Best time to Travel

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Jan 5th, 2011, 06:04 AM
  #1
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Best time to Travel

Would like to know when is the absolute, best time to travel to Tanzania and Kenya.
We would like to go when its not to hot, not wet, my husband is so looking forward to this trip so I want it to be as perfect as possible.
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Jan 5th, 2011, 06:55 AM
  #2
 
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Jan-Mar - is hot with cool nights/mornings
-- migration in Ndutu area, TNZ
Apr-May - wet season, but low prices/less visitors
-- migrating herds in Ndutu, TNZ
Jun-Jul - warm days, cool/cold night/mornings
-- migration in Western Serengeti, TNZ
-- by end-July some herds already in Masai Mara, KEN
Aug-Sep - warm/cool days, cold nights/mornings
-- migration in Masai Mara, KEN
Oct - warm days, cool/cold nights/mornings
-- herds in Mara, but some already heading south to Serengeti
Nov/mid-Dec - short wet season, warm days, cool morning/nights
-- herds on way south thru Central to Southern Serengeti/Ndutu

Prices are highest when the migration is in particular area with Tanzania rates somewhat higher than those in Kenya. All are seasonal.

Good luck deciding when.
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Jan 5th, 2011, 07:21 AM
  #3
 
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In addition to what sandi already provided:
Aug-sep - busy season, so expect lots of tourists
oct: dry, so expect brown/yellow colors and short grass. Excelent game spotting opportunities because of slightly more predictable behavior (viewer drinking spots) and short grass
jan-mar: lush green surroundings and long grass. Tse-tse flies (depending on where you are going) and harder to spot game. (they can lie in the grass litteraly a few meters away from you and you'll never notice )
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Jan 5th, 2011, 01:00 PM
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I had researched this a lot before my first trip to Tanzania and decided upon early June (7th-22nd). Was very happy - warm days, cool nights only in the higher elevations such as Ngorongoro area. Middle of the day in the Western Serengeti was a bit hot but not intolerable and only from around 1-5pm. No rain at all. Lots of animals, not lots of other tourists yet.
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Jan 5th, 2011, 04:11 PM
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We are considering visiting Northern Tanzania in June/July (next year). We plan to visit the Western Serengetti and Ngorongoro Crater.

But we were also hoping to visit Tarangire National Park for the elephants. I think there are some lodges where they will come right up to a waterhole. But, we read that the wildlife is more "seasonal" at Tarangire than at the other parks. It said that the good wildlife viewing is only during the really dry season--late July through September or October? Does anyone know if this is true of Tarangire? Is the wildlife still too spread out in June/early July?
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Jan 5th, 2011, 08:52 PM
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Caligirl56--I personally have had great ele viewing in late July and fair ele viewing in early July in Tarangire. Lately people have been raving about the eles in Tarangire Jan-Mar, far tougher months for animal viewing in Tarangire than June-July.

SYKU--In the past you could avoid all but a few drops by traveling in Aug-Sept. Not anymore. So be prepared for some rain. As Sandi's list shows there are pros and cons anytime. Taking all that into consideration, and choosing a time to try to minimize rainfall, I'd say Sept.

On the bright side, there is no terrible time to go.
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Jan 5th, 2011, 09:39 PM
  #7
 
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I personally wouldn't go to Tarangire anymore in january/february. Although it was quite nice we hardly saw animals deeper into the park due to the long grass and them migrating out of the park. Lots of tse-tse's though.....
more near the entrance there were still the usual impala's and elephants of course, but if you are particularly interested in Tarangire I would go in the dry season.
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Jan 6th, 2011, 08:01 AM
  #8
 
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Thank you both! Here's another question: if we were to go in August/September, I know the migration would be in the Masai Mara (so we probably would try to include that on our itinerary). I think it was in Bradt's that I read the Serengetti is so dried up by then, that there really aren't many animals at all. If we were to go in August, would you suggest entirely skipping the Serengetti?
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Jan 6th, 2011, 09:30 AM
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Caligirl,
In Aug, the entire Serengeti is not dried up without animals. There are permanent water sources in the Central Serengeti. In addition not every animal can migrate, so there remain resident cheetahs, lions, jackals, etc. In Aug the more active part of the Serengeti would be the north. If time and budget did not allow both the Mara and the Serengeti, you could just visit the Mara. I'd like to see your whole itinerary before suggesting dropping either the Mara or Northern Serengeti.

SYKU,
I thought you were going to both Kenya and Tanzania. If just Tanzania, I think I'd go with July. Maybe even Aug, but airfare can be higher and visitor numbers are at the max in Aug. My next Tanzania trip will likely be Sept.

If you could handle a little more rain, Feb would be great in S. Serengeti for the migration and wilde births.
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Jan 6th, 2011, 01:44 PM
  #10
 
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I was in the Serengeti in August '07 and saw lots of animals. My tour had been in Maasai Mara only days before, and the wildebeest were up that way, but in the Serengeti we actually saw more predators. Lots of lions, hyenas, cheetahs and one leopard. Even saw a pride of lions with a freshly killed buffalo.

If you have the opportunity to see both the Mara and the Serengeti, I'd do so.
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Jan 7th, 2011, 04:45 PM
  #11
 
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Thank you both, very much. I'm glad to hear that August could work. I'm just playing around with lots of different ideas right now--trying to work in some gorilla viewing in Rwanda as well. I'm sure I'll be back with lots more questions soon!
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Jan 8th, 2011, 05:24 AM
  #12
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Thank you all for your advice, I think Sept will be the month to go for us. We Travel with Tauck tours, This will be out 7th tour with them and they are fabulous. My husband is really excited about this tour. We appreciate all your help.
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Jan 8th, 2011, 07:51 AM
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If going with Tauck, and if they haven't changed their routing, they don't go to the Northern Serengeti. They do go to the Western corridor, so best in June/early-July.

Also, Tauck is so darn expensive, paying dearly for them to send a Tour Director with you (guess who pays for that person to travel? You!) and don't put you in accommodations that justify their high prices.

Why not post the itinerary Tauck is offering - which parks visiting, # of days at each, accommodations at each, etc.

Would also suggest you put the Tauck itinerary out to a number of other tour operators or in-country outfitters and travel on your dates, stay where you want and save $$$$. Private is just as good, if not better and perfectly safe as so many of the Trip Reports reflect.
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Jan 8th, 2011, 06:46 PM
  #14
 
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Pat, is that you, using SYKU initials? I know a Pat who has done many successful Tauk trips with her husband.

Tauk’s itinerary is copied here. Pardon my CAPS. They are to distinguish between the itinerary text and my comments.

2011 Itinerary

Day 1 - Arusha - Tanzania's safari gateway
Tauck's Tanzania and Kenya safari Lodging: Serena Mountain Village, Arusha, Tanzania
GREAT

Day 2 - Flamingos at Lake Manyara National Park
Lodging: Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
MANYARA IS SMALL BUT DESERVES 1 NIGHT
I LIKE SOPA LODGE RATHER THAN SERENA FOR ITS OWN ACCESS ROAD INTO THE CRATER

Day 3 - Wildlife in the "Garden of Eden" - Ngorongoro
Enjoy a picnic lunch in the crater today.
Lodging: Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
GREAT-DAY IN THE CRATER. AGAIN I’D PREFER SOPA

Day 4 - Early human history at Olduvai Gorge
MANY TRIPS STOP HERE. GOOD
Lodging: Bilila Lodge Kempinski, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
“Big and bold like its surroundings, the 74-room Bilila Lodge Kempinski is one of just five non-tented lodges in Tanzania's 5700-square-mile Serengeti.” Taken from an online promotion.

Safari enthusiasts are going to cringe at this description. Big and bold is not what you want unless you are trying to save money. I stay in lodges to save money. When the budget allows me to stay in tented camps, I do, especially in the Serengeti. At $8190 per person for 12 nights, you do not want a big lodge in the Serengeti.

Day 5 - The Serengeti summons
Lodging: Bilila Lodge Kempinski, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

WORSE YET--THE LODGE IS LOCATED IN GRUMETI, IN THE WEST, AS SANDI SUSPECTED. NOT THE PLACE TO BE IN SEPT. FOR THE MOST WILDLIFE, YOU WANT TO BE IN NORTHERN SERENGETI IN SEPT. THAT IS WHAT I AM PLANNING. I NEVER CONSIDERED WESTERN SERENGETI FOR A SEVERAL DAY STAY IN SEPT. BAD. NOW IN JUNE OR JULY, THE LOCATION WOULD BE FINE.

Day 6 - Tauck's Kenya safari begins
Leave the Serengeti behind as you fly to Arusha, where Mt. Kiliminjaro National Park invites exploration en route to Kenya.
WHEN DO YOU HAVE TIME FOR EXPLORATION OF KILIMANJARO. NOTICE THEY MISSPELLED KILIMANJARO IN THE ITINERARY.

Lodging: Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge, Amboseli National Park, Kenya
GOOD, BUT I’D STAY AT OL TUKAI FOR A BETTER LOCATION OR AT TORTELIS LUXURY CAMP, FOR A MORE REMOTE EXPERIENCE.

Day 7 - Game drives in Amboseli
Lodging: Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge, Amboseli National Park, Kenya
2 NTS AMBOSELI--GOOD

Day 8 - Oh baby... from movie stars to animal orphans
A morning flight brings you to the world-famous Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, your luxurious home for the next two nights. The former retreat of actor William Holden, the Safari Club was once the playground of such illustrious members such as Winston Churchill and Bing Crosby.
Lodging: Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, Nanyuki, Kenya
A PLAYGROUND FOR FAMOUS PEOPLE RATHER THAN A PLAYGROUND FOR RESIDENT WILDLIFE?

Day 9 - Chimpanzees and rhinos in a private reserve
Conservation efforts are in full force in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. See them on game drives that bring you to the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary and the protected natural habitat for the largest resident black rhino population in East Africa.
Lodging: Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, Nanyuki, Kenya
A WONDERFUL WAY TO SPEND YOUR TIME IN THE MT. KENYA AREA. BUT WHY NOT STAY RIGHT AT OL PEJETA AT SWEETWATERS? OR STAY AT MOUNTAIN SERENA WITH AN EXCELLENT WATERHOLE.

Day 10 - A tapestry of local culture
Lodging: Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, Nanyuki, Kenya
NICE ACTIVITIES THAT CAN BE DONE FROM OTHER LODGING

Day 11 - The magical Masai Mara, a Kenya safari highlight
Lodging: Fairmont Mara Safari Club, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
GREAT, BUT SPENDING ONLY 2 DAYS IN THE “HIGHLIGHT” DESTINATION IN SEPT (OR EVEN LATE JUNE OR JULY) IS THE MARK OF A MEDIOCRE ITINERARY.

Day 12 - Up, up and away over Masai Mara
Lodging: Fairmont Mara Safari Club, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
FINE IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON DOING A BALLOON RIDE. IF NOT, THAT’S AN EXTRA $400 OR SO PERSON ON AN ACTIVITY THAT IS NOT YOUR FIRST CHOICE.

Day 13 - Homeward bound as your Kenya safari concludes
------------
For $675+ per person per day, you can do better than this if your goal is to experience the best of African wildlife and culture, safely with a reputable company.

An investment of this amount deserves more scrutiny. You should contact some other providers (some suggestions below) and if Tauk remains the best trip after further investigation, then you can go on your 7th trip with them knowing it is the ideal trip for you.

Communicating with a few Africa travel specialists is always an education and you may very well end up with a better trip at a better price. It’s not just the Tauk price that I am criticizing, but the itinerary.

There are a lot of good safari providers and you can check the trip reports for specifics. I’ll just list some that I have personal experience with.

The Africa Adventure Co in Ft. Lauderdale. My first Kenya-Tanzania trip was with them and got me hooked. I’ve done more trips with them and everything always is perfect. More importantly when it was not perfect, just because it’s Africa, they fixed it up so it is back to perfect. Check out their set group departures. They also do custom trips, which my first trip was.

Eastern & Southern Safaris in Nairobi, Kenya. I’ve done 2 trips in Kenya with them and all was great.

Eben at Kiliwarriors in Arusha, Tanzania and Virginia. The reason I put in his contact info is his website is currently undergoing a change the first 2 weeks of Jan and you may get errors by googling. I am working on Tanzania in Sept. with them.
1 703 3493215
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

With your budget and with 13 days or so, you'll have a fantastic Tanzania or Kenya and Tanzania trip.

If you are Pat, then you'll also have tales upon tales to tell at Tuesday Treats.
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Jan 9th, 2011, 01:41 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Agree with atravelynn's analysis and recommendations 110%.

regards - tom
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Jan 9th, 2011, 06:43 AM
  #16
 
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Yuk - itinerary and lodging.

Lynn's summary is good.

FYI - Bilila isn't in Grumeti, rather north of Seronera by about 1-1.5/hrs (as where Mbuzi Mawe and not as far as say Migration Camp), and still not far enough north to where one would catch the migration as camps - Sayari, Lemala, Serian, Olakira or even Klein's Camps.

And, for stay in the Masai Mara... never less than 3/nts and while the refurbished Mara Safari Club is lovely is also very far north of the actual reserve and if wanting balloon safari is quite a drive to lift-off sites.

OP can do better designing their own trip for where to visit, places to stay, than what Tauck is offering, let alone charging. For $675/day person you can get a truly luxe holiday at all the right places and probably save $100/person/day.
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Dec 28th, 2015, 09:10 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 2
Just sayin' ~ firstcabin.com
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