Tanzania Safari Advice Request

Sep 20th, 2007, 12:06 PM
  #1  
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Tanzania Safari Advice Request

Private Safari-July/August 2008- Prelim Itinerary
Fly to Kili from LAX (several day stopover Amsterdam/Germany)
Arrival night at Arumeru River Lodge (Usa River area)
Fly to Lobo
3 nights Migration Lodge (Northern Serengeti)
2 nights Turner Springs Private Camp (Central Serengeti)
1 night Ngorongoro Serena Lodge (Crater)
1 night Plantation Lodge (Karatu area)
2 nights Swala Lodge (Tarangire)
Day room -Fly Kili to LAX via Amsterdam

Which month, July or August?
Western Serengeti additon, which lodge?
Any other comments?
dugi_otok is online now  
Sep 20th, 2007, 12:34 PM
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For August, if not going to the Masai Mara in Kenya, then I'd choose Sayari Camp (Kogatende airstrip) in the Northwest Serengeti over Migration Camp.
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Sep 20th, 2007, 12:42 PM
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Personally, I would reverse the itinerary and have the Serengeti as the climax of your safari.
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Sep 20th, 2007, 04:05 PM
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I'd go about July 18 with camps in that order, realizing your big herds will probably be your first stop.
atravelynn is offline  
Sep 20th, 2007, 04:08 PM
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Meant to say with Sayari insteda of Migration, as Sandi suggested, but still that order.
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Sep 21st, 2007, 10:37 AM
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Thanks sandi

I could add to my plan with a stay at Masai Mara in Kenya at the end of my trip. Would you recommend Sayari Camp over a stay at Masai Mara? What are the pros and cons?
dugi_otok is online now  
Sep 21st, 2007, 10:38 AM
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Thanks Shay Tay

Most would follow your thinking. In my case, as a senior citizen, my energy and excitement would be at the beginning of my trip, thus go to the Serengeti first. Why save the best wine till last.
dugi_otok is online now  
Sep 21st, 2007, 10:39 AM
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Thanks lynn

I want to test my understanding of your response. Start in the northwest, as my prelim itinerary, at Sayari instead of Migration. What is your thinking about a July 18 start?
dugi_otok is online now  
Sep 22nd, 2007, 07:24 AM
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Now that you've stated you could stay in the Mara at the end of your trip, I would
do this if the Mara is REPLACING the Serengeti:

As late in August as you can:
1 Serena at Crater
1 Plantation in Karatu
2 Swala

The order of the parks/camps above may need to change to put you closest to Arusha on your last day in Tanzania so that you can get to Nairobi quicker. Even so, you may need one day of transfer time between Tarangire and the Mara, not sure.

Do the remaining nights in the Maasai Mara. There are many good camps to choose from. That will be prime time for the Mara with fewer worries about whether the migration is spread out or not around.

The reason I would have the Mara replace the Serengeti is that they are the same ecosystem with the animals going back and forth. It is not necessary to see both, unless you want to see both. I wanted to see both on my first trip to Africa, leaving late July. The Mara far surpassed the Serengeti for wildlife.

I have had more experience and luck in the Mara then the Serengeti so I am biased toward the Mara.
************************************************** *********************
If you would just ADD THE MARA ONTO your existing itinerary so that you had another 3-4 nights above and beyond what you wrote, I think I would do one of 2 things.

1st possibility:

Leave maybe August 5, thereby hedging bets between the Mara and the Serengeti.
Your stated itinerary with Sayari instead of Migration.
At the end go to the Mara for 3-4 days.


2nd possibility:
Leave as late in August as possible, with your migration hopes pinned on the Mara, which is easier to time than the Serengeti.
Your itinerary with no time in Sayari or Migration camp, instead add the days spent there to your Central Serengeti location, which always has good game because of local water, and go to the Mara at the end.

************************************************** **********************I thought maybe you wanted to stay in just Tanzania to save time and $ in traveling so that is why I did not mention the Mara at first. Why Sayari over Migration Camp? Sayari moves within a given area and can put you closer to the migration if it is in the area. Why July 18? That was picked because the wildebeest usually do not cross in great numbers into the Mara until later. If you go in early July when there are more wildebeest in the Serengeti, then Tarangire is not as good. Plus later in the season is just slightly better for the crater. I saw you asked about the western corridor of the Serengeti. If you went in early July and stayed there, youíd probably have your best chance at seeing the migration in Tanzania out of all the Tanzania places you listed. All of these dates are of course approximate and with our drastically changing weather, the bottom line is who knows? But the Mara is always good, regardless of the month.

I liked putting the Serengeti first in your itinerary because I think it gives you just a tiny edge at seeing more of the herds. But your reason of going when you have the most energy is a better one because who knows what the herds will do. One comment on personal energy conservation-- There is usually a several hour down time each midday when you can rest and nap and rejuvenate. I do. A day up front to recover from jet lag may yield dividends later on so you donít get too tired and start out behind the 8-ball. It looks like you've done that.

You have some very exciting options!
atravelynn is offline  
Sep 24th, 2007, 01:38 PM
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WOW LYNN-Thank you for taking the time for the comprehensive information you provided to aid me on my safari decisions.

I have selected to add the Mara to my existing itinerary (modified) with dates as late as possible in the Masai Mara. The logistics are good (no sleepovers in Nairobi). I can leave Tarangire to arrive Kilimanjaro for a 1:45pm flight to Nairobi Wilson followed by a flight to Masai Mara arriving 3:45pm. I am looking at Kichwa Tembo for 3 nights. Any comments on Kichwa Tembo? On the day of departure Air Kenya to Nairobi 4pm- 5:15 pm followed by a late night flight to LAX via London.

Ever since I saw the IMAX-Africa The Serengeti, narrated by James Earl Jones, Iíve wanted to be in the Serengeti. So I decided not to drop the Serengeti, but do the Mara add on. The private camping in the central Serengeti will hopefully bring me the feel of an old fashion safari with lions roaring at night. I might add a night as you suggest. Its only my childrenís inheritance. I will stick with Migration Lodge since I am betting on the Masai Mara for the Migration, sounds contradictory. From Migration Lodge I can game drive beautiful landscapes, unexplored and untouched wilderness without seeing masses of people/vehicles. I was told I could do full day game drive to the Mara River, walking safari with an armed ranger along the banks of the River, a picnic lunch, cross the bridge, drive the plains of the Lamai Triangle. This sounds like the possibilities of a great day. The Migration Lodge looks like a place I want to be to start my safari. Sayari camp looks great, but the logistics are more difficult. More Starbucks for my kids will have to do.

Thanks again to lynn, sandi, and ShayTay. Any further advice and discussion would be appreciated. This form and its contributors are terrific.

dugi_otok is online now  
Sep 24th, 2007, 01:51 PM
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Unless they're repairing the Arusha airport again and doubt it during peak season, the flight to Wilson departs from Arusha! As you get closer to your dates, you'll get a firm itinerary from your TO. But don't want you waiting at the wrong place. JRO and Arusha airports are easily 1/hr drive from each other.

And, from Swala Camp located at the far southwest end of Tarangire, a good 2/hr drive to park entrance, has to be added to the drive time to Arusha.
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Sep 24th, 2007, 04:34 PM
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Dugi,
You'll have a wonderful trip. That's nice you got to see the Serengeti Imax movie. After 5 minutes I had to sit through the whole thing with my eyes closed. I can't do Imax.

With Sandi's comments, maybe you don't want Swala in Tarangire. From 2 Tarangire visits, I found the most plentiful game was closer to the park entrance. You could stay somewhere near there for game and travel logistics.

You'll have to post your whole itinerary when it is finalized.
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Sep 28th, 2007, 12:04 AM
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Please post your final itinerary! We have very similar interests and I'm having a tough time deciding whether or not I want to do just Tanzania or a Kenya/Tanzania combo. At first I was planning on traveling in late June/early July but after reading the posts here, I'm thinking of waiting until late August. Where is the migration usually in late June? I've heard such mixed reviews about wildlife viewing in Kenya. Who did you use to plan your safari?
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Sep 28th, 2007, 02:16 AM
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Swala was our first and favourite camp on our trip last year, end of June /early July. In hindsight I felt it would have been a lovely camp to have finished the trip. A lovely camp to just relax in and watch the wildlife that they get in camp. We had good game viewing there and it would get better the later you go. We then had about a week in NCA and different parts of the Serengeti and, in particular, we would not have had great elephant viewing without Tarangire - the swamps near Swala were terrific. Not a huge amount of cats but other species that we didn't see as much or at all elsewhere, dik dik and lots of beautiful birds. The landscape is quite different to the other parks as well. Being at the far end of the park also meant that we could easily avoid being around lots of other vehicles when we wanted to.
It is true that it is quite a long drive to just get out of the park when you leave. It is a game drive in itself though, if you haven't got to hurry. If your flight isn't until early evening it should be fine.
Have a great trip.
jul_uk is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 12:01 PM
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Hi offspring
I will post my itinerary as soon as it is finalized. I am in the tweaking phase. The only thing holding me back is the fact that airline schedules/prices are not yet available for the end of August 2008. Currently my itinerary is pretty much as described in this thread, Tanzania, starting in the north Serengeti and ending in Tarangire, followed by an extension to the Masai Mara in Kenya. Tanzania, Kenya, or both is a decision that we must make. I ended up with both, with a heavy lean to Tanzania. Lynn (see above) pretty much went through the options available to me. I am not sure what is the migration, let alone where is the migration. All I know is I hope to see some of these 1.7 million wildis whether they are crossing some river or not. In any event I have my DVD Africa The Serengeti.

My vision of the Masai Mara in Kenya is that it is one tenth the size with ten times the tourists and their vehicles than the Serengeti with a lot of wildis in the end of August.

I am using Africa Dream Safaris to plan my safari. Go to their website for information, easily the best website on Tanzania safaris. I have found them super knowledgeable, with a broad breadth of actual safari experience, responsive to questions, either answering the phone or returning phone calls within an hour, and talking as long as you want. They are more than full service while remaining cost competitive at the Deluxe/ Luxury market. I am a client of Sharon. Other clients that I have communicated with had nothing but high praise and you will only find very positive posts from actual clients.
dugi_otok is online now  
Sep 28th, 2007, 12:16 PM
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I personally LOVED Kitchwa Tembo. Everyone has their favorites and this is definitely one of mine!
aowens is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 12:18 PM
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jul Thanks for providing comments on your very positive experience at Swala. I am looking forward to an even better experience since August is a peak viewing time for Tarangire. I will look at the ride out of the park as a game drive experience even though I have a drive to the airport for my afternoon flight to Kenya.Bring on the elephants.
dugi_otok is online now  
Sep 28th, 2007, 12:45 PM
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Thanks aowens for the positives on Kitchwa Tembo. It looks great and that pie too.
dugi_otok is online now  
Sep 28th, 2007, 12:50 PM
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OMG - That Pie!!
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Sep 29th, 2007, 04:44 AM
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I think you have made a good choice. Whilst out there I noted one company name above others to look into - and it happens to be Africa Dream Safaris. We had a great time with ours and loved our guide but I was impressed by them. At Swala and Sayari we spent time with some of their clients who were very happy. In particular, I noted them above others because the couple of guides that we had opportunity to talk to or dine with, seemed exceptionally nice, knowledgable and interesting, not just about wildlife. The rest of our trip was at less luxury camps which allowed us to have a longer trip for our budget but I made a note of their name in case I can go back with a better budget one day! If all their guides are as good as the ones we met you will be in very good hands.

Julie
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