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Crazy (not) to add Serengeti to Mara in late May?

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Greetings all. Long-time lurker, first-time poster (and I hope this is the right forum). You all have provided such great feedback here (I think I’ve probably read them all…), and after months of research I’m honing in on a final itinerary for our trip to Kenya & Zanzibar for the second half of May, and would love some opinions.

For context, I did 4 days of safari at &Beyond camps in South Africa in December, but this will be my wife’s first safari. We will arrive on May 11 and be staying with friends in Nairobi for 3 nights, and doing a day trip or overnight with them to Lake Nakuru or Lake Naivasha on one of those. We then have 13 nights to spend on safari and in Zanzibar.

We know that we will end with 3-4 nights at &Beyond’s Mnemba Island (and 1 or 2 nights in Stone Town at the Serena Inn), and in order to take advantage of &Beyond’s current 6/4 special, we need to spend 2-3 nights at another &Beyond lodge, which brings me to my question.

For the Mara, I am currently thinking about 3 nights at Encounter Mara (a non-&Beyond lodge which has a stay 3/pay 2 special) on the Naboisho Conservancy, then 2 nights at Mara Explorer inside the park.

This leaves the 2-3 nights for an &Beyond camp. If we were to stay in Kenya, this would need to be at Kichwa Tembo, which is just outside the park to the NW, and apparently does its drives mostly to the west of where Mara Explorer does theirs. This would mean we would stay in a camp to the NE in a conservancy, one inside the middle of the park (Confluence I believe), and one to the NW that does drives in the Triangle.

The other possibility would be to instead of Kichwa Tembo, fly down to Tanzania and do 3 nights at Serengeti Under Canvas, which will be in the central region around Seronera. This would also require a transit night in Arusha. The incremental cost of adding the Serengeti is about $3k. So my question is, would folks recommend the extra hassle/expense to get down to the Serengeti and potentially seeing the migration, or just stick with the all Mara experience and Zanzibar? Are we crazy not to go to the Serengeti?

Hopefully this will not be our last trip to east Africa, as I would love to do more of a Tanzanian circuit next time…but of course you never know, and next time the migration might be up in the Mara…

If you've made it this far, sorry for the long note, but I wanted to get as much out on the table as possible. Many thanks in advance!


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