Tanzania in June - Itinerary and Lodge Help!

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Feb 28th, 2006, 12:14 PM
  #1
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Tanzania in June - Itinerary and Lodge Help!

Hi.

I have been lurking on this board over the past month and have learned so much from all the threads - thank you! Now it's finally my turn to post. I have been working with several operators and here are the itineraries I am deciding between for late June:

Operator 1:
Day 1 - Arusha - overnight at Moivaro or Mountain Village
Day 2 - Tarangire - overnight at Kikoti or Sopa
Day 3 - Tarangire / Manyara - overnight at Gibb's Farm or Manyara Serena
Day 4 - Ngorongoro - overnight at Ngorongoro Serena
Day 5 - Central Serengeti - overnight at Serengeti Serena
Days 6-7 - Central / Western Serengeti - 2 nights at Kirawira
Days 8-9 - Western / Northern Serengeti - 2 nights at Migration Camp
Day 10 - Fly back to Arusha

Operator 2:
Day 1 - Arusha - overnight at Moivaro
Days 2-3 - Tarangire - 2 nights at Treetops
Day 4 - Tarangire / Manyara - overnight at Plantation Lodge
Day 5 - Ngorongoro / South Serengeti - overnight at Ndutu
Days 6-8 - North Serengeti - 3 nights at Migration Camp
Day 9 - Fly back to Arusha

Operator 3 (Western and Central Serengeti switchable):
Day 1 - Arusha - overnight at Moivaro
Days 2-3 - Tarangire - 2 nights at Treetops
Day 4 - Tarangire / Ngorongoro - overnight at Ngorongoro Serena or Sopa
Day 5 - Ngorongoro / Western Corridor - overnight at Mbalageti
Day 6 - North Serengeti - overnight at Mbalageti
Day 7 - North / Central Serengeti - overnight at Mbuzi Mawe or Serengeti Sopa
Day 8 - Central / North Serengeti - overnight at Migration Camp
Day 9 - North Serengeti - overnight at Migration Camp
Day 10 - Fly back to Arusha from Kleins airstrip

As you can see, there are quite a bit of similarities between the three itineraries. Currently I am leaning towards 1 and 3... but what are people's opinions? Other than that, I am curious about the lodge choices I am faced with in Arusha and the Central Serengeti, the choice of Tarangire vs. Manyara in late June, how best to "do the crater," and finally what makes the most travel sense in terms of logistics (Operator 3 especially worries me in this regard, that's why I stated the possibility of switching around the itinerary).

Thanks for your help, and look forward to hearing back from y'all!

CraterNut
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Feb 28th, 2006, 02:59 PM
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Your concerns about the logistics of option three would be my concerns, too.

I'm curious about drive times between the various locations in the Serengeti.

In late June, I'd gamble on Tarangire and spend another night there.

I'm not going to get into commenting on accommodations; if you're talking about this June just take what you can get and enjoy the beautiful parks.
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Feb 28th, 2006, 03:05 PM
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When I suggested adding a night in Tarangire, I was referring to itinerary 1, which is my "favorite" of your proposed itineraries.

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Feb 28th, 2006, 05:36 PM
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I guess that is my question... if I moved Mbuzi Mawe / Serengeti Serena before Mbalageti, would that make Itinerary 3 more or at least just as desirable as Itinerary 1? As you can see I'm somewhat at a loss and have a lot of questions!
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Feb 28th, 2006, 05:52 PM
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I *think* the answer to your question is yes. Driving from Ngorongoro to the Western Corridor would be a very looong drive. Breaking it up with 2 nights at the Serena or Mbuzi Mawe would certainly help itinerary 3.

I wonder what the drive time from the west to Migration Camp is. We did an all-day game drive to the west from where we were staying in the Seronera Valley and it was on the long-ish side but not horrible by any means (hey, you're in the Serengeti, right? and that's great experience).

Hopefully climbhighsleeplow or Sandi will see this post.

Have your tour ops been able to confirm accommodationa vailability? I think a lot of your trip will hinge on this.

In any case, best of luck.
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Mar 1st, 2006, 05:23 AM
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I prefer Option 3. It provided 2-nts at Tarangire which is great late June. Manyara is a small park which can be covered in a few hours, so omitting this is fine.

Yes, the drive from Ngorongoro to Mbalageti is long (actually only about 4-hrs without stops), but it's a game drive the entire way. You may wish to arrange to stop at the Serengeti Serena for a sit-down lunch, before continuing on. Leaving the Crater early and maybe with a stop at Olduvai, you'll be at the Serena in time for lunch; from here it's only 2-hrs to Mbalageti.

The fact, that on the way to Migration you stop at Mbuze Mawe is good, as there is no direct road to Migration Camp. You have to return to Central before turning North - Mbuze Mawe is on the way. I would not want to stop at the Serengeti Sopa as it's too far south of the central area.

But, as Leely mentions, at this time, you may have to take those properties that are actually available. I don't believe Kirawira has any space for June.
 
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Mar 1st, 2006, 01:25 PM
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Is this for June this year?

Have you checked that these properties have availability?

I don't think the differences between routing western-central-north or central-western-north are going to be critical (either way I think you'll have one longish drive in there somewhere). I wouldn't get too caught up on this aspect but rather quickly ascertain what properties are available if you haven't already. As others have suggested, you may find that this decision is already made for you.

Good luck!
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Mar 1st, 2006, 01:56 PM
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Leely, Sandi, and Patty - it is indeed for June this year. I am surprised but extremely happy that, unless the operators are flat out exaggerating, that these options are available (Kirawira, not provisionally confirmed, is the exception). But I believe it's a decision I need to make relatively quickly in the near-term so the "provisional" booking becomes real!

Speaking of "exaggerations" though I am a little concerned having read some threads saying that operators switch lodges at the last minute? Is there a good way (if any) to prevent that from happening? And BTW is one half-day tour and maybe a morning truly enough to appreciate the Crater? Thanks!
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Mar 9th, 2006, 03:06 PM
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Well, at this point I've narrowed it down to two clear choices - any recommendations from all you experienced travelers? Prices are comparable...

Operator A:
Day 1 - Arusha (O/N at Arusha Coffee Lodge)
Days 2-3 - Tarangire (Treetops)
Day 4 - Drive to Ngorongoro (Serena)
Day 5 - Drive to Western Corridor (Mbalageti)
Day 6 - Western Corridor (Mbalageti)
Day 7 - Drive to Central Serengeti (Mbuzi Mawe)
Day 8 - Drive to North Serengeti (Migration Camp)
Day 9 - North Serengeti (Migration Camp)
(Optional Day 10 - Back to Seronera)
Day 10 - Fly back to Arusha from Kleins

Operator B:
Day 1 - Arusha (Dik Dik)
Days 2-3 - Tarangire (Kikoti)
Day 4 - Drive to Ngorongoro (Serena)
Day 5 - Ngorongoro (Serena)
Day 6 - Drive to Olduvai (Serengeti Serena)
Day 7 - Drive to Western Corridor (Kirawira)
Day 8 - Western Corridor (Kirawira)
Day 9 - Drive to Serengeti (Mbuzi Mawe)
Day 10 - Serengeti (Mbuzi Mawe)
Day 11 - Fly back to Arusha from Seronera

Thanks again!

CraterNut
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Mar 9th, 2006, 04:17 PM
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They are really neck and neck.

I'm no expert, but I'm leaning toward option A because they have you at Treetops and also at Mbalageti (I'd be shocked to hear that Kirawira has any openings). I'd try to add a day to the central area if you can.

I do wonder what others have to say. But at this point, I'd just go where there is availability. They're both nice itineraries.
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