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11 Night Itinerary Northern Parks Dec 2014 - Opinions please

Montreal, Canada
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85 posts
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11 Night Itinerary Northern Parks Dec 2014 - Opinions please

First off I would like to say what a wealth of information I have found on the Tanzania forums, thank you to all of you that take the time to share your experience! I now ask you to send some expertise my way if you please…

This will be a first safari for all of us, two mums with their respective kids, my 15 yr old son and my friends’ 16 yr old daughter and 12 yr old son. Traveling from the end of December through the first week of January. We have a hopeful budget of $250-$300 per day per person - happy to spend less! Rather give up comfort over days. However I don't want to have to put up my own tent. Our tentative itinerary is as follows;

1 night Arusha Planet Lodge

2 nights Tarangire Whistling Thorn Tented Camp

1 night Manyara Wildlife Lodge or maybe Kirurumu Tented Camp

2 nights Nduku Ndutu Safari Lodge (New Years Eve)

3 nights Central Serengeti Kati Kati Camp OR put the 3rd night somewhere else

1 nights Ngorongoro crater Sofi Lodge

1 night Arusha Planet Lodge. I could re-allocate this night too, as our flight would leave at 21:30 so we could just arrive in Arusha in the afternoon and get a day(evening) room to shower and change before going to the airport. Maybe put in a stop between Ngorongoro and Arusha to have more time in the crater.

I gather that the migration typically (no guarantee, animal free will and all) is in the Ndutu area by Christmas. However this year they were further west. Should I move Ndutu to after central Serengeti(January 4th) in hopes the migration has arrived by then? I would love a chance to see a river crossing but I guess I am out of luck for this time of year or is there a river that may get some action around New Years?

So many options/questions!

I am open to any suggestions? Thanks in advance!!

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Arusha Region, Tanzania
Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: 11 Night Itinerary Northern Parks Dec 2014 - Opinions please

Sounds like you have a good start on a safari. It looks like you have tried to consider moderate budget accommodations. Do know, however, that this is high season with Christmas/New Year surcharges. Not to dissuade you, but a word to the wise.

River crossings in the North are the mad drive to get to the green grasses of the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Concentration in Ndutu in Jan/Feb is to access the nutrient rich grasses of the Ndutu plains for benefits to lactation once their babies are born. You won't see any river type action, but you most likely could catch a running stream of wildebeeste one deep and as far as the eyes can see in each direction as they move from place to place. Or if you are in the midst of the herds - literally a sea of animals that you can drive through and take a long time to find the other side. If lucky there will be some early babies.

Whether to put Ndutu before or after, doesn't really matter, as it is all a crap shoot.

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Masai Mara National Reserve
Masai Mara National...
Rift Valley Province, Kenya
Kenya
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Africa
Detroit, Michigan
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2. Re: 11 Night Itinerary Northern Parks Dec 2014 - Opinions please

We just came home from a safari over Christmas with a similar itinerary and loved every minute we traveled with our 18, 21 & 23 year boys and they loved it too. The changes I would consider are dropping manyara and adding a night in the crater. We loved Kati Kati and saw tree climbing lions in the serengeti so not as much need to go to manyara. We loved the elephants in Tarangire too! We worked with Warrior Trails to plan our safari and our guide Jackson was WONDERFUL!! We stayed at a Maasii village for a night which was very interesting and also brought some culture and a different activity from the game drives for all of us. I am planning on writing a full trip report but just haven't done so yet.

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Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park
Arusha Region, Tanzania
Montreal, Canada
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3. Re: 11 Night Itinerary Northern Parks Dec 2014 - Opinions please

Thanks for your comments, I knew it was wishful thinking about the river crossing.

Glad you had a great trip, I look forward to reading about it! Thanks for your remarks too!

Edited: 30 January 2014, 21:44
nyc
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4. Re: 11 Night Itinerary Northern Parks Dec 2014 - Opinions please

A year out of for that matter one month out, no guarantee where the wildies will be. Ndutu or So.Serengeti. They'll be where they are

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Isle of Man, United...
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5. Re: 11 Night Itinerary Northern Parks Dec 2014 - Opinions please

the trip looks fine for me. Most folks take only one night at the Crater rim and you have done so.

No rivers in south Serengeti unless you count the outflow from Big Marsh after heavy rain.. But the wildlife will be around. It was for us last month.

but don't linger over making a firm booking . I found Christmas and New Year surprisingly busy.

that budget translates as $1500 per day total so you should get something decent for that. Five in the car. Mums and daughter in one tent/cabin and the two boys in the other.

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Nashville, Tennessee
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6. Re: 11 Night Itinerary Northern Parks Dec 2014 - Opinions please

I personally think your budget may be tight during the peak season. Your travel time is the busiest time of year. Some places will already be booked full at this point. I would start planning quickly.

Certainly don't add another night to Ngo Crater rim. It is not needed and will be extremely expensive (probably the most expensive night you have). 6 hours in the crater is plenty of time. It is expensive for each 6 hour permit, so no need to spend for another. It can easily be seen in that time.

Drop the last night in Arusha and arrive afternoon for late evening flight. You might add another night in Arusha at the beginning. It will be very cheap compared to the other nights. You will be arriving late evening and will actually not have any of the first day in Arusha (likely getting to hotel after 11pm). The extra night will give some rest and acclimation, time for shopping, exchanging money, seeing the markets, getting supplies and maybe go to Arusha NP for either a guided walk and/or canoeing. Plus, if any lost luggage, gives it a day to show up. Like I say, all of this will be cheaper than anything you do out on safari.

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Arusha
Arusha
Arusha Region, Tanzania
Montreal, Canada
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7. Re: 11 Night Itinerary Northern Parks Dec 2014 - Opinions please

Mfume - thank you for the push to post and advise!

Stephen - I like the idea of a second night up front in Arusha. Cranky kids with jet lag is not fun!

I will start the booking process ASAP thanks

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Arusha
Arusha
Arusha Region, Tanzania
Montreal, Canada
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8. Re: 11 Night Itinerary Northern Parks Dec 2014 - Opinions please

Just thought I would do an up date,

After speaking with several TO's we narrowed it down to 3, Safari Infinity was slightly higher in price of the 3 however the ease of communications won us over, as well as the fact that several TA contributors highly recommend local tour operators.

We ended up adding an extra night in Arusha the beginning of the trip(as suggested here, thanks) and a day trip to Mkuru Camp Camp including a half day camel ride to the baboon caves and a half day village visit. Also threw in a night game drive along the way. We did reverse the order to put Ndutu after Serengeti as well. Total trip 12 nights, 13 day safari plus travel time.

All the lodges listed are confirmed. Price ended up being at the low end of our estimate I mentioned in the original post, including holiday supplement. (Not including airfare obviously)

So all is good, thank you for your help and advice! Now all we have to do is wait 8 1/2 months to go! Wow that is going to be long, I have never booked so far ahead of time!

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Arusha
Arusha
Arusha Region, Tanzania
Isle of Man, United...
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9. Re: 11 Night Itinerary Northern Parks Dec 2014 - Opinions please

Good news indeed and glad to have helped push you along. 8 months to go won't be a problem. Anticipation is a great tonic.

My Dec 2014 trip was pencilled in, in July 2013. 18 months ahead. Now plane tickets are bought and I have almost the same time to wait as you. Just make sure your Trip Insurance covers you from now.

10. Re: 11 Night Itinerary Northern Parks Dec 2014 - Opinions please

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