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Tanzania Safari Itinerary for Mid-May 2017 - Advice Needed!

TanzaniaSafari Camps Trip Planning

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#1 4quartets

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 10:53 PM

Hello everyone,

 

A first time poster here.  We are planning a Tanzania northern circuit safari in mid-May 2017.  This will be our first trip to Tanzania and we could use your collective expertise and advice in planning this trip.  We have contacted a few trip operators and are considering the following itinerary.

 

Day 1: JRO to Arusha (African Tulip)

Day 2: Arusha to Tarangire (Maramboi Tented Lodge)

Day 3: Tarangire to Serengeti National Park (Kubukubu tented camp)

Day 4: Serengeti National Park (Kubukubu tented camp)

Day 5: Serengeti National Park ( Kubukubu tented camp)

Day 6: Serengeti National Park to Western Corridor (Mbalageti Safari Lodge tented chalet)

Day 7: Western Corridor (Mbalageti Safari Lodge tented chalet)

Day 8: Western Corridor to Ngorogoro Conservation Area (Ngorogoro Sopa Lodge)

Day 9: drive back to Arusha for 11:30 AM international flight

 

For budget reasons, we are considering reducing one day (if we do, where would you cut?).

 

A few questions:

 

  1. Is this a balanced itinerary?  Any changes you would make? For mid to late May, is it worth going to the Western Corridor and  up to Grumeti?  Would you consider Ntudu during this time instead?
  2. What do you think of the lodges/camps that are listed above and would you recommend any changes (that are comparable in price)?
  3. Another itinerary has us doing Lake Manyara, but we read that during this time, Lake Manyara and Tarangire may not be at their best.  Would you omit both and add this time to Serengeti? 

 

Looking forward to your thoughts and thanks in advance!



#2 Sangeeta

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 11:08 PM

@4quartets - I think your itinerary looks good but I would suggest you replace the Western Corridor with Option 1) Namiri Plains and Option 2) Dunia or Pioneer or another camp in the Moru Kopjes area. Off-season pricing is good enough in May for you to be able to squeeze in some of these usually higher priced camps. Anything is possible, but it is unlikely that the herds will be in the western corridor at that time.

 

Happy planning!


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#3 Big Andy

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 07:56 AM

Probably not a lot of help but if you want to cut out one day I'd cut out day nine and just stay there.  ;)  :D


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#4 LarsS

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 07:35 PM

Looks like a great trip! Good to see you have Tarangire in your itinerary. Though Serengeti was fenomenal on my Tanzania trip, Tarangire surprised me the most and I think this is a park that is sometimes left out too easy. I must say that I was there in November, no idea how it looks like in May.

 

Although I can't disagree with @Big Andy if you really have to skip a day, it's a hard decision. I don't know a lot about the western corridor, so can't decide on that. Personally, I'd skip Ngorongoro. This may sound a bit strange for some as I know Ngorongoro has a lot of fans. But for me, it was the contrary to Tarangire: I expected more from the famous ngorongoro. May be expectations were too high, maybe it was because it was our last stop of our itinerary, but more likely it was because I thought it was too crowded with cars. Yes, it's a stunning place, but next time I probably won't visit it again.

 

And now I remember that you can find rhino there... We didn't see them. But if you really want to see them, it might be worth visiting the crater.

 

Best advice? Don't reduce one day.



#5 Treepol

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Posted 28 September 2016 - 04:14 AM

@4quartets I agree with @Sangeeta. I would drop the Western Corridor and stay around Moru koppes, or add an extra night in Tarangire and one in Lake Manyara. This way, you will have a more leisurely trip and spend less time driving.

 

I know that you mentioned budget, however it may save travelling time and leave more time for safari if you drive one way to the Serengeti and then fly back to Arusha from Seronera.

 

Some ideas for budget accommodation are Tarangire Safari Lodge and Kirurumu Manyara Lodge

 

A couple of nights camping will also reduce costs considerably. I suggest that you contact Narry at Good Earth Tours as they have offices in Florida and Arusha. I've travelled with them twice in 2005 and 2008 and can happily recommend them. Narry will work with you to tailor a safari to your interests and budget.


Edited by Treepol, 28 September 2016 - 04:15 AM.

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#6 4quartets

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Posted 28 September 2016 - 11:07 PM

Thank you for all of your helpful responses.  Much appreciated!  I think using a flight back to Arusha would be most ideal, but the cost of adding a Coastal Aviation flight for all of us exceeds the budget.  We were told that instead of using the Coastal Aviation flights, there is a fastjet flight from Arusha to Mwanza, which is can be as low as 60 US dollars.  Not sure whether the trip operator would be willing to do this, but if so, what do you think about this option?  Our international flight arrives late into Arusha (1 in the morning), and I think there is a fastjet flight to Mwanza around 6 am.  Schedule not ideal, but if we can start in Mwanza it would avoid much driving.

 

I suppose the decision we have to make is whether we should keep the Western Corridor.  I know the migration is unpredictable, but about 1/2 the people we have asked say in the last 1/2 of May it should be there (and have heard that Mgbalegeti is nice) and the other 1/2 say the western corridor is not worth the drive out there and we should keep to the well trodden track of Tarangire, Manyara, Central Serengeti, and Ngorogoro.  I suppose it is well trodden for a reason.



#7 amybatt

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 12:42 PM

I guess I'm confused.  If one of your desires is to try to see the migration, why would you eliminate the area you'd be most likely to see it at that time of year?  I could be wrong, but the migration won't be anywhere near the "well trodden track" which is the itinerary I did in Feb 2013 (and indeed saw the migration in Ndutu).

 

This map shows you where the migration usually is at certain months of the year.  Yes it's always a crap shoot when dealing with Mother Nature, but why avoid the area entirely if that's what you're hoping to see?

 

I booked my Tanzanian safari with Access2Tanzania.  It might be worth giving them a call for a proposed itinerary (there's no crime in talking to a few operators and shopping around!).  Karen (the co-owner who I dealt with directly) is used to working with time and budget constraints and she would be sure to book your flights and transfers as she did with us.  She's been operating on the ground there for quite some time and employs all local guides who've been doing this for A2T for ages.  I'd rely heavily on whatever advice she can offer re: migration and budget.



#8 amybatt

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 12:43 PM

Deleted dupe post.  Sorry!


Edited by amybatt, 29 September 2016 - 12:44 PM.


#9 rjwafrica

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 09:29 PM

I agree with amybatt. We used Access2Tanzania in our northern Tanzania Safari in February and have planned another for next September in the Serengeti and Ruaha. I would also suggest that you do not miss Ngorongoro Crater. Very busy but a beautiful and full of wildlife.







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