Kenya or Tanzania 2005 Sept

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Sep 26th, 2004, 11:20 PM
  #1
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Kenya or Tanzania 2005 Sept

Hi all - and thanks for any help!

I'm going to Rekero Tented camp on Sept. 5-7, then I need to be in Arusha on Sept. 12. So I have a few options:

1. Should I stay in the Mara, perhaps at another camp, hoping to see the migration? If so, where to stay?

2. Should I stay another two days in the Mara, then fly to Arush to Serengeti to visit Northern Serengeti for 3 days?

3. Should I leave the Mara, fly to Arusha, drive through Tarangire for two nights, up to Northern Serengeti for 3 nights, and fly back to Arusha?

Any suggestions, thoughts, and recommendations on places to stay would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thanks so much -

Wally

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Sep 27th, 2004, 04:14 AM
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Wally-
Although I've not stayed at Rekero Tented Camp, King who posts here some and travels extensively to Kenya, recommends it highly. I stayed at Governor's Camp around that same time last year, and King had recommended that I stay a few nights at two different sites, one of them being Rekero, to greater the chances of seeing the migration, just as you mentioned. Another camp he recommends is the Mara Serena which is right above the crossing point. Although it is on the other side of the river where the migration comes from, you have a much better view of the part of the Mara where they are during Sept. It is later that they move closer to Governor's Camp.
Questions 2 and 3 would be better answered by either Sandi or SusanLynne. They are more familiar with the northern Serengeti. Liz
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Sep 27th, 2004, 05:09 AM
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Wally - Getting to the Northern Serengeti - you do not want to drive here, whether from Arusha or Tarangire. In fact most all tour operators won't allow it, for the sake of their guide/drivers and clients. Your bottom will thank you not to drive straight thru especially with so little time. The distances are great, somewhere between 300/400-miles and you're not driving on super highways.

But you haven't mentioned your budget and whether it can afford the flights to/from Arusha to the Northern Serengeti - can run $400 r/t.

Your option for accommodations in N.Serengeti is Klein's (best position) but very expensive; Migration Camp (maybe more reasonable) and King likes Lobo Camp. But on the latter, a few posters have commented that it is rather worn and the food isn't very good. And you have to consider - traveling as a single, there is the single supplement to consider at all accommodations in both countries, during high-season.

So if your budget doesn't allow for the above, you might want to spend a few more days in the Mara, maybe at the Serena Lodge, then head into Tanzania and spend a few days at Tarangire. Tarangire has a migration, though smaller then at the Mara. And Tarangire is only 90-miles from Arusha, an easy drive on paved road. From here it would also be easy and quick to return to Arusha by Sept. 12.
 
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Sep 27th, 2004, 09:49 AM
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Thank you for the replies.

Liz - Why didn't you stay at Rekero? And how was Governors in Sept. 2003? Rekero is on the Western side of the Mara, so would you suggest being more easterly, i.e. Mara Serena or Mara Explorer?

Sandi - There are two of us travelling, and we have a large budget for the trip, so we'll fly Mara-Nairobi-Arusha. I was considering staying in Nomad Tented Safaris in Serengeti. But, I wonder whether all the animals will be in Mara during early Sept, and few will be in the Northern Serengeti.

Thanks so much.
Wally
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Sep 27th, 2004, 10:38 AM
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Wally - first to answer alternatve accommodations in the Mara that you posed in your response to Liz. The Mara Explorer Camp, 10 tents only, and lovely, located at the bend of the Talek River (there are both the Talek and Mara Rivers that the animals cross) will run more expensive then the Serena Lodge.

Where the animals will be "exactly" can never be certain. By September the herds should have arrived in the Mara, but in September there is usually spillover left in the Serengeti. Some seasons the herds leave the Serengeti earlier or later and the herds can stay in the Mara till as late as mid-November as they did last year.

Friends have just returned from their trip to both Kenya and Tanzania, having been away since end-Aug thru just a few days ago. But I haven't heard all the details and won't till maybe next week. But they visited both the Mara and Klein's in the northern Serengeti.

So if budget is no problem, especially the flying to/from - go for a place in this northern area. I've heard of Nomad Tented Safaris, but don't have first hand knowledge. But most mobile tented safaris set up in the best areas depending on time of year. During September, they will, no doubt, be in the northern Serengeti area. Maybe another poster will have information specific to this company.

Hope this helps.
 
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Sep 27th, 2004, 11:18 AM
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missbiggie

Rekero tented Camp - fabulous

Explorer Camp - near Rekero so you will be on similar game area.

As your budget is large, spend the next 2 nights at Cottar's Camp. Serena has a superb location but to go from Rekero to Serena would be like going from a Merc to a Toyota. Instead step up to a Rolls. Then fly to Arusha and spend 2 nights in Tarangire at Swala Camp.

My personal choice would be Mara for 5 nights but if you have the urge to go to Serengeti then choose Grumeti River Camp - you will not regret it. To get there from Mara is taxing, with flights landing and taking off several times before you get finally get there.
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Sep 27th, 2004, 11:44 AM
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Wally-
I just couldn't get the same impression that King has. He has stayed at Rekero and I have not. I emailed extensively with them and all I could surmise was since they were a seasonal camp they didn't have flush loos. Top on our list of things we want in a camp. Governor's seemed nicer. Unfortunately the migration had not progressed from the crossing area by much and that 45 minute drive, much of it over very rough terrain was just a killer. I didn't go to two camps because I booked directly with Governor's. We stayed around a week and got to see some crossings, the main reason for the trip. I really liked the location of the Serena with the sweeping view of the Mara and those who stayed there have all said the same thing.

King- I've tried to see Rekero Tented Camp as how can I say, nicer, but they themselves called it quite rustic in our emails. When a camp is only up for a few months a year they can't have the same plumbing. Their other camp outside that area sounds more as you describe, but it is too far for this time of year. ???? Liz
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Sep 27th, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Again, thanks for the wonderful replies.

Sandi, I'm eager to discover from your friends where the animals were this year - and what areas were best to reach them. Which would you choose for three days among Klein's, Nomad Tented Safari's and Grumeti for Sept 10?

King, I know you're a big fan of Rekero, and I've heard great things. I was considering spending more time in the Mara, and taking time away from Tarangire/Serengeti. Question: Is Cottar's well-situated to view the Migration? I'm more interested in animals then in luxury, and if I spent another two days in the Mara, I can't decide at what camp it should be in early Sept.

Also, you recommend Swala Camp in Tarangire, but I've heard great things about Mawe Ninga Camp, and I know these are the two to choose between. Do you prefer Swala over Mawe, and why?

Last, why Grumeti in Sept? Won't most of the animals be in the North, closer to Klein's?
Thanks.

Liz, do you know how chose Serena is to Rekero? Are they close enough that it would be one or the other? Did you feel Serena was better situated than Governor's? Thanks.

Finally, does anyone have feelings/info about Olduvai camp?

Wally
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Sep 27th, 2004, 12:38 PM
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Wally - Will be glad to let you know what friends have to say, but at earliest it would be next week sometime. However, they may very well post on Fodors; in fact, I will encourage they do so.
 
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Sep 27th, 2004, 12:44 PM
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Wally-
By the maps it appears the two camps, Rekero Tented and Mara Serena must be very close. They are on opposite sides of the river though. Rekero is hidden and I doubt anyone would see it if they weren't staying there. Rekero does not show on the maps because it is a seasonal camp so the distance is very hard to estimate. I never saw the camp although I was at the crossing every day.
Serena was far better situated for when we visited last year and when I saw the reality of Governor's Main Camp I wished many times we had chosen the Serena. The distance was huge considering the conditions of driving from Governor's to the crossing site.
I haven't stayed at the Serena but those that did wrote glowing reports of sitting up on the hill and viewing the sweeping views of the Mara, with the Wildebeests there. You don't see any such view from Governor's Main Camp. I didn't consider that camp too luxurious. It was nice and it was comfortable, but I wouldn't do it again. At least not for the purpose to see the migration in September. By the time we would get to the river crossing, all of the spots were taken and there was always a crowd of cars and tourists waiting. You can view my photos from that trip if you would like. Let me know and I will post the link for you to see them. Liz
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Sep 27th, 2004, 01:14 PM
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Liz - yes Rekero has flush loos. Shame it calls itself rustic. It is very much like a very luxurious mobile camp with all the conveniences of a modern lodge. It is centrally located in the Mara so all areas of the Mara can be easily accessed and it sits right by the Talek river and in the path of the migration as it sweeps through the area. The guiding is brilliant.

Serengeti - Kleins area is excellent when the migration is returning from the Mara (October/Dec). It is close to Sand River which borders Tanzania and Kenya and so is Cottar's - the two can't be too far from each other as the crow flies. Cottar's is a good spot when the migration is in the Mara and like Kleins has the advantage of being on a private concession area, thus night drives and game walks are also possible.

You may also want to check out Governor's camp on the Mara River which will be less than half the price of Cottar's but Liz did not have a very good experience there.

Grumeti - the location and area are magical. Second, some of the migration which doesn't cross over to Kenya may still be hanging around in the area or a few kilometers from the area. Whether the camp will try to follow the trailing migration is impossible to know.

Olduvai Camp - don't know as I have always stayed at Ndutu.

Tarangire - Mawe is a relatively new camp so I don't know much about it. Swala has a very good location and is lovely.

I suggest you get your agent to find out about the current postion of the migrating herds before you decide which camp to go choose.

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Sep 27th, 2004, 01:37 PM
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Lets go back just a bit. The location of Governor's is my problem and I have been saying that. For September it is simply too far from the crossing site. I could give you many reasons for saying that and recount all of those problems, but suffice it to say, choose a place closer to the crossing site. That is if you are there to see the migration.
I just visited www.Rekero.com and found it to be a very basic camp. The tents looked old and although the loos look flushable, Rekero admitted during the emails that using the camp only 3 months a year precluded the permanent plumbing required for better facilities. The toilets also appear to be separated from the sleeping area by a plastic drop cloth. Most camps have a separate room off the back of the tent with a sink, toilet and shower.
I value your posts King, but I would not stay at Rekero Tented Camp based on their own information.
Wally will have to decide what he/she wants to do. I only regretted our decision because I knew this was our one and only chance to see the migration in the Mara and felt I would have been better served at another camp.
I wouldn't tell anyone to not stay at Governor's Camp, only during September.
I salute you for the 30 trips to Kenya, but either you are quite old or don't mind getting on that plane every few weeks for a loooooong haul flight. Surely you must visit other places too. Does your work take you there? Liz
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Sep 27th, 2004, 01:38 PM
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Of course Serena lodge is another option but the herds may have moved further west or north by September.
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Sep 27th, 2004, 01:58 PM
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Liz, my work takes me where you nor your family would ever want to go, I am old and I love wildlife so I visit Africa often. I have visited several other countries throughout the world - I suppose you want each one named.

Rekero - the camp is open for 9 months so I am not sure where you are getting your information from. Like you advised Roccco, get your facts right! Rekero is a fantastic camp and pity you have given up on Kenya as you will never have the chance to discover a real gem of a camp.
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Sep 27th, 2004, 02:33 PM
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Before this goes any farther. I am very sorry I even posted here.
I have not given up on Kenya. I have many places to go and that was 'the migration' trip. Thats all.
You are right that I did get my facts wrong, they are CLOSED 3 months out of the year. Sorry.
I wasn't being argumentative and I will not post any more in this discussion. I was trying to have a discussion with you, thats all. I had no ulterior motives. Good grief, is it something in the air here today! Don't answer that. Liz
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Sep 27th, 2004, 03:21 PM
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Liz
I was just at Rekero in September and I can attest that at that time the migration was definitely there. It DOES have flush toilets and I believe a bucket shower system although you wouldn't know it.

Rekero is in a beautiful location just on the edge of a boulder-strewn stream. There are several resident buffalo that hang around the camp and hipppos come through at night. While I was there you could sit in camp and watch the wildebeest on the hillside.

For my money and my style of camp this one is the best in the area.

Finally, the owners of the camp actually run the camp. It is jointly owned by a Kenyan (Brit) with his wife and his longtime Masai friend.

The Masai guides were also excellent.
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Sep 28th, 2004, 12:44 PM
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Question for King, Liz, and David:

In September, what camps offer the best location from which to see the migration - or the best 'gamble,' since the migration always changes.

Thanks,
Wally
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Oct 6th, 2004, 01:27 PM
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Hi there. We're the people Sandi mentioned who just returned from Kenya and Tanzania at the end of September. We had a marvelous time at Bateleur Camp at Kichwa Tembo which is at the extreme north western edge of the Mara by the Oloololo Gate. The tents are very luxurious and well appointed. It is an expensive camp but well worth the money, if you decide you want a luxury experience. We liked that it was kind of tucked away on the edge of the mara because there were fewer vehicles (than in other parts of the Mara, or so we heard). It didn't matter so much that we were quite far from the crossing site becuase getting to it was a game drive itself. We didn't see a crossing unfortunately, but a couple who was at Bateleur Camp the very next day after we were (we met them later at another lodge) saw THREE crossings and TWO croc kills. Unbelieveable I know, but they did.

We did also visit the northern serengeti and stayed at Klein's camp which was amazing (granted, we did a luxury trip the whole way). The game viewing was just incredible. I will be posting a trip report soon which will detail all of that. However, if we did it again, I would spend an extra day or two in the Mara (we spent two days at Bateleur and four days at Kleins) and subtract from the time at Klein's only because of the plentiful herds in the Mara, the the opportunity to see possible crossings. That being said, there was a lot to do at Klein's that we couldn't do at Bateleur, including night drives and bush walks, which was really fun. Kleins is located on its own private concession which makes this possible.

More later, I plan to write a detailed trip report!

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Oct 6th, 2004, 02:06 PM
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Wally- If I did it now, I would stay at the Mara Serena. You don't have to drive so far and if nothing is going on at the crossing site, you know it. Many times we would make that long drive only to find nothing was going on there. Then it was another long drive back to where the other animals were, or to dinner. I'm not saying there aren't other things to see on the Mara. I am speaking just about the crossings. The "migration" spreads out over a huge area and we saw other exciting things, but it was the crossings we were there for and we drove a lot of long bumpy rides to get to the crossing site. One day we finally got to see the animals crossing and it was thrilling. Another day we got there just as some animals were getting out of the water. We'd missed it.
Others have posted here who traveled with 2Afrika, and they stayed at the Serena and saw the action from their view on the hill just above the crossing site. Its not as deluxe, but its very comfortable and the food is still quite good.
I'm not saying that the other camps aren't wonderful but that wasn't why we went. This was my fifth time on the Mara and so my purpose for being on the Mara was different than someone who is going for the first time. You'll have a great time where ever you stay on the Mara, but for the crossings, I'd stay closer to the crossing site. Now that is just my opinion. Liz
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Oct 10th, 2004, 10:02 AM
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Liz

From your experience would you recommend Serena or Intrepids for late August ? Which side of the Mara River are the big herds at that time ?
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