Tanzania in Dec/Jan - Quick Questions


Jul 31st, 2003, 01:46 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 70
Tanzania in Dec/Jan - Quick Questions

We're set on a 13 day trip to Tanzania with Big Five, and are close to committing to their Tanzania Pastoral trip. Wondering if anyone has any experiences or comments before we make the plunge?

Also, we were told by one of their reservationists that this would be the best place in terms of migration/animal births to go at the end of December, beginning of Jan (thus our choice of Tanz. over Kenya). Is this accurate?

Can anyone offer any comments on the following accomodations that they use? I've looked at Serena's website, but there's not that much in the way of pics and descriptions, and can't find much on Tortilis. Any 1sthand knowledge is appreciated.

Tortilis Camp - Amboseli Nat'l
Serengeti Serena Lodge - Serengeti
Ngorongoro Serena Lodge - Ngorongoro Crater
Lake Manyara Serena Lodge - Lake Manyara
Norfolk Hotel - Nairobi

We were considering another trip of theirs, but it's $2400 more, better lodgings but same itinerary except the more expensive doesn't hit Amboseli in order to spend an xtra day at Serengeti and Ngo Crater. Still slightly weighing this option as we are suckers for luxury.

Also, can anyone recommend a 3-4 day extension? We're thinking Zanzibar or Masai Mara, but is it too much trouble to go all the way to Kenya for a couple days?

Guess these questions weren't so quick, but thanks for all of your comments!
SmileyFace is offline  
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Jul 31st, 2003, 02:02 PM
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Yes, Tanzania is better this time of year. I am speaking only for the Wildebeest/Zebra migration part. Don't know about the other areas of Tanzania. If the rains hold true, the birthing of the Wildebeests occurs around the first of February in the Southern Conservation Area of the Serengeti. The migration does pass through the central Serengeti where the Serengeti Serena/Sopa are. Since everything depends on the rains later this year, any closer prediction really isn't possible.
I'll let others answer the rest. Don't know about Big Five, but I think others here have mentioned it recently. Same thing about Amboseli. We have two ladies who go there or have been there recently. You will have a wonderful time and we will wait for a full trip report when you return. Liz
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Aug 1st, 2003, 06:46 AM
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Hi SmileyFace: First off, I hope you have a wonderful trip. We stayed at Tortilis Camp in Amboseli last year for several nights. It is a beautifully appointed, luxury permanent tented camp with the most stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro. Dinner is a set menu, starting with soup or salad, main meal and dessert. Our first night was filet mignon, the second was red snapper (I believe they said it was from Lake Victoria), and the third night was a glorious pasta dish. The pool is not heated, but it was comfortable enough for a quick dip to cool off. The pool area is fantastic. Lots of lounge chairs and numerous tables with umbrellas - perfect place to write out postcards. There is a very expensive gift shop, and the lounge/bar area is beautifully appointed as well. Kind of "shabby chic" but with an African flair! The tents are above and beyond luxury. Beautiful stone patios with pillowed chaise lounges, chairs and tables. Drink your morning tea or coffee on the patio - the views of Mt. Kili in the morning are unsurpassed. The tents have ice chests, more than ample storage rooms and the bathrooms have Egyptian cotton towels and numerous other amenities. Flush toilets and showers that you step down inside. Laundry service is available at Tortilis. The only thing I would warn you off is that the tents are located down a rather steep hill from the lounge/restaurant/front desk areas. It is easy going down, but somewhat of a work out walking up. Aside from that, enjoy the camp. It is almost decadently luxurious. We stayed at the Ngorongoro Serena one night before moving on to the Crater Lodge. The Serena is a complete contrast to Tortilis. The Serena is much larger, and meals are a loud event - due to so many people eating in one area at one time. The food was very good, however. The rooms are comfortable, with huge showers!!! You will be most comfortable there as well. It is just a completely different experience than Tortilis, which is very intimate. The stunning thing about the Ngorongoro Serena is how it is constructed into the crater rim. Pulling into the driveway of the Serena, you see nothing of the size of the lodge. You will have a wonderful trip. Enjoy!! Hope this was somewhat helpful.
SusanLynne is offline  
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Aug 1st, 2003, 07:48 AM
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Tortillis is a dream of a tented camp. It was our first stop on our first trip and this set the feel for the rest of our trip. Tents are very comfortable and according to the other accommodations you list, this will be your only "under canvas" - and Africa isn't Africa unless you sped some time under canvas. The Chelli family who own and run Tortillis are wonderful and we lucky to meet Mamma Chelli who has taught the entire kitchen staff to prepare the best Italian cuisine. And Papa Chelli a very interesting man. You'll enjoy your time here tremendously.

Are you flying to these lodges or going by road. If by road, know that the road to Amboselli is probably the worst we've experienced and the trip from Amboselli to Seregeti will be a long bumpy trip. If there is a women traveling, it's a good idea she wear a sports bra!

The Serena Lodges are lovely with large rooms, meals are excellent and staff are most helpful.

We stayed at the Norfolk in one of the rooms in the original building and while the furnishings weren't modern, rather very colonial with overstuffed chairs and built-in draws and closets - we also had a sitting room. Our only complaint was it took forever to get the hot water in the morning, so we started running about 20-min before we needed, then all was okay.

Another option in Nairobi is the Serena or what we did on our return for the day before departure was go out to the Windsor Golf & Country Club. Absolutely lovely. A bit outside of center NBO, but great golf course, swimming pool, shops, large rooms with kingsize 4-posters, lovely bath. Prices for both Serena and Windsor are about same as Norfolk - but it's kind of nice to have sundowners on the terrace at Norfolk and dinner as well.

Enjoy your trip.
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