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Recommendations for northern circuit in october (migration viewing)

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Feb 7th, 2012, 05:45 PM
  #1
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Recommendations for northern circuit in october (migration viewing)

Hi,
My fiancé and I are planning a two week honeymoon trip to Africa, a 7 day private safari followed by a week at the beach. We would like to see a wide variety of animals, and hope to get lucky and see a migration as well. My understanding is that the best chance to see a migration would be in N Serengeti and or perhaps Kenya.

We will arrive on Oct 13th. I am thinking of doing two days in Tarangire at Olivers Camp, two days in Ngorongo with one night at Gibbs Farm and one night at Crater Lodge (if we can get in this late), and thinking of doing three days in N Serengeti at Suyan and Lemala camps, or maybe one of those nights in Kenya.

We were recommended Kiliwarrior by friends who have used them on a private tour and loved it.

Any thoughts on the itinerary? Where would be the best chance to see a migration, are we spending too much or not enough time in any place given the time of the year? Suggestions on camps (we would like to stay at a nice to higher end place)? Finally, does anyone have a strong recommendation for an operator with good connections at camps, and reasonable prices?

Thank you in advance for any advice. Cheers.
yev_nyc is offline  
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Feb 7th, 2012, 06:32 PM
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"best chance to see a migration"
Is the migration in northern Tanzania in Oct??

regards - tom
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Feb 7th, 2012, 06:33 PM
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Congrats on your wedding.

Your plan looks reasonable. If you want to go to Tarangire and the crater, and you want to devote 7 days to your safari, I'd stick with the Serengeti and not head to the Mara.

But since you asked for advice, I'd say cut the beach time by 4 days and replace it with the Mara. You could do Mara first, then head to Tanzania for Tarangire, Crater, Serengeti, and end at Zanzibar for the beach.

The above would give you the best chance to see the migration.

You have beaches at home most likely. Why go all the way to Africa, with its myriad of unique wildlife destinations, and sit on the beach? Even if it is your honeymoon?

You mention higher end--do you know the cost of Crater Lodge? Very expensive! Also I prefer Sopa or Lemala (and there is another tented option too now) because of their own access road to the crater. Crater Lodge uses the road with everyone else.

I used Kiliwarriors (Eben Schoeman Signature Safaris) last Sept. In fact I see he has a link to Lynn's report on his homepage. That's my trip. It was outstanding.
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Feb 8th, 2012, 07:38 AM
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I used Killiwarriors as well and they were amazing. In October, the migration is making its way to the Southern Serengeti. The crater that time is great. I stayed in Sopa in the crater this summer and it was just fine. Since everything is on the rim of the crater, there is no real advantage to any place. Lemala is nice, but it expensive and doesn't hold any real advantages to Sopa.
Even though most of the migration has left the mara, I recommend that you still go to the Mara. It is the best place to view game in Africa, even without the migration.
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Feb 8th, 2012, 09:12 AM
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Answered quite a bit on your thread on Trip Advisor.

dolgink, makes a good point about the fact the migration 'might' be making their way south in October.

The migration is not an exact science. The herds don't all move at the same time, same day or even week. Some herds can remain in the Mara thru November/early-Dec. Besides, of course, both countries have resident herds that never migrate. All anyone who visits can do is just go with the flow, each day will be different; some days there will be lots of all kinds of game, on other days... who knows what, or just be pleasantly surprised. I've had lots of surprises when on safari.
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Feb 8th, 2012, 07:13 PM
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Thank you all for your replies, much appreciated. I think we will cut a couple of days from the beach, so the question is do we go to Mara or see central Serengeti?

Also, are there less traveled beach alternatives to Zanzibar that we can reach in reasonable amount of time? would like a romantic, private destination that offered good diving?

Thank you again for your advice.
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Feb 8th, 2012, 08:38 PM
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Given you have 9 days now, and assuming Serengeti will be a must ( as it should be), choose between Mara or Tarangire- they both are very different parks and trying to do Mara, Tarangire, Serengeti and then crater (which also invariably becomes a must for first timers) will be too much moving around.

In October Tarangire is at its best with 500-1000+ strong elephant herds, the landscape is different to the Serengeti/Mara ecosystem( huge boabab trees, more bushy, some plains and a beautiful swamp ). However since its a National Park, offroading is not permitted. I stayed at Oliver's camp this past September and it was beautiful- definitely recommend it for a honymoon safari!

But personally ( and you could be different) I would never be satisfied with a 3-4 day visit to Serengeti/Mara. So if you drop Tarangire, you could do a 4 day Mara (one of the private concessions), 4 day Serengeti and 1 day crater. I am staying at Mara Plains this October for 7 nights and given your indication to spruce it up for your honeymoon, you could possibly like it.

I used The Wild Source last year and using them again this year for Mara and next year for Serengeti. Have attached my trip report from last year.

Regarding migration- its true its not an exact science, but since you need to decide now , think of a place that gives access easily to central Serengeti on one end to Lobo and Bologonja on the northern end. Northern Loliondo Plains would aso be a good bet at that time and &Beyond has a great camp there called Kliens (they have both a lodge and tented camp option). However am not sure if they include drives into Serengeti in the cost, you have to pay extra or how much time you lose early morning travelling from there to Serengeti- all questions a good agent can help you with. Or you could see if you want some real exclusivity and comfort combined by exploring the option of private mobile camping for your days in Serengeti. Bill Given has a ensuite very comfortable tented option which could be set up for just the 2 of you- it wont be cheap but much cheaper than NCL (I would do the splurge on a private mobile but not on NCL).

I stayed at Lemala and agree with Lynn- no rose petal bathtubs and no personal butler but the beautiful exclusivity of just 6 tents, a boma, and the sounds of the crater rim in the late night- it was gorgeous.

My trip report:

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...erspective.cfm
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Feb 9th, 2012, 06:56 AM
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Hi Yev NYC,

Answered at length on your tripadvisor post also! I think the Migration moving South is worth taking on board....the videos i uploaded of the river crossings all have the herds heading South...September and November. That time of year is superb in Kogatende - thats where I would head for. Its much quieter than the Mara.

I personally believe the smaller camps have much more to offer than the larger hotels, though this is a matter of personal taste! Character, personal attention, animals through camp etc. The fact that the people you sit round the camp fire with are guides actually living in the bush (rather than hotel waiters etc) adds to your experience.

Sopa is too far South for the time of year you are going in my view......yes, I know.....nobody can give guarantees!

Julian - Director, Tanzania and Africa Odyssey.
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Feb 9th, 2012, 07:20 AM
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As Julian and repeated, we both answered on TA.
Stay in Tanzania.

You'll fly from Arusha to Kuru airstrip in Tarangire - o/n Oliver's or Swala
Fly from Kuru to Lake Manyara; road transfer 2.5/hrs to Ngo - o/n Lemala Camp
Early road transfer 2.5/hrs to Lake Manyara; fly to No. Serengeti - Sayari, Olakira, Lemala/Mara or Lemala/Lamai, even Nomads or Serengeti Mara Camps.

Fly to Arusha; connect to Zanzibar, Pemba or Mafia Islands, for beach/diving.

The safari portion can easily be done in 9/days.
Day 1 - Arusha
Day 2/3 - Taragire
Day 4/5 - Ngo
Day 6/7/8 - No. Serengeti
Day 9 - Fly to ARK, fly to ZNZ/PEM/MAF
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