tanzania&pemba in october

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Mar 6th, 2005, 07:40 PM
  #1
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tanzania&pemba in october

hi all - my preliminary honeymoon itinerary in mid-october, pretty standard i think, but if anybody has any advice/criticism i'd appreciate it much!
Oct 11 - p.m. arrival at JRO, stay overnite at KIA lodge
Oct 12 - a.m. drive to tarangire, Treetops Lodge. afternoon walking tour or night drive.
Oct 13 - tarangire, all-day game drive, Treetops
Oct 14 - a.m. drive to ngorongoro, afternoon crater, stay at Serena Safari Lodge
Oct 15 - morning crater, free afternoon (olduvai gorge?), Serena Safari
Oct 16 - a.m. drive to serengeti seronera, free afternoon, stay at Serena Lodge
Oct 17 - seronera, full-day game drive, Serena Lodge
Oct 18 - morning game drive, fly to pemba, Fundu Lagoon
Oct 19-22 - pemba, diving/Mesali Island/dhow cruise/Ngezi Forest, etc.
Oct 23 - a.m. flight to JRO, day in arusha (shopping perhaps?). p.m. flight home
pretty standard right?
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Mar 6th, 2005, 08:13 PM
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Congrats!

Yip, pretty standard. Treetops is very romantic. If you can, try to avoid treehouses 7,8,9 which are lower for easier access. # 1, 2 and 19, 20 are furthest away and high off the ground -I have not seen the recent renovations but I am visiting in early June.

I would probably do the Oldupai visitors center on the 16th on the way to the Serengeti. It's a quick stop of only 25-35 minutes if you time it right with the lecture and a quick stroll through the exhibits.

Weather permitting, on the 15th you can go for a rim walk with the Maasai which IMO is more interesting than the Oldupai museum.

Don't know your budget but on honeymoon I would've suggested a private tented camp in the Serengeti. Some of the luxury camps are shared to keep costs reasonable (but more expensive than Serena). I can post more info if you're interested?
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Mar 7th, 2005, 04:21 AM
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sandi
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I also agree that you should have at least one tented camp experience during your honeymoon. As climbhigh... I too would suggest you do the Crater Rim walk the morning of Oct. 15, then head out to the Serengeti.

On the way you can stop at Oldupai then continue to the Serena Lodge for o/n.

The following morning (Oct. 16) early, if you wish you can do the hot-air balloon ($400/pp). Yes, expensive, but this is not obligatory, just an option if interested. Then continue north to Migration Camp. Recently refurbished, with large tents and a private "honeymoon" tent across a bridge. A wonderful area as the migrating herds should be coming thru this area on their return to the Serengeti. Spend the next day (Oct. 17) here.

Then very early next day (Oct. 18) you can arrange to fly from Grumeti or drive back to Seronera area for a flight via Arusha to Zanzibar/Pemba. Have your tour operator verify flight schedules to see which would be more convenient for connection to ZNZ/PEM.

I believe time spent at Migration Camp would be ideal in rounding out your safari time.
 
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Mar 7th, 2005, 04:37 PM
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climbhigh and sandi- as always, such good feedback, thanks much. a couple responses:
1) i've heard Treetops is a bit further away but romantic, but one outfitter just recommended Kikoti as a cheaper but nice alternative. i've read good things on both but you guys have a strong preference?
2) yeah i've heard a private tented camp in serengeti is worth the extra cost - or worth downgrading somewhere else (kikoti vs treetops perhaps?). one outfitter recommended Mbusi Mawe permanent tented camp, have you guys been to or heard of that?
3) while i'm sure hotair balloon is awesome, not sure if we wanna pay the $400 each (boy it does sound nice though!)
4) Ranger Safari has been very helpful so far, you guys know much of them?
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Mar 8th, 2005, 04:15 AM
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mokoshi - yes, climbhigh... and I both have our preferences.

1) Treetops vs Kikoti - either, depending on budget. While more tour operators are using Kikoti, you might run across tour groups (but this can be only 10 people). But as honeymooners you can request the more remote tent for yourselves. And what do you really care as you'll be in your own vehicle and only have contact with any tour folks at meals, if that!

2) There are few tented camps in the Serengeti, but if you had to trade-off, I'd go with Migration Camp and they do have a honeymoon suite. And, here you're not likely to find groups. While likely to be more expensive then Kikoti or Treetops, I'd trade off at Tarangire going w/Kikoti for Migration camp at the Serengeti.

As to Mbusi Mawe permanent tented camp, this seems to be highly recommended by Africa Dream Safaris and from what I've heard, reviews are mixed.

3) The hotair balloon was only a suggestion, and admittedly $400 is high. I've never been, and have no desire myself; not in Africa. Believe I'll save my hotair balloon experience for the Liore Valley in France.

4) Ranger Safari - have no comments as not familiar with this outfitter.
 
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Mar 8th, 2005, 09:27 AM
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Sorry, previous post was a mistake...

1. Treetops vs. Kikoti. Both excellent choices. For a honeymoon, I prefer Treetops as the treehouses are really romantic, especially the big cushions on the floor and the views. The houses are far apart. The elephants may come to the small swimming pool to drink! Dinner is seated around a big tree so it never feels crowded. My wife and I are visiting in June and I cannot wait to see the upgrades!
Granted it is 21km from the park and it can take almost an hour to drive there (a game drive nonetheless), but it is different and well worth the drive. 2 nights are about as long as you have before the long drive to the park will wear you out.

Kikoti is also a bit of drive. It is perfectly fine but without the wow! factor.

2. Tented camps in the Serengeti. For a honeymoon, I was thinking more in terms of seasonal camps. Examples are Sayari Camp, the Nomad camps, and others that move withy the seasons. Many are shared to bring costs down but with only 5-10 tents they are really special.
Migration Camp is perfectly fine (the honeymoon tent IS special) but just about as expensive as many shared mobile camps!
Either way, any of these will be better experiences than Serena.

3. If you want to downgrade in Tarangire, then Tarangire River Camp (tented with good views) is a great option. It is cheaper than Kikoti.

4. I will check out Mbuzi Mawe in June. I never saw it on any of my previous visits. Maybe it belongs to Ranger Safaris which by the way, is one of the largest outfitters in Tanzania! Every 2nd or 3rd safari vehicle you see will be from Ranger!

They are a well-oiled safari machine - I wonder where they park all their vehicles! They have hundreds!
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Mar 8th, 2005, 10:11 AM
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I am confused, at some point the thread showed I had 2 postings today. Now I don't see the other posting anymore which is good!

There was no mistake after all!
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Mar 12th, 2005, 09:18 AM
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again thx for the responses, a couple more questions:
1) the migration camp does sound cool, but i've read the drive to central serengeti is like 2 hrs, would you recommend making the drive? northern does sound cool in itself especially mid-oct when the herds could be coming thru...
2) apparently the ngorongoro serena lodge is already booked (wow) so ranger is recommending ngorongoro farmhouse, anybody stay there before?
3) so ranger keeps telling us that the half-day ngorongoro tour is not yet legislated and full-days will still be allowed in october... first time i've heard that
4) fyi we decided on saving some $ going from treetops to kikoti and using that to try the balloonride. pretty expensive but hopefully worth it...
thanks again for your responses
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Mar 12th, 2005, 01:29 PM
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mokoshi -

Migration Camp is lovely and perfect for a honeymoon, certainly over the Serena in the Serengeti; and ideal for the migrating herds returning from the Mara in Kenya. As to distances and how long it takes to drive - well, it can be 3-hrs or more, but you have to realize that the Serengeti is very very big. Few places are right next to one another and for something special, it's worth the drive. Besides, you're still on safari on the drive to and from - plenty of animal sightings along the way.

As to the Farmhouse, there is a regular Fodorite in Tanzania now (Liz) and they're staying here as most other lodges were already booked. The Farmhouse is a short distance from the Crater itself, in Karatu, but it looks nice. We'll see what Liz has to say, when she returns in about two weeks.

Maybe the half-day Crater tours will be delayed - we're talking Africa here - maybe it won't. But after July 1, all bookings are going in as half-day Crater Tours. So, I'd go with the understanding that you're doing half-day and no need for a second night in the Crater (at Farmhouse) area.

The balloon ride has to be your own decision based on your budget. I personally feel these hot-air balloon rides outside the states (Turkey, Africa, Egypt [though here you can bargain],etc.) are way too expensive, when you can get them for half the price in the States. But if you can save the money on less expensive accommodations, go for it.

Everything in Africa is going to be so amazing, you'll enjoy it all!
 
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Mar 12th, 2005, 02:39 PM
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yeah we looked at the website for migration camp and it does look gorgeous, will have to do some more work on that... oh and another question, TSA was the operator that returned the cheapest quote (vs ranger, roy, goodearth, sunny), but haven't read much about them on this site. anybody have any experience with them? also their website requires wiring money (no checks/credit cards), is that normal?
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Mar 13th, 2005, 03:43 AM
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Wiring money is quite usual. TSA or any others will provide all the pertinent bank formation for you to submit to your bank to handle. You'll transfer in the currency they request... you're bank fee will range between $15-$35 and that's it. Easy.
 
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Mar 13th, 2005, 03:27 PM
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We are also looking at booking a safari with TSA, but wanted to pay with a credit card. TSA gave us the option of paying with either a VISA or MasterCard but with bank fees of 6.5%. So it can be done, but it is definitely more expensive.
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Mar 15th, 2005, 02:44 AM
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We are also going to book our honeymoon at TSA:
Sept 12: Arusha
Sept 13: Tarangire Sopa
Sept 14: E-Unoto Retreat Manyara
Sept 15: Ngorongoro Farm House
Sept 16: Ndutu Safari Lodge
Sept 17: Migration Tented Luxury lodge
Sept 18: Migration Tented Luxury lodge
Sept 19: Fly from Serengeti to Pemba
Sept 19-24: Fundu lagoon - beachside
Sept 25: Flight from Pemba to Dar es salaam.

What do you think of the itenary?

Credit Card payments costs a bit extra, but paying by bank will also cost you some money (though normally less).
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Mar 15th, 2005, 03:59 AM
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Assuming a total trip cost of $7,000 trip at 6.5% for credit card use is $455.00 versus $30 for a wire. Hey, the difference is enough to pay for one hot air balloon ride, or tips for the guides/drivers and camp staff, or your bar bill.
 
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Mar 15th, 2005, 04:14 AM
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Marynus

I think your safari itinerary is a bit rushed.

In September, two nights in Tarangire is better. You need more time to find leopard and to see the diffderent areas of the park.

Ndutu is a long drive in the wrong direction. Rather stay in Tarangire for one more night.

BTW, E Unoto has the best beds! Those big soft double beds with the many pillows are very comfortable.

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Mar 15th, 2005, 10:06 AM
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Paying by credit card may cost a bit more (not always) but also factor in the consumer protection and any mileage/cash rebate you may receive from the card into the equation. And if you're only prepaying the deposit by credit card, the surcharge percentage would only apply to that amount, not the full cost of the safari.
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