We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Private vehicles travelling, Mara Triangle to Serengeti

Kampala, Uganda
posts: 7
Private vehicles travelling, Mara Triangle to Serengeti

We live in Uganda and have enjoyed a camping trip to the Mara Triangle before. This time we plan to drive all the way to Karatu on the south Eastern side of the Serengeti, and near Ngorongoro Crater NP. Does anyone know:

1. Why the B144 border crossing at "Sand River" between the two parks has been closed?

2. Are the northern Serengeti Gates of Lamai, Tabora or Ikoma open for us to enter/exit from?

3. Is the Isibania - Nyamwega road bia Borega to the north of Nyamongo Rd a faster route? Google Maps keeps telling me that is the route to take yet it doesn't show up as a B road on the Google map. The turn off to this Northern road from the B6 is at the "Sirari roman Catholic Church" according to Google Maps and follows the border between the two countries via Borega where it turns South ward. Google maps also showed you can follow the road south from a major intersection, to joins up with the Nyamongo Rd. (a shorter route) to reach Nyamwaga. I could not get Google Maps to even choose the Nyamongo Rd as a route. Does anyone know why not? From there the road looks well travelled and leads to the three gates mentioned above.

4. Here are the instructions from TANAPA office, of how to travel between the Mara Triangle and The Serengeti, with no contact details attached! Just his name, Sawe. "You will use tarmac road that goes to Mwanza past Bunda you will find Ndabaka entrance gate. From this gate you will drive 150km to Seronera that takes 2-2:30 DRIVE.Sreonera –Naabi Ihr drive unless there is something interesting on the way.Likewise Naabi to Loduware gate is 104km.". I looked up all these, and compared to my preference for entering via one of the Northern Gates, it is about 150km longer. I seriously doubt we would make it in one day given that from our experience, you have to double the times given by Google Maps.

4. Have the roads either side of the Isibania border crossing been improved in the last few years since the posts I read from 2010??

5. This is the most helpful map site for the National Parks here in the wonderful continent of Africa: africasafarimaps.com/2012/03/tanzania-sereng…

I use it in conjunction with Google Maps to get an idea of distances, times and exact locations.

Hopefully one of the "experts" has been here recently and can answer since TANAPA has been virtually impossible to contact. At least I am sure to be an expert after this trip!

Kampala, Uganda
posts: 7
1. Re: Private vehicles travelling, Mara Triangle to Serengeti

Maybe the Nyamongo Rd from Tarime to Nyamwaga is blocked off by the gold mining company? You can see a huge quarry on the satellite map.....???

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 6,757
reviews: 94
2. Re: Private vehicles travelling, Mara Triangle to Serengeti

After several years reading this forum, there seem to be only two options. Isibania, or the main road from Nairobi to Arusha. You have to use authorized border crossings. If there were more direct options, people would be mentioning it as we would welcome direct options.

As you stated, you need to double Google time recommendations. Also, someone here discussed using a 'road' they saw on a map and it was a nightmare as it was barely a track and over rockbed and if anything had happened, few would have found them. It took three times the time, and they only passed one vehicle where the driver looked at them as if they were nuts.

BTW, is your vehicle a 4WD? If not, best be sticking to tarmac via Nairobi or Bukoba and plan to stay the night somewhere.

Isle of Man, United...
posts: 31,495
reviews: 190
3. Re: Private vehicles travelling, Mara Triangle to Serengeti

I can answer a few Qs.

1. that gate was closed when Kenya and Tanzania broke up the East African Community in the 70s. Tanzania will not re-open it as they do not wish trips coming in from Kenya from the Maasai Mara.

2. Only Ikoma is open of those three.

You can cut down from Isebania border Gate to Ikoma to avoid the longer drive to Ndabaka Gate although the road there may be quicker as it is tarred.

4. I love the way TANAPA are flouting their own speed limit if you drive to Serenera from Ndabaka.

I use the excellent Traks4Africa chip in my Garmin GPS. It covers all East Africa. I would not trust Google to show me the way to Amarillo.

Enjoy your trip and do report back..

nyc
posts: 13,235
4. Re: Private vehicles travelling, Mara Triangle to Serengeti

Amarillo? When are you visiting Texas? Do tell :-)

... oh don't tell me there is an Amarillo in the UK or even your quaint Isle? Did us Yanks steal another name from the Old World countries?

AussieKimba - No comment from me as to which route (as I have no need to drive at home, nor would want to the route/s you are considering), but do figure from wherever in the Mara Triangle with start at crack of dawn, it'll take an entire day to get to Karatu assuming no issues along the way. For many of the tour companies that use the Isebania route from the Mara, it's easily 8-10/yrs to Seronera. Maybe you should consider an overnight somewhere?

Isle of Man, United...
posts: 31,495
reviews: 190
5. Re: Private vehicles travelling, Mara Triangle to Serengeti

Do keep up Princess.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ld1DTmXesTo

nyc
posts: 13,235
6. Re: Private vehicles travelling, Mara Triangle to Serengeti

Rare that I watch YouTube, but that was a hoot.

Guess the guys need some relief from bullets flying past their ears. :-)

Kampala, Uganda
posts: 7
7. Re: Private vehicles travelling, Mara Triangle to Serengeti

Super helpful Mufwe, thanks heaps man! I'll get our GPS geared up with the Traks4 Afrika, thanks for the recommendation, I only came across it this week in my desperate researching. Thanks so much, most helpful advice.

Kampala, Uganda
posts: 7
8. Re: Private vehicles travelling, Mara Triangle to Serengeti

Thanks 4Sandi. I had worked out an estimate of about 10 hrs to Seronera area from the Mara Triangle so it was good you could confirm for us , thanks. We are supposed to camp at one of the special campsites in the Seronera area, but realise we may need to camp at Ndabaka Campsite near the gate - unless the Ikoma route works out...I still await a reply from TANAPA.

Thanks very much for the advice.

Isle of Man, United...
posts: 31,495
reviews: 190
9. Re: Private vehicles travelling, Mara Triangle to Serengeti

You can camp near Ikoma Gate. There is a nice place 1km outside Ndabaka called Serengeti Stopover if you head that way. (It should be on Traks as a waypoint cuz I put it there!)

Kampala, Uganda
posts: 7
10. Re: Private vehicles travelling, Mara Triangle to Serengeti

Oh, great thanks mfuwe for the extra option to stopover - I gather you mean it is nicer than the "Ndabaka Campsite".

Also, have you ever seen or used the "Ikoma Tented Camp"? Between Robanda and the gate - it sounds nice though in the Conservancy there - it is not clear if we can pitch our own tents.

Finally, can you by any chance offer us advice on the best public campsites to use in the Serengeti, please?

If you don't mind, how long since you have been in that area, please?