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Hi there everyone! Having returned to the UK yesterday from Tanzania, I've decided to stop lurking and undertake my first SafariTalk trip report. I have upcoming trips in the next six months to Benin (Pendjari), Chad (Zakouma) and Senegal (Niokolo-Koba) so I'm hopeful this will be the first of many! A bit about me: I'm a 22 year-old with a long-held passion for wildlife, with this trip around the Southern Circuit my 15th safari (which rather pales in comparison to many of you!). My big passion has been African Wild Dogs for as long as I can remember, but I'm fascinated by anything with fur/feathers/scales! A bit about the trip: I travelled with my childhood best friend, Jack, who had previously ventured only to Tsavo East nine years ago. We travelled overland (two guys in their early 20s don't have a particularly malleable budget!) spending four days in Selous before spending a day travelling to Ruaha, where we spent three days. A further two days would be in Mikumi before the reluctant journey home. We used a Tanzanian safari company for the trip who guided, drove and fed and watered us brilliantly. Now, why the thread title? Well, we would be trying to achieve the impossible in two ways. Firstly, we needed to strike a balance between a beginner's safari for Jack, and what we ironically termed a 'connoisseur's safari' for me. This was a big worry for me in organising the trip - would we be able to find enough game to give Jack a wildlife experience not dissimilar to those offered by the game-rich plains to the North? And would I be able to keep Jack enthused by the time I'd taken my thousandth photo of a White-Browed Coucal? In addition, Jack has long wanted to see wild cheetah, so this was a key goal for us. We chose Selous and Ruaha in no small part because they offered the chance to see dogs and cheetah on the same safari, to keep us both happy! Secondly, I've set myself a rather ambitious target of seeking out dogs, cheetah and lion (perhaps even leopard, who knows) in as many of their range states as possible. Before this trip, I had seen dogs in Kenya and South Africa, with an agonising near miss in Botswana. I had encountered Cheetah in Botswana, SA and Kenya, and lions in Botswana, SA, Kenya and Swaziland. Tanzania offered a chance to build on all of these lists, and also perhaps the opportunity to see some wildlife I had never before encountered - a particular bug bear has been my long-standing inability to see wild serval or caracal, so these were also key targets. You can imagine the look on our guide Mansoor's face when we reeled off all of these demands! I should point out that, despite the above, I would have been content just to be back in the bush after a 14-month absence - anything else would be a wonderful bonus. I'm hoping to crack on with this TR in earnest tomorrow and I hope to have as many SafariTalkers on board as possible to relive what was a wonderful adventure! Tom
I've been to Africa multiple times, mainly to South Africa/Botswana, with a standard northern circuit trip to Tanzania in 2010. The main impetus for this trip was to visit Ruaha, Tanzania's largest national park. In researching accommodations I found Authentic Tanzania's private tented camp near Kimilamatonge Hill, and we booked that for a full week. The rest of the trip filled out like this: -July 3 depart Los Angeles -July 4 arrive Dar es Salaam via Amsterdam -July 5 drive to Mikumi National Park -July 6 walking safari and drives in Mikumi -July 7 drive to Ruaha -July 8-13 full days in Ruaha -July 14 fly to Northern Serengeti, Lemala Kuria Hills lodge -July 15 Northern Serengeti, Lemala Kuria Hills lodge -July 16 drive to Central Serengeti via Lobo, Serengeti Sopa lodge -July 17 Central Serengeti and drive to Ngorongoro, Ngorongoro Sopa lodge -July 18 Ngorongoro Crater and then drive to Kilimanjaro Airport for evening flight home It was an ambitious itinerary, with little downtime, although the drive from Mikumi to Ruaha was much longer than I expected. The flights were made more bearable by paying for seats with extra legroom. We were first to the visa counter, which was a slow process. Mubu from Authentic Tanzania met us and drove us to the Alexander Hotel. I wouldn't want to try driving around Dar myself, there are no street signs! In the morning J4 (Jumanne, which is "Tuesday" in Swahili), our guide for the next 9 days, picked us up in a standard 5 seat pop-top land cruiser. Even being a Sunday morning the streets were crowded with buses, tatas, and trucks. We saw lots of markets, and farming as we left town. We arrived at Mikumi National Park at 2:30 pm, with a quick walk through the sad dusty museum. Only the north side of the park gets visited, as tsetse flies are bad south of the road. The main road crosses the park, it's VERY busy and noisy. Signs warn of fines for hitting animals ($3500 US for lion, $15,000 for giraffe or elephant). Weird to see elephants and giraffes next to a busy freeway! Another sign says that no free wildlife viewing or photos is allowed form the highway, you have to pay the park fees. The country plans to reroute the road but that could be years away. On entering we see impala, wildebeest, eland, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, reedbuck, warthog, black backed jackal, and lots of birds. There are lions, but they eluded everyone. Viewing is done in the north side of the park, too many tsetse flies in the south
We are planning a southern tanzania safari for November 2014. I'm pretty far along in the planning process and basically have an itinerary down but I am still wondering about a few things. Some background: spouse and I are pretty serious birders so birding is a key aspect of any trip we do--although of course mammals too! I'm a serious photographer (not pro) but do travel with SLRs and a big lens This will be our 2nd Tanzania trip; last February we did the Northern Circuit (usual Arusha NP, Manyara, Tarangire, Ndutu, Serengeti, Ngorongoro. We've also safaried in South Africa twice (Kruger and West Coast/Kgalagadi.) 16 days is really our max Mammal goal: wild dogs in Selous or Ruaha Bird goal: Carmine Bee-eater (and a myriad of others, but that's a most-wanted) Here is the itinerary we've worked out and we've gotten a price we can afford from a T.O.: arrival 1: DAR: Harbor View Hotel Day 2: Morgoro: Arc Hotel Birding Uluguru Mountains in Afternoon Day 3: morning in Uluguru; head to Mikumi, game viewing en route. Overnight Stanley Kopje Day 4: game viewing in Mikumi, overnight Stanley Kopje Day 5: Mikuki-->Selous overnight Lake Manze Days 6, 7 Lake Manze Days 8, 9 Selous Impala Days 10 Depart for Udzungwa Overnight Udzungwa Forest Camp (Hondo Hondo) Day 11 birding Udzungwa. Kilombero Flood Plains. Overnight Udzungwa Forest Camp Day 12 early morning birding/hike then depart for Iringa. Overnight Neema Crafts Guest House Day 13, Iringa --> Ruaha overnight Kwihala. Driver will depart back for DAR Day 14, 15, 16 Kwihala: all activities with their guides (will get private vehicle) Day 17 11:45 am flight back to DAR So here's my questions: 1. Does this seem like a workable itinerary? I know there are some long driving days but there is always birding and game en route. 2. Timing: we want to take advantage of low season rates, and leverage our Thanksgiving holiday (Nov. 27/28)--hence November. But we could go anytime from mid Nov through the end, or the last week of Nov through first week of Dec, or even leave towards the end of the month and into mid-ish Dec. I know the short rains come in Nov and it will get progressively hotter (also know you can't predict when they will come!) But generally speaking, which time period makes most sense? Also given that we will be birding and I really hope to get Carmine Bee-eater--not sure exactly when they arrive but somewhere I think I read November. any thoughts appreciated.
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