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Tanzania Jan/10 - 2 different itinerary styles - comments pls

Tanzania Jan/10 - 2 different itinerary styles - comments pls

Jul 31st, 2009, 05:47 PM
  #1  
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Tanzania Jan/10 - 2 different itinerary styles - comments pls

Have our flights booked in/out of NBO - considering two different itineraries for the Tanzania 9 night portion......price is about the same per person ($5,000/ea) - both assume private guides/drivers throughout

Itinerary A

- 3 nights Plantation Lodge .... from there we visit the crater, Manyara, possibly Empakaai crater
- 5 nights Charlie Mobile Safari - a new, somewhat less expensive mobile camp from Nomad Tanzanzia .... 3 nights in the Serengeti and 2 nights in Loliondo - fewer creature comforts than other mobile camps (smaller tents, etc)
- 1 night unaccounted for - still working on it....maybe back to Kenya for one night before our departure night

PROS
- I like the long stretch at Plantation Lodge to relax and enjoy the area
- there is something intriguing to us about the mobile camping experience, even though we hate camping and haven't done it in over 30 years.....maybe we should consider that.....but the thought of hearing the animals at night is very appealing to us

CONS
- not staying on the crater rim to see the views
- the potential to hate the camping experience


Itinerary B

- one night Manyara at Kirurumu Tented Lodge
- 2 nights at Crater - Sopa Lodge
- 2 nights Serengeti Sopa Lodge
- 2 nights Olakira tented camp
- 2 nights Ndutu Lodge

PROS

- range of accommodation styles
- staying on crater rim
- comfort

CONS

- a lot of moving around
- cost of Olakira too expensive to add more nights for the mobile experience we would like from itinerary A

Comments are appreciated - I am leaning towards "A" for the pacing and mobile experience.

Thanks!
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Aug 1st, 2009, 12:20 PM
  #2  
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ttt
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Aug 1st, 2009, 12:52 PM
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With "A" - if after 30/yrs you're not sure how you'd like 5/days camping, then I'd reconsider. It can be wonderful or you can be so disappointed it might ruin your holiday. Also, for the 3/days Plantation it appears you'll have your own guide/vehicle; then when you're deposited at Nomad Charlie, you'll be using their guide/vehicle. If the last day will be to return to NBO, Charlie can handle this transfer.

Another thought if 3/days at Plantation, remember if you visit the crater more than once (remember: 6/hr limits for the crater visits), you not only incur a $200 vehicle fee but also daily park fee as Plantation is in Karatu, outside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA). If you wish to visit Empakaai, (I'm not certain, so you should verify), this might also be sited within the NCA you'll be hit with another daily park fee.

With "B" - I understand the feeling of moving too often, but it's not like total pack up and depart, everyone lives out of their duffle . Besides, I'm not that keen on the Serengeti Sopa Lodge. Maybe if you eliminate this, and at the conclusion of time in SESerengeti/Ndutu you spend a time at Gibb's you can add a night to Olakira. Gibb's is lovely, great large rooms, beautiful gardens, you can take walk in the NCA highlands, visit the Elephant Caves, even Spa or just have a leisurely relaxing time before returning home.

Maybe consider:
Day 1 - Manyara - Kirurumu
Day 2 - Ngorongoro - Sopa
Day 3 - Ngorongoro - Sopa
Day 4 - Serengeti - Olakira
Day 5 - Serengeti - Olakira
Day 6 - Serengeti - Olakira
Day 7 - Serengeti - Ndutu
Day 8 - Serengeti - Ndutu
Day 9 - Karatu - Gibb's
Day 10 - to Arusha/JRO and/or NBO

... if not 3/nts Olakira, it can be Ndutu for 3/nts and Olakira 2/nts.
... or if not the 2nd nt at Ngorongoro Sopa, head out to the Serengeti and at conclusion have a 2nd full day at Gibb's.

Too many choices, of course, but that's the fun of planning a private safari.
sandi is offline  
Aug 1st, 2009, 12:58 PM
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Elizabeth,

Is "Itinerary B" a land transfer trip or a "fly-in" safari style?

Just my 2 cents -
I'm not a fan of jumping around if you can help it...too much transfer driving and not enough actual game drives (unless it is a "fly-in"?) We are all different, but I would definitely say "A" is the better choice (of course I LOVE camping!).

If not staying on the rim is an issue, you could just make sure you get the opportunity to stop at viewpoints and that should do it. Really - if you are down in the crater all day for a game drive anyway, I don't know if having a rim view is all that important. It was quite hazy when I was there and I couldn't see much even with the rim view.

So, I guess my opinion is A but that B would be worth considering if it was "fly-in." However, if you have to do road transfers then that is a lot of time lost moving around.

-Carrie

P.S. I loved Ndutu and would highly recommend it! I went in October and there was not much to see but January would be better I think....
CarrieT is offline  
Aug 1st, 2009, 01:02 PM
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I just read Sandi's reply and I like her itinerary suggestions.
CarrieT is offline  
Aug 1st, 2009, 01:24 PM
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What time of the year ?

Gibbs Farm is lovely and the rooms are super comfy/spacious - great place to spend some time relaxing. Though I have not stayed at Plantation so can't compare them...

The Sopa at the crater does have a lovely position though but definately lacks the charm of somewhere like Gibbs.

From what I understand 'Charlie' is hardly camping we were looking at it too at one stage and the tents look pretty comfy. I am Nomad fan though - had an amazing stay at Sand Rivers so I'm biased towards them over a Sopa and Ndutu Lodge.
mistypopper is offline  
Aug 1st, 2009, 01:46 PM
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Hi Elizabeth,

I stayed at Plantation Lodge last year, and while it was lovely, the people friendly, and the food good, I think you would regret three nights there, as in itin. A. You are just too far from any park or safari. With such a short safari, I'd want to maximize the time on game drives. Can't comment on the mobile camping, but I know I personally would rather have more time with permanent "facilities", even if in a permanent tented camp. Others like camping, I'm sure.

I'd go with Itin. B, but would probably eliminate one night at the Crater, adding it to one of the other lodges. While the Crater is unique, it is also quite crowded. We did two nights at the Crater and in retrospect would have rather had more time in the Serengeti. I would also observe that the two Sopa properties are large, hotel like lodges and food is buffet (we stayed only at the Sopa at the Crater, and I'm rare on this board in that I disliked it quite a bit, except for location). Don't know if there are alternatives that meet your budget. Haven't stayed at Ndutu.

Best of luck. I'm sure you'll really enjoy your trip, whatever you choose.
traveler318 is offline  
Aug 1st, 2009, 04:30 PM
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I agree on the Crater - one night would be enough as long as you are there first thing in the morning to do the game drive in the Crater. I had to do two nights because the first night was spent driving from the Serengeti to the Crater so we couldn't do the Crater drive our first day there.

We were the first vehicle down and we didn't hit any crowds until around noon - it was fun to have it all to ourselves even if it was just a few minutes (because I'm sure they were all soon behind us). That happened to be our best lion sighting too because we were all alone and it was still early enough that they were active instead of just laying in the shade of the multitude of vehicles around them.

So if you're going to do a Crater drive, you may need two nights. It's too bad you can't add a couple of extra nights to your itinerary!
CarrieT is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 04:00 AM
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Thanks everyone for your really thoughtful replies - to answer some questions

- Time of year is late January
- Option A has a flight at the end from Ndutu to Kiliminjaro with is part of the Charlies Mobile pricing
- Option B is driving, not fly in
- plan is for one visit to the Crater

Considering all these great comments - will likely post again later - want to nail this down this week so I can start planning Namibia!
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 08:17 AM
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A logistics questions.

A) If we arrive at Kilimanjara at 9am, could we drive to Lake Manyara and do the game drive that same day, comfortably?

B) And then drive onto Plantation Lodge for that evening?

C) Re the Crater - if we start in the early AM and finish up our crater tour early afternoon (is that right?) could we proceed that day to the mobile camp or is it too much travel for that day? (I'm trying to figure out how some people just spend one night at the Crater)

D) Is it typical to go on a game drive the first day you arrive at a mobile camp (assuming it's in the mid afternoon)?

Thanks!
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 10:05 AM
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I am going in late jan/early feb..the ndutu lodge is not available.

I am going to be going on a game drive within hours of touchdown....but my aim is photography. Am spending 2nights at the crater....
KennyK is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 10:16 AM
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Hi Kenny - I remember you mentioning you're 5th or 6th on the Ndutu Lodge waiting list - what is your fallback?
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 11:18 AM
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My 2 cents: I love camping and LOVED Nomad, so Plan A is right up my alley, except I wouldn't stay 3 nights at Plantation Lodge unless I had some ultra-long safari with the luxury of many, many days.

But you say you don't like camping. If that is the case, you should choose another itinerary. I like Sandi's options.

Regarding your more recent set of questions, I have guesses but not real answers. I'd guess, yes and yes for the first two--but that's a very tight schedule on q. A. I'd stay overnight somewhere at Manyara personally and then game drive the next morning, then to Crater, overnight there and do your Crater game drive in the a.m. and then off to the Serengeti. Once you're there the travel is, in effect, a game drive. Many of us have been greeted by lions as soon as we entered the park. And regarding q. D: I would be surprised if you weren't offered a game drive upon arrival after you get settled unless it was quite late in the afternoon/almost nighttime.

I am so jealous!
Leely2 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 01:19 PM
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Let's see if I can help with the Qs.

A) With an early morning arrival, you need to get Visa, clear Immigration, collect bags. Being on a small plane from NBO, there won't be lots of peeps. Drive from JRO to Arusha is 45/min-1/hr. You might have to stop in to your safari operator to sign away your life (waivers, provide trip insurance details) a pre-safari briefing (30/min most). Drive from Arusha to Manyara is 2/hrs, but by mid-morning traffic thru town can delay you. But, you'll get to Manyara and have game drive. I'd overnight here.

B) You can do a morning game drive at Manyara, stop at Mto-wa-Mbu village for a walkabout, maybe pick-up some souvenirs. Drive from here is on tarmac thru some towns, no game viewing. About 1.5/hrs to Plantation. Balance of afternoon at leisure.

C) From Plantation, located in Karatu is approx 30/min drive to NCA gate which doesn't open till 6am. Then it can take 30-45/min around rim to descent road. Figure you won't be down on crater floor till 8:30am. Your 6/hrs would end 2:30pm. I would not recommended you try to get out to the Serengeti on same day.

Had you been on crater rim night prior, easy enough to be on crater floor by 6am/opening. What you might want to consider is from Manyara head to NCA and have overnight at Sopa so you can get down to crater floor early next morning. Then you can head to Serengeti after or spend a day or two at Plantation for R&R.

D) For lodging, the day commences from lunch thru dinner and breakfast next. If arriving at lunch or later you have afternoon game drive whether conducted by the camp/lodge or with your own guide/vehicle. For those long transfer drives, i.e., thru the Serengeti to lodging, that's a game drive and by the time you arrive can be close to dark... no game drives inside parks after dark.
sandi is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 02:06 PM
  #15  
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Leely2 and sandi - thank you for the information - I have a lot to think about now!
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 02:15 PM
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Re: 1 night at the Crater--I envisioned that you would travel from Plantation Lodge at a convenient time, have an afternoon game drive in Crater, and exit by the Sopa road, then overnight at Crater rim. Then a morning, 6 am, game drive from Sopa, exiting about noon, and going on to the Serengeti. I think that is doable, as we made if from west Serengeti, had an afternoon Crater game drive, and exited to Sopa for overnight, i.e. the reverse (and we were farther into the Seregenti).
traveler318 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 03:28 PM
  #17  
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If we only plan one crater visit - is it best that it starts first thing in the morning or is the later visit as good (what time does the crater close in January?)
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 05:49 PM
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Elizabeth...I preponed my trip by a week to get 1 night at Ndutu and 2 nights at Olakira tented camp..
KennyK is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 05:56 PM
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I hear that the sun does not show up in the crater till about 9-930 am in the crater. is taht right guys?

Elizabeth, it's the 8th wonder !!!!
KennyK is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2009, 05:05 AM
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The sun shows up when it shows. Sometimes as early as sunrise, between 6:30-7am on a clear day. If a cloudy/overcast day, it can be later, or not at all. When/if the sun shines will vary day-by-day and season-by-season.

Like there is no guarantee as to game, neither is there a guarantee as to the weather.
sandi is offline  

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