you feel comfortable with.
ATR does point you towards the properties that they have relationships with but as they appealed to us - no problem.
I had long conversations with Tracey which was reassuring, informative and sold us. One thing I found interesting was that when I asked her about the walks with the Maasai at Oldupai, she told me that she has been very hesitant to visit their village because she felt it would be intrusive. I like that sensitivity
I also sent requests to several other operators who replied with what appeared to be form letter responses with nothing that looked like they were answering our original requests. Again it came back to the point that ATR was the operator who really sold us on the safari and gave us a price that compared reasonably with the others. I also liked paying by CC as it gives me full insurance. We were also reassured by the references and have requested the guide who took a family last year and got on very well with their children. BTW one referee said they loved Ronjo.
Wow what a long post
For what is worth I hope it helps and that when I look back at this in Feb, that we made the right decision.
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Jul 2nd, 2005, 06:50 AM
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Can I just add the advice I have received from this forum has been invaluable for organising this trip.
Thank you all very much!
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