I'm looking at a 10-night safari in Tanazania (followed by 4 nights in Rwanda) in late July of 2015.
This is not my first safari, nor will it be my last, in the past four years I've been to Botswana (2x), Namibia, and South Africa. I use the wonderful agents at Travel Beyond and trust them implicitly but I also like to do my own research and I like to get different perspectives from the learned folks on TA.
I want a combination of high quality, very comfortable lodging with great food and the best possible game viewing. I am an active 40s with a much older but very fit and youthful s/o, but we like our creature comforts and aren't interested in a camping experience. We do prefer small, permanent tented camps to large lodges.
My concern about Tanzania has always been the numbers of people and vehicles sharing the game viewing experience which is why I've hesitated to go. I still have concerns about that and wonder if any of you can address that in your experience.
My other option is to return to Botswana and SA (Tswalu) in March of 2015, which I have a tentative itinerary for, but I am keen on going somewhere different plus I really want to do the gorilla trek and experience the Great Migration. This Tanzania/Rwanda itinerary is considerably more expensive than the green season Bots/SA itinerary which is another consideration but I'm willing to make it work if the experience will be right for us. Budget is not a major concern although also not unlimited.
What has been suggested to me for Tanzania is one night Arusha Coffee Lodge, three nights Oliver's, two nights Gibb's Farm, and four
I have read here concerns about Oliver's and the distance from game viewing but seldom see any comparable options suggested. Thoughts?
I also wonder about Gibb's Farm and location, wouldn't it be better to stay at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge or somewhere on the rim? Also I don't like two night stays. Three nights for me is generally a minimum so I'm thinking I would do a third night at wherever at Ngorongoro and then take a night from Sayari.
Lastly Sayari...thoughts? Better options? Is this a better location/camp than Grumeti River Lodge or Sasakwa lodge? I like the horseback option at Sasakwa and the creature comforts but if the wildlife viewing is massively better at Sayari with the river crossings especially then that would be a major factor. I don't know what the price difference would be either which I'll ask my agent to cover if it seems like I should explore alternatives to Sayari.
Any feedback or opinions helpful and welcome.
*A note that while I live in Hawaii I will be flying to Africa after a few nights in New York so will have broken the trip up a bit.