Zambia or Tanzania...

Jun 12th, 2008, 03:03 PM
  #1  
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Zambia or Tanzania...

OK. The bite has been itching long enough. I've seriously begun combing the internet, along with this forum, for some advise on planning a return to Africa. This time I think we want either Zambia (because it may be less heavily traveled) or Tanzania (because it has so much to offer and there's that crater that is hard to ignore.) I've been looking at flights (AHHHHHH!!!!!) and decided it looks like we'll have to bite the bullet and pay $1800-2K for international flights.

Also looking at draft itineraries from Kafunta (for Zambia) and Good Earth and Tanzanian Adventure.

I'd like a mix of lodge and under-canvas with options for a walking safari or two. And I'm trying to convince some friends to join us -- so we may have a party of 4 (or 6?) which would probably push us into a Private Safari situation that lets us tweak the offerings posted online. Price-wise I'd try to keep it at about $6-7K per couple on the ground, covering about a 10 day trip. Not sure about an add on to Zanzibar but it might be a possibility if we go with Tanzania. Don't think I could take more than 3 days at the beach though. I'm thinking it might be the add-on that makes our potential travel mates go for it. (They've never been to Africa before, so they don't KNOW how appealing an extended time in the bush really is!)

Now, I'm off to check that nice link I've seen to East African Trip reports....
uhoh_busted is offline  
Jun 12th, 2008, 03:11 PM
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Oh yeah, timing -- most likely Jan-Feb. 2009
uhoh_busted is offline  
Jun 12th, 2008, 04:30 PM
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Jan-Feb. is primetime in Tanzania for the migration and it is the green season in Zambia.

One of the best times for wildlife in Tanzania but also very popular at that time of year. Zambia wildlife will likely be spread thin but not many people that season.

Personally I would go under canvas with a seasonal camp in the Ndutu are to see the migration in February, the numbers of animals is too much to resist and it is the classic safari for your first timer friends. Book a couple night stay in the Loliondo reserve to get away from people and enjoy some walking. Your budget should be about perfect for a trip in that region.

Zambia at that time of year would be intriguing as the prices should be low and a low density of tourists but sightings will be a lot more work compared to Tanzania, road conditions and weather could be wet and probably a better fit for experienced safari goers looking to appreciate peace and the wild as opposed to the main desire of lots of animal sightings.

That is assuming that your friends are somewhat typical of the average first time safari goer.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Jun 13th, 2008, 06:01 AM
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Thanks! You have assumed correctly on all counts. We'd like to maximize the under-canvas experience ourselves I think Tanzania will get most of my planning attention.

We'll still have Zambia to look forward to another year.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Jun 13th, 2008, 07:00 AM
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I think you'll find that most of the camps in South Luangwa will be closed at that time of year, as it is the rainy season. Depending on how high the river is, Tafika might be doing "green season" birding safaris, but I don't think that's what you're looking for. PB is correct in that Jan/Feb is a good time to go to Tanzania. There is usually a break between the short and long rains then. The Migration is usually in the southern Serengeti and is calving season. I'd vote for Tanzania.
ShayTay is offline  
Jun 13th, 2008, 08:50 AM
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If you do decide on Tanzania, I can highly recommend Green Footprint Adventures, who put together a similar trip for us last year (some smaller lodges, some tented camps, 10-day private trip including a walking safari). My (very lengthy) trip report is not on the East Africa index yet, but you can find it by clicking on my name. The first half of the report is Kenya, second half is Tanzania. Other people on this board have had a great experience with Green Footprint, too.
MyDogKyle is offline  
Jun 14th, 2008, 06:02 PM
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Predator had a good itinerary in TZ for the time of year you are going.
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35115186

If you did not include Mahale, that would keep you in the 10 day range and probably keep the price down too. But after you read about his experiences, you'll want to keep Mahale. Maybe you can talk up the swimming that may be offered at Mahale and count that as your beach time for your friends.

Probably not, but with a different activity like tracking chimps on foot, that might offer them enough variety so they would be willing to spend more than 10 days on the wildlife. It wouldn't be 10 days of just looking at animals from a vehicle, if you are finding that to be a tough sell.

Very exciting.
atravelynn is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 03:13 PM
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Don't read PBs report on Mahale unless (i) you can go; or (ii) you have very strong willpower; and (iii) you are not an envious person person!

I had been "considering" Mahale--it was in the back of my mind only. I read PBs report and looked at his photos, and now I'm booked there for early March 2009!!

Now back to your original question. I agree with the others that Tanzania is an excellent choice for January-February 2009. It will make for a fantastic safari both for first timers as well as repeat safari-goers.
Dana_M is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 04:08 PM
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Maybe there should be a warning on that report like there is on a pack of Winstons or Camels.
atravelynn is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 09:39 PM
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Dana and Lynn: you two are too funny! I'm happy to label my report that the chimps at Mahale are addictive and the high far exceeds that of any illegal substance but the hike in and stress reduction of Lake Tanganyika is actually good for your health. Thus, go ahead and read about it and if you feel the need you'll find my main supplier Orion somewhere on a path in the jungle.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 11:39 PM
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Hello my old friend, glad to see you're planning a return trip to Africa! One safari is never enough!

Can you believe Pete and I have still not made it to Zambia though it's been on our wishlist for several years.

When I was planning this August's trip (which is finally seeming to come closer) I was also choosing between Zambia and E. Africa.

E. Africa won because of a number of factors including time of year, prices and also because Pete hasn't yet been to E. Africa and I wanted him to experience the wide open savannahs of the Mara and Serengeti.

Our itinerary includes Masai Mara, Samburu and Meru in Kenya and the Crater, Tarangire and Northern Serengeti in Tanzania.

The main factor in choice of camps has been size so we've ended up paying a lot as small number of tents tends also to be combined with luxury accommodation. We'll enjoy that too but it's the intimacy of the camps we're looking forward to most.

We booked using a US based safari planner (African Serendipity) who has helped us book directly with Roy's in Tanzania and Cheli & Peacock, I think, in Kenya.

Kavey is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 04:51 AM
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Ha! Hi Kavey Funny, but I was just looking at Africa Serendipity's website this AM. Hugs and kisses to Pete and you both!

I do think we'll be aiming for Tanzania or maybe a combo of Kenya and Tanzania...the airfare is scaring the daylights out of me, hopefully we can keep it under $2Kpp (about twice what we paid on BA round trip to Capetown in 2004). Possibly we can do a stay-over on the way home through London if we go BA (since it's 10 hrs layover anyway) or may be one in Amsterdam if we end up on KLM, as we've never been there.

Thank you everyone for the kind advise. I've READ all those fabulous trip reports. Mahale does look fabulous...
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