Tanzania itinerary for July 2011

Old Jun 10th, 2010, 01:30 PM
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Tanzania itinerary for July 2011

Hello -- I'm trying to decide between two itineraries for my trip to Tanzania (for next July 2011). One is through the African Dream Safaris (ADS) (9 nights, hits northern and central serengeti, ngorongoro and tarangire). The other is with Africa Adventure Company (AAC) (8 nights, hits ngorongoro and tarangire, and then 3 nightswith the Serengeti Shared Safari Camp). They are roughly equal in price. My questions:

1 - has anyone had good/bad experiences with these companies?
2 - I'm leaning towards the second one, because it has two nights in the Swala Camp in Tarangire, which sounds amazing. Do people think it's better to have some time in the luxury camp like this, even though it would mean one night less on safari?
3 - AAC seems to recommend the Shared Safari Camp, because it moves with the migration. But, I can't seem to find anything about it on the internet. Has anyone stayed there?
4 - The ADS itinerary is largely through the Serena hotels. The hotels didn't get such great reviews on trip advisor. Have you stayed there?

Thanks so much!!! - Gerie
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Old Jun 10th, 2010, 10:31 PM
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1. Many good experiences with AAC.

2. I personally would never trade luxury for safari time. I have found even the budget accommodations in Africa to be fine to very good. Others may differ in their opinions.

3. You may want to get some more info or ask for photos, etc. But if AAC recommends it, I would not hesitate to use it, if it was within my budget.

4. Yes, I have stayed in Serenas and I'm going back to some Serenas. I have found them to be very nice. They will not offer the same experience of a tented camp. Tented camps are better. But Serena is less expensive.

For better answers, you could list the entire itinerary. Are these private departures or group trips?
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Old Jun 11th, 2010, 01:55 AM
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All depends on your life style, interests, etc. If you look forward to being more attended to than maybe the "upscale" accommodations are for you. If the flora, fauna, etc are main reason for the trip then the accommodations might seem secondary as long as they are clean, safe, etc. As atravelynn already mentioned I would not trade time incounty for lodging. Having said that we have usually "splurged" for maybe a special place simply to round out the experience or maybe to be close to a given area for increased opportunity to see game.
Have stayed in some Serenas and Sopa properties. Certainly were not as intimate as other places we have stayed. But, they served there purpose and at least for our first trip or two made it possible for us to go on safari and take a family member. We have many fond memories of game sightings at those properties, good food and great social interaction with fellow travelers. In reading lodging reviews I always have to bear in mind traveler expectations. I recall one where after reading two opposing reviews I wondered if it was the same place.
I would encourage a mix of accommodations as a tented lodge can offer unique opportunity to experience safari a bit different than being in a formal lodge. Even then when tents are quite close together may find noise and activity much like being in a lodge room with thin walls. Still, when you are awaken early in the morning by monkeys or red-winged starlings having a marathon on your tent roof or discover a fresh cape buffalo "patty" immediated outside your tent opening, it is different and to be relished!
Wish I could comment on the two companies in question but have no experience with either.
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Old Jun 11th, 2010, 07:06 AM
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In addition to the personalized cape buffalo patties outside your tent, these accommodations usually have more personalized service, less hustle and bustle of other guests or groups, and meals that are not buffets.

The Wildlife Lodges mentioned above are some of the more economical options. They were great when I was there. Since these were once the first government lodges in the parks, they chose some of the best locations for them. They have been upgraded as well. But Wildlife Lodges occupy the lower end on the luxury spectrum.

All the properties mentioned: Wildlife, Sopa, Serena, mobile tented camps range from good decent places to stay with amazing amenities given their locations, to very fancy. You do not have to pay top dollar to have something safe or hygienic.

I love Rsnyder's detailed descriptions and once you go to Africa, reading such accounts will bring back wonderful memories and make you want to head right back.
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Old Jun 11th, 2010, 08:05 AM
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Hello gerie,

I used Africa Dream Safaris for a July trip to Tanzania in 2008 and thought they were fantastic. Really superb driver/guide (his name was Wilfred Fue), and lots of extras included in their price that other safaris didn't have (VIP/expedited visas on arrival for example). We had a large stretch Toyota Land Cruiser with a total of three rows for the two of us, ample snacks and cold drinks, plus comfortable chairs and table for bush breakfasts and picnic lunches. Many other operators provided shorter vehicles when the party was only two travelers, and with luggage, etc., they looked cramped.

I did not stay at any Serena properties, so I cannot comment on your proposed accommodations. If your budget allows, I would suggest at least one tented camp.

Hope this helped. Best of luck.
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