Staying in lodges in Tanzania?

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Jun 28th, 2005, 10:19 AM
  #1
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Staying in lodges in Tanzania?

Help! I just got another quote from my travel agent regarding Tanzania vs Kenya. It appears that the only way to keep down costs in Tanzania is to stay in lodges. In Kenya, it would be in the more private tented camps. Any opinions on the lodges? Thanks, Beachmama
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Jun 28th, 2005, 10:29 AM
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Hi beachmama,

Why don't you post the itinerary your agent gave you so people can comment more specifically?

I recently received what I think is a pretty good itinerary at a fair price for TZ, a mix of lodges and camps. It's a rough estimate on pricing, though, as I won't be going until summer of 2006.

It does seem that Kenya has a slight edge when it comes to prices, though.
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Jun 28th, 2005, 12:32 PM
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beachmama7,
Yes, please post the itineraries and costs so that alternatives might be suggested.

When I was researching my trip, I also had a difficult time finding smaller, more intimate accomodations that would fall within our budget range in Tanzania. In Kenya with the same budget, our dilemma wasn't not enough choices, but rather too many choices

I don't know when or which parks you're visiting, but here are a few reasonably priced alternatives to the larger safari lodges that I found in Tanzania -

Mbuzi Mawe Tented Camp (between central & northern Serengeti)
Plantation Lodge & Gibbs Farm (between Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara)
Kirurumu Tented Lodge (Lake Manyara)

These latter 3 are also less expensive, but I have some reservations about them whereas I would have no reservations about staying at any of the preceding 4 -

Ikoma Bush Camp (outside of the Serengeti, to the northwest) - this one is quite inexpensive but received an unfavorable review recently
Migunga Forest Camp (Lake Manyara) - don't know much about this one
Tarangire Safari Lodge - a larger hybrid camp/lodge facility, tents look very closely situated to each other to me, have read some lukewarm reviews

You may also want to check this thread which contains recent reviews of several accomodations in Tanzania for more ideas (though some are on the higher end of the scale pricewise) -

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34628643

Leely,
Did you get a new quote or is this the one that you posted?
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Jun 28th, 2005, 12:44 PM
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I forgot to include Ndutu Lodge in my first list. This one is located in the southern Serengeti (Ngorongoro Conservation area, technically) and is also reasonably priced. I believe they had some kind of relationship with Gibbs Farm. However, if you're planning this trip for anytime Jan-Mar of 2006, it's likely to be fully booked already.
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Jun 28th, 2005, 12:54 PM
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beachmama,

You may want to check out Tarangire River Camp; I believe it's been favorably reviewed on this board.

Also I've seen some stuff described as "semi-luxury camping." I'm not sure where that falls in the price range, or whether you'd consider such a thing.

Patty, new quote, still provisional, all over the map in terms of high style, low style, etc. But then again we kind of like that!
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Jun 28th, 2005, 01:09 PM
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beachmama,
I don't know if this will help you at all, but I'll top my thread by posting the recent itinerary/quote I got. I think we are working with roughly the same budget, give or take.

But FWIW I was looking at the Kicheche web site and it looks great. Hard to beat.
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Jun 28th, 2005, 02:57 PM
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Dear all--
My agent didn't give us specific lodges but indicated that that's where we'd have to stay in order to keep down costs. He said that we could stay for 8 nights in Tanzania for approx $3400 pp. This would not include the flight from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro.
Instead, he recommended that we stay for 10 nights in Kenya, split between Kicheche and Larsons Camp in Samburu. That would cost us approx $2999 pp, and he indicated that it's a much better value.
I've sent him yet another e-mail requesting add'l details on Tz.
I will check out the places that were recommended by some of you.
The problem is that I didn't want to spend more than $3000 pp for the entire safari.
I really don't understand how some travel companies can give such low quotes for travel in Tanzania.
We used this agent for a previous wonderful trip to Botswana, so I trust him. OTOH, if I could find an excellent trip to Tz for $3000 pp for 10 nights, I'd be crazy to look the other way.
Beachmama
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Jun 28th, 2005, 03:11 PM
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beachmama,
I think you should at least get comparison quotes from some of the Tanzania based tour operators that are often mentioned on this board, like Roy's, Good Earth, etc. $3400pp sounds very high to me for an 8 night safari staying at Serena/Sopa type lodges in Tanzania, if that's what your agent means. Check out Leely's thread.
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Jun 28th, 2005, 03:21 PM
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beachmama -

I came in on this late, but or $425/nt you should be staying in the best camps in Tanzania and/or Kenya. Who is this travel agent? And which land outfitter are they using.

But you don't mention what time of year. Even so, that's way too much money.

Why not list the entire itinerary this agent is proposing. In fact, list both the $3400 and the $2999 itineraries. And do tell us when you plan to travel. We'll all be glad to comment.
 
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Jun 28th, 2005, 03:22 PM
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On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with a safari in Kenya. It just seemed like you had your heart set on Tanzania more.

BTW, I'm staying at Kicheche in November and maybe Larsens too. Haven't finalized my itinerary yet. With 10 nights you could add one more location. 5 nights is a lot of time to spend at each camp. But then again, perhaps you prefer a slower pace of travel. I don't know if this helps or not, but here's a link to my 'work in progress' itinerary -
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34602040
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Jun 28th, 2005, 03:25 PM
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I agree that this whole planning process is often mystifying (and frustrating!). But I do think $3400pp for 8 nights lodge sounds high, even given the likelihood of much higher park fees in 2006.

In addition to Patty's suggestions, have you thought about doing the Southern circuit? Not because it's less expensive, but because I saw from your other post you wanted something comparable to Botswana. A number of people on this board have booked through the Foxes of Africa for Ruaha and Mikumi.

I *think* their prices can be fair. And those parks sure look wild and exciting.

Anyway, they're certainly on my (very long) Africa wish list.
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Jun 29th, 2005, 07:01 AM
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Hi beachmama. $3400 for 8 nts in lodges in Tanzania is high in my opinion. When are you going? That can affect the prices. Just as a comparison for you, we are staying 15 nights in late Nov.-early Dec. for $3,945 pp in a mix of accommodations including some luxury camps and some lodges. In fact, had we been willing to stay in lower-end lodges, we could have had all 15 days for under $3,000 per person (we had several different operators price it out for us). We are going with Good Earth. Other operators that priced out fairly well for us were TSA and Roy's.

Just remember, an operator who got you a great deal in Botswana may not be the best one for Kenya/Tanzania. You should at least consider other operators (unless you really don't care about the price that much). The fact that they are quoting you $3,400 without even telling you which lodgings they are talking about makes me wonder.

Also, the decision of Kenya vs. Tanzania or both should really be made, in my opinion, based on when you're going, not based on price, because you can surely find accommodations well within your price range in either country.

If you say when it is, we can list some accommodations options you might want to ask about.
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Jun 29th, 2005, 07:14 AM
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By the way, 2 great websites for detailed reviews & photos of camps & lodges in Tanzania are africadreamsafaris.com and africatravelresource.com. Some reviews may be a bit outdated though (e.g. Migration Camp was recently redone and is by all accounts lovely now per recent accounts here -- but again, you would probably only want to stay there at particular times of the year). Also, some newer places which we've heard are very nice, such as Mbuzi Mawe, may not have been reviewed yet on those sites.
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Jun 29th, 2005, 10:10 AM
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Okay. You guys are great! This morning, I got a quote from Let's Go Travel Safaris which included 5 days in Tanzania for $1231 pp, but that is for accomodations in a two man tent. Unfortunately, my husband is in recent remission from cancer, and staying in a sleeping bag or whatever is out of the question. I've asked them for a quote in a tented camp or lodge. Another thing to consider is that that quote does not include other little additional expenses, like visa cost, taxes and even water.
We are planning to go in late Feb '06, but I think we need to get on the stick now because some of the more popular places get booked quickly.
I've focused on northern Tz because my agent said that it has the best herd migration locations, plus is just generally more beautiful.
In that it's doubtful we'll return to Africa for many, many, many more years again after this next trip, I want to make sure we go to the best possible area.
Nevertheless, I will check out southern Africa, as suggested.
If anyone knows of a travel company that offers Northern Tz for approx a 9 or 10 night safari for $3000 pp, with accomodations in a nice lodge or tented camp, I'm definitely interested!
I've submitted requests for quotes from some of the mentioned companies, but I await their response.
Thank you all again!
Beachmama
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Jun 29th, 2005, 10:54 AM
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When you contact the tour operators you should be specific about your requirements and preferences like staying in tented camps, etc., so that they're not quoting you apples when you want oranges, as with the case of Lets Go Travel.

As far as the additional expenses you mentioned, I've never heard of any agent or tour operator including the visa cost in their quotes. Since you have to obtain the visas yourself, either in advance through the embassies or on arrival at the airport, I don't see how a tour operator could prepay these expenses on your behalf. As far as taxes, I don't know what this refers to. The only thing I can think of is airport departure tax but that one's usually included in your ticket cost. Did they specify what they meant by taxes? The non-inclusion of water surprises me. Every tour operator that I've contacted has always noted that they supply bottled drinking water for the safari. Usually only on very low end budget camping safaris is water not supplied.

If this is for Feb 2006, it will already be difficult to secure accomodations in southern Tanzania. Ndutu lodge's availability calendar shows that they're fully booked every night except one in Feb. I think the other choices in this area are Kusini camp and Olduvai camp. Kusini camp is more expensive and Olduvai camp can only be booked through certain agents. There might be some semi-permanent camps set up for the migration season too, although I don't know what they are and who you can book these through. These camps also tend to be on the high side pricewise.

Let us know what you get in response from the recommended operators on this board as far as prices and availability for Feb 06. Good luck with your planning!
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Jun 29th, 2005, 11:02 AM
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Also check the following sites for locations, descriptions and photos of camps and lodges in the Serengeti (and Tanzania in general) -

http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/lodges/serengeti.html

http://www.africatravelresource.com/...rengeti/03.htm

The migration should be in the southern Serengeti in Feb, but accomodation space may be hard to find.
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Jun 29th, 2005, 11:13 AM
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Hi beachmama,

Don't worry about those extra costs (visas, trip insurance...I think taxes should be included)--focus on the fun part. You'll be going during wildebeest calving, which should be incredible.

I think a frequent poster (emeritus!) here went this past Feb/March. She and her husband booked with Roy and stayed at mainly or entirely high-end places. Total pp was around $4000. So you should be able to balance intimate camps with big-lodgey accommodations and come in well below that. Do a search for "Tanzania March" or "Tanzania February," and you will get a number of helpful threads.

But I really think Sandi, climbhighsleeplow, atravelynn and others too many to name will be able to help you with your itinerary.

I would enquire now which camps have availability for your dates, and work the rest of your safari around your most desired properties.

But never fear: the Serengeti is vast and incredibly beautiful. So even if you're not able to stay in the best camps you will certainly be delighted with the park and its wildlife.

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Jun 29th, 2005, 02:03 PM
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Here's a Tanzania trip report from the same approx. time period which might help with your planning -

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34595582
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Jun 29th, 2005, 06:24 PM
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This is our itinerary with Africa Travel Resource. It is for 8 nights safari and three nights in Zanzibar and includes some internal flights (DAR - Arusha, Manyara -Zanzibar, Zanzibar - DAR). I know that Fodorites do not like to use externally based operators but we found Tracey very helpful and I liked being able to pay with my credit card as it then insures all the trip. The total cost per person is under USD 2,600 and includes all meals (except lunch in Zanzibar)and park fees (the new rates as at Jan 1, 2006)
01JAN2006 Arusha : Moivaro Coffee Lodge
02JAN2006 Safari : Karatu Gibbs Farm
03JAN2006 Safari : Serengeti Olduvai Camp
04JAN2006 Safari : Serengeti Ronjo Fly-camp
05JAN2006 Safari : Serengeti Ronjo Fly-camp
06JAN2006 Safari : Serengeti Ndutu Lodge
07JAN2006 Safari : Serengeti Ndutu Lodge
08JAN2006 Safari : Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

followed by three nights in Zanzibar 2 nights at Pongwe Beach & one night at Dhow Palace in Stone Town.

While I have not been able to find any comments on this forum, I have had great feedback from recent travellers. Two groups had safaried in Africa before and rated ATR very highly.
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Jun 30th, 2005, 01:49 PM
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Dear Sarvowinners and others--
I am getting more and more confused! What do you mean that Fodorites don't like "externally based operators"? Does that mean that it's better to book a tour directly through an agent located in Tanzania?
Your prices look too good to be true. I continue to get responses to my inquiries that one must do two men camps to get costs down. I haven't seen that price (which includes Zanzibar) even located on their website. While I would love to include Zanzibar for our hoped for price of $3000 pp, I don't see how this company can do it.
To make matters worse, I've rec'd another reply from my original tour agent. He said that in Tanzania, as opposed to Kenya, there is more driving time and "fantastic but repetitive game viewing).
Also, since the tours are more private (i.e. with a personal driver), there is practically no interaction between the other guests at the lodge. Frankly, I enjoyed meeting people from all over (mainly the U.K.)
He now seems to be steering me (very subtly) in the direction of Kenya. For a 9 night safari at two tented camps (Larsens in Samburu Game Reserve) and Kicheche in the Mara, it would cost approx $3000.
He believes that Kenya has just as wonderful scenery and huge vistas, although not on the scale of Tanzania (Masai Mara vs Serengeti).
Another thing is that we would be traveling in February, which is not the best time for Kenya but does appear to be "still excellent."
Rather than clarifying things, I am getting more and more lost!
Anybody??
Thanks again, Marilyn
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