We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

N. Tanzania Circuit - Ideal Itinerary July < 2 weeks

Which Tanzania hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Los Angeles, CA or...
posts: 17
reviews: 1
N. Tanzania Circuit - Ideal Itinerary July < 2 weeks

Hello Trip Advisors,

My girlfriend and I are taking almost 2 weeks at the beginning of July to do the Northern Tanzanian Circuit of parks. I was wondering if anyone had comprised their dream itinerary, suitable for a young couple on private safari. We'd love to see a lot of game and hope to walk a little too as we're both hikers of sorts.

I've been in contact with many of the local operators in Arusha and have gotten quotes and itineraries, all seem to include Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Lk Manyara, & Tarangire. With accomodations ranging from all lodges (mostly Sopa) to some camping, I've gotten quotes from $2500 to $4000 pp.

Besides any itinerary suggestions, I'd love to know if anyone can recommend good places to camp for a few nights, or if you've had any familiarity with the Sopa Lodges. One tour operator has included a night at Lake Eyasi, wondering if that's worth it in your opinion.

Thanks a lot for any help you can give, these forums are invaluable and I really appreciate the advice.

Thanks,

Mike

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
posts: 12,114
reviews: 6
1. Re: N. Tanzania Circuit - Ideal Itinerary July < 2 weeks

Mike.... July can be a very good time to be there. It is the dry season, thus you probably won't get any rain, the grass is shorter so it's a bit easier to see the animals, and it's a bit cooler then other times of the year (about 10 degrees F cooler).

The best park you can be in at that time of the year are those which have permanent water sources. This would be Tarangire, which will have large herds of elephants, wildebeest, buffalo, etc. Ngorongoro Crater is always good with abundant animals at every turn of the head. Then in the Serengeti typically the Central Serengeti would be the place to go, near to the river where you might catch some large cats.

I would not suggest going out on a hike without an armed guard, thus these hikes cannot be on the spot but rather they need to be a planned hike. You don't want it to get overly adventurous and run across a hungry wild animals who would only consider you as prey.

With two weeks scheduled you will have time for side trips such as to Lake Eyasi but know that this will be a long drive there and back over difficult roads.

Two weeks would be a long time for me to be in the Northern Circuit. You might want to consider also including some places like Pangani on the coast or Sadaani on the coast where you will have good beaches and at least at Sandaani you can also do some game viewing.

Hope this helps you a bit.

nyc
posts: 13,453
2. Re: N. Tanzania Circuit - Ideal Itinerary July < 2 weeks

You can arrange for hiking around the Ngorongoro Crater - to Olomoti or Empakaii. Also if you spend a day in the Karatu area, hiking in the highlands or to the elephant caves.

The former have to be pre-arranged, the latter can be arranged direct thru some of the lodges in the area.

Isle of Man, United...
posts: 32,271
reviews: 199
3. Re: N. Tanzania Circuit - Ideal Itinerary July < 2 weeks

Well first off I am pleased to see somebody actually taking their time to enjoy the places they visit instead of the usual headlong rush to do it all in three days flat.

As sandi says hikes can be arranged around Olmoti and Empakai Craters, even walking from one to the other and staying out wild camping on the rims. Walks all the way to Lake natron and OlDonyo Lengai are possible around there.

Back in Mto wa Mbu/Karatu you can explore the Rift Valley Cliffs/Walls on foot usually accompanied by a Maasai. (See the post by DogtiredWoof a few days back and link to her blog.)

Lake Eyasi is worth the side trip, aim for two nights down there to get the best of it and again you can walk/hike if you wish. Oldeani is a nice target.

Be advised that there are dangerous mammals out there, not just cats (who normally are too darn lazy to bother you) but watch out for Buffalo and Ellies. They are strictly veggie but this is no consolation. Stay away from Water too.

I have only used the Sopa at Ngorongoro which is OK but a bit institutional for the mass market.

Try and stick to smaller Camps/lodges for a better atmosphere.

Los Angeles, CA or...
posts: 17
reviews: 1
4. Re: N. Tanzania Circuit - Ideal Itinerary July < 2 weeks

Hey Guys,

I see I got the Tanzanian Dream Team of Trip Advisers here. Thanks for responding. I've read a lot of your posts on other forums and they are invaluable to us newcomers. So thanks very much.

Here's our proposed itinerary for an 8 day safari:

DAY 1 - PICK UP AT JRO, DRIVE TO TARANGIRE

TARANGIRE SAFARI LODGE (BUNGALOWS)

DAY 2 - DRIVE TO LAKE MANYARA

KIRURUMU TENTED LODGE

DAY 3 - DRIVE TO CRATER RIM

NGRORO SOPA LODGE (CRATER VIEW)

DAY 4 - DRIVE TO SERENGETI

MBUZI MAWE

DAY 5 - CENTRAL SERENGETI

MBUZI MAWE

DAY 6 - WEST SERENGETI

MBALAGETI (CHALET)

DAY 7 - WEST SERENGETI

MBALAGETI (CHALET)

DAY 8 - WEST SERENGETI

MORNING GAME DRIVE THEN FLIGHT

FROM GRUMETI TO ARUSHA, TRANSFER TO JRO

Any advice or changes you'd make, I'd love to know. Right now we're thinking about going with Basecamp Safaris as they've given us the lowest quote and seem to come highly recommended.

We've also got about 4 days to play with after this trip you guys think its worth it to go to Zanzibar, or should we stretch our safari out a little longer? If so, maybe another night at Tarangire? We're likely going to see the Gorillas in Volcanoes NP right before this trip. So maybe the beach would be nice afterwards? But then again, I've seen some epic beaches in my life...

A quick question about accommodations: would you guys take the Tarangire Safari Lodge over Maramboi Tented? And do you think the time saved driving down to the crater makes staying at NG Sopa worth it? Where should we stay instead?

Thanks again y'all! You guys are the best!

Isle of Man, United...
posts: 32,271
reviews: 199
5. Re: N. Tanzania Circuit - Ideal Itinerary July < 2 weeks

Flattery will get you everywhere Mike.

Your Lodges match my own preferences although despite the chance of sandi snoring in the tent next door I would take a tent at Tarangire over a bungalow mainly for the view and the chance to sit outside and watch ellies in the river below.

Jumping the order of your Qs, I would take an extra night here.

I think the Sopa road is an asset as you enter via the east of the crater with "the others" entering from the west side so you get the place to yourselves for the first couple of hours until meeting in the middle.

Zanzibar. Quaint place but one beach is much like another. If yoiu are not likely to pass this way again then on balance I would say yes but it is not worth more than two nights unless you are sybaritic.

I don't know Maramboi as I always stay at TSL in a Tent, see above! (Liked the place at first sight in 1993 been returning ever since.)Some think the Tents a trifle too close but I have never even noticed. It's a place to sleep not party.

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
posts: 12,114
reviews: 6
6. Re: N. Tanzania Circuit - Ideal Itinerary July < 2 weeks

I think you've got it about right on the schedule. If you wanted to add one more day at Tarangeri you could do that since you have the time. It's a great place to be in July. I typically don't comment on accommodations since one persons palace is another's rathole; and much of ones fuss over accommodations is perception, and no one can climb into anyone's head and learn what this is. I've stayed in what many would consider a rathole in Africa and been completely contented (perhaps because my eyes were closed and I didn't see what was going on).

If you wanted to do a little beach time, there's a great beach area near Tanga called Pangani and those who go there typically like it, very secluded. There's also some beach resorts on the coast near Dar es Salaam and Bagamoyo. Beaches are not all that great, especially at Bagamoyo. I typically use them to catch the sea breezes when it gets so hot and humid in Dar. Some of the resorts there are on the luxury side.

Wow, Mfuwe has his dictionary out again. I haven't heard the word sybaritic for quite a while. I think that the last time I used that word was in describing Mfuwe's living conditions on the Isle of Man in his beach house.

nyc
posts: 13,453
7. Re: N. Tanzania Circuit - Ideal Itinerary July < 2 weeks

snore, snore! LOL!

It's just a running thing between Mfuwe and myself.

Nothing wrong with Tarangire Safari Lodge, but the small tents and short beds* and right next to one another. But the views are great.

* for tall people it's got to be challenging

Maramboi has lovely larger tents, nicely spaced, large decks facing Lake Manyara. But it located about 8/miles outside of Tarangire.

As others, would suggest another day at Tarangire as it's a wonderful park. If you don't have another night, what you can do is spend morning of the next day at Tarangire, then off to Manyara for late-afternoon game drive and o/n at KTL.

Isle of Man, United...
posts: 32,271
reviews: 199
8. Re: N. Tanzania Circuit - Ideal Itinerary July < 2 weeks

Thanks Karl but don't tell em all. Can't cope with the begging letters and Hobos.

(One guy on another Forum accused me of writing gibberish as he could not uderstand what I wrote but turns out he was from Canada which explained a lot.)

Los Angeles, CA or...
posts: 17
reviews: 1
9. Re: N. Tanzania Circuit - Ideal Itinerary July < 2 weeks

Yo Dream Team,

Thanks again for the tips. I'm thinking we'll spend two nights at Tarangire as everyone seems to advocate that and I'll ask for the tents at the lodge for the views. Maybe we'll try one night at Maramboi, just to compare.

Quick question about the day when we transfer from Lk Manyara to Ngorongo: Say we woke up at Kirurumu and did an AM drive in Lk Manyara then drove the 2+ hours to Ngorongo. What would you guys do with that evening? 'Cause I heard you get one trip into the crater basically, you can't spend "all day" there, so I imagined we'd get our crater drive in the next morning after a night at the Sopa and then continue out the west side towards the central Serengeti. But, it would seem like we're burning an afternoon, no? Should we just Hang out in LK Manyara all day then drive to the Sopa in the evening? Is it too much to try for a morning in Lk Manyara and an afternoon in the crater? If we did that, we'd skip the Sopa I guess and stay to the west somewhere?

Thanks guys!

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
posts: 12,114
reviews: 6
10. Re: N. Tanzania Circuit - Ideal Itinerary July < 2 weeks

You!! Gibberish!!! I can't believe that anyone would say that. Probably some young dik-dik lost from his mate.