March or June?? Please help on itinerary

Jan 18th, 2009, 03:46 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 185
March or June?? Please help on itinerary

Hi everybody,

my husband and I are haveing very hard times and that is why I haven't been on the forum since three months and I still did not post my report from last august/september. Since we were in good hope getting a baby, Africa was not on our list for this year. But now, everything changed and we have to plan something to get away just to get a new change to clear our minds...

We have to options, to go in March which is more difficult for my husband, or to go in June. April and May would have been a good time but because of the risk of hard rains, this would not be best time.

We never have been in the Serengeti in the beginning of the year and therefore think about to do this now.

1. Alternative:
12 to 14 nights in the Serengeti (too much?)
changing camps like 3 nights in each camp
What do you think about
- Lemala
- Suyan
- Sayari South
- Nduare
- Serengeti Safari
- Serengeti under Canvas (&beyond africa)
- Olakira
- Kusini
and the have some days in the western korridor like Grumeti River Camp or Singita Sabora (night drives possible??) which should be out of reach of the big heards???

Have you any information if off rading is allowed at any part of the Serengeti? Would it be better to stay at Ndutu area? Will we have to pay crossing from Serengeti to Ndutu (like staying at Lemala and visit Ndutu?).
Do you have better camps for this time of year to recommend?

I heard Manyara and Tarangire is not very good in March. Is that right? Thats why we choose only to go to the Serengeti.

What do you think about two nights at Ngorongoro?

Oh, and we would like to have our own guide so we would not need game packages but need camps which allow to bring the own guide...

2. Alternative: June

15 to 17 nights
Start Arusha,
- three nights Tarangire (Olivers with fly camping, Swala or Nomad Tarangire???)
- drive to ngorongoro, 2 nights at Lemala (?), this is optional
- or directly drive to Serengeti
6 to 8 nights Serengeti: is this the time where they possibly cross the Grumeti? So stay at Western Corridor like Grumeti River or ???? where else?
How about Sayari north and Serengeti under Canvas or Serengeti Safari Camp or Nduare?
- drive to the Masai Mara (I know it is a horror trip, but flying does not seem to be better and I like to see the landscape, in case we are lucky and the roads are in good shape. Stay for another 6 nights (too much? how is the Mara without the big heards?), stay three nights on the Olololoside, like Olonana (other camp in this part of the Mara which is IN the parc?) and finally have three nights at Mara Explorer.

What do you think???

Thank you for you help. I absolutely need new thoughts...
steffid is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 05:34 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
So glad to hear you're planning to return.

I'd pass on March, as the rains might start early. Go for June and consider later in the month. By then the grasses at Tarangire are likely to be shorter (than earlier having come out of the rains) as game would have returned to park to eat/trample down. If choosing Nomad's, Oliver's or Swala, all being south in the park, consider at minimum 2/full or even 3/days. days.

If early in June, then I'd pass on Tarangire and go to Manyara for a 2/full-day stay at Tree Lodge.

Then Ngorongoro, Lemala for a night or two.

By June the herds can be anywhere from Central to Western Serengeti, so you can split time between 2/camps... nothing wrong with 3/camps, but only you can decide if you want to more three times.
be a need to move more than that.

Grumeti, Tanzania Under Canvas, Olakira are good choices. Sabora also a good choice, if probably more expensive than others... but kind of like the "cherry on the top." If you wish a 3rd camp, maybe Suyan which is sited to the very east of Central right outside the park and very quiet.

Lemala, Nduara and Sayari North are too far up there for June. Sayari South will be closed, Kusini is in Ndutu where the game would have left on way towards Central.

See: select Tarangire, select Serengeti for Eben's map of where the camps are located and more specific details as to dates - when open/closed.

Hope this helps.
sandi is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 05:55 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 185
Thank you so much Sandi, your comments are always of much help.

Having been on a walk for the last hours, my husband asked why not trying Botswana this time. We have been there in 2006 and enjoyed it a lot. As we never saw the Kalahri, this could be another option. But I will miss my own guide and vehicle... (therefore, as you recommended, late June in Tanzania will be my choice;-))

I remember there was Predator Biologist who opened a TA for Botswana, isn't it?

steffid is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 08:56 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
I'd pick June over March.

A couple of nights at the Ngorongoro Crater and then traveling the Serengeti sounds very intriguing. You'd be in permanent lodges though for the out-of-season areas.

In June the Western part would have the most wildebeest action, as you mention, but you could hit the southern and northern parts too to really leave the crowds behind.

Here's what I would not do: change mobile camps every three nights if all the camps are located in primarily one area, where the migration is.

I like the idea of combining the Mara and the Serengeti in Option #2. It would be easy to include Manyara and the crater up front as well for variety. Maybe stop one day in Ndutu to enjoy the area on your way from the crater to western Serengti. Then western Serengeti where you could pick one of the mobiles you suggested.

As you drove north to the Mara, you could stop maybe a night in central, then northern Serengeti at permanent lodgings. Those stops would make it less of a horror drive as you mention and let you experience the whole Serengeti, with less traffic as you moved north.

Once in the Mara, for about 6 nights, as you suggested, you'd be back in the thick of the game viewing again, though not likely the migration.

You've "talked" me into Plan #2.

I wish you well in your travels and your hopes for 2009.

atravelynn is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 10:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 88
Hi Steff

I would also strongly recommend option 2 - June is a much safer bet than March in the Serengeti

no-one has mentioned in this thread that CCA (who own Grumeti) are offing a Stay for 6 pay for 4 deal so this could be a great choice. The migration will also be in the Western corridor in June.

Sabora is a much nicer camp than Grumeti (which is quite run down now) though it is (slightly) more expensive

At the Crater would recommend somewhere on the rim (like the Crater lodge, and not like Lemala)

If you want a good semi permanent tented camp I would use any of Asilia / Nomads / CCA

And I really wouldn’t bother with the Mara – it is all the same ecosystem as the Serengeti, is much smaller and far more touristy – it comes into its own when the migration has crossed which is not til later

If you want a new thought why not combine the north of Tanzania – somewhere like selous or ruaha which will give you a totally different environment

Hope this helps
tanzaniatouroperator is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 12:50 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
I usually visit the Mara in early-June and thankfully there are few visitors, but also no migration, which is fine with me. While there is plenty of game they're spread out.

Combining northern and southern Tanzania is a good idea, but coming out of the wet months (Apr/May), a few of the camps in the south don't open till mid-June and the grasses can still be quite high. That's not to discount the off-the-beaten-path at Selous or Ruaha, while no migration, the elephant and buffalo herds are big... but focus on later in the month.

A recent addition at Selous: you might want to check out.
sandi is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 06:19 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 290
steffid, you are right that Predator Biologist has branched out to be a TA for Safaris. Yes, he handles Botswana, but also all of East and Southern Africa as well. My nephew recently booked through him for South Africa & Botswana. He has a website at "thewildsource dot com"
rickmck is offline  
Jan 24th, 2009, 08:56 AM
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Posts: 185
Thank you fo your help. I coulnd' lock in for some days.

I found Bill and he gave us already veryx good advice for Botswana.We would have to make a big decision now where to go... Botswana or Kenya again which would be my other option for April. I changed my mind: waiting until June - I wouldn't make it nd leaving in March, as you told me, is not the best choice.

So, Botwana or
1. Samburu, Sweetwaters, Nakuru, Masai Mara (I can't leave Kenya without the Mara, even in April)(all driving between Samburu and Mara which is my horror...)
2. Meru (Elsa where I always wanted to go and never did), Samburu, Sweetwaters, Nakuru
3. (my favorite) Samburu, Meru, Mara
Do you know if there is a flight connection between Meru and Mara? I couldn't find one on safarilink...

What do you think?
steffid is offline  
Jan 24th, 2009, 10:15 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
So now it's April? If I had a choice between April and June, I'd wait the extra months until June whether Kenya or Botswana because there will be less rain.

But you may get better prices in April which could be a big enough incentive for you.

Does the Meru to Samburu flight timing work so you can then hop on the Samburu to Mara flight? I thought it did.

If there is a place you always wanted to go, such as Meru, then I'd put that at the top of the list and work from there.

Coincidentally, I am looking at Meru as well. The lesser kudu that resides in the area has caught my attention.

Here is my "Sell me on Meru link" that may be of interest to you.

I think Meru may be even more affected by the rainly than other areas in terms of wildlife seen. So a June rather than April departure may be all the more important.
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 24th, 2009, 10:19 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
I made a new word--rainly. Oops.
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 24th, 2009, 02:30 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
1. Samburu, Sweetwaters, Nakuru, Masai Mara (I can't leave Kenya without the Mara, even in April)(all driving between Samburu and Mara which is my horror...)
2. Meru (Elsa where I always wanted to go and never did), Samburu, Sweetwaters, Nakuru
3. (my favorite) Samburu, Meru, Mara
Do you know if there is a flight connection between Meru and Mara?

On #1, you don't have to drive straight on from Nakuru to the Mara. There is a flight from Naivasha (1/hr south) to the Mara.

On #3, reroute by doing Meru, Samburu, Mara, for flight connections.

sandi is offline  
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