Tanzanian trip Itinerary

Old Feb 2nd, 2008, 09:20 AM
  #21  
spy
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oops, didn't mean to post yet!

Thank you all SO Much for the ideas/reassurance about time and everything else. I really don't know much about the area, or time , or safari companies and all your ideas have been helpful

I keep forgetting that with 4 of us, doing things privately and making our own schedule with a company as possible isn't so much more expensive. Am I right about this??

We will not cut safari short (though I hope my girls can handle 6 nights 7 days!). I was just reading a guide book about Ng'iresi and it seemed like a casual visit there with a guide for second half of Day 1 Arusha would be a great idea!

Nobody has mentioned Arusha itself. We won't have time to all we want, anything we shouldn't miss here?

Can anyone reassure me that Sunny Safari or Roy's are OK to work with? I think I might want to contact a third.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2008, 09:41 AM
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Sorry, I meant the advice here is good but the itinerary from your operator is a bit generic!

BTW, I know Ally well - he is not a she!

I have done all the cultural visits in the Arusha area - just this afternoon I visited Tengeru.

Tomorrow I am doing Arusha National Park again and another canoe trip on Small Momella.

I can offer Arusha advice but would rather not compare operators. I leave that to their respective agents on this board!
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Old Feb 2nd, 2008, 10:01 AM
  #23  
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I actually meant to keep it gender neutral as I was aware Ally could be a male. Sorry if I insulted anyone. By your comment, am I to assume all the tour operators watch these sights and give advice as if they were individuals?? I am not sure why you don't want to give me specific advice about tour operators, but I certainly respect your decision. I hope someone could/would tell me if I were about to hire a dud!!! I guess there is no way to know who is giving me all this advice, eh?
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Old Feb 2nd, 2008, 10:32 AM
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Spy

You did not offend anyone!

Both outfitters you mentioned have been in business for a long time so no worries there.

Some local outfitters do monitor this forum but it is mostly overseas agents who actively participate. Old-timers here know the affiliations between active agents and their ground operators and when the line is crossed it will be pointed out rather quickly!

Unlike other forums you can certainly trust most of what you read here.

Comparing itineraries is easy.

Comparing outfitters is harder because few (if any) have traveled with both Roys and Sunny for example. And they both have many guides, models of cars, etc so it is almost impossible to get a fair comparison! This is why I joked about leaving it up to their agents to duke it out!
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Old Feb 2nd, 2008, 04:21 PM
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I'm sorry I missed your question earlier about what the tour of Mto Wa Mbu is like. Not sure how it works with other companies, but with Green Footprint we actually spent the whole morning and part of the afternoon in town, and our guide tailored the day based on what we wanted to do.

We started off touring a medical clinic (which would probably be a bit boring for kids, but my husband is a doctor and really wanted to do this -- we both found it so interesting). We had time for either the medical clinic or visiting a school, so that might be a better choice for a family with kids. After the clinic, we walked through a banana farm, visited some wood carvers in their shop and watched them work (no pressure to buy anything, by the way), then walked into the main part of town and visited the market, where my husband had fun bartering for Maasai-style sandals. We also went to a local "pub" and tried banana beer and hung out for a while, sharing bananas with a group of adorable little kids and talking with the woman who owned the place. Finally, we had lunch at a local restaurant, where we got to watch them plucking the chicken and making our lunch, and tried some really delicious local dishes. It was an absolutely wonderful time, and we felt we really got a lot out of it. Best of all, it was a chance to wander around a village and not be bombarded by people trying to sell us things... even in the market, people pretty much just treated us like everyone else, so that was so nice. This was one of the few chances in our trip for us to talk with people outside the tourist industry.

By contrast, we also visited a Maasai village and found that experience interesting but quite uncomfortable. There was a constant "hard sell" from the beginning of the tour to the end (pushing souvenirs into our hands, etc.), we were rushed through the village in about 20 minutes, and some of the women and children in the village seemed unhappy about having tourists there (in one case the man leading the tourists through grabbed a very upset little boy and pulled him out of his house to try and force him to pose for pictures). I'm sure the village visits are different depending on where you go (we had a better experience in northern Kenya at a Samburu village), but the hard sell of souvenirs does seem to be a typical part of it.

You mentioned being concerned about making changes to your itinerary or asking questions, but as others have mentioned any tour operator worth their salt should not be annoyed by this. We booked the Tanzania portion of our trip through Green Footprint Adventures, and I e-mailed back and forth with our safari planner for more than a year until we had all our questions answered and our itinerary exactly the way we wanted it.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 05:17 AM
  #26  
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Great description of your day in the village. I have been very concerned about visiting a maasai village where we are not really wanted/needed but for our money and feeling uncomfortable. I really want to avoid this for myself adn my kids. I love the the idea of wandering about Mto-wa-Mbu and visiting something off the beaten path. I am actually a doctor myself (family practice) so will give some thought to visiting a clinic vs school, etc. I"ll check with our potential guides to see what they come up with. I've heard Green Footpirnt (love the name!) is great for day/active trips, but they had seemed like they would be outside our budget for a 7 day safari.

Its such a strange thing to price out these different operators and to try to get a feel for what is right. We don't want to be extravagant,waste money, or come all the way to a 3rd world country to luxury. We do want to be responsible tourists, get a real feel for the local culture and see some amazing animals! I am also aware that despite the cost, trying too hard to save money (even big amounts like $1,000) on such a once in a lifetime trip might be somewhat foolish

One basic difference with tour operators seems to be the lodges people stay in(Seronera, vs. Serena for the most part). Remembering that I am not a luxury traveler, but that I'll be with my kids who are less resiliant and more picky about food (I've already warned them they'll have to "buckup" on th trip!!!) do you think there are any compelling reasons why Seronera is inferior to Serena?


Once again, really appreciate peoples thoughts.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 03:13 PM
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Maasai village experiences can be quite different, depending on which village you visit, which is up to your guide/outfitter. In June, we visited a village that had not had a visit before and stayed over 3 1/2 hours. The highlight for our group of 10 women was sitting down with the Maasai women and, for over an hour, having both groups ask each other questions. It was a fantastic experience! the Mto village visit sounds interesting, as well. I would also suggest visiting a school, perhaps in Karatu. Your girls would probably be interested in that and would certainly come to appreciate their own schools more!

Speaking of your girls, will they have their own cameras, still or video? You might be surprised at what they find interesting to photograph. It will tell you a lot about what fascinated them the most about the trip.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 03:48 PM
  #28  
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I was actually wondering about what to do with my kids photography interests. Right now we own an old camera with a small telephoto lens (28-135) and a digital point and shoot. We've wondered about a digital SLR for ourselves, and maybe a cheaper video digital for the girls. We are not pros but are interested in decent wildlife photos. Any suggestions for what to do to outfit ourselves for photography for a total of $500. or less

BTW, just hit the jackpot of a cultural experience... a friend of a friend sponsors 2 kids at an orphanage less than 30 miles out side Arusha. We now are planning a day trip there to deliver supplies and money, and give our kids are "REAL" local experience. I am VERY excited aboaut this. Lots of details to be sorted out, but will really make the trip a meaningful one. HOping our safari operator can help us with transportation.
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