Olosokwan camp or Migration Camp?

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May 4th, 2005, 11:45 AM
  #1
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Olosokwan camp or Migration Camp?

Hi, we are planning a trip in November to Kenya/Tanz. For serengeti, we were planning to stay at Migration Camp. ATR came back saying that they don't recommend Migration and suggest Olosokwan Camp. Has anyone been there? How does it compare to Migration Camp? From location, it seems more south, which is not good - seems it's better to be more north for that time of the year. Any feedback is appreciated. thanks
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May 4th, 2005, 01:39 PM
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sandi
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lerasp -

Olosokwan is a semi-permanent camp, small and rather rustic versus Migration which is a permanent camp, a bit larger and more luxurious (and with great food).

Being a semi-permanent camp, Olosokwan may not be in the exact same location from season to season, so looking on a map on some website, isn't a true picture of it's exact location.

Both are probably in the same price range. If this is, indeed, the case and, therefore, not a deciding point, personally, I'd go with Migration Camp which is a "winner." In the end, the decision has to be yours.
 
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May 4th, 2005, 02:14 PM
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Great! thanks for the color. It's itnersting that ATR has been very negative about Migration Camp.
We have been leaning towards Migration, and it looks better. But ATR's response was a bit alarming.
Here's what they wrote back to me:
At the present moment, we're not actively promoting Migration Camp. As you might expect, camps change ownership every now and then and some get refurbished. Last year Migration Camp was virtually re-built to a much higher specification as they looked to design a lodge that would appeal to the discerning traveller who can afford it. They are also now targeting fly-in trips to this camp, which we feel is a real shame as anyone flying in here, misses out on some of the most beautiful African scenery.

They re-built the camp to a standard and style that no longer complements our style of safari. Quite a lot of building works took place and the surrounding bush took a bit of a hit. We feel it needs time to re-establish itself, and the lodge owners need to decide which way they want to operate this camp. Once we know what their stance is and perhaps once the dust has settled, and the surrounding bush re-grown we can re-consider our position. It is in a great location and is undoubtedly luxurious but maybe just a little out of keeping with the surrounding area.

During November the northern corridor is certainly the place to be in the Serengeti and I would recommend Olosokwan as an alternative to Migration Camp - this is a real bush experience located just outside the Serengeti in the Loliondo concessions - high luxury but more importantly top end guides working in the perfect location for the migration in and outside of the park and with the added advantage of being able to offer walking safari and night drives....both of which are not available within the Serengeti itself.
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May 4th, 2005, 02:48 PM
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As with most outfitters, they have their "preferred" lodges/camps... the ones they get the best (lowest) contract prices from and accordingly can mark-up more. Apparently, Olosokwan is one of these for ATR... and that's okay. Not unlike looking at those itineraries that show all Serena or all Sopa properties... that's the basics of the business end of it. An outfitter can recommend and suggest with pros and cons... in the end it's the client's decision to make.

Yes, Migration camp did come under new ownership last year and was expanded and focused on more higher end clientele...nothing wrong with that. But the camp had always been where it is and they still have the same guides and other help as were with them from the former owners. So it's a stable property. And the tents are very well appointed. Do you want rustic or a bit of lux?

Can't comment on what or how much of the environment was damaged when work was done at Migration, if any in a actuality... but Mother Nature can be very kind in this sense, as things regenerate rather quickly. Think of how quickly new shoots appear after forest fires.

Regarding Migration's expansion/offering of "fly-camping," this is not unusual for permanent camps... many of them in Kenya and on the Southern Circuit of Tanzania provide this in addition to or as an option for a night or two during a guest's stay.

If you'd post the rest or your itinerary, we can comment on how either of these camps fit in the overall.
 
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May 4th, 2005, 04:44 PM
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Here's our complete itinerary:
Nov 11 - Arrive to Nairobi, overnight in Hilton.
Nov 12 - fly to Masai Mara. Little Governor's camp. 3 nigths
Nov 15 - return to Nairobi and trasfer to Amboseli (probably drive as flights to Amboseli are really early and don't want to spend the night at nairobi). Stay at Tortilis camp 2 nights
Nov 17- Drive to Tarangire. Tarangire Safari Lodge. 2 nights
Nov 19 - Ngorngoro Serena
Nov 20 - drive (maybe fly?) to Migration Camp. 3 nights
Nov 23- fly to Arusha.
At this point, we split (there are 6 of us). 4 are flying back to US, and 2 are flying on to Zanzibar. Stay there 4 nights, probably Matemwe Beach Village.

Any critiques or comments - very much appreciated. I'm particularly a bit unsure about Tarangire accomodations.
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May 4th, 2005, 04:46 PM
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Sandi,
I completely agree with your reply. It is understandable all outfitters have preferred properties. I just wanted to make sure there wasn't something seriously wrong with Migration as the reply from ATR implied.
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May 5th, 2005, 04:02 AM
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lerasp -

You've got a nice itinerary for your trip.

You are correct in driving from NBO upon return from Mara, onto Amboseli; otherwise an overnight would be required. You'll arrive Amboseli (Tortilis) in the later afternoon.

From Amboseli to Tarangire, will probably get you there for a late lunch. What is your uncertainty about Tarangire Safari Lodge? Oh, it's a lodge, not a camp. No matter, it's a nice property. Options here would be Tarangire River Camp, Kikoti, Tree Tops and Swala (the latter more expensive then the others). Inquire for the others if you wish, but you're fine where you are.

From the Crater, if you wish to fly, you have to return to Lake Manyara. If you were spending only 2-nts at Migration Camp, I might consider this, but with 3-nts. at Migration, the drive can be nice (if long) but you can do a brief stop at Oldupai Gorge ... the rest of the way is safari. I would suggest you, either, take a boxed lunch for the Ngorongoro Serena or arrange to stop at the Serengeti Serena for a sit down lunch and to freshen up - continue to MC.

While at ZNZ, depending on when your return flight home departs - if late, schedule the 7:30pm (I believe) back to NBO; otherwise there is a morning flight at 7:30am which would give you a full day in NBO to do some sightseeing here. You can arrange for a guide/driver for the day.. taking you to the Sheldrick Ellee Orphanage for 11:00am, then lunch, in the afternoon visit Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Center, visit Utamanduni shopping Mall and then dinner before heading to airport.

If you decide to spend the day in NBO, and take that 7:30am flight, I would suggest you spend your last day in Stone Town as it's only 10-minutes to the airport, whereas Matambwe is over an hour away.

In Stone Town you can consider the Serena, Emerson & Green, Dhow Palace*, Tembo House*

*these properties do not serve liquor on the premises as they observe Muslim laws, but there are bistros and bars nearby if this is a consideration.

November is my usual time to visit... most tourists are gone as this is the "short" rain season - brief downpours in afternoon (sometimes) or overnight rain - or no rain at all. Luck of the draw, but it shouldn't impact your safari experience.

Overall, it looks good.

 
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May 6th, 2005, 04:11 PM
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We stayed at Migration Camp and enjoyed it very much and would recommend it. As far as location, it is isolated (as most are) and time of year would be a factor. I have pictues of it and some limited information on my site. http://www.janeandken.com/travelmemories.html Just go here and then do a search using migration.
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May 12th, 2005, 02:51 PM
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I have not stayed there but I understand that Olosokwan is run by Nomad. ATR is very impressed with Nomad, and I think rightfully so from my other research. Nomad also operates semi permanent camps at Masek (appropriate for Dec-March) and Piaya. Nomad was featured in the American Express article about semi-permanent camps referred to recently. They also are affiliated with Greystoke. They seem to be top quality--and they are expensive. You cannot book directly with Nomad--they book through tour agents/operators. We will be using ATR next February and will be staying at the Masek and Piaya camps. Because Nomad only works at their own camps, we are splitting our time with another operator. As noted by others ATR likes the owner/operators of Olduvai/Ronjo and so we will be with them for 6 nights before our 5 nights with Nomad.
Also as others have noted, ultimately you have to decide what is most important to you. I decided that I wanted to stay at a Nomad camp and so that became the cornerstone of the trip. I also liked the description of the Olduvai camp and staying at the Ronjo camp permitted me to stay in the central Serengeti without staying at a lodge--which did not appeal to me.
So the bottom line for me was that although Roy's could offer me a very nice trip for a lower price overall, I went with the operator who could give me the places at which I wanted to stay.

We will give a report next year after our return.
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Sep 22nd, 2005, 07:35 AM
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Hi Sandi,

It looks like you know the Serengeti quite well. Would you be able to give us a hint about where to go in the Serengeti early November this year and what other parks are interesting at this time of year (Tarangire, Manyara etc.).
More over I would be grateful to hear from you if the Ngorongoro Crater will be crowded at this time of year.
Thanks a lot in advance.
Brgds,
Bernd
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Sep 22nd, 2005, 01:06 PM
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Bernd -

The Migrating herds normally start moving out of the Mara when the rains begin - can be anytime from mid-October on (can be early Oct, can be Nov) heading into the North/Northeastern Serengeti. So this would be the ideal area for a visit in the Serengeti.

Depending on your budget and for how many days, you can arrange permanent tented camp (Migration is one and very lovely) or mobile luxury camping (Sayari is new and lovely; Nomad operated camps, Exclusive Mobile Camping [EMC]) or sem-lux camping with your own guide/driver and cook who set up tents, prepare food, etc.

Tarangire is a favorite and though the best times to visit are md-June thru October, early November will be fine (we've been late November and loved it). There are plenty of elephants, zebra, cats and the landscape with baobab trees is magnificent. Two-nites here would be good.

Depending on your overall number of days, Lk. Manyara is fine for one-night either on way to/fr Ngorongoro or Serengeti depending on whether you're driving or flying.

The Crater is always busy, even though 25-miles wide, it often seems crowded, be we didn't find it so on our November visits. That's not to say it won't be busier one year from another, or one week or day from another. As weather or animal sightings can't be assured, neither can the crowds at some parks.

Hope this helps.



 
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Sep 26th, 2005, 03:23 AM
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Dear Sandi,

Thanks for this information.
Can you give me some recommendations regarding the following accomodations offered to us by Hoopoe Safaris or recommend others nearby:
-Kifaru Lodge in Manyara (we want to be in the crater first thing in the morning to avoid crowds, is this place well positioned to do so? )
-Ndutu Safari Lodge (to overnight on the way to the northern serengeti)
-Loliondo Camp (3 nights planned)

Thanks a lot.
Brgds,
Bernd
Ndutu S
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Sep 26th, 2005, 03:40 AM
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Zuson -

Not familiar with Kifaru Lodge, but realize that Lake Manyara is a good 2-1/2 hour drive to the Crater. If you wish to stop at Lk. Manyara, stop here, but not in the hopes of getting to Ngorongoro early. For the Crater, be situated at the Crater, so you can get down early.

If heading to the Serengeti - Loliondo Camp, Ndutu is not the place to stop as it's only a short drive from the Crater and not much is happening in this area in November. You'd do better when leaving the Crater to drive via Oldupai Gorge - with a brief stop at the site and visit to small museum - continuing into the Central/Seronera Serengeti. If departing in the morning, you should arrive at Central for lunch. If departing after a morning Crater Tour, you should arrive in time for late afternoon scheduled game drive. Here you can stop for the balance of day or night at the Serena Lodge. For something a bit more lux, and if departing the Crater in the morning, you might consider Mbuzi Mawe which is about 1-hr north of Central.

The following morning you can continue north to Loliondo. Though the stretches through the Serengeti are long, if broken up, they're easy and it's game drive all the way.

I do hope you're planning flying back from Loliondo to Arusha/Kili.
 
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Sep 26th, 2005, 11:22 AM
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Bernd,

I have stayed at the Kifaru Lodge, but I believe they have changed management since I was there. It is nice, small, with good food. But we just overnighted there to break up our drive BACK to Arusha from the Crater, so I'm not sure how long the drive actually is.

I recommend staying on the Crater rim (whichever lodge is in your budget: Serena, Sopa, Crater Lodge or Wildlife Lodge) for touring the Crater. That would be the most convenient way to do it.

Good luck with your planning!
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