11 de março de 2013

TANZANIA - Safari Itinerary - english

VAI NA MINHA brings you a basic guide for safaris in Tanzania. Make the most of it, for it is the result of several hours of research and actual live experiences, without any of which it is hard to make a good guide. 

I'll start by describing each park shortly and detailing what you'll find there in each season. This will help you to make your own choices. 

Next I'll give you a step-by-step plan with what to do and where to stay depending on the time you'll visit there, the money you have to spend and the level of comfort you expect. 

'm suggesting a timeframe of 15 to 20 days because this is how long our vacations usually last in this workaholic world we live in now, but I could easily stay in Tanzania for months. 

I've considered 3 itineraries, se we can contemplate the preferences of distinct kinds of travelers: 

1. For those who want to climb mount Kilimanjaro and can't leave without experiencing a safari and knowing the essentials of the local culture. 

2. For those who enjoy luxury and are not up to physical exertion, safariing or beaches. 

3. For those who are not up to physical exertion but would like to experience nature up close, a safari alternating luxury lodges and campgrounds with short walks. 

Surely these itineraries will help you to communicate with your travel agency, whose services will be invaluable. It's simply impossible to do a safari by yourself, just by renting a car. To start with, you won't be able to find the animals you want to see without a guide's trained eyes. Much less to climb Kilimanjaro: you'll require a guide and porters. 

I'll also recommend local travel agencies you can check. 

VAI NA MINHA may also offer consulting services or organize your trip, if you so prefer or require. We might even consider accompanying you there. Contact us if you wish: claudia@vainaminha.com. 


Tanzania National Parks Safari 

Tarangire belongs to a much larger ecosystem, and that is why its game varies with the seasons. From around June to October, it's dry and the game returns to Tarangire's swamps, and especially, its river system. This is the best season for a game-viewing safari in Tarangire. 

If you decide to come to Tarangire at all, then we recommend spending a few days in the south of the park, which gets few visitors and retains a real air of wilderness. 

Suggested Lodge: Kikoti Lodge and tented bungalows 

Suggested tented camp: Oliver's Camp 

Ngorongoro Crater 

In 1951, the enormous Serengeti National Park was declared, encompassing the present Serengeti, plus the Ngorongoro area and surrounding Crater Highlands. However much of the southern side of this was already being used by the Maasai, hence it was split into the present-day Serengeti National Park, and the current Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA).The conservation area now encompasses a large area of the short-grass plains on the southern side of the Serengeti Plain and also the Ngorongoro Highlands, a range of largely extinct ancient volcanoes on the west side of the Great Rift Valley

The showpiece of the conservation area is undoubtedly the Ngorongoro Crater itself. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1978, this is the largest intact volcanic caldera in the world. It measures about 16-19km in diameter, with walls of 400-610m in height. 

The Gol Mountains are at the far rim, Lake Magadi in the centre with Seneto springs to the left. Gorigor swamp lies to the right and Lerai Forest in the foreground. Access to the crater is strictly monitored, with only three roads to the crater floor. It is estimated that there are up to 25,000 large mammals in the crater floor so you always see many animals on a game drive. They are mainly grazers but carnivores include a population of about 100 lions and approx. 400 hyenas. Open grassland covers most of the crater floor and this supports large concentrations of wildebeest and zebra. Buffalo, Thompson's and Grantís gazelle, eland, hartebeest and warthog are also common. Elephant are mainly found in the swamp and there is a population of about 25 black rhino. Hippos are mainly found at Ngoitokitok Springs. 

Suggested Lodge: Serena Ngorongoro Lodge or Ngorongoro SOPA Lodge

Suggested Camping: Lemala tented camp

Serengeti Migration Area 

The Serengeti is vast and beautiful; it's one of Africa's most captivating safari areas. The sheer amount of game here is amazing: estimates suggest up to about two million wildebeest, plus perhaps half a million zebra, hundreds of thousands of Thompson's gazelle, and tens of thousands of impala, Grant's gazelle, topi (tsessebe), hartebeest, eland and other antelope – all hunted by the predators for which these plains are famous. 

Some of this game resides permanently in 'home' areas, which are great for safaris all year round. But many of the wildebeest and zebra take part in the migration – an amazing spectacle that's one of the greatest wildlife shows on earth. If you plan carefully, it's still possible to witness this in wild and remote areas. 

  • Southern plains 
Vast short-grass plains cover the south of Serengeti National Park, stretching into the north of Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the south-west Loliondo and Maswa Game Reserve. Occasionally there are small kopjes which, like the forests around Lake Ndutu, harbour good populations of resident game. It's alive with grazing wildebeest from around late-November to April, but can be very empty for the rest of the year. 

  • The Seronera area 
In the heart of the national park, just to the north of the short-grass plains, Seronera has all the best features of the Serengeti and also, sadly, its worst. Scenically, it's a lovely area – with open plains, occasional kopjes and lines of hills to add interest. The resident game here is phenomenal, with high densities of relaxed leopards, cheetah and lion. The migration passes through here in March to May, but Seronera is within reach of both the Southern Plains and the Western Corridor – so from about November to June, it can be used as a base to see the migration. Seronera's big drawback is that it is always busy. 

Suggested camp: Olakira Camp – Open From 1st June to 31st March, Nomad Serengeti Safari Camp 

Nomad Serengeti Safari Camp is a classic tented mobile camp, which changes location approximately every 10 - 14 days. Its aim is to follow the wildebeest migration around the Serengeti. It is a traditional bush camp, but the comforts and standards of food and service make it a luxurious one. There is a great balance between wilderness and being a part of the bush, and comfort. 

  • Western Corridor 
Stretching to the west, almost to Lake Victoria, the Serengeti narrows into what's known as the Western Corridor. The key feature of this area is the two rivers, the Grumeti and the Mbalageti, which run almost parallel, each supporting a band of most, evergreen riparian forest. This area sustains a very good permanent game population, including plenty of zebra and wildebeest, all the predators and forest 'specialists' like colobus monkeys. The bird life is particularly varied. The migration passes through between about May and July – pausing to gather momentum before crossing the crocodile-rich waters of the Grumeti River, into the Grumeti Reserve. 

  • Northern Serengeti 
Stretching from Seronera for about 100km north, to the Kenyan border, the northern Serengeti is gently rolling country, broken by small rivers and occasional hills and kopjes. There are good permanent populations of wildlife in several areas here, including the very beautiful Lobo Kopje. It's interesting, varied country that's far from the park's main entry point in the south – and hence it receives delightfully few visitors. 

The further you go north, the fewer vehicles you see. Even when the migration is here, between about August and October, you can still enjoy spectacular crossings of the Mara River. A particularly stunning are is the wild Lamai Wedge – the area of land between the Mara River and the Kenya Border – which includes the picturesque Wogakuria Kopjie, and a beautiful series of game-rich valleys and plains. This is the only area of the national park where off-road driving is acceptable

Suggested Lodge: Sayari Mara Camp 
  • Loliondo Reserve 
West of the Serengeti National Park, lies Loliondo game Controlled Area – an area belonging to the Maasai tribes that live there. The western side of this, beside the park, is very much part of the Serengeti's ecosystem; it has much resident game and the migration passes through here as well.

There are a few camps here which have the flexibility to offer night drives and walks, often using Maasai guides – and visits to local Maasai villages. Around about October and November, there's a good chance to see part of the migration here, as it returns south.  

Suggested Lodge: Klein's Camp 

Mto-Wa-Mbu village a Massai village

In 2005, Mr. Meshuku, who is a traditional healer popularly known as the ''Laiboni'' in the Maasai language, decided to established a pre- school under a tree following a car accident which claimed life of his 10 years old while on his way back home from Esilalei Primary School situated 10 kilometers from the Emit hamlet where Mr. Meshuku lives. 

In 2007 Mr. Meshuku mobilized his hamlet community members and managed to build two classrooms and a teacher's office room. The school is located about 120 kilometers away from Arusha. 

The school at the moment has a total of 141 pupils. Mr. Meshuku is now 95 years old man with 36 wives and over 120 children and grandchildren who constitute over 80% of the pupils at Laiboni primary school

Suggested Lodge safari itinerary 

As an engineer I could not have it done without summarize everything into a table. It will be very useful for those who are not patient to read everything. Simply choose the time you want to travel and choose your itinerary.

Day 1 - Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), purchase your tourist visa and go through customs before collecting your luggage. 

Transfer to Moivaro Lodge. The lodge lays 7km from the center of Arusha and sits on a 40 acre coffee plantation complete with beautifully laid gardens and walk ways Elevation - 1,500 meters / 4920 feet. 
For those who decided to travel between June and October, Tarangire can be excluded from the itinerary 

Day 2 – going to Tarangire National Park (November to May)

Drive west two hours to Tarangire National Park, in comfortable safari Landcruisers with removable roofs. Have lunch at the entrance to the park and then have an afternoon game drive, ending up at the southeastern edge of the park. Overnight at Kikoti Camp / Oliver's Camp

Day 3 - Tarangire National Park 

Full day to explore Tarangire National Park with a dawn game drive and a mid-day siesta. We then go for an afternoon game walk to a rock outcropping overlooking the valley and enjoy a fireball African sunset. We return to the lodge to have dinner and then you may opt for a night drive to study the nocturnal and diurnal creatures. Overnight at Kikoti Camp / Oliver's Camp. 

Day 4 - Tarangire for Lake Manyara  

After breakfast we leave Tarangire for Lake Manyara (95kms). Here, there are panoramic views across the volcano-studded floor of the Great Rift Valley. We stop along the way to visit Mto-Wa-Mbu village a Massai village and overnight at the Serena Ngorongoro Lodge. 

Day 5 –Ngorongoro crater (all year around)

After an early morning breakfast, we descend into the Ngorongoro crater for a full day game drive. Overnight at Crater Serena Lodge or Ngorongoro Farm House

Day 6 – Empakaai Crater 

Only 90-minutes drive from the Ngorongoro Crater, Empakaai Crater is a much smaller crater, yet endearing in its own way. A deep soda lake covers about half of the 6km wide caldera. You'll often find thousands of flamingos in the shallows of the emerald lake - giving it a spectacular pink tinge.. Drive up to the outer rims of the crater, before taking the 45-minute walk down the path through the forested slopes to the crater floor. The views from the rim over the crater to Ol Doinyo Lengai are thought to be some of the most spectacular in Africa – on very clear days you can even see Kilimanjaro and Lake Natron. Overnight at Crater Serena Lodge or Ngorongoro Farm House. 

Day 7 - Serengeti National Park (all year around)

After breakfast drive to Serengeti National Park with lunch picnic lunch, via Olduvai Gorge. Game drive en-route. Dinner and overnight at Bilila Lodge Kempinski or Serengeti Sopa Lodge. (best months to go January to April

Day 8 - Full day game viewing in the Seronera. Dinner and overnight at Bilila Lodge Kempinski or Serengeti Sopa Lodge. (optional Balloon safari in the early morning) 

May to July – Western Corridor 

Day 9,10 e 11 - Drive deeper into the Serengeti – further away from the busier centre of the park. Your destination is the Western Corridor where, during the months of May through to July, the migrating herds of wildebeest congregate. At this time you might be fortunate enough to experience the exciting and electric sight of herds running the gauntlet of crocodiles as they cross the Grumeti River. Whilst here, you'll stay at the original and very well run Grumeti River Camp 

Day 12 - Drive to the nearby airstrip and catch a light aircraft flight to Arusha. From here, either continue on to one of our beach add-ons in Zanzibar, Pemba, Ras Kutani or the Mafia Archipelago, or connect onto your international flight. 

October to December – Loliondo Reserve and Northern Serengeti 

Day 9 - Drive to Lobo game viewing around Lobo for the rest of the day. Dinner and overnight at the Kleins Camp. 

Day 10. - Full day game drive in Loliondo reserve. Dinner and overnight at the Kleins Camp 

Day 11 - Depart in the morning with a packed lunch and drive deeper into North of Serengeti National Park. Few vehicles venture this far north, so you can enjoy real wilderness and might find that you have driven for some time without seeing anyone else. Dinner and overnight at the Sayari Mara Camp 

Day 12. - Full day game drive in Northern Serengeti. Dinner and overnight at the Sayari Mara Camp 

Day 13 - After your last morning on safari, bid goodbye to your guide from the nearest airstrip before flying to Kilimanjaro International Airport. Then either continue onto one of our beach add-on. 

August to October – Northern Serengeti 

Day 9 - Depart in the morning with a packed lunch and drive deeper into Serengeti National Park. Few vehicles venture this far north, so you can enjoy real wilderness and might find that you have driven for some time without seeing anyone else. In August, the wildebeest migration will usually be passing through this area – and you are likely to see many grazing herds on your way to Sayari Mara Camp. 

Day 10,11,12. - Full day game drive in Northern Serengeti. Dinner and overnight at the Sayari Mara Camp 

Day 13 - After your last morning on safari, bid goodbye to your guide from the nearest airstrip before flying to Kilimanjaro International Airport. Then either continue onto one of our beach add-on 

Trip Price Estimative: USD 450/day/person - double room - lodges
Trip Price Estimative: USD 250/day/person - double room - tented camps
Accommodation, transport and full board included

Suggested Camping safari itinerary 

There are several semi-permanent mobile tented camps in the Serengeti. Most move seasonally, trying to anticipate the great migration's movements. Their creature comforts vary from basic tents with adequate food, to very comfortable camps that feel almost permanent. Such tented camps can be included as part of private guided safaris. 

From July to November it is located up in the northern Serengeti - this is a fascinating time to see the migration, as you might have a chance of witnessing a dramatic crossing of the Mara River! 

From November to June it moves to the short grassy plains of the southern Serengeti, where the herds gather before having their young - expect lots of predator action and huge herds here! 

The itinerary will be similar to the lodges safari taking into account the flexibility of nomad camping. 

Trip Price Estimative: USD 250/day/person 


Serengeti Balloon Safari 

Probably the most beautiful balloon flight in the world and the ultimate Safari Experience. 

5:00 am, Serengeti Balloon Safaris will collect you from your central Serengeti lodge or camp, and transfer you by Landrover to our launch site near Maasai Kopjes. Here you will meet your pilot, receive a briefing and watch the inflation of your balloon. 

At dawn we take off, rising as the sun rises and float in whichever direction the winds of the morning take us. 

Your pilot can precisely control the altitude of your balloon: sometimes flying at treetop height, sometimes lower, offering a unique perspective and great photographic opportunities of the wildlife below. 

At other times he will ascend to 1000' or more to see the enormity and wonderful panorama of the Serengeti. From time to time the pilot must put more heat into the balloon with the powerful whisper burners. In between these burns, there is silence apart from the natural sounds below. 

The flight is for about one hour depending on conditions, on landing you celebrate in the traditional manner with champagne (well, an excellent sparkling wine), before sitting down to a full English breakfast prepared and served in the bush in 'Out of Africa' style with bone china, linen table cloths, King's silver etc. 

After breakfast you receive your Serengeti Balloon certificate and we drive you back to Seronera Lodge game viewing enroute. 9:30 am Arrive at Seronera ready to continue your day's activities. 

Trip Price Estimative: USD 450/person 

Zanzibar Beach Adventure 

Zanzibar is an experience like no other and the perfect way to end your incredible stay in Tanzania! Treat yourself to two nights at the Tembo House Hotel and two nights at the Matemwe Beach Village on the sultry island of Zanzibar. 

Day 1: Fly from Arusha to Stone Town. 

Lodging at Tembo House Hotel in old Stone Town. 

Day 2: Explore the ancient, winding streets and busy marketplaces of old Stone Town or take a spice tour of the inner island. 

Day 3: Transfer to Matemwe Beach Village: simple, clean bungalows on a huge white sand beach on the turquoise Indian Ocean. This is about a 1.5-2 hour drive from Stone Town. 

Day 4: Beach time! Take a ride in a traditional dhow, go on a snorkeling cruise or scuba dive the famous reefs of Zanzibar. 

Day 5: Transfer to the airport for the flight back to Arusha. All International flights out of Arusha leave in the evening, so there won't be any problems catching your flight home that same day. 

Trip Price Estimative: USD 1400 

Suggested local agencies 

To book your trip you can use the suggested itinerary above and send an inquire to any of the agencies bellow. 

I traveled with ZARA TOURS. It was great, very good service, nice people, they made our trip unforgettable!

If want to quote other agencies try the follow, I talked to people that used their service and it was ok.

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