Compare Tanzania with Sabi Sands?


Jan 14th, 2012, 07:21 PM
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Compare Tanzania with Sabi Sands?

Can anyone who has visited Sabi Sands in South Africa compare the safari experience to the great migration in Tanzania?

We spent 4 days in Sabi Sands last year on our first safari and were blown away. We're considering the great migration this year but are concerned it may not have the wow factor, going so soon after South Africa. Is Tanzania different/impressive enough to justify going again so soon? By our 4th day in Sabi Sands, we found it took 'more' to impress us than the first couple days, so this is where our concern comes from.

(This is our last big trip before we try for kids, so we go now or probably won't go back to Africa for several years.)

LM3682 is offline  
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Jan 14th, 2012, 07:54 PM
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Going to Tanzania after SA makes perfect sense. You'll get to experience an ecosystem that's quite different than Sabi Sand. And the Great Migration, whether you view it in the Serengeti or the Masai Mara (you don't mention when you plan to go and the animals cycle), is truly an amazing sight. I easily spend 8-10 days in the Serengeti or Mara without getting bored. However, assuming you choose Tanzania, if you tend to grow tired of a place after 4-5 days, you can stay several days in the Serengeti, then take the opportunity to fly south and experience different ecosystems such as Selous and Ruaha. Selous offers the opportunity to see wild dogs (a personal favorite), do boat safaris and tiger fish fishing, go fly-camping or take a walking safari, all with much less visitors than in the north. With all those possible activities, I doubt you'd have time to grow less impressed. Actually, more than likely you'll be blown away all over again. Good luck with your planning. Steve
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Jan 14th, 2012, 08:20 PM
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I was in Tanzania for the migration in Feb-Mar of 2011 for two weeks. I've been to Sabi Sand reserve camps MalaMala, Leopard Hills, and Kirkmans over last six years.

Sabi Sand, as you say, will blow you away. Nowhere else will you see the big 5 so up close and often. Tanzania (and Kenya) however has the classical African savannah plains look and feel. Very different experience between South Africa and Tanzania. The migration, aahhh, there's the rub. It moves and where and when it is is very rain dependent. Planning months ahead to catch it at its peak with calving, in a 5 day window from Jan to Apr, is more luck than anything.

Here is my Fodors 2011 trip report for Tanzania -
And my last time in Sabi Sand, 2009 -

Anyway what would I do if you - I'd go to Tanzania in Feb or Kenya Maasai Mara around September. For a very different Africa and wildlife experience.

regards - tom
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Jan 14th, 2012, 11:08 PM
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My husband and I go to Africa at least every other year, and one of our most memorable experiences was Tanzania the last of January first part of February. This is the best time to see babies of all kinds, from cheetahs, to wildebeest, to zebras, etc. To see a million or so wildebeest migrating is nothing like you will ever see in your life. Of course, all of the predators follow the food chain, so you will see all of those kinds of things also. I am a photographer and some of my best shots of Africa are from my trip to Tanzania.
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Jan 15th, 2012, 02:16 AM
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I'm afraid you might get a little disappointed.

The migration is incredible, don't get me wrong. But once you've seen all those wildebeest've seen 'em. I mean; after a day of photographing zebras and wildebeest on an open plain, you're going to want something else.

IMHO there are less ellies there.
IMHO there are less birds there (unless you go to Kruger mid-winter)
IMHO there certainly are less big cats there. Or rather; your sightings of them will not be as good. You can't go off road, and certainly the leopards often try to stay away from safari vehicles (as there's just too many of them).

But does that mean you get a bad safari there? Of course not! Just different. Landscape is better for photography. Maasai throw in a nice photographic extra. Etc. So Serengeti has advantages too.

Plus; you should look beyond that migration on the Serengeti plains as well; throw in Ngorongoro and Tarangire for more cats, ellies and birds. Go hiking to Empakai crater. Stuff like that.


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Jan 15th, 2012, 02:52 AM
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See the Game of Life Unfold During the Great Wildebeest Migration.As the great migration heads north through Tanzania's Serengeti National Park,
Best for me but not for the faint of heart real circle of life type stuff.Kenya more tame nice not as intense. camps nice there.

Happy Huntng!
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Jan 15th, 2012, 08:42 AM
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Unlike you, we visited Kenya and Tanzania before our trip to Sabi Sands. Two distincly different experiences and guess why I return to East Africa more often. Not to discount that we truly enjoyed our stay at Sabi (and on same trip did visit at Chobe in Botswana and Vic Falls), the feeling was that the guides seem to know the various game on their tranversing lands, so wasn't much more that 'a zoo' - sorry, if that sounds like blasphamy!

In Kenya or Tanzania, the seasons dictate the various gaming experiences, especially if for the 'migration.' However, safari isn't all about the migration.

Also, each country has different areas (rather than one eco-system as is Sabi)- those where you'll find more ellees and/or species not found elsewhere; open plains with diverse game; the Ngorongoro Crater (though not my favorite, it is for others); the far north in Kenya for amazing walking safaris; the southern parks in Tanzania (Selous) for boat and walking safaris. And, both have amazing nearby coastal (beach) area if you wish to conclude safari with a few days of R&R.

So unlike a visit to Sabi for 4-5/days, in East Africa visitors usually spend a few days each at the various parks for differences.

Of course, any traveler can find that after a few days, seeing more wildies, lions, ellees, or other game become 'ho-hum' most don't, so it comes down to your particular interests and travel style.

We're here if interested in pursuing Tanzania.
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Jan 15th, 2012, 06:22 PM
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What good answers so far!

"Is Tanzania different/impressive enough to justify going again so soon?"

Yes. When do you plan to travel? If you had asked if Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Botswana were impressive enough, I would also have answered yes. Depends on what you are looking for. So please add what in particular "blew you away" and caused the "wow" in SA and what you hope to see on a return to Africa.

"By our 4th day in Sabi Sands, we found it took 'more' to impress us than the first couple days, so this is where our concern comes from."

Wherever you decide to go on safari could very well fall short of your initial successful trip, based on the experience you describe. To make second, third, and additional safaris enjoyable I find I like to either focus on a unique aspect of the location, such as the migration in Serengeti, or focus on enjoying the unusual or small things, as opposed to finding ever increasing impressive sightings. Those blockbuster sightings may or may not appear, but something magical occurs every time out.

With a whole wide world out there, maybe you'd prefer something other than Tanzania or even Africa for a final trip before you'll be taking kids with you some day...something that would in no way compete with South Africa and would not have to meet escalating expectations.

Since Tom stuck in a link to a Feb N. Circuit Tanz report, I'll stick in a link to a Sept N and S Tanz report. Lots of wow moments on that trip for me.

Whatever you choose, have a great time!
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Jan 17th, 2012, 01:40 PM
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About the only advantage Sabi Sands might have over northern Tanzania is the almost-guaranteed sightings of leopard and rhino. Beyond that, you'll see far more wildlife in Tanzania (at least I have.) There is more than just the Serengeti... Tarangire, Lake Manyara, the Ngorongoro Crater. The landscapes are more dramatic, as well. Tanzania is the quintessential Africa that most people picture when they think of going on safari. You won't be disappointed.
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Jan 31st, 2012, 11:06 AM
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So after lots of discussion with the hubby, we've sadly decided to go a different route. We would only have a week, which for the arduous travel to Tanzania, would be rough on us (both have fairly demanding jobs so can't show back up to work exhausted) and probably not do the place justice. And we're just nervous this won't have the 'pop', so soon after our South Africa trip.

Many thanks for your insights and opinions. They all helped us reach ours. We'll go someday! Just not now...

So if anyone has opinions on Peru, that looks like the new front-runner for our last big 'non-kid' trip we expect to be able to take! Yikes!!! Freaks me out a little just saying that
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Jan 31st, 2012, 12:43 PM
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I have an opinion on Peru, go!!!!!

Your question on Tanzania vs. Sabi Sands interested me because we had the very same question a couple of months ago. We only have two weeks, but because it is "easier" to get from California to Johannesburg, we are returning to Kruger and Sabi Sands this October. Like you, we were completely blown away on our first visit there in 2009.

In 2006 we went to Peru with a company I can recommend,
If you are up for a hike or run along the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu, this was one of the greatest things we ever did.

We are awaiting our first grandchild shortly, and can't wait to take her and her parents to Africa in 2024 or so...
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Feb 1st, 2012, 10:28 AM
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Peru is a wonderful vacation with a great mixture of cities, ancient culture and nature. Since you are obviously interested in nature and wildlife, you should consider visiting Tambopata Nature Reserve which can be easily accessed from Cuzco (which is the largest city near Machu Picchu). Essentially the access point (Puerto Maldonado) is about 30 by air from Cuzco. You won't see the same quantity of fauna as in South Africa but it is still amazing.

Have a great trip. Bill.
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