Tanzania in June - please help!

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Mar 22nd, 2006, 04:13 PM
  #21
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Just tried Good Earth based on some comments on here and their quote is the best by some way for an identical itinerary - they have broken it down and seem to be able to cut cost on the safri, Zanzibar and Dar accom and flights! This seems a bit too good to be true?

Rocco, I will try CC Africa for the under canvas option but guess the options you have mentioned while undisputedly great options - Grumetti sounds superb - will put pressure on the budget.... I keep trying to convince myself it's only money...
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Mar 23rd, 2006, 05:59 AM
  #22
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Good Earth have offered an Exclusive Mobile Camp (EMC) as a better wildlife alternative to Mbuzi Mawe. This adds $280 pppn. Seems very expensive. Is this worthwhile?
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Mar 23rd, 2006, 09:23 AM
  #23
 
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Eben stayed at EMC a few months ago and posted a less than glowing review but perhaps things have improved since then - http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34733558
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Mar 23rd, 2006, 09:44 AM
  #24
 
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I wish we can get another opinion or two here for EMC! Go for it Bobi!

It is an expensive camp and we just came from a private camp in Tarangire so my expectations in Dec were high when we visited. It was set up on a hill and the wind made sleeping impossible.

In June they should be near Sopa so the location will be good with certainly less wind. My concerns about noisy tents will be less of a factor.

Bobi, can you post your latest itinerary? It will help us help you with this tough decision.

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Mar 23rd, 2006, 01:48 PM
  #25
 
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Bob, I did a quick search. It looks like a number of posters booked/were planning on booking Dec., Feb. and March safaris including EMC in their itineraries. But none of those people have reported back.

Etio, billmarie, RedChicky...are you out there???
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Mar 23rd, 2006, 02:49 PM
  #26
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Thanks Patty, Eben, Leely. This was my target itinerary:

16 Arrive Narobi 06:30 bus transfer to Arusha - Moivaro Coffee Lodge
17/18 Tarangire - Swala
19 Crater - Ngorongoro Serena
20/21 West - Mbalageti
22/23 Central/North - Mbuze Mawe or luxury mobile camp
24-28 Transfer from Seronera to Zanzibar - Pongwe
29 Stone town - Dhow Palace
30 Flight to Dar, Holiday inn BB
1 Depart 05:25 to London and back to OZ

Good Earth quoted $3710pp for this and are now checking availability. +$280pppn for EMC instead of Mbuzi Mawe.

I gace the same itinerary to ATR and they have come back with:

16 Arrive Narobi 06:30 bus transfer to Arusha - Moivaro Coffee Lodge
17/18 Tarangire - Oliver's Camp (Swala
full)
19 Crater - Ngorongoro Serena
20/21/22/23 Olakira (they said min 3 nts Mbalageti so out (but I think they mean the Nomad camp)and Olakira better than Mbuzi Mawe).
24-28 Transfer from Seronera to Zanzibar - Pongwe
29 Stone town - Dhow Palace
30 Flight to Dar, Holiday inn BB
1 Depart 05:25 to London and back to OZ

Their quote is $4200pp

Swala is free for 22/23rd June so apparently we could fly to Serengeti and do it in reverse. I'm guessing the cost is much higher than for Oliver's.

Appreciate comments on Oliver's camp and Olakira.

I think the Good Earth quote is much better value but they will no doubt struggle for availability as well.

Roy's were quoting apprx $4000pp for the target itinerary +$125pppn for Olakira instead of Mbuze Mawe. They have been silent for 2 days since I asked them to confirm price & availability (probably struggling with it)

I was really happy with the initial itinerary - seems a bit like I'm going backwards now. Sandi was right - availability seems to be the problem.
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Mar 24th, 2006, 11:11 AM
  #27
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Roy came back. Turns out Mbalageti Tented Camp (as opposed to Nomad) is available. Mbuzi Mawe full. They have substituted Olakira for this so we get 2 nights Mbalageti, 2 nights Olakira - I think this addition of a semi permanenet tented camp in the Seronera maybe an improvement.

Also Ngoro Serena is not available so they have proposed SOPA. Is it worth accepting the SOPA to have the crater views or trying Plantation / Ngoro Farm / Gibbs?

We have also asked if it is possible to do in reverse to include Swala.

Keeping fingers crosssed!
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Mar 24th, 2006, 11:38 AM
  #28
 
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Bob, someone wasn't too happy with the Sopa at the Crater on this board very recently. I'll try to find the link.

Still, I would no doubt bite the bullet and stay on the Crater rim anyway. Just a personal preference--I want the view even if it means a tired room or whatever. Heck, I'll be at the Wildlife on the rim in June. And talk about tired rooms!
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Mar 24th, 2006, 11:55 AM
  #29
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Re: Sopa, though there was a recent comment that it wasn't very good, that's one in many others where visitors were satisfied. Besides, the Sopa does have a great position which is right at the decent road into the Crater, saving time if you were staying at the other props - Serena, Wildlife or Crater. Remember, most of your time at the Crater will be game viewing... the lodge for the 1-nt for sleeping. Plantation and Gibbs are 2-hrs away from the Crater, closer to Manyara. The Farmhouse is the only other lodge option and that still is not at the Crater itself. The combo Mbalageti and Olakira are both good for June. With bearly 3-months to go, you should firm up as soon as, or chance loosing space anywhere.

 
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Mar 24th, 2006, 12:42 PM
  #30
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Absolutely stay on the rim--the view is fabulous.
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Mar 24th, 2006, 03:34 PM
  #31
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Thanks Sandi, Bat. Will follow your advice for SOPA. Just waiting for confirmation we can switch the order to fit in Swala and then finaaaaalllly we should be done! I'm excited again now....
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Mar 28th, 2006, 10:53 PM
  #32
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Sandi, Eben, Leely, Bat, Rocco,

You have been so helpful can I ask one more favour... It's come to final decision time.

Unfortunately they all came back with something different. Please help!

Good Earth $3765 (-440 if Swala not available)

16 Arrive Nairobi, shuttle bus to Arusha o/n Moivaro
17/18 Tarangire - Tarangire Safari Lodge (Swala on waitlist)
19 Crater - Ngorongoro Serena
20/21 West - Mbalageti
22/23 Central/North Mbuze Mawe
24-28 fly Zanzibar 3 nights Pongwe, 2 nights Matemwe beach village
29 Stonetown - Dhow
30 Flight to Dar, Holiday inn BB

Roy $4280

16 Arrive Nairobi, shuttle bus to Arusha o/n Moivaro
17/18 Fly to Serengeti - Olakira
19/20 West - Mbalageti
21 Crater - Ngorongoro Serena
22/23 Tarangire - Swala
24-28 fly Zanzibar 3 nights Pongwe, 2 nights Matemwe beach village
29 Stonetown - Dhow
30 Flight to Dar, Holiday inn BB

ATR $4189

16 Arrive Nairobi, shuttle bus to Arusha o/n Moivaro
17/18 Tarangire - Olivers Camp
19 Crater - Ngorongoro Serena
20/21/22/23 Serengeti - Olakira
22/23 Tarangire - Swala
24-28 fly Zanzibar 5 nights Pongwe
29 Stonetown - Dhow
30 Flight to Dar, Holiday inn BB

Good Earth looks cheapest but no Swala. Roy is more expensive because in reeverse but has Swala confirmed. ATR seems the most professional but has Olivers vs Swala and no Mbalageti.

Which would you choose???
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Mar 28th, 2006, 11:30 PM
  #33
 
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I prefer the Roy Safari itinerary. For my own itinerary, like your Good Earth itinerary, I finished up with 2 nights at Mbuzi Mawe. There are not really any game drive circuits within about 1 hour. Plus, flying out of Seronera, we had four stops on the way to Zanzibar, and this was a bit annoying.

Although I really liked the staff at Mbuzi Mawe, I did not care for the large groups that Mbuzi Mawe attracted.

Also, I like Roys itinerary because it features Swala, which would have been my first choice for Tarangire had it been available for my own visit.

If you did have the opportunity to overnight in Nairobi at the end, here is a great looking hotel, by the same owners of Breezes and the Palms:

www.palacina.com

Good luck with your final decision.
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Mar 29th, 2006, 03:25 AM
  #34
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Typo on ATR. 22/23 Tarangire - Swala should have been deleted... ATR has offered Olivers and not Swala
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Mar 29th, 2006, 03:42 AM
  #35
 
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Hi Bob

Is Mbalageti is a TENTED chalet room?

For a honeymoon, try to upgrade to Arusha Coffee Lodge in Arusha. It is romantic and places you very near the airport for the flight the following day.

I like the one-way flight. And the split between Mbalageti and Olakira will give you wider coverage for wildlife.

I remember that Matemwe Beach has some very basic rooms (the cheaper ones) but a good beach and atmosphere. Try to upgrade to a suite.

So Roy's it is.
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Mar 29th, 2006, 03:58 AM
  #36
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Hi Eben,

Yes, Mbalageti is a tented chalet.

My fiance has just looked at the pictures of Mbuzi Mawe vs Olakira and she was mightily impressed by the rooms at Mbuzi Mawe, much less so by Olakira... I guess that is the difference between permanent camps vs semi permanent. Will the atmosphere and wildlife experience be really superior at Olakira?

Also re your comment about the one way flight is thi sbetter because it measn less driving on bad roads?

Will ask About Arusha Coffee Lodge.

Thanks for the advice!



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Mar 29th, 2006, 04:44 AM
  #37
 
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Hi Bob

By the end of June, the area next to the road between Ngorongoro Crater and central Serengeti will not have much wildlife. You don't benefit from driving that very dusty and bumpy stretch twice!

Flying one-way is one of the best-kept secrets of a N. Circuit safari. It is quite affordable and you get to spend a lot more time watching wildlife. I prefer to drive out and fly back but it does not matter much.

Olakira vs. Mbuze Mawe comes down to personal choice. Olakira is smaller, more intimate and seasonal with a big fire at night and more. It is located near Turner Springs which has an active lion population at night and you feel closer to nature. I think it will work for a honeymoon and the rates are reasonable.

Being part of the popular Serena chain, Mbuze is used by tour groups for good reason. When full, I just don't get excited by it as a honeymoon option. But you get the normal good Serena service.

In terms of wildlife, I agree with Rocco. Their are no gameroads near Mbuze. Just the main road going north or South. So your game drives will be either north or south and I can bet your guides will probably head south to Seronera for 2 days where the game viewing is guaranteed. It is not far enough to the north to comfortably reach the Mara River but Lobo is reachable (if you can convince your guide).

Going west into the corridor as far as Mbalageti is always risky. If your timing is right the Grumeti area is magical - if not, then the game drives are long towards Seronera.

So the split between Olakira (from where you can go in all directions) and Mbalegeti is a good bet IMO - especially at this late stage!

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Mar 29th, 2006, 05:40 AM
  #38
 
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The rooms at Mbuzi Mawe are definitely large and have big, modern bathrooms, but in my opinion, the rooms lacked charm. Plus, I didn't want to give away too much before writing about it in my trip report, but the food at Mbuzi Mawe is average and the lions around the tents are a constant threat. With the camp surrounded by kopjes, I sometimes felt like a sitting duck for these lions. Besides the lions, there are big old dagga boy buffalo on the property, as well (attracting the lions, and adding a further risk to the guests).

I have no information on the other option you have instead of Mbuzi Mawe, but I just wanted to tell more about my thoughts on Mbuzi Mawe.
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Mar 29th, 2006, 05:44 AM
  #39
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Palacini Suites is beautiful and expensive. If just sleeping here after late arrival and then early flight next morning to JRO, you can consider Panari which is brand new, and just 10-min from the airport. May not be as intimate, but if you need a comfy bed, clean linens and convenience, this is the better choice.
 
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Mar 29th, 2006, 06:30 AM
  #40
 
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The advice/opinions about camp locations, atmosphere, game drive distances, relative values, etc. that a lot of you seasoned experts provide on this site are just the sort of thing those of us that have not been to East Africa find very useful. I and I know many others appreciate your invaluable insights, both factual and subjective.
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