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safari and beach advice please (first world problem alert)

(13 Posts)
doubleginandtonic Wed 28-Sep-16 22:01:30

I’m looking into a Milestone Birthday holiday in Tanzania/Zanzibar with Mrs DoubleGin and our children (10-15). For a number of reasons we have to go in July, and we’re thinking along the lines of 5 nights on safari and 4 nights of beach, snorkelling, watersports etc. I’ve spoken with a couple of specialist agents in the UK (initialled ATR and EA, to those in the know) who have recommended tours of ‘tented’ camps and/or lodges in the Ngorongoro crater and Serengeti plains (with a private driver), followed by a beach resort on the east coast of the Spice Island. The itineraries come in at about £2,500 to £3,000 per head plus flights, a price at which the pips are squeaking.

Can anyone who has done or arranged a similar trip offer any advice, please? Specifically: 1) Is there enough to do in downtime on the safari leg to engage teenagers with a low boredom threshold? 2) Is going up to the north to see the migration worth the effort/cost, given that there will be dozens of cars at every river crossing in July? 3) Are there any other agents who give stellar service at reasonable rates? 4) And do you have any top tips for safari novices?

Thanks in advance for any help…

Wandastartup Wed 28-Sep-16 22:09:21

We went some years ago with definitive Africa who were very helpful & worked with our budget. Would recommend

Bookishandblondish Wed 28-Sep-16 22:17:33

Personally unless you are really keen wildlife photographers, I'd keep the safari to three days. Safaris are mostly being driven around all day - and quite tiring. Evenings - mostly we did sundowners and meals - couple of places had swimming pools. Entertainment is mostly chatting, cards rather than entertainment in the places I've stayed.

Basically day 1, everything is amazing, day 2 - look for specifics, day 3 -it's starting to get need lion to be killing antelope type thing. But you can do three parks - so crater, Serengeti and lake manyara which are three very different landscapes and have a bit of variety.

No idea about migration - I was too skint or working to do it then. Personally we found the Masai village visit cringing - but you might find it interesting.

You could add two days and do a night in stone town in Zanzibar as well as the beach which has ( used to have) live music etc.

Tips - Beg/ borrow a decent camera with a zoom lens, and binoculars. Do take malarials.

Travel agents - I was living out there so used local agents.

Jibberoo Wed 28-Sep-16 22:23:35

We chose SA last year as wanted to avoid malaria tablets. We went to a small but wonderful game reserve near pe called kariga and it was awesome. No beach nearby though.

doubleginandtonic Wed 28-Sep-16 23:13:57

Thanks for the agent tip, Wanda.

bookish - I do have a nagging (and slightly shame-faced) concern that we could bore quite quickly of the travelling and "another lion" syndrome. How many days did you do in Kariega, Jibberoo?

mouldycheesefan Thu 29-Sep-16 09:22:32

The price is high because you will be flying between Tanzania and Zanzibar. Perhaps go somehwre like South Africa where you can do beach and safari in one country. Also can then be in malarial free areas.
Thee was an 11 year old on safari when we were there who spent all time in his game device. Wasn't interested in the wildlife, such a shame for his family. Some kids are, some aren't. Even if they are, 2 days in safari would be enough that's 4 game drives. Each drive is 3-4 hours long so that is 12-16 hours on th drive. I think that's plenty for most people.

fakenamefornow Thu 29-Sep-16 09:28:54

No advice but watching with interest.

doubleginandtonic Thu 29-Sep-16 21:18:46

That's a good point, mouldycheesefan. We have weighed up South Africa vs Tanzania, and the Serengeti just feels like a more authentic safari experience. In SouthAfrica, we had considered a Kruger or Eastern Cape private game reserve (which can be expensive for a decent one) for 3 nights plus a week working our way along the Garden Route (with whale watching, Plettenberg, Table Mountain etc) towards Cape Town, but we have been warned that there's a high risk of wet, cold and windy weather in July in the Cape.

fakename - are you Mrs DoubleGin in disguise? As it happens, I think she would prefer South Africa, so perhaps that's my answer!!!

mouldycheesefan Fri 30-Sep-16 07:02:05

We went to the cape in July. Locals wore puffa jackets, we wore shorts! It was lovely weather for exploring but I agree it wasn't lounging by the pool weather. For me though the extra cost of getting to Zanzibar, the fact it's malarial (who remembers Cheryl Cole catching malaria there?) and those attacks on the two teenage girls from uk a few years ago do put me off. But I am quite an anxious traveller! 🙄 at myself!

welshweasel Fri 30-Sep-16 07:25:14

Tanzania way better than SA for safari (have done both). 3 days is plenty (crater, lake manyara and Serengeti). My top tip would be to wait until you get to stone town to book your safari. You will pay a tenth of the price. We paid £100 each for two of us to do a private 3 day trip with cook and driver including all meals etc. That was camping as we wanted as cheap as we could as we were on a budget but there were options at all price points. We saw the exact same trip with the same company advertised through a major U.K. agent at a grand.

PoorPatrol Fri 30-Sep-16 07:40:26

My husband worked in the industry. I'm short of time this morning so can't give you proper advice but try Aardvark Safaris. This is bread and butter stuff for them and they're great.

nannyafrica Fri 30-Sep-16 22:29:09

Have you looked at Zambia and Malawi.
South Luangwa in Zambia is one of my favorite parks. This place has a family tree house.
Then transfer to Lake Malawi. This place is run by a lovely couple.
You can go swimming and snorkeling or try scuba diving. Horse riding for beginners to overnight rides. Tour in the local village.

InformalRoman Mon 03-Oct-16 15:33:27

We've done Cape Town along to PE in July, and the weather was fab - although the outdoor pools tend to be closed at that time of year.

Don't forget you can do a range of safari types, not just the standard being driven around in a Landy. We (me, DH, DS16 and DS9) had fun doing a quad bike safari and being able to stop and potter round looking at plants and footprints and the like (no lions in that reserve). I had been signed up to a riding safari, but it was too windy that day for the horses.

The National Parks in SA are excellent too - thoroughly recommend Addo, you'll be sick of elephants by the end of the day.

Total cost for a DIY trip was under £10k for 4 of us for 3.5 weeks, including flights and spending money.

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