Back to Serian!

Jun 9th, 2010, 07:50 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,213
Back to Serian!

Am thrilled - am going back to Serian Camp in the Mara in a couple of months and cannot wait!

My husband and I spent 5 nights there in 2008 and thought it a superb camp - private vehicles and guides as standard for all parties, charming accommodation, excellent food and drink. I loved it so much that when my parents went the following year, I persuaded them to spend some nights there too, and they also enjoyed it.

I booked the flights using airmiles many months ago but was waiting till nearer the time to book in the hope of securing a better rate.

Have just been exchanging some emails with Alex Walker, the owner, and he's given me a great rate taking into account that we're previous customers and also that we'll be staying our whole 10 nights at Serian.

I'm so delighted, as I didn't think our budget would stretch to some of my second choice camps let alone Serian, for this trip. We're on a much tighter budget.

I'm really, really excited.

Kavey is offline  
Jun 9th, 2010, 09:42 AM
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Congrats, Kavey!! Sounds like a wonderful trip & glad to hear that you guys are getting back to the Mara.

I'll have to make sure & try Serian one day when we return to Kenya.
LyndaS is offline  
Jun 9th, 2010, 10:29 AM
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Patty is offline  
Jun 9th, 2010, 12:19 PM
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Hi Kavey,

So glad to hear you are going to Serian...will you be there in September?

We leave the states on the l2th and will be at Serian the l8th..let me know if you'll be in the neighborhood; would love to meet! We have another forum member, tinydancer who will also be there.
Let the fun begin!

moneyburns is offline  
Jun 9th, 2010, 07:44 PM
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Good for you, Kavey. I'm happy for you.
Calo is offline  
Jun 9th, 2010, 08:00 PM
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Wonderful, Kavey ...... I'm glad Serian appreciates their repeat clientele and treats them well!!!

Enjoy!!! You shall have a blast!!!!! It is amongst the best camps in Africa. If the great wildlife isn't enough - their food and wine is far better than any I've had in Africa.
HariS is offline  
Jun 10th, 2010, 04:35 AM
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Thanks Lynda, Patty, Calo!

MB, I'm afraid I shall be back home by then but how fun that you will be meetnig another Fodorite while you are there!

Hari, yes indeed, it's really good (for me) that they look after return clientele and yes, it's a great camp - fabulous game viewing in private vehicles with well trained guides and drivers, charming accommodation and superb food and drink! What more can one want?
Kavey is offline  
Jun 10th, 2010, 06:12 AM
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I'd never heard of Serian before, but it looks like a wonderful place!
Femi is offline  
Jun 10th, 2010, 11:18 AM
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So jealous!!
canadian_robin is offline  
Jul 1st, 2010, 06:51 AM
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As anyone heard or been to the Serian camp in the north of the Serengeti? I'm doing a self-drive / tented lodge combination trip in August 2010, and might end up there at the very end.

Canadian Robin... by the way, your trip report helped inspire us to do the self-drive. We were evaluating self drive in the northern circuit versus the Nomad company's "Beast Retreat" offer of Katavi + Mahale for 7 nights. We are still working out our itinerary, but it looks something like this:

Day 1: Tarangire (special campsite)
Day 2: Tarangire
Day 3: Tarangire
Day 4: Crater (either plantation lodge or lemala camp)
Day 5: Serengeti (western corridor)
Day 6: Serengeti (lobo)
Day 7: Serengeti (mara area)
Day 8 - 11: Alex Walker/Serian Serengeti North (or Lemala Mara, or Nomad's, or Olakira)

Any thoughts on Walker's outfit versus Nomad's/Asilia/Lemala?

Thanks so much. Sorry to hijack this posting.
dbeach82 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2010, 02:36 PM
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dbeach82 -

Serian No. Serengeti is just opening this season, so unlikely for there to be any comments. Alex is making this his 2nd entry into Tanzania (probably so he can get in his hunting days), the first being at Ndutu.

Whether Lemala, Nomads or Olakira Camps in this area, bear in mind that all are small and for August, better to pre-book... a walk-in might get you a "there's no room at the inn."

On Day 4, it'll be at minimum 3.5/hr drive from Tarangire (depending on where staying here), thus you'd have an afternoon crater tour. That evening, I'd suggest staying on the rim at Lemala Camp or Sopa Lodge rather than Plantation which is outside the crater in the opposite direction of where you'd be heading Day 5. Maybe consider Farmhouse which is practically right outside the Crater gate (15/min).

Day 5, drive will be a long one (and why heading to the Western Corridor in Aug?)... suggest you head straight north, stopping in Central (there's "Ewanjan" a Lemala Camp) then on Day 6 continue to Lobo (not many choices but the Lobo Lodge which is rather budget and somewhat shabby, though great views). Day 7, Mara area... where? Day 7 should be part of Day 8-11, the camps mentioned are all in/around that entire vicinity.

Nomad's likely to be the most expensive and as with Serian No, offer private vehicle per tent for game drives. Lemala and the Asilia camps (Olakira or Sayari) are shared game drives.

I wouldn't hold off checking availability and prices for any of your accommodations... August is peak season. Good luck!
sandi is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2010, 07:50 AM
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Thank you. Incredibly helpful.

In fact, we are hoping to do self camping at private campsites for the nights that we are not in lodges (crater, then again up north). We decided to scratch the Western Corridor as well - thanks for the tip. We will likely stop one night at Seronera on night five (I've heard it's a nightmare, but we can't make it to the north in one day). Then do Lobo / Mara if we are able to book campsites.

dbeach82 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2010, 02:26 PM
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Hi dbeach2! Happy to learn that our report inspired you to try a self-drive. We love to explore Africa that way, but certainly appreciate that it isn't for everyone.

At Ngorongoro, absolutely go to Lemala. First, it is within the gates, so you can get into the crater very quickly in the morning. Secondly, it is a lovely camp, with great staff, excellent food and comfy (heated!) tents. It is pricey however!

If it were me, I would be tempted to drop the Western Corridor and stay at the crater for a second night, although Lemala is expensive, as is the crater entry fee (US$200 for six hours, although we were given permission by the park rangers to stay all day - I think they felt badly charging two seniors, as opposed to a safari company, $200 per visit). Although we did see lions in the Western Corridor, there was really very little there - the migration had already passed through and there were few giraffes, antelopes, ellies...anything really. If you want to break up the drive from the crater to Lobo, spend a night at Seronera instead of the Western Corridor - there is much to see in the Seronera River Valley. If you can book the Turner's Springs special campsite near Seronera, stay two nights - the best campsite of our trip! The lions and hyenas like the springs, and they kept us awake much of the night - we wished we had stayed longer at that campsite.

In Tarangire, try to book a special campsite in the Matete River area - that's where much of the game seem to be congregated - near the river. The tsetse flies were a nuisance further north and the area around Tarangire Hill and west of the hill had little game (but lovely scenery). We were originally assigned to Kanga campsite (in the west) but, thankfully, we were reassigned to Bweha SC, which was in a beautiful location and close to the action - although the large fig tree on the site had a colony of bees that were a bit of a hazard. For our second and third nights, we had to camp about 2km from the campsite to escape them. Any water caused the bees to descend on us. Although I haven't seen the sites, Mlegea and Terminalia looked well placed. Head to the river below the Matete picnic site at dawn - that seemed to be where all of the action was - although it may be completely different when you are there.

I agree with Sandy that Lobo Wildlife Lodge is looking a tad on the far side of prime, although it was undergoing extensive renovations when we were there, so things may be better by now. I would camp instead - request a special campsite near the Ngare Naironya Loop - Lobo Hill SC was very nice, but there was another site even closer to that loop. The public campsite at Lobo has a fantastic view, but was very neglected when we were there - strewn with garbage and the bathrooms (with flush toilets and showers) had been destroyed by elephants and baboons - a great pity because it could be a lovely site. Lobo looked very neglected compared to the rest of the Serengeti, which didn't matter to us because we were well away from the mess/neglect on our special campsite.
canadian_robin is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2010, 02:35 PM
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And, I believe there is only one (1) special campsite in the Northern Serengeti (Kogatende area), so check out options.
sandi is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2010, 03:06 PM
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We asked about a special campsite near Kogatende, but were told that the campsite at Klein's Gate was as far north as we could camp. We were also told that the rangers would probably let us camp at their post at Kogatende but, because we had already spent several nights in the Mara, we decided to travel only as far north (in the Serengeti) as Lobo. Robin
canadian_robin is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 01:49 AM
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Wonderful advice, again!

Do you know of any way to find a map of special campsites? I have been scouring the internet to no avail. I'm also in dialogue with a few companies who are trying to get me answers on availability, but they have been slow in doing so. I fear, this late in the game,that everything will be booked.

Thank you all, again. By the way- I can't seem to figure out how to set up my Fodors to send me email notifications when there are new posts on this topic. Is that possible? Sorry, I am sure that is a very basic question.
dbeach82 is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 08:30 AM
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For the Mara, there are maps on the Mara Conservancy website, which show the special campsites. (click on "visit"). It is a great website - you not only can see the campsites on a map, you can read a brief description of each, get the GPS waypoints, and see when each site is available (and see your name on the booking's calendar once you have reserved - very reassuring!). If you'd like a hard copy map of the Mara, there is an excellent map/paper atlas called "Masai Mara - Visitor Map Guide" by Jacana Maps. It also shows all of the campsites and, more importantly for self-drivers, the roads. We used it extensively when driving around the Mara - it has the whole reserve, not just the Triangle.

For the Serengeti, Ngorongoro,Manyara and Tarangire, I never did find any maps online that showed the campsites. I purchased paper maps that show the special and public campsites. I like the Veronica Roodt maps:
The Tourist Map of the Serengeti National Park
Tourist Map of Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The Tourist Map of Lake Manyara National Park
The Tourist Map of Tarangire NP

All are available online at

There are also some excellent maps (Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Manyara, Tarangire) by Giovanni Tombazzi - they have fantastic detail but are lacking the waypoints if you are using a GPS. In the end, we purchased both the Roodt and Tombazzi maps, with the thought that, if you are self-driving, it is better to have too many rather than too few maps.

For all of the Tombazzi maps, one side is the dry season, the other the wet season. There are Tombazzi maps for the Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, Tarangire, Arusha NP, and a very helpful "New Map of Northern Tanzania", which shows all of the highways/roads connecting the parks on the Northern Circuit and the distances between.

We used all of the Roodt and Tombazzi maps extensively at the planning stage and when in Africa.

As for the notification from Fodor's - no clue, I'm afraid! Robin
canadian_robin is offline  
Aug 5th, 2010, 02:32 AM
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have a great safari


here's something i wrote you that you may have missed
aby is offline  

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