Tanzania Itinerary Planning

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Jul 22nd, 2011, 12:35 PM
  #1
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Tanzania Itinerary Planning

I am looking for any advice/suggestions/comments on our itinerary, lodges and tour operator. We are 4 adults who are going on our first safari to Tanzania in February 2012

Tour Operator – Vintage Africa (VA). There is very little about them on the Fodor forums or when searching the web. They seem to be a large ground operator who sells to many travel agents (TA) . I contacted both a number of TA & Vintage Africa directly (through the Lemala website) listing the same itinerary and they (VA) responded with the best price and full details. Anyone have any comments ???

I know that the Mbuzi Mawe is not part of the mirgration area in Feburary but we are going there to see the area since it is different from the plains.

Also any suggestions about flights. One couple is from San francisco and the other from Chicago.

Thanks for the help

Itinerary February 2012
Day 1: Arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport Arusha Coffee Lodge (BB).
Day 2: Arusha - flight to Seronera. Mbuzi Mawe Camp).
Day 3: Mbuzi Mawe Camp – tour Grumeti Woodland / Lobo area
Day 4: Mbuzi Mawe Camp

Day 5: Drive to Central Serengeti -- Lemala E-Wanjan
Day 6: Central Serengeti -- Lemala E-Wanjan
Day 7: Central Serengeti -- Lemala E-Wanjan

Day 8: Drive to Ndutu Area -- Lemala Ndutu
Day 9: Ndutu/ Serengeti National Park -- Lemala Ndutu
Day 10: Ndutu/ Serengeti National Park -- Lemala Ndutu

Day 11: Drive to the Ngorongoro Crater -- Lemala Ngorongoro
Day 12 : Ngorongoro Conservation Area -- Lemala Ngorongoro
Day 13 : Ngorongoro Conservation Area -- Lemala Ngorongoro

Day 14: Drive to Lake Manyara National Park, Lemala Manyara

Day 15: Depart Zanzibar - transfer to Manyara airstrip for your flight to Zanzibar. )
Day 16:/17/18 Zanzibar
Day 19: Departure to USA
AllenJ is offline  
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Jul 22nd, 2011, 02:53 PM
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At this late date, the fact you can get anything in the Ndutu area is a miracle. And, inasmuch as Vintage Africa is using ALL Lemala properties, you have the itinerary shown. Also, probably discounts for "extended stays"... though you could mix it up a bit. These camps are lovely, but much the same one from the other.

While Mbuze Mawe is a bit north, the Ewanjan camp can be good in the Central area as there's never any guarantee all the migration will be in the Ndutu area.

However, why in the world are you spending 3/nts at the Ngorongoro Crater? Crater tours are limited to 6/hrs each and every other tour to the floor incurs another $200 per vehicle. Most people spend 1, maybe 2/nts here... 3 is a bit much. Do you have plans to do other activities here?

Though Lemala doesn't have a camp at Tarangire, I would suggest you visit at this park (minimum 2/nts), maybe taking a day from Ngorongoro and even Ewanjan to spend at this park. Tarangire is a gem... with large elephant herds, birds, predators of course, and the lovely baobab tree landscape. Vintage Africa can certainly find a property other than Lemala to fit your needs.
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Jul 22nd, 2011, 07:20 PM
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Sandi

Thank you for the comments. The reason for the extra day at the Crater camp is not to return to the crater but to tour in the Olmoti and Embagai crater areas.

As to the 6 hour tour limit inside the crater does that mean that if enter at 6:30am we neede to be out by 12:30 in the afternoon?
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Jul 23rd, 2011, 07:49 AM
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Ok, then if Olmoti or Embakaai Craters... makes sense.

Full-day crater floor tours were eliminited about 3/yrs ago and now it's 6/hrs only which can be sufficient for many. And while no one seems to be monitoring who enters when and so should be out, technically... if in at 6:30, it's out by 12:30. This is why many outfitters offer back-to-back crater visits - afternoon on day arriving and next morning - giving you a full-day, but the 2nd visit incurs the $200/vehicle fee. Your daily park fee $50/person is good for 24/hr periods.

I'd still recommend visiting Tarangire (Boundary Hill, Kikoti, River, Maramboi Camps to name a few; others can be Swala or Oliver's), in place of Mbuze Mawe. Departing Arusha Coffee Lodge which is at the farthest end of Arusha, it's an easy (on tarmac) 2/hr drive where you can spend the time you had planned at Mbuze Mawe. Then fly from Kuro airstrip/Tarangire* to Seronera/Ewanjan, then south to Ndutu, concluding at Ngorongoro.

*or drive to Arusha Airstrip (right outside Arusha Coffee Lodge)
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Jul 23rd, 2011, 12:38 PM
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Sandi (not sure my original reply was sent out to the net)
Thanks for the reply. The reason for not including Tarangire is that the literture all state that the animals disburse into the surrounding areas during the Jan-Mar time frame. We will consider your suggestions.

Any thoughts on Vintage Africa ???????

Thanks again Allen
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Jul 23rd, 2011, 12:47 PM
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I'd second the recommendation for Tarangire. I've been there in February and saw at least 200 eles in one day. The landscape with Baobab trees is also interesting. You'll want to learn about some of the local cultures such as the Maasai. The area around Tarangire is good for that.
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Jul 23rd, 2011, 01:38 PM
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See this thread on Vintage Africa.
http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...reputation.cfm

I did the Olmoti Crater visit by hiking (but not Embakaai) and it was nice, but not at the top of the list of my Africa activities.

You mention you want to go to Mbuzi Mawe since "the area is different from the plains." For a very different habitat, spend the first day of your safari at Arusha National Park where there are forests and lakes. You might see the beautiful black and white colobus monkeys. Hiking and canoeing is an option.

You could still keep 2 nights at Mbuzi Mawe Camp if you wanted. But I wouldn't spend 3 nights there to see a different area.

Better yet, if "different area" is what you want, and you include the forest in Arusha for your "woodland" terrain, then go to Tarangire instead of Mbuzi Mawe. The Tarangire landscape dotted with numerous giant Baobab trees is not found other places.

Sandi has made some good arguments for Tarangire.

Here are some more:
http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...b-or-march.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...ebmar-2006.cfm

This quote is from the link directly above

We spent a couple of nights in Arusha, and went to Arusha NP, a beautiful park with views of Mt. Kili and Mt. Meru, and had lots of giraffe. We also walked to a waterfall. Next was Tarangire NP. I can't imagine why so many companies skip this park. In addition to baobab trees, there are elephants EVERYWHERE...yes, even in Feb. Kibo has a beautiful tented camp there, overlooking the (usually) dry Tarangire River. One night, we watched elephants move right through the camp, 15 feet from us. We also walked in the bush with local Maasai warriors. Lake Manyara is a pleasant half-day trip, but I've not been that impressed with it, compared to Tarangire.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 07:21 AM
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Supposedly, and I believe when I first visited Tarangire 15/yrs ago, in November, it was thought that this park was ONLY go during the mini-migration months of July thru Oct. Well, well... we saw more game than could have been expected in November, and on every subsequent visit over the years since, in the "not the best months" have yet to be disappointed.

Also, considering climate change, so-called expected weather and seasons is askewed worldwide. So guess, the guidebooks haven't been updated, sticking with the same-ole, same-ole, and we can't always believe what is written.

While volume of game can be lower in the "off" months, believe me, the game hasn't ALL dispersed from the park (as all reports of those visiting during these months reflect). Tarangire is good year-round and not to be missed.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 05:28 PM
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Thanks for quoting me, Atravelynn! I agree with the recommendation of Arusha NP, especially since I've seen the black and white colobus monkeys on every visit there. You won't see those anywhere else on the northern circuit.
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Jul 25th, 2011, 06:11 AM
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Colobus monkeys are best seen at Arusha NP. However, we were fortunate, one visit, to see them high (very very) in the treetops in Central Serengeti. But I wouldn't bet on this in the future. Stick with ANP for these lovely creatures.
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Jul 25th, 2011, 08:47 AM
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Wow! I didn't know they were in that area, Sandi. I'll keep my eyes peeled on my next trip.
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Jul 31st, 2011, 10:39 PM
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To all who replied with such great advice.

Sorry for my delay in replying but we were on vacation with no internet access. We are looking to rearrange our itinerary based on the suggestions you have given. Will post the revised itinerary when we have it redrawn. Again thanks and don't want you to think i was ungratful due to my lack of timely response. allen

PS Shay Tay are you going with Bill Givens in 2012.
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Aug 1st, 2011, 07:36 AM
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AllenJ -

It's so refreshing to have an original poster return to the forum to acknowledge receipt of the info provided. So, asante sana ("thank you" in Swahili).

Look forward to seeing the amended routing. In the meantime, enjoy your current vacation.
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Aug 1st, 2011, 02:27 PM
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Echoing what sandi said.
regards - tom
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Aug 1st, 2011, 04:03 PM
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Another echo.
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Aug 1st, 2011, 05:06 PM
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Need some help with itinerary changes

Current plan
Day 13 : Ngorongoro Conservation Area -- Lemala Ngorongoro
Day 14: Drive to Lake Manyara National Park, Lemala Manyara
Day 15: Depart Zanzibar - transfer to Manyara airstrip for your flight to Zanzibar.

New plan
We have decided to drop the Zanzibar part of the trip. What with the travel to/from days added it is about a 3 week trip. Long enough. Also we want to visit Tarangire as has been suggested.

So here is my question.

How would you layout day 14-15 and 16 (really don't want to do a 17th day unless absolutly needed) if needed so as to visit both Manyara and Taragire.Would you suggest a night in both parks, a drive thur of Manyara or what. In the end we will drive to Aruha / RJO for flight home.

OK my travel planning experts, help me plan a trip through both parks and any lodge suggestion s will be a bonus.

A THANK YOU (I know it is shouting but a shouting thank you can't be that bad, can it) in advance for your time and effort in help us on 1st safari. allen
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Aug 2nd, 2011, 02:00 PM
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As you're starting from Arusha Coffee Lodge, I'd just head down the road to Tarangire for 2/nts. From here drive to Lake Manyara 1/nt. Then from Manyara airstrip fly to Central Serengeti (Lemala Ewanjan), south to Ndutu (Lemala Ndutu), to Ngorongoro... and back to Arusha!

Day 1 - Arusha - Arusha Coffee Lodge
Day 2 - Drive (2/hrs) Tarangire - o/n lots of choices
Day 3 - Tarangire
Day 4 - Drive (2/hrs) to Lake Manyara - o/n various choices
Day 5 - From Lake Manyara airstrip flight to Central Serengeti - Lemala Ewanjan
Days 6 & 7 - C.Serengeti - Lemala Ewanjan
Day 8 - Drive south (2-3/hrs) to Ndutu - Lemala Ndutu
Days 9 & 10 - Ndutu - Lemala Ndutu
Day 11 - Drive (2.5-3/hrs) to Ngorongoro - Lemala Ngo
Days 12 & 13 - Ngo - treks - Lemala Ngo
Day 14 - Drive (4/hrs) to Arusha; dayroom; transfer to JRO for homebound.

I'd just replace Mbuzi Mawe with Tarangire and Lake Manyara on the front end. Or to shorten the drive back from Ngo (Day 14), after Tarangire, fly from Kuru airstrip to Central Serengeti (balance of itinerary same), then on Day 13, drive from Ngo (2.5/hrs) to Lake Manyara for o/n; next day drive (2.5/hrs) to Arusha and JRO homebound.

That's your 14/days.

Again, at this time if only Lemala available for when you plan to travel, guess you have no choice, but I would try to mix-it-up with some other camps (availability dependent), otherwise, it's same-ole, same-ole, one Lemala camp is much the same as another. Ask.
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Aug 2nd, 2011, 05:53 PM
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Hi AllenJ, do you mind sharing how much you're getting quoted for this trip? I just finished planning our Feb 2012 trip using mostly Asilia properties and would be interested in the comparison. Availability was quite difficult in Ndutu and Ngo Crater Rim!
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Aug 2nd, 2011, 06:47 PM
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Linjudy

Currently the cost is $7600 for the safari portion of the trip but that includes the airfare from Manyara to Zanzibar which we are now planning to cancel.

The origianl itinerary was $6700 but that was for a shared vehicle & driver and one less night & W/O the Manyara / Zanaibar flight.

We wanted a private driver & vehicle and added an extra night at Lemala Ngrongoro. The $900 price increase was not that bad when you added in the cost of the additional night at about $450 and the other $450 for the private van & driver. The cost is working out to about $900 x 4prn = $3600 extra cost of driver & van. Not sure of the saving from removing the Zanzibar flight. Plan to discuss that with them tommorrow via telephone. The same itinerary w/o the night in Manyara nor the Zanzibar flight was quoted to us at $10,800/ppn x 4.by a different well known company. Hope this helps.
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Aug 2nd, 2011, 09:32 PM
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Amazing the variance, isn't it? Our trip of 12 days for 2 people, for the same itinerary, ranged from $6300 to $9000. And the high end quote was from a well known local Arusha company.

One thing, when you say "van", do you actually mean van, or a 4x4? You may want to clarify on the vehicle with the operator. On our previous safari, we really loved the open sided 4x4's. I would not want to go on safari in a van.

Also, I think the flight from Manyara/Zanzibar is about $300. You can see the prices at Coastal Air (http://www.coastal.cc/)
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