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Idnas71 Aug 5th, 2007 08:14 PM

Which would you choose? Tarangire/Crater combo or the Masai Mara (in Sept.)?
Hello to all... I've just been trying to figure out the best way to scale down my first (and probably only) safari experience so I can afford to include Victoria Falls and a brief tour to Egypt at the same trip. Yes, I am aware that a trip like that is kinda crazy, all over the map. But I think it would be the most fun for me if I can make it work. I have set aside a good 3 weeks of time, and a budget of about $7,000 per person. (It's just one other friend and I so far who are committed to going.) I need to include my international airfare (from STL) in that budget figure.

So I've heard that Tarangire park in Tanzania is lovely in September, and a chart that I have been looking at indicates that the game viewing is very good, including the big cat predators. So I was thinking of going for the tented camp experience here, for about 3 nights. I would also like to see the Ngorongoro Crater, because it just sounds like a unique place with lots of wildlife. Then I was going to try and fit in one night in the middle Serengeti, and a couple of nights in the very northern Serengeti, before catching a flight back to Arusha. If I can fit all of this into my budget, I have decided to skip the Masai Mara in Kenya altogether. I thought it would be less expensive to stick to one country.

Or would you skip Tarangire and the Crater and devote your total safari time to the Masai Mara area?

Or, one more choice, if the budget absolutely calls for it, is to just visit Arusha N.P., Tarangire and the N. Crater, with a swing through of Lake Manyara at some point.

Just seeking out opinions... thanks in advance!

Idnas71 Aug 5th, 2007 08:50 PM

Forgot to mention I'm trying to stick with one company for the planning of all this. I'm waiting for 2Afrika and Vintage Africa to get back to me on some quotes for 2008. It seems this is the time of year they are setting their new prices.

I just recently found out that Born Free Safaris is a company that handles all the areas I mentioned, and that they will customize their tours to suit needs. Waiting to hear back from them with price quotes, also.

I checked with Africa Adventure Company, too, and they are not going to be able to help me with the Egypt portion, at least not the short type of tour that I want there. They have a 10-day tour but that is too much.

I have considered splitting this up and using a totally different company to help me with Egypt. But if I can find one place that can handle everything, I'd like to do that.

2Afrika is not real responsive to my phone calls or e-mails, but I hope it's just because they don't have enough information to help me yet. I am actually quite unhappy with their receptionist guy... he has made me mad on two occasions, cutting me off and just acting pretty rude to me. I should probably just forget them right off for that, but they have so many different options on their tours that I'm not ready to give up on them yet.

going_2_africa Aug 6th, 2007 05:02 AM

Idnas, I won't offer suggestions on the "Which yould you choose?" part as I haven't been yet. I have my ideas about what people would say for that time of year, but I'll let the more experienced handle that.

If I were you, though, I would definitely mention this "rude" employee to someone else at that company. My thought would be, however they respond to that, might give you some indication about how they might respond to some issue that might occur during your trip. Just a thought. Also, make sure you're not just misunderstanding some cultural difference. You mention he cut you off on the phone. Is it an overseas office? Maybe there was lag time, etc. At any rate, if he really was rude, I'd definitely mention it. JMHO

Idnas71 Aug 6th, 2007 05:07 AM

Hello, Going_2_Africa... thank you for your reply. I would be interested in hearing your opinion, even if you haven't been yet. You are probably more educated about it than I am. LOL!

About the rude employee at 2Afrika, I believe he was from the NY office. I don't think there were any cultural difference problems. But I am afraid to complain at this point because I do still like some of their products, and I'm afraid it might cause me more hassle in the end. It was just the receptionist, anyway... the trip planner person that I did finally speak to was much nicer. I am accepting the excuse that they don't have their 2008 prices set yet for their slow response to me. But I won't be acccepting that for much longer if they don't give me a little bit of attention. lol!

sandi Aug 6th, 2007 05:27 AM

With few exceptions, the 2008 prices for East Africa are available; have been since June.

Calo Aug 6th, 2007 07:33 AM

Idnas, the <i>general</i> feeling is that June/July are great for Tanzania and August/September are great for the Mara if you're wanting to see the migration. You don't mention it, so perhaps it's not a priority?

A few comments on your Tz itinerary of:
Day 1, 2, 3 - Tarangire
Day 4 - Ngorongoro
Day 5 - Central Serengeti
Day 6, 7 - Northern Serengeti
-most people find 2 nights in Tarangire enough which would free up another night for you elsewhere.
-you'd likely only get one 1/2 day game drive in at the'd drive from Tarangire to the Crater in time for an afternoon on the Crater floor.
-the one night in the Central Serengeti is really only going to be a stopover for you on the way to the north of the park unless you eliminate your 3rd night at Tarangire and add it to the Central Serengeti.

Have you checked into international and in-country air fares? I think you'll find that they take up quite a chunk of your $7000 budget.

Some of us would not recommend jumping from North to East to Southern Africa all in the same 3 week period. Although some people do Egypt and East Africa together, adding Victoria Falls just to see the falls seems a shame...just my 2 cents.

Idnas71 Aug 6th, 2007 08:23 AM

Thanks for your comments, Calo. One of the reasons I decided to try and do this crazy itinerary (V.F., East Africa, and Egypt) was because of a particular tour I found with 2Afrika, which covered that route, including Cape Town and Botswana, which I would have been happy to do without. The tour cost was right around the $7,000 range, including international airfare. I realize it will be higher for 2008, but I thought if I could customize it and leave out the places I didn't really want, that I could achieve a similar trip, but more to my liking, and in my budget. It's probably not going to work, but I am trying. If I have to go a little over that budget amount, I can probably swing it. But I had a figure in mind to shoot for and that's what I've been telling the different tour companies as a guideline of sorts.

I was very interested in the migration at first, but the Ngorongoro Crater interests me very much, also. I read/heard that the animal viewing at Tarangire was great in September, so I thought it might be a worthy trade-off.

I've heard mixed opinions about Samburu, so I decided not to try and include that anymore.

Maybe a soley Masai Mara safari would be the answer for the best game-viewing experience. I'm not sure.

That's why I was asking for opinions.

Thanks again...

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