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Ngorongoro Crater - 2 seater vehicle?!

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Ngorongoro Crater - 2 seater vehicle?!

Hi all,

I've been looking through the Tanzania forum and reading lots but I'm just looking for a little clarification from those who have travelled to the NGA before in regards to game drives into the crater.

From my research, I can see that you are required to have a guide - my husband & I are hiring a 2 seater Land Rover from Fortes in Arusha; where will the guide sit?! Seems like a silly question but is this still possible for us to drive down into the crater with a guide given that there will presumable be little room and if not, are you able to book game drives with existing companies at the crater for early morning/afternoon drives instead?

Thanks for any help!

Isle of Man, United...
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11. Re: Ngorongoro Crater - 2 seater vehicle?!

And the mental image is good too. Beat up SWB Landrover in cloud of dust. Lady with Widebrimmed hat tied down with Headscarf wearing goggles and scarfe over mouth. Probably wearing Jodphurs and boots and toting a whip. Coupla dogs in the back and faithful Ndorobo running behind. Awesome.

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12. Re: Ngorongoro Crater - 2 seater vehicle?!

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your responses and extra information.

I am aware of the unwavering requirement to have a guide to enter the crater. The decision to hire a driver/guide for the remainder of the trip is I believe a matter of personal choice and personally my husband & I prefer the solitude, silence and adventure of self drive and sometimes yes, the hit & miss experience of finding our own discoveries. We have done several self drive safaris in Southern Africa; we just haven't been to the crater before or used a SWB 2 seater land rover so was more enquiring about people's experience of that.

I was more asking about what are my options are having a SWB land rover that is advertised as seating comfortable '2 passengers' - in terms of will the guide be able to squash in with us in order for us to enter the crater? Is that sort of practice common or if not, would i have the option to pay for a guided drive in a group vehicle or the like if space is an issue with our vehicle?

I will email the car company to gather further information; but just thought in the meantime; someone out there might have had a similar experience?

Oslo, Norway
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13. Re: Ngorongoro Crater - 2 seater vehicle?!

Hey

How did it go with the Ngorongoro crater trip with the SWB? We are planning the same trip and are unsure what to do with space for a guide down to the crater.

And were you satisfied with the car itself? Anything annoying or that you would have wished was different? Did you have one with a roof-top tent?

Heidi

Trondheim, Norway
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14. Re: Ngorongoro Crater - 2 seater vehicle?!

Hi,

just returned from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti. I rented with Fortes (I was travelling solo but opted for a long wheelbase Toyota Landcruiser fully equipped) and had a blast of a time!

What I would do is ask Fortes if the Landrover you are renting will fit three persons in the front row. The Landcruiser could do so easily, but it depends on the model and series.

I got through the crater some years ago without a guide, but that was after more drama than I would recommend. A tour guide in the end saved the day. I was unaware of the rules when entering, and it was late afternoon and I was treating myself to a night in the Sopa lodge on the western edge of the crater. At the time you where allowed to drive accross the crater. So I said, I'll take the guide, but he will have to spend the night on the other side of the crater or walk home in the dark. That meant the guide would not go, but I was still required to have a guide. So we were at a stalemate untill a tour guide showed up with some nice ki-swahili and got me through.

I camped 1 night at Simba A (crater), 4 nights down in Ndutu, 2 nights at Moru and 4 nights at Seronera (public camp empty at the time! and one night at Naabi). Fantastic would not trade it for any lodge.

Rooftent was perfect, car was perfect 2x80L disel tanks.

Animals where consentrated around Ndutu and the southern plains (Kusini/Similu plains). Around Seronera I saw 6 leopards (different animals) in one day, NO gnu for my entire stay, NO lion. Animals had pushed south. Some resident impala, warthog and lots of hippo and elephants. Good lion sightings at Moru and Zebra migration arrived first week of february.

Enjoy, correspond with Fortes and they will assist you.

Cheers,

-Paal

Edited: 18 February 2014, 10:46
Oslo, Norway
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15. Re: Ngorongoro Crater - 2 seater vehicle?!

Thank you for your advice and information, Paal. :)

We contacted Fortes, and they said that some of the people who have hired the SWB from them have said that they have been allowed in without a guide. It is of course possible that some have not been allowed in, and then what? I guess we'd have to hire another vehicle in the area after losing a lot of time. We do have all day for the crater drive, but we'd very much like to enter the crater from the Lemala descent/ascent as soon as the gate open in the morning. I guess we'll just have to take the chance. We could of course choose a different vehicle, but we (or maybe I) have quite fallen for this one with its roof hatch above the driver and front passenger seat, small size (hopefully somewhat lighter) and pop-up roof tent. And for its lower price... It turns out a fair bit cheaper for us to rent this one an another one for one day for the crater than for a larger one for our 10-day trip. And hopefully they'll let us in without the guide. We do respect the fragile nature and rules they have put in place, but of course they can't be sure of that.

What I hadn't tought about before is that there may not be any guides at all at the Lemala gate. I'm just hoping this will all sort itself out.

Heidi

Fairbanks, Alaska
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16. Re: Ngorongoro Crater - 2 seater vehicle?!

Here's a thought regarding guides...make of it what you will.

Frankly, most of us who travel to Kenya and Tanzania have more money than we know what to do with. At least compared to the vast majority of people who live in those countries.

Supporting local employment at these parks is extremely important if the world would like to preserve these habitats for the future generations. Unless the local populations have a vested interest in these parks their support for the continued existence of these places is likely to drop.

Yes, I'm generalizing when I say we all can afford to hire a guide. Maybe there are some truly shoe-strings travelers for whom this is an unaffordable expense that will tip them into bankruptcy. And, yes, perhaps for some it's not a matter of cost but "the experience". Your judgement on those matters is your own.

All I know is the grace and joy people feel when they are employed and take pride in their work. That, and these countries are chock full of people scrambling and scraping to find a way to survive and provide for their families.

Sometimes, doing something as cheaply as possible isn't the best way to go.

(OK, soapbox is back in the closet....)

Edited: 24 February 2014, 14:15
Oslo, Norway
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17. Re: Ngorongoro Crater - 2 seater vehicle?!

Personally, I prefer to go on a self-drive because I feel a bit uncomfortable with someone I don't know there for my whole vacation. I would rather spend my vacation alone with my boyfriend. Just him and me and time for ourselves to experience the fantastic country, wildlife and nature.

When it comes to supporting the people, parks, wildlife conservation and nature, I am definitely for that, and I will gladely pay the guide fee for the Ngorongoro crater drive for instance - our problem is that there isn't space in the vehicle. We don't have unlimited funds for this trip, so getting a lower-cost vehicle does matter to us. $50 more per day for 10 days is a bit, and we are leaving much, much more than that in park fees, camping fees etc. during our trip. I respect the fees and a want to support the work that is done both here and other places to conserve wildlife and nature, and to help people who are not as fortunate as myself when it comes to money and a good national support system for education and health, but my resources are still not limitless. I gladly pay the $750 gorilla permit in Rwanda, the $200 Ngorongoro crater fee and $50-60/day park fees + vehicle fees in northern Tanzania, because I think (or at least hope) that some of it goes to a good cause. We would have stayed longer in this area if the fees were lower, but then of course.. so would probably many others, and there would be more people in the area and more wear-and-tear on this fantastic nature.

I hope to give more than I take on my trip. Please don't think that I'm all selfish just because I'm trying to cut costs on some things. I just cannot affort a luxury lodge, all fancy-trip. But hopefully my contribution in fees and rent etc. will help and that I won't disturb too much while I'm there.

Heidi

Fairbanks, Alaska
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18. Re: Ngorongoro Crater - 2 seater vehicle?!

Heidi

My comments were in a general sense. Not meant to have been directed at any individual.

Too few shillings filter down to the people on the ground when dealing with businesses or government agencies. Tips to guides or cooks or direct employment of them is a really big deal in their lives.

nyc
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19. Re: Ngorongoro Crater - 2 seater vehicle?!

Hope you know that for the Crater Floor visit, you are limited to 6/hrs only. Doesn't mean if you overstay your time for a short period, someone will run after you with a machete... but don't be surprised if advised to leave and thus it is not a full day.

Oslo, Norway
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20. Re: Ngorongoro Crater - 2 seater vehicle?!

I know that. :) We will read the rules carefully (again) before we go, so that if they let us in without a guide, we will be sure not to break any of them. First of all I want to follow them, and second I don't want to cause trouble for other tourists in the same situation later.

Our plan is to go down into the crater as early as possible and then relax at a lodge in the afternoon. :)

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