Rwanda Gorillas plus... Kenya or Southern Tanzania??


Jul 19th, 2012, 10:18 AM
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Rwanda Gorillas plus... Kenya or Southern Tanzania??

Posted such a query once a few months ago and got a couple of replies, but am still undecided about what to do. Planning Rwanda for about 4 days of gorilla trekking in 2013 - recommended months for best weather were Aug-Oct from one tour operator. So first, do those of you who have been agree with this? I assume it's for the least chance of rain and mud, which does seem desirable.

If going during this time, it will also be the dry season in southern Tanzania - considering Ruaha and Selous. Concerned about unbearable heat and tse tse flies. Last year I was in Botswana in early Sept and it was pretty darn hot during the middle of the day. What do those think who've traveled in this area at this time of the year?

Kenya - have not been to this country. Aug-Oct would still potentially overlap with the migration, but would be height of the tourist season with lots of vehicles etc.... Like the idea of the less crowded areas of southern Tanzania, but don't know which to choose honestly. Not enough time or money to do both in addition to Rwanda. Looking at about 2 weeks on the ground in Africa.

Love to hear pros and cons from those who've traveled to both Kenya and southern Tanzania.

Our main goal is seeing lots of animals, nice terrain, tented camps for accommodations, private vehicle, photography.

Thanks everyone!
Cateyes555 is offline  
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Jul 19th, 2012, 10:36 AM
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One thing I would suggest is checking out the Rwanda forum on tripadvisor for that portion of your question. There's a lot more activity there than fodor's Rwanda.
Leslie_S is offline  
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Jul 20th, 2012, 02:06 AM
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I have been to Selous and Ruaha in August and didn't find the heat unbearable. But then, to be honest, Botswana in early Sept really shouldn't be that bad. Pretty much anywhere in Africa is going to be hot in the middle of the day- there's not much escaping it. Ruaha is higher than Selous so is cooler. It will get progressively hotter from Aug to Oct, so if worried about the heat then go in Aug. I have done gorilla trekking (in Uganda) in Aug and I assume they suggest this time as it's most likely to be dry and not too hot which makes sense.

As for tsetses, there are some (more so in Ruaha than Selous) and they tend to be concentrated in particular areas- so you can go all day without seeing one, then suddenly hit a patch.

I have also been to Kenya recently, to the Masai Mara. I stayed in the conservancies bordering the park (Mara North and Naboisho) to avoid crowds, and I was there in off-peak time (Feb). I did enjoy it and would go back, but given the choice I would prefer the Southern Tanzanian parks.
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Jul 20th, 2012, 10:24 AM
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How many total days 'on-the-ground' in Africa?

Yes the migration takes place between July/Oct, in the Masai Mara, though July/August busiest as that is just usual holiday time for most. September and early-October would be better and some properties in Kenya actually lower their rates from peak- to mid-season starting 1st Oct. and where you will find a wide array of accommodations at all budgets.

While there are millions of wildies/zebra/antelope that are make up the migration, not all cross from the Northern Serengeti into the Masai Mara... about 1/3 remain behind. However, in this area, while there are fewer camps and less visitors/crowds, the camps tend to be expensive.

You can choose to visit Rwanda, then fly to NBO for a visit to one of the elephant parks, as Samburu or Amboseli for 2/nts, then fly to the Masai Mara (min. 3/nts) and then back in NBO, fly to Dar-es-Salaam/DAR in Southern Tanzania for onward to Selous or Ruaha (3-4/nts). Somewhere along the way you might have to overnight in NBO, but no big deal... always flight schedule dependent.

Or you can visit Rwanda, then fly direct into the Northern Serengeti for 3-4/nts; from here to DAR and onward to Selous or Ruaha (3-4/nts). If you wish an 'elephant' park in Tanzania and also where they have a mini-migration between Jul/Oct, you can fly from Rwanda to Kilimanjaro/JRO, then drive or fly to Tarangire; fly from here to No. Serengeti and then down south to DAR and Selous or Ruaha.

There are any number of combinations to meet you needs, but depends on the amount of time you have and your budget.
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Jul 20th, 2012, 01:59 PM
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Stokey and Sandi - thanks for the ideas! I have already visited northern Tanzania, loved it totally, but don't want to repeat that. Looking at about 14 days on the ground in Africa, with 4 in Rwanda, so that only leaves 10 for elsewhere. Seems too little time to try for both Kenya and southern Tanzania.
Cateyes555 is offline  
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Jul 20th, 2012, 07:06 PM
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Ok, so no N. Tanz and 10 days on the ground, which fits for either Kenya or S Tanzania. I have not been in Oct, but that is one of the hottest months. If you found Sept in Bots to be hot, Oct will be hotter. Here are some temps but not lots in S. Tanz. You can look at Dar.

You can monitor gorilla permits here.

To assist in your decision of where to go in addition to gorillas, what do you want to get out of the rest of your trip? Certain animals you'd like to see? Boat safaris, such as Selous? Would you like to double down on the primates and also visit chimps in S. Tanz in Mahale? Want to do really remote, such as Katavi in S. Tanz that gets about 1000 visitors a year and has large ele & buff herds plus croc pits and humungous hippo pools? Something different in Kenya--spend a couple of nights in Aberdare at a Kenya Wildlife Service banda and spend days in the Salient looking for colobus, Sykes monkeys, giant forest hogs? Up close and personal with the eles at Ithumba in Tsavo West?

Or just stay in Rwanda. I included Akagera (hoofed animals mostly, boat safaris, shoebill stork, birding) and Nyungwe (variety of primates, including chimps) on my last Rwanda trip. A great plan!
atravelynn is offline  
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Jul 20th, 2012, 07:07 PM
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I would recommend Kenya. Kenya Air for one has two daily non-stops from NBO to Kigali at 3.30pm and 11.50 pm; also several one stop flights.

You could do 3 days in the Mara either at a camp within the actual Masai Mara park (a camp such as Rekero would be great if the budget allows but there are many choices), or in a private, far less crowded,conservancy to the north of the Mara (Mara Plains is fabulous as just one of many choices). From there two days in Amboseli. See this thread below for talk about that park and some of my pictures of the quintessential East Africa views, animals against Kilimanjaro.

Happy Planning!
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Jul 21st, 2012, 07:50 AM
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OK, as lynn, NO Northern Serengeti... so you can fly from KGL to NBO, probably overnight here.

Then fly north to Samburu (I prefer over Amboseli, besides the possible view of Kili as a backdrop), for the unique species and wide array of accomm, lodges/tent camps at various budgets - 2/nts. Then fly to the Mara for minimum 3/nts.* On conclusion in the Mara, fly via NBO to DAR and onto Selous for the balance of your on-the-ground days. Fly home from DAR.

*camps mentioned by AKR1 are excellent, but both rather expensive, but there are many others to meet your $$$.

Again, lots of combinations.
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 10:55 AM
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All great ideas from everyone - thanks! So hard to choose. All of life should be filled by such difficult decisions eh?
Cateyes555 is offline  
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Aug 5th, 2012, 06:21 PM
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I'm leaving for Rwanda in 2 days for trekking, so I can't tell you yet what Rwanda is like. I have been to both Kenya and Tanzania in the month of August. Overall we preferred Kenya. We saw the big five in both countries, but felt that Kenya was friendlier and more beautiful.
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