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Western Serengeti instead of Central, in February?

Brooklyn, New York
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Western Serengeti instead of Central, in February?

I have received a proposal from an operator who is a specialist birding operator, and one portion I am unsure of. It includes spending several days at Ndutu, but then moving on to Mbalalgeti, instead of something in the central Seronera area (as other proposals have suggested.)

Here is how he justifies it.

"Mbalalgeti has access to the Grumeti River where the resident game is as good, plus here we will also find the best hippo and croc pools of the Serengeti. The birding is tops, the landscape is totally different and again, great for photography. ...after our long stay at Ndutu, the plains and hills of Seronera will no longer be a novel subject to photograph, hence change of habitat will bring new subjects, species, new landscapes and opportunities."

He also points out we will spend a day driving through the Seronera area to get to Mbalalgeti, and would cover it that way.

Thoughts? Certainly it would be away from the crowds at Seronera and experience something a little more remote. But I do not find much information or trip reports of folks going to that area at all (which is part of the appeal, of course, but usually an area is popular at a certain time for a reason.)

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Western Serengeti instead of Central, in February?

I don't know about February, but we stayed at the Mbalageti last month (mid-August) in transit between the Mara & the Central Serengeti. The lodge itself (esp. the tented chalets) is really lovely (the best we stayed in), but there was very little wildlife at all in the Western Serengeti. It may be different in February since the Mbalageti RIver should have some water then -- it was totally dried up in August. That said, we saw a huge variety of animals and very interesting interactions in the Central Serengeti, which was our favorite location on the whole trip (beating even the migration in the Masai Mara).

The hippo pool is super cool (we witnessed several hippo fights) but seems to be more on the western edge of the Central Serengeti. I'd highly recommend staying in Central Serengeti which has year-round amazing game viewing and the landscape is also different from Ndutu.

nyc
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2. Re: Western Serengeti instead of Central, in February?

You don't read much about Mbalageti in the Western Serengeti for travel in February because the migration isn't there till end-May earliest, June and early-July. No doubt also, during February the price at Mbalageti will be lower than it would be by June when it goes up to peak season rates.

Can't comment specifically on birds, as I see them everywhere... but I'm not "into these lovely creatures." So, in the end you have to decide if you wish to travel this far... from where, I assume, you'll be flying back to Arusha/ARK. Sure can't drive it in 1/day.

San Francisco...
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3. Re: Western Serengeti instead of Central, in February?

Just realized I missed the birding part of your post. For what it's worth, there were more trees in the Western Serengeti than Central, and we saw more birds in the West as well, so it may be okay if you care about birds and not really the lions, cheetah & leopards so much.

Edited: 08 September 2011, 15:51
Brooklyn, New York
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4. Re: Western Serengeti instead of Central, in February?

Thanks all for your input. We do care about birds but we also care about the other wildlife, especially predators, and I am now leery of going West during this time period, given what I'm hearing. I do believe the operator is trying to give us a more private, remote experience but to be honest, I think I'd rather put up with the crowds and see more wildlife then be off on our own with sightings few and far between. I do not think that the birds will be significantly different in that area.

So I am inclined to ask them to change this for something in the central area.

Canada
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5. Re: Western Serengeti instead of Central, in February?

We were in the Western Serengeti at the end of June. Stayed in Kirawira which was amazing, but we were very disappointed in the lack of game in the west. We saw the best hippo pool in the central area, near the Serena.

Crane Lake...
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6. Re: Western Serengeti instead of Central, in February?

Where is "mfuwe"? A question on birds and no posted. Me thinks he must be having a cool one by a watering hole somewhere.

See earlier post on "Birding in Feb 2013". Might give you some ensight as to his scope

Edited: 10 September 2011, 14:16
Brooklyn, New York
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7. Re: Western Serengeti instead of Central, in February?

I was also hoping to hear from mfuwe but it seems, from another post, that he is now traveling in Kenya. I am the poster of the original birding in February post :) Perhaps I'll give him a few weeks and then resurrect this. But from all accounts it seems like going to the western area would be a mistake, at that time of year.

Edited: 10 September 2011, 15:25
nyc
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8. Re: Western Serengeti instead of Central, in February?

'mfuwe" is on safari; believe he's away for a month!

9. Re: Western Serengeti instead of Central, in February?

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