The Great Southern Tanzania safari - help wanted!

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Apr 6th, 2006, 04:56 AM
  #1
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The Great Southern Tanzania safari - help wanted!

My husband and I were planning our to celebrate our anniversary in Tanzania this summer but one thing lead to another and we had to postpone.
We are now planning a comprehensive safari in late October/early November.

Our itinerary is a work in progress!

Arrive and overnight in Dar es Salaam
3 nights Selous (need help with lodges)
4 nights Ruaha (need help with lodges)
4 nights Northern Serengeti (Nomad Serengeti Camp)
3 nights Mahale (Greystoke)
4 nights Katavi (need help with lodges)
4 nights Zanzibar (Palms)
Depart from Dar es Salaam

We must decide between the following lodges or camps.

Selous - Beho, Sand Rivers,Mbuyu, Selous Safari Camp
Ruaha - Mdonya, Jongomero, Mwagusi, Ruaha River Lodge
Katavi - Flycatcher, Chada, any others?

We received excellent recommendations from our outfitter but I want to hear from those who stayed at one or more of these lodges.
Is it worthwhile to split the nights in Ruaha/Selous between 2 camps or will game drives be in the same areas regardless?
We are looking for good guides, open vehicles, varied gameviewing, game walks, views (we enjoy watching wildlife from the room or lodge with drinks in hand)

I am unfamiliar with Katavi and any accommodation or game viewing advice will be much appreciated!
Thanks!
Jan
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Apr 6th, 2006, 05:11 AM
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bat
 
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janets1s:
I can't help you with first hand knowledge about your camp choices but I wanted to say WOW--I want your trip!

I read somewhere that Nomad gives a "long stay" discount with 9 nights at various camps so you might ask about this. If there is a discount you now have 7 (Nomad seasonal and Mahale) so you might want to add a Nomad camp(Katavi Chada and/or Sand River)to get the discount.

I will also tell you that I and another fodorite rocco recently returned from safaris that included the Nomad seasonal camp and we were both extrmemely impressed with Nomad--so I think that any Nomad camp will have great guiding and great customer service.

I am currently researching Selous and understand that BehoBeho is in the highland area, whereas SSC and SR are on water level. Wth 3 nights in Selous, I don't think that is enough time to split.

Great anniversary present!
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Apr 6th, 2006, 06:01 AM
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Hi bat

Thank you!

Yes, the Nomad camps are our first choice given the multiple night discount! We are willing to pay a little more for really special camps though.

I am reading the other posts now and the excitement is building! Even my husband is starting to read Fodors and he can hardly switch on the computer!
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Apr 6th, 2006, 06:14 AM
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janet:
This tour company gives descriptions of the various lodges and expresses an opinion about them.
http://www.tanzania-web.com/all_lodg...all_lodges.htm

Africa Travel Resource also gives opinions.
http://www.africatravelresource.com/...nzania/T01.asp

Keep in mind that these websites are not always up to the minute and that travel companies may have preferred camps for economic reasons--but I still like to read what they have to say.

Have fun.
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Apr 6th, 2006, 12:40 PM
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Here is a report on Southern Tanzania. I believe the author, rsnyder considered some of these parks his favorite.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34649444

Richard Smith has been to Southern Tanzania, I think Mahale and Katavi. He has included his email. I emailed him directly one time.

Richard_Smith [email protected]

Please post your findings as there are many of us very interested in that area. Lucky you get to go first.
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Apr 6th, 2006, 12:49 PM
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Hello,

Sounds like a great trip!

In terms of camps, you're in luck -- Sand Rivers in the Selous and Chada in Katavi are the best camps in their parks, and both are Nomad camps.

In Ruaha, I'd suggest Mwagusi.

Based on your current itinerary, I would not split your stays in the Selous and Ruaha -- your time there is too short, and packing every 1-2 days is not very relaxing. If you were to do 6 nights per park, then I'd recommend 2 camps at 3 nights each.

Cheers,
Julian
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Apr 6th, 2006, 12:57 PM
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bat
 
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Julian:
I am curious--why do you recommend Mwagusi over Jongomero?
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Apr 6th, 2006, 01:05 PM
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Hello Bat,

Mwagusi is in the centre of the park, which is the most productive game-viewing area in Ruaha.

This isn't to say that Jongomero isn't a great camp as well -- it's smaller and more luxurious, and has brilliant views as it's up on a hill.

Cheers,
Julian
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Apr 6th, 2006, 01:12 PM
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Hi, Janet

I was in Ruaha and Selous in late January and stayed at Mwagusi (2 nights) and Sand Rivers (3 nights). Overall, both were excellent. The game viewing was better in Ruaha (due in part to the lack of rain in the Selous), but I liked the lodge better in Selous. Guides at both places were excellent, and the vehicles were open (southern African style) with canopy tops.

Sand Rivers was a little more luxurious than Mwagusi. Food was great at both places; however, drinks were included at Sand Rivers, but not at Mwagusi. Both places did laundry, excluding ladies' smalls. Sand Rivers has electricity 24 hours a day which was convenietn for charging batteries.

In Dar we did an overnight at the new Kempinski Kilimanjaro which was fabulous--small rooms, but luxurious with good restaurants and a nice rooftop bar. I don't know if it is still listed or not, but there was a grand opening special of 125 USD on their website. Go to the Kempinski Hotels website and then to the Kilimanjaro page. Look under room rates for the special, if it is still there. We booked the hotel separately and took a taxi from the airport to the hotel with no problem.

You probably should take a look at another thread on this forum--"We MIGHT be going to Tanzania" by Patty. She is also trying to work out some lodges for southern Tanzania.

Leann


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Apr 6th, 2006, 01:25 PM
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Janet

The thread name I was referring to is "We MIGHT be going back to Africa this year after all."

Leann
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Apr 6th, 2006, 01:26 PM
  #11
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Thanks for the info Julian and Leann.
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Apr 6th, 2006, 04:40 PM
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Thank you all very much! You confirmed our initial thoughts!

The modified itinerary is now

Arrive and overnight in Dar es Salaam
3 nights Selous (Selous Safari Camp)
4 nights Ruaha (Mwagusi)
4 nights Northern Serengeti (Nomad Serengeti Camp)
3 nights Mahale (Greystoke)
4 nights Katavi (Chada)
4 nights Zanzibar (Palms)
Depart from Dar es Salaam

We are following the other Southern Tanzania threads and trip reports with great interest and will likely have more questions soon!
Jan
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Apr 6th, 2006, 05:05 PM
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Janet

I checked the rates for the Kempinski Kilimanjaro, and the lowest rate they are quoting now for two people is 150 USD, including a "to die for" buffet breakfast.

Leann
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Apr 6th, 2006, 05:50 PM
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bat
 
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Jan:
I hate you. Oh, I guess that is an inappropriate emotion to express. I'm sorry. The > made me say it!

Fabulous itinerary; fabulous anniversary!
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Apr 6th, 2006, 05:59 PM
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OK. I wasn't going to post this but I guess we are all friends here, right? I had the STRANGEST dream last night. It was in bits and pieces, as dreams can be, so follow as best you can.

I was in Zambia. First, I was being driven to a camp by a Zambian. Only it was in MY car. Fast forward, and I am in Lusaka I think. (I've never been there, so I can't say for sure.) I have some sort of a long layover there for some reason. As time goes on we realize that I haven't packed everything. It's like this long, drawn out drama... first I realize I don't have my dop kit - no meds, no nothing. Then I realize that I don't have my sandals and that my main bag is only partially packed. Finally, horror of all horrors, I have failed to bring my photo gear. So I am being helped to get a note to a postal station or Fed Ex type place because people are telling me that if I get a note to my mother in the states, I can get ALL my stuff Fed-Exed to me overnight. So I am fretting, trying to figure out how to explain to my mom what I need sent over.

Ultimately I come to realize that the bag I've brought over is the one I "practice packed" at home and therefore was not fully packed. And true to my form with dreams, the two couples trying to help me through it all? Reese Witherspoon and her husband, Ryan Phillipe and Jude Law and Sienna Miller, who, at least in my dream were very much still together. (Actors, in case you all have more of a life than me.)

So you can all see that I really would not do well with Larium. ;-)
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Apr 6th, 2006, 06:01 PM
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Lord. I posted the above in the wrong thread. Sorry!
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Apr 6th, 2006, 06:12 PM
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Well, now that I've read this thread, I too am jealous of this trip. When I was first planning and looking at Tanzania as an option I was told by ATR that I would be "mad" to go to southern Tanz first without going to the northern parks. But I really wanted to go to Mahale and see the southern parts. You really have to go with your gut, which is why I ultimately ended up with Zambia. But southern Tanz is absolutely on my radar. Congrats on a great trip, and happy anniversary!
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Apr 6th, 2006, 08:46 PM
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First of all wow and congrats!

This is a fascinating itinerary and I was wondering if that's the routing that made the most sense in terms of flight schedules. I haven't done much research into getting to Mahale/Katavi, but it seems like you're starting south, going north and then heading southwest, but perhaps there's a logic to this. Do you have any info on the flights that you could share? Are you taking scheduled flights, charters, shared charters, do you know? From Katavi do you fly to Dar and then Zanzibar?

How much does an itinerary like this cost if you don't mind me asking?

We're trying to include southern Tanzania and planning for about the same time of year, but only Selous or Ruaha or some combination of the two.
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Apr 7th, 2006, 10:45 AM
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bat
 
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Jan#39;
Would you let us know what made you decide to go with Selous Safari Camp instead of Sand river? I am contemplating those two right now.

Patty:
I will be interested in hearing about Jan's plane schedule also. You have probably looked at Coastal's schedule on the spread sheet accessed from their website: http://www.coastal.cc/

It shows the options for Dar, Selous, Ruaha, Arusha, Zanzibar--no Mahale Katavi, though.

I know Flycatchers does a route to their camps in Mahale and Katavi with certain day of the week departures. I am not clear on how the planes to Nomad's camps work.
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Apr 7th, 2006, 03:37 PM
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Patty:

The planes I thought were associated with Flycatchers must be Nomad. Nomad's website has Tanganyika Flying Company listed (but no link). The Mahale segment refers to shared charters on TFC which run on Mon and Thursdays (or you would have to private charter).

I have seen 3/4 and 4/3 splits depending on day of departure (i.e. depart Arusha on Mon. to Mahale for 3 nights, then fly to Katavi on TR for 4 nights then back to Arusha on Mon. Or depart Arusha on TR, 4 nights at Mahale, on Monday fly to Katavi for 3 nights, then fly to Arusha on TR. So I think that they run an Arusha-Mahale-Katavi-Arusha circuit on M and TR

I believe that there is a Katavi-Selous option so that someone could do Mahale-Katavi-Selous. I saw this on a CapetoCairo itinerary but I am not sure.

I would guess that Jan's deprature date for Mahale is a Monday (she is doing a 3/4 split)--and I think that the Tanganyika plane may leave Arusha and make a serengeti stop to pick up the those folks.

I guess if you don't fit this schedule--or wanted to do it in reverse--that you might have to private charter.

Let's see what Jan says--and anyone else who knows about transport to Mahale-Katavi.

Jan, would you tell us what travel agent you are using?

Thanks.
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