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Please review this first stab at a Tanzania safari itinerar

Medford, Oregon
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Please review this first stab at a Tanzania safari itinerar

We are planning a safari trip for June 2014. There will be 5 of us hubby and I, 22 yo daughter, 18 yo son and 30 yo friend of the family. We are looking for an upscale more luxury safari. This is what we are working with so far:

Day 1 - Arrival at Mt. Kilimanjaro (JRO), meet in arrivals and to Arusha Coffee Lodge - dinner and overnight elewanacollection.com/arusha-coffee-lodge/ar…

Day 2, 3 and 4 - To Tarangire National Park for game viewing, guided game walks and night game drives - overnights Oliver's Camp - full board inclusive of non-premium drinks and laundry

http://www.asiliaafrica.com/Olivers/ OR stay 3 nights Manyara Ranch http://manyararanch.com

NOTE : I think I prefer Manyara Ranch

Day 5 and 6 - Visit Lake Manyara en route to Ngorongoro, second day will be spent game viewing on the Crater floor - overnights Ngorongoro Exploreans Lodge - full board inclusive of non-premium drinks and laundry http://ngorongorolodge.exploreans.com

Day 7 - Transfer to the Manyara Airstrip for the flight to Sasakwa Airstrip in Singita Grumeti Reserve - met by your camp guide - Sabora Plains Permanent Tented Camp - full board inclusive of non-premium drinks and laundry

luxurysafaricamps.com/singita-sabora.html…

Day 8 and 9 - Game viewing with your Singita Guide in the Grumeti Reserve - optional hot air balloon ride and activities on offer - overnights Sabora Plains Camp - full board inclusive of non-premium drinks and laundry

Day 10 - Transfer back to Sasakwa Airstrip and fly to Zanzibar, met by and transferred to Matemwe Beach House private use with chef and housekeeping - full board inclusive of non-premium drinks and laundry asiliaafrica.com/matemwe_beach_house/index.h…

Day 11, 12 and 13 - Water sport activities of choice on Zanzibar - Matemwe Beach House full board inclusive of non-premium drinks and laundry

Day 14 - Transfer to Zanzibar airport and fly to Dar es Salaam, connect with your international flight out.

Still debating on whether to add the Zanzibar portion - if we do will not stay at the location recommended as it is just too expensive.

Anyway, just wondering if this sounds like a good plan for first safari in terms of areas we are going to number of nights/days in each location distance/time to travel from place to place.

Isle of Man, United...
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1. Re: Please review this first stab at a Tanzania safari itinerar

Had to smile at this.

<will not stay at the location recommended as it is just too expensive.>

After all the up market places already used you Gybe at the last one.

Your trip looks wonderful but very expensive.

It works well in a good order. Using flights will save some time and take pressure off the travelling/transfers.

To this end maybe consider not going to Zanzibar at all and taking a few more days to enjoy the Safari experience?

Ottawa, Canada
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2. Re: Please review this first stab at a Tanzania safari itinerar

Like mfuwe, I smiled at the comment about Zanzibar being too expensive. I agree that you may want to add some extra safari time on rather than Zanzibar, depending on your plans and expectations. Zanzibar is not a typical 'all inclusive' type place. The beaches are not as good as Hawaii, Mexico or Caribbean. In places, the tide goes way out and you can't just hop in to play around, snorkel or swim. If you want to go to spend time learning about the rich history of the island as a key player in the spice and slave routes, then it is worth it.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Please review this first stab at a Tanzania safari itinerar

I am not an expert but I did one safari in Kenya and I am going to Tanzania in January. While I also wanted a higher end experience my travels in Kenya made me slightly reduce the luxury factor. At one camp in Kenya we had a high end camp (Bateleur Camp) which was spectacular. The private butler was over the top and while free laundry service was great i really did not need my now clean underwear to be returned in a basked, wrapped in tissue paper, and tied with a bow. When out of the camp the important factors are your guide and your vehicle.

While we are staying at some higher end camps in Tanzania I learned that paying $1000 per person per night is not at all needed and boarders on being ridiculous. There are many reportedly spectacular camps in Tanzania that are still very pricey at the $400 per person range that might make more sense.

Medford, Oregon
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4. Re: Please review this first stab at a Tanzania safari itinerar

Thanks for all your replies, you helped me know we are basically on the right track. After I posted and went to bed, I thought - people are going to make comments about my "too expensive comment" LOL!! But I guess it's all relative! The safari part appears to be just about what I was expecting to pay for a 7-10 day luxury safari, but the house in Zanzibar was ridiculous! We've done similar stuff in Mexico and trust me - no where near the price I was quoted.

The one accommodation on the safari that I thought may be unnecessarily over the top was the Exploreans Lodge near the Crater, so I plan on looking at other options there - any suggestions would be appreciated.

Ottawa, Canada
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5. Re: Please review this first stab at a Tanzania safari itinerar

Most here would recommend a very early morning descent into the Crater, therefore you want to be placed as close to the main road/gate as you can. Decide on Crater location with that in mind. However, Day 6 - after the Crater, you could consider something closer to the Manyara airstrip. I don't know that level of luxury so can't recommend one in that area, but even Karatu which is part way has some luxe places with some character. perhaps not the all inclusive drinks or wrapped laundry, but it might give you a chance for a different perspective of lodging and environment.

nyc
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6. Re: Please review this first stab at a Tanzania safari itinerar

You won't hear me fussing about 'too expensive' within reason, and if the visitor is fine with the rates you have to remember that not everyone travels 'on the cheap' - rather a certain level of luxe as they wish. \

And I gave up a long time ago comparing prices between countries, even if South Africa vs East Africa, where the former has a infastructure for moving things (furniture, linens, food, beverages, etc. etc.) from place to place where with the latter it's not so easy and rather costly. Surely not Mexico with East Africa. No more than I could compare house prices in the NYC metropolitan area ( NY, NJ, CT)... to that in Texas or even Georgia.

That said, did have to chuckle re the comment on ZNZ which is a beach house for the entire group and is all inclusive. What seems strange though is 'mobile a/c' = on wheels???? There are many other lux options here (even Matemwe Retreat, part of the same group), Maybe Anna of Zanzibar with only 3/villas, Kilindi on the West of island, Kasha Boutique, Echo Beach... have your TO assist with some and do be sure they have a/c... the coast is tropical - hot/humid.

On the safari itself

- at Arusha, if late nt arrival you'll only be staying at Arusha Coffee Lodge to sleep a few hours, quick breakfast and then be on your way to Tarangire. There are some very nice comfy properties in Arusha Town at a lower price for such a short stay, of barely 10/hrs. If you were spending 2/nts Arusha, I'd consider a stay here.

- at Tarangire for 3/nts, makes no sense to board out of the way at Manyara Ranch which you'd have to enter/leave daily and the actual drive time. While Oliver's is nice, I personally prefer Swala Camp; or for that matter the Elewena property called Treetops.

- at Ngo, Exploreans isn't all that expensive, rather about the same range as the Serena, so can't imagine what your tour operator is quoting. And it's not 'near' the crater, rather actually on the rim on the preferred side. Other than the Crater Lodge here, at a completely ridiculous price and over-the-top decor, Exploreans is the newest property here. Good also for an early descent to crater floor.

- at Western/Grumeti Serengeti, where there are few lux properties, having Singita join on the private Grumeti Reserve abput 5yrs ago, was nice till most saw their rates.... ugh! Even the tented camps at Sabora or Faru Faru with a price tag of about $1500/pp/nt all inclusive. Maybe inquire about Grumeti River Camp or the Serengeti Under Canvas/SUC Camp, both actually located inside the Western corridor of Serengeti and all inclusive.

You certainly have time to get it right as even intl air tickets aren't yet available.

Isle of Man, United...
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7. Re: Please review this first stab at a Tanzania safari itinerar

Mobile a/c = Means you have the services of a Punkah Wallah!

I have no hang ups on top end safaris. Neither has the wildlife.

nyc
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8. Re: Please review this first stab at a Tanzania safari itinerar

Welcome home mfuwe -

Yup, that's it 'the guy with the big fan' lingering over my beach lounge. ;-)

Medford, Oregon
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9. Re: Please review this first stab at a Tanzania safari itinerar

4sandi - Thanks so much for your suggestions. I am actually thinking of spending 2 nights at Arusha - hubby just likes a day to sort of relax and get adjusted and I think arriving one day and then heading out for the safari the next may be a bit too much. However, I'm not one to rest if I'm in a new place - so would be interested in what there might be to see there that day.

The TO, did give me Swala as an option as well. I didn't care for the more modern feel it had, but I will take a look again (maybe that Swala was the one in the Serengeti so I will look at the one in Tarangire. She also mentioned that I might prefer to be closer to Tarangire than the Maynara Ranch and so was going to provide more options for me to look at.

When I said Exploreans seemed over the top I didn't mean in price but just in decor. She also said I need to look at other options closer to the crater rim so will be doing that too.

I know the Singita's are expensive - but honestly that is exactly the kind of experience I'm looking for for atleast part of the trip. We are celebrating 50th bdays and 2 graduations and just want to kind of go "all out" for part of it (well all of it) but when I saw the Singita pics - I thought this is exactly what I'm envisioning. I will, however definitely look at the two other places you mentioned.

Just happy to know the TO is making the same comments you guys are and I will continue to investigate all suggestions. Yes, we have tons of time - and I like it that way. Going to use FF miles for the tickets so want to have a basic idea of what our plan is so I can get tickets as soon as they go up. So, I need to figure out where and when I'm flying in and out of. Thanks!

nyc
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10. Re: Please review this first stab at a Tanzania safari itinerar

Well for big b'days and graduations... why no go for the splurge, but do check the others. As I mentioned... you've got the time.

Swala - there is only one that I'm aware and it's at Tarangire, but also take a look at Treetops which is just that 'up in the trees.'

Of course there are difference in whether one wishes rustic or somewhat more modern, but the new properties as guest needs/requests, do provide more amenities. In fact when the Singita properties were built and except for the Four Seasons Bilila Lodge in Central Serengeti that does have a/c, believe two at Singita do. However, when I saw that at one of the camps (not sure whether it was Sabora or FaruFaru) with the a/c situated right above the bed could only imagine the occupant waking with the stiff neck... LOL!

In the meantime, let us know of your progress and any further questions.