Kirawira or Mbalagheti or Grumeti?

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Jul 26th, 2005, 10:48 PM
  #1
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Kirawira or Mbalagheti or Grumeti?

For last week in June, which is the nicest place to be at to see the migration?
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Jul 27th, 2005, 04:37 AM
  #2
sandi
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I hope JazzDrew and Climbhighsleeplow also respond. We were all in the Western Serengeti between mid-May to end-June and we all had different experiences.

Ideally, the herds should be in the Western Serengeti from end-May thru June to (maybe) mid-July... though they're usually in/around this area for a rather short period of time.

During our visit at the beginning of June the herds were still in the Central area, which I believe Climbhigh.... will verify. However, JazzDrew and family were in the area in the middle of June and had better sightings.

So, I guess there are no exact/perfect guarantees where the herds will be found. As to which camp - it may have to do with your budget... I believe Grumeti is the most expensive, then Kirawira a close second and finally Mbalageti, but none are inexpensive. And prices can change from year-to-year. All three are lovely properties and from any of these it's a good possibility if the herds aren't located immediately at whichever camp you choose, it's not unusual to drive an hour or so in one direction or another to locate them.

Another camp to consider is Sayeri (sp), a new camp closer to the Kenyan border which was recently written about on the board. Do a search for this information to see if this would be to your liking and fit your budget.

With animals, as with weather this is not an exact science. But I doubt you can go wrong with any of these.
 
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Jul 27th, 2005, 08:13 AM
  #3
bwanamitch
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You can't predict exactly the when and where of the migration - it depends on the rainfall patterns in the green season.

The following scientific paper is quite interesting,
http://www.montana.edu/ecology/cours...%20et%20al.pdf

It describes the migration of the wildebeestes based on surveys with radio-collared animals, providing very useful GPS data. What this paper makes interesting for travellers are all the maps showing the migration routes through the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem and all the game reserves and wildlife management areas around the Serengeti National Park.

Mitch
 
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Jul 27th, 2005, 11:03 AM
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Thanks, Mitch. Excellent link!

Vacationer1

It really confirms what we've been seeing over the last few years. For example, the end of last year a huge group came down to the west of Seronera and not the east (as they used to). And then they moved around like crazy in early 2005, making Ndutu a bit of a gamble.

It is also clear that the Seronera area is always a safe bet (except Aug-Sep) as one can move in all directions to try and find them.

I just want to say something about the Seronera area. It is true that there are lots of tourists during most months of the year. It is the "end-point" for almost all budget and group tours.

Does this mean you should avoid this area? Absolutely not!

If your driver sticks to the central Seronera game circuit (and 90% will), the crowds may become a bother.

But if your driver is willing to drive south towards Moru or north towards Lobo or even west into the corridor you will be rewarded with excellent game and few other vehicles.

Be aware that most budget outfitters have mileage limits and park stayover limits! They may tell you otherwise but then they give the driver/guide only a limited amount of money for fuel! Clever! So don't be surprised if your driver is hesitant to drive around some!

And they hate to pay for more than 24 hour cycles in the parks. For example, if you entered the park at 10am on day 1 they will be out of the park by 9am on day 2, regardless of whether you want a few extra minutes to watch an elephant give birth!

Mileage limits, tired/underpaid driver/guides and 24-hour limitations are the reasons why many tourists simply stick to central Seronera. Be different and you will be rewarded.

By the last week of June, history shows that the migration would've split in two. Some followed the Mbalagheti up towards Kirawira and points north. Others went straight north passed Seronera.

The Grumeti River is a scary situation for the wildebeest and they move rather quickly through this area.

I would split my stay between 2 nights in the western corridor and 3 nights in the areas north of Seronera (by now the migration will have moved through Seronera).

Western Corridor: Grumeti is the only place where you can hear the wildlife at night. Hippos in the creek and grazing next to your tent at night. Lions and hyena in the distance. Huge crocs in the river a few hunderd yards away.

Kirawira is a softer experience used by all overseas operators. Always busy, but great views at sunset.

Mbalagheti works best if you like some down time between the game drives. I prefer the tented rooms and lounge areas when compared to Kirawira, but admit that it's a close call.

Northern areas:

Migration Camp, Klein's Camp and Siyari. Lobo Wildlife if you are on a budget. 3 nights up here will always be memorable

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Jul 27th, 2005, 11:42 AM
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sandi
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climbhigh............

Thanks for the correct spelling of Siyari. My dyslexia is terrible with the recent heatwave.
 
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Jul 27th, 2005, 12:17 PM
  #6
bwanamitch
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Actually it's "Sayari" (www.asilialodges.com).
 
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Jul 27th, 2005, 12:23 PM
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Sandi, the heat dyslexia is spreading to the DC area. Sayari it is!

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Jul 27th, 2005, 12:29 PM
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bwanamitch
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I would prefer heat dyslexia - instead of the f***ing cold weather at my home.
 
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Jul 27th, 2005, 12:30 PM
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sandi
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... and DC is usually worse then NYC. At least the A/C (no spelling needed for that one) is working! Thanks guys.
 
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Jul 27th, 2005, 12:36 PM
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Mitch, where are you right now?

Here in DC it is 105F, 40C but it will cool down to upper 80's on Thursday!

It's too hot to renovate the house so I am surfing Fodors instead!
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Jul 27th, 2005, 12:42 PM
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bwanamitch
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Northern Germany, Baltic Sea.
20C at noon! Bbrrrrrrhhh....
 
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Jul 27th, 2005, 12:44 PM
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bwanamitch
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PS: To quote Rocco: "I'm dying here!!!"
 
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Jul 27th, 2005, 01:26 PM
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Eben, I didn't know you're a Washingtonian -- so am I. Whereabouts?
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Jul 27th, 2005, 01:47 PM
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Lisa

Not DC actually. Falls Church, VA! Near West Falls Church metro!
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Jul 27th, 2005, 01:58 PM
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Climbhighlowsleeplow, I am looking for higher end places so we were thinking 2 nights Western Serengeti (Kirawira/Mbalageti) and 2 nights Serena Serengeti to cover Central/Seronera area. Am I confused? Should I be doing Migration Camp/Klein's Camp/Siyar instead of Serena Serengeti?
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Jul 27th, 2005, 02:27 PM
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Yes!

I do not consider the Serengeti Serena as upscale! It is a nice crowded tourist hotel in a good location!

Upscale to me means:

Klein's for night drives and comfortable rondavels if you enjoy lodges more than tented camps.

Migration Camp for a tented experience with all the comforts of a luxury lodge and more hippos!

Sayari for an exclusive seasonal tented experience. A friend just stayed there and I am waiting for more details. She told me that there were minor hiccups with service (it is brand new after all) but the experience overall was really top class.

Also, if you are staying at Kirawira/Mbalagheti/Grumeti then the Serena and Mbuze Mawe are too close to offer real difference. Head north as the migration should be further north then.

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Jul 27th, 2005, 04:42 PM
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Ok, So your are right, we are looking to see best migration/game + upscale. So how/where would you structure 6-8 nights in Last week in June?
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Jul 27th, 2005, 07:51 PM
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Vacationer1 -- Do you want to spend all 6-8 days in Serengeti only, or also include elsewhere such as Ngorongoro?
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Jul 27th, 2005, 10:11 PM
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6-8 days between Ngorongoro and Serengeti.
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Jul 28th, 2005, 06:49 AM
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We stayed 4 nights at Kirawira this summer from June 28 to July 2. Our original itinerary was to drive from Ngorongoro to Serengeti Serena (Seronera) and stay there 1 night before continuing on to Kirawira for 3 nights. We planned this because we not sure about the travel distance between Ngorongoro and Kirawira. We were told that the migration would likely be in the west in late June/Early July and Kirawira had a good reputation. So we booked the Serengeti Serena to break up the drive.

It turned out that the Serena was completely overbooked, so we were bumped to Kirawira for the extra night. We were thrilled with this as Kirawira is much nicer than Serengeti Serena.

As to the location of the migration at the end of June, I agree with others in that there are no guarantees. We ran into the migration about halfway between Seronera and Kirawira. The migration was all over the place starting after Seronera and Grumeti.

As to the driving distances: I expected the drive from Ngorongoro to Kirawira to be long, but it was just fine. We stopped at the Serengeti Serena for lunch then continued on to Kirawira, stopping all the time to view game. There are animals everywhere!

While the migration was not directly at Kirawira, we only had to drive 5 - 10 minutes to see the migration. As a matter of fact one of the very best elephant sightings we had was within 5 minutes of our camp. I suppose if we would have stayed at Grumeti Camp we would be 10 minutes closer to the migration, but it was not an issue at all for us.

Our consideration was the quality of the camp and service, and Kirawira was outstanding in both regards. I can't comment on Grumeti River Camp or the others, although we drove by the entrances almost everyday.

One day we decided to look for leopard and our guide suggested driving back to Seronera. This took about an hour, but it was a great game drive through the thick of the migration so it was great. The closer we got to Seronera the more crowded things got. I was so happy that we stayed at Kirawira. We rarely saw other vehicles in the Kirawira area. We saw an awesome lion kill in the middle of the migration and there was just one other vehicle in the area. If we were in the Seronera area I imagine there would be a dozen or more.

So to wrap up our thoughts for late June in the Serengeti I would suggest picking a camp in the west or north (away from Seronera) that you like the most and can afford. The distances between camps were not far, and there should be plenty of game to see as you travel from your camp.
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