Tanzania Safari Planning

Apr 10th, 2013, 07:50 PM
  #1  
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Tanzania Safari Planning

Planning a safari trip to Tanzania for Feb 2014 and there are a few things that I'm fuzzy on:

- Many say that getting a good guide is very important but does the same guide stay with you the whole trip ? Don't individual lodges have there own guides ? When you fly to next camp does the guide also fly with you ? How does this all work ?

- Are there any places where you can do night drives ?

- Why are African safari trips so expensive, where does all the money go ? They are much cheaper in India for example.

- Are there good cheetah areas in Tanzania for Feb. ?

- Confused re Ngorogoro, is it just the crater or a park or a whole geographic area, and what is the best strategy to see it/them for Feb. ?

Thanks in advance,
Christo.
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Apr 10th, 2013, 08:14 PM
  #2  
 
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I can only speak of my one TZ safari with Roys. There were six of us in three vehicles. We (each vehicle) had the same guide for all of the 20 days on safari. However, we did -not- fly from camp to camp, left Arusha in safari vehicle, drove to camps and back to Arusha.
My Fodors report is here -
http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...-tanzania-.cfm

Also, Ngorongoro is a MUST do. It is about 100 sq miles. Give this wiki description a look
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ngorong...servation_Area

In no TZ "park" did we do night drives. General rule was out of camp not before sunrise and back in before sunset. Could be some parks allow night drives, good question for Sanjay. If you are keen on photography some TZ parks will not permit off road vehicles. Which for me severely limits photo possibilities. As I referenced in my TZ report, I have a few photos up at my smugmug site -
http://tinyurl.com/bwze4ww
Two shots there of vehicles piled up along the road.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2013, 05:58 AM
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If you are doing a driving safari, your guide will stay with you the entire trip. He is your personal guide for the full time. This is really advantageous because he will learn what you are interested in, what you want to stop for, spend more time with, etc. Also of course its private--using the lodges' guides means you are sharing a vehicle with others. (Unless you pay for a private vehicle at the lodge--not always possible, and very expensive.)

If you fly from camp to camp, I think you normally use the lodges guides. These are really two different styles of safari. Most people book a driving safari for the Northern Tanzania circuit, but might fly back from their last destination to save driving the return.

There are some places you can do night drives. Tarangire Safari Drive has recently started offering night drives, and other lodges in Tarangire may also be allowed to do so. You can do night drives in Lake Manyara. I don't believe it is possible in any of the other parks, however.

The Southern Serengeti/Lake Ndutu area is THE place for cheetah in February. We saw at least 14 individuals in Ndutu in three days, plus a few more in other parks. I could not believe how many cheetah were there. Lots of young ones too!

Ngorongoro Conservation area encompasses the crater, but much more. Ndutu Lodge is actually in the conservation area. The crater is a destination on its own, however--and not to be missed.
jczinn is offline  
Apr 11th, 2013, 06:04 AM
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oops that should have said Tarangire Safari Lodge--not drive!
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Apr 11th, 2013, 02:19 PM
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Where does all the money go? Guess you can ask that of any public traded company. Otherwise, it goes where it goes. Do you ask your friends or family what they do with their money if they're not asking you for a loan? Doubt it.

And you certainly can't compare prices in one country against another.
sandi is offline  
Apr 11th, 2013, 08:11 PM
  #6  
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Thank you, some good information here, it will help in my planning.

Re my question on safari costs, anyone else want to comment ? Is it not appropriate as a tourist/consumer to want value for money, to want to know that the cost is fair and reasonable, to want comparisons for similar services ?
As for price comparisons between different countries - well of course you can. That's why I'm going to Tanzania and not Botswana. The latter being great but extremely expensive.
Half the questions on this forum are about value for money, comparing prices, talking about costs !
It's part of responsible tourism, where does the money go, does it benefit the right people or not ?

Christo.
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Apr 11th, 2013, 08:16 PM
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Much of your costs for your safari in Tanzania are the various daily fees for vehicles and people that are charged to enter each park or area, these are all set prices. Do research, figure out want you want to see and do then ask various safari agencies for a quote. I found that prices will vary considerable for identical programs and that prices for Tanzania agencies were less than out of country agencies. For reviews of various agencies check them out on Trip Advisor Tanzania Forum.

With regards to visiting the Ndutu area, be advised that it may be difficult to get a booking for Feb 2014 as many places get booked very early.
Garfield is offline  
Apr 12th, 2013, 05:42 AM
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In addition to what is mentioned in terms of park fees, I would suggest that you also consider that your guide is with you all day every day of the trip, many days in our case from 5:30-5:45 am until 8-8:30 at night, with only a short break from maybe 2-4 in the afternoon, and that entire time he is "on" sharing his information, making sure you are taken care of, happy, seeing what you want to see, in addition to driving most of the day. I don't think most tour guides in other places around the world spend nearly that much time with you. Remember that three (quite excellent) meals a day are included, as well as whatever looking after you need at the camps (they offered to rinse down our muddy hiking shoes, fetch us water in addition to that needed for the bucket showers, etc.). I think once you get there, you'll realize that you're getting great value and customer service for the money. Now that I've been and have returned, I realize I would have paid MORE than what I did for that sort of attention.
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Apr 12th, 2013, 08:22 AM
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Also the cost of the vehicle, the roads are not really roads in the park, maintenance and repair costs are high. I agree that some of the costs for some of the world wide agencies are high, for the price that some of them charge for a set agenda and 6 people in a vehicle, For the price that some of them charge for one person you could get a private safari through a Tanzanian agency for two. Shop around.
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Apr 12th, 2013, 09:59 AM
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Cost - many camps are seasonal and thus almost vacant good part of the year. They still have to be maintained. Also, if you've never owned a business, you would be surprised at all of the hidden (from us) expenses.

Consider South Africa Kruger National Park for a bargain cost and fun safari. And the private reserves next to Kruger, Sabi Sands and Timbavati offer a different experience in terrain and in gane drive vehicles, totally open Land Rovers (as compared to pop top mini type buses). And you will see the big 5 there. Also in the private reserves they drive off road driving for the best view of the subject. But little if no night drives. Except for maybe the last hour back into camp. Those drives (done about 150) are the least productive of all drives.

regards - tom
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Apr 12th, 2013, 03:34 PM
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Whether an in-country outfitter or tour operator in your home country, there's overhead, if only for office staff, number of guides/vehicles, maintenance, insurance, etc.

Large companies have more salaries to pay; small companies might have only a handful and less vehicles. Often the small companies have more safaries than vehicles/guides to handle and have to rent per diem vehicle/guides.

There are simply too many variences. Besides, each/any company might negotiate better contract rates.
sandi is offline  
Apr 12th, 2013, 07:53 PM
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At the end of the day it all depends on what you want for your accommodation/meals/type of game drive vehicles etc.

Make a wish list; do some research, get quotes and then decide what & how much you're comfortable paying.

Most here plan their own itineraries rather than going with a set tour. I like to throw in a few nights in a luxury place amongst more affordable camps.
KathBC is offline  
Apr 16th, 2013, 02:15 PM
  #13  
TC
 
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Hello Christo. It sounds as though you are planning for Northern Tanzania. It was many years ago when we did that, however, we spent a few weeks in Southern Tanzania more recently. I felt it was very good value. There are certainly fewer people around. We are getting ready to go to Botswana this year and my price point and value for dollar parameter is always the same. To accomplish the best value, we travel in the "green season". For Tanzania that has been January. Its a lovely time to be there. In Botswana it will be November/December. The savings is enormous. My trip report for Tanzania is posted if you click my name above.

Cheers,
TC is offline  
Apr 16th, 2013, 04:20 PM
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TC - January in Tanzania is not the 'green season' but peak season thru mid- to end-Mar when the wildies 'calve' their young. Guess you did well with your prices, so good for you.

The so-called 'green season' which is actually referred to as the 'low-season' in Tanzania and/or Kenya are Apr/May.
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Apr 16th, 2013, 08:12 PM
  #15  
TC
 
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Sandi, I respectfully disagree. There are broadly two seasons in Tanzania. The dry season which runs from June to October and the green season November to May. The short rains normally run from early November to early December and the long rains cover the two months of April and May. January -- right in-between, is an amazing time to visit. The parks are beautiful and green after the short rains yet cheaper and less crowded. I know this first hand since both of my trips have been in January.

http://goafrica.about.com/od/Best-Ti...-In-Africa.htm

Cheers!
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Apr 17th, 2013, 12:18 AM
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I was in South Luangwa NP in Zambia last August,simply fantastic.Costs were reasonable.Game viewing fantastic.Great hospitality.The morning safari was betw 6am and 10pm,while the evening started at 4pm,with a sundowner at dusk,continuing on till 8 pm.The night drives were an experience in itself.Hoards of buffalo,hyenas,leopard,a civet,elephants and so on.They do off road.
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Apr 17th, 2013, 12:45 AM
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Forgot to mention.We did a walking safari too.With an armed guard and a naturalist. 3hrs and some up close experience.So much that you miss on a game drive,you make up here.
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Apr 17th, 2013, 03:59 AM
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Sorry typo.Hordes of buffalo,as in over 200 in number.the flash light had to pan a good 180 degrees.
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