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10 nights Serengeti in February for calving season and lions

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Dec 7th, 2011, 06:01 PM
  #1
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10 nights Serengeti in February for calving season and lions

Hi everybody, hope everyone is fine, I am planning a trip to southern Serengeti in feb 2012 or 2013, if camps/ lodges are not available in 2012,to see the migration calving. I have around 10 days to my disposal. Which camp/lodges would be the best to stay at ?
Also would like to have a private vehicle with an outstanding guide, who is an expert on lions, leopards and cheetahs.
Out of 10 nights, should I spend all in Serengeti. Am thinking of spending 4 nights at camp / lodge ndutu area, 3 nights near gol kojpes / near kusini, and 3 nights central Serengeti. Focus of trip is to see loads of lions, leopards and cheetahs and see the migration during the calving process. Which dates do u recommend? Which camp/ lodges? And who would u recommend as a guide, thanks, Sonali
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Dec 7th, 2011, 07:17 PM
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FWIW, I spent 13 days in Tanzania, mostly in Ndutu area, but a few days in Serengeti and the Crater. This was mid Feb 2011 into Mar. Saw some wildebeest herds but no, repeat no, calving. Calving and herd locations very rain dependent. And thus not predictable even a couple weeks ahead.

As for operator, we were with Roy Safaris out of Arusha and our guides and vehicles were top notch.

regards - tom
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Dec 7th, 2011, 07:22 PM
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That's just the trip I was thinking of.

Here's Tom's report.

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...-tanzania-.cfm
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Dec 8th, 2011, 05:39 AM
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At this date even though 2013 prices won't be available before mid-2012 (from June forward), you can be assured to get any/all the properties you wish for staying in the Ndutu area and/or Southern Serengeti.

However, if for 2012, where February the best month, which is 2/mo from now... very unlikely to find space, moreso 'consecutive' nights, at any of the properties you wish.

Until you contact an outfitter will you know, so get going if hoping for 2012.
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Dec 8th, 2011, 06:39 AM
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Thanks Tom, Lynn and sandi, so Tom did u go after the calving, or before the calving........ As u saw some calves maybe it was after, pls advise, also Lynn any chance u wanna join me ?? Would really enjoy if you could come along......... Sandi, other than ndutu which lodges camps would you recommend in southern Serengeti ?...........Sonali
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Dec 8th, 2011, 08:16 AM
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Calving, 2011, Feb 16-Mar 2. Saw a few calves, but not a lot, and saw no calving. So assume this was before calving. When and where they calve depends on the grass and the grass depends on the rain. I've read they have a "window" of about 4 weeks for calving, due to this rain/grass condition.

Besides Ndutu, I've heard Kusini Camp is good, not too far from Ndutu. Here is a nice general map of that area -
http://tinyurl.com/7ox477v

regards - tom
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Dec 8th, 2011, 09:07 AM
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Hi Sonali - you were asking about a guide. Would highly recommend The Wild Source guides - either Deo Magoye or Peter Huka. I think they know every nook and cranny of the Serengeti, and will def. be able to take you away from the Ndutu crowds. Sure others will have their own recommendations, but I can personally vouch for the eagle eyes of these 2 guides. Deo has been guiding in the Serengeti for 20+ years, and Peter is a young and very knowledgeable Nomad guide whose guiding ethic really impressed me.
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Dec 8th, 2011, 09:44 AM
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I've been to Tanzania 3 times in the last 4 years in Feb/Mar in a private safari with just 2 of us. First trip, 2 weeks in mid-Feb 2008, saw the massive herds in Ndutu area some babies no births. Second trip again 2 weeks, a week later in Feb 2009 (starting 3rd week of Feb) some babies, mass of herds outside of Ndutu area and not convenient to view. But we saw a birth in the Crater and I'm pretty sure we could have watched several in the Crater if we wanted. It was a wonderful experience! Took about 15 minutes to stand and run and it was right next to the road. Lions were in the background so I was encouraging that little guy to get up!

Third trip, late Feb/March 2011, no births, we choose not to see the big herds because big cat sightings were so fabulous. We did see new born giraffe and ellies in southern Serengeti. Also saw many lions and their cubs, many cheetahs and a chase, and 5 leopards including 2 cubs. We had a rainy morning in Ndutu and it was fabulous because the wildlife was more active. We spent hours at the Marsh in Ndutu watching 4 adorable lion cubs. I have used Naipenda Safari and Chris was our guide for all trips.

This 2012 is a trip to Kenya/Rwanda. My dream trip for 2013 is 2 weeks in early March back in Tanzania. I would o/n in Arusha, fly into Ndutu for 4 nights (Ndutu Lodge), up to Serengeti Wildlife Lodge for 3 nights and then back to Ndutu for 3 more nights. Then fly to a beach location for a few days before heading home. Having seen the massive herds, I now prefer to see the cats and they are not present or visible if the wildies are in mass. By March there are lots of babies and less crowds. The guides know the patterns and hangouts of the cats. At some lodges, prices drop.
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Dec 8th, 2011, 10:41 AM
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I've heard good things about Naipenda, wildlifepainter. Were all your trips with them? Were you in lodges each time? I've read that Naipenda does mobiles too. Do you anything about their mobile operation? Thanks!
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Dec 8th, 2011, 10:41 AM
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Oops, meant to say, "do you know anything..."
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Dec 8th, 2011, 11:40 AM
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All 3 trips were with Naipenda and with the same guide. We would use him again in a heartbeat. We used their luxury mobile camp 1 night in 2009 because Ndutu Lodge wasn't available. It was very lovely with at least 3 staff and our guide taking care of our every need. We were the only guests so (for me) it was too much care. I prefer some down time with other guests in the evenings. My favorite is Ndutu Lodge because it usually has long stay and/or repeat photographer guests and I love to visit and share info with them.

The mobile had large tents with double metal framed bed and separate toilet (on a platform like a throne) and bucket shower sections inside the back of the tent. Also had a dining tent, camp fire and staff and cooking were done a little distance away. It was a great set-up but just not my thing. Maybe with a group it would be perfect.
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Dec 8th, 2011, 12:19 PM
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Thanks for that. And when you said private safari, it was just you and the guide? Would you mind giving us a ballpark pppn price for that sort of long lodge stay cum private vehicle and guide? Thanks. A price range will work too!
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Dec 8th, 2011, 01:36 PM
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2013 would be a strong possibility if the trip did not fall during these dates: Feb 22-Feb 28

We could finally share our bottle of wine!
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Dec 8th, 2011, 04:35 PM
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Sonali--don't expect Lynn to drink her fair share.
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Dec 8th, 2011, 05:54 PM
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This safari was not in Feb, but check out this report for a private mobile.

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...erspective.cfm

Don't pay any attention to that Marija. I'm sure we'd have so many sightings that merit a toast, I'd end up tipsy every evening!

I'm also a good consultant now on what wine goes with ugali. And I've mastered the art of tying a bandana around a bottle of chilled wine on my knee. As you can see, I'd be a useful and highly versatile safari-mate.
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Dec 9th, 2011, 07:34 AM
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Hi Sonali,

We just booked a trip this week for first 14 days of Feb. 2012...so to answer your question, there are camps available BUT you need to be flexible in your travel dates to work it. I had to switch weeks to obtain an additional night vacancy at my FIRST choice tented camp in S. Serengeti, but no problem doing so. Just contact a few agents listed here and they can advise.
.
For Mr.MB and myself, we did not want to wait another year and just contacted the camps we really were interested in; they put us with their "preferred" (whatever!) agents in TZ to book and work out the logistics. It took a week to pull it together and my last trip to Kenya took 10 months. So "on the fly" - we'll hope it works- but the camps are well known and have excellent reviews; the guides are also known to be some of the best (I did investigate that area extensively) -
AND having a private guide is paramount, though I dislike all the driving involved.

We will be at Olivers (Tarangire, for walks and night drives with NIGHT VISION goggles - that sealed it for the Mr.) onto Plantation Lodge and/or Farmhouse, drive to Olikara (southern) and lastly Dunia (south central).

I wanted to spend ALL my time in Serengeti but some special forum experts convinced me I would still enjoy Tarangire-- and the reviews and suggestions for Olivers lulled me in.

Unfortunately we found all "crater" properties booked (probably because the large tour co's reserve them) and will NOT pay the Crater Lodge price, but fine with me.I can look at a chandelier here at home!

I got all else I was looking for! The crater was not paramount to us believe it or not..I was just talked into not missing it..Hope I am pleasantly surprised. Just not expecting it.

I started out with Serian Serengeti but somehow got lost in the shuffle, and decided that it was not meant to be.. I am excited about what we've planned and most of all a return to Africa! That is just about as perfect as a day can be!


Of course we like the idea planning a trip last minute; some folks don't..whatever turns your wheels. If I had another l0 months for research, I'd probably look at Nomad & Wildsource, but for last minute, I am quite happy with our choices.

Good Luck to you, and I'll report back end of Feb.
MB
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Dec 9th, 2011, 02:01 PM
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Serian Serengeti - you mean Serengeti Mawsa?

I can't recall, here on Fodor's anyone posting about stays at the Serian camps whether in the North or this one in the south!
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Dec 9th, 2011, 02:08 PM
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Or, -Serena- Serengeti? (been there).

regards - tom
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Dec 9th, 2011, 07:29 PM
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Sandi, I'll be able to report on Serian's southern location when I get back in late January. I think they've moved camp somewhat from Maswa into the NCA, but we shall see. 7 nights there.
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Dec 10th, 2011, 03:24 AM
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Sorry, did not know proper name - it is ALEX WALKER'S SERIAN in southern Serengeti - I know Twaffle will have a most thrilling time with the guys...can't wait for her report!

I'm trying a different approach this time so we can compare!
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