TZ - Help Critique Safari Itinerary

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Jun 20th, 2005, 12:28 PM
  #1
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TZ - Help Critique Safari Itinerary

We're about to book a trip to TZ in late Feb. Know it's not the best season, but we can't travel June-October. Any comments on expected temps. and insect levels? We're considering a safari with a private vehicle so we have control over how we spend our days.

itinerary:
Fly into Nairobi at 7 p.m. after a night in Zurich. Using FF miles with AA so we can't fly into TZ. Spend night in Nairobi.

drive the next day with guide to Sinya Wildlife Conservancy arriving late afternoon for 3 nights at Kambi ya Tembo, supposedly a small luxury tented camp with views of Mt. Kil. we've read that huge bull elephants are frequently seen here. We've opted to drive to Sinya, rather than fly, as we've been told the road is tarmac and it will be an interesting ride. At Sinya, we'll gamedrive, walks with Maasai, visit local village if we choose.

From Sinya to Arusha Nat'l Park gamedriving on way to Hatari Lodge for 2 nights. Anyone stayed at Hatari Lodge?

obviously, in all the places we're staying we'll be gamedriving during the day.

from Arusha NP to Tarangire NP. Stay at Tarangire River Camp for 2 nights. Have read reports on TRC and am still a little confused about quality and whether it's in a good location in the park. Would Kikoti be better? Aware of Treetops, but prefer river ridge views to forest. Any other opinions welcome. Understand TNP not at best in Feb., but feel I can't omit it.

From Tarangire to Gibbs Farm for night, stopping at Lake Manyara NP during the day. I've read we shouldn't spend more time there.

From Gibbs to Serengeti NP, stopping at Oldupai Gorge on the way, to a Kibo private "luxury" tented camp for 3 nights. I'm hoping to see part of the wildebeast migration.

From Kibo camp to Ng. Crater, staying at Serena for 1 night. we descend the crater for an afternoon after leaving Serengetti on way to Serena Lodge. Any input on Serena v. Sopa v. crator lodge appreciated. Should we spend more time here?

After 1 night at Ng Crator, we spend our last night in Africa at the Ngorongoro Farm House to relax before the trek home. The next day we'll fly from Arusha to Nairobi, spend some time in a day room and take a midnite flight to zurich, where we spend 2 more nights.
We're alternating tenting with lodges believing we'll need a night of pampering after a couple of nights in tents. As this is a private tour, we can be flexible on where we want to stay.

Have read a little about "off roading". any input on exactly what this means and where it can be done?

A final very silly question. Will I see many spiders? mild arachnophobia here and want the truth so i can be prepared. not afraid of snakes or other insects, just an irrational, but controlable, fear of spiders.

Would love to hear from others who have done this trip in late Feb. Thanks again, fodorites.



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Jun 20th, 2005, 01:52 PM
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Chiquita -

You don't have to redo your thread if replies come slow or not at all. Just go to the original thread and click as if "to reply" and enter "ttt" - this will bring your original thread "to the top".

As to your itinerary... it's fine. Sinya is right outside of Amboseli so there are elephants to be seen; you shouldn't be disappointed.

Not familiar with Hatari at Arusha National Park - no comment.

You're correct re Tarangire - not the best time, but there are always indigenous herds of elephants here, and zebra and lions; the landscape with giant baobab trees are worth a visit here. Tarangire River Camp is a good location, if you want to be on a river and is right at the entry of the park. Kikoti might be a bit more luxurious, but is a good 30-minutes outside the park.

Gibbs Farm is good and the food is supposed to be excellent.

Can't comment specifically on Kibo Camp, where exactly is this located in the Serengeti - which area? North, Central or Southern? The best location for February is Central or Southern where the wildebeest "calving" takes place.

At the Crater, the Serena and Sopa are both good, so the choice is yours. The advantage for some with the Sopa is that it is closer to the road leading into the Crater, but it is a larger property then the Serena. It's a toss-up. But for February, when many are visiting for the "calving" season nearby, whichever is available - take it. You really don't need more then 1-nt at the Crater, but realize that you can't do full-day tours here as of the beginning of 2006. Most outfitters have been scheduling two half-day tours on the Crater floor. In this case you may require a second night to fit this in... that is if you want two half-day tours. Most find that one half-day is sufficient.

I believe off-roading (riding on the plains rather then the designated roads in the Serengeti) is permitted in the southern region, but I can't verify that you will be able to do so. Then you might. I'd make an inquiry of your outfitter about this.

Spiders - I don't know. Didn't see any on a recent trip, or on any of our trips to East Africa. I'm sure there are spiders... but they don't want to see you any more then you want to see them.

Weather in February will probably be pretty warm during the day and cool in the mornings and evenings. Be sure to have a hat and sun protection for your game drives. A light jacket or heavy sweater should suffice for the cool weather... besides, it's not like you're really out in the elements - mostly in your vehicle, but the sun can be brutal.

Hope this helps. And since few who post here regulary have visited Sinya - Kambi ya Tembo, we'll expect a trip report. LOL!


 
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Jun 21st, 2005, 05:02 AM
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Jun 27th, 2005, 04:24 PM
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I was on a Kibo trip to Tanzania this last February (as well as the prior June). Let me assure you that their Tarangire River Camp is wonderful! It's been upgraded and is now comparable to some of the Botswana permanent tented camps. It's also well located near the park entrance. As to Tarangire NP in February...we saw over 200 elephants in one day! It's a great park any time of the year, and is underrated. FYI, we had a couple of bull elephants saunter through the camp one night...I watched them graze not 15' from my tent window.

Lake Manyara...yes, just a short side trip is sufficient.

Ngorogoro Crater...I've just read that they will be restricting drives to 6 hours per day, beginning in July. This may be enough in Feb. as it may be quite hot. There was a heat wave on when we were there...100 + most days. Perhaps you could go a second time the next morning, prior to going to the Farmhouse, which is quite close to the Crater. That might require an extra fee, but would be worth it. As to the lodges on the crater rim, we always stay at the Farmhouse, so I can't give you any firsthand experience. I do think that the Crater Lodge is a bit over the top (chandeliers and butlers?!)

We stayed in Kibo's mobile tents...wonderful experience! They even had flush toilets in them; ingenious setup. We were set up in the Ndutu area of the southern Serengeti in Feb. I'm sure that's where they will have you, as well. The food in the camp was the best I've ever had anywhere. In fact, all of Kibo's properties had great dining.

Ngorongoro Farmhouse is a beautiful place. The rooms are huge and the setting on a 500 acre farm is lovely.

Spiders? I didn't see any.

Have a great trip!
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