Tanzania in May??

Jan 16th, 2006, 05:21 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3
Tanzania in May??

Hello all -
I've spent many hours reading through the Tanzania/safari forums here, and decided it was finally time to post some questions of my own. I appreciate any advice or suggestions you might have.

My friend and I are planning a visit to Tanzania for an 8 day / 7 night safari in the Serengeti. Unfortunately the only time I'm able to go is the first week of May, 2006. I'm really concerned with the timing, given it's the rainy season - And have heard/read a lot of conflicting info on whether it's advisable to travel there at that time. Any thoughts on this, what I should expect, and how it would impact our trip? I am working with a safari operator who has been favorably mentioned on this forum, and they recommend it as a great time to go, but it seems counter to much of the info I've seen elsewhere. What do you think?
I'd also like to float this itinerary out there for review and comment - any would be most appreciated.

Day 1 - arrive JRO late - overnight airport lodge
Day 2 - am flight to Central Serengeti - game drives - private medium camping at Moru Kopjes
Day 3 - game drives, East Serengeti - camping at Moru Kopjes
Day 4 - 5 game driving in South Serengeti, 2 nights at Ndutu Lodge
Day 6 -7 Ngorogoro Crater, 2 nights at Sopa Ngoro lodge.

This is a private safari for 2 persons, includes all accommodations, meals, transfers, entrance fees, visa fees/airport meet & greet, unlimited Landrover 4WD mileage. It does not include international air (or gratuities, of course). Price is $3300 USD per person. Does this sound reasonable? I've gotten a few quotes from other companies which were slightly higher, but also received the "ARE YOU AWARE IT'S THE RAINY SEASON??" replies more than once, which is a little concerning....

Thanks in advance for any help!
braxton39 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2006, 08:02 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 544
hello braxton39,
It is really advisable not to camp during the rainy season unless u stay at seasonal camps which are quite expensive.Go to www.go-safari.com,here all the seasonal camps are explained in detail.If they donnot fit your budget then you can stay at the serena/muzi mawe or sopa in and around central serengeti. personally I would only keep one night at ndutu and spend more time in central serengeti as the migration is unpredictable and if it does not rain in the southern region u will spend a lot of time doing game drives to central serengeti for viewing game.And if the migration is in southern serengeti then as it is if u split your days between serena and sopa, sopa is close to the southern region and u will be able to do game drives near the migration.Also the migration the time of the day is not important so taking a drive to see it is ok, but predators are most active in the morning. I have seen more than70% during morning and evening gamedrives so can observe them and then see the migration. This is my opinion, correct me if I am wrong Eben,patty,bat,lynn etc.....Check the site www.atta.co.uk. Nomad tanzania gives details of game movements in different months.
sonali74 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:04 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,790
Hi Braxton:
sandi, eben and others can better advise you about the weather. The price seems high to me--your 6 nights is pricing out at $500 pppn--I would expect medium camping, Ndutu and the Sopa to be more along the lines of $300-350 pppn. I would share sonali's concern about medium camping in the rain.
bat is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:24 AM
Posts: n/a
Weather is no guarantee, but as your quotes have indicated, this is considered the "long" rain season. This doesn't mean it will rain, if it does, may be for an hour, rarely daily. However, with current drought, who knows what April and May will bring or not.

Agree with sonali - not a good idea, if it does rain to be "camping" - would consider permanent camps, seasonal camps or lodges. Nduto for 2-days is good as the herds may very well still be on these southern plains. And, if as you say you have unlimited mileage, should be able to drive wherever daily.

Positive of safari at this time, if it rains, all will be green, but grasses can be high. Also, less tourists, so less crowds.

But, the $3,300 is very high for the low season and it's not as if you're staying at any luxury properties.
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:53 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 61
Hi there,
does your budget also include all conservation (park entry) fees??
Just so you know the Ngorongoro Crater entry fees have leapt from 25US$ on 31-12-05 to 100US$ on 01-01-2006. I know this for sure as I was the very first private vehicle to pay the extra 75US$ at 06.20 on 01-01-2006.

by the way have a super holiday

best regards

Maurice_M is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 10:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,845
I also think that price sounds very high (even considering the park fee increases) for the time of year and type of accomodations. I would think that price should buy you at least a few nights at luxury or seasonal camps, if not your entire safari. Check which seasonal camps, if any, are operational in May. I think most (if not all) close during the long rains season.

Which operator quoted this if you don't mind me asking? And what other operators have you already contacted?
Patty is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 10:43 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Yeah, what is "private medium camping"? I would expect private, luxury camping for that price (almost) given that it is low season.

On the other hand, if you're happy with the itinerary, and the $ doesn't make a difference to you, the only thing I'd worry about is camping in May. This might be one occasion where I'd prefer a permanent tented camp or lodge.
Leely is offline  
Jan 20th, 2006, 10:34 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3
Hi All -
Thanks so much for your insights and replies. I'm looking into some other possibilities at this point, and I very much appreciate you all taking the time to lend your expertise.

The biggest question really remaining for me is the camping vs. tented lodge vs. lodge for those first two nights in the Central Serengeti. I suppose I could just keep it simple and stay at Serena or Sopa, which I might do, but I hate to miss the opportunity to camp in some form for at least a night or two on the trip. I think that ultimately I'll just have to decide if the desire to have that experience is worth taking the chance that it will be rained out - (Camping in domed tents throughout heavy downpours might not be such a great experience!). Most of the companies I've talked to are saying go for it - and that there are few options for tented lodges at this time of year anyway, but it seems like a tough call to me.

Other than this I feel pretty good about the rest of it now. Thanks again for your comments.

braxton39 is offline  

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