Tanzania camping safari itinerary

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Mar 29th, 2015, 06:03 PM
  #1
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Tanzania camping safari itinerary

I would welcome comment on a planned itinerary for a camping Safari in Tanzania in early June. We (2 daughters, now mid-20's, my wife, and I) had a wonderful camping safari in Botswana in 2005 and hope this is similarly enjoyable. We are by far more interested in wildlife viewing than other things such as Kili climbs, cultural visits, etc. We have a week and Peter Reijmes from African Heart Expeditions proposes the following:

Day 1
Arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport. Collect a the airport and transfer to Arusha for overnight in Ilboru Safari Lodge.
Day 2
Collect at your hotel after breakfast and transfer to Tarangire National Park for a safari with picnic lunch. Dinner and overnight on a public campsite inside the National Park.
Day 3
Transfer to Lake Manyara for a full day safari with picnic lunch. Dinner and overnight on a public campsite in Mto Wa Mbu Village.
Day 4
Proceed to the Serengeti for a afternoon safari. Dinner and overnight on a public campsite inside the Serengeti.
Day 5
Full day safari in the Serengeti. Dinner and overnight on the same campsite.
Day 6
Morning safari. Afternoon transfer to the Ngorongoro Crater for overnight on Simba Campsite on the crater rim.
Day 7
Descend into the Crater for a safari with picnic lunch on the crater floor ( 6-hrs permit).
Day 8
Another Crater game drive in the morning and then return to Kilimanjaro Airport for evening departure.

I would be interested in your opinions. Thanks.
drbeier is offline  
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Mar 30th, 2015, 01:25 AM
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Hi , @Drbeier

Your itinerary looks fine and realistic , we are so planning the same thing like yours , but we need tos hare the safari with two people more in order to cover up the total cost . So please e mail me if you're interested to share the safari together , my e mail address is [email protected] . Thank you ,hope to hear from you ! .

K
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Mar 30th, 2015, 11:26 AM
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You are NOT limited to one (1) crater tour, rather only 6/hrs each visit, but they have since raised the price for the vehicle to enter the crater from $200 to $300. Believe me, 6/hrs is sufficient.

Likewise, I'd spend 2/nts at Tarangire a 'gem' of a park and pass on Manyara unless someone in the group is 'into birds' And even if, can spend 1.5/days at Tarangire, then to Manyara for afternoon game drive (these two parks are only 2/hrs apart) and overnight here.

Add the extra time to the Serengeti.
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Mar 31st, 2015, 04:33 AM
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One visit to the crater is enough, and its just not about money. Yes there are lots and lots of animals, but there are lots and lots of people too. By 10am it feels more like Disney ride than a Safari
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Mar 31st, 2015, 06:10 AM
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I'd be interested to know what sort of camping trip you did in Botswana. Most mobile safaris in Botswana use exclusive sites (ie one site per group) with no fixed facilities, so bucket showers and short drop toilets are part of the camp set up.

If that is what you did in Botswana, I am wondering if you might find sharing large public campsites with other groups, with communal ablutions blocks to be a bit of a let down.
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Mar 31st, 2015, 06:50 AM
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One huge concern with your itinerary...I would NOT camp on a public campsite in the Serengeti (I assume that you will be staying at the public campsites at Seronera in the Central Serengeti). At Seronera, the tents are packed in like sardines (no privacy, so sense of being in the bush), it is noisy (guides blaring radios and shouting to each other between the kitchens) and the sites are poorly kept, with garbage strewn everywhere and toilets that are poorly maintained. We stopped at a public campsite at Seronera, ate lunch and left as quickly as possible - it was awful. I would ask to stay on a "special" campsite in the Serengeti - they are (a bit) more expensive ($30pp/pn more than the public campsites), but you are guaranteed to have the campsite to yourselves and they are always in lovely, remote locations - worth every penny. Ask for a special campsite at Moru Kopjes (which are in the Serengeti, 30 minutes SW of Seronera) - those sites are in a great location for June.

The public campsite at Tarangire is not nearly as busy, so will be much better than in the Serengeti - not great, but better. As others have suggested, I would be inclined to drop Lake Manyara and spend two days in Tarangire. Lake Manyara is a lovely park, especially for birders, but you are doing a lot of driving those first few days, and I suspect that you will find leaving Tarangire after such a short visit very frustrating. Given your interest in wildlife rather than cultural visits, if you decide to visit Lake Manyara, I would ask to camp inside the park, not in Mto-wa-Mbu.

Also, I would drop the second visit to the crater and add that day to the Serengeti.

Whatever you decide, you will have a wonderful trip. CR
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Mar 31st, 2015, 07:56 AM
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It's many years since I did a basic camping trip but canadian_robin's description is what I remember the public campsite on the crater rim being like. The "ablutions" were pretty grim, and with queues to use them.

The special campsites sound more like what you probably experienced in Botswana.
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Mar 31st, 2015, 08:56 AM
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Fodor's forums comes through as usual. Yes, the Botswana trip was all private campsites. No one but us, our guide and a cook, dinner made over the fire, a pit toilet, and a makeshift shower that was pretty chilly by the time my three girls were done.

Would it be advisable to see the crater on our first day? It would mean an afternoon visit as we would be coming from Arusha that morning.
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Mar 31st, 2015, 01:16 PM
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If you wish to repeat the wonderful experience that you enjoyed in Botswana (of just you, your guide and cook on the campsite), then you need to insist on "special" campsites - not public campsites (where they will cram as many groups as possible on each public campsite).

In the Serengeti, ask for a special campsite at Moru Kopjes - we have stayed on #3 and #4 - both are lovely and isolated, in an excellent game viewing area, and have lovely views over the plains - #4 would be my first choice of the two (#4 is on top of a kopje and has a better view, #3 is beside a kopje but also lovely).

In Tarangire, our favourite special campsites are Bweha and Kware - both lovely and isolated, very scenic (with beautiful baobabs) and close to the (wildlife) action by the river, where you should head at dawn.

In Lake Manyara, if you decide to go there, ask for Lakeshore Special Campsite - as the name implies, it is on the lakeshore, and you never know what is going to come down to the lake to drink.

You definitely want to be in the crater as soon as the gates open (at 6am) - the first two hours in the morning provide the best game viewing and the least traffic. Pack breakfast and lunch, and head into the crater as early as allowed.
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Apr 1st, 2015, 09:20 AM
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Robin - Thanks for the detailed info, very helpful. I take it from your other posts you do self-drive trips, but I wonder if you have any experience with safari companies that you can recommend?
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Apr 1st, 2015, 10:43 AM
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We always self-drive without a guide, so I have no experience with safari companies other than Safari Drive, who we rent our vehicles from. Safari Drive does offer guided self-drive trips, but that would require one or two of you to drive a Land Rover - which may be more than you are willing to take on.

There are plenty of recommendations regarding safari companies on this forum and, with luck, Sandi (who I consider the expert on this forum and whose input/advice I would absolutely trust), may respond. Depending on where you are based (Sandi is in the US), she may even be able to assist you in organizing your trip.
Robin
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Apr 9th, 2015, 02:04 PM
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Updated trip planning: I have proposals that are very comparable in terms of itinerary and cost. Turns out that the "special" campsites work out about the same price-wise as mid-range tent lodges such as Kati Kati. Now I am trying to balance the increased amenities of the lodges with the greater wilderness experience of camping. Tough choices: comfy beds, cocktails, showers, vs. fewer people and a more primal experience.
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Apr 10th, 2015, 04:47 PM
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Tough choice indeed! For my DH and me, it is always an easy decision. We both grew up in camping families and love to camp. We are prepared to sacrifice some comfort (not that the roof-top tent is not comfortable - we love it) for the sake of being alone in the African bush. However, many people would not consider self-driving, or even mobile camping with a guide and cook. Good luck with the decision. It will be interesting to see if the four family members are able to agree.

I should ask - is it not possible to do a bit of both (tented camps and camping)? If you have looked at our self-drive itineraries, you may have noticed that the longest we camp on any trip is usually around five nights, at which time we spend a night or two at a tented camp - where we enjoy good hot showers and wonderful meals (that we don't have to prepare) and the benefit of a great guide - before returning to camping. It (a combination of the two) might be a good compromise.
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Apr 10th, 2015, 07:28 PM
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Turns out it was an easy decision for us as well. When the choice was posed all 3 of my girls said "camping, of course". We are also a camping family and our Botswana trip was, simply, magical.
We probably could add a tent lodge night to the camping trip, but its only 6 nights and, as my youngest said, showers are overrated. (Although the one we take at a day lodge before our flight home I think will be appreciated).

Robin - thanks for your posts here and elsewhere - they certainly informed the decision making.
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Apr 12th, 2015, 05:34 AM
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Well there you go - decision made. Happy it was such an easy decision. I will look forward to reading all about your camping safari when you return. Have a wonderful time. Do you have a trip report or photos posted from your Botswana trip?
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Apr 13th, 2015, 04:24 PM
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No, fraid not. It was a one-way trip starting in Maun to Okavango to Savuti to Chobe River with a short extension to Vic Falls. The TO was Bobcat, which appears to no longer be operational.
By the way, I found a blog of your 2009 trip - amazing adventure. I thought we were bold for going with "only" a guide and cook.
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Apr 18th, 2015, 06:48 AM
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Are you on TA where I can send you a PM? (I don't like to ask you to post your email address here) If so, I will send you the link to our 2014 trip report and photos (similar to the one from 2009 but much more recent) from Kenya and Tanzania. I have not posted the link yet because the blog is not quite finished - my DH is still editing some of the 9000 photos we took on the trip.
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May 21st, 2015, 07:44 AM
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Just noticed your message on TA. I will email the link to our latest Tanzania/Kenya trip report and photos now. With apologies for the delay! Robin
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