I'm going to Tanzania in September

Mar 20th, 2019, 11:57 AM
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I'm going to Tanzania in September

I'm going to a meeting in Arusha in September, so I will plan up to a week of vacation time before or after. I'm sure to have lots of questions as I plan.

Would it be better (animal viewing wise) to plan the vacation during the first week of September or the third week? I know nature is unpredictable, but I do have a choice. I'll check to see if any holidays or events during that time.

Most convenient would be the Northern Circuit area. Crowded in September, right? I could transfer elsewhere, but I haven't been to North would mean less time in transit.

I have been to several parks in South Africa, so I would be most interested in what is different in visiting the areas in Tanzania. Water crossings would be a real treat, but I think I may be late and I know how unpredictable. I'll start reading to see what else distinguishes the game drives here. I know the open savannah will be different.

I'd also be curious about any cultural visits or experiences you have had in the area.

I am assuming that I am traveling solo, but I will check with colleagues I will see next month to determine if any of them will be at the meeting and want to travel together. Unlikely anyone I would want to share a room/tent with, but maybe a traveling companion.

Now the work begins!

Last edited by Kay2; Mar 20th, 2019 at 11:59 AM.
Kay2 is offline  
Mar 21st, 2019, 04:18 AM
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hi Kay...

The Northern Circuit is popular year round, especially the Crater. But with a good guide you should be able to find sightings and space on your own. No water crossings at that time (if you're thinking great migration), you'd have to go to Kenya for that and even then September may be too late depending on how the herds move. I've not been to South Africa so cannot compare the game or landscape for you, but the Northern Circuit does give you a unique view into different parks, with the Crater being a quite unique ecosystem on its own and Serengeti National Park being part of the Mara ecosystem, so likely good cat sightings. Try to get to Ndutu, an area of the Serengeti where you can offroad (as opposed to stay on the roads as in the Park proper).

My first safari was the Northern Circuit but in February. We did do a cultural visit which at the time felt very canned and was high pressure (and high priced!) sales of handmade goods at the end. I've since found out that wasn't a "real" Maasai camp, they didn't actually live there. I had a much more real visit to my guide's town where we spent a half day, had a meal with a local family and went to church with them, and that was amazing. (On the Maasai camp, I've since been to a real Maasai village in Kenya and the difference was noticeable, nothing for sale, more question and answer with the women and kids, just a more realistic experience). I'd confirm what sort of village visit you're getting when you sign up.
amyb is offline  
Mar 21st, 2019, 06:08 PM
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Having been in the Greater Kruger area, Pilanesberg, and Hluhluwe Umfolozi, I definitely prefer the offroad areas to the park roads when possible.

Our local hosts are offering to organize a one-day trip to Ngorongoro or Tanarangire, but from my previous experiences I know how important it is to be there early and late (although we did see lions in the middle of the day at Hluhluwe Umfolozi). And it looks like a long time to/from the Crater for just the day.
Kay2 is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2019, 04:15 AM
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Kay, if you can manage to be at the Crater gate when it opens at 6 a.m. that's about the best you can do. It's still a drive down into the crater then, but no one is ever on the Crater floor before 6. Do you know how far from the Crater you're staying? I'd guess we got down to the Crater by 7 a.m. and still had some really good sightings. It's just such a unique little ecosystem and quite an interesting landscape, I think it'd be a shame to miss it if you're near. Tarangire though is also good. We had incredible elephant encounters there.

For offroading near the Serengeti, definitely look into Ndutu. It was the only place in that circuit that we could go offroad.
amyb is offline  
Mar 25th, 2019, 01:54 PM
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I've been doing my research and have reached some conclusions, but I still have questions.

I want to see larger herds of the grazers than I have seen in South Africa while hoping for those great experiences you can't plan like when we got to sit for an hour watching a leopard and her cubs, or when lions spooked buffalo at night who ran at our truck and then we sat in the dark listening to the lions regroup, or seeing a hippo in town in St Lucia. I'd also like to see flamingos if right season. Lions in trees sounds really odd.

I can't go everywhere unless I break the bank, so I will have to compromise with a seat in a group tour or a small group of my colleagues will want to share. Which of these would be overlap and the first I should cut? I tending toward areas near Arusha for convenience because of the September timing might mean the great migration is concentrated in Kenya, so the Serengeti not as populated or dramatic.

Lake Manyara NP - lions, flamingos?
Manyara Ranch conservancy - off road, night drive, walking
Tarangire NP - the variety of birds and animals, boabob trees, night safari
Ngorongoro Crater - view from rim, Lake Magadi flamingos, the variety of animals
Empakaai Crater - flamingos
Olduvai Gorge (still looking into whether visit and museum worthwhile)
Kolo - Kondoa Irangi rock paintings
Grumeti Reserve near Serengeti - off road

If we take a day trip from Arusha as well, maybe Arusha NP - walk.
Kay2 is offline  
Mar 25th, 2019, 05:28 PM
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Purely anecdotal, but we didn’t see a single lion in Manyara. And no one I know has ever seen them in trees. My safari planner warned us at the time that that was very “hit or miss”. We did see flamingos but from several miles away and there was no way to get closer as they weren’t near a road. Manyara as a whole was probably my least favorite stop on the Northern Circuit; just all around underwhelming.

Just so you know, you have to be staying at a camp in the park that has arrangements with the Tanzanian authorities that allows them to do night drives.

I wouldn’t make the trek to Ngorongoro just to sit on the rim. I hope that’s not what you mean. If it is, that’s the first thing I’d scratch.

If you want lions, go to Serengeti. Even with the massive herds in Kenya that time of year, there are still plains game (the cats have to eat something!). But the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is one of the best (if not THE best) places to see the big cats. I wouldn’t go to Tanzania and go to any place on your list without going to the Serengeti. I don’t know Grumeti personally since we went to the Park proper, but that would be top of my list for the cats alone.
amyb is offline  
Mar 27th, 2019, 01:45 AM
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The Seronera Valley in Serengeti has animals year-round, so that would be a good place to go even when the migratory herds aren’t in that part of the Serengeti ecosystem. We flew by Precision Air from Arusha to the Seronera airstrip, and the pilot had to buzz the runway to scare off a herd of Grant’s gazelle that were grazing on the grass airstrip. On the way to our lodge we had to stop until a herd of elephant moved off the dirt road. What a wonderful introduction to the Serengeti!

After Seronera we drove through the shortgrass plains to Ngorongoro. That was in February when the herds were birthing in the plains, so was the highlight of our trip. Ngorongoro Crater can be very busy, but you are almost guaranteed to see most of the “big five”, also cheetahs, hippos, and different species of antelope. A leopard crossed the road in front of us on the crater rim.

Another place to consider is Amboseli National Park in Kenya. It’s just across the border from Arusha, and has beautiful views of Mt Kilimanjaro. That’s where I got my treasured photo of Mt Kilimanjaro with elephants grazing in the foreground.
Heimdall is offline  
Mar 31st, 2019, 05:29 PM
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Just for the record, we did see several lions in trees in Manyara.
Marija is offline  
Jul 29th, 2019, 11:19 AM
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I have to finally book my plans.
None of my colleagues want to travel together and I couldn't find a short group tour to join, only 5-7 days.
I have 3.5 free days before my meeting, so my current plan is:
Day 1 rest around hotel to get over jet lag. Vijiji looks like a basic place in a village that offers a guided walk to the market, etc. if I want to get out and about.
Day 2 & 3 go on overnight trip for game drives in park(s). I have been offered 1st day Tarangire, spend night in tented cabin or lodge outside of park near Karatu or similar, then 2nd day another Tarangire drive or on to the Crater. Then back to Arusha.
Day 4 in Arusha. I may meet up with my colleagues to look around.

I fly out at night and may have the last day free if no meetings are scheduled. If so, I may book a day trip to Arusha National Park.

Any thoughts?
Kay2 is offline  
Aug 4th, 2019, 01:22 PM
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Mara River crossing during September

Hi Kay
You have a good chance of seeing herds crossing the Mara during September. My suggestion is flying from Arusha to one of the camps on the Mara river and joining their vehicles so you do not need to join a tour and no need to spend long days to get there.
in recent years there have been regular sightings of crossing during September.
You can see migrating herds near the river usually

If you decide to visit Ngorongoro - I suggest to book Sopa. Sopa has a road and entry gate of it's own, so early morning you may enjoy a couple of hours without hoards of tourists

If you consider the Kenya side - Nairobi is 4.5-5 hours by shuttle from Arusha

Safari njema

aby is offline  
Aug 10th, 2019, 06:58 AM
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2 days Safari in Tanzania


For 2 days safari if you plan it right you can spot the big five without driving 6 hours to the Serengeti. First off you need to manage your time well this means pick the parks that are close by and spend the night inside the parks. That would be the Tarangire and Ngorongoro, tented camps is a good idea when looking accommodation because recently I had a safari in the Tarangire and we drove 5 minutes around the Camp and we spotted a cheetah. Some of the Tented camps are located where the action is, Third will be to have a good guide who knows where to look like
Philip_2ocha is offline  
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