Sticker Shock...

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Aug 10th, 2004, 07:12 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Sticker Shock...

Wow...just got back the first quote on my six night pre-safari stay in Cape Town and Cape Winelands. Can you believe that four nights at The Twelve Apostles in a Superior Sea Facing Room and two nights at the Grande Roche in a Garden Terraced Suite costs $4,000 USD?!

Keep in mind that my four night stay at The Twelve Apostles in a better room than the one quoted above, and one night stay at the Lanzerac Manor cost me only about $800 USD last year! Of course I got the deal of a lifetime of $570 for my 4 night stay at The Twelve Apostles, and didn't do too bad with a $230 USD rate at the Lanzerac Manor.

Given that I was thinking about a minimum of a seven night safari, with air transfers and road transfers, I am likely looking at about $12,000 USD and that is if I am able to procure my international flights with my frequent flier miles.

As Damon Wayans used to say, "homey don't play dat."

I am not totally dismissing South Africa, and I should have been prepared for the reality that the USD is probably the weakest it has ever been to foreign currencies, but it is still a shock. While I am sure that with my past experience, I would likely be able to put it all together for about $10,000.00, that does not sound like a very good deal, and, in all honesty, I have mostly been there and done that, in regards to the itinerary I had in mind.

I am having a hard time on selling India to myself, as I don't know if I will be ready to travel by the best month, February.

Right now, Tanzania is starting to look like an excellent option for late June, when the Migration will probably be passing through the area where Kirawira is located. Looking at my past quotes, and checking the 2005 rates, Tanzania still appears to be a very good value.

I have the following itinerary in mind, should I settle on Tanzania:

June 13th - LAX - Amsterdam (direct flight).
June 14th - Amsterdam - Kiliminjaro (direct flight)
June 15th - 8PM arrival to Kiliminjaro Airport. 1 night at Mount Meru Hotel.
June 16th - Transfer to Tarangire. 2 nights at Kikoti or other top game lodge allowing night game drives.
June 17th - Tarangire.
June 18th - Transfer to Lake Manyara, 1 night at Lake Manyara Tree Lodge.
June 19th - Transfer to Ngorongoro Crater, 2 nights at Ngorongoro Serena.
June 20th - Ngorongoro Crater.
June 21st - Transfer to Serengeti, 4 nights at Kirawira.
June 22nd - Serengeti.
June 23rd - Serengeti.
June 24th - Serengeti.
June 25th - Air transfer to Zanzibar, 3 nts. at Zanzibar Serena.
June 26th - Zanzibar.
June 27th - Zanzibar.
June 28th - Transfer back to Arusha/Kiliminjaro. Overnight flight to Amsterdam
June 29th - Amsterdam, 3 nights at 5* hotel to be determined.
June 30th - Amsterdam
July 01st - Amsterdam
July 02nd - Depart Amsterdam - LAX, direct flight.
July 03rd - Arrive LAX

Summary and estimated prices, including private vehicle and guide in Tanzania:

Arusha, 1 night = $250
Tarangire, 2 nights = $1,750
Lake Manyara, 1 night = $750
Ngorongoro Crater, 2 nights = $1,250
Serengeti, 4 nights = $3,000
Zanzibar, 3 nights = $1,500 (includes flight from Serengeti)
Amsterdam, 3 nights = $1,000

Total price for Northern Circuit/Zanzibar/Amsterdam 16 night package = $9,500 USD. Now THAT is a price I can live with.
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Aug 11th, 2004, 05:37 AM
  #2
sandi
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Roccco - I've got to get out of here - (things to do, places to go) but a quick look and further reference to my post above - if you want night game drives in the Serengeti, may I suggest Klein's Camp with is outside the Serengeti. You might consider 2nts Kirawira and 2nts Klein's.

Will catch you later... gotta go!
 
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Aug 11th, 2004, 07:33 AM
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Rocco,
A couple of things to take into consideration while planning the Northern Circuit safari.

No off-road driving while in the parks so make sure you've got a good zoom lens on your camera. I'd say at least a 300mm.

If you really want to treat STD to somewhere she can be pampered, stay at the Crater Lodge in Ngorogoro. That should make her really happy. The suites are comparable to some of S.A.'s better suites.

The migration should be in the Western corridor by late June but remember animals are unpredictable. When we were in the Serengeti latter part of July last year, they were all over the place. Very weird behavior. Few thousand here, few thousand there... not on their usual migratory schedule for some reason.

That being said, Kirawira is a great camp, but to be on the safe side, I would also try to split up the four nights at two different camps just to cover your bases.

And as Sandi said, if you stay at one outside of the park, you can do some night game drives.
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Aug 11th, 2004, 07:53 AM
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Rocco: No Selous?????? #39;(
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Aug 11th, 2004, 07:55 AM
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It's funny SusanLynne, I was just gonna write back and ask him the same thing!

Since I didn't get the chance to make it on our trip there because of our "guide from h--l", I at least want everyone else to get the chance to go.
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Aug 11th, 2004, 11:48 AM
  #6
sandi
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divewop made a good point re the "no-off-road-driving" in the Serengeti. But there are some places where I believe drivers can go off-road. I say this because even though there were plenty of great animal sightings a short distance from the roads (even on the roads), where we had no problem getting good pics, we did go off-road twice.

As we were driving along the road up towards Kirawira, I spotted a Cheetah way out on the plains (without binoculars - can't use as my eyelashes too long) - surprised the heck out of our guide, who turned to me with a look of "maybe you should be sitting here, you go girl!" Then he asked whether we wanted to get closer - this was the one and only cheetah we had seen the entire trip - quizzingly I said, "sure, if you can or should, hey, if someone spots us, you get the fine." Off we went, slowly and came upon a very very old cheetah gal. She didn't move as we approached, getting so close I could feel her breath against my arm resting on the window. She just kept moving her eyes and occasionally her head to see what was doing in her world out there. We got some amazing pics.

And shortly after initially reaching the Serengeti and "signing-in" our guide learned that there had been reported a large lion pride (about 12) nearby the previous night and earlier that morning. Well, sure enough not far from that stop, both Carlos and I spotted lions out on the plains - off we went to get closer, and found about eight- one male, the rest female and two cubs (about 6months old). They must have recently eaten, as they couldn't care less that we were there, they didn't even look at us.

So, maybe there are some areas where off-road is permitted. But generally, the rule is no off-road. So a good lense is important.
 
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Aug 11th, 2004, 11:55 AM
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Yes, there is a map at the entrance to the park that shows what the different areas can be used for, offroad, etc. We went offroad in the designated areas and had some really close encounters.
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Aug 11th, 2004, 02:11 PM
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Roccco,
Oh no!
Dammit, I hate when that happens.
Really Roccco, my deepest sympathy. Just remember we are, as you know, "riding the crest of the wave". I cann't wait to read about the next fabulous deal you'll find to replace it. After all the hunt is half the fun of the game.
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Aug 11th, 2004, 06:59 PM
  #9
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Remember, party people, I am not alone on this trip!

If it were up to me, I would do the following:

Selous (4), Ruaha (3), Serengeti (5 split between a couple camps), Ngorongoro Crater (2), Tarangire (3), Lake Manyara (1)

But, I am force fed these 5* hotels like the Twelve Apostles and Le Quartier Francais, through no fault of my own. Oh, the agony!

Seriously, I am lucky at all for my wife to not have killed me for having the nerve to bring up South Africa, just two months after we have returned. Baby steps...baby steps!!!

If I need a year of South Africa before I am able to experience Tanzania, then that is not such a terrible way to go. Even when I do go to Tanzania, I will be thankful to just get in the Northern Circuit and Zanzibar.

One day, however, I will do some dream trip, that will include the Lower Zambezi National Park (Zambia), moving upward to South Luangwa National Park (Zambia), chartering a 2 hour flight to Selous National Park, continuing onto Ruaha National Park, and then doing the Northern Circuit.

Although I am flip flopping horribly on the issue, I do think that I am more likely than not to do the following itinerary in late March/early April:

Cape Town, Twelve Apostles Hotel, 4 nights.

Cape Winelands, Le Quartier Francais, 2 nights.

Sabi Sand, Mala Mala, 3 nights.

Sabi Sand, Simbambili, 4 nights. END.

This will leave me a couple weeks later in the year to hopefully visit India. I do promise all of you that have been good enough to advise me on Tanzania that I will get there eventually, hopefully as soon as next year.

I know that as long as there is a luxury link, that I can put together some sort of top notch package to the Western Cape for my six nights for under $2,000 USD, and I am willing to swallow the high prices for Mala Mala and Simbambili because I believe they are a small price to pay for the incredible photographs and memories that I will always have, as a result.
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Aug 11th, 2004, 08:28 PM
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We just committed to our first safari next June in Tanzania and Kenya. Our itineray is close to Roccco's:

June 18 - Depart Cedar Rapids, Iowa
June 19 - Morning arrival in Amsterdam. Overnight in Amsterdam.
June 20 - Evening flight to Nairobi
June 21 - Morning arrival in Nairobi. Transfer to Giraffe Manor for overnight.
June 22 - Flight to Amboseli. Overnight at Tortilis.
June 23 - Overnight at Tortilis.
June 24 - Drive to Namanga, continue to Lake Manyara Tree Lodge for overnight
June 25 - Lake Manyara Tree Lodge
June 26 - Drive to Ngorongoro Serena for overnight.
June 27 - Ngorongoro Serena
June 28 - Drive to Serengeti Serena for overnight.
June 29 - Drive to Kirawira for overnight.
June 30 - Kirawira
July 1 - Kirawira
July 2 - Flight to Arusha; depart to Amsterdam.
July 3 - Arrival in Amsterdam.
July 4 - Depart Amsterdam for Cedar Rapids.

Looks like Roccco will be just ahead of us if he does the Tanzanian safari.

We booked with Roy Safaris for what we believe to be a very good price - $15,000 for a family of 3 including international air. We considered Kikoti instead of Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, but Tree Lodge's accomidations look amazing and we would like to do a canoe safari on the Lake.

There are so many options. We just hope that we made the right choice and are ready to move forward now that the we have made up our minds. Thank everyone on this board for their opinions. I can't believe how much I've learned. I am so glad I didn't buy the first brouchure package that we were interested in. We are getting getting one of the big name (AK, Mikato, etc...) luxury packages for about 1/2 price! I also love the planning process - especially the game of trying to get the best deal I can. This message board saved me $15,000!!!

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