Would I be out of my mind if I did the following?

Reply

Jan 4th, 2006, 03:52 PM
  #41
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
sonali,

For your best value and best combined gameviewing between Serengeti & Botswana, I would suggest either January or June. I have heard that February/March are inopportune times to visit Botswana, while April/May do not work out so well in Serengeti due to the rains.

You would get excellent value for money at Kwando in January, paying only $325 per person per night, NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT.

If you were to go in June, then you would be better off with Wilderness Safaris camps in Botswana. Shoulder season prices goes all the way until June 30th, while at Kwando, shoulder season pricing ends on May 31st. Shoulder season pricing for Kwando is $450 per person per night w/ a $150 per night single supplement. High season is $675 at Kwando w/ a $225 per night s/s.

As you can see, January is an excellent value at Kwando and would combine well with the Serengeti. I would probably opt for Kwnado first to allow the Migration to move south a little bit.

September/October in Botswana are considered amongst the very best months to visit, but I am not sure how the Serengeti is at this time. High season pricing would apply.

There are alternatives such as Game Trails Botswana. I have not yet received 2006 pricing but here is their 2005 pricing and itineraries:

http://www.gametrailsbotswana.com/packages.html

Game Trails Botswana offers a great budget alternative to the luxury camps and has very minimal single supplement charges.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 4th, 2006, 05:27 PM
  #42
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
luangwablondes,

Regarding that Malaysian Airlines flight out of Buenos Aires direct to Joburg. It appears that this flight has a stopover in Cape Town in each direction and is significantly more expensive than flying Buenos Aires - Sao Paulo - Joburg. Ultimately, it is about $400 per person more expensive than the cheapest Varig Airlines flight(operated by SAA on the transatlantic portion) and only shaves about 4 hours off the flying time. I am not a proud person...I will accept a mere $100 per hour for my time rather than flying Buenos Aires - Cape Town - Joburg.

Also, another huge negative is that the Malaysian Airlines flight arrives mid-day, while there is a Varig Airlines flight that arrives at 7AM, allowing for a connection directly to a safari destination. I don't think I would suffer too much jetlag from just 14 hours of flying.

The Buenos Aires Marathon has received rave reviews and next runs on October 08th:

http://www.marathonguide.com/races/r...IDD=2194051009

Would I just want to kill myself if I were to visit Kwando and Vundu (Mana Pools) in mid October???

Possible Itinerary for Oct. 2006:

Oct 06th Four Seasons, Buenos Aires (3)
Oct 09th Depart EZE - JNB, overnight flight, departing EZE at 11:40AM.
Oct 10th Early 7AM arrival at JNB. Transfer to Harare to Mana Pools. 4 nights at Vundu.
Oct 14th Light air transfer to Victoria Falls. 1 night at Victoria Falls Hotel?
Oct 15th Transfer to Kwando Lagoon. 2 nights.
Oct 17th Transfer to Kwando Lebala. 2 nights.
Oct 19th Transfer to Kwando Kwara. 4 nights.
Oct 23rd Transfer to Joburg. 1 night.
Oct 24th 10:20AM departure to Sao Paulo, same day arrival. 6 hour layover. Anybody know a good Brazilian barbeque restaurant in Sao Paulo? 10:20PM departure to Buenos Aires, arriving just after midnight.
Four Seasons Hotel, Buenos Aires, 3 nights.
Oct 27th Depart EZE - LAX. Overnight flight, probably connecting through either Miami or Mexico City.
Oct 28th Arrive LAX.

SUMMARY

Four Seasons, Buenos Aires (3)
Vundu, Mana Pools (4)
Victoria Falls Hotel? (1)
Kwando Lagoon (2)
Kwando Lebala (2)
Kwando Kwara (4)
Joburg Airport Intercontinental Hotel (1)
Four Seasons, Buenos Aires (3)

At least it would be beautiful weather in late October in Buenos Aires. Not so sure that running a marathon and then exposing myself to mid October heat is very healthy, but providing I stay hydrated, I should be fine.

I can basically do the same thing one month earlier, flying through Sydney, if I wanted to run the Sydney Marathon, but I do think Kwando and Vundu would take a lot kinder to a familiarization trip in mid October as opposed to mid September when it will be about the best possible time for a normal person to visit.

Anyway, back to the subject, while the Malaysian Airline flight shaves a few hours off the trip, this works out better for someone able to go with frequent flier miles rather than paying. My poor frequent flier balance is as low as it has ever been. I will be lucky to get back up to a decent balance in the next 6 months, and I will need to book my flights for my September/October visit by at least July, so that is really pushing things, especially since I will want to have the dates for Kwando and Vundu worked out well before then.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 4th, 2006, 06:07 PM
  #43
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 524
Thanks, Roccco. I agree it is no sense going to botswana in march. Think that maybe could plan masai mara(as the migration is in the mara, river crossing in sept/oct) and botswana together. Well that leaves me with only serengeti for march, do u know any other country in africa offering good wildlife viewing and the season is appropriate or considered very good in march?? have been many times to east africa and think that I should do another country along with serengeti.Sonali.
sonali74 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 4th, 2006, 09:34 PM
  #44
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
I took the liberty of contacting Swala direct, and they have confirmed that the nights of the 25th and 26th are, indeed, sold out.

However, I was told that they have the nights of the 27th and 28th available, so I have instructed ATR to see if Lake Manyara Tree Lodge can move me up two nights and I would then be able to stay at Swala.

It would be like this:

Moivaro (1)
Lake Manyara Tree Lodge (2)
Swala (2)
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (2)
Olduvai (1)
Nomad Masek (2)
Nomad Piaya (2)
Mbuzi Mawe (2)
Palms Zanzibar (3)
Serena Inn Zanzibar (2)
Canal House, Amsterdam (2)

Is there any disadvantage to starting at Lake Manyara and then proceeding to Tarangire?

Thanks.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 5th, 2006, 06:21 AM
  #45
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Okay, it looks like I have three choices here...which one would you vote for?

1. Oliver's Camp - Fly camping the first night, stay in a real room the second night. My wife will not be too happy about fly camping to start the safari, but it is only for one night. This is confirmed available.

2. Start out with two nights at Lake Manyara Tree Lodge and then move onto two nights at Swala. ATR is checking on availablity for LMTL for those two nights, while Swala is confirmed available. ATR has warned me that this option will add four hours driving time, overall, on tarmac roads. However, for the chance to stay at Swala, I would likely choose to suffer such an inconvenience.

3. Two nights at Treetops. ATR has said that this is outside the park and a little away from the best gameviewing. However, despite Mawe Ninga being IN the park, I have read on Fodors reports that it was a bit far from the gameviewing, as well as the horror stories about the food/cleanliness.

Mawe Ninga is confirmed available, but I am not even considering it, despite ATR rating it the best camp in Tarangire.

Of the three above chosen options, which one would you vote for???

Thanks.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 5th, 2006, 09:09 AM
  #46
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,821
I'd vote for Olivers over extra drive time, but I LIKE fly camping
Patty is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 5th, 2006, 09:38 AM
  #47
bat
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,790
but patty, think of Alexsandra--remember this was the trip she did not even know about before it was booked! BTW, are you still in Hawaii? How did you manage that trip so close to your KY/TZ return, lucky you. and also, what are you doing sitting in front of a computer?
bat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 5th, 2006, 10:57 AM
  #48
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Well, it doesn't look like I should hold my breath on the Treetops option given information provided to me on another current thread:

>>>>>Author: amfs
Date: 01/05/2006, 12:29 pm
hi roccco

I check fodors the odd time to see if any new photos have been posted up and saw your thread.
I think you quoted me on what I said about Mawe Ninga.
It is a beautiful camp but there is no wildlife around (apart from the lizards) but I'm not too sure if thats because of the time of year it was.
We really wanted to stay in treetops but ATR kept telling us MN was much better. We kept hassling them about booking us into treetops and they finally admitted that they dont have a 'working relationship' with the owners of treetops, so could not book us there. This was very dodgy in my opinion but it was so close to our wedding that we relented and went with MN. they said the same about migration camp.

Looking back I loved staying at MN, but if you really like luxury then go with treetops, as you will still have a long enough drive to see game from MN anyway. and treetops does look amazing, and I have heard glowing reports on it.

Hope that helps...



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Author: cruisinred
Date: 01/05/2006, 02:18 pm
amfs-
Really enjoyed your trip report; thanks.
That is so weird that ATR said they don't deal with Treetops....it is featured on their website as one of the top places to stay:
http://www.africatravelresource.com/...tl/18-TTTT.htm

Something is weird about that....<<<<<


It looks like the only sure thing at this given moment is going to Oliver's Camp, with fly camping the first night and in the lodge the second night. Kikoti appears to be relatively close to Olivers but Kikoti does not even appear on ATR's website. Given the fact that ATR is possibly listing properties that they do not even deal with on their website, I don't suppose the odds are too good that they deal with Kikoti! Otherwise, I could consider Kikoti (1) / Olivers (1).

If I were "Fly-Camping", would I still have use of the Olivers Camp facilities, or would we likely be way off in the bush?

I may have to opt for, IF AVAILABLE, starting with Manyara Tree Lodge (2) and then going to Swala (2), despite the extra time on the road. Two hours of driving in each direction is not going to kill me...knock on wood!

I will say that ATR has been very helpful in trying to accomodate me with this late change. They have been in communication each of the last three days and have promised to get back to me with each of my three requested options by tomorrow with pricing.

I would really like to get this wrapped up by tomorrow so that I do not have this hanging over my head all weekend. At this late stage, we are probably talking about lodges tat only have oe or two rooms left, and that is for the camps that are not already completely booked.

Thanks for all the feedback.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 5th, 2006, 11:36 AM
  #49
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
I think the only disadvantage with starting with Manyara and then proceeding to Tarangire is that it would be a little bit of backtracking. Sandi told me that. Unless, of course, she said the opposite and I've gotten it backwards. Entirely possible. Those are all "good" roads, though, so if where you stay is really important -- oh, wait a minute, who am I talking to -- then it probably wouldn't be a deal breaker to backtrack.
Leely is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 5th, 2006, 11:40 AM
  #50
bat
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,790
Rocco:
If you can switch the Lake Manyara days, go for Swala--I am with leely--the accoms will please you and the extra drive time won't aggravate you.
bat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 5th, 2006, 02:21 PM
  #51
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Right on Leely! I prefer not to backtrack, but sometimes we have no choice. The road to Manyara from Arusha is blacktop... not till inside the park are you on dirt roads for about 2-hrs to Tree Lodge at the far end of Lake Manyara.

Returning to Tarangire though only two hours, again on blacktop, but, not to dampening this - you still have that 2-hrs drive from Tree Lodge before reaching the paved road.

But, what else do you have to do? You get in a game drive on the way out of Manyara whether heading to the Crater or back to Tarangire.

You may even want to stop at Mto-wa-Mbu the town nearby the Manyara entrance for some culture... or just keep going to Swala.

I still can't understand the ATR "no relationship with Treetops" - tres strange. Maybe ATR doesn't get preferred rates, because they prefer not to work with them... but on a one-time request they certainly wouldn't be offered rack rates. Treetops is an Elwena lodge, the top-end Sopa properties, and ATR does't promote the Sopa lodges.

Hey, if Swala and Tree Lodge come through, your set to go!
 
Reply With Quote
Jan 5th, 2006, 03:54 PM
  #52
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501
Hi Rocco,

I vote for option 2 -- the driving doesn't sound like it will be too bad, and you'll get the places you want. It strikes me that Alexsandra would NOT be at all pleased with the fly-camping, which is not a good way to start a trip...

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 5th, 2006, 04:03 PM
  #53
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Julian,

I think you are right. Option #2, Lake Manyara Tree Lodge (2), Swala (2) does sound like the most attractive option. ATR has not yet confirmed availability for moving LMTL up by two nights, but I have my fingers crossed.

Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 6th, 2006, 12:04 AM
  #54
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,821
You guys are so right. This is Rocco and Alexsandra we're talking about What was I thinking earlier (actually I was trying to post something really quick while packing and getting ready to head to the airport and I have to admit it was also a very selfish answer on my part as I'd like someone to stay at Olivers and tell me about it - Eben I hope you're staying there this trip).

bat,
I'm still in Hawaii. Flew to Maui this morning. It IS sad that I'm on a computer isn't it But Hawaii feels like a second home to me so I do what I do at home and that's feed my Fodors addiction! Actually this is a family trip with my parents and my sister and we were pretty much committed to it even though it's quite close to our Kenya/Tanzania trip. Our dogs hate us right now.
Patty is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 6th, 2006, 05:08 AM
  #55
bat
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,790
patty:
I, too, think Oliver's looks great. We will have to get someone else to check it out--if Eben has not. Volunteers?
re the dogs, they will forget that the minute you walk in the door--that's part of what is so wonderful about them.
bat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 6th, 2006, 06:51 AM
  #56
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Zippeedeedoodah, Zippedeeay, my, oh my, what a wonderful day!

ATR has confirmed availability for...TREETOPS...for my two nights. In order to do this trip in the best sequence, I have elected for Treetops instead of swapping my Lake Manyara/Tarangire dates.

FINAL ITINERARY (I HOPE)

Moivaro (1)
Treetops, Tarangire (2)
Lake Manyara Tree Lodge (2)
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (2)
Olduvai Camp (1)
Nomad Masek (2)
Nomad Piaya (2)
Mbuzi Mawe (2)
Palms Zanzibar (3)
Serena Inn Zanzibar (2)
Canal House, Amsterdam (2)

Hope I made the right choice. Although I am sure Swala is great, I also read very good things about Treetops (new ownership, total refurbishment, set high on stilts surrounded by Baobab Trees). Treetops will allow me extra time for gameviewing or even enjoying the lodge, as opposed to if I went with Swala and had that extra time on the road.

Thanks for all your feedback.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 6th, 2006, 08:39 AM
  #57
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Tarangire Treetops will be the biggest lodge that I have yet visited with 20 rooms. This will probably be easier to accept since it will be my first camp and then I will move onto smaller camps afterward.

The Treetops rooms and common areas, however, do look fabulous.

http://images.google.com/images?hl=e...ps&sa=N&tab=wi
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 6th, 2006, 08:47 AM
  #58
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Hooray!

I knew with enough tweaking, dickering and haggling you'd end up with something fabulous.

Of course after all this I revisited the ATR website. Looks like their reviews of some camps were updated in October; other things seem quite old. Mawe Ninga is one that they have not updated, it appears.

I'm really looking forward to your report and bat's as well.
Leely is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 6th, 2006, 08:52 AM
  #59
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,834
R-

I assume you have seen these pictures too, but just in case here is a link:
http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/lo...tops-pics.html
cruisinred is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 6th, 2006, 09:05 AM
  #60
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
cruisinred,

Thanks for the link...I can just see it now...when my wife sees what a nice big lodge that Treetops is..."Why can't we stay at more places like this!"

Olivers Camp would have been my #1 choice had it had real accomodations for each night (rather than fly-camping the first night), but I am very happy with Treetops
Roccco 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 09:03 PM.