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A 5-day safari in Tanzania - Please comment on the quotes!

Hong Kong
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A 5-day safari in Tanzania - Please comment on the quotes!

Hi everyone, I am a newbie to this forum. I am going to Tanzania for volunteering work in May next year. I will be working in Zanzibar and afterwards I will be on a safari for 5 days, in a group of 5. We would like to cover Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro and Serengeti. We will be flying to Arusha fro m Zanzibar and leaving to Nairobi after the safari. We would like to stay in lodges such as Serena. Here are the quotes from some of the well-mentioned safari companies. Please comment~~~

1) Roy's

Day 1 - Arrive at Arusha airport. Met and drive via Roy Safaris offices for pre-safari briefing. With picnic lunches depart for Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Arrive for dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge.

Day 2 - After breakfast descend into the crater for a tour and game drive. Later depart for Serengeti National park. With picnic lunches, game drive en-route Central Serengeti to arrive for dinner and overnight at Serengeti Serena Lodge.

Day 3 - Sunrise game drive followed by breakfast at the camp. Rest, lunch followed by a late afternoon game drive. Dinner and overnight at Serengeti Serena Lodge.

Day 4 - After breakfast depart game viewing as you exit Serengeti. With picnic lunches drive to Lake Manyara. Arrive for dinner and overnight at Lake Manyara Serena Lodge.

Day 5 - After breakfast, . With picnic lunches, exit and drive to Arusha. Later transfer to Impala shuttle to proceed to Nairobi.

$1210/person - Cost Includes: 4Nights/5 Days Lodge Safari + 1Night at The African Tulip Hotel on bed and breakfast basis + Return airport transfers + One way flight from Zanzibar to Arusha + One way shuttle transfer from Arusha to Nairobi.

2) Park East Africa

DAY 1: After breakfast, drive to with picnic lunch Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park known for its large herd of elephants and Tarangire River this bisects this park, game viewing Afternoon game drive or at leisure.

Overnight at Tarangire Tented Safari Lodge or Lake Manyara Hotel (full board)

DAY 2: After breakfast, drive across the Ngorongoro Highlands to the vast plains of Serengeti National Park. Game viewing and picnic lunch en route to dinner and overnight at Seronera Wildlife Lodge (full board)

DAY 3: Full day in Serengeti National Park, home to the Great Migration. Early morning and late afternoon game drives in search of predators and their prey.

Meals and overnight at Seronera Wildlife Lodge (full board)

DAY 4: Morning descend for Crater tour, lunch at Hippo Pool picnic site on the crater floor. Late afternoon Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge (full board)

DAY 5: After breakfast drive to Arusha. At Shuttle bus to Nairobi

$1040/person. Cost also includes Flight from Zanzibar to Arusha

3) Access2TAnzania - Plan A

Day 1 -

• 0800 hrs pick up at Arusha location of choice • Lake Manyara National Park

• Lake Manyara Serena Lodge

Day 2 -

• Serengeti National Park via Ngorongoro Conservation Area

• Serena Serengeti Lodge

Day 3 -

• Serengeti National Park

• Serena Serengeti Lodge

Day 4 -

• Serengeti National Park

• Serena Ngorongoro Lodge

Day 5 -

• Ngorongoro Crater • Return to Arusha

$1040/person

4) Access2Tanzania - Plan B

Day 1 -

• 0800 hrs pick up at Arusha location of choice • Lake Manyara National Park

• Ngorongoro Farmhouse

Day 2 -

• Serengeti National Park via Ngorongoro Conservation Area

• Ikoma Bush Camp

Day 3 -

• Guided Bush Walk • Serengeti National Park • Night Game Drive

• Ikoma Bush Camp

Day 4 -

• Serengeti National Park

• Sopa Ngorongoro Lodge

Day 5 -

• Ngorongoro Crater • Return to Arusha

• Mapito Tented Camp

$1000/person

And here are some burning questions

1) Which airline is more reliable and safe to travel between Zanzibar-Arusha and Arusha-Nairobi? How much would they normally cost?

2) Will we save money & time if we fly directly to Serengeti?

3) Is Manyara better than Tangerie during May?

4) We would love to watch the great migration. Shall we stay at seronera for the best view of it?

5) Is Serena Lodge a good choice (at this price range) for a decent and clean environment? Also is the food tasty?

6) Are the guided morning walk/night walk worthwhile to experience? Is is only available if we're staying at a tented camp?

7) Finally, are the prices quoted fine for a 5-day safari for 5 person during May?

nyc
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1. Re: A 5-day safari in Tanzania - Please comment on the quotes!

Well, the Roy's and Park East itineraries both include the air from ZNZ/Arusha and then shuttle bus Arusha/Nairobi.

Tarangire in May is not ideal as the grasses are very high. And with water sources still outside the park, game might not have returned. Tarangire is best between July/Oct. If I had to choose between Tarangire and Manyara, it would be Manyara.

If as on the Park East safari you o/n at Tarangire, it will be a very long drive to the Serengeti... almost a full day of daylight hours.

Depending on budget, you can certainly fly to the Serengeti (about $200/person one-way), but if arriving from ZNZ in the morning, you'll probably have missed the morning flight; next flight would be in the afternoon. Might as well drive from Arusha onward and be at your first destination which would be before the afternoon flight.

If arriving the night prior which it seems to indicate on the Roy's itinerary, then you could make the morning flight to Central Serengeti. But, you'd still be paying to have your guide/vehicle meet you in the Serengeti.

The migrating herds are usually still in the Central Serengeti in May. And while there is no guarantee, some of the millions of animals can be in the Western corridor... this area is only a 2/hr game drive between Central and West.

Whichever carrier from ZNZ/Arusha is fine... they take off and land and get you where you're going in about 1/hr. The only flight from Arusha to Nairobi departs 1:45pm and goes into Wilson the domestic airport. If departing for home, you'd have to get to the JKIA airport. The shuttle bus departs Arusha about 2pm and will take you right to JKIA for homebound.

As the itineraries aren't the same, you're not comparing apples=to=apples - 1) includes a hotel in Arusha as well as safari and flights/shuttle bus (Roys); 2) includes flights/shuttle bus but lower quality accom (Park East),; 3) doesn't include flight/shuttle and I personally feel their itinerary with Ikoma Camp is a bit too far West for May (Access2).

Hope this helps somewhat.

melbourne
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2. Re: A 5-day safari in Tanzania - Please comment on the quotes!

Stewart Hi I only know Roy safaris and Access2 Tanzania so will comment on them Karl oftens mentions Park East so will leave them to him. The accomodation of Park East is somewhat inferior to Serena The Wildlife Lodges being the "worst" of the three lodge chains except for their locations which are probably the best. Both Roys and Access are mainstream operators in Arusha been there for awhile and relaible.Either would suit your needs and provide a decent trip. The only differences between them is their itinerary and price and what they offer.

with Access2 Tz their first itinerary is similiar to Roys but the Plan B is not most of the accomodation is outside the park I see no reason to stay at Ngo farm house and if you dont want a night game drive I wouldnt stay at Ikoma, it has mixed reviews and is out the park.

Q1 these airlines are safe and most popular Precision Air, Regional Air, and Coastal travels.

Precision Air is slightly cheaper than the others with Coastal being the most expensive. Use the airline the safari operator rec.

Q2 no

Q3 I believe Tarangire is better than Manyara at any time but if you can only do one park then go for Manyara.

Q4 I would stay at Seronera in the central serengeti as then it would be easy to travel to where the Migration is and it is nice to stay in one central location for awhile and then travel from their to find the animals If their position is not that predicable.

Q5 Serena is a good choice, for the price and the food the times I have eaten there has been decent.Serena is the better of the lodge chains except I Like the location of Ngo Sopa and also the Wildlife lodges has generally better loctions but food and room are somewhat inferior.

Q6 Night drives are available outside then parks so with these accomodations at Fort Ikoma Bush walks or walks can generally be done at many locations. You can do them at Ngorongoro and the Sopa lodge is a good location and place for this. BUt wouldnt change from Serena just for that.

In your initial comments you said youwanted Lake Manyara, Ngo and the Serenegti and wanted to stay at the Serena lodges. Roys offer this at a decent price for what is included so I would be going with them.

Findlay, Ohio
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3. Re: A 5-day safari in Tanzania - Please comment on the quotes!

I'll comment on Park East Africa, and for the most part agree with what noexpert has said. Jubilant Wera and his family have been doing the safari business for many years and is one of the more honest and reliable people in this business (this is not meant to diminish any other operators). His equipment is in good order (some is new within the past several years) and his driver/guides are similar to him and he picks them carefully. For many years his business was mostly from Europeans who were coming there for volunteer work and combined a safari with the work. I have known Wera for many years and consider him a good friend, but that wouldn't slant my view of him.

His price includes the flights from Zanzibar to Arusha, so you need to reduce his pricing by this amount for price comparisons which would put his safari at about $800 for the 5 day safari or about $170 per day, that is a bargain. Roys comes in a bit over that but still a good deal.

I won't comment on accommodations, as I seldom do, since good accommodations are typically a perception and I don't know what your perceptions of good are (mine are rather slim and shallow, like reasonably clean, changed linens, at least warm water shower and that's about all for me)

You're hitting the high spots with all of them and you'll be able to see a lot of animals I'm certain. So you don't have any bad choices here.

One concern that I have is the shuttle to Nairobi. I don't know when you need to be at NBO but these shuttles don't operate late in the afternoon (at least they haven't in the past) so doing game drives on the last day and trying to catch the shuttle might be a bit iffy.

Hong Kong
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4. Re: A 5-day safari in Tanzania - Please comment on the quotes!

Thanks 4sandi, noexpert and Karl! Your comments are very useful!

Here are some quotes from other companies~ Please have a look.

4) Hoopoe

Day 1

From Zanzibar airport board Coastal Air schedule to Arusha departing 0930hrs. Upon arrival Arusha airport 1100hrs met by your personal driver/guide and drive to Lake Manyara National Park for an afternoon game drive with packed lunch. In the early evening drive up the rift valley to Lake Manyara Serena Lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 2

After breakfast drive through the farmlands and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to the Serengeti plains, game viewing en route towards the southwestern part of the park arriving Serengeti Sopa Lodge in the in the early evening. Dinner and overnight Serengeti Sopa Lodge.

Day 3

Day’s game drive exploring the wide-open spaces of the Serengeti, following the ebb and flow of life in its seasonal movements. The day can be structured to meet your own requirements. Meals and overnight Serengeti Sopa Lodge.

Day 4

After breakfast drive through the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area with a stop at with a stop at Olduvai for a visit to the museum. Continue to the Ngorongoro Crater and descend to the crater floor for an afternoon game drive with packed lunch. Game viewing at any time of the year is often the best of every safari! In the early evening return to the rim of the crater and taken to Ngorongoro Serena Lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 5

Return to Arusha with packed lunch from Ngorongoro Serena Lodge in time to connect with the 1400hrs Riverside Shuttle Bus Service to Nairobi via Namanga. On arrival 1800hrs Nairobi dropped off at your overnight accommodation (booked direct) to continue with your onward arrangements.

$1,269/person, including flight from Zanzibar to Arusha and road transfer from Arusha to Nairobi

5) BaseCamp

DAY 0

Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport - Collection via Base Camp and transfer to ILBORU SAFARI LODGE.

DAY 1

Rising early we game drive until lunch,after which we continue our safari to Lake Manyara National Park.• We shall Game Drive in this spectacular park at the base of the western wall of the Great Rift Valley before retiring to our hotel on the rim of the Rift Valley. Overnight at Lake Manyara Serena Lodge

DAY 2.

AM CULTURAL VILLAGE TOUR. We drive to and enter the world famous Serengeti National Park.• Game Driving from the entrance gate to your hotel in this the probably most famous of all National Parks in the world!• Overnight in Serengeti Serena Lodge

DAY 3.

A full day, dawn to dusk Game Driving in the Serengeti National Park.• Overnight in Serengeti Serena Lodge

DAY 4.

Our last game drive in Serengeti National Park taking in some of the "Kopjes / Inselbergen" granite outcrops in which many predators love to sit and look out over the plains for their prey. Lunch is a packed lunch. En-Route to Ngorongoro Crater: En-route we stop at Oldupai Gorge to visit the 'Cradle Of Mankind'. Overnight at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

<MASSAI VILLAGE VISIT>

DAY 5.

Ngorongoro Crater - a World Heritage Site - where we spend the maximum of six hours allowed game driving! Late afternoon exit & return to Arusha Overnight ILBORU SAFARI LODGE

DAY 6

Departure Day:• Transfer to Kilimanjaro International Airport for those returning home.•

$950/person, safari only

AND here are some more questions:

8) I know Precision Air costs much less than Coastal Air. But concerning about their reputation, safety, punctuation, service, etc. Do you think Coastal Air worths the extra money?

9) Concerning with the location, is Serengeti Serena really inferior to Sopa and Safari Lodge? Should I consider changing to Sopa as suggested by Roopoe? Or does it really matter?

10) Do you recommend night drives? Can we really spot out those nocturnal animals (without an infrared binoculars)? And is bush walk safe?

11) Concerning about Nairobi, I will be catching the BA flight to London departing at 2315pm. If I take the afternoon shuttle departing Arusha at 1400, will I be late or in a hurry for the flight?

12) We are carrying quite a number of luggage with us (for a 2-month travel). Will there be a lower limit for luggage on in-country flights? is it sensible for us to leave those bulky luggage at the tour operator's office at Arusha (keeping valuables with us of course)

13) Is it cheaper/more reliable to book in-country flights via tour operators comparing to booking online?

Thanks again for your precious comments! I like this forum (and you guys) so much!

nyc
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5. Re: A 5-day safari in Tanzania - Please comment on the quotes!

8) I know Precision Air costs much less than Coastal Air. But concerning about their reputation, safety, punctuation, service, etc. Do you think Coastal Air worths the extra money?

--- I haven't found any difference whether Precision or Coastal. But remember, TIA "this is Africa" - No need to make a big deal out of this.

9) Concerning with the location, is Serengeti Serena really inferior to Sopa and Safari Lodge? Should I consider changing to Sopa as suggested by Roopoe? Or does it really matter?

--- I'd prefer the Serena which is in Central and easier/shorter drive to West if some of the herds here, or even a bit north. There is no guarantee exactly where the game might be. Sopa is a bit farther south.

10) Do you recommend night drives? Can we really spot out those nocturnal animals (without an infrared binoculars)? And is bush walk safe?

--- There are mixed feelings about night drives. Some of mine have been great, while others... boring! Again no guarantee what you will see or not. Bush walks are safe with your guide and/or ranger and often a Masai askari.

11) Concerning about Nairobi, I will be catching the BA flight to London departing at 2315pm. If I take the afternoon shuttle departing Arusha at 1400, will I be late or in a hurry for the flight?

--- You should have more than sufficient time to make it to NBO for this BA flight. Est. drive time is 5-6/hrs to JKIA traffic dependent, especially once you get into NBO during so-called "rush-hour." Considering you need about 2/hrs prior departure for check-in/security, you've got 7/hrs and a bit to spare.

12) We are carrying quite a number of luggage with us (for a 2-month travel). Will there be a lower limit for luggage on in-country flights? is it sensible for us to leave those bulky luggage at the tour operator's office at Arusha (keeping valuables with us of course)

--- Suggest you leave the bulk of your bags with tour operator in Arusha to collect when you return to board the bus. On the flight from ZNZ to Arusha or JRO there is a limit of 15Kg (plus small carryon and camera), so for any excess they might want to charge. The fee, however, is low... a few $$$s per Kg. But, don't bring it to anyone's attention and if they say anything you can just tell them you're completing "volunteer time" and hope they're understandable.

3) Is it cheaper/more reliable to book in-country flights via tour operators comparing to booking online?

--- As above, have the Tour Operator book; just in case any delays or problems, they can handle/run interference and coordinate any change in schedules/plans.

melbourne
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6. Re: A 5-day safari in Tanzania - Please comment on the quotes!

Sandi has pretty much answered it as I would except I would go further Serenegti Serena is superior at this time to Serenegti Sopa in location and I still think it is a more upmarket lodge.Dont know why hoopoe suggested the change. I would still go with Roys. They will give you exactly what you want, ask for one of their stretched vehicles. On a five day safari I wouldnt go for a night drive and if you wish to organize a walk then do it from Ngo. Serena. The best place for night drives is outside Tarangire and this is not on your itinerary you would have to substite Lake Manyara for Tarangire.

Brisbane, Australia
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7. Re: A 5-day safari in Tanzania - Please comment on the quotes!

Most lodges will also have lockable storage rooms for you luggage in Arusha.

Findlay, Ohio
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8. Re: A 5-day safari in Tanzania - Please comment on the quotes!

Stewart... Wow, you've got some real bargains here, Basecamp @ $190 a day is a great price for a safari. I wouldn't answer any differently from the others, except for the accommodations you ask will there be a difference. I sleep with my eyes closed so I never notice any differences (which is probably why my requirements for lodging is so light).

Tanzania
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9. Re: A 5-day safari in Tanzania - Please comment on the quotes!

I won't/can't comment on the safari element but will on one small flight detail. Coastals luggage allowance rules were tightened up this season. Your 15kgs now includes carry on, they rarely enforce it but if there is a lot of cargo, particularly officous ground staff on duty or particularly heavy passengers they will. Just be on the safe side, the excess charges are not high ($2 per kg) but if you have to leave things behind because there really is no space/weight allowance left it can be distressing.

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10. Re: A 5-day safari in Tanzania - Please comment on the quotes!

I just recently returned from a safari/Zanzibar honeymoon organized by Park East Africa, and it couldn't have been better. Everything Karl says about them is true, and I would HIGHLY recommend them. I'd also recommend asking for "Martin" as your driver/guide. He was amazing.

In terms of the lodges, I stayed at all the "Wildlife" lodges and my only complaint would be that the the food can get a little repetative between all of them, and isn't great, but isn't really that bad either. I guess it depends on what you're expecting. I wasn't really expecting to dine on gourmet meals while in Africa, and so the food was good enough for me.

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