East African safari timing - June or September?


Apr 12th, 2012, 01:32 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2012
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East African safari timing - June or September?

I am planning my first safari in East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) and am seeking advice on timing.

We'll be visiting many of the popular parks: Tarangire, Manyara, Ngorongoro, Amboseli, Masai Mara, and Lewa. I will also be summiting Kilimanjaro the week before the safari, so weather there will play into the timing as well.

Photography is a main priority of mine while on safari, and I'm most interested in the big cats (lions, cheetahs, and jaguars), rhinos, and elephants. The migration would be fun to see (especially from hot air balloon, i think), but it's not a huge priority of mine. It'd be great to dodge the crowds but still have an ideal game viewing experience (ie: sunny, not a dust storm, not a lot of tall grass inhibiting views).

We are looking at time blocks from mid June - early July and late August - mid September.

What input do you have on the timing of our trip?
txwitt is offline  
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Apr 13th, 2012, 05:33 AM
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txwitt, you have a very nice plan that includes many highlights of East Africa.

June-October corresponds with one of two dry trekking seasons on Kili, so your plan for either of your time blocks works for both your climb and your safari.

You've chosen some great places to see big cats, although jaguars are found in the Americas...you won't see any in Africa. I suspect you meant leopards.

July to October is dry in Amboseli, and the big bull elephants tend to migrate out of the park and into the West Kili region of Tanzania. So you may want to skip Amboseli (assuming you're going for the elephants) and spend more time in Lewa/Samburu (or elsewhere) instead. The added attraction in Lewa/Samburu is the several species that are considered unique to the region which might be appealing to a photographer.

June/July would be ideal for seeing the migration in Tz; Aug/Sept would be best for seeing it in the Mara. So, either of your time frames would work very well; you'd change your itinerary a bit depending on your months of travel.

I've always wanted to do the balloon ride, but always choose to spend the $500 on another night in a tented camp instead.
Calo is offline  
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Apr 14th, 2012, 03:06 PM
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"Photography is a main priority of mine while on safari"

Then it is important that on game drives you are allowed to drive off-road. Important to position you, the light, and the subject for best photographs. Many national parks do not permit driving off-road. Check into this.

Next of importance is your guide. He needs to be familiar with photographers and how to position your vehicle. It is also very nice to have the vehicle to yourselves, or with other hard photographers, so there is not a continual struggle as to what to see and for how long/move on.

On the other hand, ignore my above suggestions and just savor the safari experience . If you love wildlife photography, you will go back and can next time do it exactly like you want.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
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May 29th, 2012, 10:53 AM
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Neither is a bad time. I've been in June and September and would go back in either month. June will likely be less crowded but as Crisked mentioned that may not be a factor if you're staying on private conservancies (i.e. Lewa). If budget is at all a factor, many camps in Kenya still have low/mid season rates in June.
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