2014 Best of Kenya and Tanzania

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Oct 5th, 2012, 01:36 AM
  #1
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2014 Best of Kenya and Tanzania

My wife and I traveled to Kenya's Maasai Mara early August this year. We had hoped to catch the Migration but the pattens seems to have changed drastically. We are already planning a second trip, this time combining both Kenya and Tanzania hopefully with the same Safari outfit. Our main concern is the road travel between Kenya and Tanzania.Any comments from past travelers would be appreciated.

We are considering either of this three itineraries.
1.Option 1
http://africaremotesafaris.com/afric...fari?showall=1
2. Option 2
http://africaremotesafaris.com/afric...a-and-tanzania

3.
http://basecamptanzania.co.tz/safari...ng/10days.html
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Oct 5th, 2012, 05:43 AM
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Hi Ray - so you didn't see ANY of the migration in the Mara in August? That's disappointing. Where do you think the herds were when you were there? Are you aiming to try for the migration in 2014? How will you adjust the time of year that you are there?
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Oct 5th, 2012, 05:46 AM
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Ray - woops, I wrote 2014, but you didn't say when you were going.... 2013?
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Oct 5th, 2012, 05:54 AM
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Hi Ray
Ive never done both Kenya and Tanzania on the same trip, but I just wanted to make a few comments
1) Your Basecamp link isnt for a dual country Safari
2) Option 2 ARS has 2 border crossings
3) You never told us what time of year your next safari is
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Oct 5th, 2012, 07:35 AM
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Those 3 itineraries couldn't be more different from each other. What is it that you're looking for from your next safari and when are you going and for how long?

Itinerary 1 has Zanzibar which none of the others do. Is this something you want to include?

Itinerary 2 has some really long drives moving every or every other day. Too me this would be too hectic.

Itinerary 3 as mentioned is Tanzania only and is also a camping safari with a 3 day Lake Natron hike. Is this walking/hiking something that you're particularly interested in? Are you OK with camping?
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Oct 5th, 2012, 09:17 AM
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For sure you're not comparing apples-to-apples.

If I read Itin #1 correctly, it's probably the most expensive. And as Patty mentions, includes Zanzibar

Itin. #2, way too many long drives and many short stays at different locales. Besides, with only 10/days I would not try to visit both countries, unless selecting only specific areas each so it's not as hectic as shown... thus would mean you'd have to custom design an itinerary.

... and Itin. #3, Basecamp is Tanzania only and camping.

Also wish some of these web sites would use normal size fonts (what size was it as smaller than anything I've ever seen) so that even with my 'readers' could figure out what they're trying to tell me. Normally, seeing such tiny print, I would completely ignore the offering... but that's me!
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Oct 5th, 2012, 11:57 AM
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None of these itineraries are very good. For instance, the first itinerary, which includes expensive camps only gives you about 4 days of game viewing (2 1/2 in the Mara, 1 in the Serengeti and 1/2 day in the Crater if the rules are followed.) Sandi and Patty have pointed out the obvious problems with the other two.

Where did you stay this year in the Mara? I can't imagine you didn't see any of the herds. I was there in July and the herds were already beginning to arrive. I was also in the northern Serengeti the first few days of August and there were still plenty of Migration herds there. The migration patterns follow the rains, so it's hard to say where the largest herds will be at any given time, but some areas such as the Lamai Wedge in the northern Serengeti have permanent herds there.

I'd suggest having someone like Bill Given of The Wild Source do an custom itinerary for you. He's a wildlife biologist as well as a safari planner and can design an itinerary for you that focuses on what you really want to see. If it's the Migration herds, I'd start in the northern Serengeti and then go to the Mara, as the herds will be moving north in August. You could go to the Crater on the way to the Serengeti, but you could also go to someplace like Meru NP in Kenya, which I visited and really loved. Or, just focus on the Serengeti and the Mara... can't go wrong there! There are places around the Mara where you can avoid the worst of the crowds and still see lots of wildlife, such as the Mara North Conservancy, but I think it would be good to stay near the Mara or Talek Rivers in the actual Reserve for a couple of days. That cuts down on driving time from the conservancy and gets you close to many of the standard crossing points. However, because of the increasing number of vehicles at those points, the herds are crossing in other, less safe, spots and hundreds are dying as a result.
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Oct 5th, 2012, 12:58 PM
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As regards the 'migration' what you see on a map is the guestimate of the route taken and expected month/s the herds will be found in given areas. That said, this year '12, the herds arrived mid-July in the Mara which is expected, though the two previous years they started to arrive as early as June. This year the herds commenced their return to the Serengeti earlier than usual (late-Aug/Sep).

But you have to remember these herds follow the rains which brings grass and there was quite a bit of wet in the Northern Serengeti in Sep, thus they were on the move, only for some to return once the rain stopped... not unusual for them to do this.

Both countries though do have resident herds that never migration, as those in the Loita Hills outside the Mara that move south to join the larger herds that arrived from the Serengeti.

If you do wish to combine the Mara and Northern Serengeti, know that road transfer will take a full day, some of which not on the best road/s. However, there is now a flight from one to the other - a Tanzania air carrier, another from Kenya, along with the road transfers to/from the border crossing/immigration points - price for both flights/road transfers is about $500/person.
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Oct 6th, 2012, 06:52 AM
  #9
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Thank you all the information. Cateyess555, I did see the Migration, (We had hoped to witness the crossing), three of our friends were lucky though. I understand that the crossing points change every year. Frank, thank you. At the moment we are looking at Aug2013. Our friends recommended Basecamp safaris and they seem to have only Tanzania on their website. I was weighing the option of skipping Kenya and just doing Tanzania. Thank you very much for the many options. Regarding Africa Remote Safaris option 2. They have offered to modify the itinerary to include some flights so as to cut down on the flight times. This however means that I will use two different guides for both countries. Our ARS guide for this year's safari was Evans,a Maasai. I have written a glowing recommendation of him to other travelers.
Patty-Thank you for your comments. We are looking at 2 weeks(12-14 days)- Our Visit to Kenya only took us to Maasai Mara and Lake Naivasha. We would really like to see the Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro and Serengeti. Friends recommended an extention to Zanzibar-(Wife's birthday)
Sandi-Thank you, as explained, Basecamp have the cheapest offer so far.(Tanzania) Your information on the migration route is very useful, we have requested for Northern Serengeti, possibly Mbalageti camp or similar. Shay, we stayed in the conservancy- Mara Safari club then moved to Mara Intrapids.Bill Given's contacts or website would really be helpful. Meru National park sounds like a good idea. I must however mention that at some point we just had too many Vans at the Mara, especially around Talek, Our guide explained that this is 'normal' during the peak tourism season. In summery, I am now considering Starting from Arusha,Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Northern Serengeti, Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru and maybe Meru National Park... ..$500 for flights?sounds expensive but I am looking at all options. I appreciate your help. Thank you.
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Oct 6th, 2012, 08:42 AM
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Ray,
Mbalageti is a nice camp(especially the chalets) but it is in the WEST not the North. I was there one June when the migration was in the North, and its a long haul from there to the North. I actually enjoyed my time more in the West watching the smaller herds catching up to the main migration than I did making the 3+hr haul each way to the North.

Back to business- Basecamp is a GREAT operator, at least in Tanzania. I dont know who he uses for his handoffs to Kenya(You would not only switch guides there, but probably companies). I think the only way you can for sure catch the migration, is plan a Feb Safari when the wildes are calving but you would miss that river crossing you appear trying to catch
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Oct 6th, 2012, 09:05 AM
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You can reach Bill via his website: www.thewildsource.com or [email protected]. He's a wildlife biologist and puts you in the right area for the time of year you're going and for what you want to see.

Mbalageti Camp in Tanzania is in the Western Corridor, not the northern Serengeti. In the north, we stayed at the Simiyu Camp in the Bologonja area and Serengeti Mara Camp in the Lemai Wedge. That area is tucked up against the Mara and we saw thousands of wildes and a couple of crossings on the Mara River (one near Olakira and the other, downstream from Kogatende.) I think the Wedge is a great place to stay in August and that camp is currently the only one actually in the Wedge (but not north of the river.) The South African company Singita is setting up a mobile tented operation up there but are having problems due to the weather and low-water crossing at Kogatende.

$500 for flights won't go too far in Africa. That would barely cover a round trip flight from Nairobi Wilson to Meru and back. If you're looking at only two weeks, I'd suggest staying in Tanzania since you've already been to Kenya. You can easily cover the northern circuit via road all the way to the northern Serengeti, then fly back to Arusha from there at the end of your safari. You definitely won't see the crowds in the northern Serengeti like you did in the Mara right across the border.

I like to end my safaris with a few days in Zanzibar. My favorite place is Pongwe Beach Lodge. In Stone Town, I like to stay at Tembo House because it's reasonably priced and well location on the oceanfront. My tour operator in Zanzibar is Indoma Tours (Masoud Salim or KC, www.indomatours.com), although Bill could also set up this portion of the trip.
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Oct 8th, 2012, 11:58 PM
  #12
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Thank you everyone for your help. I am going to send out some emails to Basecamp Tanzania, The Wild source(Bill) and my Kenyan operator. Price is a major factor. I think I am settling on the Tanzania Only option.( Cost permitting)
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Oct 11th, 2012, 11:31 PM
  #13
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Thank you again. I sent an email to Wild Source. Got a reply asking for my budget.Awaiting their offer. Meanwhile I am leaning towards an offer by Base camp.We do have some unfinished business in Kenya hence,should I choose to do both destinations,I might have to use Basecamp Tanzania and Africa Remote Safaris. Meanwhile I will await Bill's reply.
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Oct 12th, 2012, 02:05 PM
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Bill is in Tanzania at the moment. He's in the process of hiring another planner, but his Operations Manager Shannon should be around. She doesn't plan the safaris, though.
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Oct 13th, 2012, 09:02 AM
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I quoted the estimated price from Serengeti to Mara, from the west; but even if you flew via the east, price is much the same. Overall flights in Africa don't come cheap for the distances flown, but a great option vs 'you can't get there from here' or 'spending a day or more on the roads.' I go for the flights vs forfeiting a day of actual safari.

The best place from where to 'see' Kilimanjaro is actually at Amboseli, an elephant park, in Kenya. You could then arrive NBO, head by road (4/hrs) to Amboseli, spend 2/nts; transfer to Namanga border at the east for border procedures, change guides/vehicle, onto (1.5/hrs) to Arusha for lunch, then 2/hrs to Lake Manyara; from here to Ngorongoro, then onto the Central Serengeti and finally to the Northern/Kogatende area of the Serengeti; flying back to Arusha/JRO for homebound or flight into NBO and homebound.

Day 1 - Arv. NBO - o/n
Day 2 - With private guide/vehicle drive to Amboseli; game drive- o/n Serena or Ol Tukai Lodges, or others (budget dependent)
Day 3 - Amboseli; game drives - o/n
Day 4 - Drive to Namanga, border procedures, change guide/vehicle; drive to Arusha (lunch); drive 2/hrs to Lk. Manyara - game drive - o/n Serena Lodge or Kirurumu Camp
Day 5 - Drive (2.5/hrs) to Ngorongoro; afternoon crater tour (limited to 6/hrs) - o/n Sopa Lodge
Day 6 - Ngo - option: morning crater tour or if not; drive via Oldupai Gorge for brief stop at site and small museum; continue game drive (2.5-3/hrs) to Central Serengeti - o/n Serena Lodge or Mbuzi Mawe Camp (maybe Bilila Lodge)
Day 7 - Central Serengeti - o/n
Day 8 - W/ picnic lunch game drive (4/hrs) to No. Serengeti; afternoon game drive - o/n Simiyu, Olakira or Lemala North Camps
Days 9, 10 & 11 - No. Serengeti; game drives, possible river crossings - o/n
Day 12 - Fly from KOG to Arusha; dayroom till later transfer to JRO for homebound, or flight into NBO/JKIA for homebound.
... that's your 12/days.
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