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Safari with mother with arthritis in legs

London, United...
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Safari with mother with arthritis in legs

I am planning to go on a 3-4 day safari with my mother - however, I am getting worried about the drives and how bumpy they may or may not be. My mother has arthritis in both knees and has to have one replaced soon. I think it should be okay as I do have some experience of such roads from living in Ethiopia, but have not done a safari in Tanzania Northern circuit. Are the roads really stressful on the legs, and full of constant bumps along the way?

We are hiring a private vehicle so guess we will have autonomy in adapting the trip if it is too much in places - is this how it works?

Lastly - strange question but are there plenty of stops to use the bathroom or is it a case of being in the car for 6 hours with no respite?

Apologies for my ignorance and thanks in advance for any responses

Vita

Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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1. Re: Safari with mother with arthritis in legs

Vita... it will be harder on your bottom then on your legs. And if you have a private vehicle you can tell the driver to slow down so that the bumps are lessened. You will have a hard surfaced road from Arusha all the way to Ngorongoro Crater, in the parks the roads are dirt/gravel, as they are from Ngorongoro Crater to the Serengeti.

You can always ask the driver to make a bush stop, they are used to people asking for this. There are very few rest rooms or toilets in the national parks, but there are a few. Any other time you will just find a good hiding bush to get behind.

Ottawa, Canada
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2. Re: Safari with mother with arthritis in legs

Explaining your mother's needs to a tour operator will help them define a trip to suit your mother. I think on another post we recommended Tarangire and the Ngorongoro Crater (maybe Manyara?) for you. There are not that many hours between the parks, and there are 'facilities' along the way and in the Parks.

There is a lot of room to stretch out your legs once into the vehicle, and ask that there be a stool to help step into and out of the vehicle. I think the 'massage' from the bumpy roads are harder on hips or perhaps neck than knees. The vehicles have a lot of space, and there are doors on both sides of the back area that are easy to slip into. I would not recommend the passenger seat, however.

Chicago
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3. Re: Safari with mother with arthritis in legs

I also have arthritis in the knees, although probably not as bad as your mother's, but I had no problem. When you are seated, the knees are not affected to a large degree, except for balance-seat belts help. I also took a seat cushion with me, which was light in the luggage, and I just left it in the car-the driver was thrilled-he decided to use it himself. The one thing to be careful with your mother is driving/sighting while standing in the moving car. She might want to wait until the car is stopped to stand and look. The only times I had any problems with my knees at all was when I decided to overdo it and keep up with the hunting Hadzabe warriors, or when I hiked/climbed down about 300 rough stairs to see the Ndoro waterfall near Marangu. The remedy for these situation is to be smart and skip them.

London, United...
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4. Re: Safari with mother with arthritis in legs

Thanks so much for the replies - it is very reassuring and means we can enjoy looking forward to it without the worry! Given the above may I ask for your advice on time in the car based on the following suggested itineraries - (we are thinking of doing the second option from the advice given here) - is it many hours driving?

Sunny safaris suggested the following:

• Day 01: To be met in Arusha and drive to Manyara, lunch, afternoon game drives, dinner and overnight at Lake Manyara Hotel.

• Day 02: Early morning drive to Ngorongoro for crater tour, picnic lunch, afternoon drive back to Lake Manyara Hotel for dinner and overnight.

• Day 03: After early breakfast drive to Tarangire for game viewing, picnic lunch, by noon drive to Kilimanjaro airport

But others suggested doing Tarangire first and switching it around to:

• Day 01: To be met in Arusha early and drive to Tarangire NP, picnic lunch, afternoon game drives, dinner and overnight in Tarangire NP.

• Day 02: Early morning drive to Ngorongoro for crater tour, picnic lunch, afternoon drive back to Lake Manyara Hotel for dinner and overnight.

• Day 03: After early breakfast Game drive in Lake Manyara NP for game viewing, picnic lunch, by noon drive to Kilimanjaro airport

We are intending to fly to Zanibar 13.40 flight from JRO.

Many thanks again

Vita

Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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5. Re: Safari with mother with arthritis in legs

You will be in the car for all the rides between the parks, and all the time while you are in the parks. The only time you will be out of the vehicle will be for your lunch. You cannot get out and walk about, there are dangerous animals out and about.

It would make little difference on the sequence of this. I would probably maximize the time in Tarangire rather than Manyara. Tarangire is a little closer to Arusha than Manyara. The time from the Tarangire gate to Arusha is about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The roads to all the parks you will be going to will be hard surfaced roads from Arusha to Ngorongoro gate. All the road in the parks will be dirt/gravel roads. Tell your driver to slow down while in the parks, he will anyways, typically.

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: Safari with mother with arthritis in legs

In Manyara, there are a few little places where you can get out and stretch. Not all have facilities, but it is easy enough to be able to get out at the Hippo Pool, 2 picnic areas and if you get that far, the hot springs.

I think once you are underway, the time in the car while game driving will not feel like anything. I think trying to anticipate the length of time could be more stressful than just going with the flow. Also, you are the client and can dictate how long you want to be out for the day.

If you take a lodging in Arusha that is in the West of the town, you will have to deal with less congested traffic in the morning you leave.

It is about 2.5 - 3 hours from Tarangire to the Crater Rim.

Now comes the hard part. I think either description is deceiving on what you will see and do.

I think saying a 'morning game drive' then driving to the Crater, doing the Crater and afternoon return to Manyara (or Tarangire) is impossible and unrealistic. given that it takes two or more hours to the Crater and back, then than really only leaves time to see the Crater. You will pay the most ($200) to visit the Crater. Don't let them rush you on the six hours you are entitled to. so these 3 days sound nice, but are not a clear indication of what can be expected.

Also, if you are leaving for Zanzibar at 1340 on Day 3, there is really no way to visit a park other than to spend an hour, as you will need to be at JRO beforehand and it is at least a 4 hour drive from Manyara if not longer. You cannot physically leave Manyara, or Tarangire after lunch and make a 1340 flight.

My advice is to either skip Zanzibar or add in another day.....or at least change your flight to an evening flight.

I hope you have asked several other Tour Operators, as this one is building dreams, not realities, in my opinion....and you know I want you to enjoy this trip.

Chicago
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7. Re: Safari with mother with arthritis in legs

I personally think you are trying to do too much in too short of a time, and will tire everyone out. You originally said 3-4 day safari, and you might be able to do it in 4, but trying to get 3 parks in with actually 2 1/2 days seems too rushed and you will be exhausted. Plus you are paying full park fees for only a few hours in a park. If you are tied to the 2 1/2 days, I would suggest giving up a park. Many people might say give up Manyara, but I like the contrast between that and Tarangire. I will probably be called a blasphemer, but if you are tied to that time period, I might give up Ngorongoro. While it is spectacular, and it has the cats, it is also the farthest and the most expensive of the parks you suggest. For me, it was a great place to visit, but it felt like more of a zoo or wild animal park, with the animals coming right up to the car. Just my opinion...

Ottawa, Canada
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8. Re: Safari with mother with arthritis in legs

Sciguy, it is not such a bad idea at all. You are correct about the distance and the cost. Crater wasn't my favourite park, but that was because it was near the end of a trip. I would still like to add back that extra day for the OP, but otherwise, your suggestion might fit better.

9. Re: Safari with mother with arthritis in legs

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