Trip Report Safari 2011 - Tanzania -

Reply

Apr 4th, 2011, 06:48 PM
  #21
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 118
Tom - During the period that we were at Ndutu and then in Serengeti, we saw small herds due west of Lake Ndutu in the open savanna area within the NCA. When we went to Serengeti, we saw large herds east of Moru Kopjes, and many large herds heading that way, mostly from the west. All were looking for green short-grass, with no luck. Jim.
Otis72 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 4th, 2011, 08:08 PM
  #22
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 266
Cary999,

Thx for the report, I agree about the food quality and the restrictions at Ndutu Lodge. They can easily use the generators (pretty quiet) overnight. My clients (even though they saw a ton of wildlife) were pretty pi$$ed about the "budget" accommodation. I spent a lot of time explaining to them about "location, location, location".....

TP
TigerPhotog is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 4th, 2011, 08:11 PM
  #23
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 266
Btw, am surprised at the low amount of wildlife you saw in such a long trip. I usually do 10 day (full day safari trips) and we end up seeing much much more. A lot depends on the guides ( I understand their radio chatter - swahili). Many pass from taking their clients to a sighting just because the vehicle has exceeded the daily mileage limit ;-), the clients have no clue !!!. Most of these broadcasts happen at frequencies that anyone can listen to... lol

My drivers turn the vehicle upside down(figuratively) and get us the sightings...Whew !
TigerPhotog is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 4th, 2011, 08:58 PM
  #24
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
TP - agree Ndutu Lodge has lot of restrictions - electricity usage times, electric outlets not in all rooms, water usage times, water quality, and limited meal menus. The new Lake Masek Tented camp should be considered, don't know how rates compare.

Did you/your clients drive into Ndutu Lodge? How did they like that drive in and out? FWIW, there is also an airstrip but your vehicle still has to drive in, with or without you.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2011, 12:29 AM
  #25
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 267
Hello Tom and thanks for the report and photos.

I also did not like the food at Ndutu lodge when we visit a few years ago but other than that i liked it.

When i visited the area was beginning of April and we found very big herds around Naabi Hills but not in Ndutu , a bit late for that .
If someone thinks how big the Serengeti and Ngorongoro areas are and how the rain pattern can change one realize that catching the big herds in a 10 day period is not easy . The solution of the 6 weeks would be great , i wish i had the time to do it.

I Agree with you about Manyara , not my favorite place , but i was lucky to see tree climbing lions and had some good time with Ground Hornbills and baboons . Actually a manage to take a picture with 53 of them in the frame ¡

Paco.
PacoAhedo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2011, 03:21 AM
  #26
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 371
tom, what rotten luck! But you did get some great shots...the leopard in the tree is gorgeous!

We found Lake Manyara pretty ho hum too...and we're birders! The only thing that was out of the ordinary was we got to canoe in the lake. Didn't see much, a few ellies, but it was fun.

We were considering Ndutu Lodge sometime in the future, but will now look into other options. Thanks for the detailed trip report.

Marsha
ovenbird is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2011, 05:15 AM
  #27
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 622
Tom, Lake Masek Tented Camp is about twice the rate of Ndutu Safari Lodge. It is a very nice place, and it would be my preference. You can't avoid the hard water, as all of the camps in the area have to pull water from the ground, and it is quite hard.

My customers have mentioned about the Ndutu food before, and I have left feedback as well. It isn't bad, but rather it is 1 dimensional. Dining also takes way too long. I don't mind the power only being on between 5am and 1pm, and then 6pm until 11pm. Those are easy times, actually. I have a list of rooms that have power plugs in them if you ever need them.
andybiggs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2011, 06:46 AM
  #28
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 266
Tom,
Yes, we drive into Ndutu but stop/stay at the Crater first. So the drive does not feel that bad. The drive with beautiful vistas in the Ngo Highlands around the depression is not too bad. Once into Central Serengeti, we do a 1 way fly back to Arusha/JRO.

As for LMTC, for next year, I've already begun looking for their bookings, bulk rates are slightly higher ($100-150 more pp than Ndutu, as per my agent), but quality is much higher and they do take requests for food and have a variety. Earlier, the Ndutu Lodge had monopoly in the area with not many choices in that price range, but not anymore. They better change their way of working or lose clients. Most of their clientele is British/European, I notice...

I've stayed at the higher priced Olakira Camp too, but it was too pricey for the value. LMTC is native Tanzanian owned but has strict booking/holding requirements.
TigerPhotog is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2011, 08:04 AM
  #29
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Thanks Marsha, glad you like the photos. The one of the leopard caem outnice, when I took it I thought - "ho hum another leopard with eyes closed, flat cat". My fav of hte bunch is the lion strangel hold on the zebra. It's a guy thing .

"1 dimensional" is a good way to put it Andy. FWIW, I did like their veggies, it was all of the soup and half of the entrees I was not found of. The electricity being off did not cause us any hardship, we knew about the room outlets so insisted rooms with outlets. Roger and Per did extensive CF card downloading (using expensive laptops) and to have them do that in the lounge area would not be good. We were told they plan to have power pugs in all rooms.
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2011, 08:15 AM
  #30
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
oh NOOOO, the "Submit" button before the "Preview" button trips me AGAIN!! Fodors - you must be kidding me!!! Please ignore above misspellings

to continue-

There is also more competition for Ndutu Lodge, being about 10 mobile camps there when we were. Of course this adds to the number of vehicles around. The bigger "threat" is that Ndutu area may be closed to off-roading. While following a hunting cheetah a NCA Ranger chased (somewhat rudely) away us and four other vehicles. This caught our guide by surprise. We mentioned it to a Lodge manager and that started a discussion about how such things have changed there in the last couple years.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2011, 08:23 AM
  #31
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 622
I have learned to download onto my laptop when I can, and then charge up my laptop when there is power. Often I see people freaking out about downloading without power, and that's what laptop batteries are for!

As far as Lake Masek Tented Camp goes, it is farther to the east and a little more of a drive to get to the western swamps, so that is food for thought. Just as an FYI: the swamps on the western side of Ndutu are primarily where the less experienced guides hang out, because they know they will see something with minimal effort. Some great sightings happen there, however I feel like my best sightings are often way out on the southern plains, away from vehicles. That is where I get my bat-eared foxes, pangolin (yes!) and cheetah sightings.

I think it always comes down to a balance between predictable wildlife with a good chance of big cats, or more remote sightings where the experience trumps whatever the subject 'rating' is. What I mean is that I love taking photos of the more mundane animals by myself than sitting with other vehicles to shoot sleeping lions.

I just got back from Kusini, and that is another option. Stay on the Serengeti NP side, and you are guaranteed to see so few vehicles over there. Granted, offroading is technically not allowed, but it still happens. Guides are smart about how they go about it. Kusini is one of the few camps in northern Tanzania that makes me and my customers feel like we have a private park all to ourselves.
andybiggs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2011, 11:16 AM
  #32
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 153
Enjoyed this a lot. Thanks for posting.
sangeeta is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2011, 04:08 PM
  #33
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 624
Interesting information Andy, thanks.
twaffle is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2011, 06:04 PM
  #34
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Andy - ok, so we have the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, NCA, that includes Ndutu Lodge and what I call the Ndutu area. (It also includes the Crater). Then there is the Serengeti National Park, SNP. The SNP is north-west of the NCA. You were in both NCA and SNP this past Feb-Mar 2011? In which area this past Feb-Mar 2011 did you see the most/best migration? Was this year typical for the migration?

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2011, 06:35 PM
  #35
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,528
Thanks for the report, Tom. I went with Ranger safaris in 2002 - booked through a local Indian travel agent (who knew very little and i knew even less ....). Guiding was pathetic and I haven't returned as yet, as I'm looking to research thoroughly and would definitely need to make a trip when I know how to get it right (whatever that is....).

Thanks for the Kusini info, Andy. Have written them an email to ask them questions about out of migration season (dry months) and their involvement with the serengeti cheetah project. Also, is the Kusini area away from the mobile seasonal camp sites? although, i guess that would be a valid question for only certain months...
HariS is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 5th, 2011, 10:16 PM
  #36
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 91
Tom,

I can't understand you didn't do more research before your trip as it looks you were quite surprised/disappointed by certain aspects of your safari. Did you think your TA give you enough information?

Also judging not to go to the Serengeti anymore after a two-day stay, is a bit pathetic.

I still think your guides/drivers weren't that good even if they are working in the area for 10 years.

Well there is always next time
skimmer2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2011, 07:40 AM
  #37
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 622
Tom, here is a great map for a reference:

http://www.go2africa.com/tanzania/se...ional-park/map

Notice where Kusini is. The migration in the January through March months are all over the southern part of the greater Serengeti ecosystem, and you never know exactly where they are going to be. Heck, they could be in the Maswa Game Reserve for 50% of the time. It all depends on rain. I prefer to spend time in both the southern SNP and NCA Ndutu areas, just to hedge all of my bets. Keep in mind when there isn't a big migration near you, you tend to spend time doing things you wouldn't normally spend time doing, and you appreciate the smaller things.
andybiggs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2011, 01:42 PM
  #38
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 91
One of the TA's who provide good info on the different areas and camps: http://www.africatravelresource.com/africa/tanzania

Of course,they have their own favourites.
skimmer2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2011, 02:58 PM
  #39
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
thanks Andy for map and explanation
I found another map in my files for SNP and NCA. It also shows both Kusini Camp and Ndutu Lodge. I've added it to my smugmug pictures (at end). Direct link to it is - http://tinyurl.com/3we9esu
(Don't know original source of map, I cropped from it for only this area).

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2011, 06:29 PM
  #40
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,528
Serian camp has a location at Maswa during these months. I'm sure off-road won't be a problem there. Alex's guides are all hand picked and trained well ....... their safaris are of a very high overall standard in the Mara, so will expect much the same here!
HariS is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:54 AM.