Tanzania safar and Zanzibar itinerary and quote help

Mar 10th, 2006, 01:49 PM
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Tanzania safar and Zanzibar itinerary and quote help

Going on safari in July 2006 with my fella, and was wondering if anyone had any opinions on the itinerary and accommodation options. So far, it looks like this:

July 6th: land kilimanjaro 08.50am. Transfer to Arumeru river lodge. Afternoon game drive Arusha NP
7th: Tarangire staying at Tarangire Sopa (tarangire treetops $182pp more expensive)
8th: Lake manyara staying at Manyara Serena
9th: as above (but with culture tour instead of game drive)
10th: Ngorongoro Serena (crater lodge $450 pp more expensive)
11th: Transfer to manyara airstrip for flight to Grumeti airstrip. Overnight Kirawira luxury tented camp
12th: Kirawira
13th: Kirawira
14th: Kirawira
15th: Kirawira
16th: Kirawira
17th: Kirawira
18th: Kirawira
19th: leave Grumetti airstrip and fly to Zanzibar via Arusha. Transfer to Emerson & Green (Ballroom suite)
20th: Transfer to Pongwe (hb) via spice tour (Breezes fully booked)
21st: Pongwe
22nd Pongwe
23rd: Pongwe
24th transfer to Nungwi - Nungwi Beach Village
25th: Nungwi
26th: Nungwi
27th: late transfer to Zanzibar airport to depart DAR 23.00

total cost: $5600 pp inc. international airfare

My questions are these:

1. Anyone heard of the Arumeru or know what it's like? I've heard good things about Arusha Coffee Lodge and Karama ($45 pp cheaper) and was wondering whether to request one of these instead.
2.Is it worth upgrading to Tarangire Treetops or does anyone have any other suggestions for accommodation in Tarangire? Not into camping under the stars but somewhere with character would be nice.
3. The tour operator suggested mountain biking, a village tour or canoeing as our cultural tour in Manyara - any opinions - is the canoeing (twice the cost of the other two) worth it?
4. Is the crater lodge really worth that much extra money?
5. Recently heard mixed reviews of E&G. Anyone any opinions on this and has anyone atayed in the ballroom suite?
5. I've never heard of Nungwi Beach Village, but it was recommended by the tour operator - anyone heard of it? They also said this place had a pool but there's no mention of this on their website.
The only thing I know is that Nungwi has a bit more in terms of nightlife so wont be as tranquil as Pongwe, but I'm only 23 so this will be fine.

Thanks for your help and any feedback would be greatly appreciated!
kernel_decker is offline  
Mar 10th, 2006, 02:07 PM
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Wow! 8 nights at Kirawira!

Normally I would suggest splitting a stay between two or 3 areas but this one is so extreme I don't quite know how to respond!

Just a quick note - canoeing at Manyara has been impossible for at least a year! The water levels are way to low! Are you working with a Tanzania-based outfitter?

In Tarangire, for a one-night stay I suggest staying inside the park or near the main gate. Treetops is a bit far out.

Crater Lodge vs. Serena is a personal choice. If you have the money then go for it. Otherwise, since you are only there for one night the Serena is fine. It is also closer to the access road.

$5600 pp in July including airfare (from the US?).
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Mar 10th, 2006, 02:25 PM
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It looks like you're flying in from Nairobi in the morning. I haven't stayed at Arumeru, but you'll enjoy Arusha NP. Look for the colobus monkeys. I would stay at Tarangire for 2 nights, rather than at Lake Manyara. There is so much more to see there. The elephant herds are amazing! Another place to stay there is the permanent tented camp, Tarangire Tented River Camp. (www.africawilderness.com). Their "tents" are more along the lines of the Botswana camps and are quite nice. It's on Maasai land, so you can walk with the Maasai and visit a village nearby. Lake Manyara is just an afternoon stop on the way to the Crater. Kirawira is in the Western Serengeti and may not be the right place for you in July. (See Eben's maps at www.go-safari.com.) He recommends splitting July stays between the Northern and Central Serengeti. Around the Seronera area in the Central area, there is a lot of wildlife, even after the Migration has moved on. I imagine it's getting a bit late to switch places, though.

E&G in Zanzibar is "eccentric", but it should be okay for a night. Make reservations for their rooftop restaurant in advance. Hopefully, you've left time the next morning for a tour of Stonetown before your transfer to Pongwe. You would still be able to do a spice tour after lunch on the way over to Pongwe after a morning Stonetown tour. An alternative hotel in Stonetown is Tembo House, which is right on the water. Pongwe is a nice little resort and has great food. It's a tranquil place and I loved to stretch out in a hammock and spend the morning reading. Of course, you can always walk down the beach or set up a fishing or snorkeling trip with the staff.
ShayTay is offline  
Mar 10th, 2006, 03:07 PM
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I can't speak to the pricing, but if I had the luxury of eight nights in the Serengeti I wouldn't spend them all in one place, that's for sure. In eight nights you could do western, central and north! Lucky you.

Also, I would lean toward two nights at Tarangire in July and one at Manyara. Tarangire should be great in July.

Take a look at eben's website, go-safari.com for photos and info on the various camps and lodges in Tarangire and elsewhere. We'll be staying at Mawe Ninga, but I'm not sure; it may have too much character for some.

That's a nice long chunk of time you're working with. Good luck!
Leely is offline  
Mar 10th, 2006, 03:52 PM
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Not a pricing expert, but including aifare that looks very good, especially for that time of year. The many days in the Serengeti makes me think this is not a group trip, at least not entirely.

Here is one more vote for 2 nights at Tarangire and one at Manyara. I'd also suggest the Tarangire Tented River Camp.

However, doing one day of culture after the traditional one-day game drive would not work if you only had one night at Manyara. I don't know what your cultural tour entails, but there are opportunities to visit with the Masai at other places. I've gone at the crater and am sure you could arrange a cultural excursion elsewhere in your trip.

I agree with Serena over Crater Lodge unless a luxurious treat is what you're seeking. For wildlife I believe they are no different.

As for your many nights at Kirawira, my first thought was, "so there are others like me who who enjoy staying put for lengthy periods and just soaking it all in." That should be a good time for Kirawira, but I think I would do half my time at Kirawira and half at a more Central or Northern Serengeti location. In addition to hanging out in one place, I also like to maximize my odds for wildlife encounters. I believe the 4 and 4 split would do that.

But good for you for committing 8 nights of safari to the Serengeti! Whenever I've had an extended stay like that, as the end rolled near I've never felt that I had stayed too long or wanted to get moving. Instead, I've always felt just another day or so would be perfect.

No experience in Zanzibar.

Have a good trip.

atravelynn is offline  
Mar 10th, 2006, 09:52 PM
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Sunnydays stayed at Nungwi, at (or in) the Mnarani Cottages - see his trip report and picture link at
There could be more too, check out the trip report index at
For E & G - look in the trip report index for Sandi's, and AMF; they both stayed there.
Hope this helps!
LyndaS is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 03:29 AM
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Has your tour operator actually confirmed that these accommodations are available? There hasn't been any space at Kirawira for months; though a day or two might open as time gets close, consecutive nights would be rare.

Definitely stay 2-nts at Tarangire. The Tarangire River Camp should be the same price as the Sopa, if it's available.

I'd do the cultural tour on the way or thru Manyara, but skip the overnight here.

With only 1-nt at Ngorongoro and a crack of dawn or earlier drive back to Manyara for the flight to western Serengeti - doesn't make sense to spend the money for the Crater Lodge, if it's available. I'd only do the Crater Lodge if you had some time spend in these lux accommodations and with above schedule you don't. The Serena here would be fine.

That's lots of time at Kirawira, if available as mentioned above. Your time in the Serengeti should definitely be split between West and towards the North - the herds should be well on their way to Kenya by mid-July.

Emerson & Green - I wouldn't call it eccentric rather eclectic. Kind of funky-lux rooms and quite interesting. The Ballroom is just that... very large.

Not that familiar with Nungwi Beach Village, but on the northern tip there are lots of properties, mostly mid range (or lower) catering to those more budget minded. Here you will find lots of bars, restaurats and other activities you can walk to in the evenings.

From where are you flying that Intl air is included? As I figure, even without Intl air, the average room rate is about $250/nt*... Kirawira alone runs about $600/nt. using their guides and if doing so, they only conduct morning and afternoon game drives which will be shared with other guests.

*Barely covers the cost of flight from Grumeti to Arusha

Who is your tour operator and where did they find these bargain basement prices?
Mar 11th, 2006, 03:57 AM
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Wow, thanks for all your help - this is the first time I've posted on fodors so I promise to write a trip report for you all when I get back....


The canoeing - I read the email wrong - this is actually for Tarangire and not Manyara! And we are working with Sunny safaris - heard of them? I think that is what we (the royal we) have paid but I will check... and we are flying from Manchester in the UK... Hang on, - I'm being told that we've actually paid about £4000 each all in - oops... he's also expressed a distaste for the word "fella"....would prefere "partner" or "boyfriend".... (?) nevermind.
I think we might now stick with the Serena at the crater - we wouldn't get to enjoy crater lodge as we'll be in the crater for most of the day, so think I'd rather spend the money on a balloon safari in the serengeti. Thanks for your help!


Thanks for the tips! And another vote for two nights at tarangire - I think we are pretty much convinced about swapping those days around now. Just a case of getting in touch with the safari company and enquireing about the acommodations.... I will let you know how this goes...
I am still hearing mixed reviews about E&G - mainly that for the price people would have preferred bathrobes, slippers and other western comforts - but this doesn't bother us as it's more the "experience" we're after. I'm sure that's what we'll get regardless so might be an interesting one to look out for in the trip report! We have also scheduled a tour of stonetown on our way to Pongwe. And tranquil is just what we're after at Pongwe... between us we have spent many years travelling the noisier resort like European beach destinations so this should be a welcome relief!

We would love to split our time up in the serengeti, but unfortunately this isn't possible. We asked about this shortly after we paid and were told the rooms have now been booked solid - and we have already paid in full.
But that's a fantastic website - and we will be sure to check out the Mawe Ninga... Again, we are almost sure off taking up everyones advice for 2 nts at tarangire. Thanks for your input!

atravelynn ,

No this isn't a group trip - just the two of us. I wouldn't have been too fussed about sharing a safari but due to our "unique" itinerary this was completely impossible!
As I've said we are now convinced of Tarangire and will definitely be looking into staying at river camp... Again, the website is one of the best I've seen for maps of the area etc but shaytay is right about not being able to change our dates in the serengeti. Hopefully we can squeeze in some time at lake victoria while we are there.
I also think you are right about being able to take a culture trip around tarangire - we just wanted a day to break up the game drives.

I'll be sure to let everyone know how 8 nights in the serengetti turns out!


Thanks for the links - I will read them with interest...

kernel_decker is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 04:33 AM
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Hi Sandi,

Yes we are definitely booked in at Kirawira for 8 consecutive nights, and as this was very difficult to organise, it is now impossible to change (understandably). It would have been lovely to split the days, as everyone has suggeted, but C'est la vie, maybe next time!
I have now enquired with Sunny about swapping 2 nts to Tarangire (and maybe the river camp) so will keep you posted. I also now agree about the crater - spending all that money doesn't make sense if we'll only be able to enjoy it for a couple of hours.
And we are flying from Manchester, UK with KLM. To get such good prices, we actually are dealing with 3 different tour operators which has reduced the cost considerably (1 for kirawira - travel luxury - one for the northern circuit - sunny - and a different one for zanzibar (can't remember the name just now...). We found that it was cheaper to deal with Tanzanian based operators for the safari and zanzibar based operators for the zanzibar stay and for internal flights (3 each in total). Originally, we had wanted 7 nts Pongwe or Breezes but as this wasn't possible (no room at breezes and only 4 available at Pongwe) we began to warm to the idea of spending a bit of time in the livlier Nungwi (plus it was cheaper)! Like I said, we are only relatively young so wont be too scared by loud music and budget acommodation!

On another note - completely unrelated to this thread - I noticed another reviewer who was unimpressed with the London china town food (during his stopover on the way to Tanzania), and I can only say this:
I used to think that people exaggerated about the state of British food, and that it got an unfair press. However, I travelled to NY at christmas (my 1st visit to the states - long overdue) and I now completely realise how terrible our food is compared to yours. I guess we're just used to it!
kernel_decker is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 06:04 AM
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Kernel Decker,

You asked if anyone has heard of Sunny Safaris. There have been several postive trip reports with them. You did get some very good pricing with your combination approach.

atravelynn is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 06:44 AM
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kernel decker:
We enjoyed our stay at E & G; certainly one of the most interesting hotels I have ever seen.
bat is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 07:56 AM
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I'm sure you'll enjoy your trip, no matter where you stay!

I don't know if you're interested in snorkeling while in Zanzibar, or not. Pongwe is on a beautiful, white-sand bay that wouldn't seem to lend itself to snorkeling. Still, I strapped on my mask & snorkel and checked it out. I spent a couple of hours in knee-deep water, watching the smallest of creatures. This is a "nursery" area and was fascinating...not megafauna, like in the Serengeti, but interesting none the less.
ShayTay is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 11:10 PM
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We've now heard back from the tour operator who are fine with swapping the 2 the day section of our tour around from Manyara to Tarangire. Only problem now is decideing on the acommodation - Tarangire Tented River Camp is around the same as the Sopa, or useing Tarangire Treetops increases the quote by $368pp (for both nights). Has anyone any opinions either way as to whether this would be worth it? Thanks in advance

ShayTay, I'll be sure to check out the snorkeling!
kernel_decker is offline  
Mar 14th, 2006, 08:02 AM
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Help - I am now addicted to this forum!! If only I could devote as much enthusiasm to my work...!! I wasn't sure whether or not to start a new thread, but here goes...
now I am certain of spending two nights Tarangire over Manyara, I'm torn between Swala and Treetops. I've checked out numerous threads debating the same topic and am now more confused than ever! As far as I can tell, its treetops for luxurious rooms and bathrooms, but Swala for location and the wildlife... is that right?
Also, we have been told there is no availability at Ras Nungwi for our dates (we checked out nungwi beach village and decided it was a bit too rustic even for us). So has anyone any other thoughts on alternative acommodations? We have been told about a place called Zamani Kempinski - anyone heard of it or know where it is? We've also enquired about Breezes but believe they are also full. Our initial feelings were to try out another part of the island after spending time on the east coast and stone town so Nungwi seemed to fit the bill, but any other ideas would be most welcome.
kernel_decker is offline  
Mar 14th, 2006, 09:14 AM
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kernel decker,

I haven't stayed at either, but I'd go for Swala for the reason you described: wildlife right there (hopefully).

Sorry, I can't help you with Zanzibar; I'm sure others can.

Good luck. You're going to have a wonderful trip!
Leely is offline  
Mar 14th, 2006, 09:20 AM
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kernel decker
I recently stayed at Matemwe Bungalows on Zanzibar and really liked it. You can read my review in the last segment of my report.

bat is offline  
Mar 14th, 2006, 09:25 AM
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BTW, the Zamani Kempinski is part of the Kempinski hotel line. I believe it is pretty new. 110 units. Our driver referred to it as 5 star.
Here is the web site.
bat is offline  
Mar 14th, 2006, 09:44 AM
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kernel decker:
I was looking at the Kempinski website and they have on-line booking--it looked as if your dates are available and they have a special rate. Although on the same side of the island as Pongwe (perhaps further north) it would certainly be a completely different style. If you prefer small, take a look at Matemwe Bungalows as I mentioned in my earlier post.
bat is offline  
Mar 14th, 2006, 10:35 AM
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Cheers - you guys are soooooo helpful!
I've had a look at matemwe, and it looks lovely. However, my other half wants his fix of somewhere a bit more resort like (sat tv/bathrobes/aircon)so the zamani seems to fit the bill. We've sort of compromised with pongwe being our first destination so I'm happy to give him this one!

With their special rates it looks like it will actually work out cheaper than Ras Nungwi (well, I suppose not as Ras Nunwi was hb whereas this seems to be bb). Are there many places to eat out where it's situated? It's in a place called Kiwegwa - I'm still not actually sure where that is in terms of where the other hotels are. We might even splurge on a suite... actually - I've just heard we wont be splurgeing on a suite (sorry dear) - ouch.

Also, I think I'll go with Swala at Tarangire - thanks for your opinion Leely. The boyf still thinks we're staying at sopa (he was adamant in staying there - seems to equate pool size with hotel quality) so hopefully the sat tv and the modernness of zamani might appease him slightly!
kernel_decker is offline  
Mar 14th, 2006, 10:46 AM
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Kempinski is too new and I have seen any feedback yet. However, Kempinski is know for 5* quality at their properties worldwide. While is seems a bit larger than other similar resort-type hotels,i.e. Breezes, Blue Bay, Ocean Paradise, etc. this offers a new option.

You'll certainly get the air conditioning (not avail at Pongwe) bathrobes and slippers. So you stay here and we'll get a first-hand report.

If you can get Swala, do it. It's located inside the park with game right outside. It's also less expensive than Treetops, which isn't shabby at all. The major drawback for some who stay here is the distance from the park - about 40-min. but Treetops is lovely.

Let us know.

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