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Please critique this itinerary

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Orlando, FL
posts: 34
reviews: 15
Please critique this itinerary

Comments and suggestions would be very much appreciated! I’ve tried to search for comments and experiences with each of the accommodations but it seems like most threads are several years old.

I’m feeling a bit rushed on making a decision if I want to travel in February or March and now I’m wondering if perhaps I’d be better off planning my trip for later in the year? This proposed itinerary is for the beginning of March.

I’m not feeling real excited about Day 2. Perhaps Arusha NP might be a better choice? I am mostly interested in wildlife photography, including birds. Seeing and walking on Mt Kili would be great, but probably a lower priority for me.

Day 11 seems like a wasted day. I like the idea of flying back to Arusha instead of driving, but the flight leaves so early it just seems like the day will be a total waste.

Total cost is $5,310 pp, but it looks like no meals on Day 1 and only lunch on Day 2.

Day 1 Transfer from JRO. Overnight at The African Tulip

Day 2 Kili day hike & Chaga Village visit. Overnight at The African Tulip

Day 3 Tarangire NP. Overnight at Lake Burunge Tented Camp

Day 4 Tarangire National Park & Masaai Boma visit. Overnight at Lake Burunge Tented Camp

Day 5 Lake Manyara National Park. Overnight at Ngorongoro Farmhouse

Day 6 Ngorongoro Crater. Overnight at Ngorongoro Farmhouse

Day 7 Ndutu - Ngorongoro Conservation Area & Serengeti National Park. Overnight at Masek Tented Camp (Tanganyika Wilderness Camps)

Day 8 Ndutu - Ngorongoro Conservation Area & Serengeti National Park. Overnight at Masek Tented Camp

Day 9 Serengeti National Park. Overnight at Lemala Ewanjan Seronera Valley Camp

Day 10 Serengeti National Park. Overnight at Lemala Ewanjan Seronera Valley Camp

Day 11 Fly from Seronera (11h00) to Arusha (12h15). Transfer to JRO

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 7,409
reviews: 106
1. Re: Please critique this itinerary

I know a number of these camps as your TO has developed a relationship with Tanganyika Wilderness Camps. Know that many of these camps get a LOT of tour activities as TWC is the accommodations provider for Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) and they run tours through Tanzania sometimes 4 times a week. Do you want that?

This entire itinerary is built, not for best location of lodging, but for where they can leverage their accommodation budget. Not to be overly critical about it, because they are nice accommodations, but I would suggest you ensure you have sent your request for the framework to 5 other TOs. It is a bit rushed to plan, but it is a great time to travel if you are at all interested in the masses of birthing (and the drama that goes with it) that happens in February and March. It is also pretty pricey. I know it is high season, and TWC has upped their prices quite a bit to look like a 'luxury' camp, but you can get great lodging for less.

Lake Burunge is quite a distance from Tarangire park. I liked the camp and had no problem with the distance to and from, but if you want close proximity, that is not your best choice.

Ngoro Farmhouse is some distance from the Crater. If you stayed somewhere near the Ngoro gate, you could do your early morning Crater visit for your alloted 6 hours, and then move right on to Ndutu the same day cutting out Day 7 transit time.

If you aren't thrilled with Day 2, then yes you can spend the day in Arusha NP. It is a lovely park and somewhat under utilized. You can do a walk to a waterfall with a game warden and wander by a water buffalo bachelor herd, or a canoe safari. When I visited one early April, there were thousands of flamingo right near the shore (and near the road). They were great to watch and photograph.

You could request a drive both ways itinerary for us to comment on that would give you a bit more safari time last day. If you do that, I might consider suggesting your choose Manyara OR Arusha NP, but not both. Don't take away from the prime spot of the Ndutu for calving.

If this TO is Stateside, I strongly recommend asking Tanzania based TOs for quotes (or ones with strong Tanz affiliates), as I am not keen on this itinerary and price. Look at the list of Top Questions on the right. Bullet 4 will give you some recommendations.

Isle of Man, United...
posts: 32,781
reviews: 213
2. Re: Please critique this itinerary

More or less agree with QMama (except no Water buffalo in TZ any more than there are buffalo in Canada.Tzzzch!)

Fine tuning for me.

2. Why? did you ask for this? Visit Arusha NP may be better.

5. & 6 As QM. After Manyara go straight to the Crater and sleep there.

Why backtrack to Karatu on 6? Gate formalities both ways and you could be heading west.

11. Depends on your flight time out of JRO. Flying one way does save a day or so of Safari time but you could re-jig if you wish by putting either Manyara or Tarangire on the way back.

The price is high for what it is. You could do better.

Orlando, FL
posts: 34
reviews: 15
3. Re: Please critique this itinerary

Thank you very much for your thoughtful reply!

The TO is Access 2 Tanzania, who I thought had strong Tanzania ties even though they are primarily stateside.

I have also contacted Good Earth Tours, but oddly they have not been too eager to provide a proposal. And Africa Dream Safaris but they exceeded my budget.

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 7,409
reviews: 106
4. Re: Please critique this itinerary

Darn, caught out on the Water Buffalo nomenclature again. BTW, we still do have buffalo in Canada...just about as many working water buffalo in Tanz, then.

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 7,409
reviews: 106
5. Re: Please critique this itinerary

Interesting that it is A2T. Then my guess is he is offering what might be left for accommodations for time of year? They are a reputable company with good community work, but I would have hoped for something a little more efficient as itinerary. Of course, we aren't privy to your conversations, so hard to know what they think your expectations are. They can offer good prices, but not always the best.

Send to some on the right and see if they can't offer you something better. If that is all there is, then your option is a different time of year. If you have flexibility, then I would delay and I know that being housed with a lot of tours is not a pleasant evening dinner for a table for two.

Isle of Man, United...
posts: 32,781
reviews: 213
6. Re: Please critique this itinerary

No. You have Bison in Canada. (Just like we do in Europe!) You may call em Buffalo but then you call your Thrushes, "Robins". DD.

Orlando, FL
posts: 34
reviews: 15
7. Re: Please critique this itinerary

To mfuwe,

I did not ask for the Kili visit, they just threw that in. However, I did mention that I was somewhat interested in a little hiking, but what I had in mind was more like what Quiltingmamma described at Arusha NP.

Isle of Man, United...
posts: 32,781
reviews: 213
8. Re: Please critique this itinerary

@ Dementia,

Yes. It strikes me as an odd suggestion too.

You could hike around Ngorongoro to say Olmoti if you do take two nights on the rim.

Chicago
posts: 1,593
reviews: 4
9. Re: Please critique this itinerary

Try Shidolya Tours for a quote. It was my best price, and they were very willing to make changes, and take my suggestions. Crispin was an excellent choice for a guide also. And no, I am not employed by the company or a one-post wonder.

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 7,409
reviews: 106
10. Re: Please critique this itinerary

<< You have Bison in Canada. (Just like we do in Europe!)>>deja vu all over again. I think we have had this conversation before. I realized after hitting 'Post your reply' that they were bison. I bow to your longevity of knowledge and retention.