Is there an advantage to Mobile Tented Camping?

May 6th, 2007, 12:07 PM
Original Poster
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Is there an advantage to Mobile Tented Camping?

Hi There - I am considering 2 different itineraries for East Africa in September. One itinerary includes 4 nights of mobile tented camps in the Masai Mara and 3 nights of mobile tented camps in the Serengeti.

The other itinerary includes the same # of nights in both locations in permanent tented camps.

Is there an advantage to mobile tented camping? Not sure about this, but I heard they come at a premium in terms of price. If this is true, not sure if it is because they are more "luxurious" or if it's because they are ideally situated.

On the flip side, are you usually "roughing" it more in the mobile tented camps?

Any advice on this would be much appreciated...This may help me decide which itinerary is better. Thank you.
alldaytravel is offline  
May 6th, 2007, 12:36 PM
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I believe from the reseach I have done the mobile tents are more expensive because they are more ideally sited as they move with the animal movement, but are more basic in terms of accomadation. They have bucket showers and outside small tent loo and the beds are camp or wooden slatted. But in terms of wildlife veiwing you are more likely to be where the action is.
I haven't been on my safari yet so this isn't first hand knowledge just what I found when I reseached it,hopefully you'll get some more informative reply's
I've 5 weeks to go and counting!!!
September is not so very far away start moving or they will be booked.
keah05 is offline  
May 6th, 2007, 01:48 PM
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Since mobile camping has been brought up, can any of you state your preference for a Serengeti mobile and why you prefer that or those mobile

atravelynn is offline  
May 6th, 2007, 02:20 PM
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Mobile/seasonal tented camps come in all price ranges. These can be budget, mid-range or quite costly. Some are rather rustic and expensive; others more luxurious and expensive. Then there are budget and mid-range that can be a rustic or those with a few more amenities. Like lodges or permanent tent camps these come in all flavors to meet the needs of individual travelers.

While mobile camps often set-up where best game viewing is expected, they set-up in a particular area for a few months at a time, but that is still no guarantee.

This past year, as discussed aplenty, during Jan-Mar, because of the rain (when it should have been dry), many mobile camps weren't in the right place and found that sometime mid-season they had to move.

Game viewing, whether at lodges, permanent or mobile/seasonal camps simply can't be guaranteed in any particular area or timeframe.
sandi is offline  
May 6th, 2007, 02:47 PM
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From what I remember of my mobile camps in Kenya (Samburu & Mara) and Botswana (Chobe), they made it easier to avoid the crowds...the biggest advantage of all.

afrigalah is offline  
May 6th, 2007, 06:16 PM
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I stayed at CCAfrica's Tanzania Under Canvas in February and it was, by far, my favorite lodging experience of the trip (of many of my trips all over the world!). While this was a luxury accommodation (toilet within the tent, bucket showers, king size bed), I especially liked the small amount of tents and the remoteness of it all. The location was also perfect as the migration and the tents were in the Ndutu area. Ahhh, I do miss having my cocktails while gazing upon all those animals.

MonicaH is offline  
May 6th, 2007, 06:21 PM
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Did you have lots of vehicles around you at sightings? while staying with the CCA mobile?

HariS is offline  
May 6th, 2007, 06:35 PM
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A friend of mine told me Nomad moved every 10 days. This was in January.
atravelynn is offline  
May 7th, 2007, 04:08 AM
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lynn -

Can't confirm whether Nomad's did, in fact, move every 10-days (which would be unusual), but remember this past Jan/Feb was most strange with the rains and herds in areas they weren't expected before/after whatever schedule Nomad (or other mobile camps) may have planned.
sandi is offline  
May 7th, 2007, 09:38 AM
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Monica, that is so nice to hear as we will be with TUC in a few weeks. Anyone know what area the tents are now? (or will be in early June)?
Clematis1 is offline  
May 12th, 2007, 08:52 AM
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Hi Hari-

Not many other vehicles at all. One morning as we were driving the plains, we could see two other jeeps in the distance, we drove to them and saw one of the most amazing cheetah and her two cubs eating a kill. Another two jeeps found us, but that was the most I saw at one time. The rest of the time we were alone with lions, elephants, more lions, cheetahs and the migration. It was my favorite part of the trip since we always felt alone (besides for our animal friends) in the vast wilderness.

Now, I have begun the task of talking my husband into going back….soon!

MonicaH is offline  
May 12th, 2007, 09:53 AM
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Now let's narrow the question to Februrary in the Serengeti comparing Ndutu Lodge and mobiles. If anybody has costs to include in the comparison, I'd be interested in those too.
atravelynn is offline  
May 12th, 2007, 10:04 AM
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Most importantly, find the best guide you can; they will help you find the best wildlife experience, wherever you are. Usually the better outfitters pay the highest wages and treat their guides well.

If you can afford it, save all the time you can by flying between parks (more time for gameviewing – which is why most of us want to safari).

And, I’d take a mobile tented safari, if you can still afford it. There is something about sitting in front of the fire looking up at those stars listening to the distant roar of a lion. The same crew travels with you, as the camp moves from park to park; more time together promotes greater camaraderie, insight and understanding into each other’s culture. If the herds are on the move, or weather conditions change, mobile tented safaris have an opportunity to move to a more advantageous vantage point. Mobile tented safaris are more expensive than other accommodations; the operators often pay higher fees for “special campsites” which are off the beaten track – more more privacy, further away from park entrances, etc..

Lastly, spend any leftover dollars on the best binoculars you can afford and maybe that 300mm+ lens can help you bring home some up-close shots.

That said, if you have a great guide, you'll have a great safari, and it a won't really matter where you sleep at night.

Khakif is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 12:15 PM
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Just got back from 2 weeks in tanzania which included 4 nights at CCAfrica's Tanzania Under Canvas. This stay was simply the best four days I have ever spent anywhere. While the food and accomodations and locale were top-notch, what really made it so wonderful was the staff. Our guide, butler, camp manager, really everyone truly seemed to enjoy their jobs and sharing this amazing place with us. No comparison at all to Selous Safari Camp, which was a real letdown after TUC.
drs is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 12:19 PM
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Are you doing a trip report? I am considering TUC next November and would be interested to hear more of your impressions.
hlg22 is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 12:29 PM
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Now I have had some wonderful experiences in my approximate 10 safari visits to Africa. However, without a doubt in my mind, the best pure safari experience I have had to date, was my time while doing a semi-mobile safari in the Ndutu region of the Serengeti during March 2007 with Nomad Tanzania.

Nomad Tanzania picks up and moves every two weeks with the Migration so you are always close, sometimes VERY CLOSE to the action. It was normal to fall asleep to the sounds of lions, hear kills during the night and wakeup to grisly sights each morning as the lions stuffed themselves silly with wildebeest and zebra.

The camping was not luxurious but still pretty comfortable. The food was not decadent, put perfectly hearty. The guiding, on the other hand, was FANTASTIC as were the vehicles, far and above most other vehicles I saw on the road and superior in every way to a substandard vehicle I had with a different ground operator while in Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater.

If it is within your budget, I would also consider Serengeti Under Canvas with CCAfrica, as this should offer everything that Nomad Tanzania's Serengeti semi-mobile camps offer with even nicer lodging and yummier food.

Here is a trip report from my time in Tanzania, along with photos:

Hope this helps and best of luck.
Roccco is offline  
Jan 4th, 2008, 10:03 AM
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My husband and I did 3 days in a mobile tented camp in the Serengeti with TZ Photographic Safaris in July. It was an incredible experience-the tent had a great bed with a memory foam mattress, flushing en-suite toilet and gravity shower. Meals were good and the guides and camp service were great.

A word of caution to everyone: My husband choked on some stringy beef at dinner. No one - including the guides and staff - knew how to do the heimlich maneuver or offered to help. Thank god for my fellow travelers who jumped in and saved him, I think quite literally. I have committed myself to taking a CPR class before our next trip. It could happen anywhere, but being in the middle of nowhere when it happened was very very scary.
Travel Lover
TravelLover2 is offline  
Jan 4th, 2008, 03:18 PM
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Were those tents owned and operated by Africa Adventure?
Our top notch guide was with Tanz. Photo - Barekee B.
If so, we stayed in those last yr. and they were very comfortable with good food, etc.
I believe that their tents are moved once a mos. due to the land fill, impacting etc.
cybor is offline  
Jan 4th, 2008, 06:26 PM
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If dollars are tight, what would you say about Ndutu in Feb in the Serengeti instead of any mobiles? Wildlife viewing and not lodging ambiance or comfort is the main goal.

A good way to save money? Or shortchanging the experience of a lifetime to save a few bucks?

atravelynn is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 05:13 AM
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If the mobiles are set up at Ndutu then the game-viewing chances are the same since the camps are within a few miles of each other and the Lodge. Note that many of the camps are on the Serengeti side of the NCA-Serengeti border so you might have to pay an extra $50 fee to view game in both areas (staying at Ndutu in January 2006 and 2007 we've never felt the need to go to the Serengeti side except for day trips to Gol kopjes).

As far as cost, I think the Ndutu rack rate is $325/day for two while the cheapest mobiles are maybe double that and the posh ones maybe 4x the cost. Dunno what deals/discounts your operator may have though.

Bill_H is offline  

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