Kenya or Tanzania last week in June for Migration?

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Jul 20th, 2005, 09:23 PM
  #1
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Kenya or Tanzania last week in June for Migration?

We are planning a trip in last week of June 2006. We arrive and depart in Nairobi and have 6 nights for safari. We like to stay at hi-end lodging (Serena type). Where are we likely to see migration? How would you distribute the 6 nights? We were thinking 3 nights Masai Mara or Serengetti (depending on Migration); 2 nights Ngorongoro?? suggestions? Do we book directly with Serena or go though tour operators? suggestions?
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Jul 21st, 2005, 04:11 AM
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sandi
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For the last week of June you can expect the migrating herds to be in the Western Serengeti, before they north towards Kenya.

So I would start my safari in this area, then drive back to the Ngorongoro Crater, before heading back to Arusha and flight to Nairobi with connecting flight to the Mara.

If you can arrive in Kilimanjaro (JRO) Tanzania, it'll save time getting to the Western Serengeti. If arriving NBO you will have to fly (unless you decide to bus it... not recommended) to Arusha. Then you can fly home from Nairobi when you've completed safari in the Mara.

Six days only will be tight, but flying is your best option, except for those portions in Tanzania where drive works. You'll have a few very early morning departures to get to your next destination... but it's not as if there are airports at every location (or close by) you plan to stop.

You'd do better dealing with an in-country tour outfitter then going direct with Serena if these are the properties you are considering. Also the outfitter will be able to coordinate/organize your flights between locations/countries and driver/guides as needed.

There are a number of in-country outfitters recommended on this board. By doing a search in the box on the top of this board - enter "Tanzania tour operators" + enter; a list of threads containing this information will appear in the left column and you can read thru for these companies.
 
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Jul 21st, 2005, 10:36 AM
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6 nights is very short and I personally wouldn't try to cover both the Serengeti and Masai Mara. That's a lot of flying around. I would stick with Tanzania and try to fly into JRO (Kilimanjaro) airport in northern Tanzania if at all possible.

If you have to fly to Nairobi, will you be spending the first night there or can you connect to a flight to Tanzania? You'd have to fly NBO-JRO, start your safari and drive to Ngorongoro, then drive to the Serengeti, fly back to Arusha/Kilimanjaro from the Serengeti, and another flight JRO-NBO, or vice versa fly to the Serengeti first and drive back. I think that's all you'd have time to comfortably do.

Unless you can find an outfitter who can get special permission to cross directly between the two parks. I've heard this mentioned here but have no idea what it entails.
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Jul 21st, 2005, 10:26 PM
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Sandi,
When you say Western Serengeti, Where exactly do you mean? Are there any Serena Lodges (or comparable quality accomodation there)? Do you know who flies from overseas to JRO? Any recommendations on local tour operators?
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 05:38 AM
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Vacationer -

There is a Serena in the Western Serengeti - The Kirawira Camp/Lodge. Admittedly, not like the Serena Lodge in the Central Serengeti. Kirawira is a luxury tent camp and on the high-end for price. But if traveling before the end of June, you can get a better price then if traveling in July. Unless properties start raising prices in June (there has been some talk around that camps/lodges will, but then maybe they won't) this is a good deal with lower prices.

So Kirawira Camp in the Western Serengeti. Another is Mbalageti Camp, but also on the high end. Both are beautiful. And I'd do 3-days here, whichever camp you select.

The other alternative would be mobile camping or semi-permanent camp, but price may well be the same; besides since you initially requested lodges you might not be looking for such "rustic" accommodations.

As Patty mentions and I concur, 6-days won't really give you much time. So with 3-days in the Western Serengeti, then 1-nt at Ngorongoro Crater, you can end with a day at Tarangire National Park which has a mini-migration between mid-June thru October and is one of my favorite parks. Consider something like:

Day 1 - Arrive Kilimanjaro, Tanzania - met and transfered for an o/n in Arusha
Day 2 - Fly to Western Serengeti - o/n Kirawira or Mbalageti
Day 3 - Kirawira or Mbalageti
Day 4 - Kirawira or Mbalageti
Day 5 - Drive to Ngorongoro Crater - (you won't have time to do Crater Tour in afternoon, but may want to do a Crater Rim Walk) - o/n Serena Lodge
Day 6 - Morning Crater Tour, take boxed lunch and drive to Arusha for homebound flight
OR
Day 6 - Morning Crater Tour, take boxed lunch, drive to Tarangire NP - o/n Tarangire River Camp
Day 7 - after lunch and afternoon game drive drive to Arusha/Kilimanjaro for evening homebound flight.

You don't mention from where you're traveling, but KLM/NW from the States via Amsterdam (AMS) or from AMS if traveling from Europe - flies into/out of Kilimanjaro (JRO)

Nor do you mention whether you have 6-nights after the night of arrival? So you'd have to play around with an itinerary to fit the exact number of days/nights you actually have.

There are a number of in-country tour outfitters that get good reviews on this board. A search for tour operators in the box on top of this board - enter into box "tanzania tour outfitters/operators" and a selection of threads will appear in the left column.

My recommendation would be Roy Safaris, who I've used. You can reach them thru their website:

www.roysafaris.com

send an email with your specifics - dates, budgets, other pertinent info and they'll send you a price.

Hope this helps and do let us know how your plans come along.
 
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 06:15 AM
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Sandi has given you a good itinerary to work with.

I have some other considerations based on my last 3 years in the Serengeti area during May/June/July...

The Western corridor stretches quite far to the west. Kirawira is located near the western edge.

The migration moves through this area rather quickly.

If you time it right - perfect. If not, you have rather long game drives towards Seronera and points north to try and spot them.

Besides, Seronera has wildlife year-round which is helpful as the migration is so unpredictable. It also have different options such as cheetah, lots of lion and so on. And it is easy to drive from there to the corridor if you need to.

I suggest you spend 2 nights at Kirawira or Mbalagheti or Grumeti (the most intimate), and 2 nights near Seronera (at the Serena or Mbuze Mawe or Migration camp). This way you will cover a huge area and you increase your changes to spot the migrating wildlife without driving long distances.

I would fly to the Grumeti-area. Stay the two nights, then drive to the Seronera/Migration area for 2/3 nights, then drive to Ngorongoro and stay a night before driving back to Arusha to go home. You can even visit Lake Manyara if you spend 2 nights in the NCA.

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Jul 22nd, 2005, 10:52 PM
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Sandi, I can do 6-7 nights in addition to the arrive and depart from NBO nights. I am stuck flying in and out of NBO because I am using British FF miles. From a convenience standpoint would I be better off just doing Ambesoli, Samburu and Mara (that way we can fly to each place) or should I do Kirawira, Ngorongoro and Tangerine ...we are still talking last week in June. Sounds like things book fast, do you think I will get accomodations if I book now? Also, once you are staying at Serena, who does the game drives - serena? or the tour company (I am confused becasue when we were in Sounth Africa last year, Mala Mala did all the game drives irrespective of the tour company.
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 11:15 PM
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One thing to consider - BA flies to Dar Es Salaam - so you could fly into DAR and out from NBO or vice versa.
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 04:32 AM
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sandi
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Of course you can do all Kenya, but Tanzania is better for game viewing for the last week June. So if using BA, you'd arrive NBO at nite (assuming you're flying from the States), overnight in NBO, then next morning take the earliest Precision Air flight to Kili/Arusha. At Arusha there is an 8am flight to Western Serengeti, but doubt you'll make this. You can arrange for a cultural tour in the morning and make the afternoon flight to Western Serengeti.

If going onto Ngorongoro after, there is no close airport, so this is a drive. Your tour outfitter should be able to have a vehicle meet you at W.Serengeti* for your game drives and drive to Ngorongoro and do your game drives here. Then you drive with same guide/drivers to Tarangire.

*only if your driver/guide are late, arrangements will have to be made for your accommodation here to handle your game drives till your operators' vehicle/driver/guide arrives.

And since BA departs from Dar-es-Salaam (DAR) you can made arrangements when finished at Tarangire and return to Arusha/Kili for a short flight to DAR to connect to your homebound flight. Otherwise, you'll have to return fly to NBO for homebound flight. If you do this latter, you'll have a few hours before you have to be at airport. You can arrange to do a bit of sightseeing, even have dinner at The Carnivore, or sundowners and dinner at The Norfolk Hotel before heading to the airport.

Get in touch with a few (no more than 3 or 4) of the tour outfitters... tell them your situation and ascertain best way to coordinate your land with your air.
 
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 06:44 AM
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There's also an evening redeye departure out of LHR to NBO 3x weekly. BA89 departs at 8:35pm and arrives 7:25am the following morning and operates Tu/Th/Sa. This flight works well if you're flying straight through from the west coast US (still not sure where you're flying from) as if flying from LAX/SFO/etc you generally wouldn't get into LHR early enough to catch the daytime flight to NBO. Then you can connect same morning on Precision Air NBO-JRO.

On the return, I'm not sure if there's much benefit to flying back from DAR. Certainly that's another option, but flight costs are approx the same from JRO back to NBO or DAR. Plus the DAR-LHR flight only operates on Tu/Fr/Sun and departs at 8:55am, so would likely require an overnight in DAR before flying home the following morning. Out of NBO, BA's daily flight departs at 10:45pm, so you could fly JRO-NBO and if you have some extra time, have dinner or see some sights around Nairobi.
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 07:36 PM
  #11
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Sandi, Western Serengeti sounds good but given climbhighsleeplow's comments - would I risk missing the migration all together if my timing is not perfect? Would I be better of considering central Serengeti or Mara for 2 nights too. ADS is recommending this iteneray...what do you think:
Day 1: Kilimanjaro KIA Lodge
Day 2 Western Serengeti Kirawira Tented Lodge
Day 3 Western Serengeti Kirawira Tented Lodge
Day 4 Central Serengeti Serengeti Serena Lodge
Day 5 Central Serengeti Serengeti Serena Lodge
Day 6 Ngorongoro Crater Ngorongoro Serena Lodge
Day 7 Ngorongoro Crater Plantation Lodge
Day 8 Lake Manyara KIA Lodge (Day Room)
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