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Georgie2007 Jul 13th, 2008 03:49 AM

Tanzania only or Kenya andTanzania August 2009
Well about now I am really really confused. I have read all the east africa reports, trolled through the internet reading, looking, learning and thinking this will help me make an informed decision of where to go. Instead I have spent the last month changing my mind from Kenya and Tanzania to just Tanzania and back again. I would really appreciate those who have travelled to these areas to help me out with my decision.

We would like to have about a 2 week safari, not including Zanibar or international travel. We arrive in Africa about 3/8/09 for our safari.

Going to Ngorongoro Crater is a must and would like to see the migration in either the Serengeti or Masai Mara if possible. I have been told and read that the migration timing this year was vastly different to last year which of course is going to make it difficult to predict.

It would save us money to do just Tanzania. No flights to Kenya, visas, etc etc. We could have the same guide/driver for our private safari for the whole 2 weeks. We are thinking of visiting Tarangire, Lake Eyasi, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Eyasi, Central and Northern Serengeti in that order driving all the way. I know the driving times and understand there are a couple of long days but that is OK with us. We will then fly from Northern Serengeti to Zanzibar. How does that sound for early August?

Alternativley we could go to the Masai Mara for 4 days then go to Tanzania for 10 days? This would mean we dont have a private vehicle unless we stay at Serian, which we are considering. With a reduced time for Tanzania we would have to fly some sections which would mean we would have to use the camps vehicles and probably wont have it to ourselves. This feels like a more disjointed safari and will cost alot more.

I suppose I also have a tendancy to go for the private tour in Tanzania as we visited Botswana last year and we flew into various camps and went shared vehicle game viewing. It was the best holiday we have had to date and we have had quite a few. Doing the private safari in Tanzania has an appeal as it will be different to our experience in Botswana.

I would love any one's thoughts on my dilema. Tanzania, or Kenya and Tanzania. I must say it is a great dilema to have.

Thanks in advance for all your replies.

aby Jul 13th, 2008 04:44 AM

Hi Georgie2007

here are my tips:

1.<i>It would save us money to do just Tanzania. No flights to Kenya, </i>
no need to fly - the shuttle from Arusha to NBI is 4.5 hours...or you could cross overland through Lake Victoria area (see my next remark:)

2. if you decide to do Mara - do it at the end --&gt; the later the better chance (u r giving to more migrating herds to arrive in Mara)

3. i hope you are not going twice to Eyasi, as u wrote. once is enough
(i mean doing that road twice instead of 4 times...)

IMHO Ngorongoro &amp; the Hadzabe are the only advantages of Tanzania

Kenya has the following advantages (/specialities) which you should consider :
a. Samburu (IMO one of the top 5 parks in Africa)
b. NVL - Night Viewing Lodge - Mt. Lodge / Ark / TreeTops.
c. a Million-Flamingo-Show in an alkaline lake (Nakuru / Bogoria)
d-e. the Fresh-water Lakes: Baringo &amp; Naivasha: a (hippo &amp; birding) Boat-Trip, a photo-op of the Bald-Eagle relative coming really close, a walk with wildlife on Crescent Island, a visit to Il-Chamus (&quot;Njemps&quot;) culture (Maa-speaking nilotics who broke the fish taboo for obvious ecological reasons)
There's also incredible hikes like going up Volcano - Mt. Longonot
(search for threads about Naivasha)

i'm sorry if i've just added to your dillemahs


PS if you are staying in TZ only - i would highly recommend Arusha NP
(also wrote about it in past threads)

HariS Jul 13th, 2008 05:38 AM

Hi Georgie,

You mention the migration this year - I have no idea about the current location or status of the Serengeti herds as I haven't kept track of them or game reports on websites.

But, when I was in the Mara last month - I did see the herds from the north (Loita Plains - another wing of the migration). Apparently, what I was told was that they move down to the Mara with the anticipated move of the Serengeti herds into the Mara .....

Georgie2007 Jul 13th, 2008 06:47 PM

Hi there,

aby - Thanks for your reply.

We would only visit Lake Eyasi once, I must have got carried away typing.

We are also going to Zanzibar so going to Tanzania, then to Kenya and back to Zanzibar would add extra cost. We want to go to Zanzibar last because we want to sleep and relax before heading home.

There are just too many options to choose from. Tanzania would be easier but we want to make sure we get the best gameviewing and if that means Kenya we will just have to go there.

Now you have put the cat among the pidgeons aby. I am really not sure what we should do now.

How are you? We would probably be happy to stay in Tanzania if we knew we would get to see the migration. As we all know that the migration runs on its own time frame and changes year to year. I am looking for an itinerary that will give us the best chance.

Cheers Georgie

atravelynn Jul 13th, 2008 07:51 PM

You have a lucky dilemma.

Even if you miss the bulk of the migration, you should see herds.

Your all-Tanzania plan looks good. But, trying for the migration in the Mara makes sense too, as you'd be there about mid-August.

Aby has a helpful list that might persuade you to stay in Kenya only. You would want to end with the Mara, not only as a highlight, but the later into Aug the better.

Depending on how sensitive your budget is, you could see how an all Tanzania trip vs. a Tanzania and Mara trip worked.

But I agree TZ to Kenya back to TZ does seem wasteful--both time and $.

Are you determined to include Zanzibar? If you wish to sleep and relax, you can do that at your lodge or tent by not going out on a game drive.

You could sleep/relax in Mombasa on the beach at the end after the Mara. Then you could stay in Kenya and not head back to Tanzania.

If you really want to see Zanzibar, you could include it for a short time up front, sleeping and overcoming jetlag.

I always advocate more time on safari and less in Zanzibar, even if it costs more. Just my own personal preference.

Georgie2007 Jul 14th, 2008 03:02 AM

Hi atravelynn,

We have always wanted to go to Zanzibar and will definitely include it in this trip. We need to do it at the end as we both have very busy work lives and need to sleep in and relax before we head home and back to work. The problem with relaxing and missing game drives on safari is that we just wouldn't do it. We would have to be out every day just in case we should miss something exciting. I would be mortified if we didn't go on a game drive and guests came back telling us they had just witnessed a wild dog chase and kill.

To save time and money we would probably have go to the Masai Mara first (4/8/09 for 4 nights), then Tanzania for 11 nights and then off to Zanzibar. My concern with this is it might be to early for the migration in the Mara as everyone says go to the Mara late August September.

Would we be seeing the best first? I like to work my way up to the best and end on a high. After visiting the Mara would we think the rest of the trip was just OK?

With 11 days in Tanzania we would want to see the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Eyasi, Tarangire and the Serengeti which could be very rushed.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

We have thought of an itinerary for this one after much research.

Arusha 2 nights at Onsea House - a trip to Arusha National Park thanks to Aby's suggestion.

Tarangire NP 3 nights - Olivers camp

Lake Eyasi 2 nights - Kisima Ngeda

Ngorongoro Crater 2nights-Lemala camp

Central Serengeti 3 nights- Olakira Camp

Northern Serengeti 3 nights - Sayari Camp

Then off to Zanzibar.

Does this itinerary sound Ok commencing 4/8/09? Should we be earlier for the Serengeti?

What would we be missing if we don't do the mara?

If the Masai Mara is an extension of the Serengeti eco system (and a small one at that) I can't see the value in going there unless there is something else to draw us there. I have heard 'you must go to the Mara in August/September' and also 'why go to the Mara when the Serengeti will also be full of migrating animals'.

In early August where is the safest bet to see the migration - northern Tanzania or Kenya. I know there is no guarentee. My thoughts are if the migration is late we can see them in the western/northern Serengeti. If the migration is early I hear that the animals may go back and forth between the Northern Serengeti and Masai Mara so we could see them in the northern Serengeti. Is this correct?

I just can't get my head around what to do but will have to decide soon or we will mis out on the tented camps we want.

Thanks everyone for your replies.

Cheers Georgie

wildlifepainter Jul 15th, 2008 04:56 AM

I loved Zanzibar in 2/08. We stayed 5 nights (4 at Pongwe and 1 in Stonetown) and next year we will be staying 7 nights. Pongwe is really reasonable and it was cheaper to stay a couple extra nights and get cheaper flights by not flying on the weekend.

I'm with you on not being able to miss a game drive. In fact, it would be really hard for me to not be the first one out and the last one back from game drives. That being said, after 8 or 9 days on safari I'm beat and ready for a forced slower pace. Zanzibar is perfect for that and there are still plenty of things to do to keep you as busy as you want to be.

atravelynn Jul 15th, 2008 04:56 PM

Ok, so Zanzibar is a definite go for you. I've never missed an outing myself be it game drive, walk, or whatever--even when I was not feeling well.

There are usually herds in the Mara in early August. If not, there are resident herds and the wildlife is always good there. If the Mara must be Stop #1 or not at all, then go there first. Later would just be optimal, if you did not have other restraints.

Would Mara as Stop #1 be putting the best first? Odds are good that you would see the most animals and most variety in the Mara, unless you hit the migrating herds in Tanzania. But you can adjust to the highlight early on by recognizing that you've seen what you came to Africa for and after that you can concentrate more on specific animals, animal behavior, birds, unique sightings, etc. Some people even set up their trip this way.

Mara 1st then 11 days in TZ

Arrive 1
Mara 3
Probably a transition day 1
Tarangire 2
Eyasi 1
Crater 1
Serengeti 2

Yea, pretty rushed. If you can get from the Mara to Tarangire by nightfall and spend 3 in the Serengeti, then that could work, if you flew back from the Northern Serengeti.

What do you miss if you don't go to the Mara? With your TZ itinerary, no species that I know of. The Mara increases your odds of interesting sightings, of large herds, and of cats.

<b>Tarangire NP 3 nights - Olivers camp</b>
This is longer than most people spend in Tarangire. I did stay 3 nts once and enjoyed it. I think you can do walking at Olivers. If that's the case and you'd like to do some walking, then 3 nts makes sense.

<b>Lake Eyasi 2 nights - Kisima Ngeda
2 nts is good. Some trips do only 1 if you are rushed

<b>Ngorongoro Crater 2nights-Lemala camp</b>

I don't know Lemala. If it offers a good bargain or something special, then it would be fine choice. I'd ask why it would be better to stay there than Sopa, with its own access road. True, Sopa is a big lodge and I just saw where it is undergoing renovation, which might be bad. Do you have crater views from Lemala?

Will you go into the crater 2x?

<b>Central Serengeti 3 nights- Olakira Camp</b>
3 nts here in August does not seem right. Maybe one night if you wanted to break up the drive north.

<b>Northern Serengeti 3 nights - Sayari Camp </b>

&quot;In early August where is the safest bet to see the migration - northern Tanzania or Kenya?&quot; For safest do both. I think most years the herds have at least begun to enter the Mara by early Aug if they are not already a presence.

The back and forth movement is also true.

Your dilemma is a guessing game. Fortunately you are picking from two good alternatives. You are right not to delay.

The only part that does not look wonderful to me is the 3 nts in the Central Serengeti in what will be mid-August. Even 2 would make more sense.

Let's see what the mobile tented camping experts say.

Patty Jul 15th, 2008 07:00 PM

Lemala is on the Sopa side so I imagine guests would use the same access road as Sopa.

MyDogKyle Jul 16th, 2008 08:53 AM

I'll just chime in about Oliver's, since I haven't been to the Serengeti. We had two nights at Oliver's Camp last October and it was a reasonable amount of time to have some great game drives and an early-morning walking safari. But we did fly there from Arusha and fly out to Lake Manyara afterwards -- were you planning to fly or drive? If driving, 2 nights might not give you enough time to really enjoy the camp and the area. Although it would have been fantastic to have 3 nights there, I think if your time is limited, 2 nights would still be great (it sure was for us).

Also, about putting the Mara first... I think Lynn's comments about that are really true. We spent 10 days in Kenya and then 10 days in Tanzania, so for us the Mara was right in the middle. By the time we got to Tanzania, we'd seen every animal we'd hoped to see (and then some!) and it still didn't diminish our feelings about our experiences in Tanzania. If anything, it gave us even more flexibility on game drives, in that we spent longer periods of time with individual animals or groups, and focused on smaller animals and birds.

Georgie2007 Jul 16th, 2008 05:21 PM

Thanks for all your replies. OK we will try and fit in the Mara with time and cost.

What about this itineray. We fly into Johannesburg from Sydney, stay overnight and can fly to Nairobi or DAR. To do the Mara last how does this sound?

Arrive in DAR and fly to Arusha.

Spend 11 nights in Tanzania.

2 nights Arusha - to see Arusha National Park - Onsea House

2 nights Tarangire - Olivers Camp

2 nights Lake Eyasi - Kisima Ngeda

2 nights Crater. Arrive late afternoon and do Crater drive the next day. We don't like large lodges so decided on Lemala Camp which is right on the rim but to save money and get to the Masai Mara I was thinking maybe Plantation lodge. I know that it is not on the crater but has great reviews. It is half the cost of Lemala. I know we would have a very early morning but it is only one day.

1 night Central Serengeti - Olakira. I hear it is too long a drive from the crater to Northern Serengeti so would this be a good overnight on the way or do you have any suggestions?

2 nights Northern Serengeti - Sayari.

Then we could fly to the Mara for 4 nights and then back to Nairobi for 2 nights (seeing our fostered elephant and Giraffe Manor etc)or the other way around. Then off to Zanzibar.

Does any one know about flights from Northern Serengeti to Mara. Would we have to fly Arusha, Nairobi and onto the Mara or is there a more direct flight?

A couple of extra questions.

If going to the Mara must we also see the Serengeti?

If flying from Northern Serengeti to the Mara is difficult, I think there is a flight from Manyara to the Mara, but not sure on connections etc. Has anyone flown that? If this is easier to get to the Mara than from Northern Serengeti, maybe we could change the itineray around and end up at Plantation lodge to catch the flight from Manyara.

Thanks for your all your help. It is geatly appreciated.


HariS Jul 16th, 2008 06:23 PM

Hi Georgie,

I wouldn't recommend doing the 2 nights only there in the Serengeti - won't you be better off going to the Mara with these extra days? you would probably be able to add 3 nights to the 4 and split your time in two different areas over there.

Give that a thought - as usually by mid July the herds are in the Mara already.

atravelynn Jul 16th, 2008 06:53 PM

That would be great if Lemala used the same access road as Sopa.

If you have a goal, such as saving enough money to make another part of your trip possible, then Plantation would be good. There have been some great comments about Plantation. I wonder if Lemala is more or less than Sopa.

If you do the Mara, then no, you would not have to go to the Serengeti.

Nyamera just returned from the Mara, way earlier than you'll be there. She has 400+ pics of the Mara. I'll see if I can find the link. This shows tremendous Mara action, including river crossings.

Can you find

atravelynn Jul 16th, 2008 06:58 PM

Here it is, just don't expect to see a nursing leopard cub as she did.

Like the investments say, past performance is no guarantee of future peformance, but this gives you an idea.

atravelynn Jul 16th, 2008 07:00 PM

The link does not work now, sorry.

atravelynn Jul 16th, 2008 07:03 PM

Try that one or go to the Safari Violence thread and find where she posted the link.

Georgie2007 Jul 16th, 2008 09:13 PM

Hi Hari and atravelynn,

Thanks for your replies. Hari, I just wanted to be sure that we would not be missing anything if we skipped the serengeti and did more time in the Mara. Eben suggested 3 nights at Entim Camp with car/driver (hence my post on Entim)and then 2 or three nights at Serian. For the sake of a few thousand dollars we will just have to go to the Mara.

Thanks atravelynn for taking the time to get the right URL for me to se Nyamera's photos. They are wonderful.

I think I am convinced to visit tthe Mara.

How does this itineray sound starting about 4th August 2009.

Arrive Arusha in the afternoon. overnight Arusha

Arusha National Park. Overnight Arusha

Drive to Tarangire. Overnight Olivers camp

Overnight Olivers Camp

Drive to Lake Eyasi. Overnight Kisima Ngeda

Visit Hadzade tribe. Overnight Kisima Ngeda.

Drive to Plantation lodge. Overnight Plantation lodge.

Drive in Ngorongor Crater. Overnight Plantation Lodge.

Fly from Manyara to Masai Mara, arriving at 2.45pm. Overnight Entim Camp

Overnight Entim Camp

Over night Entim Camp

Transfer to Serian Camp. Overnight Serian.

Overnight Serian Camp.

Overnight Serian camp.

Fly from Mara to Zanzibar.

Look forward to your replies.

HariS Jul 16th, 2008 09:24 PM

Hi Georgie,

Sounds like your trip is shaping up well ..... this way, you won't be rushing around with all the travel back and forth between different areas with short stays.

Nice way to end the safari at Serian.

Georgie2007 Jul 16th, 2008 10:03 PM


I hope so. Pete was set on staying in Tanzania for ease etc, but when I told him Hari said forget the Serengeti and go to the Mara he listened and I think he is now convinced.

Thanks for your reply. Did I read on one of your posts that you thought Serian Main Camp was great and you liked it better than its smaller sister camp.

HariS Jul 16th, 2008 10:25 PM

Hi again,

Hello to Peter. You guys can't go wrong with the Mara.

Yes, main camp gets my vote. From memory, you guys loved the Old Zibalianja, Mokoba trails camp etc etc., so you'll like this a lot....

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