Hi everyone. We are 6 in total, and have spend hours researching various options and have almost got it narrowed down. Then, some new information pops up and blows the whole thing out of the water. We would really appreciate your views on four questions. We will be doing a private tour in either late August or Early September (2015).
1) drive vs fly. Originally we were thinking of doing the typical driving route - 8 to 10 days, including Arusha through to Tarangarie, Crater, Central Serengeti and ending in Northern Serengeti, with a fly back, moving just about every night. Now we are thinking this may be too much driving. Instead we may Fly to Tarangarie and stay 3 nights, then to Central Serengeti for 3 nights and to Northern for 3 nights. Is there a disadvantage to flying vs driving? We are thinking that the additional game drives from the camps will make up for the lost 'viewing along the way' that the drive would have provided?
2) crater or no crater....this is the question. :-) This option misses the crater. I've looked at all the threads here and I realize everyone has their opinion. This will be our one and only safari. Would this be a big mistake? I've been told many love it....and that many hate it. Would I be correct to say that those that love it do so because of the variety and number of sightings that are here and not elsewhere? and those that hate it do so because it's you and 1,000 of your closest friends converging on the area simultaneously in one continuous line of vehicles that takes away from the feeling of being in the wilderness. This one really confuses me. Comments?
3) tour company vs lodge owners. So, we were also thinking of arranging with a tour company for the drive option, having our own a driver and guide, etc. With the fly option, we see that we could do this with one company (Alisia) that also owns their own lodges (which all appear to be very nice). Is there a disadvantage to doing it this way (i.e. dedicated with one lodge company) that I'm not appreciating other than the obvious...that you are restricted in lodge choice?
4) late August vs early September. We had originally thought of also going into the Maasai Mara, but it just seems to add another complication with border crossings (i.e. you have to make two connections, I'm assuming immigration, etc.) to see an extension of the Serengeti. We realize the wildebeest would more likely be further north by the time we go so we would likely miss that. Any comments re: not including the Maasai Mara, and either doing this in late August or early September.
Thanks again. I really appreciate your views and value your experience.