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camping safari in North Circuit Tanzania

Enniskillen, United...
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camping safari in North Circuit Tanzania

Hi all

We are a family of 7 - 5 kids! age 13 to 22 yrs -and I am finalising a 8 night safari- the price is reasonable- and we have the option of staying in the special camps on the parks for an additional cost for extra vehicle ,tents ,fees etc which i believe is good value- we are an adventurous family and do not need to be spoiled- however our TO has raised a caution re the extra Danger Factor of camping on a special campsite versus the public camps at sernoera etc- is this significant or do you think we should go for the extra excitement as this is a "special "trip and it is unlikely we shall do it again.We are travelling on to Diani beach afterwards via Moshi for 2 weeks

Thanks for your opinion

Joe

1. Re: camping safari in North Circuit Tanzania

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Ottawa, Canada
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2. Re: camping safari in North Circuit Tanzania

The special campsites are often used by group tours such as OAT Travel which is an American tour company that takes 'mature' travelers several times a week into the Serengeti. Yes, you have to pay for all the extra infrastructure, but it ends up being arranged similar to the 'mobile' camps that are common in Northern Circuit. It is true that there is no fencing, and if you have an entire one with just 7, mostly kids, you will need to ensure that they know to stay close to parents. I have had elephants near camps. Our special camp had lions visit one night. The males followed a female in heat near the fire pit and we were then not able to go near that area. Hyenas can come by. All these animals can visit slightly larger camps as well, but they have size and maasai guards to give an extra buffer of protection.

I personally would want to avoid the public campsites particularly if visiting at a busy time of year, but you want to ensure that everyone knows that animals can be a real possibility and never - never, to leave a tent at night without 'back up'.

I expect that to some point your extra staff will also provide some security when you are in camp. They were very good at chasing the 7 lions out of camp. It was also my birthday dinner. It made it particularly 'special' and pretty hard to beat.

melbourne
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3. Re: camping safari in North Circuit Tanzania

The special campsites are an extra $50 pppn for adults. It can be a really special experience with only your family there the 2 drivers and I am guessing a cook and one other person. I have read what QM says about wildlife visiting the camps and I do agree.

Wildlife will visit the camp at night but rarely do they interfere with tents. I would not miss this experience to be in a special campsite on your own. The public campsites can be very crowded.....with the shower and toilet facilities the same.

Where are you staying at Ngorngoro ???? I would go for the special campsites and make sure the youngest child was staying in a tent with an older sibling...of course.

Saint Paul...
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4. Re: camping safari in North Circuit Tanzania

We recently had some people stay in a special campsite and it was too wild for them. They had to call us and ask for something more permanent. Apparently there were a LOT of animals at night. Many more than they thought and it was quite frightening. (I suppose sometimes there will be many animals and sometimes none.) We learned that it is important to let everyone know that it can be downright frightening, even if safe.

Opinion: With kids, not sure. Yours are a bit older, so maybe it would be okay. But I would personally be hesitant to take kids to a special campsite. Those camps can really be just a piece of land, not even mowed very well. I think everyone would be much happier going to an established camp with a staff and such.

melbourne
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5. Re: camping safari in North Circuit Tanzania

Brian

I thought the comparison was a special camp versus a public camp site....not the permanent tented camps with 10 to 20 tents...and 10 or more staff .... lot of difference.

Saint Paul...
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for Tanzania, Serengeti National Park
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6. Re: camping safari in North Circuit Tanzania

Yes, that's what the comparison was. It was just me wandering off topic to what I would do.

Ontario's...
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7. Re: camping safari in North Circuit Tanzania

You could not pay me to spend even one night on a public campsite at Seronera.

In July 2012, while on a self-drive along the Northern Circuit of Tanzania, we spent several nights in the Serengeti, camped on a special campsite at Moru kopjes. We stopped at one of the public campsites at Seronera for lunch on one of the days, and were horrified with what we found - garbage strewn everywhere, radios blaring, guides/drivers shouting back and forth to each other between the two dining areas, and tents crammed in like sardines. It was awful! We ate and ran!

In all of the parks (Lake Manyara, Tarangire, the Serengeti, including Seronera, Lobo and the Western Corridor, and the Mara Triangle in Kenya) that we have visited in Tanzania and Kenya - either in 2012 or on our first visit in 2009 - the special campsites have been lovely - remote and always in beautiful, scenic spots. For us, the difference in cost between the special versus public campsites is well worth it (it depends on the park, but typically US$50 versus US$30 pp/pn for foreign visitors.) There is nothing quite like the feeling that you are alone in the African bush.

In terms of safety, both types of campsites are unfenced. However, given the larger number of people and the noise factor on the public campsites, you are less likely to encounter animals there. On the isolated special campsites, as long as you are being quiet, it would be unusual for animals not to visit the campsites - both during the day and at night. It is a rare evening, particularly after sunset, that animals of some sort do not wander past, or onto, our campsites. We travel with powerful flashlights and, after dark, we scan the surrounding bush constantly for eye shine. If we see some, we verify what the animal it is with our binoculars. We have had just about every animal on our campsites - from elephants, hippos and bush babies, to hyenas, zebras and lions. Most arrive shortly after we put out the fire and crawl into the tent - that is, when it becomes dark and quiet. We always feel perfectly safe in our roof top tent. There is nothing quite like peeking out of the windows of the tent and watching elephants grazing nearby, hyena checking out the fire pit, or lions wandering past the 4x4.

Your children are old enough to understand the dangers of wandering too far from the campfire/ group. In the evening, you can have them help watch for eye shine. Assuming that you are traveling with a guide, he will patrol the periphery of the campsite after dark until you are all in bed. I agree that there should be an adult in every tent.

In all of our camping trips, we have only had one close call on a campsite. While camping in the Mara, two cheetahs wandered past our campsite after dark. After they left, we stupidly assumed that their presence meant that there were likely no other predators in the area. Bad bad assumption! We looked up shortly afterwards to find a male lion standing about 30m from our vehicle. So, yes it can be dangerous to camp on a special campsite. You certainly have to keep your wits about you and be constantly alert. A moment of carelessness could have cost us dearly. When it is just the two of us keeping watch on the campsite, it is never exactly restful - we take turns scanning with the flashlights. Even during the day, we must be constantly alert. You will have the advantage of many people to keep watch.

I would recommend the special campsites - an experience not to be missed. Worth every penny and perfectly safe as long as you are cautious and sensible.

Below is a link to our trip report from our 2009 self-drive. It includes many photos of the special campsites along the Northern Circuit. Enjoy! CR

…smugmug.com/Travel/…9504315_zcbkVx

Ottawa, Canada
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8. Re: camping safari in North Circuit Tanzania

So, from the descriptions, the type of tenting is also going to matter. I will admit to remembering my enjoyable time there, but forgetting that I was in a large canvas tent giving space between me and walls and animals, Robin was in a raised tent, but if you are using nylon pop up tents, then there is added vulnerability. Too bad no acacia corrals available.

South Riding VA
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9. Re: camping safari in North Circuit Tanzania

Robin,

I have been spending the morning reading your journal. what a fascinating adventure. I'm still in the Mara with you, but wanted to tell you that I am thoroughly enjoying it. Thanks for posting the link again.

It's been a few years. Have you gone anywhere since or do you and Robert have plans for another adventure?

Thanks-chris

Enniskillen, United...
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10. Re: camping safari in North Circuit Tanzania

Thanks for all your comments-we have decided to opt for camping on the special sites, it sounds really wonderful -(we will have to purchase some powerful torches as it seems night safariis may not be required when the animals come to you)- but await confirmation as to which sites they will be- We will only be in the serengeti for 3 nights so if we have option should we move camp or stay put for convenience

bye for now JMcCon

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