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First proposal for southern circuit itinerary--comments?

Brooklyn, New York
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First proposal for southern circuit itinerary--comments?

I've gotten my first proposal for a southern itinerary by road. I have some changes I want to make but aside from the price, which seems awfully high, it seems reasonable. I'd be interested in any comments.

This is their initial proposal (they sent more detail but for brevity's sake here's the outline):

Day 01 - Serena Hotel in Dar Es Salaam for overnight

Day 02 - Dar Es Salaam-Selous Game Reserve. Drive to Selous Game Reserve (5-7 hours). Arrival in the afternoon.

Overnight at Lake Manze Tented Camp. All meals included

Day 03/04 Selous Game Reserve

2 x Overnight at Lake Manze Tented Camp. All meals included.

Day 05/06 Northern Selous

2 x overnight at Sable Mountain Lodge.

Day 07/08 Mikumi National Park

2 x overnight in Vuma Hill Tented Camp or Stanleys Kopies. All meals included.

Day 09 Udzungwa Mountain National Park

Afternoon arrival at the park, half day of hiking and bird-watching in the pristine rain forest:

Overnight in the Udzungwa Forest Camp

Day 10 Udzungwa Mountain National Park

Today your guide will take you to the Hidden Waterfall Trail taking you to Njokamoni Waterfall, right back into Hondo Hondo. It's a long, steep walk NB- this is a moderately tough hiking tour which takes some 7-8 hours for some 15 km.

Day 11 Ruaha National Park

depart for Ruaha National Park (long drive of some 7 hours via Iringa). In the afternoon we reach the park. Your guide will take you to Kwihala Camp with game drives en route. Overnight at Kwihala Camp. All meals included.

Day 12/13/14/ 3 x overnight at Kwihala Camp. All meals included.

Day 15 Ruaha-Dar Es Salaam

Depart for Ruaha Airstrip for your flight back to Dar Es Salaam for your flight back home.

What I want to change:

Selous: instead of 3 nights Lake Manze + 2 Sable Mtn, I would change to 3 nights Selous Impala, 2 Nights Lake Manze, + 1 Sable Mtn (I believe Sable Mtn is necessary to break up the drive to Mikumi, but it doesn't seem necessary for 2 nights.)

Udzungwa Mountain: I would cut the 2nd day and just stay one night. Although the mountains hold a lot of endemic birds, we are definitely not cut out for a 7-8 hour strenuous hike.

The rest remains the same.

So that retains the same # of nights (14): 1 Dar; 6 Selous, 2 Mikumi, 1 Udzungwa, 4 Ruhaha

Thoughts? I'm still waiting to hear back from Adventure Camps and some others on a strictly fly-in trip, but as a road trip option, does this work?

Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: First proposal for southern circuit itinerary--comments?

I can't offer a lot of specifics, but I would like to take off the Dar night from any quote. You are a traveller, you are bound to be able to get yourself to a hotel by cab. At least find out what they are charging you for that 'day 1'.

Also, Mfuwe drove a lot of this area last year. He is away until late Sept so can't comment, but do see if you can review his trip reports. He was not enamoured by the the Udzungwa, if I recall. but I could be wrong.

Perhaps mention the month/year you plan to travel? Some of us are forgetful and too lazy to check back on your past posts. This would keep the continuity and relevance all on the key thread.

melbourne
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2. Re: First proposal for southern circuit itinerary--comments?

I have just a few comments ..you don't need to stay at Sable Moutain lodge to break up the trip to Mikumi. It is something that can be done in a day easliy with stops on the way.

The drive to selous from Dar is long but doable..I like the idea of 5 nights Selous and then go to Mikumu. I would miss Sable mt.

Mikumu is fine as is Udzungwa. The drive to Ruaha from Udzungwa is long ...this trip i woldn't do in a day. if the smallest thing goes wrong then you won't make it inot the park on time...and the driver will start to rush and drive a bit fast..dirt road and all that from Iringa.

So instead of Sable Mt. I would stay somewhere near Iringa as it is still quite a distance from Iringa to Ruaha.

then 4 nights Ruaha.

So for me it would be Dar 1 Selous 5 Mikumi 2 Udzungwa 1 Iringa or close 1 and then Ruaha 4.

I do know companies that will drive all day from Ruaha to Morogoro...Selous in a day but not worth it.

There is some nice scenary on the way to Ruaha so another reason n ot to rush that 7 hour trip. Which couldbe 8-9 in the end.

Stanley, Falkland...
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3. Re: First proposal for southern circuit itinerary--comments?

Hi,

Good, diplomatic advice from QM there.

I'm just puzzled by a couple of things..... You are obviously not happy about the price, but yet you want to add in 3 nights in Selous Impala. What are you looking for in that camp compared to Manze?

If you are worried about cost, I would stay in Manze, probably for 3 nights, otherwise you only have 1 full day, which isn't really enough. And if you are in Selous for 6 days, I'd probably choose 2 distant, rather than neighbouring camps. But if you are limited to those of Adventure Camps, this may be an issue.

Who is doing all the driving? You, or a driver? I can't help feeling a flyin trip would be give more value for money.

Ottawa, Canada
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4. Re: First proposal for southern circuit itinerary--comments?

Ah but as birders and photographers, I expect Peter, that they want their own vehicle. I assume, however, that you can request (and pay) for this if doing a fly in?

Can you consider a driver for Mikumi and Udzungwa, have them drop you off at Selous, use a camp vehicle, then fly into Ruaha and back to Dar? Just options.

Stanley, Falkland...
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5. Re: First proposal for southern circuit itinerary--comments?

Yes, QM, I am one of those too lazy to look up old posts to help someone.

I'd like to know what "awfully high" is in this context? If cost is an issue, why not stay outside the parks, and drive in when needed?

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: First proposal for southern circuit itinerary--comments?

sorry, ignore. Posted on wrong post.

Edited: 02 September 2013, 02:04
melbourne
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7. Re: First proposal for southern circuit itinerary--comments?

I would also like to know the cost of the trip so some comparison can be made with a fly in.

Findlay, Ohio
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8. Re: First proposal for southern circuit itinerary--comments?

When I was reading your itinerary my basic thought was, you are going to be spending a lot of time on the road, and while the road is hard surfaced almost all the way (Iringa to Ruaha is not hard surfaced, and I think much of the way to the Selous will be on dirt/gravel roads) it will be a tiring journey. I have driven these roads and I am used to the drives there; but I don't enjoy them.

This is not an inexpensive circuit, but there are ways to cut the costs. Such as not staying in the park at Mikumi, and Ruaha is not an inexpensive place if you stay in their lodges.

Brooklyn, New York
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9. Re: First proposal for southern circuit itinerary--comments?

Thanks everyone for the comments. Sorry not to have put the date--one reason is that the date is still undecided--somewhere between august and December 2014. I am still debating the best time to go and didn't want to start that discussion over again, as it was covered in my previous 7-page long thread! However, I am thinking now mid to late November.

The cost that was originally given me for this was about $7200 and now with my changes they just got back to me today and its over $8000. This is definitely more than we can spend but my idea was to get a quote on the optimal trip with the accommodations we'd like best, and then work down from there. However I'm afraid if this is the "base cost" even working down is not going to get us close to what we'd like for a land-based trip. I was hoping for around $6K. :( Our Northern TZ trip was about $5200 and of course I expected this to be more, but not that much more.

Re: Selous Impala--I would like to split time between two camps in Selous, you never know what's being seen where, and I just like the look of that camp. Everyone seems to love it, plus it has electricity and Lake Manze doesn't. It also is the only one of the camps I've looked at that has a pool, which is a welcome respite during mid-day downtime if its really hot.

I may however send this itinerary out to another operator to get a quote, just for comparison. However as Karl points out this looks like a tiring trip and perhaps the land-based option just isn't worth it.

So now I need to await the response from Adventure Camps for a fly-in. Haven't heard anything yet so I will try sending my inquiry again.

Brooklyn, New York
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10. Re: First proposal for southern circuit itinerary--comments?

Also I am wondering how this was quoted because I did not specify a date. She gave me a quote for "Aug-Dec". So I will now ask specifically to have it re-quoted for mid November, which should be low season, and hopefully would lower that price. AdventureCamps also has a "one night free" promotion during that time.