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Traveloperator's answer about travelling in may/june (Kenya/Tanzania)

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Mar 6th, 2006, 11:30 PM
  #1
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Traveloperator's answer about travelling in may/june (Kenya/Tanzania)

I've been reading here with great interest and love this forum.

We're 4 people planning a trip to Kenya/Tanzania late may to mid-june 2007. I've emailed 4 or 5 traveloperators giving them some idea of what we want. One of the answers I got was that May is the worst month to be travelling in East-Africa because a lot of the lodges would be closed due to rain. They are recommending to start the trip mid-june. I'm aware of the the possible rainfalls and that the grass probably (hopefully... for both animals and people) will be high.

Our choice regarding time of year is both a question of budget AND trying to avoid too many tourists. What do you think? Will may/june be ok? Are the lodges closed? (talking about Samburu/Mara/Tsavo/Ngorogoro/Serengeti - and also Lamu/Mombasa/Zanzibar).

Still waiting for answers from the other operators I have contacted. I've gotten some answers saying they'll suggest a itinirary, none saying there's a problem this time of year.

Siro
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Mar 7th, 2006, 05:30 AM
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sandi
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Of course, some of the camps, especially the mobile/seasonal ones; some of the permanent - time for them to refurbish, give their staffs some vacation. And because volume of tourists are low, an ideal time to do these things. They're closed.

However, all properties are not closed, especially the lodges. While May and beginning of June is considered the "long" rains, there is no guarantee how much, how often, or even if. Sure you may have showers, but everything will be green and as you say, with less tourists.

Many people actually prefer to travel at this time just for these very reasons. And, the prices are lower.

You may, with luck, have no rain or very little, but if it does rain, you have to be aware that travel can be difficult.

Understanding all of this, and if this is when you can, wish to, want to travel, then go about it. I'm sure the tour operators know which properties are open and available for booking.
 
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Mar 7th, 2006, 08:09 AM
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Agree with Sandi. We were Tanzania End of May/Jun 2005. I did not rain much and game viewing was spectacular. When it did Rain were were back in Arusha. I guess we were lucky. We stayed at lodges most of the time and they were all full.
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Mar 7th, 2006, 10:57 AM
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Thanks guys.

Talked to the man today and my impression was not good. He was mostly talking about his thoughts, not listening to what the purpose of the trip is. He was going on and on about how awful Tsavo is even though I told him that this is one of the MUSTS for us (sentimental reasons - Kilanguni lodge must be revisited

Waiting for the other operators, trip in may/june still on!
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Mar 7th, 2006, 01:13 PM
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We will be in the Serengeti, mobile camping starting on June 8th. Is it likely for the rains to have ended by then?
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Mar 7th, 2006, 01:24 PM
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Both Sandi and I were in the Serengeti towards end of May and early June last year.

I can remember some short rain bursts on some afternoons. It did not bother me at all. In fact, going from heat to rain to heat was very pleasant.
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Mar 7th, 2006, 02:07 PM
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... but Eben and I weren't together!

He with his buddies and wife later joined. I with friends.

We had a light shower one afternoon; on another, and we were back at out tent, a thunderstorm that was amazing. Others were out on game drives and on their return, this storm didn't seem to impact their game viewing. It's the chance you take, but certainly not enough not to visit in the wet seasons. Rarely does it rain days on end.

If your tour operator isn't listening to you... find another
 
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Mar 7th, 2006, 10:08 PM
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We did a tour of Tsavo East and West two years ago May/June with Eastern and Southern. No problems with rain or lodges. Just be prepared to be flexible.
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Mar 8th, 2006, 12:55 AM
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Serengeti: just read your trip report for tz may/june 2005 and glanced at your pictures. Thx for the read and making me even more excited for my trip (if possible).

Pumbavu: How was Tsavo West? The mentioned operator described it as very crowded because of chartertourists coming in from Mombasa and little gameviewing..
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Mar 8th, 2006, 01:46 AM
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Both East and West were fine! No massive crowds. Nothing like the majestic heards of minivans you see sweeping across the Maasai Mara.

But if you want to see Elephants and Black Rhino it's great.

Mzima Springs is great in the West... and the lava flows. Can't remember the name of the lodge we stayed with a watering hole just over a small wall... but that was a magical place to stay. Even if the accomodation was a bit more basic, nice but not luxurious!
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Mar 8th, 2006, 01:50 AM
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East there was more game... Elephants in the East. Rhino Sanctuary in the West. Must say that West did have a different character... but then I was interested to see some of the smaller mammals... like Dik Dik, ground squrrels and some of the bird life over that side.
At the waterhole in the west saw plenty of elephant, leopard, waterbucks. But unless things have changed dramatically over two years there were not big crowds on either side. I guess it depends what you're used to.
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Mar 8th, 2006, 06:29 AM
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siro,
Here's my trip report from last year that includes a visit to Tsavo West - http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34566072

Tsavo isn't crowded at all! If that's what your operator is telling you, tell him/her to take a hike
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Mar 8th, 2006, 10:53 PM
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Operator been sacked, not so with Tsavo West. Thanks for your replies and good reads.

I guess our main gameviewing will be at either the Mara or Serengeti. Our other destinations remain on the list mainly because of landscapes and for sentimental reasons. Kilaguni Lodge in Tsavo West is most definately the last reason. Sitting with our feet on the small wall in the bararea overlooking the waterhole and comparing the view with the view we had 30 years ago. I don't have that memory in my head so I will bring old pictures to compare >-

Funny, my mom told me last night that we have visited Mzima Springs lots of times in the past but never seen one hippo, not under water and not over water.

Patty: anxiously waiting to browse through your pictures. Kodakgallery is down at the moment due to daily maintenance :-"
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Mar 9th, 2006, 12:20 AM
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It was Ngulia Lodge where we stayed. http://www.shoortravel.com/ngulialodge.html

Like I said, not luxury but pretty good for the waterhole!
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Mar 11th, 2006, 04:37 AM
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Siro hi

Kilaguni if it for memories sake it hasnt changed and although not in the class of Finch Hattons is nostalgic to say the least. We always went there on the way to the coast. As far as the weather goes, early sunshine and stormy afternoons, magical skies and moody sunsets. Not bad if you are prepared for it. A good raincoat doesnt go amiss and upcountry can be a little brisk!
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Mar 11th, 2006, 10:29 AM
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Hi Mzeetembo

Re:We always went there on the way to the coast
You trigged my curiosity, we did exactly the same 30 years ago on our way to a cottage,Four Twenty South, Mombasa. I'm Norwegian and my family and I lived in Kenya for 4 years in the 70's. What's your story if I may ask?
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Mar 13th, 2006, 04:55 PM
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Gee, I was going to try to get by with just a fleece--do I need a gortex jacket, too? We're leaving 5/28-mid-June. I thought the most rain was in April and May and by June it was just "green". Our tour operator told us it was his favorite time to go--lots of animals, fewer tourists and no dust.
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Mar 14th, 2006, 06:52 AM
  #18
sandi
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We were in Tanzania/Kenya from 5/28 thru 6/10 last year. We had some showers the first day or two while in Tanzania and then one afternoon while in Kenya (late in the 1st wk. June). We had neither fleece nor gortex. Only a jean jacket, thermal t-shirt for early and late game drives. Mid-day was warm which only needed a cotton t-shirt. Though chilly on morning and evening game drives, the layers we were otherwise just fine. There were blankets in our safari vehicles which I used one evening... rest of the time, the weather was lovely.

Considering the fact that the Nov/Dec rains didn't come till just these recent weeks (late Feb/Mar) who knows what will be for April/May rains, if at all.

Since we all have our own individual body temps and comfort levels, you'll have to choose which you prefer - fleece or gortex. If you're not walking and possibly getting caught in a downpour... I don't think you need gortex.
 
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