Northern Serengeti or Massai Mara in Mid-August

Apr 16th, 2010, 06:37 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 6
Northern Serengeti or Massai Mara in Mid-August

I am planning my first safari to Tanzania and/or Kenya in Mid-August 2010 and am wondering whether I will see the migration in Tanzania if I stay in the northern Serengeti or whether I need to include a few days in Kenya? Any advise is greatly appreciated.
ASTNYC is offline  
Apr 16th, 2010, 06:43 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
You from NYC?
I'm from LA area and for me to make the long 2 flight trip to Africa I stay at least two weeks, usually three. So for 2-3 weeks on safari I'd include both Kenya and Tanzania. If you can $$$$ it.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Apr 17th, 2010, 07:52 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
You can catch the migration, most of which is in the Mara, but the spillover of those herds that don't make it, remain in the No. Serengeti. However, there is no direct crossing between the two.

If driving, expect it to take a full day between Mara/No.Serengeti; if flying, somewhat less, but easier on the body.

Actual routing will depend on into which airport you arrive and then depart.

Also, while the Mara will be busier, there are also more choices for lodging at all budgets, whereas, Tanzania is generally more expensive (besides extra more expensive Visa, need for Yellow Fever inoc for entry to Tanzania) with only a few camps in the No. Serengeti in the lux category. Though there is the budget Lobo Wildlife Lodge.

It's certainly doable - easier and less hectic if 3/weeks, more hectic if 2/weeks - but you have to get some suggested itineraries - routing, parks/reserves visited, # of days at each, lodges/camps to stay at, whether driving or flying between areas/countries, etc. - and compare apples-to-apples.
sandi is offline  
Apr 17th, 2010, 09:46 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
How long do you have? Any other goals on this trip?

If you will be in Tanzania and don't have much time, I'd stay put and use that time to get to the northern part of the Serengeti.

If your choice was Tanzania or Kenya in mid-Aug, I'd tend towards Kenya and the Mara.

Either way, you have a great trip ahead of you.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 17th, 2010, 10:11 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 6
Thanks fir the advice. My plan was 2 weeks and I originally planned on only doing Tanzania and am now wondering whether I should add at least a few days in the Mara to make sure to catch the big herds. Very conflicted>>>
ASTNYC is offline  
Apr 17th, 2010, 12:01 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Two weeks includes your international flights? Or two weeks on the ground? It makes a difference.

If big herds is the major goal, then, as the others mentioned, do both.

Here's a possibility. Cut a day here and there if needed. Or no crater and fly back to Kilimanjaro from the Serengeti at the end to make things fit.

1 Arrive NBO
2 Drive to Mara
3 4 5 6 Mara
7 Drive to Serengeti via Isebania border and o/nt enroute
8 9 10 Northern Serengeti
11 Drive to Central Serengeti
12 Drive to Ngorongoro Crater and overnight at crater, maybe time for afternoon drive in crater
13 Morning drive in crater (that would offer 2 opportunities) and head to Kili for eve flt home

I'd be very enthused about such an itinerary and would probably do it about that time of year.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 17th, 2010, 12:29 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,203
We were in both the northern Serengeti and the Mara at the beginning of September. In terms of animals, the Mara was the uncontested winner. Yes, there was spillage of the migration into the northern Serengeti but it was nothing like the Mara. Go to the Mara! (If conditions are the same as we had you can skip the northern Serengeti if you're short of time.)
Marija is online now  
Apr 17th, 2010, 01:54 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Or better yet, do the above in reverse order for maximum time with the migration.

Unless you follow Marija's advice, then you could do something like:

1 Leave home
2 Arrive JRO or NBO

3-4 Tarangire (I've taken the shuttle bus or a flight from NBO to JRO and, either way, arrived in time for an afternoon drive enroute to my Tarangire lodging). If you flew to JRO, you'd already be in Tanzania, so less hassles, but that open jaw configuration may be more costly.

5 arrive at Crater in afternoon (may or may not have time for visit) and o/nt at crater
6 morning crater visit and back to JRO for eve flt to NBO and o/nt near airport

7-8 Samburu (different animal species here) I'd suggest flying or you could drive the 6-ish hours

9 10 11 12 Fly Samburu to Mara

13 Depart Mara either driving 6 hours to NBO or take a flight, arriving in time for a late evening international connection home.
14 Get home

I did an itinerary very similar to this with 3 friends one time. We stayed a little longer at each place and we visited Lewa Downs instead of Samburu. You could swap Lewa (more expensive, more secluded and exclusive) for Samburu too. Or if you like the idea of seeing Kilimanjaro, swap Amboseli for Samburu. I like the abundance and diversity of Samburu wildlife so that's why I suggested it. I'm going back there on the next trip.


Or to get more confusing, don't go to Tanzania at all and save the extra visa and transport costs. You can certainly spend 2 weeks of quality time in Kenya alone. But I understand wanting to see a bit of both countries that are such popular safari destinations.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 17th, 2010, 05:57 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Slight correction--I never took a shuttle bus from NBO to JRO because the shuttle goes to Arusha, Tanzania. Kilimanjaro and Arusha are an hour apart.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 17th, 2010, 06:50 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,528
Lynn or anyone else,

With operators like Serian opening seasonal camps in the Serengeti in addition to their Mara locations, would there be the opportunity to do a direct cross over into the Serengeti from the Mara without having to do the long transfer?
HariS is offline  
Apr 18th, 2010, 06:24 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
There's no crossing for safari vehicles between the Mara and No.Serengeti. Whether Serian has arranged for clients visiting "both" of their camps 1) in the Mara and 2) in No. Serengeti, using Serian vehicles to cross... only they can answer. However, important to remember than Serian Camps are quite expensive.
sandi is offline  
Apr 18th, 2010, 07:05 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Hari, we've been reading about all the cooperation between the tourism industries in Kenya and Tanzania lately, so maybe some day that will work. Wouldn't that be nice?
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 18th, 2010, 07:18 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,528
Lynn - Indeed, would be nice! I'm guessing there's just got to be a way people already do it!!!
HariS is offline  
Apr 19th, 2010, 03:40 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 212
HariS - Last fall Kenya issued a notice that the Bologonja crossing point was open, but I immediately saw a memo from the TTB that said it was not happening.

Quote TTB : Tanzania has no intention to re-open the Sand River/Bologonja Border point. The entry point will remain closed for environmental reasons. The fragile ecosystem of the area which is a World Heritage Site cannot be sacrificed for the purpose of shortening the route between Maasai Mara and Serengeti. End Quote.

Besides the "environmental" reasons, their is some old history between the two countries that closed this border crossing in the first place.
Khakif is offline  
Apr 19th, 2010, 05:57 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Apparently private vehicle can cross at Sand River/Bologonja, but not safari vehicles.

On one visit, heading to Cottar's, along road that borders both countries and big sign "Welcome to Tanzania" we and other visitors (going to another private camp) all crossed into Tanzania as some lions had been spotted. However, we all were only able to drive so far and then had to turn back... even the guides/drivers knew what we were doing was a "no no"
sandi is offline  
Apr 19th, 2010, 06:58 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,528
Thanks for the info, Khakif and Sandi - appreciate it!!!
HariS is offline  
Apr 19th, 2010, 07:17 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Besides the "environmental" reasons

Can you expand on this please?
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 20th, 2010, 04:52 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 212
As I recall, in the 70s Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda had successfully formed the EAC (East African Community) for their cooperation and greater good - everyone had great hope for their unity. In 1977 TZ was planning a big celebration of CCM/Chama Cha Mapinduzi Day (reads: Revolutionary State Party - the name of the ruling political party of Tanzania, established after independence). Lots of Foreign Leaders were flying into Nairobi for connecting flights to Dar es Salaam for the celebration when Kenya pulled the plug on East African Airways and stranded all the important guests. TZ tried to get Kenya to lift the ban, to no avail, so TZ made plans to transport all marooned guest by land. Julius Nyerere immediately closed the border, EAC came unstuck. I am no history buff, but this is the story I recall. Can anyone substantiate?

My first safari was in '79 or '80 and I recall customs officials from Kenya were very piqued that I was going to TZ. I had flown to Nairobi and chartered a flight to Arusha. There was friction between the two countries. We approached Arusha only to be told our papers were not in order and we were ordered to fly back to Nairobi. Half a day later, we got the official approval to land in Arusha and took off again. Kenya gave us the same of hassle on our return flight to Nairobi.
Khakif is offline  
Apr 20th, 2010, 07:57 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
One reason I've heard is that Tanzania is concerned that their tourism will drop off if the border between the Mara and the Serengeti is opened. Nairobi has better air connections (Kilimanjaro's only major air connection is the once-daily KLM flight.) They have assumed that tourists would fly to Nairobi, do their safari in Kenya and just duck across the border into the Serengeti for a few days, skipping the Crater, Tarangire, Lake Manyara, etc. That said, when we were in the Bologonja area of the northern Serengeti a couple of years ago, we saw a couple of Kenyan-registered safari vehicles that had apparently slipped across the border for a short(?) drive. It was September, but the rains in the Serengeti had started early and the Migration herds were crossing the border back into Tanzania.
ShayTay is offline  
Apr 20th, 2010, 09:36 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 212
Shaytay, yes, I think that is part of the reason.

Last year, UNESCO also published reports showing their concern with opening Bolongia and the environmental impact it would have on the area. Although the Serengeti is roughly four times the sized of the Mara, it has fewer lodges and campsites available. The Mara area has 5-6 times more lodging options and much higher vehicular traffic. UNESCO isn’t in favor of this mass access.

I also understand that TZ’s long-term tourism strategy calls for low-density, high-quality and high-prices. They have marketing plans to make TZ a one stop safari destination vs. a combined destination with the Mara. In order to develop this goal, I would imagine they need to put their internal house in order – refurbish hotels (this is being done), update laws/licenses/regulatory , increase security, train manpower for local jobs, train more safari guides and the hospitality sector, expand Kili Airport, attract more international carriers develop domestic carriers and empower local communities to participate.

Some may disagree with me, but I appreciate TZ’s future vision.
Khakif is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:08 AM.