Itinerary in late September


Hi All,

After reading helpful information posted in this forum, my wife and I drafted the first safari itinerary of 11-12 days in the late September. The following versions based on a quotation by a TO. The major difference between the two versions is to have Lake Manyara or Lake Natron after Tarangire. I hope to get everyone’s advice.

Version 1

  1. Day 1: Arriving Kilimanjaro (3PM) — Overnight: Maramboi Tented Camps
  2. Day 2: Tarangire– Overnight: Tarangire Tortilis Camp
  3. Day 3: Tarangire — Overnight: Tarangire Tortilis Camp
  4. Day 4: Tarangire – Lake Manyara – Ngorongoro — Overnight: Sopa Lodge
  5. Day 5: Morning descent, drive to Central–Overnight: Serengeti Sopa Lodge
  6. Day 6: Central–Overnight: Serengeti Sopa Lodge
  7. Day 7: Central–Overnight: Serengeti Sopa Lodge
  8. Day 8: Central to northern–Overnight: Karibu River camp
  9. Day 9: Migration–Overnight: Karibu River camp
  10. Day 10: Migration–Overnight: Karibu River camp
  11. Day 11: Fly to Kilimanjaro (Auric Air 10:20-12:30/ 10:15-12:20 or Coastal 09:25-13:00 )

Version 2

  • Day 1: Arriving Kilimanjaro (3PM) — Overnight: Maramboi Tented Camps
  • Day 2: Tarangire– Overnight: Tarangire Tortilis Camp
  • Day 3: Tarangire — Overnight: Tarangire Tortilis Camp
  • Day 4: Tarangire – Lake Natron–Overnight: Lake Natron Camp
  • Day 5: Lake Natron–Overnight: Lake Natron Camp
  • Day 6: Lake Natron – Ngorongoro–Overnight: Sopa Lodge
  • Day 7: Morning descent, drive to Central–Overnight: Serengeti Sopa Lodge
  • Day 8: Central–Overnight: Serengeti Sopa Lodge
  • Day 9: Central–Overnight: Serengeti Sopa Lodge
  • Day 10: Central to Northern–Overnight: Karibu River camp
  • Day 11: Migration–Overnight: Karibu River camp
  • Day 12: Fly to Kilimanjaro (Auric Air 10:20-12:30/ 10:15-12:20 or Coastal 09:25-13:00 )

My questions are:

  • 1. If we can watch Flamingoes in Manyra, will the version 1 is better than version 2? In version 2, only 1 day left for migration.
  • 2. Can I ask to directly transfer us from Kilimanjaro to Tarangire after the arrival on Day 1?
  • 3. Does Day 4 work? Do we have enough time to drive to Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge after a half-day safri in Manyara?
  • 4. The baggage limit of flight back to Kilimanjaro is no more than 10Kg. Do we have to ask our guide to drive our luggage to Kilimanjaro one day before our flight?

5. The above lodges and camps are suggested by a TO. What’s your comment on those lodges and camps? For the Karibu River Camp in the north, I did not find many reviews on Trip Advisor. Do you think it equals to Serengeti North Wild Frontiers Camp or Savannah Serengeti Mara? In the central, does Serena Lodge, Nomad Moru Camp, Kubu Kubu, or Nasikia Ehlane Plains Camp has similar quality with Serengeti Sopa Lodge?

Thank you in advance for your help!

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safariquestions 3 years 1 Answer 187 views 0

Answer ( 1 )

  1. I hope you mean September 2021?
    Please see my opinions below here:
    1. No, it’s unlikely you’ll be close enough to the lake at Manyara to see Flamingos. If that’s important to you, I’d suggest adding a day at the beginning of your safari at Arusha National Park.
    2. Not a good idea, since, while you arrive at JRO at 3:00 p.m., it will take you more than an hour, in most cases, to get through customs and immigration and to collect your bags, etc., before you get on the road. From JRO, the drive to the gate at Tarangire is about 2 1/2 hours, assuming no problems with traffic, and the gate closes at 6:00 p.m. You don’t have time. So this would be a good opportunity to book perhaps Rivertrees Lodge at USA River (about half an hour from the airport, equi-distant between JRO and Arusha), and spend the next morning at Arusha National Park — see flamingoes, do a canoe trip, perhaps, and then leave for Tarangire at around 2:00 p.m.
    3. I assume your question refers to version 1 — and, yes, that’s easy enough to do provided you leave early enough — perhaps around 2:00 to be safe. (Note, I see that version 2 has a night at Lake Natron, with both versions having only 2 nights in the north. I’d aim for three nights in the north, and skipping Natron entirely — I know you’re looking for flamingos, but it really wastes almost 2 full days of game drive for one species alone. I must confess, however, that I’ve never done this, and September is supposed to be good for hatchings.)
    4. My understanding has always been 15kg per person on these internal flights. I don’t know any of the airlines limiting the weight to 10 kg. So you should ask what airline they want to use. (We almost always use Coastal.) What I do when flying back, sometimes, is simply leave behind any clothes I brought along that I don’t care about. In fact, when planning my next safari, I set aside clothes I won’t want to keep and plan to discard them at the end of safari.
    4. As to lodging. I don’t know most of these camps/lodges but I do have two general comments about two specific issues: 1) Sopa Lodge on the crater rim is a good choice, since it’s closest to the descent road and gets you to the crater floor early in the morning, and is very convenient for one night. Go for it. However, in the central Serengeti, you want to be under canvas, not in a brick-and-mortar lodge. You don’t want to stay at Sopa anywhere but on the rim of the crater. And 2) I can recommend the Wild Frontiers Camp on the basis of a lovely stay at the central Serengeti Wild Frontiers Wilderness Camp. The tents were very comfortable, the location superb and the staff were absolutely charming. You’ll feel close to nature — we heard lions roaring early every morning before dawn, and a herd of topi greeted us on the track just outside camp every day.
    I tried googling Karibu Camp and got “server error” messages. I’m guessing it’s either a new camp and having growing pains, or a company with very little expertise. I’d be cautious here. I think Wilderness has a mobile camp at Kogatende and you might inquire about that.
    I know people who love Kubu Kubu and people who don’t like it. I gather it’s quite lovely, but a little too large for some people’s taste. The thing about tented camps that helps to give us the illusion that we’re “camping out,” is that they’re often quite small, with perhaps 10 tents in all –some smaller, some a little larger — but intimate and providing a sense of isolation.
    Many really seek that — especially in the iconic Serengeti. It’s all a matter of taste, with Kubu Kubu being larger, and quite “upscale” in terms of amenities as opposed to the Wild Frontiers “brand,” which has no pool, and little in the way of decoration — more “rustic,” with bucket showers (fun!) — making it feel less like a hotel than a true tented camp, but being every bit as comfortable as the more “luxury” focused camps. I frankly don’t care what kind of camp I book as long as the food is edible, the bed warm and cozy . . .

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