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Trying to put our safari together, really need some help

EPT
Oslo, Norway
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157 posts
12 reviews
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Trying to put our safari together, really need some help

I've researched for over 2 months now on all kind of sites, but mostly on TA Forum and Fodors and Tatotz.com member page. I also bought Bradt's guide to Tanzania and also a photography book on the animals in the Northern circuit. But still need some advice and have some questions. Warning this post is long, but please help :).

My husband and I want to spend approximately 14 days to do a safari in Tarangire - Lake Manyara - Ngorongoro and Serengeti. We want to do a private safari just the two of us and we have a budget on 500 USD per night per person excluded international plane tickets.

He is a amateur photographer and want to be in Tanzania when it will be best to take pictures. Is there any months better than the other? I know "all" about the pros and cons of migration in different months and the long rains etc, but haven't found any good answer to this. We are not birders, but I've read that we probably will be :).

I have thought about this itinerary, does it make sense? Any input to make it better? Would really like some input on driving distances in Serengeti. And whether we should fly from place to place in Serengeti?

Itinerary:

- Overnight in Arusha

- Drive to Tarangire (if dry season), stay 2 nights either in Tarangire Treetops (night game driving) or Swala Camp (inside park)

- Drive to Lake Manyara, stay two nights at Kirurumu Tented Camp or Lake Manyara Tree Lodge

- Drive to Ngorongoro Crater - afternoon game drive in Crater. 1 night on Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge or Crater Lodge. Morning game drive in Crater

-If we leave out Tarangire due to season, we'd like to stay 2 nights in Southern Serengeti at Ndutu Lodge

- Drive to Serengeti Seronera Valley for 2 nights, where should we stay here? I really can't decide where to stay - looks like Seronera Lodge is the best location, but not very good reports. We want to stay as close as possible to the "main gaming area" - would it be best to stay in a private camp or Serena/Sopa/Mbuzi Mawe Tented Camp? I've read that the distance from the last three is about 45-90 min drive, will there be any good gaming on our way?

- Drive to Western Corridor, stay 2 nights at Kirawira Tented Camp

- Drive to Northern Serengeti to try to see the migration in July/August. Stay 2 nights at Migration Camp or Sayari Camp

- Fly back to Arusha/Kilimanjaro Airport from Northern Serengeti. Stay one night and experience some of everyday life in Arusha, maybe visit school/hospital to make a donation. Are there any orphanage in Arusha? I really like the idea of a monthly donation to an orphanage (I do that in Thailand already).

When it comes to vehicles, would it be best to have a Land Rover or Land Cruiser? And which is best when taking pictures pop-up or flip-flop roof tops?

Thank you so much for taking your time to help!

Ellen

New York
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315 posts
15 reviews
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1. Re: Trying to put our safari together, really need some help

I just finished finalizing my safari. Based on my dealings with various tour operators, the best operators that will patiently guide, advice, and help you plan are:

Base Camp Tanzania

Access2tanzania

and

Maasai Wanderings

All are members of TATOTZ.

These 3 will really spend time in providing guidance.

Good luck!

Arusha Tanzania
Destination Expert
for Tanzania
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1,495 posts
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2. Re: Trying to put our safari together, really need some help

Hi Ellen

See below.

I've researched for over 2 months now on all kind of sites, but mostly on TA Forum and Fodors and Tatotz.com member page. I also bought Bradt's guide to Tanzania and also a photography book on the animals in the Northern circuit. But still need some advice and have some questions. Warning this post is long, but please help :).

(A) The more you know before your arrivel the better it will be :-)

My husband and I want to spend approximately 14 days to do a safari in Tarangire - Lake Manyara - Ngorongoro and Serengeti. We want to do a private safari just the two of us and we have a budget on 500 USD per night per person excluded international plane tickets.

(A) The first question that springs to mind is which year, for the lodge listed it is already difficult to get boookings for 2008, be prepared to accept changes.

He is a amateur photographer and want to be in Tanzania when it will be best to take pictures. Is there any months better than the other? I know "all" about the pros and cons of migration in different months and the long rains etc, but haven't found any good answer to this. We are not birders, but I've read that we probably will be :).

(A) If you can come for the migration, then that is one of the best times, simply because of the experience of seeing the migration, if you wish to avoid too many other tourists, then choose a low season.

I have thought about this itinerary, does it make sense? Any input to make it better?

(A) All the lodges are very good, Seronera is perhaps a 2-3* but good location.

Would really like some input on driving distances in Serengeti. And whether we should fly from place to place in Serengeti?

(A) Much better to game drive and perhaps a flight either into or out of Serengeti, you would be constrained by checking in times and delayed flights if flying from airstrip to airstrip.........

Itinerary:

- Overnight in Arusha

- Drive to Tarangire (if dry season), stay 2 nights either in Tarangire Treetops (night game driving) or Swala Camp (inside park)

- Drive to Lake Manyara, stay two nights at Kirurumu Tented Camp or Lake Manyara Tree Lodge

- Drive to Ngorongoro Crater - afternoon game drive in Crater. 1 night on Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge or Crater Lodge. Morning game drive in Crater

-If we leave out Tarangire due to season, we'd like to stay 2 nights in Southern Serengeti at Ndutu Lodge

- Drive to Serengeti Seronera Valley for 2 nights, where should we stay here? I really can't decide where to stay - looks like Seronera Lodge is the best location, but not very good reports. We want to stay as close as possible to the "main gaming area" - would it be best to stay in a private camp or Serena/Sopa/Mbuzi Mawe Tented Camp? I've read that the distance from the last three is about 45-90 min drive, will there be any good gaming on our way?

(A)It depends on the time of year........there are other tented camps like Wild Frontiers and Serengeti Savannah camps, they move their camps to match where the best game viewing should be at that time of year.

- Drive to Western Corridor, stay 2 nights at Kirawira Tented Camp

- Drive to Northern Serengeti to try to see the migration in July/August. Stay 2 nights at Migration Camp or Sayari Camp

- Fly back to Arusha/Kilimanjaro Airport from Northern Serengeti. Stay one night and experience some of everyday life in Arusha, maybe visit school/hospital to make a donation. Are there any orphanage in Arusha? I really like the idea of a monthly donation to an orphanage (I do that in Thailand already).

(A) There is a excellent post with very useful info by Karl on this :-)

When it comes to vehicles, would it be best to have a Land Rover or Land Cruiser?

(A) If it is just the two of you then you will have enough room in either, landcruiser does have more space, but is not as good in mud should there be any :-)

And which is best when taking pictures pop-up or flip-flop roof tops?

(A) Pop up does provide some shade, which can be useful for taking pictures and im light rain gives some shelter, hatches = flip roofs help when the subject of the picture is overhead like in a tree.

Thank you so much for taking your time to help!

Ellen

(A) Welcome.

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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12,484 posts
8 reviews
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3. Re: Trying to put our safari together, really need some help

Ellen... I think the previous post by Achnab should answer your questions very well. Some of your questions depend upon what time of the year you will be there.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of orphanages in Arusha and your help would be very much appreciated.

kenya
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26 posts
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4. Re: Trying to put our safari together, really need some help

Ellen,i hope you find a way good to make your lifetime holiday in Tanzania!and i recommend you check on with Jehome Tours,email:jehotours@yahoo.com i think you may find your answers sooner than you thought with ease. stella

EPT
Oslo, Norway
Level Contributor
157 posts
12 reviews
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5. Re: Trying to put our safari together, really need some help

Thank you so much for taking your time to answer me, really appreciate it!

It looks like we will come to Tanzania in August 2009. I'd like to come in February to see the calving and migration, but then we're not able to come until 2010 due to other travel plans.

If we're supposed to have a chance to see the migration (read that it is hard to predict due to rain/weather), will we have a shot from Migration Camp or should we stay at the Sayari Camp instead?

Also wonder if Serengeti Sopa Lodge would be a better location for central Serengeti since we're also staying in the west and north? Looks like i.e Mbuzi Mawe camp will be quite close to Migration camp?

I didn't find the post from Karl about the orphanages, is it a while ago? Would appreciate if I could get the "link"

Thanks again!

New York
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315 posts
15 reviews
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6. Re: Trying to put our safari together, really need some help

Ellen,

Base Camp Tanzania sent me a map showing where the migration generally is during each of the 12 months of the year. It looked like satellite pictures. For instance, in August, whatever migration is left is to the north and north west of the Serengeti. You should get a hold of that map from them so you can ensure that your lodging is in that area.

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Level Contributor
12,484 posts
8 reviews
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7. Re: Trying to put our safari together, really need some help

Ellen... I don't recall where I wrote something on orphanages, but I probably did so earlier. Since you're going to be in Arusha perhaps you might want to visit the School of St. Jude in Arusha. Their web stie is www.schoolofstjude.co.tz They have a lot of orphans attending this school, and they do great work. You will see their school buses going around Arusha every morning and afternoon. I think they have about 1,000 kids, mostly orphans, at this school.

EPT
Oslo, Norway
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157 posts
12 reviews
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8. Re: Trying to put our safari together, really need some help

Thanks again, I've used Howard Hillman's map of the migration and searched elsewhere on the internet. Since we're thinking of going in August, we have to go to North Serengeti to have a shot to see the migration. But I also like to include going to Western Corridor, how is the resident game here?

And thank you for the link to the school, Karl!

New York
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315 posts
15 reviews
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9. Re: Trying to put our safari together, really need some help

Since you are looking to connect in some way with a community project, perhaps you can arrange for your tour operator to make it a part of your itinerary.

Access2tanzania for instance is involved with "community focussed itineraries" per Lonely Planet (LP) 2008 edition.

Hoopoe Safaris, per LP "is a culturally responsible company and has formed partnerships with and made investments in surrounding communities"

IntroAfrica "directly supports local communities and is an ideal choice if your interest is more in gaining insight into local life and culture"

Since community involvement was one of the secondary goals of my trip it played a part in my consideration of Maasai Wanderings. As part of my itinerary, I am going to Ilkurot Nursing & Primary School which this company has helped to build. They have just 3 toilets for 1,500 students and now propose to add a few more!

I am sure a number of operators support various projects and you can search the net for one that is supportive of orphanages and then weave a trip into your itinerary.

New York
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315 posts
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10. Re: Trying to put our safari together, really need some help

Ellen,

Here is a link to migration pictures.

ultimateafrica.com/Wildebeest_migration.html