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Serengeti -- luxury tent versus mobile camp

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Aug 27th, 2012, 05:52 PM
  #1
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Serengeti -- luxury tent versus mobile camp

My husband and I will be in the Serengeti 3 nights in July 2013 (arrive July 2 depart July 5). We are waitlisted for a chalet in Mbalageti, confirmed in the lodge. Our agent has suggested Simiyu Mobile Camp (slightly more expensive than the chalet) as we'd like to get everything wrapped and not have a waitlist, which might never clear, hanging over us. We'd really prefer a tent over a lodge.

Any thoughts on permanent camp versus mobile would be appreciated. Also, any specifics on Simiyu, as we can't find any reviews. How about the lodge versus the chalets at Mbalageti. Or other alternatives?

The other camps we're staying at are Little Governor's in Masai Mara; Oliver's Camp in Tanangire; and Plantation Lodge on the way to Ngorongor crater.

Thanks!
Cwydhrd is offline  
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Aug 28th, 2012, 02:04 PM
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I've stayed in the Simiyu camps several times, including just this month up in the northern Serengeti. In July, you'd most likely be in their camp in the Western Corridor. The tents are large, well-designed, and the food has always been great. In early July, it's hard to say where the Migration herds will be. They may be in the Western Corridor, or they may have moved further north out of the park and into the Grumeti private reserves. My preference is always a tented camp, so I'd say go ahead and book the Simiyu camp.
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Aug 29th, 2012, 04:46 AM
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We stayed at Mbalageti in 2008 and loved it. I would recommend a chalet over the lodge, but that's because I prefer a tent any day. The chalets are actually a combination of local stone and luxury tent; very clever design. The only concern with Mbalageti is that if you miss the migration in the western corridor, it is a long drive out of their location for a game drive. They do have resident game however, and the buffalo came up every night from the plains to graze in the camp. Amazing!

I am with ShayTay in that my preference is always a tented camp. Simiyu is one of Tanganyika Wilderness Camps properties. I've booked with them many times. They're great.
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Aug 29th, 2012, 06:23 AM
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Thanks, Shay Tay and Calo, for your first-hand reports. Very helpful.

We really like the idea of Simiyu and have told our agent to go ahead and confirm that. It looks like more of an old-fashioned camping safari experience than some of the camps with all the deluxe amenities (not that there's anything wrong with deluxe amenities!).

We just needed a little reassurance that this camp actually exists! The other Tanganyika Wilderness properties get great write-ups in the various on-line review sites, but almost nothing recent on Simiyu.

Mbalalgeti sounds wonderful, and we're still on the waiting list for the chalet. We definitely won't do the lodge, and will probably go off the waiting list once Simiyu is confirmed.

Do you know if the Simiyu camp can move to its northern site if the migration moves there in June? Or are they comitted to the site for a specific time slot?

Thanks again for your help.
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Aug 29th, 2012, 08:38 AM
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Simiyu camps are also known as EMC or Exclusive Mobile Camps. You might find them listed as such. The Serengeti special campsites in which mobile camps are set up are booked by companies months in advance, so I don't think they could move. In any event, the migration herds wouldn't be as far north as Bologonja in June. That's where EMC sets up their camp in the north. They had just set up there when we arrived August 1. The herds were further west from that location, but were an easy drive from there. I think that EMC keeps the camp that you're going to set up while the camp in the north is moved there from the southern Serengeti. That's because there is always action in the central part of the Serengeti, which this camp is close to.
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Aug 29th, 2012, 11:29 AM
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Mbalageti has about 26/chalet tents... beautiful. Also the so-called 'lodge' rooms, offer for a 3rd or 4th person, or those who prefer not to pay the chalet rates.

For July '13, not surprising you're being advised 'waitlist' as many of the large tour operators will hold a block of rooms/tents, hoping to book them... but they have to be released closer to the date. Something still you should stay on top of... most properties in the end prefer a known paying customer than waiting for some group to fill up their space. So, YES... put the waitlist in for a chalet at Mbalageti and also book at Simiyu or other (like/pricewise) camps that might be set up in the western area. This way you're covered.
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Aug 29th, 2012, 02:10 PM
  #7
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Great information, ShayTay and Sandi. All of this really helps. Can't wait to get there. We have been wanting to get to Kenya and Tanzania for years. We were in southern Africa about 12 years ago and would go back in a heartbeat. But so many places to see in this world!
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Aug 29th, 2012, 05:01 PM
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I'm sure you'll love it! Who is your Tanzanian outfitter? That's important to know because that's who will be supplying your guides, the most important part of your safari.
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Aug 31st, 2012, 09:10 AM
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Excellent point, Shay Tay. I will check with our agent, Rothschild Safaris in Denver, who their outfitter is.
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