Sunday, 5 November 2017

Tanzania - A return to the South Parks this time - Travel days begin

Off again for a bit of a surprise visit to Tanzania.  Our original plans for our next trip when we started researching was to Namibia.  I had started putting our itinerary together and sent out a couple of feelers for pricing.  Read about how we would rent a vehicle that you sleep on top of in a tent, you find your own animals, but scariest of all for me was what if we had any car trouble?  Not sure how successful we would even be changing a tire?  Started looking at flight prices and for some reason put in Tanzania, and wow under $1200 Cdn to fly from Moncton to Dar Es Salaam as compared to over $2000 to fly to Namibia.  Dar Es Salaam is the jumping off point if you want to explore the southern parks.  A little research and reading and we booked flights right away. 

Next step was finding a tour operator.  When you book a private tour for the Northern parks a lot of your trip will really depend on your guide.  In the Southern Parks if you choose to fly in, which we did, you are using the camp guides.  So in fact this was a much easier trip to book.  We found a site that had all the prices and promos like book 4 nights pay for 3, figured out we wanted to divide our time between 3 sites then just sent out to ask for quotes knowing that we should get 3 nights free.  Different operators had helped us out along the way with a few questions, but in the end it came down to finding the best price since we would get the same camp experience no matter who we booked through, as well we really wanted to use an operator that did not support hunting.  This actually opened up a heated thread on Trip Advisor that was very insightful as I pointed some of the operators to the thread for their response.  Anyway in the end we went with ETrip Africa.  It was amazing the difference in the pricing we got for the exact same itineraries. All communication with them has been fantastic so far. 

After we booked our flights our friends Ron and Nancy asked if they could come along, or course!  This is actually the perfect safari to go as a group since you may be asked to share your safari vehicle since you are using the camps vehicles, so what fun to experience with friends.

The first leg of our flight is Moncton to Montreal with an overnight in Montreal.  We booked this flight purposely so we could do a quick visit to Arundel  to see Mom, Jill and Robin and whatever kids may be around from University or Cegep.  Sadly all nephews had a busy weekend do didn’t see any of them this trip, but we will see them all in a few weeks when we are home again for Christmas.  Of course Jill spoiled us again with a great lunch, homemade peanut butter cookies and smoked meat, yummy.
My sisters amazing peanut butter cookies, yummy!

We are now at the airport in Montreal.  Have met up with Ron and Nancy who flew here this morning and went out with their friends for lunch.  We are now waiting for our flight to Zurich. Then on with a quick stop in Nairobi, then finally to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. 

Trying out selfies on my new camera

Ready to get this trip started!

Looking forward to some swiss chocolate along with 3 meals of airline food (NOT!)

Passed on the $9.00 coffee in Zurich

Flight #2 getting ready, Zurich to Dar, with a short stop in Nairobi

DAR Airport

We will overnight in Dar, end then off to start our safari on Monday.  So, 4 days, 4 flights, this is a long journey, but we kind of know what to expect on the other side and it is so worth it.  Ron and Nancy don’t know what excitement lies in front of them, and you really can't explain it to anyone that hasn't been, we are actually kind of jealous of them seeing everything for the first time. 

Our itinerary is we will fly using Coastal for all flights to the camps. 

Fly to Ruaha National Park from Dar Es Salaam

3 nights Mdonya Old River Camp then transfer for 4 nights Ikuka, which is also in Ruaha NP.   

Flight to Lake Manze in Selous Game reserve for 5 nights and then back to Dar Es Salaam.

Downtown Dar is a bit of a drive away from the airport, and since we have an early morning flight tomorrow after our late arrival tonight  I found an inexpensive little place online named Kiota Jungle  10 minutes drive from the airport to spend the night.  We had also heard nightmares and were forewarned about the traffic in Dar, so a 10 minute drive was exactly what was needed.  The hotel picked us up at the airport and dropped us off the next morning for $20.  $55 US for the night with breakfast included. It is definitely not a fancy place, but it worked great for us.  A decent bed, air conditioning, wifi to let family know we have arrived and we were all exhausted after all of our flights.

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