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tweaking the lodging

San Francisco...
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tweaking the lodging

After much research and all your help, the long national nightmare is over! we have a plan we are happy with!

just some tweaking on lodging.

--i won't even revisit the TSL v boundary hill issue. we're leaning toward boundary hill (but Mr S might not be aware that's where he's leaning yet. lol) 2 nights

--Lake Manyara--we'd love Tree Tops (Tree Lodge) but at $900-1000 pppn, that ain't happening! so we're down to Kirurumu Manyara or Ol Tukai Manyara. Kirurumu seems to get good reviews, while Ol Tukai does not even seem to be listed in the reviews section of TA. It has been mentioned favorably in this destination forum recently. What I'm getting is, perhaps, a similar comparison to that between BH and TSL--one larger but more centrally located, the other smaller, more intimate, but more remote. This will be in mid-January, so wondering about road conditions. 1 night

oh! just had a thought (probably a totally idiotic thought or at least ONE of the TO's would have come up with it!) wonder if instead of breaking this up into two areas for the three nights, we just stayed in one for three nights, like Kirurumu Manyara or Ol Tukai since they seem (i say "seem" since i've never been there and really, just looking on a map is not African reality, i know!) and skip the Tarangire lodging "issue"? ie, go right from KIA to Kirurumu/ol Tukai and see Tarengire AND Manyara from there?

yeah, i guess that is pretty dumb.

--Ngorongoro--Sopa or Wildlife? i was fine with Wildlife but one TO had a rather scathing opinion of it (mediocre food, thin walls, smaller rooms, needs updating.) I'll be frank...I want the view, and i don't plan on doing much in the room besides sleep, so i don't really care if the room isn't out of House Beautiful. BUT i do want a comfy bed and some decent food.....

-One TO suggested Rhino Lodge, saying, it might be foggy and you might not see the view anyway. well, if this is the 8th wonder of the world, i'd like to be looking at it! also, it's a sure bet i WON'T see a view from Rhino, fog or no fog.

-what recommends Sopa over Wildlife for the extra cost? (yeah, we're still in sticker shock)

we're set everywhere else.

Thanks again everyone. Obviously the lodging we choose affects the price, so just have to make this last decision(s)

Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: tweaking the lodging

Well, Ol Tukai could be central to both parks, but I think BH or TSL have enough uniqueness, that it would be a shame not to keep to the original plan.

Sorry, but have you chosen your TO yet? That will have some incentive of which lodging. you don't need to have your lodgings cast in stone before you decide that. It will impact costs of BH and Ol Tukai, but not the crater issues. For Crater, I would make my decision on personal expectations, and the reviews in TO for the lodging, not the TO. They will say what works for them I expect the one who complains about a place or discusses fog doesn't have an 'in' therfore, a good price, for the one you want.

San Francisco...
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2. Re: tweaking the lodging

we're down to two (orrrr maybe three. haha) obviously EASTCO is one (hence, Boundary Hill and Ol Tukai) but he will put us where we want (but of course the price goes up without his "in." for instance, at our request he factored in Kati Kati in Seronera area)

what i listed are the final options (ie, our final choices) but just not sure about, especially, Kirurumu v Ol Tukai. i feel a pull toward the remote, smaller camps. but i can see the advantage of the larger camps (usually location) also, i'm not the only one going on this safari. if you know what i mean.

the reason i asked about consolidating the lodgings for Tarangire and Manyara is....yes everyone says a day trip in Manyara is not really sufficient, you have to stay there but....none of the camps/lodging i researched are within the park anyway (except for Tree tops, which is beyond our budget)

like i said, probably an idiotic idea!

Bristol
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3. Re: tweaking the lodging

Ok well I'll jump in, but I have only stayed at one of each group. Tarangire Safari Lodge, Kirurumu Tented Lodge ans the Sopa at the crater. Infact these were the exact lodgings we chose for our trip last October with our daughter. I was very pleased with all of them.

TSL- as you say we've been there done that!!

Kirurumu Manyara - I loved this place. One of my favourite places i've stayed at in all our 5 safaris. Its well located for visiting Manyara NP.Lovely views from the bar and the tent. Great tents well spaced out (and I'm not that keen on tents generally), we asked for a tent with a nice view and got a great one, lovely food etc. They also arranged a walk with a massai guide along the rift valley at no extra cost, very interesting and a nice change from being in the car. They will also arrange longer hikes, cultural visits etc. But what really made this place so great were the staff. We stayed for 3 nights and felt we had made friends for life. The restaurant managers always greeted everyone in the bar before dinner, they immediatly learnt our names, enquired about our day etc. After this all the staff also quickly learnt our names, chatted to us in the bar and during breakfast and dinner. They taught us lots of swahili, and we learnt lots about their lives in Tz and also they were interested in our lives in England. They really were great, nothing was too much trouble. On our last evening we had lots of photos with them after dinner and they all wanted to be involved. I will definately go back.

Ngorongoro Sopa - I've stayed here twice and both occasions had good views of the sunset over the crater. It was always clear in the evenings but it seems cloud comes down overnight and its foggy in the morning. Great terrace to sit and have a drink while watching the sunset. Food was very good particularly on our last visit this year in April. Good rooms, hot water bottle in the bed (it is cold at night at that altitude)And ofcourse it is only 5 minutes to the gate down to the crater. Last time we visited we left the Sopa at 5.50 and were still too early to get into the crater at 6am. We took a boxed breakfast and the returned to the Sopa for lunch before heading on. this all worked well.

I'm not a great one for taking photos of lodgings but there are quite a few of Kirurumu Manyara in the link below and a few of TSL and Ngorongoro Sopa. Hope this helps.

Look at Set labelled

Tanzania 2012 - Part 3 for Manyara NP and Kirurumu tented lodge

Tanzania 2012 - Part 2 for a few photos of Ngorongoro Sopa

Tanzanai 2012 - Part 3/4 and 5 for a few photos of TSL

www.flickr.com/photos/shepofbristol/sets/

Ottawa, Canada
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4. Re: tweaking the lodging

You can see a lot of Manyara in a day if you are up and about at a reasonable hour. Many spend 3 hours there, while you can still get a great experiences with an 8 or 10 hour day there. Kirurumu is the closer of the two for Manyara and you can be at the gate for 6:30 if you want to. Can't do that with Ol Tukai, but will you miss out if you drive from there and spend 6-8 hours? Not at all.

I'm not sure who 'everyone' is that says you have to stay at Manyara. In reality, few do. There are several good lodgings within 20 minutes or so from the gate and I expect that is what people mean. I am not certain about the distance from Ol Tukai to the gate is, but it would certainly be longer than that. The park is not so large that you need 10 hours to see it and the result is going to be on serendipity more than time in.

I like Kirurumu, but wouldn't suggest it for Tarangire.

San Francisco...
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5. Re: tweaking the lodging

thanks to both of you.

yes the use of "everyone" was hyperbole, sorry.

Isle of Man, United...
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6. Re: tweaking the lodging

I go along with these ideas. Ol Tokai to me is not Manyara but more Tarangire.

Kirurumu ticks my box. Stayed there lots of times since 1996. Know most of the regular staff. If that was my only choice it would be no contest. Up on the rift wall and lovely. Maybe 20 minutes to the NP Gate. I used Ol Mesera last time, more for research and curiosity but also to manage budget. Lovely place but down in the Rift so it can be warmer. The big plus is abundant wildlife as it is on a migration corridor.

Up on the Crater. who cares about the view in the morning? You should be in your car and heading for the gate as it opens. Therefore Sopa scores due to its proximity, which is why it is more expensive. Sunsets are superb as the grounds face west.

Wildlife Lodge I have not stayed in since privatisation. I do know it well but whilst it has an enviable location on the rim it is a good 30 minutes from Seneta Descent road where lots of others will be Qing too. for this reason Sopa scores more points as it is less busy. No crowds heading in.

But Rhino Lodge is undoubtedly less expensive. I stayed there last trip and enjoyed it. I had no interest in going down the Crater so location did not matter a great deal to me.

Edited: 27 June 2013, 19:21
nyc
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7. Re: tweaking the lodging

Even Tree Lodge at Manyara isn't technically IN the park. Rather at minimum at least a 2/hrs game drive thru the park, out of it and the lodge is at an area still (or once) referred to as Maji Moto (warm waters) which was the original name of the property here before andBeyond took over and... up'd the price quite a bit.

Isle of Man, United...
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8. Re: tweaking the lodging

Pole Princess.

Technically and physically Tree Tops is in Lake Manyara NP. Built on the site of the old Maji Moto Lodge on the banks of the Apay river it is still over 10km north of the 'old' NP southern boundary.

People really SHOULD explore this lovely park as I have been saying for years.

Edited: 27 June 2013, 20:07
San Francisco...
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9. Re: tweaking the lodging

>>Ngorongoro--Sopa or Wildlife? i was fine with Wildlife but one TO had a rather scathing opinion of it (mediocre food, thin walls, smaller rooms, needs updating.) I'll be frank...I want the view, and i don't plan on doing much in the room besides sleep, so i don't really care if the room isn't out of House Beautiful. BUT i do want a comfy bed and some decent food.....

I haven't stayed at Sopa and don't know how much more expensive it is than Wildlife. But I would probably choose Sopa if I went back. I was happy with Wildlife but, yes, the food isn't the best. We had lunch there that was freshly prepared that was good but the buffet is not great. (But I didn't eat anywhere on the trip where I thought the food was "great" except for a local restaurant in one of the towns we drove through.) The rooms/bed seemed fine to me.

Ottawa, Canada
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10. Re: tweaking the lodging

Phew, Sea lon-sf. I thought I was the only one that didn't have good food in Tanz. Soup and local food was great, but I don't think any meal was memorable - either bad or good. The best cut, most tender piece of beef I had was so salty, it was inedible. But I don't go for the food. Hmm, maybe I can stir things up and say loss of taste was another Malarone side effect. Just kidding!