Wildlife camps in Kenya and Tanzania

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Jul 29th, 2014, 11:43 AM
  #1
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Wildlife camps in Kenya and Tanzania

We are planning a 3-week trip to Kenya and Tanzania. Flying in and out of Nairobi and planning to spend time at Elephant Watch camp in Samburu, Masai Mara, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro Crater. We are using a travel planner, but I would love some feedback on the following questions (and any additional advice most welcomed):

1. Any info on Offbeat vs Serian camps? We're thinking of a couple days at ChemChem as a major treat.

2. We've heard the Crater is a) overcrowded and overdeveloped and b) not to be missed. Right now we're thinking to spend 2 nights there. What do you think?

Thanks!
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Jul 29th, 2014, 12:48 PM
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Right about the Crater. Get into it early as possible, 6am gate. By 9am vehicles come rolling in. So stay at lodge close by, Sopa Lodge is very near an access road. We got there from Serengeti, went into Crater that afternoon. Stayed overnight Sopa, got in early morning, till noon. Overnight again Sopa, back into Crater 6am. At 2pm (after lunch Sopa) start drive to next safari camp.

Also, if you are concerned/care about game drive vehicle being allowed off road driving. (I do very much). Check it out. Not allowed in Crater but still very much worth it.

regards - tom
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Jul 30th, 2014, 02:53 AM
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Agree w/Tom. Crowded but very much worth it!
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Aug 1st, 2014, 01:46 PM
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When do you plan to travel. Game does move and some areas better than others depending on time of year and prices are seasonal.

Gather you will be flying between areas as Samburu and Mara are in Kenya; Serengeti and Ngo are in Tanzania. Ngo is the busiest stop on the northern circuit Tanzania, but 1/nt is more than sufficient for most visitors... some love it, others feel 'ho-hum... boring.'

Three weeks is generally a long visit though many wish they had that much time, but how many days at any of these areas you mention?

Chem Chem is lovely, located in Tanzania between Tarangire and Lake Manyara near Lake Burunge. If Tarangire would be one of your stops (note: also an elephant park as is Samburu), options here for luxe could be Swala or Treetops. If seeking special camps there are many more to consider. Offbeat and Serian are completely different from each other and both located almost in the same vicinity. As to Elephant Watch, I feel this camp is way overpriced and the decor rather strange (though this can be very personal).

In truth, more information required.
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 04:24 PM
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Just wanted to come back (better late than never) and thank you all for your input. We had an incredible trip!

Elephant Watch in Samburu was one of the highlights. We really enjoyed our experience there, which included celebrating New Year's Eve roasting a goat on a nearby mountain top, singing and dancing with the Samburu warriors from the local village.

We stayed at Offbeat in the Mara for six nights. It's a small camp, six tents, and the game viewing was fantastic. Our guides knew every lion in the local prides and we were able to see some rare sights: an alpha male and his brother perhaps 20 feet from us, roaring to call the females, and cubs who were 2 days old and whose eyes weren't even open yet.

The Crater was more crowded than anywhere else we stayed, and it's true that not being able to go off road was limiting, but it was not too bad in early January. Two nights, one day was a good amount of time, and we saw 9 rhino that one day. Stayed at Serena, which was fine.

We did stay at both ChemChem and Little ChemChem (2 nights each) and found them a luxurious and relaxing way to end our trip. Since it is a private concession, the animals are less skittish. In particular, we were able to get up close and personal with some warthogs, practically hand-feeding them.

Our trip went from 26 December to 17 January. January seemed like a good time to travel as we were often the only guests at the smaller camps and usually had our meals with the camp managers. Lots of stories and information from enthusiastic and knowledgeable people!

Three weeks too long in the bush? No way! I'd go back in a heartbeat!
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 06:10 PM
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Nice! I've always heard good things about Offbeat as well as Elephant Watch.
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Mar 3rd, 2015, 12:42 AM
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Offbeat is great , but i useful on seregeti camps , so which camps will you use ? , is it basic campping or ? .
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Mar 3rd, 2015, 09:11 AM
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Jan_corl, I'm confused by your question. If you are addressing it to me, our trip was December 2014-January 2015. We stayed at an Asilia property in the Serengeti called Ubuntu Camp. The camp was fine, but the location wasn't good for us. Mostly wildebeest at that time of year so to see big cats, for example, we had to drive several hours over a rutted track back to the airfield. OTOH, the area near the airfield is where many camps are located, so I think it would be a lot more crowded. There was a cheetah with 3 young and at least six jeeps jockeying for the best view. Maybe we were just spoiled by our Mara experience, where we were usually the only jeep in sight.
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Mar 3rd, 2015, 09:13 AM
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Also, no, this was never basic camping. These were all pretty luxurious camps, some more than others.
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