Tanzania recommendations

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Aug 18th, 2005, 05:00 PM
  #1
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Tanzania recommendations

My family and I visited Tanzania in June. We received so much great info on the forums that I wanted to contribute this info for others.

The country. Tanzania seemed safe with very nice welcoming people. It gained independence w/o a war in 1960 and has been stable since then. It’s poor (not much natural resources) but well organized. Three different Tanzanians told me they were nice to each other because that is how President Nyerre (their George Washington) wanted them to be. It was never officially a British colony so it seems the British did not do much to “improve” (by this I mean “exploit”) the country.

Getting there. KLM flies direct from Amsterdam to Arusha. This avoids the bus or extra plane ride from Nairobi.

Parks to visit. We did the Northern Circuit and visited Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro and Serengeti. Our favorite was Ngorongoro followed by Serengeti.

Tour operator. We picked Roy Safaris in Arusha because we saw many recommendations for them. They were great. The arrangements were smooth and we really felt they were working at figuring out what they could do for us. Our vehicle was new and spacious. It was a new elongated Toyota Landcruiser w/ a pop top roof. It had only two rows of seats behind the driver’s seat instead of three like many of the non-Roy vehicles which we saw. The difference was like that between first class and coach in an airplane. Roy was half price compared to Thomson Family Safaris.

Private Safari. If you’re going to pay all that $ for airfare, opt for a private safari w/ your own vehicle and guide. That way, you decide if you’ll get up early or sleep in, and the guide will show you what you like instead of trying to appease separate interests.

The Guide. We saw several posts recommending Clamian, one of Roy’s guides. We asked for him and they assigned him to us. Wow, what a great guy! We were happy to hang around w/ him for 10 days. He’s a Maasai and so has that dignified composure you’d expect coming from tough people who spend their days protecting their herds from lions with wooden spears. But he was also very warm and friendly, besides knowing everything about everything and explaining it all very well. You should ask for Clamian also.

Accomodations. We stayed at the Sopa at Tarangire, and the Serenas at Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro and Serengeti. The Serenas were Grade A in all aspects. The Sopa at Tarangire was nice but we thought the dim lighting in the rooms and the limited hours for hot water (apparently because they have to generate their own electricity) were drawbacks.

What to wear. We did the khaki “safari suit” thing. We were happy to have the long pants and long sleeves when there were bugs around, especially with the tsetse flies in the Seronera area in the Serengeti.

What we’ll do different next time. Next time we’ll do more “cultural tourism.” We had a half day tour of Ngirisi Village near Arusha and we also visited a Maasai village. We really enjoyed meeting the people and next time we’ll do more of that. Next time we’ll also learn more Swahili, because the Tanzanians really seemed to enjoy our “Jambos,” “Habaris,”and “Asante Sanas.”
Shopping. In Tanzania it’s haggling when buying souvenirs. I know I did lousy. No recommendations from me on shopping.

Flying from Serengeti to Arusha. We visited the parks in a straight line going east to west and then flew back to Arusha in an eleven seat plane. When we reached Arusha visibility was zero and so our pilot flew here and there in the clouds for 20 minutes, circling and bouncing and diving, trying to see the airport. I was thinking we might fly into Mount Meru. At one point an alarm went off (for lack of airspeed or altitude or something). Sometimes the clouds would part while we were turning w/ the plane sideways so you could look straight out the window and see the ears of corn in the corn fields close below us. We landed safely when the pilot virtually threw the plane down on the runway. Some women were crying. My 12 year old son said “Sweet.” We were probably not in appreciable danger but next time we’ll skip the return plane ride. (When you don’t have the plane return they scramble the order of the parks so there’s a stop left on the way back from Serengeti so you still avoid an 8 hour ride.)

Enjoy!

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Aug 18th, 2005, 05:08 PM
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bat
 
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Thanks for the report. Although I will say that I had been looking forward to that plane flight to Arusha from the Serengeti . . .
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Aug 18th, 2005, 05:23 PM
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Happy to read all the "next times" in this very helpful report. Hard to imagine not returning, isn't it?

Glad that you all had a great time.
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Aug 22nd, 2005, 06:55 PM
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Wow, I am looking forward to see this wonderful place.
On a side note, how much this flight from Serengeti cost?
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Aug 23rd, 2005, 05:45 PM
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Alis, The price for the flight back to Arusha was not broken out separately. We just had a lump sum for everything and I never inquired on the breakdown.
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Aug 24th, 2005, 08:48 PM
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Thanks anyway
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Aug 25th, 2005, 04:35 AM
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Thanks for posting great information, we are going on a similar tour in about 3 weeks and it really helps to hear other stories. I hope your trip will be one you remember for a lifetime!
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