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Suggestions for a Tanzania Safari Trip in February 2011

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Sep 12th, 2010, 10:21 AM
  #1
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Suggestions for a Tanzania Safari Trip in February 2011

I am finally getting off my lazy bum and seriously looking at booking our African trip of a Lifetime! We are planning to leave Vancouver/Seattle on January 28th hs and leave Dar es Salaam on February 16/17th. It will be a group of 4-5 of us who will be travelling.

After sending out a few requests for costs and itineraries for a private standard level tour, I have narrowed it down to GE and Roys. Of course we will be including Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, but we would also like to visit a village and do some volunteer work for 2-3 days - any recommendations? Also, we are ending the trip in Zanzibar for 7-8 days.

So far I have an itinerary for an 8 day safari and 7 days in Zanzibar which leaves us 5 extra days to spend more time on the safari, volunteer or go on a culture tour. Any suggestions would be great! If you have any other companies to advise me of, let me know!

A BUNDLE OF THANKS!
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Sep 12th, 2010, 10:37 AM
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mctran, seems like you may be in my neck of the woods - I live in Vancouver, BC. You would all be very welcome to come over some day for appies & fire away with any & all questions in person, as Jim (husband) and I have been lucky enough to go to East Africa 3 times over the last 4 years. We just had our annual Afree-kah night at the end of August, but as Jim & I do love to talk about Africa, anyone who missed it is welcome to come over at your convenience to talk about our favorite subject!

In the meantime you will get some GREAT advice here on this forum - there is a depth of knowledge here that is incredible! You are really going to love this forum & all the wonderful people on it.
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Sep 13th, 2010, 08:59 PM
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Awesome! Thank you for the offer My husband and I were born and raised in Vancouver, but currently live in Seattle. The rest of our friends (who also will be on the trip) still live up there...I miss home!
I'm all ears and can't wait to hear about the pros' recommendations. This will be our first trip so I think we'll be blown away no matter what. Just curious, which companies did you end up choosing? Also, would you spend a day in Arusha for a game drive? Any experience with a canoeing safari? THANKS!!!
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Sep 14th, 2010, 06:46 AM
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mctran, you will be blown away no matter what.

I think if you have 5 extra days to spend more time on safari, volunteer or go on a cultural tour, you should do all three. I personally would add another 2 days on safari for a total of 10, stop at an orphanage or make a donation at an NGO of your chosing, and include a cultural visit. Just make sure that the cultural visit is off the beaten path so that you get an authentic experience.

Arusha is the city that is a jumping off point for safaris in the Northern Tz safari circuit...there are no game drives in Arusha. Or did you mean Arusha National Park? I think this is a lovely, much-overlooked park and would highly recommend a day trip to the park.

I've canoed in Arusha National Park. I am an experienced canoer, but had certainly never paddled within sight of hippos. It was a little daunting, but great. You can do this during a day trip to the park.

I'm in Victoria and recently attended the west coast GTG at Lynda's. I'm sorry you weren't there!
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Sep 14th, 2010, 08:53 AM
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Hi mctran,
My boyfriend and I just came from 16 days safaris in Tanzania and Zanzibar. My boyfriend contacted 5 tour companies and we settled on Afripotsafaris. Their prices were attractive and James professionalism is tackling our enormous questions was un beatable. Our itinerary is similar to yours, could contact me at [email protected] for more chats on our Africa safari.
Could check below the cost for the tour, what was inclusive and not included.

Cost per person US$ 2350 (a private and exclusive budget camping safari)

Tour price includesbr /> -Transportation in 4 x 4 Land cruiser safari vehicles in Tanzania – ideal for game viewing and photography
- Full board accommodation while on safari
- All Park entrance fees and Ngorongoro conservancy fees,
- Services of English speaking skilled and experienced driver/guide
- Accommodations in a two man tent (pitching tents in Tanzania)
-Three meals while on safari for vegetarians or non vegetarians
- Camping gears;
-One night accommodation in Arusha before the safari on Bed and Breakfast basis
-Return ticket Kilimanjaro – Zanzibar - Kilimanjaro
-Return airport transfers in Arusha and Zanzibar
-Tour Starts and ends in Arusha


Tour price excludes: -
-Kenya/Tanzania/Zanzibar visas
- Alcoholic drinks
-Sleeping bag for Tanzania safari (a good 3-season warm sleeping bag as it can get cold at night)
-Accommodations and activities in Zanzibar (Can be arrange upon request)
- Flying Doctor’s
-Tips or Gratitude,
-Laundry,
-Personal Toiletries,
-International flights,
-Personal & baggage insurance
-Optional activities like visiting the cultural centre and canoeing at Arusha National Park
-Drinking water and items of personal nature etc.
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Sep 15th, 2010, 09:59 AM
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Hi mctran,

Calo is so right - you will have an awesome time in Africa, just beware that this will not be your ONLY trip there, you will be planning how to get back on the plane home!! It's an AMAZING place.

I have been to Arusha, but only for lunch - I haven't seen the park, but have read lots of trip reports on it. It sounds like a wonderful 'intro' to the game parks, and it is something I would like to see one day.

We have gone to both countries each time we went - both Kenya and Tanzania as I really can't choose bewtween the two! I love Nairobi and I love starting from there as we have made some amazing friends there. The first two times we were on a group safari, we went with Micato Safaris & we loved it. The third time though we thought we would try a private safari as we wanted to take our son (he's 32) to show him what we were spending his inheritence on - thought it only fitting that he should see first hand! The safari director from our first two safaris (same person) by this time had started his company in Nairobi, so we went with him. It was awesome.

He sublet the TZ portion to a company called Warrior Trails - who were incredible, we really had a great time! Warrior Trails is owned by a local Maasai, Clamian, they operate out of Arusha & I would highly recomend them, there vehicle was very comfortable, their driver was incredible and Clamian is a real gem as well - very eager to see that you have an awesome safari. The two companies you mentioned in the original post, Roy's and Good Earth have excellent reports from people on this board as well, so you will have plenty to choose from!

Let me know if you are ever up in the area, you & your friends would all be welcome to come over for coffee and a chat! (ie questions & brain picking!)

My email is
lynda d swain at telus dot net.

(no spaces, all run together)
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Sep 15th, 2010, 01:41 PM
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Miss LyndaS... Laughing again seeing you spell out your email address. Believe those who wish to share such info should be able to (not that I've read anywhere that we can't), input actual email addresses. Many posting here regularly enter web links, articles, etc., so why not these?

Think it's time for Fodor's to provide some sort of "private messaging" (as Trip Advisor)... am sure many of us would like to contact one another without spelling out our addresses as if trying to circumvent some "rule." It's foolish.
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Sep 15th, 2010, 02:56 PM
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Sandi you are right about the private messaging - it would be nice! But, actually I didn't do that because of a rule on Fodors, but rather because of auto web crawlers that comb through these boards to pick up email addresses to spam & annoy. Not sure who told me to do that, maybe my IT guy (Jim). Probably not needed at all either with the height of security he has on this computer!!

But yes, private messaging is needed here!
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Sep 15th, 2010, 10:04 PM
  #9
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Thank you for your help, suggestions and contacts!
Calo - Did you ever feel like you were in danger while canoeing with the hippos? How close were they? In regards to the culture visits, do you make a request to your driver to go see a more authentic village? How does that work? I looked into volunteering but it seems like we would have to commit for a minimum of a week or two...
Guidance - My hubby found your itinerary appealing as it included some real tent camping = waking up to animals virtually next to you. Did you spend any nights in lodges? If so, how did the experiences compare?
Lynda - I'll definitely be doing some brain-picking in the near future
MERCI BEAUCOUP!!!
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Sep 16th, 2010, 06:40 AM
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Good point Lynda, that I wouldn't have thought of. Not a geek My mind doesn't even begin to go there. Spam? What's that? LOL! LOL!

If I insert an email address, it's always a "secondary" one that I don't mind if some creepy crawler finds. Will check it occasionally and if nothing there by reference I might want to open, all will be deleted, deleted, deleted.

But PM would be nice.
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Sep 16th, 2010, 10:12 AM
  #11
 
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mctran, the guides are familiar with where to canoe so that the hippos aren't a danger, although I have to say that their paddling skills were a bit lacking. It was fun.

With regard to cultural experiences, your ground operator should know where to take you for an authentic visit. Some can be contrived experiences. Next year I'm staying overnight in a Maasai boma which I'm really looking forward to. On my last trip, I was in a boma for the evening milking which I thoroughly enjoyed. The owner of the company I travel with is Masai, so he knows the "ins and outs" of where to take his clients for authentic experiences. I also did a cultural visit to the homestead of an Iraqw tribesman which was fascinating.
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Sep 23rd, 2010, 04:30 AM
  #12
 
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Hi mctran,
Sorry for the late reply, been busy lately; thanks for the questions.
Our tour package was strictly a budget camping one i.e. - on set –up campsites in Kenya while pitching tents in Tanzania. We were on a string budget but the experience was awesome and memorable…. We are looking at visiting Uganda and Rwanda in the near future.
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Sep 23rd, 2010, 07:07 AM
  #13
 
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guidance, did you have to help set up the tents, cook and do camp duties, etc? Or was there a staff to do that. What about toilets and showers?

mctran, I'm following your thread because I'm interested in seeing the replies. If I could plan an African trip now to anywhere at anytime, I would be planning Tanzania in Feb2011. I'll never forget reading the reports from BillH when he listed the counts of how many different lions etc that he saw during that time of year.

Does anyone know if BillH is still around? I don't recall seeing him post for awhile.
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Sep 24th, 2010, 08:39 AM
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Regarding volunteering. Yes they usually want you at least two weeks or more.
What we did was fundraise a bit before we left and spent the day at an orphanage outside of Arusha and gave them money to build thier well.

If you are spending time in Arusha I would recommend this group. They send me newsletters often and are doing amazing things.
http://sites.google.com/site/goodhopeorphanage/

You could contact Nelson and he would pick you up at your hotel and bring you to the site and back as he did us. It was a real eye opener but made us feel good to be giving something to those who really need it instead of just the big safari companies.

We stayed in tents on our safari, but I guess they are considered luxury tents, however we did hear the animals bumping into the walls at night and the hyenas and lions pretty darn close. We always felt safe as there was a Massai Warrior outside our tent with his spear at night. I would not have traded that experience for anything.
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Sep 26th, 2010, 06:43 PM
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sundowner - I miss BillH also. Splendid fellow, wonderful photography. Not sure what is/happened. His (and wife Carolyn) photos are no longer on pbase. All their pbase galleries gone for about 2 years. Last email I had with him was early 2008. And that was after his Tanzanian trip you remember, Feb 2008. Anyone know more?

Which reminds me, I am now looking for safari options for 2011. Tanzania in Feb would be very tempting. Have you any such recommendations/ideas? Couple years ago I had something set up with Roy Safaris for Feb 2009 but had to drop it. Wonder if BGiven is organizing any groups for there then?

regards - tom
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Sep 29th, 2010, 10:37 AM
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Thanks AKRI, how did you find that, I could not on thewildsource??
Looks like a great safari and I like its length, 9 days on actual safari. But it is full up. And a ways out of my budget. FWIW, I think thewildsource is mostly into setting up custom safaris and not so much pre-planned groups.

regards - tom
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Sep 29th, 2010, 11:20 AM
  #18
 
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we went on a private tour with African Dream Safaris....it was superb...great game viewing, wonderful accommodations...s many extras..a dream of a lifetime....if you want a real splurge, stay at the Nogoro Crater Lodge..rooms beyond description and a stay we will never forget..
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Oct 4th, 2010, 04:13 PM
  #19
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sundowner - The more the merrier

live42day - Thank you for the volunteer website. I will definitely contact Nelson soon. I am a nurse and I was hoping to do some medical related work but it looks like I will have to return with a few nursing/doctor friends instead of engineers!

I am leaning more towards booking with Roy's and will post the itinerary soon. Thanks a bundle - you guys have been so helpful and grrr-eat!
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Oct 4th, 2010, 10:49 PM
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If you will be in the Serengeti in Feb., there is only one place to stay Ndutu Lodge on the short grass plains. The migration should be on the plains and easy to get to from Ndutu. Also easy to get to Olduvai or Seronera, etc. The Ngorongoro Crater could be visited without staying there if well organized. (Its cold up there. - Ice in the wash stand water in the old days.)
Ps. I lived in Tanzania for a number of years.
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