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Doing the Serengeti/Crater in Tanzania, is it overkill to do Masai Mara?

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May 13th, 2010, 08:21 AM
  #1
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Doing the Serengeti/Crater in Tanzania, is it overkill to do Masai Mara?

So say this is my once in a lifetime trip (hopefully not the case...).. I am committed to doing Tanzania... chasing the migration if possible, doing the crater, doing the serengeti for about ten days.. I have time for one more thing. Originally it was going to be the Masai Mara in Kenya, but I am having second thoughts that I should do something totally different with the last few days.. The Mahala Mts? The beach? Can people chime in with their thoughts? Leaving Labor Day and returning maybe 16 days later....

Thanks!
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May 13th, 2010, 09:55 AM
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It's hard to say where the Migration herds may be in September... could be the Serengeti or the Mara. Still, even when the herds are in Kenya, there are still some in the northern Serengeti. Ten days is a lot of time just for the Crater and the Serengeti. You might consider adding Tarangire NP to your itinerary. That area is great at that time of year. That park has the large baobab trees, which you won't see at the Crater or in the Serengeti. If you are doing road transfers to those areas, Tarangire is right on the way. Another area where you'd see some different terrain and wildlife is Arusha NP near where you're most likely starting your safari. There are forested areas there and you'll have a good chance to see the black and white colobus monkeys.

Zanzibar is a good beach destination and Stone Town is a fascinating place. With 16 days, you could do a well-rounded safari and have time for Zanzibar.

You can reach Mahale from Arusha. It's an expensive trip, though. Chimp trekking is really interesting, but you've got to be in shape for it... lots of trekking through the mountains.
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May 13th, 2010, 01:40 PM
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Where in the Serengeti will you be? And for how many days? The Serengeti is very large and for Sept, as lynn mentions, the north* would be the best area as not all of the herds cross into the Mara. However, during the first part of Sept, the Mara is perfect for the migration.

*There are few camps here... lux, small and expensive, if there's availability. The only budget property is Lobo Lodge which is a distance from the border.

Where would the Mara fit in? Before or after the Serengeti & Ngorongoro?

If not to the Mara, how many days each in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro? If you decide to stay in Tanzania only, Tarangire has a mini-migration between July-Oct and deserving of at least 2-3/days. And, for some, for walking and/or canoe safari, at the outset a visit to Arusha NP.

Remember if visiting both countries you'll need another Visa and a Yellow Fever inoc and proof of same for entry to each.

Mahale is a nice option, but an expensive extension with 4/hr flight out of Arusha, for min 3 or 4/days to keep with the flight schedules.

16/days certainly affords you the time for safari with a few days concluding on Zanzibar.
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May 13th, 2010, 06:17 PM
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Mahale and chimp tracking would be totally different. If your budget allows, that would be great.

If you are seriously considering Serengeti and Mahale, check out Flycatchers, which has a flight from its N. Serengeti camp to its camp in Mahale.

You could try this:
Tarangire 2-3
Crater 1-2
Serengeti 3-4
Mahale 3-4
The Flycatcher itinerary continues on to Katavi, but you could arrange to come back to Arusha after 3 or 4 nts on a scheduled charter.

You could add 3-4 nights on to the Mara after that if you still wanted to.

Or go with the Flycatcher flow and continue on to Katavi after Mahale, remaining in Tanzania for your entire trip.

I'm considering going with Flycatchers on one of those itineraries on their website the next time I go to Tanzania.
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May 14th, 2010, 08:21 AM
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Jacos - only post. A tout!
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May 14th, 2010, 11:06 AM
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It was an interesting read though. Not your usual way of getting to Mahale.
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May 14th, 2010, 01:39 PM
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Mhude, we're doing a 20 day trip in september that includes both the Masai Mara and the northern Serengeti, along with the crater and Tarangire (and a couple days in Stonetown on Zanzibar). We decided to look at both the Mara and the northern Serengeti because they are different environments and because the migration might be in either place.
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May 15th, 2010, 08:23 AM
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Jacos
I am missing the part which deals with the Tsetse flies in Mahala and Katavi ;-)

SV
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May 16th, 2010, 04:38 AM
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We're also going to the Serengeti and Masai Mara in September. We are not going to specifically see any one particular thing, but a variety. And we added in the Masai Mara because, yes, no telling where the biggest concentrations will be found and we have the time. And in September, people on this forum thought missing the Masai Mara would be a mistake. We're also going to Tarangire for 3 nights.

In Tarangire, where we stay at Oliver's Camp, there is an option to do one night fly camping. I'm thinking about it, but not sure yet as it may be a bit too adventurous for me at first.
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May 26th, 2010, 09:31 AM
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Hi Mkude,
I went on that Flycatcher trip that Lynn mentions here. Mahale was the best part of that trip for me. If funds allow, I would highly recommend the add-on. It's got Zanzibar-like beaches, but even better, it's got the chimps.
On the other hand, when the Mara's buzzing, it's hard to do better than that.
But what a nice dilemma to have
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May 29th, 2010, 02:52 AM
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To be honest: probably YES, unless you are a die hard animal fan.

From my experience, 4-5 days of game driving is usually enough for most tourists, before they are longing for swimming pools and beaches etc. Unless you are a die hard fan (e.g. photographer etc.)
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May 30th, 2010, 10:21 AM
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Mkdude, on your "once in a lifetime trip" you'll have to decide if you'll be longing for the swimming pool and beach after 4-5 days.
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Jun 7th, 2010, 03:09 AM
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Sandi- I didnt got to Africa to later tout, i wrote my experience for the benefit of willing travellers to benefit for

I dont have the time to tout for anyone and those willing to experience the western circuit will find the information relevant and it will lead them
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Jun 8th, 2010, 03:59 AM
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Hi there

If I had to recommend anything , it would definitely be to go the Masai Mara. You are in the area and being in the Mara will give you an amazing wildlife experience, but different than what you would have experienced in the Serengeti. Depending on the number of days you have available, you may want to add Zanzibar. If you have only 4 days, I would recommend that you spend all of them in either the Mara or Zanzibar, but if you have six days extra, splitting them up and doing 3 in the Mara and 3 in Zanzibar will really add wonderful experiences and an exotic flavour to your trip.
Seeing that you haven't been to the area before, I would strongly recommend that you get into contact with a reputable tour operator to help you plan your itinerary so that you can maximize both your budget and the time you have available.
Kind regards
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