arcticfly

Getting away from the crowds? (Tanzania)

9 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Hi. 

 

My wife (to be) and me is going to Zanzibar to get married next year. After that we will do some safari stuff. We usually self drive, but this time, we thought we get a driver/guide since renting a 4wd seems stupidly expensive in Tanzania. Now, we have been around southern Africa and been more or less alone along sightings except in Kruger. We really want to see Serengeti one time in our lives, but 40 cars at a lion sighting is just not our idea of safari. Is it at all possible to get away from the crowds? or should we just pack our bags and go to Ruaha, or even South Luangwa in Zambia? I mention SL because the leopard is at the top of your list, but any cat is a good cat :-) 

 

Where would you recommend we go in Tanzania where the wilderness dream can live, and cats are plentiful? Oh and we are on a budget, so luxury safari is out of the question. Rooftop tent is great, dome tent on the ground is pushing it too far for wify, but a bigger tent is ok.

 

Short sum up: more animals than people, Cats is essential, birds not so much, not too expensive.

 

Thank you :-)

Edited by arcticfly

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South Luangwa is a prime location for leopard, and by far not as crowded as the northern circuit in Tanzania. Staying in South Luangwa you've got (almost) a guarantee for al leopard if staying a few nights including some 'evening drives' (~1h after sunset). For leopards, it's one of the three places I'd go (Masai Mara, Okavango, SLNP). For extremely useful information on Luangwa visit tripadvisor! In Selous and Ruaha you can expect far less people than in the north, as well. If you are lucky, you might see a leopard (we were lucky in Selous, saw wild dogs as well). In Ruaha we had lions in large numbers and I love it for the scenery. Staying in South Luangwa you've got (almost) a guarantee for al leopard if staying a few nights including some 'evening drives' (~1h after sunset). For leopards, it's one of the three places I'd go (Masai Mara, Okavango, SLNP). For extremely useful information on Luangwa visit tripadvisor! In general, budget prices attract people, understandably, so it's not easy for most, without pushing the limits.

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thank´s. It jus feels so wrong being in Tanzania and not going safari there...

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@arcticfly I don't know what time of year you will be in Tanzania but have you seen this new report @madaboutcheetah has just started? Sounds like exactly what you're looking for! 

 

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We are thinking of september, but not set in stone. Thank you for linking to this. very interesting :-)

 

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We had a really excellent stay at Lake Manze Camp in Selous and it's only a short couple of flights from Zanzibar. We went to the island after our 5 nights in Selous. Whilst at Lake Manze it was apparent Adventure camps/Coastal air did a nice little short and sweet deal from Zanzibar and we saw a few people come and go who had booked a 24 hr deal at the camp. It's a very nice place, just enough rustic but with all the amenities. If budget is a concern then I imagine Selous would be a good option as it is not far, doesn't have a lot of people and the feeling is much wilder I would say then the northern circuit. The boat Safari from Manze was excellent when we went (also sept).

 

Haven't been to Zambia, but a colleague who was on a budget stayed at Jackalberry camp in South Luangwa and had an e excellent time. They also travelled in Sept 2016 and as it turned out there was no one else in camp, so they had an amazing time. If I recall correctly I think there are only a handful of tents 3/4 maybe.

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Thank you. But Seoul's is not famous for the cats I believe. And cats is important for us :-)

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Others  may be able to answer better as I haven't done Tamnzania on a budget but ...

 

Answer: yes you can get away from the crowds. I have been in such a crowd once in three trips.  Doing things on a budget makes that a little more difficult but I am sure it is doable. Rooftop tents are not common and on the budget end tents are generally small variety - so that is an issue. They are available though if you look around. Ruaha has park authority accommodation so would be ideal. In Serengeti you are probably going to need to spend a bit more to please your wife. 

 

Vehicles are very expensive throughout East Africa. Ask how much one costs while there to find out why. 

 

Yes you would be idiots not to visit the Serengeti or Ruaha while already in Tanzania, although factor in flight costs to Arisha or Kilimanjaro. 

 

 

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@arcticfly congratulations on your forthcoming wedding. I'm not sure what you are budgeting for the 2018 safari, however I am currently booking a mid-range safari for Tanzania next year. This up-to-date information may be useful to you, although I don't know if any of these parks are better for leopards than others. 

 

  • Its possible to stay at the Tan Swiss Inn for about $100 US B&B and travel the short distance into Mikumi NP each day - park fees apply;
     
  • The only budget acommodations I could find around Ruaha were outside the park and sounded quite basic - Foxes Hilltop Camp and there was another property also outside the park, and now I can't remember the name sorry;
     
  • Accommodation at Msembe Cottages is a very good deal and in a great location. It may be best to contact an operator based in Dar and enquire about a road trip that includes Mikumi and travelling with a cook, a vehile that has a fridge and using the accommodation at Msembe. There are a number of well-priced options such as Saivilla for an overnight in Iringa where you would need to buy provisions; and
     
  • Lake Manze Camp is probably the best value accomodation in Selous, although I didn't look closely at this park for our 2018 trip.

Camping is a great way to save money on safari, although I don't know what alternaties there are to dome tents. @africalover may have some tips for you as he is a frequent visitor.

 

 

 

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