Central v. Northern Serengeti

Old May 24th, 2013, 09:02 AM
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Central v. Northern Serengeti

I am planning a safari with my husband and friends from mid-September to mid-October of this year. We are trying to time our trip so as to see the great migration. We will be in both Kenya and Tanzania. Our guide has told us we will be able to see the migration in the mara that time of the year and also from the northern serengeti, but we aren't comfortable with the Lobo Wildlife Lodge based on the reviews. He has now suggested we do central serengeti instead of the north, since we will have seen the migration in Kenya.

Can anyone provide advice, recommendations or information on their travel experiences and what they would do? Help would be greatly appreciated! Also, if you have stayed at Lobo recently, what was your experience?
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Old May 24th, 2013, 10:07 PM
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I'd suggest trying to see the migration from the Kenya side at that time of year. I visited in September 2005 and stayed at the Mara Serena where we were surrounded by the migration. Whilst I didn't see a crossing we certainly saw thousands of wildebeest lined up along the rivers just waiting for the first brave animal to jump into the water. Other wildlife such as cheetah, lions and plains game was plentiful at this time.

I was in the central Serengeti in late September and the difference between the game density was very noticeable - the plains were sparsely populated at this time when compared with the Mara and definitely with what we saw on a return visit to Western Serengeti (Mbalagheti Camp) in June 2008.

I don't know if you plan to visit other places in Kenya, but you could cut down on travel time crossing between Kenya and Tanzania and travelling out to the Serengeti by possibly combining the migration in the Mara with other Kenyan sights such as a flamingo lake, the Aberdares forest park and a dryland park such as Samburu or Tsavo for some different species.

Happy planning,


Pol
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Old May 25th, 2013, 07:22 AM
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We have been to the Lobo area twice (self-drive and camping - we did not stay at the lodge, but we did take a wander through it and were not overly impressed), and it is looking rather neglected - the roads are in very poor condition and the campsites were strewn with garbage. We found it rather depressing and have opted not to return during our 2014 visit.

I would go further north in the Serengeti - there are some lovely camps on the south side of the Mara River on the Tanzanian side. Have a look at these camps:

http://www.lemalacamp.com/kuria.htm
http://www.lemalacamp.com/mara.htm
http://www.serian.net/thecamps/seria...getinorth.html

We have stayed at both Serian and Lemala camps (not these particular ones, I hasten to add) and have always been very pleased - great tents, great guides, great food! Serian has the advantage that each tent has its own driver/guide/vehicle, so you can dictate what you wish to do/see.

Even though you will see the migration on the Kenyan side, the Serengeti side is far less crowded (in terms of other vehicles) but the sightings apparently equally spectacular. If I were you, I would do both the Northern Serengeti (but not Lobo - go further north) and Kenya. Your only difficulty may be that the Northern Serengeti camps may already be fully booked at that time of year - it is peak season because of the migration. Also, the Northern Serengeti camps will be more expensive than Lobo, so your guide may discourage you from traveling there. CR
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Old May 26th, 2013, 10:07 AM
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Seems canadian_robin address the issue of the Northern Serengeti and Lobo Lodge well. Can understand your feeling re Lobo (though the area is lovely, this is the only property so little options where to stay). And for those camps in the Kogatende/North area as she mentions... at this late date it's unlikely you can get consecutive nights staying at any one camp and for sure you don't want to be moving each day where you lay your head.

As you are 'working' with a guide, is he able to conduct safari in both Kenya and Tanzania? How would you be transiting between countries? There is no direct route between the Mara and No.Serengeti, and the drive itself legally at the Isebania border can take a full day.

So why not advise what the entire itinerary so far looks like. This will enable us to offer input and comments of what might work to pull together a great trip.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 08:02 AM
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Hi everyone! Thanks so much for your help and advice. I have the itinerary at home so will share as much as I can later. The other question I have is regarding visas. Our travel agent told us that we can get visas for Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania upon entry, being Canadian passport holders. Has anyone tried this or did you always get your visas in advance?
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Old May 27th, 2013, 08:37 AM
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All Visas can be purchased on arrival. Download the applicable forms for each, complete and hand in with passport on arrival. Photos are not required when purchased on arrival as they have you right in front of them. And, be sure you have the Yellow Fever inoculation for proof of same for entry to/from/between countries.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 10:24 AM
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My DH and I are Canadians, and we had no difficulty purchasing either our Kenyan or Tanzanian visas on arrival - very easy and quick (both in 2009 and again in 2012).

I checked availability for Lemala (they have live availability on their website), and they do have some tents available at both camps for Sept/Oct this year.

Have a look here (under "links" on the left, click on "live availability"): http://www.lemalacamp.com/

To drive from the Northern Serengeti to the Mara in Kenya, it is possible to exit the Serengeti via the Tabora B gate (and head from there to the Isebania border), which saves a little time (rather than exiting via the Western Corridor) but, as Sandi mentioned, the drive will still take you all day - and a long day at that.
CR
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Old May 29th, 2013, 09:10 AM
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The trip is as follows:
After we finish the gorilla tracking, we will be going to Nairobi and onto lake Nakuru, then Masai Mara, where will be staying at ilkeliani camp. From Masai we will be going to Speke bay via the border town of isebania. Then to the Serengeti by the western corridor and a stay at lobo. We have 2 days there and then we go to Ngorongo crater.

After that, we head to Arusha for flights to Zanzibar.

Thanks for your help!
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Old May 30th, 2013, 09:00 AM
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Wow, if the transfer into the Serengeti to Lobo is one of those two days, means you only get 1/day in the Lobo area. From here it's then almost a full-days drive to Ngorongoro, where you'll have to wait till next morning for crater floor visit. Then it's a 3.5-4/hr drive to Arusha airport for flight to ZNZ.

The drive from Ilkeliani which is located a bit north of the Mara Reserve, you'll have to get thru the Reserve then to Isebania. Speke Bay is a bit down the road, where can I assume you are overnighting? Yes? If not, as above... a long drive to Lobo.
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