Can't choose Safari destination!!!

Jul 31st, 2013, 01:12 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 2
Can't choose Safari destination!!!


I want to go on safari either this year or early next year, have investigated lots but too scared to choose as I'll only do this once so don't want to go wrong. So these are the itineraries I have so hoping for pros/cons of each.

Kenya: 2 days in Samburu, 1 day in Aberdares, 1 day Lake Nakuru, , 2 days Masai Mara, 2 days amboseli.


2 Nights Mt Kenya, 2 nights Samburu, 1 night Lake Nakuru, 4 nights Masai Mara.

So the first of these, i can afford during the Migration, the 2nd itinerary I can't (I guess Mara is more expensive). The thing that worries me is that there will be too many people, too many cars in the backdrop etc.

Northern Circuit: 1 night Arusha National park (inc. canoeing safari), 1 night Lake Manyara, 2 nights Lake Eyasi (inc. hunting with bushmen), 2 nights Serengeti, 1 night Ngorogoro.

Southern Circuit: 3 nights Selous (inc. boat safari and walking safari), 2 Udzwunga, 2 nights Ruaha, 1 night Mikumi.

My concern with these are there is too much travelling between parks?

South Africa:
I can self organis this, but is Kruger Park as good as the above, if we do South Africa it will be 4 nights in Kruger (tips on where to stay please and drivers etc.), 4 nights in Cape Town and 2 nights whale watching in Hermanus.

Soooooooo........... HELP!!!!
bashyo is offline  
Jul 31st, 2013, 01:59 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,329
Hi bashyo,

we had the same dilemma a few years ago when planning a trip with our kids. I was all for the whole Kenyan experience, DH and the kids said that they wanted to do other stuff as well.

turns out they were right - we did a few days of "safari" in SA but any more than that would have been too much. I think that you have to be really keen to spend a whole holiday on safari and you're right - there are often loads of other vehicles crashing around as well. we did manage to avoid that to a certain extent because of the places we picked, but generally, unless you pay megabucks, it is not going to be just you and the animals out there.

We ended up doing something similar to your SA itinerary, but we kept to the Cape and didn't go up to Kruger. if you click on my screen name, you'll be able to see my TR.

we certainly loved SA and would love to go back.
annhig is offline  
Jul 31st, 2013, 06:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,899
I did something similar to your Tanzanian Northern Circuit in February (Tarangire instead of Lake Eyasi) and that is when the migration was there. There were no stunning river crossings like you might see in other places, but the sheer volume of wildebeests (and births) was stunning. We only came across crowds (meaning maybe 15-20 other vehicles) once the entire 12 days, and that was when there was a leopard sighting, which was a rare find.

Our tour operator worked in other cultural and shopping experiences (a Maasai village visit as well as another visit to a town and church), which I think is fine for balance of activities or if you're in Africa for the first time but when I go to Kenya next year, I'm going straight to the tented camps for nothing but game viewing, I've purposely opted out of shopping stops and cultural things. I think it's either something you want to do and love or not, but you won't know for sure until you get there and try it.
amyb is offline  
Jul 31st, 2013, 07:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 767
If you want to include general sight-seeing with your safari, I'd suggest South Africa. Cape Town is a world class city, while the Garden Route and Wine Country are scenic. The Kruger region will give excellent game viewing.

If you're interested only in game viewing either Kenya or Tanzania will fill the bill. Your itineraries have way too much moving around for my taste. I think a key part of the safari experience is to stay several days in one camp so you can relax and get into the rhythm of the place.

I personally like the Southern Circuit of Tanzania. Selous has an almost Botswana feel with its palm trees, lakes and rivers (sunset boat safaris are simply wonderful) and Ruaha is ruggedly beautiful. Both offer much less human and car traffic than the iconic places up north or in Kenya. If you choose the right time of year prices will be lower and some of the camps offer 'stay 4, pay 3' deals that help with the budget. Adventure Camps of Tanzania has several camps in Selous/Ruaha and is worth a peek at their website. Something along the lines of 3 mights at each would give you a good experience.
sdb2 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2013, 08:21 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 2
Thanks everyone, I wouldn't be interested in the shopping and things like that.

I am however interested in going to Cape Town at some point but if I do it with safari it means only 4 days on safari whereas Kenya or Tanzania is purely game viewing as you say.

Can anyone recommend any safari companies - the above tours are from Campoforio Safaris (Kenya), Roy's (Northern Tanzania) and Wilderness Safaris (Southern Tanzania). I have a budget of 3000USD per person (2 of us) - 9 or 10 nights.

Is the game viewing in Kruger as good, and again can you recommend some mid range lodges that organise the game viewing or a local tour company that arranges everything including game drives.
bashyo is offline  
Jul 31st, 2013, 08:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,839
Are all of the Kenya and Tanzania itineraries by road? If so, the first Kenya itinerary has too many long travel days. Mara to Amboseli is 10 hours. The second Kenya itinerary would even be pushing it for me. I'm less familiar with the drive times in Tanzania but those look very busy too.

I think you should first decide if you want all safari or safari mixed with something else. Then we can help you come up with a custom itinerary. I think your budget will stretch farthest in SA, followed by Kenya, then Tanzania.
Patty is offline  
Jul 31st, 2013, 08:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 767
I used Roy's last year for a 3-day trip to Tarangire, including transfer to JRO on the final day. They are excellent and I have no reservations recommending them.

South Africa will be more of a bush experience while Serengeti and Mara offer plains. Each is worthwhile. A place like Sabi Sand is excellent for leopards and if you're lucky maybe you'll see some wild dogs.
sdb2 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2013, 11:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Our first safari was the Kenya/N. Tanzania route. Our second safari was all Southern Tanzania. We are now headed to South Africa (Botswana) for our third.

I agree that you have too few days to move around so much. I would pick one or two great camps and stay put. Personally...I go to Africa only to do safari and see animals. I want to be in the bush as much as possible. I would never spend time in a city, wine country or whale watching. Those are all things that can easily be done in places much closer to home and much less expensive.

Each place you mention has something to offer. We loved Southern Tanzania, but I'm not sure its the right place for a first safari. The scouting is a bit more difficult than that in Kenya. However, you will see more vehicles in Kenya. We were there in January, though, and it wasn't too crowded. Your first itinerary for Kenya is the best. There really isn't much to see or do at Mt. Kenya. Certainly not worthy of two nights.

To stretch your budget, do consider the "green season" for travel. It makes a huge difference in price and the number of people about. Our first two safaris were in January and this upcoming will be in November. We have never found the weather to be a bother.

My trip reports are still posted here. Click my name above to read them.
TC is offline  
Jul 31st, 2013, 12:20 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
If late in '13 know it's peak season both Kenya & Tanzania till 1st Nov. then a short 6/weeks when rates go down some, then up again 20th Dec for Christmas/New Years.

Once '14 comes in, rates in Kenya will be at mid-season, where Tanzania will be at peak-season as it's the 'calving' season for the wildebeest and very little space available; people have booked for here over 9/mos ago, even 1/yr ago.

Not sure the seasons exactly in South Africa.

So can't understand why you say you can do the Kenya #1 for the migration which doesn't happen till mid-July (highest rates), but can't do Kenya #2 in period between Jan-Mar (lower rates). You've confused somewhere.

None of the Kenya itineraries are very good and have no idea who the outfitter is... never saw/heard the name, but then I don't know near all out there. On Kenya #1, I sure wouldn't do both Samburu and Amboseli, both being 'elephant' parks... one or the other. Besides, drive from Nairobi to Samburu is almost 6/hrs and as Patty mentions, drive from the Mara to Amboseli will take almost an entire day.

I sure wouldn't spend 2/nts at Mt. Kenya, unless they mean Ol Pejeta/Sweetwaters which for 2/nts is good. And with any itinerary, you should spend at minimum 3/nts in the Masai Mara.

In Tanzania, no need to spend 2/nts at Lake Eyasi running around with kids trying to catch a mouse to cook and offer you to eat... ugh!

The Southern Parks in Tanzania will afford you less vehicle/tourists, but during early '14 the temps are very very high and very very humid (there is no a/c in rooms/tents), and would be better as a return safari and during a different season - dry as Aug-Sep.

Overall, you might just do better with South Africa... it's their summer, where Capetown is a winner, whale watching can be fun and most of the properties in Kruger do have a/c.

You might just have to rethink what you really want and where with the pros/cons, including costs. And know there are accommodations all countries, areas, at all budgets.
sandi is offline  
Jul 31st, 2013, 12:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,839
TC raises a good point. Do you want easier sightings or something you may need to work a bit harder for which could be rewarding or frustrating depending on your perspective. I found out on my first safari that I prefer the latter. Unfortunately it may be difficult to answer some of these questions without having been on safari.
Patty is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2013, 09:15 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Tell us the months you want to travel.

What are your hopes/goals for your trip?

OK, I read some of them.

"I am however interested in going to Cape Town at some point but if I do it with safari it means only 4 days on safari whereas Kenya or Tanzania is purely game viewing as you say."

If going in the North American summer months, I suggest Cape Town and whale watching (good in NA summer months) plus 4 nts in Sabi Sands, the private reserves next to Kruger with no fencing between.

Happy travels whateer you choose. Many good options.
atravelynn is offline  

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