Safari Lodging question

Dec 14th, 2007, 07:03 AM
  #1  
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Safari Lodging question

Hi I plan to visit Kenya/Tanzania in september on a 14 day safari and intend visiting masai mara, amboseli, lake nakuru, serengeti, lake manyara, Tarangire, ngorongorocrater.

I am confused about lodging options at these places .
My emphasis is to balance between optimum wildlife viewing and cost.

Here are some of the ones I have in mind and I'd really appreciate suggestions and recommendations

Masai Mara: Sarova mara lodge, Mara Serena lodge or Keekorok lodge

Lake Nakuru: Sarova lion hill or Lake Nakuru lodge.

Amboseli: Amboseli lodge, Amboseli serena lodge or Amboseli sopa lodge.

Ngorongoro: Ngorongoro wildlife lodge or ngorongoro sopa lodge.

SERENGETI : Seronera wildlife lodge or Serengeti sopa lodge.

Tarangire: Tarangire sopa lodge or tarangire safari lodge





crazytraveller is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 07:53 AM
  #2  
 
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Ngorongoro: Ngorongoro wildlife lodge or ngorongoro sopa lodge.

At Ngorongoro the Sopa has the best location for easy crater access and less early morning crowding. This is a no-brainer.

SERENGETI : Seronera wildlife lodge or Serengeti sopa lodge.

September is a rough time in central Serengeti and I personally wouldn't spend much time at either of these, I think you're better off at Tarangire or Ngorongoro, especially since you're visiting the Mara. But if you have to choose then the Wildlife Lodge is more centrally located.

Dunno about the others you mentioned.

Bill
Bill_H is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 10:55 AM
  #3  
 
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Mara - of the ones you listed, the Serena would have the best potential location for the migration in September (but this can't be guaranteed). It also gets booked up quite early and this past season, some travelers were bumped due to overbooking. Keekorok would probably be my second choice.

Amboseli - Sopa is quite a bit outside the park to the east so would entail driving back and forth to enter the park. Also consider Ol Tukai which is situated overlooking a swamp area where elephants and other game congregate.
Patty is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 01:24 PM
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Hi there,

We were in some of these places this past September, so here are my thoughts.

For the Mara, I thought the Serena (where we stayed for 3 nights) was in a better location than the Sarova (where we stopped for lunch on our way in). The Serena is father into the reserve, so we were able to do game drives in a variety of areas. Also, they offer night game drives and ours was excellent. The advice from our safari operator was to spend time in the Mara rather than the Serengeti at that time of year. Not sure what we would have seen in the Serengeti because we did not go... but the Mara was indeed awesome in September. We didn't have problems with overcrowding or too many vehicles, but I think our driver was particularly good at avoiding that. He recommended getting an early start every morning (6:30am) to avoid the long line of vehicles leaving the Serena all at once.

At Lake Nakuru, the Sarova Lion Hill was fine and in a nice location. But this park is small enough that I imagine it doesn't really matter where you stay. Other people might have comments on that.

At the Ngorongoro Crater, we were booked at the Serena Lodge but they bumped us (despite a comfirmed reservation) and we ended up staying at Plantation Lodge instead. Can't say I'd recommend the Serena here, just based on that disappointing experience (but I know some people have had that problem with some of the other Serena properties, too.)

We didn't stay at any of the properties you're considering in Tarangire, but as far as the park goes I can vouch for the fact that the wildlife viewing in September is fantastic, especially if you're interested in elephants.

Hope this is helpful. Have fun planning your trip!

MyDogKyle is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 04:56 PM
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Try to work in some tented camps, if you can. That's the best accommodation while on safari. You're more in touch with your natural surroundings and can hear all those wonderful "safari" sounds outside!
ShayTay is offline  
Dec 19th, 2007, 08:16 PM
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Crazytraveller,

Mara--my choice is Serena.

Nakuru--the least expensive of Lion Hill or LN Lodge since your goal is to minimize cost and max wildlife and the wildlife should be the same in either spot in this small park. I stayed at LN Lodge and it was good.

Amboseli--I see Patty also suggested checking out Ol Tukai. That would be my suggestion.

Crater--I've stayed at both. I really like the Sopa access road and would pay more for it. Either choice is fine.

Serengeti--Seronera. Sopa seems not as ideally located for Sept. Better yet would be Lobo in Sept. I liked both Seronera and Lobo.

Tarangire--I've tried to stay 2x at Tarangire Safari Lodge and never made it. I was always put elsewhere, even as a group of 4. The second time I was upgraded to Sopa. Found it to be quite lovely, but not as good of wildlife area as near TS Lodge. However, it is supposed to be in a better area for the tiny antelope, the dik dik. I found that to be true. Still, I'd do TS Lodge.
atravelynn is offline  
Dec 19th, 2007, 08:38 PM
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Lynn or anyone else,

Serena side vs Governor's camp/Kitchwa side of the Mara? which area do you think is better for gameviewing? Traffic/crowds? If you stayed at one side, are there any current restrictions on driving to the other side?

Hari
HariS is offline  
Dec 20th, 2007, 06:46 AM
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Hari,
Kichwa is actually on the other side of the river from Governor's main/Il Moran. If you head south from Kichwa and enter the reserve at Oloololo gate, you'd be on the Serena side. If you head north, cross the Mara bridge, then head south into the reserve via Musiara, you'd be on the Governor's side. I'm not sure where Kichwa typically take their guests. I believe Eben posted some comments about access from these camps that are outside of the reserve to the northwest. If you're staying at the Serena, I'm not sure where you'd cross over to the Governor's side as it would be a pretty long detour via either bridge unless there's another spot to cross? Not sure if there are any restrictions other than physical/distance.
Patty is offline  
Dec 20th, 2007, 07:53 AM
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Kichwa is on the west side of the Mara River, outside the Triangle/park. Governor's is inside the Triangle a bit west of Musiara. The river runs in/around their 3/camps here; don't recall on which side each camp located. Serena is smack in the middle of the park, on a bluff on the western side of the Mara River. Serena is easily 30-40/miles from either Kichwa or Governor's.
sandi is offline  
Dec 20th, 2007, 09:55 AM
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Thanks Patty and Sandi, for the info!!!
HariS is offline  
Dec 20th, 2007, 09:45 PM
  #11  
 
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My choice in the Mara is always the Mara Safari Club...outstanding tented camp without being stuffy; great game drives and rangers..saw all of the big 5 more than a couple of times in a 3 day period!
pgoody is offline  
Dec 25th, 2007, 07:24 PM
  #12  
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how many drives in samburu is good enough

also are there any good camps i mara with cost equivalent or slightly higher than serena
crazytraveller is offline  
Jan 1st, 2008, 03:38 PM
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Serena vs. Gov:

Crowds and traffic were less around Gov.

Wildlife viewing--I've spent more time around Little Gov so I've seen more there. Serena area was good too. The only cheetah kill I saw was between Little Gov and Serena.

The area north of Little Gov is especially good for cheetah. The only baby cheetah cubs I've seen were there.

I drove from Serena to Little Gov as a transfer. It was scenic and we made some brief game viewing stops, but moved along at a decent clip. It took us about 2 hours If I recall correctly. I also recall leaving Little Gov in the am and spending all day in the park, with Keekorok in view at one point.
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Samburu--how many game drives?
Typical is a drive upon afternoon arrival, if arriving in a vehicle. You can get there earlier by air.
The next day one drive and one camel safari/village visit.
Last morning--one drive then leave.

You could do a drive instead of the camel safari and/or village visit.

This assumes a 2-night stay. I think 3 nights would be good too. I hope to stay 3+ nights on a return to Samburu. I stayed 2 nts the first time.
atravelynn is offline  
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