Masai Mara - is it a must see?

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Aug 1st, 2005, 08:32 AM
  #1
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Masai Mara - is it a must see?

Hi,
Quick question. Trying to finalize our upcoming safari. We will definitely hit the Ngorogoro crater and the Serengeti. I am hearing to see the true breadth or highlight of the migration we really need to hit the Masai Mara. I am not opposed to doing this however it really extends are trip and will make it tougher for us to spend time in Zanzibar and a layover in London.
Will we be missing out if we skip the Masai Mara?
THANKS!
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Aug 1st, 2005, 09:36 AM
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What are your travel dates? The migration is generally in the Masai Mara from July to October but this can vary from year to year.
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Aug 1st, 2005, 10:03 AM
  #3
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If we leave out the Masai Mara then we are doing June. If we go to the Masai Mara then we are doing August. That is based on the supposed peak times.
Thanks
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Aug 1st, 2005, 10:58 AM
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sandi
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comtnboy -

You answered your own question. If June then the Central Serengeti and you can pass on the Mara. If August, forget the Serengeti and spend the time in the Mara.

I'd do the Mara any day over the Serengeti... but that's a personal choice.

August = Mara
June = Serengeti
 
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Aug 1st, 2005, 11:11 AM
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<I'd do the Mara any day over the Serengeti... but that's a personal choice.>

Would you mind expanding on that thought, sandi? I'd be interested to hear your reasons. Thanks.
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Aug 1st, 2005, 11:21 AM
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Thanks but that really is the crux of my question. Is the Mara more impressive than the Serengeti in terms of the migration, animal count, shear beauty, etc.?
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Aug 1st, 2005, 12:33 PM
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Patty -

I guess it's a "big thing" - the Serengeti is so much larger then the Mara... so much more overpowering. I get the feeling that I'm lost here even when concentrating in dedicated areas. That's not to say there aren't areas in the Mara that seem big... I just find the Mara more intimate.

It might also have to do with the saying "you fall in love with your first safari country." And I have yet been able to shake it. The Mara has never disappointed, whereas, I've found the Serengeti boring more often then not.

I've been to Southern Africa and have to admit that South Africa is a most beautiful country and Cape Town a keeper of a city... but as to safari... even Kruger didn't get me jumping for joy. Sure, staying at Singita was a dream where we had the best guide ever... but as to game viewing - it was okay.

In Botswana, I've only been to Chobe and that didn't do it for me; the Delta at Okavango holds no interest whatsoever, even for an accommodation as Mombo. I actually enjoyed our 2-days at Victoria Falls more then Chobe... sure no animals, but the Falls and the people were wonderful.

There are only a few places outside of Kenya that interest me - Morocco, Mali, Burkino Faso. And in the south Namibia... yeh, yeh - if the Serengeti is big, how would I react to Soussevlei? That would be "magic!" And, oh, how I pray Mugabe dies (yesterday or sooner).. that someone with intelligence is voted in so the rest of us can see the beauty of Zimbabwe.

It's not only the game and probably not even only the "bigness" - not to say I won't find myself again in the Serengeti or the Selous which is even bigger though only a small portion available to us lowly safari folk... rather the overall feeling I have in one place over another. That's why with such a big continent, there's something for everyone.

comtnboy -

As to game viewing, the Mara in August will be more awesome then the Serengeti in June (except for the Southeastern/Central Serengeti in February for the "calving" season). Again, my own personal feeling... but then ask why so many travel here at that time - because of the game in August & September.

But as we've all said over and over - game - never any guarantee, but I'll always put money on August in the Mara.

It's your choice!
 
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Aug 1st, 2005, 12:47 PM
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Oh, crikey, Sandi, now you've got me all hopped up on the Mara. And it's so difficult for me to get away from work in the late summer/fall.

Interesting, though, I have a friend who's travelled extensively in W. Africa and Burkhina Faso is her absolute fave country.
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Aug 1st, 2005, 12:54 PM
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Thanks Sandi. Now I am deep in thought after that. Sounds like I may lean towards more the Mara than anythint else although I really do want to see the crater too.
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Aug 1st, 2005, 12:58 PM
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Oh, Leely - I still see you in Provence in the winter. You just grabbed that trip and went for it. As you will with your next Africa trip.

That's why we have to keep traveling, wherever and discovering "ourselves" in all these places.
 
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Aug 1st, 2005, 01:07 PM
  #11
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comtnboy -

If August and depending on the rest of your Tanzania itinerary, you can go as far as the Crater, then return via Arusha to Nairobi to end in the Mara. From the Mara you can fly to Zanzibar for R&R and scuba. Though Mafia Island, a short flight from Dar-es-Salaam is a better scuba destination.

I know Patty mentions staying in one country at a time and I concur, but I also believe in "saving the best for last" - the Mara - for at minimum 3-days, preferrably 4-days.

Why not post your itinerary and let us have a look at it. Makes it so much easier then supposing where, when, how long, etc. I guarantee, it'll be painless... we're easy on newbies! LOL!
 
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Aug 1st, 2005, 02:50 PM
  #12
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Thanks again Sandi. I will get that itinerary posted just wanted to nail down where I might focus.
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Aug 1st, 2005, 03:22 PM
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Oh do go to the Masai Mara! I fell in love with it and don't think I could do a safari without including it. I don't know if it was simply because it was the first place we went to but I thought it was magical.

Hope you have a great time whatever you decide!
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Aug 1st, 2005, 03:28 PM
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Hi,
We too are planning a safari in late July/early August. We will start in Tanzania and finish up with 3 days in the Masai Mara around August 1 to 3. All things being equal, we should be able to catch some of the migration...yes?
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Aug 1st, 2005, 04:29 PM
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Well it sounds like the Masai Mara is a neccesity. I still putting together the whole trip. Lame but I am using a travel agent as I thought it may be safer. I have travelled a bit but not to Africa. So I need to hit the Mara and I thing the crater too. Is there another must see that is near that loop? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
B
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 03:46 AM
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comtnboy -

Depending on into what city you are arriving - assume Nairobi, you can do:

Day 1 - Arv NBO - o/n here, many choices, prices
Day 2 - Drive to Amboseli - o/n here
Day 3 - Amboseli
Day 4 - Drive to Namanga border, change vehicle, lunch in Arusha, continue drive to Tarangire - o/n here
Day 5 - Tarangire
Day 6 - Drive to Ngorongoro Crater - afternoon Crater Tour - o/n here
Day 7 - Drive to Arusha, lunch, fly to
NBO, fly to the Mara - o/n here
Day 8 - Masai Mara
Day 9 - Masai Mara
Day 10 - Fly to NBO - fly to Zanzibar
Day 11 - Zanzibar
Day 12 - Zanzibar
Day 13 - Fly to NBO for flight to London.

Likewise,if arriving JRO, you can do:
Day 1 - Arv. transfer to Arusha - o/n here
Day 2 - Drive to Tarangire
Day 3 - Tarangire
Day 4 - Drive to Ngorongoro Crater, afternoon Crater tour - o/n here
Day 5 - Early drive to Arusha, continue
to Namanga border, transfer vehicles, continue to Amboseli - o/n here
Day 6 - Amboseli
Day 7 - Early flight to NBO, connect to fly to Masai Mara - o/n here
Day 8 - Masai Mara
Day 9 - Masa Mara
Day 10 - Fly to Zanzibar (you can also get excellent R&R and scuba out Mombasa way - Lamu Island area
Day 11 - Beach - whichever
Day 12 - Beach
Day 13 - Fly to homebound flight stop London.

There are many options of were to stay, based on budget, type of accommodations - lodges, permenent tents; also beach locations.

So post what you've been considering and we can help you pull it all together.
 
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Aug 3rd, 2005, 05:08 AM
  #17
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Hi Sandi,
Here's kind of what I am thinking on my itinerary any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Day 1 fly in from London to Nairobi
Safari Park Hotel

Day 2 travel to Masai Mara Natl Reserve
Afternoon Game Drive
Mara Sopa Lodge

Day 3 Masai Mara
Morning and Afternoon Game Drives
Mara Sopa Lodge

Day 4 Great Rift Valley
Travel to Lake Nakuru Lodge for Lunch
Afternoon game drive in Nakuru Natl Park
Lake Nalvasha Sopa Lodge

Day 5 Great Rift Valley - Amboseli Natl Park
Lunch at Amboseli Sopa Lodge then afternoon game drive
Amboseli Sopa Lodge

Day 6 Amboseli Natl Park
morning and afternoon game drives
Amboseli Sopa Lodge

Day 7 Amboseli- Lake Manyara
Travel to Lake Manyara Serena Lodge

Day 8 Lake Manyara - Serengeti
morning game drive
Travel on to Serengeti Sopa Lodge

Day 9 Serengeti Natl Park
morning and afternoon games drives
Serengeti Sopa Lodge

Day 10 Ngorongoro Crater
travel to crater with stopover at Olduvai Gorge
Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge

Day 11 Ngorongoro Crater
morning game drive
Nogorongoro Sopa Lodge

Day 12 Tarangire Natl Park
drive to Tarangire Natl Park
afternoon game drive
Tarangire Sopa Lodge

Day 13 Return to Nairobi

Days 14 - 16 Zanzibar area
Open for suggestions!

Thanks!
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Aug 3rd, 2005, 05:28 AM
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The Sopa lodges are nice and you may be getting a very good price by staying exclusively in Sopa lodges, but if you can add in a Serena lodge, I would recommend the Serena lodges in Masai Mara and Serengeti, which are much better situated than the Sopa lodges. Especially the Mara Serena, which I think has the very best location in the Mara.

I think the prices are about the same, but again, you may be getting an excellent price by exclusively using Sopa. If that's the case, you may want to have this priced using Serena lodges for a comparison.

Michael
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Aug 3rd, 2005, 05:43 AM
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Thanks Michael. That's a good point. I am actually thinking of tweaking this a bit and throwing in some luxury camps so to get the real feel of the land.
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Aug 3rd, 2005, 05:50 AM
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If that's the case, I would recommend doing so in Serengeti, where you can really get away from the lodges. The Mara Serena, while a bit large, is so well situated that the game drives are unparalleled (and I've been on five safaris to most of Africa's major parks). Especially, if your first stop is the Mara Serena, as mine was in August 1999, you'll be awestruck.

I don't believe there are any small tented lodges at the Crater. There are some nice lodges at Amboseli.

Michael
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