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If budget didn't matter, where would you go and stay?

Nashville, Tennessee
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If budget didn't matter, where would you go and stay?

So if you were going to Tanzania for 2 weeks in late march (next year) and budget didn't matter, what are your favorite accommodations, itineraries, camps, parks? I am already planning my next trip to africa. We would be arriving on a saturday (day 0) and then overnight in Arusha. Then start a 12 day private safari (northern circuit) about March 19th of 2013. Flying or driving, luxury camps and/or lodges. Private vehicle and guide.

We have looked at at least 5 days in serengeti, day at ngorongoro crater, probably 2 days lake manyara, also 2days tarangire. Where else or more time?

We are all about the wildlife viewing and scenery. Family of 4, photo buffs, 2 girls (age 11 and 13 by then).

If cost didn't matter, which camps, which lodges, how much time at crater? Just your favorties (not the most expensive but the best or your favorite).

Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: If budget didn't matter, where would you go and stay?

Heh Stephen. So is the soon to be trip mostly Namibia? If also Tz, what are you doing this March? I guess I thought that as you were posting here, you would also be visiting TZ this trip. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Anyway, may I say that always luxury accommodation may mean missing some gems of Tanzania?

If it was me, in March I would certainly visit Serengeti, but as "normally" herds are still in Ndutu region and southern Serengeti, I would split Serengeti time between Central Serengeti and Ndutu. The bonus is that as Ndutu area is in the Ngoronogo conservation area, you can leave the jeep and do Maasai walks, see the "little 5" (hopefully) and there are good amount of cats in the area. I bet your girls will love that. Ndutu Safari Lodge is much more moderate, but it has animals in residence (genets in the rafters of the main rooms), and to my mind just has a character of its own that isn't in the tented camps in the area - though I am sure others will feel differently.

Crater - I would say do it enroute to the Serengeti - first stop. You will feel the wow factor more, IMHO. Also, stay in one of the luxe lodges on the rim to put you into the park first or second vehicle.

My loose itinerary would be Arusha - Tarangire-Manyara-Crater-Ndutu-Serengeti - fly out. This means shorter transit times and only driving one way.

Manyara really only needs one day, but make it a full day...unless you get hooked on the birds whilr in Namibia. Then you may want 2 days for the photo ops.

You can also look at staying in the Tarangire Conservation Area rather than in Tarangire NP itself if you want to do some walking and/or night drives. I have to say, I would like to personally consider Boundary Hill lodge as it is just outside the Boundary Hill park gate to Tarangire - has walking and night safaris - and (for the girls) an outdoor bathtub to watch the stars from.

While away THIS March, take notes of what you don't and do like. This will keep you better prepared for sending our your TO questions for Tz/

BTW, have a great trip.

Isle of Man, United...
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2. Re: If budget didn't matter, where would you go and stay?

Hello Stephen,

My my. if budget did not matter. To be honest I don't think it would change a thing other than I might stay longer. But that won't work for you so here are my personal tried and tested favourites for the northern circuit that no doubt is where you are heading.

In Arusha I would stay at the L'Oasis (if only to get that drink Bwana Phillips keeps promising). Just because my budget is unlimited does not mean I will let him off the hook. He may even get the job of driving me. KG could bring the Beer if it was my shout!

Tarangire Safari Lodge. I may add in one outside the Park if time permitted such as Boundary Hill or Whistling thorn.

Lake Manyara. It's Kirurumu for me or a wild card would be Manyara Ranch or Ol Mesera.

At the Crater my favourite is Sopa but I could be lured away to Lemaya with your budget.

Serengeti. It will always be Ndutu Lodge for me. Too many happy memories to even think of going anywhere else around there. Futher in then your budget might just get me to Kirawira or one of the other upmarket joints but for me cost is not a major driver and I tend to shun and shudder if they advertise massages, make overs and all the other fripperies. I am not comfortable in the boutique places with their horizon pools and pretentious ways. They no doubt serve a purpose but not for me.

With U/L budget I would go for small intimate, maybe even totally private, places. And then after a great time I would fly back. Scrape off all the dust and treat myself to a business class seat on the flight home. Comfort where it matters. If KLM do First I will have some of that with what I have saved out on Safari. And a Limo home from the Airport. That's how I spend my budget.

Add in a trip to Babus in Mkomazi if time permitted and that is the north for the Mfuwe's.

Edit. I see QM has beat me to it as usual. I needed to think. Enjoy Namibia first.

Edited: 01 March 2012, 19:27
Nashville, Tennessee
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3. Re: If budget didn't matter, where would you go and stay?

Thanks for the replies. Yes We are headed out in 2 weeks to Namibia. But it is never too early to be planning the next trip to africa. We have another 17 days in March of 2013 (3/17-4/2) to take the next trip back. Will be flying KLM (most likely) into arusha.

I know that the most expensive is not always the best, the best wildlife, or the most intimate. I guess I mean, don't consider cost in the equation. Rather only consider location, accommodations, wildlife viewing and service. I would rather pay more and get value than get a "cheaper" cost. Its about value, not cost. $100 per night may be better than $1500 per night if it is a better location, friendlier service or prettier scenery.

Ottawa, Canada
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4. Re: If budget didn't matter, where would you go and stay?

What can I say? I'm competitive and a problem solver...glad we aren't giving him conflicting suggestions. I can't even think "no budget" but you are right - use the money for First Class and the occasional luxe tenting for the privacy.

Stanley, Falkland...
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5. Re: If budget didn't matter, where would you go and stay?

Firstly, I would disagree with you about 'never too early'.

I think you need weeks or months to digest your experience of Namibia. Your views will change after it. You may even change as a person. And I would be surprised if you kids aren't changed afterwards, too. For example, you may become hooked on self-driving around parks or wilderness areas. That's not so easy in Tanzania.

Secondly, if money was no object, I would try to include some of the remote western parks, which few people every get to. However, I can't speak from first-hand experience. Just saying that watching chimps or wildlife in a remote park, with no other tourists for 100s of miles may be of more interest than watching other vehicles round a kill in a busy circuit.

However, I doubt money will be the limitation - more likely you will not have TIME to fit in even 20% of Tanzania's wildlife highlights, even if you had a private plane.

So, even with unlimited money, you can only scratch the surface with 12 days available.

And that would bring me back to asking what is it that YOU and your family want to experience? For some people, sitting a river crossing for 3 days waiting for the wildebeest to risk the crocs, may the most exciting game experience, but to others it may be the most enervating.

I don't know the northern circuit, so can't comment on that region, but if money and logistics were no problem, I'd leap at the chance to go back to Beho Beho in Selous. It doesn't have masses of animals (or visitors), but you do get intimate experiences, like sleeping under the stars (if you want), and superb guiding and hospitality.

Enjoy the dilemma!

melbourne
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6. Re: If budget didn't matter, where would you go and stay?

Stephen

I would fly into Seronera and stay 2 nights at Seronera Wildlife lodge-location.

The drive to Ndutu and spend 3 nights in a special campsite where I would be with my family only. Ask the operator to set up a camp with ensuite shower and toilet, camping but more luxurious, no other guests, private.

The onto Ngorongoro and stay 2 nights at Sopa on the Rim, views, large but for 2 nights suffer it. Manyara 2 night stay at Kirurumu in the Honeymoon suite. Then Tarangire 1 night at Tarangire safari Lodge and the last 2 nights at Boundary Hill Lodge. Both lodges for the views the safari lodge for wildlife and then use Boundary Hill for a night game drive, walk and village visits.

My lodges and camps are location, views, and quality for price-small private mostly and included camping but not a tented lodge but real camping on your own in the bush.

If I had to add an extra night I would head for Babati, I would go canoeing and visit the cave paintings at Kolo.

Edited: 01 March 2012, 20:39
Isle of Man, United...
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7. Re: If budget didn't matter, where would you go and stay?

Not so amazing that we are mostly in agreement abut where to stay. Or is it? I think it proves that money is not the big driver in getting the African Experience. And as Peter puts it, your first trip to Africa may change your while perception of a Safari if not life in general.

(Aside. Looks like your internet access is better in Falklands now Peter. enjoying your Ediary.)

Just for Stephen before he goes, I have changed my Avatur. Give him my regards if you meet.

Stanley, Falkland...
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8. Re: If budget didn't matter, where would you go and stay?

Yes - access tolerable,if only they would stop emailing me saying I've "exceeded 100% of my megabyte allowance for the month"!

Still, its St David's Day and a new month, so a new months allowance. Yippee!

mfuwe - looks like you were too close, or how big is your zoom lens??

Nashville, Tennessee
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9. Re: If budget didn't matter, where would you go and stay?

Great avatar mfuwe. If I see him, I will get close enough to verify that he is theone in your pictures of and then say "hi." Would hate to speak to the wrong rhino....

Great persepctive peter and no expert. My family tends to be more off the beaten path kind of people, but it seems like you can't go to Tanzania and not go to the crater and serengeti.

I have read great things about selous and then minimal tourist is certainly a draw.

Mfuwe, you are right, money does not seem to be the driver among this bunch and many people (including myself). Just getting the time away.

I will put this on hold a few weeks and digest my upcoming Namibia trip, but I suspect it will only make me want to go back all the more....

Ohio
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10. Re: If budget didn't matter, where would you go and stay?

Stephen, I am wondering what was the final determinant for going to Namibia. I would also like to go to Namibia but not for the first trip or two. Actually thought we might run into each other as we will be on the Northern circuit during the last two weeks of March. Just curious.