Serengeti in September - Is this really a bad idea?

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Mar 3rd, 2005, 08:48 AM
  #1
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Serengeti in September - Is this really a bad idea?

Hi all,

I'm planning on visiting Masai Mara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Tarangire on safari this coming september. I'm indebted to the great advice on this board and most are negative about the Serengeti at this time. I know that the herds won't be there but isn't it still a huge, incredible place and worth a visit?

My understanding is that around Seronera there is a good dry season concentration of big cats. This website, while obviously biased for selling safaris, is very positive about Seronera in the dry season: http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/ta...september.html

I would appreciate anyone's thoughts, particularly if you have visited the Serengeti in the dry season.

I have time for 3 nights in Mara, 2 nights Tarangire, 1 night Ngorongoro plus an extra 2-3 nights. I feel like the Serengeti is the place to go, but where would you go if not?

Thanks a bunch,

Lawrence
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Mar 3rd, 2005, 09:40 AM
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Hi Lawrence

Here's the deal. If you HAVE to be in the Serengeti in September, then Seronera and Northern Serengeti are the best places to be.

Assuming you drive, you don't have enough time for the North, so Seronera is your only choice. Unfortunately, 100+ outfitters with their packaged safaris know this too!

In the end, it is a long, bumpy, dusty convoy of minivans and vehicles driving back and forth between Ngorongoro and Seronera. There won't be much wildlife action along the way, with the exception of some tommies and the occasional cheetah. Near Seronera the wildlife increases but so are the number of people.

While Seronera is a (busy) garden of eden, you will get your share of cats in the Mara, Tarangire and the Crater.

Are you arriving in Kenya or JRO?

I'd say, arrive in Tanzania, drive 2 nights Tarangire, 1 night Ngorongoro then drive back to Arusha for 1 night before flying to the Mara for 3 or more nights. Then fly back to JRO or Nairobi airport via Wilson.

You did not give us any idea of budget or total amount of available days so I cannot be more specific with the itinerary!
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Mar 3rd, 2005, 09:47 AM
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I spent a few days in the Serengeti in August, and while we saw no wildebeast or zebra, we saw several lion, cheetah and leopard, lots of elephant and buffalo, hippo, eland, reedbuck, dik dik, giraffe and a lot of different birds. The scenery, with or without animals, is stunning.

If you can only visit in September, it will be an interesting trip, but you'll see no large herds, like you will in Masai Mara.
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Mar 3rd, 2005, 10:14 AM
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Hi Climbhighsleeplow,

Thanks for your thoughts. I will be doing 3.5 weeks in east Africa in and out of Nairobi. The plan is to do Kenya, fly to Kigali, then Arusha and finally Zanzibar. My breakdown of days is currently 10 for safari in Kenya and Tanzania, a day for cultural tourism out of Arusha, a week in Rwanda and a week in Zanzibar.

Given the length of the trip and other factors, the budget is relatively constrained, though if we did Serengeti we would fly to it from Arusha and drive back.

Thanks again,

Lawrence
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Mar 3rd, 2005, 11:48 AM
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Hmm, in the words of our guide (who I think prefers Selous), "Serengeti is always good."

My one and only safari experience must have been anomalous: we found it very, very easy to escape other vehicles, and were most frequently all by our lonesomes watching prides of lions, cheetahs, elephants, etc. I don't know, maybe we just had a fantastic guide, but he always took us away from where "everyone" was. We would stop in a cursory way when there was a crowd (leopard and cubs in tree, eating Thomson, right by our lodge), and then off we'd go. This was in July.

I've got my eye on September, too, but not sure where/how to go. Travelzoo has some cheap flights to East Africa at that time...

Have a great trip, with or without the (vast and beautiful) Serengeti.
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Mar 3rd, 2005, 12:49 PM
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Hi Lawrence

OK, flying to Arusha and on to Seronera make this a lot more attractive given that you have 11 days or so! It is worth seeing the famous kopjes amongst the open plains.

So I am happily going to change my mind! Driving one way is an excellent way to do it.

From Arusha upon arrival from Rwanda, you have 2 flights to Seronera (AM and PM).

The last flight out from Arusha airport to Zanzibar departs 14:15 with ZanAir I believe. You can easily make this from Tarangire on the final day.

The earlier flight leaves at 11am (but from JRO) which can also be done if you leave early.

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Mar 3rd, 2005, 01:17 PM
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Thanks for the replies, seems that with my itinerary, the serengeti isn't a bad idea. I'm still a bit curious what other options would be suggested to replace a few days in Serengeti? Samburu or Nakaru? Samburu might be a little far. A few days hiking in the Ngorongoro Highlands is another option.

Thanks for the replies so far, I'm still open to be convinced so if anyone has more ideas, please share.

Lawrence
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Mar 4th, 2005, 04:07 AM
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Lawrence

Here are some thoughts to consider:

1. Samburu - great park with animals that you won't see elsewhere. In your case it is quite doable if you fly. You could fly from Nairobi to Samburu for a night or two then fly to the Masai Mara.

2. Lake Nakuru is a different experience and also one of my favorites for rhino, leopard and flamingoes. An easy drive from Nairobi but rather uncomfortable to continue on to the Mara (very bad road for starters which I did once and never again). We always drive from Nairobi to Nakaru and on to Samburu before flying from Samburu to the Mara so I cannot offer details about the airstrip/dflights near Nakuru.

3. Ngorongoro area - there are walks ranging from a few hours to 7 days. In your case, some 3 day walks could be interesting if you are into roughing it with small fly camps! Some walk around the rim, others from Lake Eyasi. All of these can be arranged through your outfitter as there are no fix departures/times. Read here: http://www.ngorongoro-crater-africa....ingsafaris.htm

4. If you want to get off the beaten path a bit without the discomforts of fly-camping, consider a night or two near Lake Eyasi to visit with the Bushman and other unique tribes. Ask your outfitter about a unique little camp called Kisima Ngeda. Hunting with the Bushman is not for everyone but worth considering if you want to get away from the tourists. It is a dusty 2-3 drive from the main Ngorongoro road.

5. Lake Manyara is another option despite your Tarangire stay. They now offer walking/canoeing and your outfitter can link you up.

Not sure if this helps you any!
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Mar 4th, 2005, 05:13 AM
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That definitely does help! Thanks for you informative responses. I guess my fiance and I just have to decide what we really want!

Lawrence
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