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4 Weeks to go!

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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68 posts
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4 Weeks to go!

Hi,

I will be heading to Tanzania on February 4-16 with Easy Travel. We are hoping to see all the babies. Then we are heading to Zanzibar for a few nights.

I really have done lots of research on packing, but can't find anything specifically to the month of February. Does anyone have any thoughts?

Should I leave the fleece at home? Get a filtered water bottle. I know this is the hottest time of the year. Bring a hand held fan or something? I already have the standard packing list done. I just thought there might be something for February I should get.

Nashville, Tennessee
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1. Re: 4 Weeks to go!

I would take the fleece. Especially if doing the crater. Plus, early in the morning, when driving, it can still be cool.

I would not worry about a filtered water bottle. I would only use bottled water and follow basic 3rd world sanitation rules for eating.

We did not have any issues at night, it seems to cool off well enough for us. I did not need a fan. Just my experience.

I am JEALOUS!! Have a great trip!

Cincinnati, Ohio
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2. Re: 4 Weeks to go!

Don't bother with a filtered bottled water. Tap water isn't drinkable and I don't think anything consumer grade will fix that. Bottled water is everywhere. Bring a scarf to wrap around your face if dust gets bad, but don't think that's too much of an issue in feb.

melbourne
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3. Re: 4 Weeks to go!

I would not bring a fan, drink the bottled water available some should be provided by your TO.

You won't need a fleece hopefully it will be raining a bit nothing serious so dust wont be an issue.

Arusha, Tanzania
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4. Re: 4 Weeks to go!

February don't miss ndutu area southern Serengeti

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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5. Re: 4 Weeks to go!

That's exactly were we are heading! Can't even imagine what it will be like. Never been to Africa before.

I'll stop looking at water filtration options. Thanks for the advice.

Los Angeles
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6. Re: 4 Weeks to go!

Sara -- you are going to love Africa. We arrive on your last day -- the 16th -- for our 6th safari (5th in Tanzania), and we can't wait, either!

Would you share with us your itinerary? You'll understand when you return to the U.S. how we who are "between safaris" rely on our memories and our imaginations and on the stories of others' trips to provide the occasional "fix" for our Tanzania addictions. We love hearing about when and where our Tanzania Forum friends (new and old) will be staying before they go and what they did and saw when they get home.

Ndutu is fantastic in February -- you're between rainy seasons (though you'll likely encounter a drizzle or two -- and there may be wildflowers along with the babies. Even if the migration isn't where it's "supposed to be," wildlife is plentiful, there are two lakes to explore and woodland and marshes and plains -- it's a gorgeous area. If you're staying at Ndutu Safari Lodge, it may become one of your favorite places on earth. it's certainly one of mine -- authentic, with some history, and with one of the most inviting lounges in the world -- with a view out to Lake Ndutu and the frequent intervening wildlife. The birdbath with its Splendid Starlings and startlingly colorful Fischer's Lovebirds! The campfire before dinner . . . the genets in the rafters. Fifty-one days until I return to my beloved Ndutu. Where are you staying at Ndutu?

Since I don't know your accommodations, I would seriously advise you to be sure to bring along a good, bright flashlight. I have stories to justify that suggestion -- but I won't bore you with them now. Just know that even if one is provided in your tent or room, it's a good idea to have one of your own. In most places, there's no electricity after, say, 9:00 p.m.. A headlamp is a good addition, too.

I hope you're planning to bring TWO small notebooks and some pens. I always make notes in the vehicle of our sightings -- time, place, species, etc. -- but because I'm scribbling at the time I know that when I return to

California my memory won't be enough to decipher my pathetic "handwriting." So, in the evenings, I transcribe my notes to another notebook. It actually makes a wonderful souvenir -- and works as an important aid to identifying photos (especially birds!)

You'll need more memory and more battery for your camera than you think you do. Don't worry about water -- worry about memory cards and battery charger. The fleece is a useful addition for mornings -- and you should avoid shorts most times, as one never knows when you'll encounter tse tse flies -- nor where they'll choose to attack you. (They tend to bite right through my top -- loving my tummy -- and my ankles. Fabric hardly slows them down if they want you, but no point in making it easy for them! LOL.) Otherwise, pack fewer clothes than you think you'll need. Fashion is out of style on safari. Show up in a "safari outfit" and people will smile behind their hands. :-)

BE ABSOLUTELY RELIGIOUS IN ADHERING TO YOUR ANTI-MALARIA MEDS! This is not meant to frighten, but simply to emphasize that malaria isn't something to fool around with.

I'm so jealous. You're arriving 12 days before I am! Fewer sleeps between now and then! You lucky girl.

I do hope we're going to get a full trip report when you return, with your professional-grade photos!!!

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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7. Re: 4 Weeks to go!

Wow that was the absolutely the most lovely post. The last few weeks my excitement as turn in to a bit of fear. You made everything sounds so perfect. I'm very thankful for that.

I had always wondered why people list a headlamp and flash light. For the first time it just clicked. The pen and paper idea is great. I actually forgot about that. It's going into my bag tonight. Maybe with a travel guide book too so I can make notes by the animal pictures. I like the idea of transcribing them. I dislike long handwriting projects, so I'm going to go the way you suggested.

Below is my itinerary. I'm guessing its pretty standard? Let me know if you see something real scary.

5 February - Arrival at 8.40 PM, transfer to Arusha Karama lodge

6 February - To lake Manyara N.P. Manyara wildlife lodge

7 February - To Central Serengeti, game drive in central Serengeti Tortilis camp

8 February - Full day game drives, To Ndutu area of the Serengeti, follow the great migration

Ndutu halisi camp

9 February - Full day game drives Ndutu halisi camp

10 February - Morning game drive to follow the great migration,to Karatu, Country inn lodge

11 February - Full day game drive in the Ngorogoro crater Country inn lodge

12 February - To Tarangire N.P. game drives to see the Elephants in Tarangire Sangaiwe tented lodge

13 February - Transfer to Arusha airfield, flight with Auric air to Zanzibar, transfer to the East cost of the island Casa del Mar B

14 February - Casa del Mar

15 February - Casa del Mar

16 February - Airport transfer to Zanzibar airport

melbourne
Destination Expert
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8. Re: 4 Weeks to go!

HI Sara

I think you will have a great trip. Manyara Wildlife lodge is one of my favourites.....the view is fantastic even though the lodge is somewhat old. You have a good mix of lodges and camps. Don't over think now just relax and go and enjoy the experience. Easy Travel get excellent reviews.

Los Angeles
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9. Re: 4 Weeks to go!

Sara! Sara!! NO FEAR!!

Twice in my life I was struck with that kind of nagging panic before a trip -- lying in bed at night wondering if I really wanted to do this. The first time was before my first ever trip to Europe. It seemed so FOREIGN in my tiny mind, and would I be able to find my way around, figure out what to eat, deal with all the strangeness, manage not to get laughed at as pathetically naive tourist? I FELL IN LOVE WITH TRAVEL AFTER THE FIRST AFTERNOON IN LONDON!

The second time was before our first safari. AFRICA??? Did I really want to do this? After emailing back and forth almost daily with our outfitter/guide (this was to South Africa, with an American one-man-business trip organizer/cum safari guide) I was suddenly a mass of nerves and doubts and fears. I couldn't possibly tell my husband, but it was pretty scary for a couple of days there. When we landed in Jo'berg and the airport looked just like the rest of the world, and then discovered the subsequent thrill of landing on a dirt airstrip with a tiny "terminal" and driving to a darling little lodge for our first night and making my FIRST SIGHTING: a gorgeous male agama lizard -- and being able to identify it all by myself from my previous studies of my now well-word Audubon 'Wildlife of Africa" -- I was HOOKED!

Now, after a total of five safaris, not a day goes by -- wherever I may be in the world and whatever I may be doing -- that I fail to think of Africa and wish I were there. Were I younger, perhaps . . . had I discovered Africa in my youth . . . And this from a city girl who loves a nice 5-star hotel in Paris. I'd rather be in a tent on the Serengeti plains than in any hotel room Paris can offer.

Anyone fortunate enough to be able to go to Africa must not waste these precious last days of excitement and anticipation being afraid. You must dedicate these days to impatience coupled with heart-expanding joy! Wait till you see your first elephant in the wild -- where elephants live -- on their territory -- and he's within a trunk's reach of your nose, just outside that open safari vehicle roof. You won't be able to stop smiling. It's addictive. It's not like the zoo.

And the people are wonderful. You'll fall in love with the staff you meet at your lodges and camps -- and your guide! Your guide will be warm and funny and astonishingly knowledgeable and you'll cry when you say goodbye!

noexpert is right -- you've got a great itinerary -- all the most important places for a February northern circuit first-time safari. The camps and lodges will have a real feeling of authenticity -- don't know how much "camping" you've done in your life, but you are going to be in a tent in the Serengeti, with only canvas walls between you and whatever may live in that neighborhood. You'll dine in a mess tent on food which is going to astonish you -- how the hell do they cook like that in the middle of freaking nowhere, anyway?

Forget "fear." There's not only nothing to fear -- there's more to reach into your heart and mind, more to see and hear and smell and taste and touch, more to thrill and experience of the beauty and wonder and, yes, sometimes tragedies of Africa than your imagine can conjure. Enjoy these few weeks, because your first safari is truly "once in a lifetime." You may very well return to Africa -- but the first time is truly special.

Woo-hoo!

10. Re: 4 Weeks to go!

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