Serengeti Mara - which camp?

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Jul 27th, 2012, 11:07 AM
  #1
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Serengeti Mara - which camp?

My husband and I are hoping to go to Serengeti Mara in August of 2013. Our priority is to have outstanding guides. Ideally, I'd like to find a place that feels comfortable, but not over-the-top luxurious with incredible guides. We're debating whether to stay at Nomad Lamai Lodge, Alex Walker Serian, or Olakira. Any information on any of those camps/lodges would be greatly appreciated, especially on the guiding and quality of the wildlife viewing.
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Jul 27th, 2012, 11:46 AM
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Nomad's and Serian each provide private guide/vehicle per tent/group during their stay. Olakira does shared game drives with other guests.

Nomad's and Serian will be the more expensive two of the three. All three have outstanding guides.

Though August is a great time to be in this area, the quality of game viewing always depends on the game. They don't care much whether we're there or not But your guides will sure find what you're seeking, and though no guarantee, hopefully a river crossing.
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Jul 27th, 2012, 01:13 PM
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If your main criteria is a fantastic guide, why not consider hiring a personal guide and staying at low - mid rage camps ? You can get a really good guide in the Mara (e.g. Paul Kirui) for $300 per day and, as you do not need their vehicles, negotiate a good rate with the lodges.

Phil
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Jul 28th, 2012, 04:47 AM
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I went in Sept 2011 and stayed at Olakira and Sayari. Olakira has the right ring to it -no OTT luxury but very comfortable ensuite tents and the location is terrific-overlooking the Mara and 2 of the popular crossing points. I booked through The Wild Source who have a stellar guide called Deo. Now Bill, who runs The Wild Source along with Deo in Tz, also has another very good experienced guide called Hosea. 3 of us are taking 3 guides including Hosea and Deo (and a nomad guide who freelances called Peter) and going back in March/April 2013. You can read my trip report from the September trip here:

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...erspective.cfm
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Jul 28th, 2012, 10:01 AM
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Are you only visitig the Serengeti? If so, flying in/out?
Or are you stopping at other Northern Circuit areas as Tarangire, Manyara, Ngorongoro?

If the latter, how are you getting from one locale to the other? If with your own guide/vehicle where you're probably paying a daily rate of about $225/day (+/-) varies by outfitter, know that if you select Olakira or even Lemala Mara, you can keep your guide as you'll be booked into these camps on a FB-full-board basis... thus having a private guide, the one who's been with you up to this point and have already established a relationship.

If choosing the other camps - Nomad's Lemai or Serian, where you have to use their guides, you'd be booked on a GP=game package basis which daily price is higher than FB as the FB takes into consideration you're already paying for a guide/vehicle.
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Jul 28th, 2012, 11:18 AM
  #6
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Thanks for all the expert advice!

Sandi, you asked if we would be flying or driving to Serengeti Mara. Look like we'll be flying there and flying out. Therefore, we won't' have our own driver/guide at that point. Perhaps a private guide -- which I believe is a given at Serian and Nomad -- would be preferable. That said both are pretty pricey.

Also would love to hear if staying 3 nights in Serengeti Mara might be enough. We might be able to stretch the stay to 4, but we are pretty limited on time.
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