East Africa Safari Question

Old Dec 13th, 2007, 04:13 PM
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East Africa Safari Question

Hi
i intend to visit East africa in the dry season in the month of september for 12-14 days with my wife . I'd like to do a budget-midrange safari

i really would like your feedback on promising ample wildlife viewing areas . My maximum day preference is Masai Mara , since I've heard its promising.

Though From forums I've heard Serengeti is not optimum for game viewing in september , I'd still like atleast spending 1 day since its my first time to Africa.

feel free to suggest alternate wildlife viewing parks. How is samburu in spetember

was thinking on these lines
1. nairobi-mara

2. mara

3. mara

4. mara-serengiti

5.serengiti. 6 Serengeti to ngorongoro crater via olduvai gorge.

7. crater morning game drive . since you can do either morning or afternoon game drive in the crater either visit a village or proceed to manyara

8. manyara.

9. manyara to Tarangire

10. Tarangire.

11. Tarangire.

12. Tarangire to Amboseli via Arusha.

13. Amboseli

14 Amboseli in the morning and then Amboseli-Nairobi

I'm still not sure about what lodges to choose . Focus will be on a mix of pricing and proximity to wildlife.

Also what parks are good for night game drives or walking safaris .

Thanks

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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 09:20 PM
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cannot go from the Mara to
Serengeti. Have to over the border from Kenya to Tanzania another place. Very far each of them.

Would recommend Samburu over Amboseli. Better and different wildlife viewing

Kevin from California

P.S. Hope you are not a tout for a tour operator and about to promote one.
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 08:09 AM
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no
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 09:30 AM
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One additional question.

Would you guys recommend Sambur or Amboseli for September
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 10:32 AM
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Samburu will allow you to see different "northern" species that you won't find or likely find in southern Kenya/northern Tanzania. So if you want diversity, I'd pick Samburu over Amboseli.

On the other if you're planning this as an all drive itinerary, Amboseli would work well logistically if you're heading back to Nairobi from Tanzania. To include Samburu in your itinerary would require flights or longer drives.

Also be aware that to go from the Mara to the Serengeti would entail either a very long drive via the Isebania border (about 10 hours) or almost a full day of flying as you cannot cross directly between them even though the parks border each other.
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 10:39 AM
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Forgot to add, night game drives are available at Lake Manyara. Other than that, night drives and walks are generally conducted outside of parks/reserves or on private reserves and then only some camps/lodges offer these activities so you'd need to find out in advance if this interests you. I believe the Mara Serena is an exception and does offer night game drives inside the reserve.
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 01:36 PM
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I mentioned this on your other post too, but as of September 2007 at least, the Mara Serena was indeed doing night game drives in the area between the lodge and the river. We had a terrific night game drive there, and also at Sweetwaters.

All three of the night game drives we went on in late September/early October were great, but the most outstanding one was at Lake Manyara. We saw a pride of lions, hippos running across the road, and a number of noctural animals, including an aardvark. The night drives at Sweetwaters and the Mara Serena (done through the lodges) were in closed vehicles, and the one at Lake Manyara (with Green Footprint Adventures) was in an open vehicle, which also really enhanced the experience. I'm a big fan of night drives and would recommend doing them as often as you can!

In Tarangire we stayed at Oliver's Camp, which was quite a splurge for us but worth every penny. We went on a wonderful walking safari here, and thought this camp was a real highlight of our 3 weeks in East Africa.

I would also highly recommend a visit to Samburu (haven't been to Amboseli, so I can't compare the two). The landscape and animals are different than any other park you'll visit, and it's absolutely beautiful up there. Be aware if you're doing a driving safari that the road travel to Samburu (and from Lake Nakuru to the Mara too) is an adventure in itself!
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 02:22 PM
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Where do you need to stay in Lake Manyara for night drives

Thanks
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 02:37 PM
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The night drives at Lake Manyara operate differently than most other locations in that they're conducted by a single tour operator, Green Footprint, rather than through a lodge or camp. I'm not sure of the exact departure point but as long as you're staying within reasonable driving distance, you should be able to include a night drive. Someone else will probably be along shortly to explain the logistics better or you could email Green Footprint.
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 02:49 PM
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Hi,In september spend more time at the mara and skip serengeti, they are the same parks with different names,

my suggestion most night mara then onto amboseli for 2 nights, with stop somewhere in between if you are not upto long drives, then do the crater for 2 nights and then via to tarangire do a game drive manyara(sept tarangire much better than manyara), spend 2-3 nights tarangire, rest concentrate on the mara in 14 days, it will be amazing, Sonali
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 06:22 PM
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Just a quick thought on night drives at Lake Manyara. We wanted to do such when we stayed at K. Camp. I believe we went over to Manyara Serena Lodge (believe it was the Serena) to make arrangements but drive was all booked up. So, may be worth having your company check in advance. Am sure we would have enjoyed such.
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Old Dec 17th, 2007, 03:10 PM
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is manyara worth in september. i am skipping serengeti and visiting mara, tarangire, samburu amboseli , nakuru and the crater . will i be missing anything only exclusive in manyara
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Old Dec 17th, 2007, 04:21 PM
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I'm not aware of anything that is exclusive to Manyara NP, but we enjoyed our brief time there. It is a small park and can be covered pretty well in only a couple of half-day game drives.

The Green Footprints office for Manyara is located at the Manyara Serena, which is where we stayed. We left for the night drive from there, but since we were the only ones to take the drive (which also included dinner under the stars at the park entrance) that night, I don't know if they go to other camps to pick up customers or if you have to get to the Serena yourself. We enjoyed the dinner and night drive very much, including having a very large bull elephant walk right up the road to with a few feet of the open vehicle.
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Old Dec 17th, 2007, 04:33 PM
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hguy & others who did the nite drive at Manyara, were the mosquitos bad? Manyara is famous for bugs ... also, what was the charge on this? Can you take flash photos at night or do they discourage this?

Did anyone do the ultralight flight over the rim of Manyara? Looks like sport

We will be there three nights in Feb and were considering doing something other than game drives, saw the GP links on the Serena site but no prices, and as always first person feedback from someone who has actually done it would be ideal.

Bill
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Old Dec 17th, 2007, 05:04 PM
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Yes, the bugs were certainly there when we did our night drive at Lake Manyara in October, but it wasn't too bad with long sleeves to cover up. The bugs spent most of their time swarming around the spotlight, not on us.

I'm not sure what the cost is, because our whole Tanzania safari was arranged by Green Footprint. They didn't say anything to us about flash photography, one way or the other. But I noticed the spotter was very careful not to leave his light on the animals for any long period of time (unlike the other night game drives we did).

Not sure that there is anything exclusive to Lake Manyara in terms of wildlife... but there was certainly a lot to see in October.
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Old Dec 18th, 2007, 11:40 AM
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How does this iterinary look
14 DAYS

DAY 1 NAIROBI – SAMBURU
Depart Nairobi for Samburu game reserve via the Thompson falls where you take photos for a few minutes. Lunch enroute. Arrive at samburu in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight at Sarova Shaba or Samburu lodge.

DAY 2 SAMBURU
Morning and afternoon game viewing sessions . overnight at Sarova shaba or Samburu lodge.

DAY 3 SAMBURU – LAKE NAKURU
After breakfast and your final game drive in this park, proceed to Lake Nakuru national park lunch enroute. Dinner and overnight at Lake Nakuru lodge.

DAY 4 LAKE NAKURU – MAASAI MARA
After breakfast a morning game drive will follow the abode of various water birds that breed in lake’s salty water including flamingoes, white pelicans and marabou storks; white rhino may be seen as well as the rare Rothschild’s giraffe, Depart for Maasai mara game reserve with lunch enroute. Dinner and overnight at Mara Serena lodge.

DAY 5 and 6 MAASAI MARA.
Keekorok lodge

DAY 7 MAASAI MARA – AMBOSELI
Early cup of tea or coffee then proceed to your final pre breakfast game drive. Return to lodge for a late breakfast then depart the Mara region for Amboseli National Park, famous for its big game and snow capped Mt.kilimanjaro. Dinner and overnight at Oltukai lodge or Amboseli sopa lodge

DAY 8 AMBOSELI
Spend the morning and afternoon game viewing Dinner and overnight at Oltukai lodge or Amboseli sopa lodge.

DAY 9 AMBOSELI – ARUSHA - MANYARA
After breakfast and your last game drive leave Amboseli for Arusha via the Namanga border where you will be met by our Tanzanian guide. Lunch at Arusha town. Proceed to Lake Manyara national park famous for its tree climbing lions and large flocks of flamingos. The park contains five distinct vegetation zones and is of scenic beauty. Dinner and overnight at Lake Manyara hotel.

DAY 10 LAKE MANYARA – NGORONGORO
After breakfast depart for ngorongoro arriving in time for lunch. After lunch descend 2,000 feet to the crater for game viewing.
Dinner and overnight at a lodge. Ngorongoro sopa lodge.

DAY 11 NGORONGORO
Breakfast at your lodge; descend into the crater floor by special 4 wheel drive vehicles for a full day of game viewing. A picnic lunch will be taken at the crater. Dinner and overnight at a lodge. Ngorongoro sopa lodge.

DAY 12 NGORONGORO CRATER – TARANGIRE
After breakfast drive to Tarangire. After lunch have an afternoon game drive. Dinner and overnight at Tarangire sopa lodge

DAY 13 TARANGIRE
After breakfast have a full day of game viewing with a break for lunch at your lodge. Dinner and overnight at Tarangire sopa lodge

Day 14 TARANGIRE – ARUSHA – NAIROBI
After breakfast go for a morning game viewing drive in Tarangire National Park with packed lunch en route. Transfer to Nairobi in the afternoon.
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Old Dec 18th, 2007, 12:12 PM
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Day 1 - Thomson Falls is not on the way to Samburu. You wouldn't pass by it unless you went out of your way. You can however stop at there on Day 3 on the way from Samburu to Lake Nakuru.

Day 3/Day 4 - You'll have long back to back (6+ hourish) drives going from Samburu to Nakuru and Nakuru to the Mara.

Day 7 - How are you traveling from the Mara to Amboseli? If by road, this is approx a 10 hour drive. I'd pick Ol Tukai over Sopa.

Day 14 - How are you transferring from Tarangire back to Nairobi?

You have a lot of road travel which can be pretty exhausting when combined with short stays.




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Old Dec 18th, 2007, 12:27 PM
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Lots of very long drives.
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Old Dec 18th, 2007, 12:31 PM
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what do you guys suggest
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Old Dec 18th, 2007, 01:21 PM
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The itinerary you listed is rushed but do-able. Lots of people have done similar itineraries and survived but to me, it would not be that enjoyable. I know there's an overwhelming desire to see a bit of everything, but have you considered just sticking with one country? Or if your budget can handle it and you want to keep all of these destinations, I'd consider adding a few flights prioritized in this order:

1) Day 7 - Mara back to Nairobi to reduce your longest drive day. The drive from Nairobi to Amboseli is 4-4.5 hours.

2) Day 14 - Arusha/Kilimanjaro back to Nairobi because it's at the end of your trip where you'll really appreciate it.

3) Day 1 - Nairobi to Samburu. The drive is 5-6 hours with the last hour on a really bad stretch of road, but at the beginning of your trip it may not seem so bad which is why I listed it last.

Also if you can squeeze one more day into your itinerary, I'd try to add a stop between Samburu and Nakuru (maybe Sweetwaters) to avoid back to back long drives.
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