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First Time Safari - Serengeti or Maasai Mara?

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PA
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First Time Safari - Serengeti or Maasai Mara?

I'm going to ask this both on the Serengeti and Mara forums since I realize that opinions will vary and I'd like to hear them all. I am struggling with going to either TZ or Kenya for my first Safari trip. This for me, like a lot of people is a big trip that I have dreamed about and so I want it to be a very special trip focused on the animals and the people and culture. I don't like the sounds of the crowds in the Mara, but it still seems like everyone who goes writes that it was a spectacular experience. I heard (don't know if it's true) that it doesn't make sense to go to both on the same trip as it's so similar. So, if anyone would like to give some advice to a first timer, I'd really appreciate it. I am planning a Safari trip for 2015 and would want to spend about 10 days.

Thanks so much! Hope this isn't a stupid question.

Sharon

PA
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11. Re: First Time Safari - Serengeti or Maasai Mara?

Carol:

Thanks so much for the response. I appreciate the information about the Mara and the other parks in Kenya. I have definitely decided at this point to go to Kenya versus Tanzania. I just hope that issues with violence currently in the coastal areas settle down before next year. It's the only thing making me hesitate to book now.

Even thought I realize that it's not affecting the Safari areas it still makes me nervous in case it expands.

Thanks again.

Sharon

washington dc
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12. Re: First Time Safari - Serengeti or Maasai Mara?

Hi Sharon this is a tough choice but I did both Sept2013 and I give the nudge to the Serengeti. I have details on both places on my blog if you'd like to check out all the details.

carryingonbags.com/serengeti-safari-sept2013/

Oakland, CA
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13. Re: First Time Safari - Serengeti or Maasai Mara?

Just returned from Kenya. No problems. Pennsylvania would worry me more than does Kenya.i.e.e , not at all. Go, and relax !!!

Mara was incredible. Saw every big cat you can imagine, plus a Mara Rivet crossing. GO! You will not regret it

PA
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14. Re: First Time Safari - Serengeti or Maasai Mara?

Phoenix: Thanks! I enjoyed your blog very much. I have decided on Kenya, but parts of Tanzania would be on my list for a second safari!!!

PA
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15. Re: First Time Safari - Serengeti or Maasai Mara?

Hi Calinurse: Glad to hear you had a great trip. Where did you go in Kenya?? I agree that Kenya doesn't seem a whole lot scarier than many other parts of the world and I'm not letting it deter me from traveling there. Thanks again for all the comments. Sharon

Michigan
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16. Re: First Time Safari - Serengeti or Maasai Mara?

Glad to hear that you've reached a decision. Since you mentioned this is your first trip, like many of us, you will return because the place just grabs you. Between Kenya and Tanzania, and everyone has their own opinion, I have to say I enjoy Kenya more. Maybe it is because I travel totally over land (no internal flights) and the distances between parks in Kenya seems shorter, especially if you're going out to the Serengeti in Tanzania. There is plenty to see in Kenya - my favorite is Ol Pejeta Conservancy and the Mara. But Lake Naivaisha, Lake Nakuru, Mt. Kenya areas, Samburu, are all great. Every trip is different.

Regarding Ngorongoro Crater, even though I know you are not going this trip, some might say 1 trip into the crater in 19 years wouldn't work for me. I was there in 2009 for 1 night and in 2012 for 2 nights (2 trips into the Crater), this year in March, another 2 nights and 2 trips in. It's different every time. In March it was fantastic.

And even though I did a 3 week trip to Kenya and Tanzania this past March, I'll be back in October, just Kenya, for 2 more weeks. Just wish the air flights were not so long.

A variety of photos from my trips are posted under the Africa section of my site and you can see, the experiences are different each trip.

laurenajenkinshoffmeyer.com/travels-near-and…

Laurena

London
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17. Re: First Time Safari - Serengeti or Maasai Mara?

Both countries are great. If you want to catch the Migration then the time of year you are going will decide lead you to decide where you should be based.

I noted your comment: "I don't like the sounds of the crowds in the Mara..." This resonates with me - on my last 30+ safaris in Africa and Asia I like to couple a special wildllfe/wild place experience with low tourist density. In Kenya this usually means conservancies. The benefits are immense and if you are in one of the Conservancies abutting the Maasai Mara National Reserve you can go game drive there also. To me the main advantages are.

1) No set times to return to your camp - in the main Reserve you could be watching the beginnings of an exciting hunt but would have to head back for the evening curfew

2) limited number of vehicles so no mad min bus circus around the animals - the Mara Conservancies operate on a one tent per 700 acre basis so the wildlife viewing is outstanding. Earlier this year I was in the Ol Kinyei conservancy which is exclusive to the Porini Camps (they run three there with different pricing options) and we spent ages with a pride of lion, three sightings of leopard and cheetahs hunting with no other vehicles around us. see www.porini.com

3) Flexibility of timings - you can take a breakfast or picnic lunch out with you - do night drives, game walks etc - this flexibility is only in the Conservancies

4) the package is usually all in

5) there is real engagement with the local community who share in the benefits of the conservancy

PA
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18. Re: First Time Safari - Serengeti or Maasai Mara?

Thanks for taking the time to share the above information. I really appreciate it and it seems like great advice. I think the conservancy sounds like the way to go. And since I originally posted this thread, I have decided on Kenya but it's great to hear that reinforced by others! I also have decided I want to go during the migration so will be planning for next September. When are you going again??

Sharon

Hobart, Australia
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19. Re: First Time Safari - Serengeti or Maasai Mara?

Hi Sharon

I have just returned home after a safari through Kenya and Tanzania. I stayed at Karen Blixen camp in the Mara North Conservancy. The accommodation was superb,spacious permanent tents in a beautiful setting on the Mara River complete with Hippos in the waterhole.

We saw a number of crossings, at one we were the only truck and watched a croc take down a wildebeest.

I did not feel at all unsafe in Kenya. I also visited Amboseli and Nakuru and can definitely recommend them both. I stayed at Satao Elerai near Amboseli and it was a beautiful camp with a great view of Kilimanjaro.

regards

Sandytiger

20. Re: First Time Safari - Serengeti or Maasai Mara?

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