Belated update Nothern Circuit Tanzania - Car Work Shop in Serengeti





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  1. #1
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    Post Belated update Nothern Circuit Tanzania - Car Work Shop in Serengeti

    First of all I need to apologize for this late post but I simply did not get down to doing it earlier. We travelled in June 2017 and I know it’s late but there are a few things travelers may find helpful.

    We drove Nairobi – Arusha – Tarangire - Empakai Crater- Ngorongoro – Serengeti (Western /Central / North) – Exit Klein’s Gate to Lake Natron Engare Sero – Arusha/Moshi.


    We always do a combination of camping and lodging for the sheer pleasure of being spoilt inbetween. We are 2 adults and a child of now 7.

    The driving on the tar roads is easy and traffic is reasonable. Strictly adhere to the speed limits as police are everywhere and fines are handed out immediately (this time round we were lucky and stuck to it).

    I got all the maps that Giovanni Tombazi made, up front from him directly via his website www.gtmaps.comfor the planning. On these maps you can see all the special campsites in the Northern Circuit Parks. I then asked a local Tour Operator (Mauly Tours in Moshi and Arusha – www.mauly-tours.com) to organize the permits for the special campsites and NCA Fees for me up front. They are extremely efficient and helpful and I strongly recommend them. This will ensure you get where you want to be and don’t have to take what is still available when you just turn up at the gates. I strongly recommend using special campsites as the public ones we saw were not inviting.



    Fees going into the parks are extremely high for foreign registered cars (they are meant to discourage the Kenyan Tour Operators coming across the border). We paid USD 150 plus 18% VAT per day for the car only! Tarangire cost us USD 660 just entry for us and the car for 2 nights!! On all price lists you find in the internet you must add 18% VAT! They are supposedly to go up even further. We saw only one other self-drive vehicle in 2 weeks!


    Park Fees and Campsite Fees (public and special CS) are paid at the Gates directly via credit card only! I was surprised to find that going into Ngorongoro Conservation Area you could pay the NCA fees directly at the gates. I am not sure about the Crater Rim Fee but all other fees could be paid at the Gate. The Warden on the Serengeti Side confirmed this too as we needed an option to return should we not exit via Klein’s Gate.


    Tarangire: is a lovely quiet park with great scenery and a real bush feel to it. We stayed at Maweninga Tented Camp which has an amazing view onto Lake Manyara. There are lots of Tsetse Flies and that was at times bothersome.


    Ngorongoro -Empakai Crater: An amazing area, wide open empty spaces, save for some Masaai that live there. No animals but the scenery is fantastic. One can descend into the Empakai Crater a 2 hours walk with a guide. There is also camping SC (Special Campsite) up there but pack warm it was below 5°C during the night. SC needs to be paid at the NCA Gate.


    Ngorongoro Descent: USD 250 (+VAT) per vehicle apparently you need a guide in your vehicle when descending – only signposted when passing through the descent gate. We threw a tantrum and were allowed down. I soon regretted it somehow as one of two batteries packed up on the pick-nick site and we had to be jump-started. That cut our trip rather short down there.



    Serengeti: The roads going into Serengeti from NCA were being redone, and time too, they are hopefully better now as it was tough on man and material. I don’t know how the local drivers keep their vehicles out of the ditch at the speed they do. From Nda'abi Gate to Central Serengeti the roads are still bad! We booked Mareu SC for 2 nights in the Western Corridor and loved it. It was tranquil bliss day and night. Animals passed all day and lions roared at night. The Migration was happening a few miles down the road at the crossing of the Grumeti River. A perfect spot. Well signposted and exactly as noted on Giovanni’s map. There is also a SC right on the Grumeti in the Western Coridor, maybe try that too. Unfortunately our battery did not come back to life and we started asking about for a workshop in the Central area and found two!! This is good to know as anything can happen on these roads. The first one is easy to find – it is directly located at the petrol station – very basic. The second one bigger and better kitted out and has more spares (old vehicles lying around) and had the one and only battery we needed. The Work Shop is across from the Dikdik and Pimbi Camsites. It is not signposted, you need to ask the local drivers – they all knew about it.


    We headed North but the SC we had booked on the Grumeti – Ndasiata - was unusable. The grass was thigh high and tsetse flies everywhere. We ended up staying in the very lovely Migration Camp as we had run out of time to drive all the way back to Lobo. The area is supposedly teeming with wildlife in July. We saw some but heard a lot at night as the first gnus and zebras were making their way here.



    We then headed out at Klein’s Gate towards Lake Natron. The road is very bad until Wasso (there are small shops a market and petrol station there). Many turns were one may need to ask along the way. Then the road is good and takes you all the way to Engare Sero on the Lake. Dramatic landscapes made us stop often once we reached the lake. Views on Ol Donyo Lengai and the Rift Valley were unbelievable. We stayed at the Lake Natron Campsite in Engare Sero. Very shady with good bar and restaurant. Unfortunately we did not have enough time to explore the lake and headed straight back to Arusha.

    The recommendable road to Arusha now is heading East towards the Namanga-Arusha road. It has been upgraded and takes approx. 1.5 hrs to reach the tar, another 1.5hrs to reach Arusha. You also only pay 2 way tolls instead of 3 if heading towards Mto Wambu.



    There are storage possibilities in Moshi if anybody needs anything to leave the car. Contact me.

    It was a lovely trip. Very friendly and helpful tour operator drivers, we felt safe all the time. No begging or nasty interactions. People seemed genuinely happy and making the best of the options they have. We had a very different impression when travelling here in 2006.

    Any question please let me know. And sorry for the late update

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    Fundi Work Shop View Ol Donyo / Rift V Mareu SC Maasai Highlands Empakai Crater Ol Donyo Lengai

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Belated update Nothern Circuit Tanzania - Car Work Shop in Serengeti

    Hi Monstercruiser, thanks for this valuable info and update.

    Do you by any chance have the GPS co-ordinates for any of the special campsites? I am attempting to compile as much info as possible on Serengeti's special campsites as there is so little available.

    In the Western Corridor you refer to a special campsite on the Grumeti. Was this Kira Wira?

    Just one more query. The Ndasiata campsite you refer to in the north, can you confirm that this was on the Grumeti River?
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Belated update Nothern Circuit Tanzania - Car Work Shop in Serengeti

    Thank you, Monstercruiser, for this excellent trip report. Better late than never!

    It is interesting to read that one can pay for the Ngorongoro Conservation Area at the gate. This is obviously a new method of payment as the system before required one to pay at a bank at Karatu or Arusha.

    I am also interested to read that you had to pay USD150 per day for the vehicle in the Serengeti. Did they assess your vehicle as a 6 seater?

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Belated update Nothern Circuit Tanzania - Car Work Shop in Serengeti

    Hi Stan, good to hear from you!! Hope all good your end?
    I unfortunatly don't have the GPS coordinates for Mareu or Ndasiata with me. They are all on the GPS in the car (my T4A did not work at the time and I had to use the back up GPS).
    The Camp at the Grumeti in the Western Corridor is called "Grumeti" in Giovanni's map and also signposted as such. It is off the road leading over the Grumeti towards Ngokeo and Nyasirori Ranger Post and SC. When driving over the Grumeti here there is a big water hole with massive Crocs in it.
    The Ndasiata SC is very close to the Grumeti. We could not explore the area as we were running out of time and had to find alternative accomodation as it was unusable. we underestimated the time on that road winding along the Grumeti. We also noted that the short circuit from Lobo to Ndasiata and Grumeti had not been used for ages. It was completely overgrown. Only the road going to Migration Camp seems to be used. The guides at Migration Camp said that all of this area along the Grumeti is hardly used, even by them it seems. We complained at Klein's Gate about all this but if this will have an impact no idea.

    Take care.
    Last edited by monstercruiser; 2018/01/15 at 01:08 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Belated update Nothern Circuit Tanzania - Car Work Shop in Serengeti

    Hi WW,
    at the Serengeti we got lucky - our car weighs 2.8 tons (everything over 2 tons is 150 USD) and I said it that way. The ranger ended up charging me 16 USD instead of 708 USD! I don't know what he combined but I left it at that. Haveing had to stay at the beautiful but expensive Migration Camp because Ndasiata SC was unusable that equalled out......
    Check out the fees for vehicles here: http://www.ngorongorocrater.go.tz/in...09-05-18-04-07


    Have you every crossed into Uganda from Tanzania? We are looking at getting the car to Uganda next.
    Last edited by monstercruiser; 2018/01/15 at 01:21 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Belated update Nothern Circuit Tanzania - Car Work Shop in Serengeti

    Thanks, Monstercruiser. We have only ever paid the lower fee for the vehicle as it is less than 6 seater and just about at the 2000kg mark (unladen of course). This is a Land Rover Defender, but I know that the relations between Kenya and Tanzania are a bit prickly at the moment and it may well be that we would get charged the higher rate in a Kenyan registered vehicle...

    No, we have never crossed directly from Tanzania to Uganda - only through Rwanda. But I would imagine that it is pretty simple to cross near Bukoba. You will just have to plan your overnight stops carefully en route to this border crossing.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Belated update Nothern Circuit Tanzania - Car Work Shop in Serengeti

    Hi Monstercruiser,

    Thank you for the updated info. Indeed there are quite a few good changes looking retrospectively to October 2016. Glad to know that they do accept payment at NCA gates (more freedom on route planning/ back up planning) and that the dreadful road from Engare Sero to Mto-wam-bo has now an alternative!

    Thank you.

    AP

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Default Re: Belated update Nothern Circuit Tanzania - Car Work Shop in Serengeti

    Hello,
    my car provider Serengeti Select Safaris in Arusha, informed me in January that all my requested special campsites for TANAPA have finally been booked for June. I have been asking since last May! TANAPA redid their reservation system and it is up and running now. Each special campsite booking has a voucher with a number and when I show up at the Park entrance gate, I will have to show the original vouchers and pay for them at the corrsponding Park gate by Visa or MC. So this is obviously a significant change for us self-drivers, as now I’m surly expecting even longer lines and standing at yet another window paying park entrance fees AND camping fees as well as vehicle fees. We are going in June and hopefully the new system will then run smoothly.... yeah sure.
    I don’t know if there is any change regarding NCA special campsite bookings as we are using Simba public CS there.
    Greetings from KaliCA
    If life is a journey, be sure to take the scenic route!

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