Central Serengeti/Sopa orSerena?

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Jan 31st, 2006, 03:21 PM
  #1
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Central Serengeti/Sopa orSerena?

I'd love to do a camp but it's probably out of my price range ,so, Good Earth offers 2 tours that are affordable for me-one of them uses the Sopa and the other tour uses the Serena. The advice I'm seeking is - Sopa in Oct or Nov or Serena in Oct or Nov. Best guesses are welcome, I don't expect any guarantees. Thanks all and I love reading this forum because of all your help and knowledge!!
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Jan 31st, 2006, 03:33 PM
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How about the Lobo Wildlife lodge for that time of year? I believe it would be less expensive than either the Sopa or Serena and be in a better location to catch the southward migration (though nothing is guaranteed). How many nights are you planning in the Serengeti? You could also split your stay between north and central.
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Jan 31st, 2006, 03:45 PM
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dreamseeker,
I don't know if you've seen this, or whether this would be remotely interesting to you, but Lisa who just returned was saying that she might just consider the Wildlife Lodge (Seronera location) next time because it's the best-located of the Big Three.

So maybe you could split between Lobo and Seronera Wildlifes and then potentially stay at a camp elsewhere? Maybe at Tarangire which could still be quite good in October.

I guess most people say the Serena is nicer out of the choices you listed. I wouldn't know; I've only stayed at the Wildlife (dull little rooms, quirky service, great location!).

Out of the 2 you've listed, I think Serena might have the edge in terms of area for the months you're thinking about.

If this is your first safari, you'll probably be so dazzled by the wildlife you won't care too much about amenities.

Good luck. I know it's hard to stay within budget, but I think you can do it and still have an unforgettable experience.
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Jan 31st, 2006, 05:51 PM
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Thanks for the help. I actually have considered the Seronera Wildlife because I've often read it is in a great location and I'm really not at all fussy about ammenities. Again, would Oct. or Nov. make much difference and should I try for beginning,end or middle of whichever month? I know, loaded questions. The Good Earth tours offer only the Serena or Sopa and their price is pretty appealing, if I go into their migration tour, they offer a northern camp but the price shoots up $1500pp.Decisions!!
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Jan 31st, 2006, 06:07 PM
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Which tours from Good Earth are you considering? I ask because I'm not sure it would be significantly more expensive to create your own itinerary.

Alternatively, you might want to look into East Africa Safaris and Touring Co. They seem to offer individualized service at not a high cost, though not luxury. Also, 5osomething recently used Duma Explorers. I don't know their pricing, but he was satisfied with their services.

However, if you've been corresponding with Good Earth and want to stick with them, I don't think it will hurt to ask them how the costs would change if you added a couple of nights at Lobo.

I'm not gonna touch the "where should I be when" question. Way too hard! Between Sopa and Serena, I think the Sopa is a bit further south and away from the Seronera Valley than the Serena. I guess I'd go for the Serena in Oct./Nov.

By the way have you seen the ADS map of the migration? It can give you a VERY rough idea of what *usually* happens.

http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/na...migration.html
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Jan 31st, 2006, 06:33 PM
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Thanks Leely and Patty, The Good Earth tours I think I like are Tanzania Safari 10 days and Classic Tanzania also 10 days. I guess I'm attracted to them because they also include air and since I'm no traveling expert, it seems like one less thing to try to wrap my brain around. They both include Tarangire and Ngorongoro Crater but driving to all lodges, no inter-air. They're between $3400 and $3600pp. I will try to pull up the ADS map, they have such a great website but it doesn't seem to want to work tonight. Maybe my computer is as tired as I am!! Must fold laundry and empty the dishwasher now. Until February---
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Jan 31st, 2006, 07:35 PM
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I think there is little to choose between these 3 tourist lodges. Basically you can close your eyes and pick one.

The only thing I feel strongly about is strong opinions either for/against any one of the three

Sopa has the best rooms and its approximity to Moru kopjes, the Mbalagheti River and nearby lakes makes for an interesting stay if your guides are familiar with the stunning area to the south of Seronera - most guides prefer to drive around Seronera where they can basically relax! Most guides are much more familiar with Seronera so a Sopa stayover works best if you have a more specialized guide service. With Good Earth and similar outfitters I would opt for a Seronera stay at either Serena or Wildlife in Oct/Nov.

Serena has the better restaurant layout and good driving options into the wooded areas (tsetse!), but the hobbit bedrooms are rather bland. The views from the pool area are good and it is off to the side but you need maximum zoom equipment to take pictures.

Wildlife Lodge is closest to Seronera yes. The outside bar area is very nice. Rooms are bland but more comfortable than Serena. Service is no better/worse than Serena or Sopa. If you stay only one or two nights then Wildlife is better thanks to its position near Seronera.

Getting better than average service at any of these places is a matter of luck, your personality and the general status of affairs (during overbookings the staff and facilities can be stressed to their limits).

These are tourist hotels and they make no claims to be anything else.

Choosing one also depends somewhat on your safari style. Do you leave early each day and return late in time for a shower and dinner - then it does not matter which one you choose! Wildlife is fine, but the rooms can be noisy when the packaged tourists return from the bar at night! The building layout (rooms) is similar to cheap motels!

Do you like to do early morning drives, then relax at the lodge and go out again in the late afternoon? Then Serena is nice because the pool area is the most interesting but you will probably nap better at Sopa because the rooms are more comfortable. Wildlife Lodge rooms are more noisy due to constant traffic either outside the door or above you!

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Jan 31st, 2006, 08:24 PM
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santharamhari
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Jeez! I'm planning a trip for my sister and her family for June/july.......and eek!!! i suggested they split their time in Central Serengeti (2 nights each) at Serena and Mbuzi Mawe prior to heading west to Kirawira for 3 nights....

From all the fodorites, both Serena and Mbuzi doesnt hold very high in terms of game viewing compared to Sopa or Seronera Wildlife lodge.......
 
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Feb 1st, 2006, 04:31 AM
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Hang in there santharamhari - all is not lost!

The problem with Mbuze Mawe is that there are no offroad options or game drive circuits nearby (e.g. Migration Camp). One can only drive north or south on the main road once you leave Mbuze Mawe. How much one likes the place depends a lot on how much you see while driving to/from it, and if your guide is willing to explore points North! Some will see nothing and others may see a lot especially in June/July.

If your guide drives you to Seronera every day then there's no reason to stay at Mbuze! This has been the case for Fodorites that stayed there recently and Mbuze got a bad rap as a result!

If your guide has no driving limits (the budget outfitters all have this despite their claims otherwise), from Mbuze you can explore beautiful Lobo (large prides of lion) and the Migration camp gamedrive circuits! Unlike Seronera these are hit or miss areas and your sightings depend on luck and guide skills. And if you have an older car then driving longer distances are uncomfortable.

On the other hand Seronera is such a good game area that most visitors don't mind spending many days here! And the guides love it! If you want to see as much as possible with less driving, and if you are on a cheap safari then always opt for Seronera! You cannot go wrong!

In general I cannot see how anyone can rate a tourist hotel higher than Mbuze Mawe where at least there are fewer people and you get a tented experience with a chance to hear wildlife at night! But (fortunately) tastes differ!

In your case, a stay at Sopa, Mbuze and Kirawira would've made more sense to me since you will be covering a wider area. However, if you are using a budget outfitter the guide will most probably drive you to Seronera every day, so I would change to Sopa and Serena (or Wildlife) and Kirawira.
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Feb 1st, 2006, 07:37 AM
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dreamseeker again, Thanks for that information Mr. climbhigh sir,puts stuff in order--how about if I spend 1 night at Wildlife and 2 nights at Lobo or Migration ( if I can afford it that is)? I'm thinking Oct. sometime--early or late?
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Feb 1st, 2006, 08:48 AM
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Yes, climbhigh doesn't mince words!

Good luck, dreamseeker.
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Feb 1st, 2006, 09:36 AM
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Hi dream seeker, I would definately select the later part of october. I was there at lobo for 3 nights end oct 2005 and had a lovely time. I also stayed at the seronera wildlife for 4 nights in the same trip and had some superb wildlife sightings. seronera wildlife is the best best place in the whole of serengeti for viewing animals...., I think the combination of 1 night ans 2 nights at lobo and seronera is good. Actually u should also include mara if possible in october as the bulk of the migration is usually there in october,Sonali.
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Feb 1st, 2006, 04:19 PM
  #13
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Hi all, Good advice and very much appreciated--I really like people to "tell it like it is"--it's my way of doing/saying things whenever possible. I think I'm going to pursue the suggested itin. and cross my fingers and toes I can afford it. Once again, thanks to all.
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