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Help me choose an itinerary

El Paso, Texas, USA
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Help me choose an itinerary

Hello all,

I sincerely appreciate any insight you can provide. As recommended from my previous post, I went back to the drawing board and got more quotes from several tour operators. My top two are from Basecamp Tanzania and Sunny Safaris, which seem to be highly recommended by many here.

There will be two of us traveling late August/early September. We are a thirty-something couple that enjoy a good adventure and are not afraid to rough-it a little bit, but also don't mind some luxuries.

Here is the quote from Basecamp:

LUXURY LODGE SAFARI

DAY 0

08.08.13 Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport - Collection via Base Camp and transfer to www.ilborusafarilodge.com situated at the foot of Mt. Meru.• The perfect place to spend your first night in Tanzania D

DAY 1

09.08.13 Arusha NP http://www.basecamptanzania.com/NP_Arusha.htm days mixed hiking (circa 2 hours) and game drives, in this special little park at the foot of Mt Meru – chance to see Mt Kilimanjaro – overnight www.ilborusafarilodge.com BLD

DAY 2

10.08.13 Leaving Arusha we drive circa 120 km on tarmac and circa 4 km on piste arriving at our first park - Tarangire National Park We take you on your first Game Drive arriving back just before dusk to • overnight in luxury tents, self contained/shower etc., situated on the slopes overlooking the Tarangire river, a permanent water source, enabling you to enjoy the sight of the wildlife coming to drink. Overnight www.tarangiresafarilodge.com OR www.sopalodges.com BLD

DAY 3

11.08.13 Tarangire National Park Full days game drives - Overnight www.tarangiresafarilodge.com OR www.sopalodges.com BLD

DAY 4

12.08.13 Rising early we game drive until lunch, after which we continue our safari to Lake Manyara National Park.

• We shall take a short Game Drive in this spectacular park at the base of the western wall of the Great Rift Valley before retiring to our hotel on the rim of the Rift Valley.• Overnight www.kirurumu.net OR moivaro.com/pages/…lodge.htm BLD

DAY 5

13.08.13

VISIT HADZAPI BUSHMEN LIVING AS FOR TIME UNTOLD IN THE LAKE EYASI AREA. & VISIT THE DATOGA TRIBE http://www.ntz.info/gen/b00479.html Overnight http://kisimangeda.com/ BLD

DAY 6

14.08.13 We drive to and enter the world famous Serengeti National Park.• Game Driving from the entrance gate to your hotel in this the probably most famous of all National Parks in the world!• Overnight in tented camp wildfrontiers.com/mailimages2011/SerengetiWi… BLD

DAY 7

15.08.13 A full day, dawn to dusk Game Driving in the Serengeti National Park.• Today we have over 14,000 km in which explore the ever changing flora and fauna, in this park made famous in the Film "Serengeti shall not die" by Dr. Bernhard Grzimek. • You too shall never forget the splendour of the rolling savannah and open plains, home to the most spectacular migration on our planet! • Overnight in tented camp wildfrontiers.com/mailimages2011/SerengetiWi… BLD

DAY 8

16.08.13 A full day, dawn to dusk Game Driving in the Serengeti National Park Overnight http://www.wildfrontiers.com/?q=con,82,Tanzania's%20Lamai%20Wedge%20-%20Migration%20fly-in%20Safari BLD

DAY 9

17.08.13 A full day, dawn to dusk Game Driving in the Serengeti National Park Overnight http://www.wildfrontiers.com/?q=con,82,Tanzania's%20Lamai%20Wedge%20-%20Migration%20fly-in%20Safari BLD

DAY 10

18.08.13 . Our last game drive in Serengeti National Park taking in some of the "Kopjes / Inselbergen" granite outcrops in which many predators love to sit and look out over the plains for their prey.• Lunch is a packed lunch. En-Route to Ngorongoro Crater:.• Overnight in www.sopalodges.com BLD

DAY 11

19.08.13 Ngorongoro Crater - a World Heritage Site - where we spend the maximum of six hours allowed game driving!

• Down inside the Worlds Largest Perfect Caldera (collapsed volcano) with a permanent residence of circa 30,000 animals.• Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtakingly exciting place to see the only remaining Black Rhinos in East Africa.• En-Route to Arusha Cultural village tour http://mtoculturalprogramme.tripod.com/ Overnight www.ilborusafarilodge.com BLD

DAY 12

20.08.13 Departure transfer B

TOTAL PP BASED ON TWO PARTICIPANTS 2013 PRICES.

MIXED LODGES SAFARI $3,850 PP

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

OPTION OF MASSAI VILLAGE (BOMA) VISIT $50 PER VEHICLE PAID DIRECT.

OPTION OF BALLOON SAFARI $499 PP www.balloonsafaris.com

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

ALL INCLUSIVE OF AIRPORT TRANSFERS -ARRIVEL & DEPARTURE / ALL PARK FEES / RANGER FEES / 4X4 TRANSPORT / ENGLISH SPEAKING DRIVER-GUIDE/ BOTTLED WATER ON SAFARI/ FULL BOARD = BREAKFAST+LUNCH+DINNER / HOTEL ACCOMDATION DAYS AS SHOWN ABOVE. / FLYING DOCTORS SERVICE

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.

NOT INCLUDED ALL THINGS OF A PERSONAL NATURE IE: ALCOHOL / TIPS-GRATUITIES/LAUNDRY,

SOUVENIRS / AIRPORT TAX'ES.

Here is the quote from Sunny Safari:

Day 01: Pick up from your hotel in Arusha, drive to Tarangire for game viewing, picnic lunch, dinner and overnight at Tarangire Osupuko Camp.

Day 02: Full day game drives, meals and overnight at Tarangire Osupuko Camp.

Day 03: Morning game drives, lunch, after lunch drive to Ngorongoro, dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge.

Day 04: Crater tour followed by picnic lunch, dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge.

Day 05: After breakfast drive to Serengeti, picnic lunch, dinner and overnight at Serengeti Sopa Lodge.

Day 06: Full day game drives, meals and overnight at Serengeti Sopa Lodge.

Day 07: Game drives as you drive to the central Serengeti, picnic lunch, dinner and overnight at Serengeti Osupuko Camp.

Day 08: Another day of exploring Serengeti, meals and overnight at Serengeti Osupuko Camp.

Day 09: Drive to Manyara with lunch boxes, relax at the pool, dinner and overnight at Manyara Wildlife Camp.

Day 10: Morning game drives in Manyara, picnic lunch, afternoon drive back to Arusha.

2 people quote per person USD 3180.00

Can anyone offer improvements/suggestions? Do I need another day in Tarangire with Sunny? Is there too much time in the Serengeti with Basecamp? ANY comments are appreciated! Which would you do?

Minneapolis...
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1. Re: Help me choose an itinerary

I don't know a lot about the lodgings involved, but I like the Basecamp itinerary a lot...

not sure what you mean about Sunny and Tarangire... looks to me like the same amount of time in both itineraries.

you can't have too much time in the Serengeti.

Basecamp itinerary is certainly more varied on the cultural end. I'd skip the Masai village and we opted not to do the balloon... we traveled for an additional two weeks in Tanzania for the cost of those couple of hours... opinions vary on this...

I like ending with the crater rather than ending with Manyara... I just think Manyara would be something of a let-down after all the other travel. We thought Ngorongoro was a great recap and amazing photo opportunities. Honestly - we did about four hours in the crater, saw lots of cool stuff... and were ready to head on home...

Honolulu, Hawaii
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2. Re: Help me choose an itinerary

Absolute agree with idiotsabroard. You get so much more for the money with Base Camp, including the cultural experience. We stayed in several of the lodgings when we went on a safari with BaseCamp last year.

We are booked to go with them again this year.

melbourne
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3. Re: Help me choose an itinerary

I don't know if the Basecmap is a "luxury" lodge itinerary. I would'nt call Sopa Tarangire anything let alone luxury. If you choose Basecamp make sure you ask for the Tarangire Safari lodge.

The Sunny trip is about $ 800 cheaper pp but without the 2 nights at Ilboru.

The Sunny trip for the cost is okay I don't know Osupuko like I know some of the other camps so not so keen on that one.

Also with Sunny Day 10 Manyara Wildlife Camp. I would find out where that is as well.

I also think the comment about the Black rhinos has some political licence as there are a few at Mkomazi,some scattered around Kenya and if you go to the Moru Kopjes in the Serengeti you might see them there as well.

But having said all of that I would ask for Tarangire Safari Lodge and go with Basecamp.

Ottawa, Canada
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4. Re: Help me choose an itinerary

Is it just me who thinks Basecamp's Day 5 & 6 is rushed? It would seem that Hadzabi visits are often two full days, not trying to arrive in Serengeti end of second day. I would quesion it.

melbourne
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5. Re: Help me choose an itinerary

QM your right Day 4 is a pm short Manyara game drive then o/n Manyara before heading to Lake Eyasi on Day 5 then visit the Hadzapi the same day o/n then dive to the Serengeti. This will be rushed. Unless you have a particular interest in these tribes I would leave out this visit and add the day elsewhere.

These 3 days will be rushed.

I think a bit or work needs to be done on both trips.

melbourne
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6. Re: Help me choose an itinerary

They are both of the rack itineraries I would get the operators to try and design something that suits you better.

El Paso, Texas, USA
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7. Re: Help me choose an itinerary

Quiltingmamma, do you think skipping Day 5 on the Basecamp itinerary would be the way to go or is there another solution you could recommend?

Noexpert, is there something in particular I should ask for. I'm new to this and don't really know what I need.

Minneapolis...
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8. Re: Help me choose an itinerary

I think there is some confusion on the Basecamp itinerary.

Day 5 starts at Manyara. It includes driving to Eyasi and visiting the tribes. Lodging is near the lake.

Day 6 Is listed as the drive to Serengeti - certainly not over a half day drive.

The next three days are full days in the Serengeti, so even if some of the cultural activities are saved for the morning of Day 6 - like a morning hunt - there is still plenty of time to get to the Serengeti.

So this doesn't sound too rushed to me...

I think the question of skipping the tribal visits should be based on whether or not you like the sound of them. I've never done them, but if you search this forum for Hazabe you'll find many accounts of people doing these cultural visits. A lot of the pro and con comments seem to come down to how comfortable people are with watching stone age hunting - which might include killing and eating small birds and such...

Off-the-rack or not... seems like a good itinerary to me.

As I said, I'm not good at the lodgings, other than suggesting that when it comes to luxury - the camps are more "luxious" - as in different and memorable - than the lodges... so I'd always opt for the tents when possible.

melbourne
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9. Re: Help me choose an itinerary

IA it is a good itinerary yes.

It is not a very good itinerary nor an excellent one..my opinion only.

3 nights at Ilboru safari lodge are a waste. Day 1 08.08 fine especially if you are arriving on KLM.

Day 2 I would skip it unless specifically requested and then head to Tarangire and spend the extra time there

I don't like the idea of Sopa at Tarangire a nothing location and a large,which does nothing for me, lodge. Stay elsewhere. This is what shows me it is an off the rack trip. Why have the option of one or the other when TSL is far superior.

Tarangire is a seasonal park I know that many do not agree and many others don't like to admit it, others don't believe it.

At the time of travel Tarangire Safari Lodge will be coming into its own from a wildlife viewing poont of view. So spend 3 days there.

That takes us up to Day 4 12.08 Why "a short game drive" in Manyara then overnight at Kirurumu. Either do it properly or leave it off.

If you really want to do the Hadzapi bushmen then drive straight from Tarangire to Lake Eyasi and spend 2 nights there and visits the tribes on the early morning of Day 5 then you are not rushed and can enjoy it.

I would prefer to go on a hunt in the early morning rather than mid to mid afternnoon as per current itinerary.

So that is 2 days at Eyasi and Manyara out.

Now Day 6 drive to Serengeti ..o/n wild frontiers camp Seronera I presume.

Day 7 full day game drive o/n Seronera I presume.

Day 8 Now come the interesting part drive to The Lamai Wedge... Mara River area for 2 nights

Day 10 is a long day but doable drive from Mara area about 3 hours to Lobo and then another 1 1/2 hours to Seronera and then onto Sopa about 3 hours or more. So this is a long travelling day.

I would go back to Seronera to the Wild froniters camp abd stay there..this will cut out the night at Ilboru on day 11

Day 11 drive to Ngorongoro same day evening game drive on our way to Sopa Lodge wake up either do another game drive in the crater or head staright back to KIA I presume for a KLM flight.

5 nights in the Serengeti not 4 ..2 at Eyasi not 1 ...3 at Tarangire not 2 and skip Manyara.

Why waste all those nights at Ilboru...not for me.

Just as an aside unless you are really keen I would skip Eyasi and spend those nights at Manyara and or another at Ngorongoro.

Just a suggestion and can be changed around a bit.

I didn't look at the Sunny trip as wouldn't be interested...average trip and accomodation.

Edited: 20 May 2013, 03:51
El Paso, Texas, USA
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10. Re: Help me choose an itinerary

Thank you, Noexpert and Idiotabroad for your detailed responses.

We will be arriving (hopefully) on the Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul (we are hoping for a quick stopover there as we have never been) at 1:10 AM and departing on Turkish at 2:00 AM. So the last day at Ilboru is more of a day-room use, if that makes a difference.

Noexpert, when you say skip Day 2 do you mean Day 1 in Arusha? Day 2 is actually going to Tarangire. I had read that the Arusha park was nice but is Tarangire far superior? I also like the idea of a short hike, is there a better place in the itinerary to do this?

I definitely would prefer the tented camps as opposed to the Sopa lodges, with the exception of Ngorongoro. With the late planning, I am hoping they are available.

As far as the hunting/tribal activities, I would like to do something cultural, but if it is not possible in the time frame we would prefer to leave it off. I also want to have an authentic cultural experience and I am not really sold that this is the case. You are right, we don't want to be rushed. I think we would prefer to spend the time in Manyara.

I am now reading a lot of the other threads here and a lot suggest non-game activities to break up the car time. Where would be the best places to do these type of activities and are there any in particular you would recommend?