Safari costs Tanzania vs. Kenya

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Feb 18th, 2005, 07:48 PM
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Safari costs Tanzania vs. Kenya

I've just started looking into possibilities for our next trip (I know, I know we just returned home last week but I figure it's never too early to start researching again ) - don't know exactly when the next trip will be, maybe late Nov/early Dec or perhaps early 2006. We definitely want to return to Kenya and were considering spending some time in Tanzania as well. However, I'm getting a bit of sticker shock at the prices for tented camps in TZ. Most seem to be in the range of $600-1000 per night. Are there any less expensive camps in TZ (or even small lodges)? I was hoping to spend $300pppn on a private safari. Is it possible to stay at any tented camps with this budget in TZ? My initial research seems to indicate not, but I thought I'd check with the experts here. If we can only stay at larger safari lodges, then we may re-think adding TZ. We weren't really fond of our lodge experience in Kenya (too crowded, too much noise) and aren't very keen to stay in one again. I know we can have a great safari staying at smaller camps in Kenya on that budget. I'm not ready to contact any operators with specific itineraries yet, but rather just trying to get a better overall idea of the cost differences between the 2 countries. Is my initial research correct? Thanks.
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Feb 19th, 2005, 04:40 AM
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sandi
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Patty - what places in Kenya and/or Tanzania are you finding at $1,000/nt? I've seen $600-700/pppn, but not $1,000.

Late Nov/early Dec. to the 14th is a shoulder season, partly the "short" rains. Then there is the Christmas/New Years period when prices are usually highest, then come down a bit for January thru March. But 2006 prices aren't anywhere near being published.

Let us know what you're considering and we may be able to come up with options.
 
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Feb 19th, 2005, 07:54 AM
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Hi sandi,
Sorry, I'll try to be clearer. The amount that I listed of $600-1000 per night is for 2 people, not per person (actually I don't know where I came up with the $600 because I haven't found any camps so far for that price). I was looking at the posted rates for camps in the Serengeti for this year (assuming we do go in late 2005) and what I've found are - Kirawira $1340 per night, Klein's camp & Grumeti River camp $890 to $1120 per night, Kusini camp $770 per night. My question is, are these rates typical throughout for Tanzania? I can find plenty of camps in the $500 per night or less range in Kenya but they don't seem to exist in Tanzania. Hope that makes more sense, thanks.
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Feb 19th, 2005, 11:58 AM
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Patty - If traveling to Tanzania after December 15, you will get the Premium Holiday rates, very high. Likewise, rates in Kenya can run as high during that season. In both countries the month of November into early-December which is the "short rains" is a shoulder season and some camps in both countries have lower rates. Because it is the short rain season, there are often less tourists.

We've often traveled during end Nov/begin December and find there are no crowds, often we were the only guests at many camps. The rains have never been a problem, as the rains come mostly over night, or a quick downpour mid-afternoon and that's it. But light animal sightings, there is no guarantee with regards the weather.

It's best you work with a tour operator as they often get better prices than what you see listed. But remember the season you choose to travel, which makes a difference.

And for travel in November, you shouldn't be in the Western Serengeti (Grumeti & Kirawira) rather in the North Eastern Serengeti - consider Migration Camp, but their prices aren't all that cheap either.

Klein's & Grumeti are CCA properties and are always expensive. Kirawira prices are high, but they a member of Small Lux Hotels of the World. Overall for luxury camps, Tanzania will be more costly.
 
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Feb 19th, 2005, 02:48 PM
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Thanks for letting me know about the general weather pattern at that time of year. That was going to be my next question, whether the short rains severely hampered game viewing.

When you say we shouldn't be in the western Serengeti in Nov, I'm assuming you're referring to the location of the migrating herds of wildebeest. For some reason, neither of us is all that interested in seeing the migration. Perhaps we will want to someday. I would also assume that wherever the migration is occurring will have the greatest concentration of people as well. That's another factor that kind of makes us less interested in staying at a camp during migration season.

Given that overall costs in Tanzania are higher, we may just stick with Kenya for our next trip. There's so much more we still want to see there. We felt like we only got a small taste.

Have you been to the Mara in the late Nov/early Dec time period? Are we likely to see a lot of vehicles there any time of year? We would most likely stay at a small camp on the western side outside of the reserve proper if that makes any difference.
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Feb 19th, 2005, 03:49 PM
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Hi Patty

While I agree that the Migration is not the "only" reason to go on safari, I will add that you should not be concerned about crowds in the Serengeti during the Migration months.

The migration is scattered over many many miles over many months. Many local guides have no interest/limited knowledge of the migration and the budget outfitters send their clients in all directions anyway! The Northern Serengeti is never crowded regardless of season!

Central Serengeti is really the only crowded area but it is pretty big so not a big deal.

Even in the Masai Mara where the Migration is in a smaller area I've never been put off by crowds - I stay away from the eastern areas frequented by daytrippers from Nairobi. In Nov/early Dec you will not see many others in the west.

In Tanzania, there are smaller and far less expensive options but these are not well-known for many reasons.

There are several very nice plantation lodges near Ngorongoro. There are several affordable tented camps just outside the Serengeti near Grumeti, Ndutu is affordable, Manyara has some affordable lodges, and so on.

If your trip dates slip into Jan-Mar of 2006, I really think you should include Tanzania in your plans.
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Feb 19th, 2005, 04:14 PM
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Hello,not sure if this is helps. When I do the camping thing in Kenya. I am alone, with my own cook and driver. It runs me $210.00 a day. I feel this is just fine. Seeing I am paying for 2 guys that are great, park fees ect. I have my own thing going on. In Tanz at Mikumi & Ruaha River lodge. My kenyan tour was able to get me that for under $300.00 a day. Again , I was alone. If I can keep my trip to an average of $300.00 a day, I'm doing fine. Being alone, I believe thats just fine.
cheers, david
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Feb 20th, 2005, 12:23 PM
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Connie - NO ADVERTISING ALLOWED. Read the rules under 'RULES'
 
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Feb 20th, 2005, 12:45 PM
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climbhighsleeplow,
Could you give me the names of the camps that you referred to just outside the Serengeti or point me in the right direction where I can find out more about them? Thanks!
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Mar 1st, 2005, 09:10 PM
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The more I think about it, the more I think Selous is where we should go if we decide to add Tanzania. The less visited southern area sounds more appealing to us.

Is Nov an OK time to visit? I'm familiar with the general weather patterns in southern Kenya/northern Tanzania but don't know if the same applies to southern Tanzania. Are tsetse flies a problem in Selous?

Has anyone stayed at the Sable Mountain Lodge? I've read a lot here about Sand Rivers but I think it's quite a bit more?? Has anyone taken the train from Dar? Would 3 nights be enough time? Thanks.
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 04:17 AM
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The weather patterns are a bit different in the Southern Circuit, but not much -

Dry Season - June thru Nov
Wet Season - Dec thru Jan, still good, but very hot and humid.

If humid, expect "flying things"

Cannot comment specifically on Sable Mountain Lodge, but pricewise is certainly more economical than Sand River or Selous Safari Camps. Likewise, don't know much about the train versus flying. It would seem that since Sable Mountain's websites promotes the train, the camp/lodge itself probably caters to backpackers and budget travelers. While this might be what you are looking for, I would check what type of train/services/cleanliness (it's only $10pp) how long the trip versus flying (which will be more expensive).

If you choose to fly, the flite schedules may determine the number of days you'll spend here. If daily flights, then 3-days is fine. If flights are on alternate dates, then you might need 4-days. Should you decide on the train, and depending the length of time to/from your destination, this might be taking up actual safari time.

Your tour operator should have all schedules to help you decide if this camp, area, transport works for you.
 
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 09:43 AM
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Thanks, sandi. I was looking into the possibility of taking the train down and flying back if it fits with our schedule. The train only operates 3x a week. I thought the views would be interesting along the way and the journey would be like a step back in time. There's also mention of a private train service for about the same cost as flying. I'll have to look into it further. Zan Air and Coastal Aviation both have daily flights from Selous to Dar according to their respective websites that should allow us to connect to a DAR-NBO flight the same day. I'm off to do more research. Sometimes I don't know what I enjoy more, the traveling or planning and anticipation!
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