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When and how to book

Nj
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307 posts
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When and how to book

When is it a good time to book a safari for August 2014? I was also wondering if the best way to book it is through a lodge directly or better with a safari operator? I am on a budget for 2 ppl of approx. 1,200 USD for a 3 day safari with 2-3 in the Serenegeti and 1 in Ngorongo crater. (I can go up a bit more if I have to). My plan is to start on a Sunday and I need to be at Kilimanjaro airport by Wednesday night or early Thursday.

A problem I have is that I am on a special diet so just booking a package tour with full board doesn't offer me the best value as I will anyways be bringing my own food along.

Thanks!!

1. Re: When and how to book

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Nj
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307 posts
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2. Re: When and how to book

Didn't contact any local operators yet as I wasn't sure if that was the way to go about instead of trying to book a lodge myself (if that would work out a bit more affordably). All I did was work out a tentative 2 week itinerary of Kenya and Tanzania and figure out which flight I would take. I also spent a lot of time looking at different lodges etc online. Welcome to TA btw!!

Ottawa, Canada
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3. Re: When and how to book

Joseph, ifmyou return to the Tanzania forum, there are a list of questions to the right which should start to give you some answers.

Different countries offer different ways to arrange safari. In Tanzania from Arusha, you will need to arrange your own driver and car. Few lodges have them. A local tour operator(but few do tours as you know them) will arrange a private safari for you including accommodations, oark fees etc.

Food is all inclusive. Few menus and fewer grocery stores. Be specific what you can eat with your TO and at every lodging. They can accommodate many food needs.

Your time is too short. Time and distance has not been taken into consideration. Forget google maps. It is one full day to drive to Serengeti. Half day drive to Ngoro Crater, from there another half day drive to JRO airport. That leaves 2 days to game drive. You could manage Tarangire which will have a mini elephant migration going on, Manyara and Ngoro Crater. For the best of Serengeti in August you would want the Northern section which is too far and too pricey, I think.

Most safaris are booked 18-9 months out.

Nj
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4. Re: When and how to book

If I have from Sunday morning until my flight out on Thursday at 2am early Thursday morning you don't think that we can pull off a quick tour of the Serengeti and Ngorongo? I will be spending the week before in the Masai Mara so I don't need a crazy amount of time.

Ottawa, Canada
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5. Re: When and how to book

Well, yes you can 'pull it off' if you call driving most of the time to be an appropriate visit. If you are going to have been in the Mara beforehand, it is just not worth it. The Serengeti is many times larger than the Mara. The Migration will be in the far north (if that is important). Unless you use public campsites, your budget won't stretch to the lodgings. There are other animals through out the Park so you don't have to go to the North.

Day 1 arrive Arusha drive to Ngoro Crater. You may get to visit it, but probably not the allowed 6 hours. As this is the most expensive park, it is a shame to lose out.

Day 2 drive to Central Serengeti game driving part of the day

Day 3 full day in Serengeti

Day 4 return to Arusha.

You can't drive after dark outside of Arusha, and even then, you want to get to Arusha by 6pm to get to airport and wait for check in.

With this itinerary, you will be able to tick it off a list, but not have much quality.

Option 2

Day 1 Arrive JRO, overnight a campsite around Oldapi gorge or Ndutu area.

Day 2 Enter Serengeti in morning

Day 3 ful game drive, overnight outside the park

Day 4 early arrival to Ngoro Crater and back to JRO.

I still propose the following:

Day 1 arrive JRO drive to Tarangire NP for elephant migration (depending on arrival, may get half day park)

Day 2 Tarangire NP full day overnight Lake Manyara park area

Day 3 Manyara NP overnight Crater rim

Day 4 Early morning Crater visit return to Arusha and airport

You should really build in some contingency time. This is Africa. Stuff happens. I would never recommend trying to make a flight after travelling from Serengeti or Crater the same day. A road washout can have you detoured 4 hours or sitting waiting while they rebuild the bride for 8 hours. It happens.

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: When and how to book

Or if you are in the Mara, why not add enter Serengeti from there? It will still take you the better part of a day to do it by road but you would be in the park. Still a lot of the time spent driving though.

Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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7. Re: When and how to book

There is no such thing as a quick trip to the Serengeti. The drive is long and sometimes difficult. The only way you can do this is to fly to the Serengeti, and fly back. Even that will take you a 1/2 day both ways.

Nj
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8. Re: When and how to book

Thank you so much for the replies Quiltingmamma and Karl, I appreciate it.

Would this look a bit better -

Sunday depart Nairobi for Lake Nakuru, overnight there and Monday head to the Masai Mara. Evening game drive Monday, all day Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday morning.

Thursday after the early game drive head over to the Serengeti. Friday just chill and rest up. Saturday through Monday morning safari and then drive to Ngorongo. Monday afternoon. Tuesday enter the crater and head over to Arusha following the 6 hours in the crater. Wednesday will be a day in Arusha followed by the flight early Thursday.

Does this look more reasonable?

nyc
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9. Re: When and how to book

We advise visitors that with only 10 or less days, most difficult to visit both countries regardless how close these appear on a map. Besides, you require Visas for both countries USD$50 for Kenya, USD$100 for Tanzania along with Yellow Fever inoculation and proof of same to/from/between both.

If arriving Kenya and planning to visit the Mara where August is the best month, I wouldn't even consider the Serengeti. And for sure $1200 isn't going to get you too far either country.

What you could do is:

Day 1 - Arv. NBO, depending on time you might require an overnight as there is no driving on roads after dark. If it's that early Turkish Air flight, then you can hang* around the NBO airport to be met by 8am with guide/vehicle for drive (5-6/hrs) to Masai Mara - o/n

*certainly not pleasant, but there are inexpensive hotels where your guide can pick you up.

Day 2 & 3 - Masai Mara - o/n

Day 4 - Drive to Nairobi; catch the 2pm Shuttle Bus to Arusha, arriving about 6pm or later - o/n

Day 5 - With guide/vehicle drive (2-2.5/hrs) to Tarangire - o/n

Day 6 - Tarangire in morning; then drive (2./hrs) via Lake Manyara; game drive - o/n

Day 7 - Drive (2.5/hrs) to Ngorongoro; afternoon crater tour (these limited to 6/hrs) - o/n

Day 8 - Ngo; option: morning crater tour, or drive (4/hrs) to Arusha; catch 2pm Shuttle Bus direct to NBO intl airport for home.

If you have addtl days, the above can be modified, but it's simply too far to drive to the Serengeti when you will see more game than you can imagine with the above.

Also know August is the busiest and most expensive month and unless you'd be doing basic camping you need more budget to cover both countries as lodges will be rather costly.

Are you a solo traveler or with a another? If solo, then you have to pay the dreaded 'single supplement.'

Regarding Lake Nakuru, if for flamingos know there are few here, most have gone to Lk Bogoria, but there are rhino and Rothschild giraffe here. Why I don't show this Lake.

Regarding 'special' food - what specifically? Unless it's realy something truly strange, most dietary needs can be met.

Ottawa, Canada
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10. Re: When and how to book

Joseph, re post 8. I don't think you have yet grasped how it is done.

You can't just head over to Serengeti after a morning game drive. Thoug on a map they are close, you cannot drive through the parks and cross the border. It is an all day trip and you hsve to arrange drivers and cars for this. Friday resting up has you paying several hundred dollars while your driver and car sit doing nothing. You pay them the going daily rate whether you game drive or not.

Get answers to your questions about Arusha Region