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Please Advise on our Family's Safari Vacation in April 2012

Kiev, Ukraine
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Please Advise on our Family's Safari Vacation in April 2012

We are finally taking our long anticipated trip to Tanzania, and are deciding between different itineraries, all of which sound wonderful. The various tour operators we contacted are offering pretty much the same sites, but with different camps and lodges, which I think will affect the driving time and overall atmosphere. Would those who know Tanzania advise: is it better to stay for several nights each in 2-3 lodges, such as (1) Gibbs Farm, Naikia Central Camp or (2) Nduara Loliondo/ Ndutu, Serena and Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge? Or is it better to move every night among Kimangeda Tented Camp, Lake Maek Tented Camp, Serengeti Serena and Ngonogor Serena Lodges? The costs are a little different among the alternatives, but that's okay. Do most tour operators offer the same level vehicle? Is food among the various lodges and camps comparable?

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1. Re: Please Advise on our Family's Safari Vacation in April 2012

If you post the itineraries and cost then you might get more appropriate advcie.

The lodges dont offer the same food and service but generally speaking it is pretty good no matter where you go.

I wouldnt stay at Gibbs farm too far from the Crater. In April Lolilondo would be too far from anywhere and probably too wet for my liking. Who ever suggested that camp is way off track imo.

Ndutu is not a good area for April-there are better more central- same with Lake Masek which is at Ndutu.

Most tour operators offer well maintained vehicles and on those roads a new vehicle only lasts "new" a month or so.

It is better to stay for several night each in 3 lodges not 2.

Also I wouldnt stay at karatu (Gibbs) for any length of time.

Edited: 21 March 2012, 06:48
Kiev, Ukraine
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2. Re: Please Advise on our Family's Safari Vacation in April 2012

Your advice is very, very helpful.

The itinerary which I think sounds best is a night each at Ngorongora Farmhouse Lodge, Kisimangede Tented Camp, Lake Maek Tented Camp, Serengeti Serena Lodge (2 nts), Ngorongoro Serena Lodge, Kibo Palace Hotel.

One alternative is Arunera River Lodge (1) , Gibbs Farm (4), Nasikia Central Camp (2).

A second is: Twiga(1), Ndutu (1), Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge (2), Seronera Wildlife Lodge (2).

I think your comments have already convinced me the first itinerary is the best, though with several children I was worried about moving around so much. What do you think?

We then want to spend several days in Zanzibar, and I think the best choice there is the Sandies Neptune Pwani, though we were also asked to consider Echo Beach, Ngalaw Beach, and Seacliff Zanzibar Resort.

We are very interested in learning about the culture, crafts and life of the people in addition to the actual safari. If you know of any particular places to do this, where we could learn and communicate, touch and do, please do tell.

By the way, do you know about or recommend the spice tours in Zanzibar?

Madrid, Spain
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3. Re: Please Advise on our Family's Safari Vacation in April 2012

Maybe there is a mistake in the title of your post?

April 2012 is next week¡

Our family will be travelling in ten days and things have been arranged a couple of months ago.

Anyway, as we are almost in the plane, I keep a close eye on weather predictions. And we will get rain for sure.

I would study very carefully places you will be staying as camps might not be the best option in a thunderstorm and very out of the way places will make things a bit hard (say if you get stuck in the mud). I took this sort of things on account when deciding which type of lodging for our family trip.

Please note that this is our first time in Tanzania so I´m not an expert¡

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4. Re: Please Advise on our Family's Safari Vacation in April 2012

No one nighters- maybe one.

Loliondo makes sense if at Piaya. That would actually be very good for a family although it is expensive. I think noexpert is assuming it means northern Loliondo.

See what you can get with minimum stays of 2 nights (except for Ngorongoro Crater visit) and come back. These look like itineraries made up of leftovers to be honest! If you are getting a really great deal that's okay.

Kiev, Ukraine
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5. Re: Please Advise on our Family's Safari Vacation in April 2012

Nope -- no mistake, we want to leave in two and a half weeks....which is why I am rushing to finalize plans!

I hope you have a fantastic vacation, Alicia! Do write about your adventures, impressions and lessons learned.

Pablo, we are not getting a great deal, just normal prices. I think the one nighters are intended to give us a variety of experiences and to minimize the time driving. We did a similar trip to Syria a couple of years ago. exhausting but very comprehensive :) But I appreciate your comment and will discuss it with the agency.

Kiev, Ukraine
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6. Re: Please Advise on our Family's Safari Vacation in April 2012

For those who advised us on our vacation in Tanzania -- we are back and we adored our trip! Not to say there were no mishaps, but on the whole, it was wonderful and we are telling everyone this is a once in a lifetime must-do!. Most important, everyone, from our adventurous, rugged dad, to our hard to please teenager, to our smaller children, to me, who prefers spas to treks :), enjoyed it tremendously.

We stayed in 8 different camps/lodges/hotels over a 12 day tour, each was great in its own way; some were more luxurious, some more exotic, some had better service, some had better views, all were great. We saw thousands of animals, met dozens of Tanzanians, saw wondrous sights, bought great souvenirs, and learned very important things about a very special country. I recommend Tanzania!!!

A few things I would do differently:

(1) Based on the advice on Tripadvisor, I took too much mosquito repellent and sunscreen. There were mosquitos and sun, but no more than they would be in the southern US;

(2) my biggest problem was washing clothes-- we switched hotels so much that we were rarely at one place for the 24 hour period (morning to next day) needed to get laundry back, and when I washed on my own, everything was damp in the morning and sometimes didn't dry for 2-3 days;

(3) take plenty of ones and fives for tips at restaurants and hotels. The hotels and shops were occasionally willing to break down our money, but it was something constantly on my mind.

(4) Don't worry about eating the fruit and veggies! Based on the advice on this site, I avoided them for a day or two, then this was what I mainly ate everywhere and we were all delicious!

(5) Expect most Tanzanians to be kind and honest, intelligent and interesting. Don't expect them to deviate too much from a set itinerary, even if you offer them more money.

(6) Don't take too much equipment -- I took every camera, video camera and binoculars we had and hated toting them everywhere. One binoculars for two people and one good camera with a super zoom for a group of three is important. Take a spare for the times you are unable to recharge the battery, though I was surprised and glad to find out the safari jeeps have recharger capabilities.

(7) We went in April during the rainy season, and it was wonderful! There were about two rainstorms, which were spectacular, and the rest of the time was moderate and, well, perfect.

We used Bright Safari tours, and except for their inflexibility about a major change to the itinerary during the tour (we asked to leave for Zanzibar a day earlier), the program they organized was excellent. All in all, probably the best vacation we ever had.

Edited: 30 April 2012, 18:37
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7. Re: Please Advise on our Family's Safari Vacation in April 2012

I really appreciate your coming back and letting us know how your trip went.

Isle of Man, United...
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8. Re: Please Advise on our Family's Safari Vacation in April 2012

Glad you enjoyed it. Laundry can be an issue of course when hopping around like you did especially in rains. (This would have been an issue even if staying longer as the Lodge would need to dry and iron just the same.)

I hope there are some reviews of the places you stayed pending and a few photos would be nice too.

9. Re: Please Advise on our Family's Safari Vacation in April 2012

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