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Itinerary Suggestions for mobile Safari

Oklahoma City...
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Itinerary Suggestions for mobile Safari

We've decided on February and now need ininerary suggestions for 7-10 day mobile safari. Would love to see the Big 5, get to know the people and anything else you guys might recommend. I want to fine tune what we do so I can get specific quotes. Thanks so much! You are all so helpful!

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Gosheni Safaris Africa
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melbourne
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1. Re: Itinerary Suggestions for mobile Safari

What do you mean by mobile safari.

I would try and do a 10 day trip...spend a fair bit of time on the short grass plains of Ndutu..at least 4 nights out of the 10.

Go to Manyara and Tarangire and spend some time there... here you can see the cultural side of Tz. Visit Maasai villages and the Mto was Mbu market.

Are you flying into KIA then if so go to Tarangire 2 nights, Manyara 1 night, Ngorongoro 2 nights on the Rim

Then 4 nights on the Ndutu short grass plains and finally the last night at Seronera and fly from there, back to Arusha.

I wouldn't bother with a night stay in Arusha to recover from jet lag or whatever depending on your time of flight if possible go straight to Tarangire.

If it is a KLM evening flight then add this to the 10 days...to try and make it 11 days then if you can.

I left out side trips to Babati and Arusha National Park as 10 days for me is not that long to visit these areas..as well as the parks.

London, United...
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2. Re: Itinerary Suggestions for mobile Safari

Before i help you could you please state where you international flight will land ? , which circuit you are inspired to take a safari ? because the country has divided into 3 circuits ,and each circuit is not the same on costs , so you should also state out your expected budget you want to use for your trip . And also you have to add beach package for refreshment .

Oklahoma City...
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3. Re: Itinerary Suggestions for mobile Safari

By mobile safari-I mean staying in luxury tents (no dome tents-haha) and not in the typical lodge type accomodations. We won't decide where we fly in from the US till we set the itinerary but it's looking like JRO is the most likely choice. We are prepared to make budget and length of stay adjustments based on itinerary. My goal is to get the best experience. for my husband and I. We are taking 2 weeks off from work so have factored in 4 days for travel and jet lag recovery putting the max length for safari at 10 days. I've done too much research with not enough knowledge and am getting dizzy with all the options. Thank you so much!

(Getting a call this morning from a TO and wanted to have a better idea as to our plans)

Edited: 12 March 2014, 12:30
Ottawa, Canada
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4. Re: Itinerary Suggestions for mobile Safari

As NoExpert mentioned, at this time of year, the Ndutu plains are high priority due to the high density of wildebeeste and zebra birthing. You might find that it is getting late to book lodging in that area as February is often booked up longer than a year ahead - though there are now up to 28 mobile camps and lodgings in the area in February, so if there is a sliding budget, you should have choices.

Looks like there are still lots of elephants in Tarangire, so I might consider 2 nights in that area so you can at least get a full and partial day in the park. Despite NoExpert's recommendation of not overnighting in Arusha to deal with jet lag, you might consider it as it would be cheaper to not pay for vehicle and driver that day, and you might want a proper lodging with a pool. Not many tented lodgings have pools once on the move.

Manyara park gets mixed reviews. It is a green park which is different to the rest, but I actually like Arusha NP more for a green park experience. If you are a birder, however, stick to Manyara (but Arusha has hundreds of flamingo in closer proximity).

I would also set up do to the Ngoro Crater on the way West. You can visit all the parks on a westward drive and then fly back from central Serengeti to maximize your park time, or do what many do and drive both ways visiting parks coming and going. I find, however, that the smaller parks (or even the Crater) when visited after the Serengeti are a bit of a let down. Therefore, you could do Tarangire, Manyara, Crater, Central Serengeti and Ndutu, in this order (rather than Ndutu and Central Serengeti last) as you can get back to Arusha from Ndutu in one day. A little harder from C Serengeti if you don't fly.

Safari planning is challenging. Has the TO phoned unsolicited? Reconsider that. If you inquired, then ask them for a starter itinerary. If you can make it 10 days (and don't let them count your jet lag days in Arusha), then say so, what parks you want, canvas vs brick and mortar, and then start from what they give you.

Oklahoma City...
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5. Re: Itinerary Suggestions for mobile Safari

Wonderful ideas! Love getting opinions from people with experience. I booked the TO appointment myself because this is one of the only TO's who has responded honestly. I've been recommended a couple of others and have a quote from one which seemed fairly reasonable for the itinerary and level of comfort.

I can share my first quote to get your opinions:

Day 1: Night in Arusha Coffee Lodge

Day 2: Fly to Ndutu for 3 nights in Luxury camp

Day 4: Balloon Safari Southern Serengeti

Day 5: Fly to Lake Manyara for 2 nights luxury lodge

Day 7: Fly to Ngorongro Crater for 2 nights

Day 9: Fly to JRO

Price per person: US $7663 ("subject to 2015 increase" gets me a little nervous)

Not sure I want to Fly vs Drive. This is just a suggested itinerary. I value your opinions for where to go and how long to stay there.

Staying away from crowds would be ideal-not sure how realistic this is...

I'll talk to the other TO soon and be able to get a clearer idea.

:)

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: Itinerary Suggestions for mobile Safari

I can't comment on the itinerary as I prefer to have the same guide throughout - which won't happen with a fly safari of this kind. also at this time of year, driving is very managable. A drive safari would cost about half of this or even less. Have you considered any in Tanzania TOs?

It might be feasible to avoid crowds at times. Some camps in Ndutu are quite small. You can ask the guide to take you away from the crowds one of the days. There is lovely scenery south and south east of Ndutu that doesn't get the same attention (unless all the herds are there). Also, Arusha NP is much less travelled than any other of the parks.

At this stage, can you define what you want to see? whether you want to spend hours waiting and watching a family of cheetah, or whether you are more interested in maximizing photos, or mileage? There are different types of travellers and activities will differ slightly. Do you want to spend any time interacting with locals doing something cultural? Do you want chandeliers in your tents, or would a comfortable bed off the ground with complete ensuite suit?

Edinburgh, United...
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7. Re: Itinerary Suggestions for mobile Safari

Hi,

These are all lovely areas to visit. Personally, I do like Manyara at this time of year, but as mentioned above Arusha National Park is a lovely green park that often seems to get over looked.

The crater will be busy- I've never visited it when it hasn't been. However, it's gorgeously beautiful and there is an awful lot of game down there (it is for instance the only place where you even stand a reasonable chance of seeing a rhino). To get the most out of it I usually tell my guide that I don't mind what I see, I just want to stay as far away from other vehicles as possible. Last time this resulted in a rhino and serval sighting so I was pretty happy.

Manyara and the Crater use the same airstrip so I would definitely check if you've been told you're flying between them (the crater does have an airstrip, but to the best of my knowledge it's almost never used as the mist makes landing difficult).

I think it might make fractionally more sense to drive S. Serengeti-Crater-Manyara (or vice versa), but there's not a huge amount in it- this might be driven by the camps you're using- this sounds like it might be &Beyond to me. If so, I'd do Manyara Tree Lodge last. Not as Luxe as Crater Lodge, but probably the most romantic place I have ever stayed.

It looks like you have a 7 night safari there- if you want the full 10 nights a bit of time in Arusha NP, Tarangire or Northern Serengeti could be lovely.

Finally the 2015 increase- that's not uncommon. Many camps and lodges haven't released their prices yet (this usually happens in May). Most operators work on approximately 10% each year. Just make sure you are booking with a reputable, legitimate operator who aren't going to fleece you.

Have fun!

Alexandra Matts- Travel Director- Extraordinary Africa

Oklahoma City...
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8. Re: Itinerary Suggestions for mobile Safari

I too would prefer a driving safari, tailored to our specific desires and most definitely want a cultural experience and interact with the local people. The TO I'm talking with is TZ based and am most excited about what they will offer. We hate crowds and live on a large acreage with no neighbors which offsets our busy-service oriented jobs in healthcare. We are thus fine with going off on our own with our guide to more secluded areas on occasion to see the rare Rino or single Cheetah. I think spending extra time in Ndutu would be beneficial and avoid areas of redundancy since we have so little time. I'm thinking of relaxing a night at the beach before we head back home would also be a good idea.

On a side note: I'm getting mixed opinions on how much time to spend in Manyara and the Crater. I'm still ignorant to the geography but "the short grass plains" seem to be the best place to spend the bulk of our time? Would like to see the Wildebeests Calving season and the "Big 5". Any areas close to these viewing locales where we might catch some primates?

I'm sure my ignorance is causing some of you great mental discomfort but I certainly appreciate your graciousness and patience!

Edited: 12 March 2014, 14:58
Edinburgh, United...
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9. Re: Itinerary Suggestions for mobile Safari

To get down to the beach you'll need to do a light aircraft flight- around 1 1/2 hrs ex Arusha and upto 3- 4 1/2 hrs from the Serengeti, depending whereabouts you are. Plus drive time from the airport to the beach. A night could be rushed. Two nights or more might be nicer.

Timewise, I think a day or two is fine for Manyara, one is fine for the crater. Karatu is quite divisive on here, everyone has quite different opinions. For you however, I might be inclined to recommend it as a base for visiting both Manyara and the crater as I think the lodges here are nicer than either at the crater or Manyara (honourable exception for LM Tree Lodge & Lemala crater), plus, I think the farmhouse style lodges do give you more of an opportunity to go out meet some people (which you mentioned in the original post) in a more natural, authentic way than say, the Masai manyattas at the crater might. If you want to see the big 5 (of which rhino is one) the crater is the only place where chances are reasonable.

Primates- monkeys are everywhere (probably stealing the sugar from your morning coffee if you're not careful) so I'd be surprised if you don't see any. Great apes a different case. There are some amazing places to see chimps in Tanzania, foremost at Mahale, which is utterly magical, but this is a minimum 3 night trip from the Serengeti/N.Tanzania.

Alexandra Matts- Travel Director- Extraordinary Africa

Ottawa, Canada
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10. Re: Itinerary Suggestions for mobile Safari

I have a different take on things that Alexandra, but I might also work on a different budget.

The short grass plains are the plains of the Ngorogongo Crater Conservation Area - in short, Ndutu, so you are hitting it correctly.

You can see colobus monkeys in Arusha NP, as well as ones just mentioned, but getting to the chimps in Mahale is very expensive and eats up a lot of time. If primates becomes important, then consider Rwanda and/or Uganda Rwanda can be an add on to Tanz if you maximize your 14 days, Uganda in itself can become a second safari.

Manyara NP gets mixed reviews. Often it is a short add on and to this, I say hardly worth the time. It doesn't have the dynamics and amount of animals of other parks, but is a green park with treats of its own - allbeit more subtle.

The Maasai bomas near the Crater are getting bad reviews as they seem to have become very money grubbing and it loses a lot of its authenticity. Consider doing an afternoon tour of Mto Wa Mbo. This is community based, so funds are shared and I haven't read/heard one negative report about it. This is located between Tarangire and Manyara parks. Also, some TOs have connections with the communities in the Tarangire Conservation Area (around the National Park) and can provide community exposure a little less contrived that the Crater area.

Karatu does have nice lodgings, but not the tented options. I like to be cost and time strategic. Overnight on the Crater rim, be the first ones down in the mornings and then overnight in Ndutu. Yes, the lodgings in Karatu are nicer, but it isn't efficiently placed for early morning crater visits - which will reduce the crowds. In the past, there was a six hour limit in the Crater. This seems to have disappeared or is being unsupervised, so you can take longer, but still get to Ndutu lodgings in a good time; but it is crowded and hot later in the day.

Is the balloon ride important to you?

Consider this:

Day 1 - Arusha NP (colobus and helps a bit with jet lag) o/n Tarangire NP or Arusha again

Day 2 - to Tarangire NP if not already there

Day 3 - Tarangire NP, o/n Lake Manyara area

Day 4 - Manyara NP o/n Crater rim

Day 5 - Early morning Crater o/n Ndutu

Day 6, 7 Ndutu area

Day 8 Ndutu area o/n Central Serengeti

Day 9 - Balloon ride and Central Serengeti

Day 10 - morning flight from Seronera to Arusha airport/jro (depending on company)

Day 7 Ndutu