Tanzania Safari Questions

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Oct 3rd, 2005, 03:07 PM
  #41
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My parents are pretty tough, actually. It was more my aunt/uncle/cousin who may have hesitated, but they dropped out due to school committments. I was talking to my mom about it, and described luxury mobile camping to her. She asked, "So, it's like Camp Curry in Yosemite?" "Yup, only better" "Oh, no problem then."

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Oct 3rd, 2005, 10:47 PM
  #42
 
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My wife and I toured with Roy this summer. From beginning to end they better than the letter of their contract. We had a flawless trip. Just a tip, when traveling by road from Ngorongoro to the Serengeti, spend five bucks and purchase a blow up donut to sit on. The roads are butt jarring and brain rattling. I hope you have as great a time as we did.
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Oct 4th, 2005, 07:40 AM
  #43
bat
 
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lifelist:
It looks like a very nice itinerary.
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Oct 12th, 2005, 01:39 PM
  #44
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O.k., so I gave Roy Safaris the go ahead to book, and my agent had a bit of difficulty getting the accommodations I requested. So, he flipped the itinerary, which got us what we wanted, but there are a couple of trade offs. So, the revised itinerary is:

Moivaro
EMC Mobile Camp (via flight to Seronera)
EMC Mobile Camp
Kirawira
Kirawira
Ngorongoro Serena
Gibbís Farm
Tarangire River Camp
Tarangire River Camp
Moivaro

One of the trade offs appears to be that I lose an afternoon tour of Ngorongoro. This is because weíd be traveling from Kirawira to Ngorongoro, and given the distance, we wouldnít have enough time to do a crater game drive, especially if we stop at Olduvai Gorge. Roy notes this and correctly points out that this saves us the $55 park fee. So, Iím basically trading half a day in Ngorongoro for half a day in the Serengeti. Iím going to ask Roy if we can flip Kirawira/EMC, depending on which accommodation is the sticking point. I could trade Kirawira for Mbalageti or EMC for Olakira, but who knows what kind of availability there will be. If we can do it, then Iíd recover that half-day in Ngorongoro Ė unless people donít think itís worth the bother?

Iím surprised that flipping the itinerary didnít result a change to the quote. As originally sequenced, I was at Kirawira during the first two days of July, and in the revised itinerary, weíre there in June. I had assumed that the rates went up in July, so I expected a bit of a savings Ė unless, of course, there was an accompanying price increase for accommodations in Tarangire.

Gibbís Farm seems to make less sense in this itinerary, and Lake Manyara Serena or Kirurumu might be better. Roy has pointed out that thereís only a 30 minute difference between accommodations, so I donít know. Staying at the Serena is certainly more convenient for the cultural tour at Mto Wa Mbu and the night drives into Lake Manyara N.P.

Iím also re-thinking the day room at Moivaro. If weíre driving back, we wonít be back until mid-afternoon (4:00pm is what the agent estimates), so staying in Arusha doesnít make sense. Iím looking at the Kenya Airways flight departing JRO at 7:40 pm, so Iíd have to leave immediately for the airport. My parents would potentially have the same flight or do the KLM flight which departs at 9pm. In either case, it doesnít make sense to stop at Moivaro, and it looks like the KIA lodge would be a better choice for a dayroom Ė and even then, Iím not sure itís worth it for 2-3 hours before we need to be at the airport. Whatís nice about staying at the KIA Lodge is I can potentially save the $60 transfer fee Roy was going to hit me with for Moivaro-JRO.

Perhaps, I should also choose KIA lodge for the first night as well? My parents will be arriving on the late flight into JRO, so being able to transfer to their hotel in just a few minutes sounds like a better plan Ė especially if we have to get up very early the next morning to transfer to Arusha airport.

Lastly, I have a free day in the Moshi-Arusha area after my Kilimanjaro climb with Tusker. Basically, all I have to do the day after I descend the mountain is transfer from Moshi to the first nightís accommodation in Arusha and meet my parents coming in that evening. Given that Arusha National Park is located between Moshi and Arusha, I was thinking that I might as well arrange for a trip through the park that day. Tusker is offering a $250 day trip through the park, which seems a bit high. Iím guessing that this is a private guided trip, so unless I can get some others to join me, Iím paying the full cost of my own guide and vehicle. Is Arusha N.P. worth the cost of the day trip?
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Oct 12th, 2005, 02:43 PM
  #45
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lifelist -

This year '05 - prices in June in Tanzania were a good deal, but not so this coming 2006... the reason the prices at Kirawira are the same wherever you place it. Apparently, the hotels/lodges/camps have decided to take advantage of every month and have eliminated June from the low-season rates.

If you want to visit Mto-wa-Mbu, I believe the Serena is a better position and as you say easy enough for pick-up for the nite drive in Lake Manyara.

And, I believe you're right on, about the day-room when returning to Arusha/Kili. I'd do a day-room if I arrived early (12N or thereabouts), but not if late afternoon. Or do KIA which is right there at JRO especially if you save on a transfer fee.

Unfortuately, when you're a single, that "supplement" pops up. But ask Roy's what they can do for an Arusha NP tour, their price? Or just relax until your folks get in. After 7-days on the mountain you just might want to relax, have a decent shower, separate your stuff from the climb and leave what you don't need on safari with Roy's; collect when you get back to Arusha/Kili. Surprisingly, it's nice to not have anything to do when in East Africa... just take it all in! You'll have plenty of safari in front of you.

You've got a good handle on things, just make the changes you feel are justified (time and cost-wise) and you're about set. Then deal with the Int'l air.
 
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Oct 12th, 2005, 02:56 PM
  #46
 
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Hi lifelist,
re: Arusha NP. I've never been and probably will go in June. But I agree with Sandi. You are going to need some rest!

The Crater thing. I'm a little confused. The new itinerary includes one half-day tour of the Crater floor, right? And the earlier version had 2 half-days? Well, this is entirely a matter of opinion, but I'd rather be in the Serengeti than the Crater.

It's going to be wonderful! Your parents are so lucky to have a daughter willing to sweat all the details.
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Oct 12th, 2005, 03:28 PM
  #47
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Leely - the original itinerary had us going from Gibb's Farm to Ngorongoro Serena. Next day we would have gone to the central Serengeti. So, we would have had most of one day in Ngorongoro, and potentially a morning game drive in Ngorongoro the next day before heading for the Serengeti. Therefore, we've lost a game drive in Ngorongoro in exchange for more time in the Serengeti.

If I can get them to flip the Kirawira/EMC portion, then we'd be departing from the central serengeti rather than the Western Corridor, and thus have time to see the crater floor.

The revised itinerary has us arriving in Ngorongoro in the late afternoon/early evening from the Serengeti - too late for a drive in the crater. So, we would spend most of the next day in Ngorongoro before heading down to Gibb's Farm.

I'd also like to flip those two spots since it eliminates backtracking - though, admittedly, the backtracking would essentially be a game drive, so not really a big deal.

Also, while I'm sure my sister could have done a good job in planning this trip, I'm afraid that my parents are settling for their son this time around.
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Oct 12th, 2005, 03:54 PM
  #48
 
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Oops. (place embarassed smiley face here.)

Moving on (still embarassed), if you can flip EMC/Kirawira it would be a tiny bit better/easier. Of course I guess that all depends on availability.
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Oct 12th, 2005, 10:19 PM
  #49
 
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Hi All,
Please help! Another "newbie" needing assistance. Am planning a private safari for 2 to Tanzania early December (yes, not much time I realize). Thomson Safari needed more lead time. So started to work with Born Free. Have heard mixed reviews. Any feedback? Do they 'broker' out their tours? Also, the following was the proposed itinerary:
-2 days Manyara at Kirurumu
-4 days Seregetti 2 at either Serena Lodge or Ndutu Lodge, and 2 at a walking camp
-2 days Ngo Crater at Plantation Lodge or Ngo Farm House
-2 days Tarangire at Tarangire Safari Lodge or Kikoti.
Price: $4900 per person or $5800 per person.
Itinerary seems pretty standard from what I can tell -- any thoughts on the lodges? Doesn't the pricing seem high, or are private safaris usually that much more? How can I "shop" the itinerary? Please help! They're asking for a deposit by Fri.
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Oct 13th, 2005, 07:39 AM
  #50
 
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Marcus,
Is Born Free a US company? If so, I doubt that they operate their own safaris but rather, they probably contract with a Tanzania based tour operator.

I think those prices are very high for a private safari in early December. I would contact a few Arusha based operators for comparison quotes. Some names frequently mentioned here are Roys, Good Earth, Tanzania Serengeti Adventures, and one that I've seen recommended a few times on flyertalk is Bushbuck. A search here will produce more names or you can go to www.tatotz.org for a list of member operators.

You may also want to start your own thread about your trip and we can continue to answer your questions there as you start to get some additional quotes.

Good luck with your planning!
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Oct 13th, 2005, 10:21 AM
  #51
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Marcus - I wouldn't be pressured into anything. It's a lot of money to spend, and there are many tour operators to choose from. The quote looks high to me for the accommodations. I would look at other operators. Second the suggestion that you start your own thread - you've got posts spread in two different places.

Now, back to talking about me...

I've asked Roy to see if they can get Mbalageti for the same price as Kirawira. If so, then I'll swap accommodations for the sake of a more efficient itinerary. If not, then we'll go with what they've been able to get.

It's interesting to see the evolution of these places. I have a couple of guidebooks published a couple of years apart with the prices listed. Kirawira started off as the most expensive place to stay in the Western Corridor, and now I'm finding that of the 3 permanent tented camps/lodges that they're the "cheapest."

I'm also dropping Moivaro as a dayroom, and using KIA Lodge instead. I figure we'll decide how early we want to leave Tarangire based on what we need to do and try to arrive at KIA with some time to spare.

Roy isn't giving us a break on the transfers, though. I guess they consider Arusha the starting/ending point for their safaris, and Arusha-JRO is a separate deal.

I'll keep Moivaro at the beginning of the trip as it looks like my parent want to join me in London after the safari, so they'll be flying LHR-JRO-LHR. This means they'll be arriving early morning on the Kenya Airways flight rather than in the evening on the KLM flight. Moivaro looks like a nicer place to hang out for that day than KIA Lodge.
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Oct 22nd, 2005, 06:06 PM
  #52
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O.k., so Roy got back to me and it looks like Mbalageti Tented Chalets are $50 a night per person more. That's more than I wanted to spend for just an itinerary change, so I had him leave things as he had:

Moivaro
EMC
EMC
Kirawira
Kirawira
Ngorongoro Serena
Gibb's Farm
Tarangire River Camp
Tarangire River Camp
KIA lodge day room

With transfers, internal airfare and the dayroom, the total for 3 people comes out to $9355. Roy wants a 30% deposit via wire transfer and the balance upon arrival in traveler's checks or cash. I asked if I could do the final payment as a wire transfer, as well, to avoid carrying so much cash to Tanzania.

At this point, my big question is, what kind of documentation can I expect from Roy? Right now, all I have is essentially a handshake deal via e-mail to do this safari. They've requested our names, passport IDs, and flight info, but nothing else. I've asked them what sort of documention we're going to have, but haven't heard back yet. Is there anything I should insist upon? I just find it rather strange to send somebody $3k without a signed contract or anything.

In contrast, Tusker is doing my Kilimanjaro climb, and has had me fill out 6 forms so far, and sent me a huge packet of pre-departure information including a DVD and a map of Kilimanjaro.
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Oct 23rd, 2005, 08:01 AM
  #53
 
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lifelist,
I believe Roy's will also accept a wire transfer for the balance. I've heard a few other posters mention sending a wire for their balance.

As far as documentation, my Kenyan tour operator doesn't send me anything more than just an email confirmation with our final itinerary, no contract, no forms to sign. I have a feeling this may be typical of in country tour operators. I didn't find it strange or disconcerting.

I don't even have a final itinerary confirmation from the people organizing my horseback safari in Tanzania, just lots of detailed back and forth emails, and I went ahead and sent them 100% payment at time of booking as I felt entirely comfortable with them.

As long as you've done your homework and checked out the operator, I wouldn't be too worried about the documentation.
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 01:21 PM
  #54
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Booked!

I've finally nailed down the major pieces of the safari.

30% Deposit to Roy Safaris (plus $15 wire transfer fee)
$500 Deposit to Tusker Trails
$220 Airfare SFO-LHR on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (Award Ticket - I had to pay taxes and fees)
$925.50 Airfare LHR-JRO on Kenya Airways
$288 Travelex Travelite Travel Insurance

I did a budget for the trip including most of the costs I anticipate (fees, visa, vaccinations, malaria pills, tips, guide books, etc...). It comes out to $8353 for the safari (10 days) and Kilimanjaro climb (Western Breach) plus international airfare for my portion of the costs. My parents' portion comes to $9300 for the two of them including airfare.

The only thing I haven't nailed down yet is the 5 nights I'm spending in London - 3 nights before the LHR-JRO portion, and 2 nights after. What's funny is that my parents weren't going to hang out in London with me, assuming that I'd be staying in a hostel, but then I mentioned that I had enough Starwood points for free nights at the Sheraton Park Lane, at which point my mom decided they would be joining me for those two nights after all.

Btw, I did ask Roy Safaris about a possible day trip into Arusha N.P. and they're quoting me $165. If they're willing to pick me up in Moshi, I just might go for it since I have to pay $60 for the transfer between Moshi and Arusha anyway. It'd only be an extra $100 to do Arusha N.P.
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 02:57 PM
  #55
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Congrats on being fully booked. Nice that you have Virgin upper class to/from London. Now for the countdown. Are you already in shape for Kili or do you have to do anything special for training between now and then?
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 03:45 PM
  #56
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Oh, I'm in shape - only that shape is pear-like. I'm figuring on the same fitness regimen I used for my trip to the Inca Trail and the Cordillera Blanca - an hour of cardio 4-5 times a week with some weight lifting 2-3 times a week. I'm starting off slowly and working up to it. I've trekked to 15,000 feet before and have spent as much as 2 weeks backpacking in rough country, so I know my limitations up to that altitude, and feel fairly confident. However, it'll be interesting to see how things go higher than that.

I have some trips in between now and Africa that will benefit from better fitness anyway - Galapagos this month, Yellowstone in January, sea kayaking in May.
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 11:17 PM
  #57
 
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What are your plans like for Yellowstone? We're going in February. I've never been there. I picked winter because I thought it would be much less crowded with good chances of seeing wildlife. We're basing ourselves in Gardiner. Also planning to stay at Chico Hot Springs for 1 night and going dog sledding there. Then heading to Big Sky for our final 3 nights.

Have a great time in the Galapagos!
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Nov 4th, 2005, 10:20 AM
  #58
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I'm staying in the park for Yellowstone. I've done Yellowstone in October, which is a fantastic time to go. Most of the tourists are gone, you get fall colors, and the elk are in rut. It's a bit cool and a lot of services start shutting down for the season, but it's a great time to go.

This is my first trip in winter, so I'm not doing anything too adventurous. I'll be staying at Mammoth and the Snow Lodge, using the snowcoaches, snowshoes, and maybe snowmobiles to get around. I've only got a week, so I'll probably just hit the high points. I didn't know about the dog sledding - I might have to look into that.
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Nov 4th, 2005, 10:40 AM
  #59
 
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Here's the site for the dog sledding -

http://www.extrememontana.com/

You should be able to do it as a day trip from Mammoth Hot Springs.

These pictures were my inspiration for the trip -

http://www.worldisround.com/articles/29455/index.html
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Nov 4th, 2005, 12:14 PM
  #60
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Gee, lifelist that is quite a great travel itinerary between now and your trip to Africa. Good luck with your fitness regimen.
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