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Tanzania Safari

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by UnFacconable, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. UnFacconable

    UnFacconable Senior member

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    Heading to Tanzania for a 3-week trip in June with my lady and hoping that the well-traveled folks here can set me straight. We have a pretty good idea of what we're doing - 12-13 days on safari and 6 days at a resort in Zanzibar. We haven't figured out all the details yet so plenty of time to change things up. We're going to arrange the safari either through Tanzania Odyssey (just read a thread from a few years ago where GDL recommended them) or Tanzania Adventure. The Zanzibar portion should be straight forward - we've identified a resort and will just kick it there for the duration.

    I've been to Africa before to climb Kilimanjaro but went on safari in Kenya. Our goal is really to take advantage of the great migration so that's the main driver behind going to Tanzania in lieu of other locales.

    Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    To make this SF relevant, we're most likely going to buy a Filson medium duffel to haul half of our gear since soft-sided luggage appears to be de rigueur / required on safari. We will not wear pith helmets or dress anything like (the late, great, so sad he isn't here to hear) Vox's favorite photo subject.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  2. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I really liked staying in luxury tented camps (as opposed to lodges) the few nights I did.

    Also, the sounds of the Serengetti at night make camping well worth the loss of whatever conveniencess you may give up by night staying in a lodge or outside the park (I mean regular, mobile tents, as opposed to the fixed tented camps I was referring to above).
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  3. UnFacconable

    UnFacconable Senior member

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    Thanks dopey. One of the options we're considering is the Mapito Tented Camp in Serengeti - not sure that my girl will be willing to do anything more rustic than that. This is more from a fear of getting eaten by lions than anything else - she loves to go backpacking.
     
  4. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I don't know that one, but it looks nice and to be in the park itself, which is a plus. On the other hand, my favorite part of the Serengeti was sleeping in regular tents and hearing the lions at night. Maybe you can convince her to do some of both. If it helps, the lions didn't eat me. I was actually more frightened of the baboons because some jackass kept tossing them bread to draw them close and then threw rocks at them when they got too close.
     
  5. Thor

    Thor Senior member

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    Agreed....and not just the lions but the zebras and Wildebeests and (esp) the hyenas as they called back and forth...It is simply an amazing experience that few get...

    The lions are not really the problem- but the hippos are ornery and aggressive and the hyenas do come into camp at night. I had hyena footprints on my vestibule in the morning...

    I would suggest spending the extra money and going with somebody like Abercrombie and Kent- extremely luxurious- with heated water for washing and hot tea delivered at pre-dawn for your morning game drive- and hot showers in the evening...amazing food...

    ..but even more important- smaller groups in more mobile jeep 4x4s rather than the typical safari van packed with 12 of your fellow tourons all craning out the top for a better view...

    Enjoy!
     
  6. HORNS

    HORNS Senior member

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    I went on the cheap for a month back in 1993 with Overseas Adventure Travels - it was an amazing experience in tents like what Dopey was describing with the lions grunting and hyenas cackling outside your tent at night.
     
  7. UnFacconable

    UnFacconable Senior member

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    Thanks guys - lots of good food for thought. Based on my previous safari experience, we are definitely planning on having our own guide so we won't have to deal with the whims or schedule of a larger group.

    A&K looks great but I think we're too late to book with them - they don't have trips the days we need them and doesn't look like they can do a custom trip for a reasonable price. Unfortunately we never really do things far enough in advance to make the most of it - but such is life.
     
  8. GreenNYC

    GreenNYC Senior member

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    I've been on safari in Kenya and stayed at Ol Donyo Lodge in the Chyulu Hills. The lodge offered an interesting blend of luxury and camping. Each villa had a wall that was open to the plains and Kilimanjaro in the distance. It really gave you the feeling of camping but you still had your own plunge pool, etc. 12-13 days on safari seems long. Maybe it was just me but after 5-6 days I had seen enough. The 2 x day drives got a little boring. But a wonderful experience overall and I'll never forget what an institution the sundowner was....enjoy!

    http://www.greatplainsconservation.com/odl/index.html
     
  9. UnFacconable

    UnFacconable Senior member

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    Huh - I'll think about whether it's too many days on Safari. It's looking like 10 days total, but that includes some transit days on either end so we're probably looking at 7 or 8 days of real safari activity. We also have a lot of variety baked into the itinerary we are currently looking at - Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire and Selous, so I'm hopeful we won't ever get bored but it does give me something to consider.
     
  10. Joffrey

    Joffrey Senior member

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    I love nature and animals and all but this does not turn me on one bit.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  11. HORNS

    HORNS Senior member

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    It is indeed nerve-wrecking but the memories . . .
     
  12. Fuuma

    Fuuma Senior member

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    There isn't much to plan:

    1) Pick a place that is far inside the park not outside or near the entry. Camp in a tent if you prefer.
    2) Have a 4X4+driver
    3) Pay a warden to act as guide instead of tour guide.
    4) Enjoy

    This was taken without a zoom (so actual distance, picture not cropped).

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  13. Clark

    Clark Senior member

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    I was in Tanzania about a month ago on a week long Safari visiting Serengetti, Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara and Tarangire. We were only two of us in a jeep with a guide which was great. We almost entirely stayed with Serena Lodges which are 4 star. They were great, especially the Mbuzi Mawe tented camp in the middle of Serengetti (with elephants, buffalo etc. visiting the camp). Highly recommended.

    http://www.serenahotels.com/serenambuzi/default-en.html

    And don't worry about 4 star tented camps, they are more like regular, luxury hotel rooms but with the added charm of actually feeling nature close by and hearing all the animals.

    I also think that 7 days is more than enough for just safari, and then you should visit different parks as you are planning, not only the Serengetti / Ngorongoro (even if the landscape there is amazing). Tarangire was a lot smaller, but a wonderful experience anyway, especially seeing so many elephants, and very close.

    You can't really go wrong with Tanzania, it is absolutely beautiful and unforgettable.

    /C
     
  14. Fuuma

    Fuuma Senior member

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    Haha, Serena lodges= the afro-indian connection. Their places are fine, dunno if it will fit what SFers think of as 4 stars but you can't really complain.
     
  15. UnFacconable

    UnFacconable Senior member

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    Thanks Clark - great stuff. Fuuma - appreciate it as well - hadn't thought about the advantage of staying deep inside a park vs boundaries.

    I'm looking forward to seeing lions again, here's one shot we got of a Lion from my last trip to Africa.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  16. Clark

    Clark Senior member

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    The Serengeti is so vast, so staying somewhere within it is almost required, otherwise you will need to go by car for several hours each day (and there are no paved roads :) ).

    Yes, you will hopefully see a lot of lions in Serengeti, as well as in Ngorongoro, and probably very close.

    This is some pictures from a safari to Namibia a couple of years ago. This pride came to a waterhole just 30 meters from our jeep, and we were the only ones there:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    /C
     

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