Serengeti Migration Update

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Jun 7th, 2005, 12:46 PM
  #1
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Serengeti Migration Update

Does anyone know if there is a web site with up-to-date migration location/info? I have come across CC Africa's Wild Watch sight ( http://www.wildwatch.com/sightings/migration.asp ) that briefly reports every few weeks or so, but I thought I'd see if there was a more current report available.

We leave for Kenya/Tanzania in 11 days and I am curoius how the migration progress is in relationship to our itinerary.

Additionally, I'd love to find another website with wildlife reports (like CC Africa's) for Tortilis, Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, Ngorongoro Serena, Serengeti Serena and Kirawira. Any help is certainly appreciated
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Jun 8th, 2005, 02:51 PM
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I think I am as excited for your trip as you are Jazzdrew - can't wait until you get back and I can hear all the details.

I am going to check out the wildwatch website right now.

csuss
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Jun 8th, 2005, 03:24 PM
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JazzDrew,

Sorry I don't know any other migration updates, but I wish you a fantastic adventure in Tanzania!!! Enjoy the amazing scenery and wildlife, and the wonderful people.

I think you're at both Kirawira and the Serengeti Serena, right? Please report back...I'm planning for next year (sigh).

Don't forget your malarial prophylaxis. As if.

Enjoy!
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Jun 8th, 2005, 04:42 PM
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Message to JazzDrew,
Am glad for you. Just about the same time as our 2004 trip there. Looking forward to reading your report. Even though we missed the migration we still saw plenty of wildlife while staying at the Serengeti Sopa. In fact, we saw more elephants and girafe than on same trip same week in June of 2002. So, who knows? Wishing you the best. Let the excitement build!
Dick
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Jun 8th, 2005, 09:34 PM
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Thanks for all the well wishes. Time sems to move slower as our departure grows nearer.

I contacted Sanjay at Roy's and he indicated that the Migration was at the GOL kopjes and thought would see plenty of action. I got out my enormous Kenya/Tanzania/Uganda Freytag & Berndt map. It appears that the migration is east of the central Serengeti and heading in the direction of Kirawira. That is good for us as we have tried to plan our itinerary around seeing the Migration there. Got all fingers crossed that all works out, but also know that we will see plenty even if we miss the migration

Some last minute loose ends that I will share for anyone who may be planning their first safari with the same sort of questions that I had a few months ago. I will preface everything by reminding all readers that this is our first safari and we have not left yet! An informed report will follow after we return.

We decided to wire the complete payment to Roy's/Wildtrek instead of dealing with cashier's checks or large amounts of traveler's checks. So we are all paid up now. This feels very good to us - I feel a great amount of trust with Roy's to date.

We would really like to have all of our affairs in order before we leave, especially things business related. We were able to get Kenyan shillings from our local Wells Fargo bank after a bit of trouble. Actually we planned to pick up both Tanzanian and Kenyan currency while my wife was on a business trip in NYC (We are in Iowa) , but had no luck after visiting foriegn currency exchange booths in Manhattan and 2 large Manhattan banks. So we called our local Wells Fargo branch and they were able to order in Kenyan bills, but not Tanzanian. Since we arrive in Kenya first we decided that we can exchange for Tanzanian shillings later. We decided to get about $300 in Kenyan Shilling and about $150 in Euros (we spend 2 nights in Amsterdam). We will take $300 in US dollars for extras and another $300 for Tanzanian shillings. We will also take another $2,000 in US travelers checks for our balloon safari (if space opens up) and for emergency.

We used Priceline for our Amsterdam nights, Downtown Hilton $167 before and Airport Sheraton $137 after.

We were surprised that our insurance paid for almost all of our meds including malaria, yellow fever, etc. Bill was over $1,600 for the 3 of us, but we only paid $124!

We purchased trip insurance for the 3 of us using the insuremytrip.com site. Cost was $568 for the 3 of us.

Once it is all added up we will spend a bit over $18,000 (inculding $500 for Panasonic Lumix and 3 GB of memory camera and $1,200 if the balloon safari opens up for us).

We have had fun shopping for all things safari. Just got my TAG safari shirt (closeout for $18), Tilley's hat ($75), Buzz-Off pants and shirts (6 @ $50/$60 each), Travel Vest from Sierra Trading (6 @ $50 eachgreat place), matching North Face Gor-tex shoes for all 3 of us ($350), Columbia quick dry t-shirts (3 @ $20 each), even quick dry socks and underwear! Everything is either kahki or british tan. We didn't want to take a chance with the tese-tese flies by wearing blue so we went for it!

Everything is packed in our new Columbia duffle bags (great deal few months ago from Campmor 3 @ $40 each). Plenty of room, although we have not weighed them yet.

Wow - I went on a bit - sorry! I'll save the rest for the report after I return. Warning - it may be long!

Good news...it is after midnight now...it is now only 9 days......

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Jun 9th, 2005, 01:12 AM
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Yes, JazzDrew you have it just about right.

There is a movement towards the West of Seronera and also to the north of Seronera.

5 friends of mine are leaving for Mbalagheti via Seronera this Sunday and I will post their migration sightings next week!
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Jun 9th, 2005, 04:17 AM
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Thanks for all of the great information for those of us planning our first safari. I am in the process of making my final decision for our safari which will take place the same time as yours (but next year!). We are a similar family to yours; our son will be thirteen when we travel, so I am especially interested in hearing how your son enjoys the trip.

One question, did you ask your insurance company about the shots before you got them, or just keep your fingers crossed that the company would pay for them?

Thanks!
Carrie
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Jun 9th, 2005, 05:58 AM
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Climbhighsleeplow - Thanks! I would appreciate the info if you hear from your friends. Thanks!

Carrie - We just took our chances with insurance for shots. My son has agreed to do a trip report from a kid's perspective to share with anyone interested.

Leely - Sorry, I forgot to answer you earlier question. We are doing the normal stuff. Arrive Nairobi, overnight at Giraffe Manor, Fly to Amboseli (Tortilis), Drive to Lake Manyara (Tree Lodge), Dirve to Ngorongoro (Serena), Drive to Central Serengeti (Serena), Drive to Western Serengeti (Kirawira), then fly to Arusha (KIA Lodge).

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Jun 9th, 2005, 06:54 AM
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Hi JazzDrew.
Can't wait to hear the details when you return. We are also doing our first safari (also with Roy's!) put together with help from many on this board, leaving NY on July 30 into Nairobi, to Mara, Amboseli, thru Arusha to Tarangire, Ngorongoro and the Serengeti, finishing up in Zanibar (a few days on the beach and a couple in Stone Town).
Our insurance covered certain med stuff (Hep B, boosters for polio, DT), but not yellow fever, hep A or typhoid. They also don't cover malarone which is expensive with no generic, but you can shop around and get better prices at places like Costco.
We take our travel insurance through STA travel. Their prices are excellent, service is supposed to be very good (thankfully, I haven't had to file a claim in the past) and you don't have to be a student to buy it.
Have a fabulous trip and share it all when you return.
Sharon
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Jun 10th, 2005, 07:09 AM
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Sharon,

I hope you have a wonderful time as well. Isn't this board amazing?! I really do not think we would have gone through with our plans without the wonderful help of the experts here.

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Jun 13th, 2005, 05:53 AM
  #11
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JazzDrew -

Just back. Was in the Western Serengeti at Kirawira from 5/28-6/1 and the herds were still in the Seronera area. That's the wildebeests were... the zebra and Tommies were still in the open plains out near Nduto. Very strange, but that's animals. Due to the rains, the wildies were happy to be where they were in the woodlands in Seronera. Why the zebra and Tommies were nowhere close, who can say. But I have to believe that since the rains should be done by the time you arrive they, hopefully, will have "gotten it right." But don't let this damper your experience. We drove to find the herds and I'm sure you'll be able to do likewise. Hey, even with the earlier "calving" season, the herds were everywhere and a different place every day.

As to local currency - we didn't change any USD into Tanzanian Schillings. USD were accepted everywhere. Remember lots of USD$1, $5, $10s for tipping. While in Kenya we didn't exchange money on arrival, though at the tourist stops we did make - Sheldrick, Giraffe Manor, etc. they did want local currency (first time I didn't see a USD comparable amount shown). Luckily, our driver for the day laid out whatever we needed; I later straighted this out with him in USD.

Only on our last day, wanting to end out trip with "sundowners" and dinner at The Norfolk, did I need Ksh for a taxi to/from. I changed USD$l0 at the hotel (rate: 74Ksh/USD$1) enough for this with about 200Ksh remaining, which we used combined with a few USD as porter tip leaving hotel for airport.

Whether it's the wildebeests or currency or any other thing - remember, your trip is a total experience. Where one aspect may disappoint, others will blow your mind away. Go with the right attitude (which from your postings you have) and it will be all that you expect and more.

Enjoy and Happy Travels!
 
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