Tanzania in June - please help!

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Mar 16th, 2006, 04:34 AM
  #1
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Tanzania in June - please help!

Gday from sunny Sydney,

We're getting married in June and planning a honeymoon in Tanzania/Zanzibar. This website is a mine of great information. Problem is there's so much on safaris I'm getting confused...

We've got a quote from a helpful guy at ATR called Nick. Details attached:

17JUN2006 Fly : London to Nairobi (or Dar)
18JUN2006 Fly / Bus : Nairobi to Arusha
18JUN2006 Arusha : Moivaro Coffee Lodge
19JUN2006 Safari : Tarangire : Mawe Ninga
20JUN2006 Safari : Tarangire : Mawe Ninga
21JUN2006 Safari : Nogorongoro : Olduvai Camp
22JUN2006 Safari : Serengeti : Ronjo Camp
23JUN2006 Safari : Serengeti : Ronjo Camp
24JUN2006 Safari : Nogorongoro : Olduvai Camp
25JUN2006 Fly : Manyara to Zanzibar
25JUN2006 Zanzibar : Pongwe Beach
26JUN2006 Zanzibar : Pongwe Beach
27JUN2006 Zanzibar : Pongwe Beach
28JUN2006 Zanzibar : Pongwe Beach
29JUN2006 Zanzibar : Pongwe Beach
30JUN2006 Zanzibar : Pongwe Beach
01JUL2006 Zanzibar : Emerson's & Green
02JUL2006 Fly : Zanzibar to Dar
02JUL2006 Fly : Dar Es Salaam to London

The quote for this is:

Arusha US$ 75
Safari US$2300
Zanzibar US$ 650
Domestic flights US$ 400
Transfers US$ 50

Total US$3475 per person

It's our honeymoon so we don't want to totally rough it but much keener to spend our $$$ on getting up close and personal with the wildlife rather than luxurious lodges. We'll get the R&R in Zanzibar. Flexible with budget. Don't want to go above $5000.

From what I've read here the best places for wildlife at this time seem to be the Western and Northern Serengetti and Seronera.

Now based on ATR's website the recommended places in these areas are:

North - Sayari
West - Mbalageti
Seronera - Ronjo

Are there better experience/value options?

Of those only Ronjo is on our itinerary. When I go back to ATR should we try and get an itinerary built around these areas/camps or is there a reason they didn't suggest them? I understand that ATR's recommendations are biased to their preferred suppliers so I'll try out 1 or 2 other operators as well for quotes. Just need an itinerary to give them.... And any recommendations for other operators would be great - I left an email with Roy's but they didn't come back. Worth another try?

For Zanzibar the opinion on here seems to be to mix Pongwe with Chumbe Island and the Dhow Palace. Thinking 2 nights in each. Maybe a 3rd in Pongwe. We were put off E&G from comments on here and Chumbe Island seems to get great reviews. Any alternatives worth considering?

The safari bit is where I'm struggling. Really appreciate your opinions on finding the "perfect" itinerary within our budget.

Thanks in advance!

Bob
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Mar 16th, 2006, 05:55 AM
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Hi Bobinoz

What you should realise is that ATR highly overate Mawe Ninga, Olduvai and Ronjo.
These 3 camps are run by Tangyanika Expeditions for whom ATR are their main agents (also known as Mount Kilimajaro Safari Club).

I stayed at all 3 camps during February 2006. The guides are great but the food needs much improvement (unless you love beef - the main dish everyday).

Also with all 3 camps.....there is no running water, no flushing toilets (only chemical toilets) and you have a bladder shower (20 Litres per room). Only Olduvai camp had a laundry service, and that was after we had to beg.

It is not what I would recommend for a honeymoon. I stayed at these camps based on ATR's recommendations, budget and the fact that there were 9 people in our group. If ATR were more honest, I would not have booked these camps and I would have been happy to spend more money elsewhere.
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Mar 16th, 2006, 06:35 AM
  #3
sandi
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At this late date, regardless which operator can offer you a price that works with your budget, be certain they can guarantee the space; whether camps/lodges or on Zanzibar.

For the very reasons, mentioned above, I don't personally like the camps ATR offers. But since these are their preferred camps, that's what they offer.

This doesn't in any way take away from those visitors who like these rustic camps - there's something to everyone.

Also note that Pongwe and many other options on Zanzibar do not have a/c, so this may be a consideration for the two of you on this very hot and humid island (especially for sleeping). E&G, Tembo and Dhow do have a/c; but some rooms at E&G don't, so be sure to ask for what you wish if staying here. The E&G websites indicates which rooms have and which don't.

As most all properties are booked in Tanzania, you may have to take what is available; and the reason other outfitters you've contacted may have not answered. There have also been power reductions in Arusha (due to the drought) causing some outfitters not having sufficient juice for their offices and computers.

I'd send follow-up emails to the other outfitters to whom you have made inquiry and ask specifically if they have any space and where for your dates.

If your decision is to go with ATR, make certain they actually have space.

Keep us posted.

 
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Mar 16th, 2006, 07:24 AM
  #4
bat
 
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bobinoz:
Congrats on upcoming nuptials.

I stayed at Olduvai and Ronjo in Feb and do not have the same critical reaction that Africa had and I am pretty picky (I would not rave about them though). But I am not a vegetarian and while the food was not great, we had no problems with it--other than instant coffee (companion does not eat red meat, so he was served chicken). You can read my descriptions in my trip report. I do agree with Africa that an all MKSC camp safari would not be my idea for a honeymoon--given you have some budget latitude.

Also agree with you that ideally you want to get to the western or northern area (combo of central with one of those). Have you seen Eben's maps? (June western and July northern--you are at the end of June)http://www.go-safari.com/Serengeti/serengeti.htm

The highlight for us was the Nomad camp--which ATR can book so you might see whether you can stay there instead. And that would be placed better for the migration. (a stay in the seronera valley is always good--i.e. Ronjo).
Sayari, Mbalageti Camp also would be good(don't get confused--there is a permanent lodge/camp called Mbalageti and ATR calls Nomad's serengeti camp there Mbalageti--2 different things).

Sandi has told you that availability is a problem so you may have limited choices.

I would recommend a stay at a lodge on the rim of the crater if any are available.

So something like:
Tarangire
place to stay to see the crater (preferably on the rim)
Seronera valley (ronjo would be OK)
western serengeti
fly out from there

If there is no other availability I would at least drop the second stay at Olduvai for a 3rd day at Ronjo. There is no reason to come back to Olduvai--you can fly out of the seronera airstrip to Zanzibar.

Re Zanzibar, we really enjoyed E & G but that is up to you. I would want a/c in Stonetown. On the beach as long as you have a fan all night and a location to catch the breeze I think you are fine. Moving every 2 nights on Zanzibar does not seem relaxing to me. (Pongwe and Chumbe have received very good reviews).
It looks like you hvae 6 nights to split so could do a 3-3 or 2-4 with 1 night in Stonetown.

Have you considered Matemwe Bungalows? Very nice for a honeymoon. Again, you can read about them in my report.

Good luck.

my report:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...es=109&start=0
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Mar 16th, 2006, 11:42 AM
  #5
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Chumbe, while unique as an eco-resort, on island off the coast of Stone Town, is rather rustic and there's no a/c.

An option to Zanzibar Island, is the sister island of Pemba with a stay at Fundu Lagoon.

Back on Zanzibar, there is Ras Nungwi w/ a/c. Also Blue Bay, Breezes or the new Zamani Kempinsi - all have a/c. All are larger than Pongwe or Matemwe Bungalows.

Or south of DAR at Ras Kutani (no a/c) a lovely resort definitely off the beaten path.

You have options, if space is available.
 
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Mar 16th, 2006, 12:02 PM
  #6
 
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Sorry... I should have added more to my first post. amp;

All 3 camps were fine for me as I have stayed in far more basic accommadation before in Africa. BUT for my eight companions, who were on their FIRST ever safari...it was a bit of a shock to them

....and me being the trip organiser, you can imagine who got it in the neck.

Although one member of the party did climb Kili before the safari, so he was in pure luxury throughout

So overall they are useful camps if you are looking for some rustic comfort on a budget....but not something I would recommend for a honeymoon.
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Mar 20th, 2006, 12:01 AM
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Thanks for all your responses. I've got replies from Roy's and Nature Discovery and there does seem to be some availability left.

Here's Roy's

"In our opinion the following safari itnry is betterI amended it so you
> spend more time in one place and less time driving from place to place as
> suggested in intry you provided). I thought it best to splurge on
Mbalageti
> camp as highligh in Serengiet in June (Western corridor)
>
> 18JUN2006 Arusha : Moivaro Coffee Lodge BB
> 19JUN2006 Safari : Tarangire : TARANGIRE KIKOTI CAMP or TAR SOPA lodge
> 20JUN2006 Safari : Tarangire : TARANGIRE KIKOTI CAMP or TAR SOPA lodge
> 21JUN2006 Safari : Nogorongoro : NGORONGORO SERENA or SOPA LODGE
> 22JUN2006 Safari : Serengeti : MBALAGETI CAMP - tented chalet (west
> serengeti)
> 23JUN2006 Safari : Serengeti : MBALAGETI CAMP - tented chalet (west
> serengeti)
> 24JUN2006 Safari : Serengeti : Serengeti Serena or SOPA lodge
> 25JUN2006 Fly : Serengeti to Zanzibar
>
> cost:
> US$75pp 1nt BB Moivaro
> US$2545pp 6nights/7days safari + flight Seronera-Zanzibar
>
>
> 25JUN2006 Zanzibar : Pongwe Beach BB
> 26JUN2006 Zanzibar : Pongwe Beach
> 27JUN2006 Zanzibar : Pongwe Beach
> 28JUN2006 Zanzibar : Pongwe Beach
> 29JUN2006 Zanzibar : Pongwe Beach
> 30JUN2006 Zanzibar : Pongwe Beach
> 01JUL2006 Zanzibar : Emerson's & Green BB
> 02JUL2006 Fly : Zanzibar to Dar
> 02JUL2006 Fly : Dar Es Salaam to London
>
> cost:
> US$650pp 6nts BB Pongwe + 1nt BB E&G + trasnfers in ZNZ + flt ZNZ-Dar.
>
>
> Our total: US$3270pp total for the above.
>
> if required:
> trsf NBO - Arusha transfer by shuttle bus: Add US$20pp"

The have offered Olakira as alternative to Serena at $125 pppn: also offered Swala instead of Kikoti for extra $100 pppn; said they've gone for Mbalageti as Kirawira is full and have said that July is a better month for Migration or Sayari. Dhow is $25 less than E&G.

Can anyone comment on these choices - what would you choose and why?

Nature Discovery:

"Date
Day
Activity
Night

17/6/06 Sat
1
You will be picked up from Nairobi airport + transferred to town.
Panafric Hotel BB

18/6/06 Sun
2
Morning shuttle Nairobi - Arusha.
Moivaro Plantation Lodge (HB)

19/6/06 Mon
3
Depart to Tarangire, safari + picnic lunches.
Swala Camp

20/6/06 Tue
4
Full day game drive in Tarangire.
Swala Camp

21/6/06 Wed
5
Depart to Serengeti, safari en route + picnic lunches.
Mbuzi Mawe

22/6/06 Thu
6
Full day game drive in Serengeti.
Mbuzi Mawe

23/6/06 Fri
7
Depart to Ngorongoro, safari en route + picnic lunches via Olduvai Gorge.
Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

24/6/06 Sat
8
Descend in to the crater ( 6 hours allowed ) - return to the for late lunch, leisure, dinner.
Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

25/6/06 Sun
9
Depart to Arusha, lunch in town + flight to Zanzibar.
Pongwe Beach H/B

26/6/06 Mon
10
Leisure
Pongwe Beach H/B

27/6/06 Tue
11
Leisure
Pongwe Beach H/B

28/6/06 Wed
12
Leisure
Pongwe Beach H/B

29/6/06 Thu
13
Leisure
Pongwe Beach H/B

30/6/06 Fri
14
Leisure
Pongwe Beach H/B

01/7/06 Sat
15
Leisure
Pongwe Beach H/B

02/7/06 Sun
16
Transferred to Zanzibar airport + flight to Dar for international flight.





Included: Transfers to and from the airport. First night in Nairobi on bed and breakfast basis. Shuttle Nairobi - Arusha, Night in Arusha on half board. Full board accommodation during the safari from lunch on day 3 to lunch on day 9, private transport in a 4x4 vehicle with roof hatches, HF and VHF radios, the services of an English speaking driver/guide, park entry fees, crater fees and all relevant taxes, flight Arusha - Zanzibar and Zanzibar - Dar Es Salaam.



Not included: Tips, drinks, personal expenses, travel insurance, airport taxes, visas and international airline tickets.



Based on 2 people sharing the vehicle and a double room : USD 3727 per person.

If to use Tarangire River Camp instead of Swala Camp, deduct $ 200 per person per night"

Nature Discovery have suggested that it is a long way from Swala to Mbalageti and have suggested the option of swapping Mbuzi Mawe for Mbalageti +$21pppn or Migration +$115pppn.

Taking into account these accomodation choices, distances, timing of end June for migration viewing can you help me narrow down these choices?

Many thanks in advance,
Bob
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Mar 20th, 2006, 02:42 AM
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Having just had some back and forth with a couple of the operators I'm now settling on changing to the overnight flight and doing something like:

16 arrive Nairobi am and travel to Arusha for overnight
17 Tarangire - Swala
18 Tarangire - Swala
19 Ngoro - Ngoro Farm/Plantation/Serena
20 West - Mbalageti / Kirawira / Nomad
21 West - Mbalageti / Kirawira / Nomad
22 Seronera Mbuze Mawe / Olakari
23 North - Migration Camp
24 North - Migration Camp
25 fly to Zanzibar - Pongwe
26 Pongwe
27 Pongwe
28 Pongwe
29 Stonetown
30 Dar

Or if this just gete too pricey, cut out migration camp and spend one extra night each at Mbuze Mawe and Pongwe.

This is based on covering Tarangire, Ngorongoro crater and the best chance of seeing the migration (based on Eben's great map and his comments on another post), a staying in a choice of of small lodges and semi permanent tented camps depending on what's available.

I'm guessing this will take the budget from $3500 to nearer $5000 but we'll worry about that when the credit card bill arrives....

I've asked the perators to come back on this itinerary but would certainly appreciate some less biased opinions from the very knowledgabel; people on here!

Thanks,
Bob
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Mar 21st, 2006, 07:03 AM
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Hi Bob in Oz,

Have you decided yet? Your latest looks like a great itinerary. Pop goes the budget (yet again on this board).
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Mar 21st, 2006, 02:06 PM
  #10
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Bob -

Be prepared for No Credit Cards. I don't with which operators - though you mention Roys and Nature Discovery (not familiar with the latter), but Roys doesn't accept credit cards. In fact, there are few in-country outfitters who do. So, before making your decision, inquire. While some companies will accept credit cards, they will add a fee which can range from 3% to 10%. Just a heads-up!
 
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Mar 21st, 2006, 03:33 PM
  #11
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Thanks for the heads up Sandi - 10% at this price would be significant.

Leely, Roy's has advised us not to go to Migration Camp in June (too early). This conflicts with Eben's suggestion to head North at end June (and I'd love to go North as well to have seen as much as possible of the Serengeti) but we need to cut some cost so will stick with Roy's suggestion. That means we cut Migration and add a day in the Seronera and Pongwe.

I'm finding it hard to choose between permanent lodges vs semi-permanent tented camps ie Mbuze Mawe vs Olakira. As it's our honeymoon I think we'll go for the extra comfort of Mbuze Mawe over Olakira. I hope I don't regret it... It's also cheaper by $135 pppn.

Re operators, Roy's has been critically constructive in helping me make decisions and I've appreciated that. I'm now going to ask Roy to try and confirm availability as I suspect this may not be straightforward.

I also responded to the original ATR intinerary suggesting the itinerary above on the basis of further research and web feedback not that positive on Mawe Ninga, Odulvai and Ronjo re accomodation and food. He didn't exactly agree but asked me for a budget and said he would come up with a recommendation.

Nature discovery have also been very responsive although don't seem quite as cluey as Roy's and ATR. For example, they have suggested Kirawira which everyone else tells me in full.

Almost there..... appreciate opinions as ever!
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Mar 21st, 2006, 03:42 PM
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Price wise I think Roy can squeeze this under $4000 which seems pretty good for this quality safari accomodation.

Saying that this will be the most expensive holiday I've ever been on - double the cost of our last splurge - 10 days in paradise in the Solomon Islands!!! which I would hugely recommend for any divers/snorkellers out there....
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Mar 21st, 2006, 03:44 PM
  #13
 
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Bob, I find this stage of planning really mind-boggling and, after having made all final decisions, find myself second-guessing these...again and again.

But wanted to wish you luck and tell you I *think* my friends and I will be at Moivaro June 18. We won't bother you, though, as you'll be honeymooning.
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Mar 21st, 2006, 04:23 PM
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bobinoz,

I think your itinerary is coming along nicely...I nearly choked on my sandwich when I saw your original "honeymoon" itinerary, an itinerary, that even if I had a worst enemey, I would not wish it upon him/her.
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Mar 21st, 2006, 05:10 PM
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Hi Rocco,

We've definitely moved a bit more in the luxury direction...

I noticed you stayed at Mbuze Mawe but also in some semi-permanenet and fly camps.

Currently we only have permanent lodges or tented camps on our itinerary.

From your experience are we really missing out by not including a semi perm or fly camp?

When I was in the Okavango Delta in Botswana 10 years ago the experience of waking up in my tiny tent with an elephant eating from the tree directly above it was memorable. I loved the excitement and adventure of being in the middle of it all. I'm just a bit worried that we may have gone too far the other way for this trip...

What do you think?

Thanks,
Bob
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Mar 21st, 2006, 05:36 PM
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Some more questions:

1) Is Moshi a nicer town for the first night than Arusha? Jane is taken by the idea of views over Kilimanjaro?

2) Is there any choice of guide / vehicle - do I leave this to the operator or is it worth researching and requesting specifics? Any recommendations for Roy's guides?

3) Are there any tips re accomodation requests - particular rooms to ask for/avoid etc

Thanks,
Bob
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Mar 21st, 2006, 06:09 PM
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Bob,

The nicest place that I know of in Arusha, although I have not visited, is Arusha Coffee Lodge. It is part of the Elewana group of lodges that also includes Tarangire Tree Tops and Migration Camp.

As far as mobile camps versus permanent camps, all I can say is that the most memorable time during my safari was at Nomad Ndutu. I absolutely loved Lake Manyara Tree Lodge and Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and I cannot imagine staying anywhere else in those two parks, but for the Serengeti, it was a very special experience to stay in a small exclusive tented mobile camp such as Nomad's. However, I do think that Grumeti River Camp or Klein's Camp would also be very special.

Although availability is tight overall in June, I would suggest that you enquire about CCA's Tanzania Under Canvas option for your Serengeti stay. It is so new that there may still be availability and I cannot imagine that it would be much more expensive than Mbuzi Mawe. Nomad is also a great option if you can find space.
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Mar 21st, 2006, 06:13 PM
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One other thought...although Tarangire Tree Tops is outside of the actual park, it would make a fabulous start to your honeymoon. Not sure if all the rooms have the same, but at least my room (#20) had the coolest shower for two, with dual showerheads from the ceiling directly overhead, and each room is very private, far away from the nearest other room. Each room measures about 850 sq. ft.
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Mar 22nd, 2006, 03:36 AM
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Hi Bob,

I was going to suggest the following three companies who all do goodsafaris at fair prices:

Sunny safaris
Eastco
Roy Safaris

You ask about Moshi or Arusha. There is nothing more magical than seeing Kilamanjaro from Moshi.

Have fun!!!
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Mar 22nd, 2006, 08:17 AM
  #20
bat
 
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bob:
I could be wrong but I think that Moshi is in the wrong direction re the start of your safari. I also am unaware of any honeymoon quality accommodations there.
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