Safari Planning

Safari Planning

Safari Planning

When inquiring about safaris, you should give the number of persons who will be traveling, the number of days on safari and your approximate dates. Be careful about low priced safaris – this invariably means a scam or cheating on park entry fees. Most tour companies will include parking and camping fees in their tariffs.

For safaris of less than five days we recommend visiting only Lake Manyara / Tarangire and Ngorongoro. To include the Serengeti is a long way out and an a long way back. You don’t get much time for game viewing. And remember that the roads in Tanzania are not tarred. For safaris of  6 to 9 days it is recommended to fly to the Serengeti and drive out (or vice versa). You get more game viewing time out of a six day fly in/drive out safari than seven days backtracking.

The most popular route for visitors to northern Tanzania is Arusha – Lake Manyara – Ngorongoro Crater – Serengeti – Ngorongoro – Manyara – Arusha (also includes Olduvai Gorge). The disadvantage with this route is the backtracking. For those with more time, Lake Natron and the Great Rift Valley are recommended as this is a circular route.

Better still is the old classic circuit of Nairobi – Kericho – Lake Victoria – Serengeti – Ngorongoro – Lake Manyara – Arusha – Nairobi. Allow at least 9 days. You can get to visit both the Masai Mara and Serengeti together without a lot of extra traveling. See Tanzania+Kenya safaris.

If you’re climbing Kilimanjaro, look at the combined Kilimanjaro+Safari; it’s best to do the safari portion first to get acclimatized and fit for the climb. In 15 days,  allow 8 nights on safari, 5 nights on the mountain (it’s normally 4 nights but allow an extra night to acclimate)  and the last night – the 14th night –  at a hotel recovering from the climb. Zanzibar is also a good option at the end of a safari and here again the combined 9-day Safari with 6 days in Zanzibar is recommended.

PAYMENT: Payment may be made through Bank Transfer, International Debit/Credit Cards, and Cash. Please contact us for more information.

For those that want to hike there are opportunities in the Ikoma Wildlife Area. It is excellent wildlife country bordering the Serengeti and with easy access to the Park itself as well as its own game drive circuits. Lake Natron and the Ngorongoro Highlands are also excellent areas for walking. If you are camping in the Ngorongoro Highlands, bear in mind that there is an entry and camping fee per person per night. This makes it a bit of a rip-off but the option is there.

Serengeti and Ikoma Wildlife Area – allow for at least three nights at Ikoma Safari Camp. It’s very good value and there is plenty of wildlife. The camp has the concession for an extensive area bordering the park and has its own game viewing and walking routes as well as night game drives.

Walks/Hikes: The Ikoma Wildlife Area is excellent for walks. These may vary from a few hours to extended hikes of a few days sleeping in small, basic temporary camps. This is good wilderness with few people but a fair amount of wildlife. Lake Natron is also very good for walks among which is the two day Embakai Hike from the Ngorongoro Highlands and the climb of the active volcano Oldoinyo L’Engai (approx. 7 hours).

 

BEST TIME TO GO

Low Season rates of 15 to 20 per cent discount apply between 1 April and 31 May, but  it can be very wet and muddy. .Mid-May to the end of June are excellent months to visit the Serengeti. The long rains are over and the Parks have fewer visitors. Try to avoid April and the beginning of May as it is normally very wet and muddy.

The following is a guide to the weather in the Serengeti for various times of the year:

January and February – hot with afternoon localized thunder showers.

Mid-March to end April – Warm. Main rainy season.

May to end of June – Cool. Start of dry season.

Mid-July to end of August. Dry season.  A little rain during August – helps to clear the dust.

September and October – Hot and dry. Height of dry season.

November and December – Hot. Afternoon localized thunder showers.

 

LAKE MANYARA – good all year round. A small park with sizable elephant family herds. Excellent for birding.

NGORONGORO CRATER – good all year round. Little like a zoo.

TARANGIRE – excellent between mid-July and mid-October.

SERENGETI – good all year round, but try to be in the right part of the park at the right time of the year. As a general guide, the following may be helpful, but there are additional factors to consider such as the availability of walks and night game drives:

 

GETTING TO TANZANIA

The two most frequently used airports of arrival to northern Tanzania are Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro International Airport and Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta Airport. You will require a multiple transit visa fee for Kenya. There is an airport departure tax at Nairobi, Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam.

Dar es Salaam International Airport is another option but is not recommended for visiting northern Tanzania unless combining it with a visit to Zanzibar or the southern circuit.

 

AIRLINES FLYING TO EAST AFRICA

The quickest way to get to northern Tanzania is to fly direct to Kilimanjaro Airport(JRO). Going via Nairobi can add quite a few hours to your traveling time. e.g. five hour shuttle journey from Nairobi to Arusha. KLM flies daily from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro:

 

Departs Schiphol          1035    Arrives Kilimanjaro 2015 (non-stop).

Depart Kilimanjaro       2115    Arrives Dar es Salaam 2215

Departs Dar es Salaam 2315    Arrives Amsterdam 0635 via Dar es Salaam

 

Ethiopian Airlines fly daily from London to Kilimanjaro and five times a week from Rome. There is normally a two to three hour wait at Addis Ababa for the connecting flight to Kilimanjaro.

 

ONLINE TRAVEL GUIDES:

 

  • Bradt Travel GuidesAn excellent guide book well worth buying. Lots of information on Tanzania mainland as well as Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia. Provides useful data on middle and upper levels of tourism.
  • Footprint Guides– an Online travel guide for worldwide destinations.
  • Lonely Planet Guide– well-known guide book.
  • Rough Guides

 

VISAS

If you are arriving in Nairobi, get a multiple entry visa. Although this can be obtained at the airport, it is recommended to get one prior to arrival.

 

TANZANIA: Passport and visa required. An Entrance Visa Fee is required for most countries. The Visa is valid for up to three months. A Visa should be obtained before departure although it can be purchased on arrival at a border post or airport. Requires an application form and one photo. Enclose prepaid envelope for return of passport by certified or registered mail. Allow one month for processing.

Visas for mainland Tanzania are valid for Zanzibar. Business/tourist visa (valid 6 months from date of issuance) for one entry up to 30 days, may be extended after arrival.  For business visa and other information, consult your nearest Tanzania Embassy (Embassy of the United Republic of Tanzania). In the USA, the Tanzania Embassy is located at 2139 R St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008 (202/939-6125) or Tanzanian Permanent Mission to the U.N. 205 East 42nd St., 13th Floor, New York, NY 10017 (212/972-9160).

For US citizens, consult the USA Department of States web site offering advice to US citizens visiting foreign countries is http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english.html further visa information about Tanzania can be found in the official government website http://www.tanzania.go.tz.

 

KENYA: Kenya Passport, visa, and onward/return ticket required. Visas should be obtained in advance, although airport visas are available (in cash). Tourist visas require 1 application form, 2 photos, onward/return ticket and $50 fee (money order or cashier’s check only). Multiple-entry visa, $100 fee (money order or cashier’s check only). Airport departure tax is $25. For additional information, consult the Kenya Embassy, 2249 R St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008 (202/387-6101) or Consulate General: Los Angeles (310/274-6635) or New York (212/486-1300). Internet: http://www.kenyaembassy.com

 

Insurance: It is recommended to take out a travel policy that includes coverage for cancellation owing to unforeseen events. Membership of The Flying Doctor Service is recommended.