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Can we do short safari getting there with public transport?

Brussels, Belgium
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Can we do short safari getting there with public transport?

We are two independent travellers for three weeks in Tanzania in August and would like to visit also some cities off the classic turistic circuits, the countryside, if possible go to Mwanza or Kigoma by the lakes, do a safari in the parks (Southern or Northern parks?) and then head for 5-6 days on the islands, Zanzibar and/or Pemba.

My questions: how are bus/train transports, is this feasible in 3 weeks?

for the safaris, we asked a number of agencies and all offer a package of 8-10 days from Dar or Arusha, which is very expensive for our budget.

I understand that we cannot get away from the park entrance fees and guide, however, would it be feasible to get by public transport to cities like Iringa and then get there a guide to go to Ruaha, or go to Morogoro and then hire there a guide to Mikumi, for example, instead of the all inclusive package? would this be less expensive or just more time consuming?

one more question: is it worth go to Moshi to get a view of the Kilimanjaro, maybe one day trek, without going all the way up? is the visibility in August good from Moshi?

many thanks!!

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Saint Paul...
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1. Re: Can we do short safari getting there with public transport?

You can get all over Tanzania by bus. Just find the bus stand and announce your destination. You will soon be in a bus waiting to depart. You might wait a very long time and it may be very hot and the bus may be packed full (extremely full), and the roads may be very bumpy and there may be loud distorted music and there may be a lot of chaos and there may be many many stops along the way and the bus may break down more than once, you get the idea. I used to love bus rides like that. Relax and enjoy the ride.

As for getting a safari from Iringa or Morogoro, I really can only guess. I think it is probably possible, but quite unpredictable as to how the details will turn out. It sounds like you are fine with that so give it a shot and see what happens. You can definitely get around Tanzania by bus so the only question is whether you actually get into the parks. With some time, some determination, and some financial investment, I think it would be hard to fail.

As for Kilimanjaro views: It all depends on the clouds. Who knows what the clouds are like in August? Well, it's not the rainy season so perhaps the chances are better that their won't be clouds? Clearly, just a guess. People do day-hikes up Kili every now and then. You don't need to be on Kili to get a view of it. So there are places nearby to visit to see it. It can even be seen from Arusha or as far away as Monduli Juu on a super clear day. Not sure it's worth a visit just to see it, though, if you are quite far from that area.

Isle of Man, United...
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2. Re: Can we do short safari getting there with public transport?

Visibility of Kilimanjaro is best around sunrise and last thing before sunset. During the day clouds roll in and obscure it. "She is shy today" as the locals put it. So don't pin your hopes too high. You might be lucky.

To your other question. Yes you can certainly arrange a trip into Mikumi from Mikumi village. One of the Budget accommodations there, Genesis Hotel, can organise this for you.

From there you can bus down to Iringa, with a side trip to Udzungwa NP from Mikumi by bus. Udzungwa has walking trails in the Forests. From Iringa I would think a trip into Ruaha would work, Inexpensive Bandas are available. (try the TANAPA website for Parks and Banda details.)

Train and bus to Mwanza and Kigoma is possible via Tabora. From Mwanza you can enter Serengeti by using a T/O from Mwanza. If they drop you at the east side of Serengeti you will of course have to pay for them to return empty.

Findlay, Ohio
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3. Re: Can we do short safari getting there with public transport?

As mentioned, you can easily visit Mikumi by bus. Look at the list on the right side of this web page, 20 th question down, follow that link and it will describe how to do this from Dar or Morogoro. There is a new place at Mikumi village where you can find lodging and guides into Mikumi NP, go to the VETA at Mikumi village and they can help you also.

At Iringa go to the MR Hotel in the city center, very inexpensive and quite good. Ask at the desk if they can help you get to Ruaha, they will arrange it for you, even a day trip there. If you do a day trip leave at daybreak.

Chicago
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4. Re: Can we do short safari getting there with public transport?

Also don't get your mind set on one experience like viewing Kilimanjaro. I was there 2 weeks, with a number of days in Moshi, including a day visit to the Marangu gate, and I never saw most of the mountain. It was disappointing but did not take away from the wonderful things I did see an experience. Just enjoy it all.

Brussels, Belgium
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5. Re: Can we do short safari getting there with public transport?

Many thanks to all, very efficient!

I like to travel with public transport, even if I know they may be quite unpredictable.

We are still wondering whether to head for the Southern or Northern parks, for a first-time visit to Tanzania, what would you recommend?

Is it easier to move around in the Northern part, being more turistic?

many thanks again.

Findlay, Ohio
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6. Re: Can we do short safari getting there with public transport?

I would always say that for first time visitor you should go to the North, but when you put in to use pubic transportation I would change that to Mikumi and Ruaha in the South. It will be more difficult to use public transportation in the North, all those tourists will be using safari vehicles to get them there.

Saint Paul...
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7. Re: Can we do short safari getting there with public transport?

I agree with Karl. If you are intent on using public transport, it's difficult in the North.

melbourne
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8. Re: Can we do short safari getting there with public transport?

I agree with pretty much all of the above. But offer an alternative.

To visit the Southern Park is quite far and can be very time consuming from Arusha or even Dar-Moshi.

Why not start in Arusha go by local transport to Boma Ngombe just past KIA. Stay in a local guest house and then the next day catch a local bus up to West Kilimanjaro, even as far as Londrossi. Stay at Sanya Juu or even Ngara Nairobi again in a local guest house. Weather permitting the best chance of seeing Kili.

After that 3 or 4 days head to Tarangire not inside the park but outside go by local transport to Makuyuni and from there stay at one of the camps outside the park. Naitolia or Whistling Thorn would do. Here you can walk, do a night game drive and at Naitolia see plenty of wildlife. In August the elephants will probably still be outside the park but it depends how dry it is.

Then head to Manyara by bus again Mto wa Mbu have a day trip into the park. Go to Karatu and catch a bus to Mwanza through the Serengeti and past Ngorongoro. Stay at Lake Victoria do some lake activities and then catch the bus back. From Karatu you can do a day trip to Ngorongoro and from Lake Victoria do a 2 day trip into the Serengeti.

If you do the Northern circuit the bus travel will be shorter you won't waste as much time getting to Ruaha or Iringa for example and you still will have to hire a driver and guide to get into the parks there. Ruaha is quite a distance from Iringa.

Something to think about.

Babati is also great do a canoe trip and see the hippos... from a distance of course.

On the NOrthenr circuit you can still do plenty and most things of interest are close to each other.

Something to think about.

Edited: 05 July 2013, 09:02
Old Moshi...
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9. Re: Can we do short safari getting there with public transport?

Quick Tip for long distance bus travel in Tanzania:

If you have something soft to sit on (like a pillow) bring it, then strap in. I learned the hard way with many a sore bum and head. Yes, I have hit my head on the roof of the bus too many times to count. Sometimes it looks like there are no seat belts but there usually are, although a bit icky.

Stay safe and have fun.

Isle of Man, United...
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10. Re: Can we do short safari getting there with public transport?

The alternate from NoExp makes sense.

but a bit of a sweeping statement there mate! <In August the elephants will probably still be outside the park but it depends how dry it is.>

What ALL 3500 of em?