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March 2014 Trip

bundoora
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March 2014 Trip

We went on our honeymoon to Tanzania in March 2012. Our parents would like to go with us in 2014, March again.

I have emailed three operators to ask for quotes for a 14 day trip but my problem is there are now more lodge options than we were offered in 2012.

Our honeymoon was fantastic, everything from the guide to the lodges and camps was perfect. My parents have been to their local travel agent and were given a trip different to what we were thinking. So we are having a bit of a discussion. They want to stay at the Serena lodges while we want to stay at similiar places to our first trip, but now include somewhere near Ndutu.

Has anybody stayed at Manaya Serena, Serengeti Serena and Mbuzi Mawe in March.

Will these lodges be suitable for wildlife in March or are there better locations.

Bristol
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1. Re: March 2014 Trip

Yes I have stayed at Manyara Serena and Mbuzi Mawe. I have to say I am not a fan of Serena Lodges. They are very cosmopolitan and not very african. They are generally large (though Mbuzi Mawe is smaller, 22 tents i think) and cater for lots of larger tour groups. Service is fine but quite unnatural (everyone taught to do things the Serena way). There are better places to stay in my opinion. Mbuzi Mawe not really in the right location for March. You certainly want some time in Ndutu in March.

Bristol
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2. Re: March 2014 Trip

I don't know where you stayed last time but I like Ndutu Safari Lodge. In the Central Serengeti there are plenty of camps, everyone has their favourite. I actually like the Sopa lodge and it is good value for money but is a larger lodge and if you have a larger budget I think there maybe smaller more personal places that others will recommend.

Isle of Man, United...
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3. Re: March 2014 Trip

I would agree. with four of you this is an ideal opportunity to have just one party on the car and branch out a bit to smaller places.

Ndutu obviously is a must in March and like shep I stay at Ndutu Safari Lodge. Not to everyone's taste but it appeal to mine.

Lodge Options. there have always been lots of them. I would think what happened last time was you were offered an off the peg product and not a choice.

I cannot speak for Serena chain of lodges other than they are usually for large groups. You are not a large group and could enjoy more intimate places.

I think Travel agent brochures do provide ideas but by definition are for the mass markets and 'Group tours' Off the Peg type operations.

Have a think about what you liked last time and read up from "The Bradt Guide" as to what you may have missed and put your own trip together. Send to several, 6 is a good number, Agents in Arusha and ask for a price. Refine it and book it.

Put up your suggestions on here for further guidance and advice.

Don't leave it too late. March is only six months away and it is peak time around Ndutu and south Serengeti.

Auckland, New...
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4. Re: March 2014 Trip

We stayed at Manyara Serena and Serengeti Sopa in March 2011. They are fine though the Sopa is a bit out to one side.

At Xmas 2012 we stayed at Olakira Camp at Ndutu which we absolutely loved...also stayed at Ubuntu Camp which was also magic.

We stayed at the Four seasons hotel in the central Serengeti and it was central to the hippo pool and excellent...much as I loved the Sopa not so far away.

I would suggest staying at a camp at Ndutu..a fantastic experience

Minneapolis...
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5. Re: March 2014 Trip

Simone - You don't mention camps... I think many folks who are not campers automatically think of camps as rustic and lodges as more refined... I know my parents wouldn't have even considered camps.

I think it would be a shame to do this kind of safari and not spend some time under canvas. In general, our camps were amazing... big tents, attached baths and showers (sometimes the 5 gallon type, but what great stories to tell when they get home) and fine dining. If there is some infirmity involved, I think the camps were often a shorter walk between facilities and the vehicle and such than one would find at a larger lodge.

Bristol
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6. Re: March 2014 Trip

IAB the OP did ask about Mbuzi Mawe and that's a camp. I actually don't think it's in the right location for March so would suggest looking at alternatives. As IAB says it can be a great experience to sleep,in a tent although I personlly prefer a bungalow rather than a tent. I only ever use my tent/room for washing or sleeping and find I sleep better in a bungalow or lodge.

Los Angeles
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7. Re: March 2014 Trip

I agree wholeheartedly with idiotsabroad that you should at least consider staying in a tented camp in the Serengeti. I find the experience of a tented camp one of the true highlights of safari -- the sense of truly being in the wild, the "feet on the ground" connection to nature, drinks around the campfire before a luscious dinner in the mess tent, the sounds of the savannah night as you drift off to sleep . . . there's nothing like it, and I'm a city girl.

The tented camps are comfortable and cozy, and the food, I find, is uniformly better in the camps than in the lodges. The experience is more intimate, and altogether more rewarding than the mass-market experience you get in most lodges. No lines at the dinner buffet -- rather, a sit-down meal served at the table. No long walks past dozens of rooms to get to your own. No crowds or noisy bars. Just a sense of peace and

genuine relaxation . . . really, try to get your parents to agree to at least one stay in a tented camp. I don't think they'll regret it.

Auckland, New...
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8. Re: March 2014 Trip

Agree with Sandleelee. our beds in the camps were excellent. Receiving early morning coffee and watching the wildlife go by, binoculars in hand. magic. I like hotels and have stayed in quite a few in Africa.....but a good camp in unbeatable

melbourne
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9. Re: March 2014 Trip

I would be interested as to where you stayed last time, as you also travelled in March.

I stayed in the Serena Lodge at Manyara and the one at Serengeti this year as mentioned earlier they are large, but clean, food really nice, the Sopa lodges are large as is Ndutu Safari lodge.

For March I wouldn't go as far as Mbuzi Mawe, North of Seronera, I would spend time around the short grass plains of Ndutu. My preference is for smaller lodges and camps.

Often you can stay at the smaller places cheaper than the larger better known lodges.

In the Serengeti there is nothing like canvas..waking up in a tent under an acacia and seeing wildebeest as far as the eye can see.

Auckland, New...
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10. Re: March 2014 Trip

In March we stayed at Serena Manyara and Sopa Serengeti and Sopa Ngorongoro. As a first timer I enjoyed the hotels as I knew no better. For our second trip last Xmas, we stayed at Sopa Ngorongoro and Ubuntu and Olakira Camps as I wanted to see Ndutu and southern Serengeti areas. Ndutu is a real highlight. We all loved it. We saw bat eared foxes that we saw nowhere else as well as leopard, a cheetah kill( nowhere else) the flamingos and the lake...loved it. We then stayed at the Four Seasons being the hotel with the pool etc which is north of Seronera and different again. We flew back,

Next time I will go in July and see the northern Seronera and the migration at a different time of year. Just love Tanzania.