tanzania: waiting lists ?

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Feb 10th, 2006, 03:10 AM
  #1
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tanzania: waiting lists ?

who has already managed to get a fixed confirmation of their lodges from their safari operator for a holiday in June 2006 ?
if so, when did you make your initial booking and with which company ?
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Feb 10th, 2006, 04:26 AM
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I don't think the success of others will have any bearing on the status of your bookings! One person can book a year ahead and be waitlisted, while someone else could call one week before the trip and a room!

Tanzania is VERY popular and rooms are not easy to secure. Many budget outfitters are not always forthcoming with the true status of bookings and many clients will be switched to different establishments once they arrive! They just don't know it yet! For example, this happened to clients of well known NY agent last year according to some posts on this board (I'd rather not mention the agent's name). Their itineraries were switched completely and they ended up in some remote lodges of lesser quality!

Waiting lists mean the lodges are holding rooms for other companies and none is available at this time.

This is common in Tanzania. Rooms will start to clear about 60 days out when the large group tour companies cancel some of thir rooms due to lack of bookings. But there are no guarantees.

Waiting lists are unreliable. The only true way to secure a cleared room during busy periods is to show up in person at the booking office with a voucher in hand - and with luck you will be at the right place at the right time!

Smart outfitters visit the offices every day when they have to secure rooms - if they don't, the rooms will go to someone else!
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Feb 10th, 2006, 04:35 AM
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I know what you mean with some operators not being honest about their bookings and switching rooms last minute. However, since there are operators obviously making this block bookings, atleast if you book with them, you should be able to receive a true confirmation soon. In the case their block booking is full, they can immediately ask you to "choose" another lodge. And I'm trying to find out who may be the operators making these block bookings. Anyway, the safari operator also told me that block bookings atleast are released 90 days prior to arrival ? If it is actually 60 days like you say, it may really be better maybe to look into other options ?
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Feb 10th, 2006, 04:58 AM
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Lodges have different policies with regards to block bookings and release periods and this also depends on the season.

For example, one popular hotel group will release rooms at 60 days out during peak season, 45 days out during high season and 35 days out during low season.

Despite the formal policies, the lodges will treat every booking on a case by case basis - they may relax the rules for some agents and enforce it with another!

Your best bet is to try the largest local outfitters such as Ranger Safaris & Sunny.

You can also call the lodge booking office directly - but you may have to do it on a daily basis so they know you are serious!
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Feb 10th, 2006, 05:10 AM
  #5
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thanks for the tip. actually it is Sunny who I am waiting for to confirm.. so maybe they indeed may have some more ability to put pressure and get rooms released a bit earlier on. I guess just taking the risk with them should be the best bet. anyway, thanks again.. (though I still am wondering, if it are not the large local operators making block bookings, then which companies are ?)
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Feb 10th, 2006, 05:10 AM
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I don't know about June.
But we booked up a couple of weeks ago to leave this Monday. All that was available was serengeti sopa 1 night Lobo 3 nights Mbalageti 2 nights. Not ideal for Feb. But the seronera lodges were all booked up. We'll have a lot of driving to do. It was quite a different story 2 1/2 years ago!
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Feb 10th, 2006, 05:23 AM
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In this case it may not be a block booking after all! It could simply be a full house based on lots of individual bookings!

Welcome to Tanzania 2006!
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Feb 10th, 2006, 06:39 AM
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Hi Janischa, I just had a word with feroz(owner of sunny safaris) for my serengeti trip in March. I would suggest u send a mail addressed to him directly, he is very helpful
Sonali.
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Feb 10th, 2006, 07:15 AM
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wouldn't that be like going around someone's back ? the girl of sunny who has been trying to help me has been quite helpful, and I don't think even the boss of sunny could help. But i appreciate your suggestion. I know climbhighsleeplow said the experiences of others won't make a difference, but it would help me assess the situation a bit more. so, can anyone who has been on a waiting list tell me their story ? and have others managed to get their bookings already confirmed for June ? particularly if they have booked with Sunny ?
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Feb 10th, 2006, 08:11 AM
  #10
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Recently there was a post that Micato who is one of the large companies (along with the likes of A&K, etc.) who put in block bookings, sometimes 2years in advance - had to change a client from Lake Manyara Serena to Tarangire Sopa. Yes, Micato does, on some of their itineraries, book the same lodges as the rest of us.

As climbhigh....... indicates, clearing of space can be anywhere from 90, to 60, to even 20-days prior. It's best to have yout outfitter "cover" book with another property so you're not left with nowhere to lay your head.

I was shocked recently to get 3-consecutive days at the Serena Lodge in the Mara during August... and two rooms, no less. Luck of the draw.... these days may have just been open. Who know why? I don't care, but have them.

 
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Feb 10th, 2006, 08:20 AM
  #11
 
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Hi, I told u to contact feroz as at times sunny is loaded with inquiries and if he came to know about your booking problems he can help an extra mile(he has the contacts and the pull). I have dealt with sunny regularly and all the staff has been most helpful. So this is not going behind someone's back it's maybe writing a joint e-mail to both feroz and the person who is coordinating your itiernary(she may feel relieved), to get your booking processed, Sonali.
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Feb 10th, 2006, 01:20 PM
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As the client of Micato that got changed, I will back up Sandi's post - we have been booked with Micato on our June 06 safari since August 05, and it happened to us. My contact at Micato called about a month ago and said Lake Manyara Serena was 'overbooked' and that we would be changing to the Tarangire Sopa instead. So, if it can happen to a big outfitter that has clients in these lodges every week of the year (and probably one of the block bookers Eben spoke of), then it can certainly happen to others....
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Feb 16th, 2006, 12:55 AM
  #13
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great, I told our second choice operator we were still choosing between 2 operators and if she could tell me which lodges she would be able to confirm and not have to be on a waiting list. However in the mean time, I also received from our preferred operator an adapted itinary which could be confirmed (the itinary has been adapted by availability of the lodges)

Option 1 (fully confirmed)

13th June 06
Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge.
14th June 06
Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge.
15th June 06
Ndutu Safari Lodge.
16th June 06
Ndutu Safari Lodge.
17th June 06
Ikoma Bush Camp.
18th June 06
Ikoma Bush Camp.
19th June 06
Lobo Wildlife Lodge.
20th June 06
Seronera Wildlife Lodge.
21st June 06
Tarangire Safari Lodge.
22nd June 06
Tarangire Safari Lodge.
23rd June 06
departure for Arusha

Option 2:
13th June 2006
Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge - Waitlisted
14th June 2006
Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge - Confirmed
15th June
Serengeti Sopa Lodge Waitlisted
16th June
Seronera Wildlife Lodge. - Confirmed
17th June
Seronera Wildlife Lodge Confirmed
18th June
Ikoma Bush Camp - Confirmed
19th June
Ikoma Bush Camp - Confirmed
20th June
Kisima Ngeda Lodge. (to be confirmed)
21st June
search for a Hadzabe camp Afternoon drive to Tarangire National Park. Tarangire Safari Lodge - Confirmed
22nd June
Tarangire Safari Lodge - Confirmed
23rd June
drive back to Arusha.


Pro option 1: fully confirmed, 200 USD cheaper, more wildlife viewing
con option 1: goes in opposite direction of the migration (first south serengeti, then north west, then north, then central)

Pro option 2: 2 nights Seronera Wildlife, follows more the direction of the migration, more variation (visit Hadzabe people, trekking at the Crater highlands for 6 hours)
Con option 2: still waitlisted, Sopa instead of Wildlife here and there (I prefer Wildlife for their location), maybe less wildlife

What do you think ?
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Feb 16th, 2006, 02:54 AM
  #14
 
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I booked a safari starting 28/6 and ending 16/7 (on Zanzibar) in september/october. At that time, two lodges were already "fully booked"; Manyara Serena and Tarangire Sopa.

My travel agent wanted fully confirmed lodges right away, so she proposed two alternatives (Tarangire Safari lodge & Kirurumu tented camp), which we took (and saves some money in by doing so by the way).

As these lodges were already "full" nine months in advance, it was indeed quite obvious to us that some "big" safari-players completely reserved them waaaay in advance.

Well, I guess those big companies have big prices for a reason... ;-)
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Feb 16th, 2006, 04:29 AM
  #15
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Yeahhh!!! I've finally made up my mind... we will be doing option 2. I prefer to pay a bit more and do the itinary I actually had in mind... So much looking forward to Tanzania this June !!! Yeahhhhh !!!
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Feb 18th, 2006, 03:11 PM
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janischa,
Are you now confirmed for option 2? Have a great trip and please report back on your stay at Kisima Ngeda camp and the Hadzabe visit, oh yeah and all the other stuff too!
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Feb 19th, 2006, 11:10 PM
  #17
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don't worry, I surely will report once I'm back really just can't wait.. june still seems much to far away
option 2 is confirmed for the 2 nights in Ngorongoro, but not yet for Serengeti Sopa and still to request for Kisima Ngeda. But for the Serengeti Sopa, I don't mind spending a night alternatively elsewhere (eg an extra night at Ngorongoro), as I already got 2 nights Seronera and 2 Ikoma. So, all flexi there. For the Kisima Ngeda, we'll see...
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