Tanzania

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carorun
Posts: 315
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:53 pm
Location: Chicago

Tanzania

Post by carorun » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:15 pm

I am in the early stages of planning a trip to Tanzania next year to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro then go on safari. A search of Bogleheads indicates that some posters have done this in the past, so I'm wondering if anyone has recommendations.
  • What tour operator did you choose? Zara seems to be everywhere but I'm wary of them. Leaning towards G Adventures at the moment.
  • Route? I am between Machame and Lemosho. Lemosho looks like it is better for acclimitization
  • Is Zanzibar worth tacking on a few days at the end?
  • How far in advance do tours fill up? It looks like several operators offer sales on occasion but I'm not sure if it's worth waiting for one, or to play it safe and lock in the flights and tour for the dates I want
  • And of course, training :oops: . I hiked the Grand Canyon this year and trained hard for that, but this trek would be 3x as long. I am in good shape (work out 5 days a week, alternating between running and weights) and would likely train for this by taking a few day hikes and climbing stairs in my building like I did for the Grand Canyon trip.

radiowave
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Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Tanzania

Post by radiowave » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:24 pm

Hi, I took a few nursing students to Arusha a few years ago, working vacation. We did do an extended weekend safari to the Serengeti. We stayed in tents and happened to be there during the migration - a trip of a life time. Be sure to bring a good camera.

We didn't hike Kili, but one aspect you may want to discuss with your physician is high altitude. You can train all you like in Chicago, but it's a lot different at 15K feet. You may want to prepare with latest pharmacology meds (e.g. Diamox). Also, Tanzania has a high malaria rate (and HIV) so you want to be sure to have prophylaxis as well and DEET or other good repellant.

Arusha will likely be your base camp, not many vendors accept credit cards, so you'll need to get cash from one of the local banks by ATM/debit card.

Have a great trip!
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page

Valuethinker
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Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Tanzania

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:19 pm

carorun wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:15 pm
I am in the early stages of planning a trip to Tanzania next year to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro then go on safari. A search of Bogleheads indicates that some posters have done this in the past, so I'm wondering if anyone has recommendations.
  • What tour operator did you choose? Zara seems to be everywhere but I'm wary of them. Leaning towards G Adventures at the moment.
  • Route? I am between Machame and Lemosho. Lemosho looks like it is better for acclimitization
  • Is Zanzibar worth tacking on a few days at the end?
  • How far in advance do tours fill up? It looks like several operators offer sales on occasion but I'm not sure if it's worth waiting for one, or to play it safe and lock in the flights and tour for the dates I want
  • And of course, training :oops: . I hiked the Grand Canyon this year and trained hard for that, but this trek would be 3x as long. I am in good shape (work out 5 days a week, alternating between running and weights) and would likely train for this by taking a few day hikes and climbing stairs in my building like I did for the Grand Canyon trip.
I know people who liked Zanzibar a lot.

I am not sure if that was sitting on a beach & scuba diving & snorkeling like or doing stuff like. I suspect the latter-- interesting mix of African and Middle Eastern Arab cultures with a slight overlay of British colonialism. It sounded a lot better than Mombassa (even before Mombassa had terrorism) which sounds like Brits behaving badly in a beach resort. Also when are you going to be out in that part of the world and have the chance again?

I do know that part of the world is awful around Xmas time in terms of flights-- the flights from Europe get booked up months in advance.

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whatusername?
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Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:08 pm

Re: Tanzania

Post by whatusername? » Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:58 pm

I haven't been to Africa with G Adventures, but the trips I have done with them have been great. Their customer service representatives are also fantastic, so if you have questions about your trip itinerary before you book, I wouldn't hesitate to give them a call. (The wait times are a little long, but they're great once you actually get through).

halfnine
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Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:48 pm

Re: Tanzania

Post by halfnine » Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:05 pm

carorun wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:15 pm
I am in the early stages of planning a trip to Tanzania next year to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro then go on safari. A search of Bogleheads indicates that some posters have done this in the past, so I'm wondering if anyone has recommendations.
  • What tour operator did you choose? Zara seems to be everywhere but I'm wary of them. Leaning towards G Adventures at the moment.
I can't help you with tour operators in regards to Kili specifically. I hiked up Kili near 20 years ago and back then I just showed up and booked on the spot. I have traveled with G Adventures before, though, and feel they offer good value for what you get.
  • Route? I am between Machame and Lemosho. Lemosho looks like it is better for acclimitization
Adapting to altitude is more important than the route. Any trip that gives you more days on the mountain is going to increase your odds for success. If you can acclimate at altitude before you leave it will only improve your odds as well
  • Is Zanzibar worth tacking on a few days at the end?
Absolutely. For that matter, I think Ngorongoro is definitely up there in the must see destinations in a lifetime. If I remember correctly I hiked up Kili, went on safari, then headed out to Zanzibar before returning to Dar and continuing my journey southward.
  • How far in advance do tours fill up? It looks like several operators offer sales on occasion but I'm not sure if it's worth waiting for one, or to play it safe and lock in the flights and tour for the dates I want
Things have obviously changed since I went. Can't help you here.
  • And of course, training :oops: . I hiked the Grand Canyon this year and trained hard for that, but this trek would be 3x as long. I am in good shape (work out 5 days a week, alternating between running and weights) and would likely train for this by taking a few day hikes and climbing stairs in my building like I did for the Grand Canyon trip.
Prior to Kili I spent the previous 4 months traveling and probably drinking too much beer. The training isn't what is going to make or break the ascent. It's being acclimated and understanding how your body adapts to altitude. Take it slowly. Keep your heart rate down. Don't ascend (vertically) too fast. Make a day out of it. Being first into camp isn't going to improve your chances of getting to the top on summit day. And, consider the old climbing adage of climb high and sleep low by hiking above camp each day. I hiked to 10K and slept at 10K, then hiked to 14K (hung out for a while) and then slept at 13K, then hiked to around 16.5K (hung out for a while) and then slept at 16K .

kevinobes
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Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2017 5:18 pm

Re: Tanzania

Post by kevinobes » Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:39 pm

Greetings!

I did this trip in September 2014 and it was easily the best trip of my life!!

1. We used Tanzania Journeys as our tour operator for both the Kilimanjaro climb and a week-long safari after in the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park (all three of which I would recommend)! Lake Manyara was also an option but it was the wrong time of year for the birds. They were awesome and covered everything from picking us up at the airport until the end of the trip. I know they are also very reputable with respect to paying their guides and porters fair wages as well. I was even able to recommend our specific guide (Rashid...he's the man) to some friends who went a few months later and Tanzania Journeys was able to pair them up and make it happen. I can dig up my files if you want me to send you a contact but I think ballpark we paid around $2,900 for the 14 days. Then an extra couple hundred for tips for the guides/porters and souvenirs.

2. We did the 6 day Machame Route (summit on sunrise of the 5th day...two days to get down). We didn't have many issues with altitude sickness, but we were told that was a pretty fast pace and they recommended the extra day to acclimate. In hindsight I probably would have done better to take them up on it. Partially to acclimate better, partially to just have a slower pace and have more downtime to enjoy the camps in the evening. A word of caution though...I also did the trek to Everest Base Camp this past spring and had altitude sickness so bad after reaching the base camp that the guides recommended I take the helicopter down with some people who were already being evacuated. This was on day 8 at an altitude lower than Kilimanjaro. So how the altitude impacts you can really be inconsistent. My personal opinion is that at some point the body just doesn't keep acclimating and so a longer route does not necessarily mean you will be better off. Sometimes its better to get after it and get off the mountain. I don't really recall anything about Lemosho, but I think Machame is considered the most scenic and passes through the most climate zones.

3. Unfortunately we didn't make it to Zanzibar. Friends said it was great but no need to be there for more than two days.

4. We booked about six months in advance since we found dirt cheap flights and wanted to lock those in. Friends booked maybe only two months prior to going. I don't think you will have issues with it filling up.

5. My training was similar to yours. I mix in cardio and lifting probably five days a week but I don't run hardly ever. I live in downtown Baltimore, so its kind of a hassle to drive out somewhere for a quick hike, but I found the stairmaster at the gym to be more than sufficient. Fire that thing up on a moderate level (like 75 steps/min) and do it for an hour straight a couple times a week for maybe two months leading up to the trip and you'll be all set.

Radiowave is very wise in suggesting you get the diamoxx for altitude sickness and malaria pills (we got Malarone). It will be too high/cold on the mountain for mosquitoes after the first night, but for the few nights in the motel and potential safari/Zanzibar, you will need it.

Good luck planning and feel free to message me with any other questions!! I think I still have pdf's of my itinerary/costs/contacts if you want to take a look!

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carorun
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Location: Chicago

Re: Tanzania

Post by carorun » Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:49 pm

Wow great advice from the Bogleheads as usual. Glad to hear others have had positive experiences with G Adventures. They are not the cheapest or the most expensive, and get good reviews overall online.

The altitude is a wild card and it makes me lean towards taking the longer Lemosho route. I hiked Mt. Kinabalu in Malaysia which is 13.5k feet and felt some altitude headaches at the end but was otherwise fine. In Peru, I was fine in Cuzco and Macchu Picchu but the altitude hit me in Puno (12.5 k feet). I could try to take some weekend hikes next spring to prep but not sure what else I can do to prepare for that.

Thanks for the advice, all! I am planning to book a flight soon because I want to use miles, and may wait a bit before booking the tour. I can easily reschedule a mileage award if something happens.

wilked
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Re: Tanzania

Post by wilked » Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:09 pm

My wife and I did it 6 years ago... week on Safari, week climbing Kili, week on Zanzibar. I personally recommend that order - you will be ready for island life after hiking the mountain, and it's a nice way to end the trip.

We used Swala and found them to be excellent. They will provide references if you ask. We priced MANY outfitters and found them to be the best.

We paid $2035/person for safari and $1300/person for Kili...all of it was us only (ie we didn't share any of it with others). That got us:

1.5 days Tarangire Park
3 days Serengeti
1 day Ngorongoro
0.5 days local village
1 day Lake Manyara

Then 7 DAYS PLUS 2 NIGHT ACCOMMODATION IN MOSHI for Kili

From there we caught a puddle jumper to Zanzibar and stayed at a resort

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