Our two weeks in Tanzania were planned to start on the 28th of September, when the weather in Europe was starting to get colder and the days shorter. It was perfect timing to head out to hot and colorful Africa!!!
For the first week of our journey to this wonderful continent we planned to go on a safari tour. In order to find the perfect tour operator, we spent many hours on the internet searching for other traveler’s experiences and reports, prices (especially what is included and what not), recommendations and possible scams to look out for.
Finally, we decided upon the safari tour organized by Base Camp Tanzania. This is a small company with its office in Arusha. It is run by a married couple – a British guy named Achmed and his Tanzanian wife Zainab. They undertake both camping and lodge safaris all over the country.
After emailing back and forth with Achmed, we agreed on a 6 days Sopa Lodges Safari. What was so special about this offer was not only their very competitive price, but that it would be a private tour (only for the two of us plus guide!). Pretty much all the other safari tour operators offered a tour for 4 or more people per vehicle.
Here are the details that Base Camp sent us in respect of our planned safari:
Day 1: Shuttle bus from Nairobi to Arusha. Pick up via Base Camp and transfer to Ilboru Safari Lodge. Set in beautiful gardens three kilometers from Arusha town. Opened in 2000 and situated at the foot of Mt. Meru. The perfect place to spend your first night in Tanzania.
Day 2: Serengeti National Park - the most famous of all wildlife sanctuaries in Africa! It is home to the largest migration of wildlife in Africa. En-route we stop at Oldupai Gorge to visit the 'Cradle Of Mankind'. We enter and game drive to and overnight at Serengeti Sopa Lodge.
Day 3: A full day, dawn to dusk Game Driving in Serengeti National Park. Today we have over 14,000 km in which we explore the ever changing flora and fauna in this park, made famous in the Film "Serengeti shall not die" by Dr. Bernhard Grzimek. You two shall never forget the splendor of the rolling savannah and open plains, home to the most spectacular migration on our planet! Overnight in Serengeti Sopa Lodge.
Day 4: Our last game drive in Serengeti National Park taking in some of the "Kopjes / Inselbergen" granite outcrops in which many predators love to sit and look out over the plains for their prey. Lunch is a packed lunch. En-Route to Ngorongoro Crater. Overnight in Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge.
Day 5: Ngorongoro Crater- a World Heritage Site - where we spend the maximum of six hours allowed game driving! Down inside the World’s Largest Perfect Caldera (collapsed volcano) with a permanent residence of circa 30,000 animals. Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtakingly exciting place to see the only remaining Black Rhinos in East Africa. Overnight at Ilboru Safari Lodge.
Day 6: Departure Day: Transfer to Kilimanjaro International Airport for those returning home. For those taking one of our Zanzibar or Mount Kilimanjaro / Mount Meru extensions, collection / transfer as described in tour description.
P.S. We decided that we will continue our journey from here on our own and head out to Zanzibar by ferry.
$1350 per person plus $30 per person for a shuttle bus from Nairobi to Arusha. In total: $2760.
The safari included the following: all park fees, ranger fees, 4x4 transport, English speaking driver-guide, full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and 5 nights of hotel accommodation as described above.
Not include were the following: all things of personal nature such as alcohol, tips, gratuities, laundry, souvenirs and airport taxes if applicable.
P.S. Please check the current prices on Base Camp's website as they might have changed by now.
The procedure required by Base Camp was to pay 50% of the amount in advance for Lodge safaris (30% for camping) via bank transfer. For the rest, they were flexible. You could either pay two months before due date of arrival as per their normal payment procedure, or in cash on arrival, whichever suits you more.
What is important to know, is that credit card payments were not accepted. Therefore if you decided to pay the rest of the amount upon arrival, you could only pay in cash with new US dollars bills. The bills should be with the large head, clean and without rips or tears. Additionally, no bills issued before the year 2000 are accepted in Tanzania in general.