I am posting this in a new thread as a continuation on my initial post in October. ( I couldn't figure out how to link that post with my new one or change the title so created a new one here)
Thank you to everyone who has helped me thus far in planning my upcoming Africa trip with my mom. Everyone's comments made me realize I really needed to extend my research, which I have done.
I have decided to start/depart in Arusha so I can fly in/out of Kilimanjaro airport. I have decided on a private safari for just the 2 of us with our own guide/vehicle throughout. We will do the Northern Circuit and include stops to: Arusha NP, Tarangire NP, Serengetti NP, Ngorongo Crater and Lake Manyara. I havent decided on a tour company yet but have e-mailed 10 companies a list of my requirements/questions and am in the process of reviewing them all. We will visit in May 2014 probably the last 2 weeks depending on airfare prices at the time. At this time I just want to confirm the flow of the safari and will later book activities within each destination where applicable.
My questions are:
-Based on the parks we would like to visit which order would you recommend to reduce travel times between each location
-Some of the tour operators have suggested taking a domestic flight back to Arusha at the end of the safari to avoid driving times, thoughts?
-I was interested in the crater rim walk as I read it was short and not too challenging so figured my mom would be able to do this but I am having a hard time finding reviews of travelers who have done this. All I have been able to determine so far is the walk is with an armed guide who normally does not talk to you and it cannot be your safari guide leading the walk?
-Some of the tour operators have suggested I omit Tarangire and Lake Manyara because animal viewing can be challenging in May due to the length of vegetation from recent rains, however these places really interest me, thoughts?
I have just begun researching private tented camps and lodges can anyone offer any recommendations for these areas?
Thank you in advance for you help!