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Serengeti self-drive: confused about leaving park and re-entering


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Hello, I am new to Safari talk and I have the following question: I am planning a self-drive safari for August for two vehicles visiting the parks in northern TZ for 21 days. I would like to spend 8 days all over the Serengeti, hopefully catching the migration in the northern corridor. I am concerned about our food and fuel supply, since the last restock/ refuel point will probably be Karatu and we would be fully self-catering. I mean meat would probably last only 4 days and we are not too keen to eat only canned food.

Do you know if there are grocery stores available outside any of the other gates?

What happens regarding park fee when we leave then re-enter on the same day? The next day?

Any ideas how to figure the itinerary so food/fuel would not be an issue?


Our other spots are Lake Manyara, Tarangire,a crater visit, possibly Lake Natron, Lake Easey.

Thanks a lot for posting your ideas.

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My recommendation would be that you have a freezer in your safari vehicle. We do this all the time when bush camping in the Outback. Your meat and other supplies would easily last 21 days.


Leaving the park and re-entering: Your park ticket should be valid for the whole day, so as long as you re-enter early enough to reach your campsite before curfew you should be fine.

Edited by Soukous
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What @@Soukous says!


A freezer working off your vehicles power supply (ideally a good make designed for the rigours of the African bush, like Enkle). For our 7-8 day trips into the bush (with daytime temps often in the mid-high 40'sC) we rely heavily on carefully prepared, and managed, ice chests, though this is certainly a more space-hungry solution).


We always have cold beer and ice for the sundowners on the final day!

Edited by Whyone?
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  • 3 months later...

Hi, regarding the leaving the parks and re-entering - reading the fine print the entry permit is actually only for "single entry" so if you leave the park, TANAPA don't actually need to allow you back in. You may be able to sweet talk them, but I'm not sure if you want to take the chance. Maybe check with them if you exit that you can actually get back in. There are no shops or anything near the entrance to Serengeti, so it'll be a few hours (tough) drive back to Karatu. (They do have a tiny shop in Seronera, but think water and souvenirs is about the best you can hope for there) As @@Soukous mentioned, a freezer may be a better option for 8 days.

Fuel shouldn't be a problem, there is a fuel station in Seronera and the Crater has one too at the park HQ, it's more expensive than outside (understandably) but as they need to fuel up all the safari vehicles I think the supply is pretty consistent, though I'd fill up before the gauge is on Empty, just in case they are waiting for the fuel truck ;)

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Can't help with the re-entering of the park but I second all the suggestions for a fridge/freezer. Ideally it should run off a second battery - ask the car rental company for options & setup. For 21 days I would freeze the meat and every day then freeze ice packs to place in a picnic cooler for items which should be cool but not frozen: eg cheese, drinks etc. If possible when loading up the freezer for the first time try to put only pre-frozen stuff in it - so perhaps you could ask your accommodation in Arusha whether you can use their freezer if you buy any fresh meat.

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  • 3 weeks later...

You are off on a grand adventure! There is a small community near the Serena hotel at the crater but I aren't sure what they have for grocery store. It isn't far from the western gate (near Lake Victoria) to a market area...but you really need to check with the guys at the gate about getting back in..and you might be a long ways from your camp area! Yup..you need a freezer, but a really good quality ice chest...packed well with frozen solid stuff to start will last a long time. Have another ice chest for "cold but not perishable" and limit opening the frozen food chest. I put a foil "survival" blanket lining the ice chest and it really helps it stay cold a long time, as well as covered out of the hot sun as much as possible. newspaper is a great insulator also! Dinner for each night can be put in the 2nd cooler to thaw & will help chill that food/drink supply down as well. Hopefully you can get a unit that will work from the vehicles power. Good luck!

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  • 1 month later...

Hi all, it has been a while .... But thanks everyone for their input. Forum members are so smart and resourceful and I learn a lot every time I read responses.


We will have a cool box on separate battery and will probably order meat ahead of time to make sure it is frozen solid.

I am also thinking of bringing a cooler/ ice chest that works off the cigarette lighter.


Has anyone flown internationally with a cooler? I would use it as I would a suitcase then check it and later use it as a cooler for drinks, fruit and veggies.

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