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Plz comment on self-drive itinerary Northern TZ

Florida
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Plz comment on self-drive itinerary Northern TZ

Hello experts,

I need your help in finalizing my self-drive itinerary for August 2015 through northern TZ. We will be two couples exploring TZ for the first time, after having self-driven to Nam, Bots, and Kruger. After some back and forth with an out-fitter, this is what I have. Any and all comments on how to improve this plan are greatly appreciated.

Day 0 .Arrive in Arusha hand over Land Rover overnight Outpost Hotel

Day 1 . Drive to Arusha Park overnight Public Camp Site

Day 2 Game drive Arusha Park then Drive to Manyara Overnight

Migunga Tented Camp Site or camp site outside the Park

Day 3. Manyara Park overnight Public Camp Site in the Park .

Day 4. Drive to Lake Natron Overnight Lake Natron Tented Camp the

facilities of the Lodge can be used by campers .

Day 5. Lake Natron Overnight Lake Natron Tented Camp

Day 6. Drive to Serengeti Overnight Lobo Public Camp Site

Day 7. Lobo Public Camp or special camp site closer to Mara river if available.

Day 8. Lobo Public Camp site

Day 9-11 Seronera Public Camp site

Day 12. Game Drive in the Morning then Leave the Serengeti in the Late

afternoon for NCA Overnight Rhino Lodge

Day 13.Early morning drive in the Crater, after a full day leave the NCA

drive to Karatu.

Day 14.drive to Lake Eyasi Kisima Ngeda Camp Site

Day 15. Lake Eyasi Kisima Ngeda Camp Site, visit tribes

Day 16. Drive to Tarangiere Overnight Special Camp Site Mbweha

Day 17. Tarangiere Overnight Special Camp Mbweha

Day 18. Tarangiere in the Afternoon drive to Arusha Overnight Out Post

Day 19. Flight back

Please let me know what you think of this plan for a self-drive tour, camping in roof tent and self-catering.

1. I am debating whether to go to Lake Natron at all. Main reason to go would be avoid traffic and fees for driving through NCA to reach Serengeti, also the drive up to Lake Natron is supposed to be scenic and have flamingos? My husband thinks it is worth driving into and out of the Serengeti the same way ( entering and leaving Serengeti via Naabi Hill Gate), because we will be inside 2 parks and see more wildlife.

2. Is Mbweha campsite location in Tarangire worth paying more for? Is it close to the river?

3. Please feel free to comment on route and order of visiting parks that makes the most sense.

Thank you all very much!

Chicago
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1. Re: Plz comment on self-drive itinerary Northern TZ

There are also ancient hominid footprints near Lake Natron if you are interested in ancient people from this area.

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2. Re: Plz comment on self-drive itinerary Northern TZ

I posted this answer on Fodor's.

See my comments in italics below! CR

Hello, we are two couples who have some experience with self-driving safaris in Africa. We want to visit TZ for the first time in August, 2015.This itinerary is a work of progress and I would like your comments and suggestions to improve it. Please comment on route, sequence, places and generally what would make more sense. Our goal is to maximize wildlife encounters and hopefully catch the migration by the Mara river.

At that time of year, if you are not crossing into Kenya to the Mara (something I would consider), you are most likely to see the migration in the Northern Serengeti. Unfortunately, the public (Lobo)/private (Bologonja) campsites in the north are quite far from the Mara River. To give you an idea, it took us about an hour to drive from our campsite at Lobo to the Klein's Gate turn off - still a long way from the Mara River.

Day 0 .Arrive in Arusha hand over Land Rover overnight Outpost Hotel

Day 1 . Drive to Arusha Park overnight Public Camp Site

If it were me, I would take this night and add it to your stay at Lake Manyara. I should hasten to add that I have never been to Arusha NP - I just think you might wish to have longer in Lake Manyara.

Day 2 Game drive Arusha Park then Drive to Manyara Overnight

Migunga Tented Camp Site or camp site outside the Park

Day 3. Manyara Park overnight Public Camp Site in the Park .

We have not seen the public campsite in Lake Manyara but the special campsites in this park are fantastic. Our favourite is Lakeshore SC which, as the name implies, is on the lakeshore - in fact, in August/the dry season, you are able to camp on the flood plain about 100m from shore, where zebras, lions, wildebeests, giraffes and all manner of wildlife wander past in the evening and morning. Fantastic! The Bagayo A special campsite, at the base of the escarpment and not far from the lake, is also lovely.

Day 4. Drive to Lake Natron Overnight Lake Natron Tented Camp the

facilities of the Lodge can be used by campers .

Day 5. Lake Natron Overnight Lake Natron Tented Camp

I cannot comment on Lake Natron because we have not been there. However, our favourite stopover is Olduvai Camp, where you are able to spend some time with the Masai in a non-touristy setting.

Day 6. Drive to Serengeti Overnight Lobo Public Camp Site

The drive from Seronera to Lobo (Seronera to Lobo = 80km; Moru to Lobo = 129km) is a very long drive over very rough roads through tsetse country - not a fun drive! We left Seronera at 11:30am and arrived at Lobo at 3pm

Day 7. Lobo Public Camp or special camp site closer to Mara river if available.

The closest special campsite would be Bologonja SC.

Day 8. Lobo Public Camp site

This was sadly neglected when we were there in August of 2012. There was garbage strewn about the campsite and the washrooms had been trashed and were not functional. In fact, most of the Lobo area looked very neglected - the roads were in appalling shape.

Day 9-11 Seronera Public Camp site

We stopped at one of the Seronera public campsites for lunch (we stayed on a special campsite near Moru) and you couldn't pay me to stay on a public campsite at Seronera. Garbage everywhere, campers crammed in like sardines, radios blaring - it was horrible! If you are going to splurge for a special campsite in just one of the parks, do it at Seronera. Lobo isn't much better but, being so far north, it isn't quite so busy/crowded.

Day 12. Game Drive in the Morning then Leave the Serengeti in the Late afternoon for NCA Overnight Rhino Lodge

I am not familiar with Rhino Lodge, but I would consider Lemala Camp if you are able to afford it, because of the early access (inside the gate) it allows to the crater - and, of course, because it is a fantastic camp - one of our favourites!

Day 13.Early morning drive in the Crater, after a full day leave the NCA drive to Karatu.

If it were me, I would spend two days in the crater.

Day 14.drive to Lake Eyasi Kisima Ngeda Camp Site

Day 15. Lake Eyasi Kisima Ngeda Camp Site, visit tribes

Day 16. Drive to Tarangiere Overnight Special Camp Site Mbweha

Mbweha is a lovely campsite with a very pretty view (over a dry riverbed) of majestic baobabs. It was about a half hour drive from the river - as close as any of the special campsites. We were supposed to stay on the site for three nights, but the huge tree on the site was home to a rather aggressive and large colony of bees, which descended on us at the mere hint of water - it was impossible to cook or even take a drink from our water bottles. Thankfully, the bees disappeared shortly after the sun went down. We moved to another site for the final two nights.

Day 17. Tarangiere Overnight Special Camp Mbweha

Day 18. Tarangiere in the Afternoon drive to Arusha Overnight Out Post

Day 19. Flight back

Please let me know what you think of this plan for a self-drive tour, camping in roof tent and self-catering.

You may have seen our trip report and photos from our self-drive along the Northern Circuit of Tanzania and in Kenya in 2009. In case you haven't, the link is below. There are photos of many of the places on your itinerary. CR

fodors.com/community/africa-the-middle-east/…

Isle of Man, United...
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3. Re: Plz comment on self-drive itinerary Northern TZ

I think it would work out OK. I am not a camper but your chosen route via Natron does avoid the NCA and a long out and back haul to Lobo. After Natron it is not a particularly good road but few are. (you won't see 'more' animals transiting NCA just because you are in two parks. The Crater road is busy and whilst we did meet some Buffalo on the trackside the dust from speeding cars is dreadful. You could not stop at a chance sighting without risk of a rear ending. You will see the crater road once on the return.

Rhino Lodge is lovely setting although with no view of the crater. We love it. We were woken at 3 am by 100 buffalo chomping the grass next to our room. (See my review)

From Rhino it is possible to drive right to Lake Eyasi comfortably the same day so unless you need the fleshpots of Karatu I would skip that fair town and save a day of your trip for elsewhere..

Ottawa, Canada
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4. Re: Plz comment on self-drive itinerary Northern TZ

Arusha NP is one hour from Arusha, but right by the airport. Why not stay near aorport at one of the lodges in the road to the park, see it day 2 and either leave early enoug to reach Manyara, or leave first thing next morning. arusha is a lovely park and has TONS of resident flamingos.

I would keep Natron. It will be cooler in August and quite off the beaten track....but do a circuit and leave by Southern gate. The traffic isn't that bad and you will miss some nice scenery. If you want to miss some traffic, consider the Endulen road from Ndutu. It is different again with rolling hills, bomas, just lovely.

Have you checked out the last bullet of the list on the right?

Edited: 20 January 2014, 22:21
Isle of Man, United...
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5. Re: Plz comment on self-drive itinerary Northern TZ

QM dear. Unless the airport (ARK) has moved, it is a full hour from NP Gates and on the wrong side of town. Don't worry even that Ethiopian Pilot got it wrong!

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: Plz comment on self-drive itinerary Northern TZ

ARK? Given OP is fro California, one would have assumed Arusha and Kili were interchangable, as many think. now, I know the OP has been to Africa before, so I am willing to stand corrected, but I saw no where it was ARK. If so, then yes, stay in Arusha. if actually JRO, then my suggestion still stands.

kaliCA please confirm airport of arrival.

Dear Mfuwe, your new avatar deceives. No one, even you, is as cute as that calf.

Isle of Man, United...
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7. Re: Plz comment on self-drive itinerary Northern TZ

<No one, even you, is as cute as that calf.> Well at least I don't hide behind a veil!

Is the OP arriving by air or self driving? ARK is Arusha airport, Kilimanjaro, 40km east of the town , is JRO and sometimes called KIA but ever Arusha. No wonder that Ethiopian plane was confused.

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8. Re: Plz comment on self-drive itinerary Northern TZ

No veil rafiki. That thar scarf and hat is keeping my nose and ears from freezing and falling off. Just a seasonal shot.

Isle of Man, United...
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9. Re: Plz comment on self-drive itinerary Northern TZ

Should we be looking forward to summer then?

Ottawa, Canada
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10. Re: Plz comment on self-drive itinerary Northern TZ

Ha, mfuwe. It's a facial shot - dream on. Maybe there will be a G & T in the image.