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Great Migration Safari Advice?

Florida
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4 posts
207 reviews
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Great Migration Safari Advice?

My husband and I would like to take an East African safari next year... anyone have any experience? We are looking at Abercrombie & Kent and Born Free Safaris... any insights would be appreciated... also there are so many options... is it better to do East Africa? Or, South Africa & Botswana? What time of year is best for the great migration... is it all they say it is? How long a safari should we take? Finally, there seems to be a great price difference between the two operators... so, a little nervous. Also surprised that the A&K materials refused any liability for "political situations" and referred us back to the State Dept website, which has a warning for Kenya.

All advice woud be welcome!

Hythe, United...
Destination Expert
for Kenya
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2,392 posts
122 reviews
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1. Re: Great Migration Safari Advice?

I would recommend that you travel to east Africa. I have travelled to Kenya ten times with number eleven in April. Check out the trip advisor site for Kenya loads of advice and information and in constant use. The wildebeest migration is a must for every visitor to Kenya but depends on the rain fall as to where the herds are likely to be found. As a rule of thumb the herds arrive in Kenya in August and return to Tanzania by November. I travelled to The Massi Mara last September while the migration was in full swing. There were wildebeest as far as the eye could see crossing the plains in endless lines and to see them crossing the Mara River is a sight I will never forget.

As for how long to spend on Safari you can never spend too long. Every drive is different you never know what you will encounter next. Kenya has some magnificent safari routes taking in plains, mountains, tree lodges, water holes and lakes all very diverse with superb scenery.

Anything else feel free to ask.

Bruce

bristol england
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26 posts
2 reviews
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2. Re: Great Migration Safari Advice?

to see the migration my wife and i . spent our honeymoon .

doing a safrai with kudu tours and driver called eric , the best ever............

we stayed at the sopa lodge with the serengeti below our room with zebra and wilderbeast migrating past . one morning thewr was a giraffe eating a tree next to the pool.

it is worth 2 or 3 days for a game drive through the serengeti there is so much to see . add on a tangeri game drive with about 200 or so elepahants with a leapord and lions .

what more could you ask for.

we realy enjoyed our selves and are wanting to go again soon.

we went in mid feb for the migration , and i would recomend this to you.

tanzania
2 posts
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3. Re: Great Migration Safari Advice?

Hai Barret, you have the expensive A&K of your program forget that please Born Free I dont know.

I was for many time in Tanzania I took the northern and southern circuit. Vegetarian food no problems. Tell the tour operators. Zanzibar too.

So here are some Mr Prosper J. Kimati of Njake Hotels and Tours. http://njakehotel-tours.com and eurotan@mail.com

Another is Mr Salomon Daudi of Africa Travel Bureau

http://home.hccnet.nl/phil.jo/Daudi/index.htm his email is

afritravel@bol.co.tz. And there is also Multichoice Safaris also a very good one. http://www.multichoicesafaris.com/ with Mr Hillary. tours@multichoicesafaris.com He had a very very good driver/guide his name is Geitan Ndunguru.

By all this company I was so many times there. Good service and good prices. You can it making cheap or expensive TAHI Lodges are less Serena and Sopa Lodges are more expensive. If you want to go on camping safari is also nice to do. Or you can say one day tent another day lodge. Victoria falls are not in Tanzania or Kenya. For us we had taken 25 days safari and less than 25 days but it is worth of it. So very nice.

The gnu of wildebeest I see them always in February-March than they begin to started the migration and get birth. So many small one are on the savannah. When wildebeest coming back I don't know, ask the touroperators. If you need more information I will help you further because I was 12 times in Kenya I was almost in all the Parks and now in Tanzania more than 8 times.

My email is phil.jo@hccnet.nl. I have made the url for Daudi but now he has his own one.

Do you want to climb the Mount Meru or Kilimanjaro? Do you want to rest after the safari? Name it?

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Level Contributor
12,485 posts
8 reviews
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4. Re: Great Migration Safari Advice?

Barrett... The warning for Kenya has been out there for several years. There used to be a general warning for East Africa, which was put out there after the bombings of the US Embassys in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. If you're looking for political stability then go to Tanzania as it's been stable since independance. Sometimes this can be a problem in Kenya.

No one can predict when the migration will begin as it depends upon the rains, and in recent years these have been very unpredictable in Tanzania. But there are typically some general times that the migration begins. If you travel that far make certain that you do things other then safari, you'll miss the best part of East Africa if you only do the safari; the people are the best part and it's what keeps me going back. The good safari companies all do about the same things (some with more luxury then others); and the ones you mentioned will be the more costly. A good rule of thumb is that the safari should run you about $200 - $250 per day, according to how many people you have in the vehicle. Fuel prices are going up (there more then here) so the safari prices will need to be adjusted eventually.

If you tell me what you'd like to do I'll be happy to tell you what you should expect to pay.

Karl Gingrich gingrich@tds.net

Canada
3 posts
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5. Re: Great Migration Safari Advice?

Depends on where you are for the migration, July/August is great for the Mara River Crossing, but the million together happens more in Febuary March in Tanzania where they gather in the short grass plains of the Serengeti.

I have been to east africa 3 times, and felt completly safe, and can wait to go back.

I went with Green Footprint Adventures and can't say enough about them. www.greenfootprint.co.tz

Lots of nice easy mountain biking, canoeing in Arusha Park. I hear they have nught drives in Lake Manyara which would be amazing!!! I don't think this is possible in Tanzania anywhere else.

Michael

Arusha Tanzania
Destination Expert
for Tanzania
Level Contributor
1,649 posts
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6. Re: Great Migration Safari Advice?

Hi

A good place to look for reputable tour operators is the website of : Association of Tanzanian Tour Operaors "TATO" www.tatotz.org/ you will save a fortune by booking with a local operator ! as compared to some USA or UK operators, all the national parks have only a certain amount of lodges so everyone is using the same lodges, and the difference in price is amazing!

Victoria, Australia
2 posts
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7. Re: Great Migration Safari Advice?

Hi,

I can't recommend African Wildlife Safaris high enough (http://www.africa-wildlife-safari.com). I visited Kenya & Tanzania with them and they were brilliant.

As to their guides - simply the best.

A good way to judge how good your guide is can be done simply - each resort/hotel has a wildlife viewing book, by checking to see what other guests have seen in the last day or so compared to what you are seeing. Needless to say we we routinely filling in dozens more sightings each day than anyone else.

Our driver guide was happy to fit in with our needs and when told photography was high on the list was at pains to assist (for example positioning the vehicle to best advantage). As we were very keen, he was happy to be the first car out in the morning and usually the last in! We were fortunate to see a migration river crossing (with a driver patient enough to wait for hours).

Due to the diligence and experience of our guide we were lucky to see a pair of cheetah hunting, mating lions, a mother cheetah with 4 young cubs who brought down a gazelle in front of us, the list goes on.

An added bonus is their support to local communities and eco projects as well as very reasonable prices.

Gary, Indiana
Level Contributor
883 posts
24 reviews
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8. Re: Great Migration Safari Advice?

Can anyone provide a good soure of information for these Tanzanian safaris? My wife and I are ready to plan a trip.

Thanks!

Boston, MA
Level Contributor
2 posts
56 reviews
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9. Re: Great Migration Safari Advice?

Hello--

I travelled to Kenya and Tanzania on safari one year ago, for the Great Migration, with a small group of friends.

As one would expect, this particular vacation is the trip of a lifetime with some of the wildest (no pun intended) sightings you can imagine. In fact, as an avid, traveller, I actually had to sit with the trip for 6 months after before I could consider travelling again, it had that much impact on me personally.

As for A&K: here's one group's opinion. Our small group felt that we probably over-paid and did not receive exactly what

we expected.

a) Overpaid because between us, we know of at least 5 different tour companies that provided the same services/experience/excitement and for a significantly lower cost.

We rationalized that the extra expense of A&K would give us security if a negative political situation arose. Signed off on same travel advisories (Kenya), etc. Travel always has some risk inherent in it, I guess you can get trip insurance if your concern was the trip being canceled?

b) The local tour gudes were outstanding, it was the booking office that misrepresented a few things to our dismay. The major one: we received (in writing) confirmation we would sleep in lodges and instead ended up in the permanent (and non-permanent) tents. Needless to say, we never got a lodge once we were there because it was 'not possible'

Our advice to friends/colleagues:

1) Make sure you understand the difference between Tanzania/Kenya and South Africa. We did Tanzania first & deliberately ended with Kenya because of the comfort factor, I think it would be hard to go in the other direction. Just basic infrastructure (even with high end tour operator) is significant difference between the 2 countries. The colleagues who "did safari for 4 days, golfed 2 days, etc. etc. were in South Africa and it's quite a different experience than the Tanzania/Kenyan safari for 2 weeks straight.

2) Think about how many days you actually want to be on safari. We are young; in good health; and found some days to be exhausting physically. (Exhilirating, of course, but also exhausting). I like the other respondents' suggestion about incorporating activities with the local Maasai tribes & local residents. Definitely some highlights!

3) IDEA: Good friends of ours spent a week with Tanzania Habitat for Humanity & then a second week on safari & found that to be a fantastic combination. Close time with local Tanzanians, real impact on the local community, and then the ecosystem of animals, etc. the next.

When you go, check out the fodors chat for packing list ideas---I read a great posting that helped me in a big way

Have a great time!!!!

Boston, MA
Level Contributor
2 posts
56 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Great Migration Safari Advice?

Hello--

I travelled to Kenya and Tanzania on safari one year ago, for the Great Migration, with a small group of friends.

As one would expect, this particular vacation is the trip of a lifetime with some of the wildest (no pun intended) sightings you can imagine. In fact, as an avid, traveller, I actually had to sit with the trip for 6 months after before I could consider travelling again, it had that much impact on me personally.

As for A&K: here's one group's opinion. Our small group felt that we probably over-paid and did not receive exactly what

we expected.

a) Overpaid because between us, we know of at least 5 different tour companies that provided the same services/experience/excitement and for a significantly lower cost.

We rationalized that the extra expense of A&K would give us security if a negative political situation arose. Signed off on same travel advisories (Kenya), etc. Travel always has some risk inherent in it, I guess you can get trip insurance if your concern was the trip being canceled?

b) The local tour gudes were outstanding, it was the booking office that misrepresented a few things to our dismay. The major one: we received (in writing) confirmation we would sleep in lodges and instead ended up in the permanent (and non-permanent) tents. Needless to say, we never got a lodge once we were there because it was 'not possible'

Our advice to friends/colleagues:

1) Make sure you understand the difference between Tanzania/Kenya and South Africa. We did Tanzania first & deliberately ended with Kenya because of the comfort factor, I think it would be hard to go in the other direction. Just basic infrastructure (even with high end tour operator) is significant difference between the 2 countries. The colleagues who "did safari for 4 days, golfed 2 days, etc. etc. were in South Africa and it's quite a different experience than the Tanzania/Kenyan safari for 2 weeks straight.

2) Think about how many days you actually want to be on safari. We are young; in good health; and found some days to be exhausting physically. (Exhilirating, of course, but also exhausting). I like the other respondents' suggestion about incorporating activities with the local Maasai tribes & local residents. Definitely some highlights!

3) IDEA: Good friends of ours spent a week with Tanzania Habitat for Humanity & then a second week on safari & found that to be a fantastic combination. Close time with local Tanzanians, real impact on the local community, and then the ecosystem of animals, etc. the next.

When you go, check out the fodors chat for packing list ideas---I read a great posting that helped me in a big way

Have a great time!!!!