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About sdfamily

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  1. I'm still going round and round. After reading several trip reports from people with kids/teenagers, I think we need to vary the routine a bit. I think being in the same closed pop-top vehicle for 13 days is going to drive at least one of my kids crazy. Now, here's what I've got. I think it gives a good variety. Private guide and vehicle from Arusha: Arusha Coffee Lodge (1N), Little Oliver's (2N), Ngorongoro Sopa (2N) fly to Kogatende: Ubuntu (3N) fly to Masai Mara: Encounter Mara (3N) I think I like it.
  2. I think it's Lamai, but I will clarify.
  3. Option 4 Rivertrees Rivertrees Tarangire Safari Lodge Tarangire Safari Lodge Wayo Camp Manyara Rhotia Tented Lodge Rhotia Tented Lodge Sanctuary Serengeti - 6 N 1st portion would have Wayo private guide/vehicle. 2nd portion would have camp guide/vehicle. This is significantly less per person ($2000) than the other options. Remember, we are a party of 4. I would likely add another night to Tarangire, subtract a night from Serengeti and add a private driver in the Serengeti. Thoughts?
  4. Still working on Asilia reprice. In the meantime, I have three alternatives about the same price. Rivertrees-2N, Kuro Tarangire-2N, Gibb's Farm-1N, Nomad Entamanu-2N, flight to Kogatende, Nomad Serengeti-4N, flight to JRO. First part would have private Nomad guide and vehicle. Second part would have private Nomad camp guide and vehicle. 11 nights Rivertrees-2N, Tarangire Safari Lodge-3N, Lemala Ngorongoro-2N, Kiota Camp-3N, Lemala Kuria Hills-3N, flight to JRO. Same private guide and vehicle for entire trip. 13 nights Kaliwa-2N, Kuro Tarangire-2N, Kitela-1N, Nomad Entamanu-2N, Nyumbani-2N, Nomad Serengeti-4N, flight to JRO. Same private guide and vehicle for entire trip. 13 nights Thoughts? I'm leaning towards #3 as there are 4 nights in the Mara Serengeti and Nomad gets such great reviews.
  5. Ok...I've got a few options I'm tweaking. Rivertrees-2N, Kuro Tarangire-2N, Gibb's Farm-1N, Nomad Entamanu-2N, flight to Kogatende, Nomad Serengeti-3N, Nomad Lamai-3N, flight to JRO. First part would have private Nomad guide and vehicle. Second part would have private Nomad camp guide and vehicle (hopefully same guide for both Nomad camps). 13 nights Rivertrees-2N (tour/hike in Kilimanjaro area), Tarangire Safari Lodge-3N, Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge-2N, Kiota Camp-3N, Lemala Kuria Hills-3N, flight to JRO. Same private guide and vehicle for entire trip. 13 nights Arusha Coffee Lodge-1N, flight to Kuro, Oliver's Camp-2N, flight to Manyara, The Highlands-2N, flight to Seronera, Namiri-2N, flight to Kogatende, Olakira-4N, flight to JRO. 11 nights I like 1 and 2 as we get to do some other things besides just safari activities: hike/local lunch near Kilimanjaro, Manyara treetops walkway, etc. 1 and 3 are about the same price and more expensive than 2. Obviously, some of the accommodations in 1 and 3 are not in the same price category as some in 2. I'm working on getting the options more apples to apples. Option 3 is way too much flying (IMO). I'll working on an Asilia option with less flights.
  6. Ok..working on collecting some quotes. I still have a couple of questions. Pricing is interesting since we have 2 kids that fit in different age brackets for discounts. Ndutu/Central area: Should we spend 2 or 3 nights in this location? Camps being looked at are: Dunia, Namiri Plains, Kiota, Sanctuary Kusini Private guide vs. fly-in: I'm trying to figure out what would work for our family. It seems the better guides would remain with you the entire time, all the way into the north. This means longer drive times, but I think more economical for 4 people vs. flying. Do the camp guides really know the area better? Also, some quotes have been fly to Kuro, fly to Manyara, fly to Central, fly to Kogatende, fly back to Arusha. Seems like a lot of flying. Most have guide stay until Central and then we would fly to Kogatende. Is that a better balance? Is the drive from Central to Kogatende really that bad? My concern with having one guide would be, what if we didn't like them. Also, are the camp vehicles more 'open' vs. the other kind? Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.
  7. Thanks so much for all the info. I will just stick to one camp in the northern Serengeti. Whatever camp we end up with we will probably pay for a separate vehicle as we have as 12 YO. Any idea if there are 4 of us that we would end up with one anyways? Looking at camps in Ndutu / Kusini. In July/August it seems like lots close down. Will do some more research.
  8. Am finally getting some itineraries together. Have phone call set up with A2T on Friday. In the meantime, a couple of questions: If doing Tarangire then Ngorongoro first, is there any benefit to staying a night or two in the Central Serengeti before going to the Northern Serengeti? FWIW, we are looking at either the Nomad or Serian camps in the North. So, we would lose our private guide/vehicle after Ngorongoro and go directly north and use the camp vehicles/guides? The time of year is late July / early August. If we were to spend our Serengeti time in the North, would you recommend splitting time between the camps South of the river (e.g. Serian Serengeti North) and then go North of the river (e.g. Serian Lamai) or does it really matter?
  9. Yes. That was my take too. Not sure I'm wild (ha) about that. This is the TO who pitched me about having one guide, not flying to the north, etc. Then, I have 3 flights and no mention of guide/vehicle. Made me roll my eyes and reconsider Botswana. Will keep researching.
  10. Just wanted to update you all: Have gotten some feedback from TOs (it's frustrating to me to not be able to book directly) - Botswana: am looking at mobile safari or young explorers in Shinde, Selinda Explorers, and Machaba with Vic Falls / Capetown addon booked separately -Tanzania: I'd like Arusha NP, Tarangirie, Crater, Mara..Haven't gotten very far with quotes. First person to get back to me, came back with: Rivertrees: 1 night Highlands: 3 nights (which I actually like for the hiking opportunities) flight Elahne Plains (eastern Serengeti??): 2 nights (have yet to determine where this is) drive Noana Moru: 2 nights flight KasKaz Mara: 2 nights flight back to DAR No details as to guide / vehicle / etc. will try to confirm.
  11. Thanks everyone for your comments. Helping to narrow this down! Also, I have a cousin who recommended Lake Tanganyika (the world's 2nd largest freshwater lake). That looks like an awesome add on. Something different than Zanzibar, but still a beach. Will do some more research....
  12. This is where I'm leaning. I really hadn't taken it into consideration. With 4 people and their opinions, it would be nice to be able to devise our own plans each day. Sleep in, gone for lunch, out early with breakfast...depending on how we feel. The other thing I've been thinking about is that in Tanazania, we will see things besides wildlife and private concessions. I think it's great to take kids (and adults) out of their comfort zone. Arusha is something like they have never seen before. My husband and teenager would probably be interested in hiking Mt. Meru. If we have a private guide, the drive from the crater to the Northern Serengeti, while long, will be something interesting. The latest agent I contacted said the same thing. To not be concerned.... So true. I usually take a trip somewhere with my sister each year and am thinking that a trip to Botswana would be great for that. Yes, in my next life I want to be my kids!
  13. Reading everyone's responses. Thanks for all the helpful information! Yes. I realize I'm trying to compare apples (private concessions) and oranges (national parks) . Which makes it more difficult! Since our timeframe is pretty locked in, and we have TWO people under 18, I'd like to maximize the discounts afforded to us. Right now, that seems like Tanzania. Will keep u updated.....
  14. I used approx. 550,000 miles (combination of Chase Ultimate Rewards and Aadvantage miles) over the summer to take 4 teenagers business class and myself first class to Indonesia this summer with overnights in Tokyo and Singapore. I estimate that it was over $30,000 in value. So, it can definitely be done. I'll be using miles to travel business class and first class to Africa with an overnight in Dubai or Zurich for our trip. I'm not familiar with Delta's program. As said above, you are treated just like other paying passengers. I think it's actually better, because usually you can make changes to dates, times, etc. if you keep the original origin and destination. There are several award booking services that you might consider. For a fee, they will find you award space. It should be 190,000 miles round trip per person business class from US to South Africa. You just have to find the space. DON'T PAY ANY MORE. Website is cryptically difficult. PM me if you need help finding the award booking service. Let me do a little research into Delta's program and I'll get back wit you.
  15. I will put Duba Explorer on the list. It's considerably more expensive than the Kwara camps. Yes. Serian in Tanzania provides private vehicle. Also, would have private vehicle at Shinde / Young Explorers. Am researching others. Yes. I'm going to price Botswana. My initial estimates show that it's more expensive than Tanzania, but actual quotes may show that it's WAAAY more expensive. During high season, Wilderness Safaris doesn't give any child discount. On the other hand, several of the Tanzania operators (e.g. Nomad, Serian) do give discount for children during high season. Every bit helps... As far as Kenya, I was a little concerned about the political unrest following the elections. Should I be concerned? It's definitely intriguing with the conservancies. I'll do some more research. Flying from LAX, using miles. Right now it looks about the same availability into NBO, JNB and somewhat DAR/JRO.

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