Uganda, Rwand, Tanzania - Itinerary Help Please

Old Mar 31st, 2008, 02:34 PM
  #21  
 
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I very tempted to add Madagascar because there are nonstop CDG-TNR flights on Air France and it's a destination I'd like to try but perhaps not devote an entire vacation to on a first trip.
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Old Apr 1st, 2008, 11:47 AM
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Patty,
Madagascar would be a great excursion to add to the Europe Trip. I've thought about Antarctica many times, but never seem to make it. If you don't go on that cruise and would rather go to Africa in February of 09 instead, you know where I'll be.

Lynn,
Trading time in one country for time in another explains it all. It sounds like Rwanda is shaping up for you.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 06:31 PM
  #23  
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Sorry, but I couldnít resist topping my own thread now that I have rewards tickets booked in both directions. I backed the whole trip up a week. But, because I did not want to be on a plane home on my birthday, I tacked a few more days onto the end. So, I now have 27 days start to finish (2/19-3/10). I realize this is no longer the three weeks I originally planned, but rather 4 weeks minus one day. Iím not sure when Iíll break this news to my boss!

So now I have more questions:

1. Should I use these extra days in Uganda or Tanzania? Lynnís and Leelyís comments about the Crater, as well as recent photos and trip reports, made me reconsider my earlier decision. Since a friend of mine (and maybe two) will probably be joining me, Iím definitely adding a night there. Iíll probably also add one or two nights at Manyara.

2. If I add the Crater and Manyara, I can reduce the days in the Serengeti and add 3 nights in Uganda. If I keep the 5-6 nights in the Serengeti I wonít add any Uganda nights.

3. If I use these extra days in Uganda, should I go to Murchison Falls National Park or Queen Elizabeth National Park? If I go to MFNP, Iíll probably fly there and back, and then take the charter flight to Bwindi. If I go to QENP, Iíll probably fly there, and then drive to Bwindi. I should clarify. I will not be doing the driving. Weíll hire a vehicle and guide/driver.

I will now have a total of 24 nights in Africa. Hereís what Iím thinking.

ENTEBBE (1)
NGAMBA ISLAND (1)
MFNB or QENP (2-3)--or I can skip both and add days in the Serengeti
BWINDI (3)
PNV (3)
KIGALI (1)
MANYARA (1-2)--or I can skip this and add days in the Serengeti, or stay only 1 night and add a night to Ndutu
CRATER (1)
LOLIONDO (2)
NDUTU (3-5)--depends on # of days elsewhere and whether or not I add the Serengeti
SOUTHERN SERENGETI (3)--only if I donít add the days in Uganda or skip Manyara
MAHALE (4)

Suggestions?
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 02:47 PM
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Four more nights and a friend or two. It's getting better!

I get 24 with this

ENTEBBE (1)
NGAMBA ISLAND (1)
QENP (2)
BWINDI (3)
PNV (3)
KIGALI (1)
MANYARA (1)--or I can skip this and add days in the Serengeti, or stay only 1 night and add a night to Ndutu
CRATER (1)
LOLIONDO (2)
NDUTU (5)--depends on # of days elsewhere and whether or not I add the Serengeti
MAHALE (4)


You've already got Ndutu--so this would be a duplicate.
SOUTHERN SERENGETI (3)--only if I donít add the days in Uganda or skip Manyara
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 04:23 PM
  #25  
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Thanks Lynn. Looks like a good plan. It keeps getting better all the time.

One friend said absolutely, that he is going. The other is a friend of his. We could possibly have 4, but the 4th is a friend who always says yes but is never willing to write the check when the time comes, so I'm not banking on her joining us.

The 3 days southern Serengeti would only have been if I did 3 in Ndutu at EMC and 3 southern Sergenti, maybe at Sayari South for a total of 6. I wouldn't do 5 and 3. I do understand the two are pretty close.

I haven't been to Manyara. The flight from Kigali arrives around 11:00 am. Is one afternoon game drive followed by a morning drive before heading for the Crater sufficient?

I know you like QENP and the Kazinga Channel. Where did you stay?





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Old May 2nd, 2008, 05:20 PM
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I think 1 night is enough at Manyara with everything else you have. You might want to concentrate on the hippo pool and the baboons near the entrance at Manyara. There is a good hippo pool at the Crater, but there is so much competion for your attention and time at the crater. The baboons are quite relaxed and active in Manyara and should provide some good photo ops. I'm not a fan of one night stays, but what would I cut to allow 2 at Manyara? Nothing that I saw in your itinerary.

I stayed at Mweya Lodge in QE. It is big and fancy, not unobtrusive. Can be bustling with people who come out from the city, especially on weekends. The grounds have wonderful warthogs that are relaxed around guests and troops of banded mongoose. You can really watch their fascinating behavior up close.

The boat launch leaves from the dock that you can walk to from Mweya. Another option that I visited but did not stay at is Jacana Lodge near the bat caves. It is much smaller and simpler with far fewer guests.

If you are in QE midweek and not during a local holiday, I'd consider Mweya for the convenience and the views and the animals on the grounds (of course there may be animals on Jacana grounds too that I just didn't see.) On a weekend, it can be a bit much. I've been there at both times.

If you add QE, then you'd drive about 6 hours there from Entebbe. Then drive another 5 or so hours after your time there, through the park to Bwindi. You drive through an area that has tree climbing lions, but in the wet season you are much less likely to see them. In the dry season my guide said the odds are about 30%. I saw one once in 3 trips.

You'll likely get an opportunity to throw a rock across a river into DRC where you eat your lunch enroute to Bwindi, if that's appealing to you. If one of your friends joining you is ThitCho, you know he'd have to forge across the river to officially make it to DRC soil. On one of the trips, a guy really wanted to wade across this trickle of a stream in the dry season so we could get a pic of him standing in Zaire (at the time). But his wife threw a fit. She thought the crocs would come charging out of the bushes like they did on Tarzan as soon as he was mid-stream. I think she was over reacting, but I was glad the guy stayed on Ugandan soil.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 05:43 PM
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Lynn,
I've looked at some basic information on both Mweya and Jacana, as well as Ishasha Tented Camp, but it's hard to fine a whole lot on either. Thanks for the tip about the tree climbing lions during the rainy season. That makes sense. Originally I thought maybe two nights at Mweya, then a few hours drive to Ishasha, an overnight, then onto Bwindi. Since we'll pass right through the Ishasha sector on the way to Bwindi, it makes sense not to add it to the itinerary.

While I don't necessarily mind the word "fancy", I really don't care for the word "big" and certainly don't like the idea of Mweya being "obtrusive." Is it more convenient than Jacana solely due to its location for the boat launch, or is there another reason you chose this lodge?

No, one of the friends joining me is not ThitCho, but given how I've just fit three countries into three weeks, I should probably invite him on the trip!

To ThitCho and other Fodorites. If anyone wants to join us, let me know.

Lynn, I'm glad the guy on your trip decided to remain on Ugandan soil.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 12:18 PM
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One time I had an itineraryy set up with 2 nts Mweya, then 1 or 2 at Ishasha Tented Camp. I had to cancel that trip so never did it. There was very scarce game in the Ishasha region when we've driven through.

Jacana Lodge is in the forest--Maramagambo Forest. If you want to see the bat cave, it is very convenient, I think walking distance. But you may have to arrange visiting the bat cave as a separate tour. It was only $5 when I was there, but we needed to arrange for an escort besides our own driver/guide.

If you stayed at Jacana, you could probably hang around Mweya before or after the 2-hour boat ride and enjoy the warthogs and mongoose. Maybe even dine at Mweya. Then you'd reap the benefits of the grounds without staying there. The boat goes in the morning and afternoon. If there are enough people it makes at least one trip midday and at one at sundown. I've done all the boat trips except the sundown one. Even midday, lots of activity the one time I did it.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 01:02 PM
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Thanks Lynn.
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