Mara in late Oct - help please!

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Mar 6th, 2006, 06:16 AM
  #1
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Mara in late Oct - help please!

We've decided to try to do a safari in the Mara (probably Oct 22-31). We're especially interested in experiencing the migration, but won't be too disappointed if the weather doesn't cooperate. Based on reading posts to this forum, we've narrowed down the camps to some in the north (Kichwa Tembo Bataleur and the different Governor's camps) and a little further south/southeast (Serena and Rekero Tented Camp). But I've got a few questions I'm hoping you can help me with.

1. Does it make sense to split our time between the two areas if we can, or spend all of it in the more centrally located Serena? I don't know what the driving time is between the Serena and the northern areas, and we'd prefer to stay in tented camps most of the time if possible.

2. Is it best to go through a separate safari company even if we stay at only 1 or 2 camps?

3. We like all day game drives. Do we just reserve a private vehicle and guide at each camp? Or do we need to use those from a separate safari company?

4. What would be a good safari company? Is Roy's still well thought of?

Thanks for your input and help!
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Mar 6th, 2006, 07:28 AM
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Ten days in the Mara only?

By end October it's likely that much of the herds will be on their way to the Northern or Northeastern Serengeti.

I love the Mara, but 10-days is a bit much, when you can also be incorporating other areas in either Kenya or Tanzania.

If you are flying into/from the Mara, you are pretty much set for morning and afternoon game drives only, though some camps may include a third. And these will be in shared vehicles with other guests. If you wish full-day drives you'll have to arrange for a private vehicle with guide and at a camp such at Bateleur can cost $400/day.

Transfers, if you wish to split your time, will also cost for the one/way to bring you to second camp, and for the driver to return to his base camp. This can run from $150 to $300+ depending on between which camps, and if a vehicle/driver is available to do so.

You shouldn't have to use separate tour operators for different camps or places to visit. Any reputable outfitters shoud be able to book your entire itnerary. But again, 10 days in the Mara is overkill, when much of he herds (apparently your major interest) may be in the Serengeti.

Roys is a very reputable oufitter, but they specalize in Tanzania, though can coordinate your Kenya portion with Wildtrek safaris who specializes in Kenya.

Also note that most of the camps you have listed maintain their high-season prices thru end October, whereas, Richard's, Saruni and Elephant Pepper reduce their prices as October 15.
 
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Mar 6th, 2006, 07:32 AM
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hello,If u are going october end then it would be better to split your time btw northern serengeti and the mara as in october, the migration leaves the mara and seeing it maybe taking a chance

Also spend 2 nights at serena or rekero and 2 nights kichwa as it is located outside of the reserve and u can do night game drives...

Kichwa bateleur is a luxury camp so u should have your private vehicle included in the package and maybe in serena u would have to request for one/rekero I have no idea

It is better to have one company do all your bookings, u would get a discount on the overall costs

Lots of fodorites have gone with roy's and have been very happy

Sonali
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Mar 6th, 2006, 10:12 AM
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1. Serena to Kichwa Tembo is about a 1.5 hour-ish drive. If you stay at a camp outside of the reserve, it's possible to go on night game drives and walking safaris whereas this is not allowed inside the reserve. So it depends on how interested you are in these activities and not all camps outside the reserve offer them so you need to check with each.

2. Are you planning to drive or fly to the Mara? If driving, you'll need to arrange transportation with a tour operator and you'll generally use this operator's vehicle for both your transportation to/from the reserve and for game drives (with private vehicle if this is a private safari). If you fly, you'll generally use the camp's vehicle/guide for your game drives though you can still arrange for a tour operator's vehicle/guide to meet you at your camp while you fly if for whatever reason you're unable to get a private vehicle from the camp. A few camps (usually higher end ones) require that you take their game drive package rather than book full board accomodation only.

3. Inquire at each camp as to the cost and availability of a private vehicle. Or get one from your tour operator.

4. Roy's is Tanzania based and as sandi mentioned if you book through Roy's, they'll used Wildtrek Safaris in Kenya.

Here's a thread compiling the East Africa trip reports on this board. There's a short summary of each trip with the tour operator used listed - http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34725679

Good luck with your planning!
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Mar 6th, 2006, 07:36 PM
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santharamhari
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Governor's camp, usually has three drives per day all included.....but that mid-afternoon drive, was largely very unproductive. Was hot, grazing animals mostly under trees in a distance and the lions enjoying their siesta doing nothing!!! I think that second drive was between breakfast and lunch.

No, Kitchwa Batleur does not allow a private vehicle unless you pay for it.

I agree with the other posts, that part of the migration would be in the Serengeti.......however, travel time between the Mara and Serengeti is probably the better part of a day. If i had to pick 10 days in one park......i'd go to the Serengeti.....
 
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Mar 8th, 2006, 05:42 AM
  #6
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Thanks all for the responses. Although we originally were trying to minimize travel days, it sounds like we should split our time between the Mara and Serengeti to have the best chance of seeing the migration.

1. We will definitely be flying rather than driving.

2. We want to eventually end up in Nairobi because it has more non-stop flights to EBB than JRO or DAR.

3. We would love to see the migration, but are also interested in seeing other wildlife.

4. We like to stay a minimum of 2 nights in any one camp.

5. What camps would you recommend in the Serengeti?
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Mar 8th, 2006, 10:19 AM
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Here are some migration and accomodation maps for the Serengeti as well as photos of all of the permanent and seasonal camps - http://www.go-safari.com/Serengeti/serengeti.htm
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Mar 9th, 2006, 05:06 AM
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Patty: Thanks for the link...great site! Interestingly Eben suggests the Mara triangle rather than Serengeti in October...flip a coin?!!!
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Mar 9th, 2006, 05:40 AM
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Indeed! At some point I need to explain my reasonings!

1. It is not easy to split time between the Masai Mara and Northern Serengeti - near $1000 on flights alone? That border crossing near Bologonja is still an option and we are working on it!
2. If you you don't have enough time, then I would stick to the Mara in October
3. Last year for example huge herds stayed in the Mara until early November. Then they moved fast and virtually disappeared into the woods in the western Serengeti all the way down to Seronera. I saw large herds at Sayari but they were running fast going South in a long line!
4. A few thousand wildebeest in the Mara is IMO a better show than a few hundred thousand wildebeest in the Northern Serengeti because the Mara is open and flat with off-road driving whereas the Northern Serengeti is hilly with trees and only a few roads. So the viewing is not the same in Northern Serengeti.
5. Don't get me wrong, I love the Northern Serengeti but Oct is still Mara time!
6. If time and money is not a concern then a split between the Mara Triangle and Sayari could be very exciting.

Here is a Nov 28, 2005 report from the Mara:
http://www.atta.co.uk/heritage/2005/...-saturday.html
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Mar 9th, 2006, 08:04 AM
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Eben, thanks for the explanation...and for putting such a fantastic website together! Yup, I had reservations about both the cost and travel time spent doing both the Mara and Serengeti...but it certainly is enticing! In the Mara, it sounds like the Serena has the best location, but we really would rather stay in tents. Mara Explorer sounds good and tuskerdave really likes Rekoro Camp. Which camps in the Mara would you stay in October?
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Mar 9th, 2006, 08:10 AM
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Eben u are absolutely right!!!! I was in northern serengeti in the first week of nov 2005 and did see some herds, but alot were also in the mara. I think the best is to split days between the mara and serengeti.

Also they can do a border crossing at isebenia/ sirai(sp?), it does take time but would be cheaper than the 1000$ flights


Maybe take a break at speke bay lodge on lake victoria before proceeding to serengeti and do a loop including the crater

I think
4 nights mara
2 night central serengeti(or 1 night speke bay and 1 night central serengeti)
3 nights northern serengeti
2 nights crater

If u donnot want to do the crater u can add a night at central serengeti and fly back


would be ideal and not tooo hectic


Sonali
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Mar 9th, 2006, 08:20 AM
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Hi Ovenbird

As Eben says, the Mara Tiangle is the place to be .The Governor's Camps are a nice alternative (not too far from the triangle) and their guides are quite good at finding the herds and looking for river crossings.

Also Eben........ I still have a lot more photos for your site. I have been sending you photos of TZ camps, but I have photos from about 15 different camps in Kenya too. Let me know when you want them..

Best wishes

Gaurang
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Mar 9th, 2006, 08:38 AM
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Hi Gaurang

You've been quiet! I am waiting for more pics

Your Ronjo pics are up and I am working on the Lake Natron map. My GPS waypoints from that area are a bit messed up!

My Ruaha and Selous maps are nearly ready so I appreciate more pics from Southern Tanzania as well.

Mahala, Katavi, Uganda maps are forthcoming!
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Mar 9th, 2006, 11:53 AM
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Thanks Eben...more pics to follow soon. You'll have to expand Kenya to include Amboseli, Nakuru, Sweetwaters, Mount Kenya, Samburu e.t.c.

But keep up the great work and it is definately helping lots of people
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Mar 9th, 2006, 02:03 PM
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Eben: We have some pictures of camps in Botswana (Mombo, Kings Pool, and Jao...including some of a sleep out), Kenya (Larson's, Tortilis, Indian Ocean Lodge, and Mara River...too bad it's closed now), and Tanzania (Tamarind) that you can download if they would be useful. They're up at www.pbase.com/deseml or we could email them if you prefer. Just let me know.

Marsha
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Mar 11th, 2006, 05:02 AM
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ovenbird hi

just joined the conversation, firstly i would stick with one company doing all your arrangements as too many cooks always spoil the broth!

As far as this time of year is concerned the mara river area always sees latecomers on both sides. There were crossings in December and even later this year. And in 2004 most of the game stayed way back in Koiyaki. Also there are always the Loita herds to take into consideration.

With most of the high end camp operators you can stay out as long as you wish. Alex Walker at Serian gives you a car exclusively and picnic breakfast lunch and dinner if you want. And not the Ubiquitous road running chicken leg and orange for afters! He also has a mobile camp in the Triangle for the migration months check out www.serian.net. Alternatively Rekero and Richards camp are great. All have a great homey feel to them and are run by charming hosts. Intimate without being to overbearing just like visiting friends. The guides in all are of a high calibre too and always find the quiet out of the way spots when you need them.
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Mar 11th, 2006, 12:20 PM
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mzeetembo, thanks for your input. OK, time to stop analyzing and make a decision! I've talked it over with the significant other and it's the Mara! How does this sound...split our time between Rekoro tented camp and a camp in the area of the northern triangle (Serian, Richard's, or whatever is available)? One thing about Rekoro I'm concerned with is the fact that they close camp Nov 1...does this mean we will get the last of the dregs for food if this is the last place we stay?
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Mar 13th, 2006, 04:02 AM
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Rekero are a professional and experienced outfit they will provide you first class service. I would go with Serian rather than Richards as they are closer to the triangle side and you would be able to explore that side aswell.
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Mar 13th, 2006, 04:21 AM
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mzeetembo & ovenbird, just a little note (sorry if you read another thread where i say the same), but just had a mail from Alex from Serian... Serian can no problemo be booked independently.. Alex could book a flight for you, arrange transfer and prices are all-in (the rate he quoted me for june 06 was 490 USD a person).. so for that part no use to go by a safari operator
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Apr 1st, 2006, 04:54 PM
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We finally decided to do 3 nights each at Rekero Tented Camp and Il Moran, before we head off for our birding tour in Uganda. Thanks to all of you for your generous help. Now all we have to do is wait patiently for 7 months. Fat chance!
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