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General questions on Tanzania safari

san francisco
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General questions on Tanzania safari

We are looking at a trip to Uganda then Tanzania followed by a few days in Zanzibar from approx. June 20 – July 20 next summer. We plan to fly as much as we can, especially within Tanzania. We would spend 10 – 12 days in Uganda, followed by 10 – 12 days in Tanzania followed by 5 or so days in Zanzibar.

The Tanzania portion would break down something like this:

4 days – Selous – we really liked the idea of fly-camping

4 days – Western Corridor – our best chance to see the migration (?)

3 days – Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai, & Seronera (mostly for the balloon flight)

First question is: does this makes sense? In reading Briggs, the Selous and the Western Corridor appeal much more to us that the Seronera – are we misleading ourselves? Missing something critical? We hope to see the migration in the Western Corridor, we’d be there about the second week of July. (We already put in a reservation with the leaders of the migration herd and they promised to be there for us, throwing themselves at the crocodiles).

A question on costs of lodges. I want to make sure I am interpreting the rates in Briggs’ Tanzania book correctly (these are from p. 184). When it is stated for the Grumeti River camp “US $950pp” I am interpreting that to mean $950 per person for a double room – for my wife & that would be (an astounding) $1900 per night. Including all meals and all activities -- it’s still astounding! Above that on the same page, the Kirawira Tented Camp is stated at “US$950/1,450 sgl/dbl” I am interpreting that to mean $1,450 per night for the two of us. Still well out of our range but I just want to make sure I am interpreting the costs correctly. Of course things may (will) vary once we get a tour operator involved.

That raises another question: do we need a tour operator for Tanzania? From what I have gathered on this site, the operator will make all the reservations and fill in some transportation here and there – a valuable service -- but it seems like that’s all they would do – that’s assuming that I complete my research and have a clear idea how many days and in which places and for which purpose(s). Am I right about that?

Thanks much for your help.

Bill

Isle of Man, United...
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1. Re: General questions on Tanzania safari

Hi Bill,

Well it would work if you fly into JRO from EBB and then go Western Corridor by air from Arusha, then have a car meet you there and drive back to Ngorongoro. You will traverse Serenera sector anyway so not missing it. From Ngorongoro the car to take you to Manyara strip and you catch a plane to Selous exiting via DAR for the Beach.

The bad news is that Kirawira and Grumeti prices are as stated if not more now. Is it worth it? I personally don't think so.

Hipe you did not pay too much to the Migration leaders. Notoriously unreliable chaps and prone to being eaten before delivery.

Operators get their earnings from the booking commissions and there is little saving in booking direct if indeed some places would accept a direct booking.

san francisco
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2. Re: General questions on Tanzania safari

We are probably thinking of staying in Mbalageti Serengeti $420 dbl. when in Western Corridor. Still not worth it? What then is best chance to see the migration late June - mid-July? Should we to consider Tarangire instead?

Isle of Man, United...
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3. Re: General questions on Tanzania safari

Well $420 is way better than $1,900 (my nose is still bleeding from that one!). I have to admit I have not visited Serengeti in July. Jan, Feb & September for me. But $420 is OK and as often said, the Animals are not really bothered where you stay.

Tarangire is coming good by July but you really are short of time. Settle for Serengeti or you will kick yourself for the lost opportunity. It is worth the visit if passing that way only once.

san francisco
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4. Re: General questions on Tanzania safari

Well the wife is now talking of how we have to go back but I have my doubts!

Do you think we'll see the migration?

Isle of Man, United...
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5. Re: General questions on Tanzania safari

Well of course the lady is always right. I think you will be back. Most folks do get the bug and there is no cure! So don't rush things.

As to the Migration. Please do understand two things.

1. You need many days to be sure of catching something like a crossing.

2. Only about 25% of the herds actually leave Serengeti for Kenya. The rest just spread out. So that means 1.5m beasties are still out there somewhere. There will be lots to see. Not just migrating herds but the resident Giraffe, Elephant, Buffalo, Eland etc., etc., as well as the Carnivores that do not migrate.

My preference for seeing the huge herds is to go in January when all of them are back home in the short grass to calve. That is a sight to see.

melbourne
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6. Re: General questions on Tanzania safari

If you are looking for the migration as previoulsy mentioned it is spread all over.

Seronera for late June early July is a pretty good spot to stay as well.

san francisco
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7. Re: General questions on Tanzania safari

Seronera is not too busy --- too crowded, ruining the experience?

Why not just spend the time in Ngorongoro Crater instead?

melbourne
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8. Re: General questions on Tanzania safari

Why not try for a special campsite in the Seronera area or a bit West.Just the two of you with your camp staff. Go for tents with ensuite toilet and bucket shower facilities. Private and a very "Out of Africa" experience. The whole area from Seronera to the West will be equally busy. Ngorongoro will also be equally as busy. I would spend time in both. Fly into Seronera spend 4 nights at a private campsite then 2 nights at Ngorongoro in a lodge. If you still have time drive to Manyara and visit there. Tarangire although excellent all year round for different things requires min. 2 nights in my opinion.

Isle of Man, United...
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9. Re: General questions on Tanzania safari

Two reasons for not spending all your time in Ngorongoro.

1. Cash. At $200 a time it mounts up.

2. You don't want crowds. Ngorongoro has them.

Buy 2 get one three,

The Serengeti is vast. Whilst busy around the honey pots it is not noticeably 'crowded' unlike the Masai mara or Ngorongoro where queues form and bad behaviour can easily mar a trip.

South Africa
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10. Re: General questions on Tanzania safari

Back to your tour operator and rates question. There are a few lodges (the more expensive ones, usually) who offer an all-inclusive game package, i.e. all game drives are included in the cost, all you need to do is get there (fly in, for example). But many lodges, especially the more affordable ones, also offer a meals only package (you pay for meals and accommodation) and then game drives are conducted by your tour operator or local ground handler. You can either book direct with a ground operator in Tanzania (there are hundreds of them) or you can book through an agent or tour operator elsewhere who will then use their ground operator of choice. This ground operator will collect you from the airport, drive you to your destinations, and do all your game drives as well. If you ask them to, they will also make all your accommodation bookings for you (they earn commission from that). So yes, unless you are planning on an expensive fly-in game package, you will probably need a tour operator, either in the form of a Tanzanian ground operator, or an agent or operator you trust who will then work with their preferred ground operator.

Regarding the migration and areas you mentioned, like others said July will be busy in Ngorongoro as well as Seronera area. Seronera is central and actually quite close to the western corridor where you are hoping to see the migration. Like others said, the herds will be all over the place, they are not just in one spot, and Seronera is good year round, just about. The river crossings are very tricky to time, those migration leaders you booked might congregate on the river bank and look like crossing for days or even weeks, and then wait until you are gone before they actually start crossing.

Onne from Wild Wings Safaris