Tanzania, here we come!!!!!

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Feb 27th, 2005, 09:26 AM
  #1
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Tanzania, here we come!!!!!

For those who remember our upset last year when we tried to get airline tickets from an unscrupulous TA, well, we won the dispute and got our 2k back and decided that Africa was a stronger pull than that agent was a deterrent, so when we finished our 200k miles apiece in early January, we lucked out and got our airline tickets for March 8th. So we head out from LA for LHR and on to NBO.
We will overnight at the Intercontinental Hotel and early the next morning fly to Arusha from JKIA and begin our safari.
We drive to Tarangire and stay at Kikoti two nights. I know it doesn't sound like a good idea, but that's what Roy Safaris came up with. Since its the first place, we may rest for the time we're there if the grass is too high.
From there we drive to Lake Manyaya and spend two nights in Karatu at the Ngorongoro Farmhouse.
Now it gets real goooooood! We drive to Kusini Camp and spend three nights. We should be seeing the migration around and we will do many game drives and be all rested up to listen to the sounds at night from our tent. Good food, wine and great location!
From here we were scheduled in to the central area but I wanted to see the Western Serengeti since I hadn't been before, soooooo we drive to Kirawira for one night. This is just a very nice place to spend the night after the long drive and we have a nice dinner, drinks, game drive and the next day we head out after breakfast and drive to Ndutu Safari Lodge. Prime location for the migration! Two nights here and lots of time with the animals since we will have our own vehicle and driver of course.
Then with the end in sight, we leave and drive to Ngronongoro Crater for one half day in the Crater, and stay that night at the Crater Lodge. We decided to end with a bang as I hadn't seen the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge before and just wanted to stay there once.
The next morning after breakfast we head out and drive to Arusha, then fly to JRO, then transfer to a flight to Wilson AP. We will have a dayroom at the Intercontinental to refresh ourselves for a very nice dinner at the Tamerind, then on to JKIA for the night flight to LHR, and on to LA and home.
The availability of getting the free seats dictated the start and end dates of our trip, but for first class (for the first time on International to Africa)it was worth it to us. And two whole weeks. Yay!!!
I pray for a safe trip, my back feels great and we have allowed time each day to do the back exercises I must do every day for the rest of my life, but I told Max, "We might as well face it, I will go to Africa until I die, even if it kills me". I suspect he knew that I would. So that is the Africa Bug at its most severe, right?
I will be taking the same camera with 10X optical zoom, I added the 1.7 extender or whatever its called, and I can only do automatic focus, so please bear with me and don't compare my photos to Kavey's or Sundowner's.
For those who are interested, the safari from landing at JKIA and departing JKIA, the total cost is $4405pp. We wired a $3,000 deposit which cost us $25 and not a problem. We have been very happy with the help we have received from Roy Safaris and all the changes they have done to fix this for us. I feel that we got a very good deal considering the camps we are staying at and the private use of the vehicle and driver. We will have every opportunity to see the Wildebeests on the Serengeti and that is why we are going.
I will post a trip report and photo album upon our return. Thanks for sharing our excitement. Liz
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Feb 27th, 2005, 10:37 AM
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Have a great trip. Glad your ticket mess worked out. I hate stuff like that.

"We drive to Tarangire and stay at Kikoti two nights. I know it doesn't sound like a good idea, but that's what Roy Safaris came up with." Why is this not a good idea?

I'll be interested in your report on Tanzania in March.
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Feb 27th, 2005, 11:01 AM
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Some people just coming back have said that Tarangire isn't good right now. Also that Kikoti was too far from the main gate. I have read that the grass is quite tall right now and our last trip to Botswana was in April, the rainy season, and that tall grass was terrible. Couldn't see the animals in it. Also having been to Kenya during the rainy season, we found the tall grass a real problem. Thats all. We are still going, but I think that Tarangire may not be at the prime for game viewing. They said the Elephants and Giraffes were still visible. I'll let you know in a few weeks. We just won't be disappointed as resting is always an option during the first couple of days. Liz
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Feb 27th, 2005, 04:36 PM
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Liz, wish you a great trip and am looking forward to a report and pictures. Need a "fix" as our trip to southern Tanzania is still some 3.5 months away.
Dick
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Feb 27th, 2005, 05:45 PM
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I'm so excited to hear about your trip! I know you had great difficulties last year and am very happy you are going again. I've missed seeing your posts here. I hope you have a spectacular journey and look forward to seeing your pictures (yes, you get great pictures!) and hearing your trip report.

Cindy
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Feb 28th, 2005, 03:30 AM
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Thanks Dick and Cindy. The longer I'm around here the more I learn about you all and how special you all are. I appreciate your comments and your sharing in my trip. I love to read about your trips and they always seem so much more exciting than mine, but then sometimes dreams are almost as good as the real thing. They get you through.
Dick, 3 months is a short time. It just went by so fast. Now I say that!
I think your trip to the southern route sounds wonderful and so few have done it. You are very brave to strike out into the unknown but it will be so special and we really will await your report. This one will be a private safari, right? Not a group one? Liz
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Feb 28th, 2005, 03:34 AM
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Thanks for posting the itinerary, Liz. I'm so excited for you! Are you going to have a private vehicle again? I would love to do that but haven't been able to so far. Perhaps next time.

Sounds wonderful to me!
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Feb 28th, 2005, 07:42 AM
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Thank you Kavey. As far as I know, Roy Safaris just does private safaris. Its just different in East Africa compared to Botswana. You couldn't do a private safari to most camps in Botswana, and we don't. In East Africa since the safaris cost less, you have such a mix of people that group safaris are not fun to me. I did many of them. Remember when you were on the Mara and couldn't shout out names for the animals? Well maybe you wouldn't have anyway, but I feel I can when we have a private car and the guide usually just laughs and gets in the spirit of it.
I think conditions are different in East Africa and many people rent their own car and driver in Arusha/Nairobi. I do like that part of it. I like it a lot. Liz
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Feb 28th, 2005, 08:47 AM
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I know I would certainly enjoy a private vehicle. My husband is my ideal travel companion so I would never want for the company of others during a drive. We'd see other people back at camp in any case.

And the advantages in terms of being able to ask the guide to focus the drives on our interests, being able to stay at a sighting without pressure from others to leave, being able to take a picnic lunch and be out all day if we want to... all those things would just thrill me to bits.

My only hesitation would be around the question of whether it would be best to have one guide throughout the trip (who accompanies us from camp to camp) or have a private guide from each of the camp's own staff. The advantage of the former would be a) that the guide could get to know our preferences and also would know what we'd already seen and b) it would be much cheaper than private guides and cars from the camps themselves. The advantages of private guides and cars from the camps might be their superior familiarity with the area around that camp, given that they work day in and day out in that area.

Anyway, a private vehicle is definitely something I dream about!
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Feb 28th, 2005, 10:05 AM
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Liz, our upcoming trip to Mikumi, Ruaha, and Selous was arranged via Jane of Foxes of Africa and while we might be sharing vehicle during drives it is just us three. From posts on this board we are really looking forward to the flights between camps and the Safari train from Dar es Salaam. My wife and daughter have never flown in small aircraft so this will be special for them. Bless you for thinking of us and certainly for sharing reports on your adventures. Dick
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Feb 28th, 2005, 10:51 AM
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Private Guides - Camp Guides: We've always had our own private guide for our safaris in East Africa. And even if we've had a flight in between - i.e., drove to Amboseli, but flew back to NBO. Our driver drove back from Amboseli with our luggage as we were on a very small plane. Upon arrival in NBO we were picked up by a NBO driver who took us shopping, then brought us to the Carnivore for lunch. By the time we finished our lunch, there was our original driver - finishing his own lunch - and off we were to the Mt. Kenya area. When we eventually ended our time in the Mara, on the last day he drove us to the airstrip, made sure we boarded with our luggage... here we said our good-byes! Arriving in NBO, a driver picked us up transferring us to the Windsor Golf & Country Club, for our final day. This worked perfectly for us.

When you are on a drive itinerary with your own guide/driver and are staying at a camp where only camp guides can take guests out on game drive, then your driver has a few free days. Some of these camps have lodging for guide/drivers (to sleep, meals to be taken). But you don't get a credit for fact that your primary guide isn't technically "working" for a day or two. What you have to consider in these cases is to be sure such camps - most CCA properties, that these be your last stop, wherein your primary guide/driver can depart for their home base - Arusha or Nairobi. You'll then fly back to Arusha or Nairobi. Another reason why so many CCA itineraries have guests flying between their camps - sole use of specific camp guides/vehicles. The reason most of the CCA itineraries are so expensive... accommodations and airfares.

There are also options at many camps, to arrange for "sole use of vehicle" versus shared camp vehicles - for this service there are charges in the range of about $200/day (some cost more).

So this is where a good outfitter comes in, something they can coordinate well with a combination of drive and fly, lodgings with various ways of doing things... and for which they are responsible all works smoothly.
 
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