We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Odds and Ends after Safari

Alaska
Level Contributor
42 posts
9 reviews
Save Topic
Odds and Ends after Safari

Some things to keep in mind.

Should exchange at least some money into TZ shillings. We exchanged $250 for our 17 days there and that was just enough. However, we did not buy any souvenirs. The couple scarves we did purchase were being sold for US dollars at gift shop in Stonetown and the couple t-shirts we bought were also sold for US dollar. Needed money mostly to pay for lunch/dinner on zanzibar as the safari included all meals.

I purchased mosquito netting to take with us to be safe. Was glad we did as some places we stayed did not have netting. Didn't see many mosquitos but still was glad to have our netting.

Need lots of $1's or small TZ shillings as tipping is expected everywhere.

Lodging - Decide upon each place you are going to stay BEFORE you pay the deposit. We did not and were sorry about that. In the Serengeti we were supposed to be booked at a luxury tented camp. That is what was written on our itinerary when we paid the deposit. Tour operator then recommended Serengeti medium camp. We asumed this was a luxury tented camp since that is what was written on itinerary and so said it was fine. I can attest to anyone who wonders - THE SERENGETI MEDIUM CAMP IS NOT A LUXURY CAMP. There is no running water to the tents. The camp was not a bad place to stay just not what we thought we were getting. Nothing about the camp was explained to us ahead of time like you only get 1 bucket of water per day for your shower and if you aren't finished to bad for you. Camp manager made that very clear to us when we checked in. Tent was in good shape. No holes. Only saw moths inside. However no mosquito netting. We used ours here to be safe. Had separate area on back of tent with a toilet that flushed water but we had to carry bucket of water in and use that to flush everything else. Shower was manual and they brought you your bucket when you asked but it had to be between 6am and 6:45 or so pm per the camp manager. We did enjoy the communal evening meals. It was nice to meet other people and exchange stories. We may still have stayed here a night or 2 at the most if the conditions had been explained to us but I can assure you we would not have stayed here 3 nights. Again not a bad place just wasn't what we thought we were getting. Mentioned this to tour operator and were told well "you agreed to stay there". Even though we were told we were going to get a luxury tented camp. In other words, it was our fault that we didn't know that the camp suggested wasn't luxury and didn't ask about it even though itinerary was supposed to be for a luxury tented camp.

Watch your itineraries carefully. We did not get a 1/2 day at Lake Manyara NP that we were supposed to get. We were to be there 1/2 day first day and morning of next day and we did not get to go back that next morning.

Stayed at Ilboru Safari Lodge in Arusha. Sopa lodge in Tarangire. Mikunga forest camp in Lake Manyara, Serengeti medium camp, Ngorongoro sopa lodge, Kudu Lodge. Will report on them in appropriate place.

Again, am very happy that we did the safari and visited zanzibar. Everything was not perfect but it was good enough overall and we had a wonderful time.

I am sure there are things I am missing. If anyone has specific questions, you can email me.

Have a great day!

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
37,449 posts
360 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Odds and Ends after Safari

Sorry to hear of the snags. Did they give reasons?

""We were to be there 1/2 day first day and morning of next day and we did not get to go back that next morning. ""

Did your driver explain why this was omitted. It would nat save park fees as it runs per 24 hours do entry at 14.00 will get you next day until 13.59

Things may go wrong but always ASK why?

Edited: 10 March 2010, 18:59
Alaska
Level Contributor
42 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Odds and Ends after Safari

No we didn't ask as we didn't have our itinerary with us (we should have so our fault) so didn't realize we didn't get 1/2 day there until after safari over. Not a huge deal as we did get to see it once.

I only mention here so that others know to bring along a copy of the itinerary. The guides do many safari's so it would be easy to just assume 1 visit at a place when a given itinerary may call for 2 visits.

Alaska
Level Contributor
42 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Odds and Ends after Safari

One more thing, our tour operator had plugs in the vehicle so that we could charge batteries. It was great! Never had to worry about the batteries. If considering a safari you should ask about this. It was a really nice feature.

nyc
Level Contributor
14,663 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Odds and Ends after Safari

Also sorry for snags, but Luxury, can mean anything.

There are lux camps, also without running water and bladder shows that cost $500+/nt person and others that cost $300+/nt person. So, what you had at Medium isn't unusual.

You're in the middle of nowhere when in the Serengeti and don't have a public water pipe system. Some camps do have water tanks, that can pipe running water for showers and washing. Even so, with major drought, one has to be concious of the use of this liquid gold... not take 30/min showers.

At Manyara, as mfuwe mentions, if you first arrived afternoon, your park tickets should cover game drive then and next morning. However, if you didn't have the morning, and I can only guess... you were headed onward and might have had to keep to schedule. Though, Manyara being such a small park, much of what's to be seen can be done in a few hours ( your afternoon only visit). But, didn't your safari operator provide an itinerary?

melbourne
Destination Expert
for Tanzania
Level Contributor
7,015 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Odds and Ends after Safari

hak63

I did read some of your other posts and guess you did end up going with Basecamp.I read your post on guides. The Manager of the Medium Camp should have been more consumer friendly. Even if there is a drought enough shower water should've been provided whenever the clients wanted a shower.The clients did say it was raining everyday so water should've been easier to come by. I dont like the idea of a shower only at certain times.

I think Hak63 your expectations of the trip were probably undeliverable no matter who the operator. I see you did mention it was a trip of a life time. Normally people go to Africa once and it is thus the trip of a lifetime. Things on safari do go wrong no matter how good the operator is nor no matter how many "fantastic" reports there are on trip advisor about that operator.

If you read the reports here on Basecamp you can get a surreal feeling they can do no wrong. Don't forget they are an operator like many others in Tz. some never mentioned here. They do safaris on a daily basis and as we have seen elsewhere thing go wrong or aren't exactly what you expect. Or you a lulled into a false sense of security by all the positive reports that it 'no matter what' will be perfect.

Any person with any safari company should make sure they have exactly what they have paid for, and if you forgot your itinerary ask for one before the start of the trip. Then sit down and go through it with the guide or reps. of the company.

If you want luxury make sure you point out what luxury in your eyes is. As Sandi as often said many peoples idea of luxury is different.

I have stayed in a "luxury tented camp" with a long drop toilet and bucket shower. It was defined as luxury because of the double bed,location, and tent size.

Your post is a good example for others planning a safari. be careful and don't assume anything, and things go wrong no matter who you are dealing with.

As Mfuwe once said it is "How it is dealt with" that seperates the companies, when things go wrong.

Edited: 11 March 2010, 00:28
Alaska
Level Contributor
42 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Odds and Ends after Safari

Actually my trip expectations were met and then some. I think your comment is rude.

My issues with the lodging were because I did not ask enough questions which is what my entire comment was about. Everyone should ask questions and not take for granted. I also didn't appreciate the tour operator trying to blame me for accepting the camp as luxury without making sure I knew what the camp was about. I also agree that "luxury" is different for everyone. When we talked to tour operator about it, all we thought was operator should know so he could mention to others.

As far as itinerary, we should have brought it and looked at it and didn't. Our fault but again my post was to remind others to do this. No other reason than that. I never read in any post of anyone not having their itinerary followed so it didn't occur to me to check for it. It did happen to us so others should check.

melbourne
Destination Expert
for Tanzania
Level Contributor
7,015 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Odds and Ends after Safari

I am sorry my comments were not meant to be rude not to target you in particular . They were meant to be general comments for "others" booking safaris and I was trying to be as circumspect as I can, considering the reputaion of the company involved.

Level Contributor
49 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Odds and Ends after Safari

hak63, you can ignore my request in a different post. Thank you for posting your experiences. I find these posts helpful when I can learn to ask better questions during my trip planning.

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
37,449 posts
360 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Odds and Ends after Safari

Can I come back? (Mainly for others to pick up tips.)

There is no "Star Rating" for Lodges. The only real guide is the price you pay. For $500 pppn I would 'expect' hot and cold running everything. In some locations away from "Power" it may be the boy bringing the hot water that does the "running" not theTap. BUT it would be there "on demand".

For $200pppn then maybe they have to put the kettle on first. WCs are an Art Form in their variety and ingenuity. "It" has to be disposed of somehow.

This has no real bearing on the "star rating" but is location, location, location. One reputable Lodge actually has a "Lavender Waggon" to take it away.

The itinerary problem should not have happened but did. Nothing to be done now. I share sandi's view that it could be schedule orientated. Either you had a long haul ahead of you (it was raining remember!) or, perish the thought, your driver had his nose turned for Arusha and home comforts. You will never know.

Others NB. Your Driver WILL have a copy of your itinerary in his folder so ask to see it if you are not given one in your 'welcome pack' on arrival.

Saint Paul...
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Serengeti National Park
Level Contributor
1,826 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Odds and Ends after Safari

hak63 makes an excellent point about asking questions. I've had two customers buy the first itinerary I offered to them without a single question. Afterwards, both of them complained that the accommodation was not what they expected. If one doesn't ask any questions, then obviously I could not read their minds and so made assumptions that the places I selected (and which are normally enjoyed by most people) would be fine for this person as well. Serengeti Medium is enjoyed by most people, but there was someone on TA recently complaining fairly strongly about Mbuzi Mawe which has even more amenities than Serengeti Medium. So everyone is different.

For my two clients whose expectations in regards to accommodation were note met, there was no anger at all, but I feel bad when someone's expectations are not exceeded. We're learning that we as operators, going forward, will ask more questions of the guest when we feel that the guest has not asked enough questions.