Jump to content

Tanzania Take Three - Time for an Intervention

Recommended Posts




I am usually a bit sceptical about going on safari’s in the more “crowded” areas and NP of Africa as a whole and Northern Tanzania or southern Kenya in particular , but I can tell you that this great TR with a very lively description ( and unbelievable photography ) may  have changed that ! 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks @Caracal and @BRACQUENE for following along, and for the kind words.  @BRACQUENE, I think with a good guide who knows his or her stuff, you can find a lot in these parks without having to deal with large crowds. Of course by doing so you might miss out on some sightings (especially big cats in more central areas), but if you're clear with your guide about a preference for avoiding the big traffic jams, they should be able to accommodate you.  The only time that would really be a challenge is if you want to see river crossings, where the limited number of crossing points by default forces vehicles together.  


We're not much in terms of lists, but I thought this might be of interest to some people.  Serious listers will laugh at the last few entries, of bats/rodents that were seen but not identified, but even so 51 different mammals seems a pretty good haul.  The mountain dormouse was really interesting to see - it was stealing from the breakfast buffet at the Crater. 


What did we miss?  Well, I think Bushbuck is becoming our nemesis species.  We saw roughly a dozen on our very first game drive ever, back in 2013, and haven't seen any since.  Not a one.  The other would be wild dogs.  I know experienced people on this site will say that wild dogs in Northern Tanzania shouldn't count as a miss, but if we'd been in the Central Serengeti a day earlier there was a pack seen by the hippo pool, and we definitely would have tried to see them.  I have also indicated to Mussa many times over the years that if he did hear about wild dogs over the radio I'd like him to try to go.  He did one better before this trip, and actually got, from a Tanzanian cheetah researcher he knows, the GPS coordinates of a wild dog den somewhere in the greater Serengeti region.  Unfortunately, no one had been to the area for a few weeks, so they weren't sure if the dogs were still around; it was an area Mussa didn't know well; and we weren't sure we'd be able to use our phones to guide us there.  Originally, the researcher was supposed to be in the area and was going to show us the location, but he got delayed in Arusha. All of those reasons mean we missed out, although we were theoretically close.   


In any case, here's the list (and a few left over photos).


Animals seen (M = Manyara Ranch; T = Tarangire; N = Ngorongoro Crater; CS = Central Serengeti; NS = Northern Serengeti)


1. Rock Hyrax (CS, NS)


2. Bush Hyrax (T)


3. Savanna Elephant (all)




4. Olive Baboon (all)


5. Vervet Monkey (all)


6. East African Springhare (M, NS)


7. African Savanna Hare (M, T)


8. Golden Jackal (N)


9. Black-backed Jackal (all)


10. Bat-eared fox (M, T)


11. Cheetah (T, CS; 13 in total)




12. Serval (CS)




13. Wild Cat (M; 3 total)


14. Lion (all; felt like less than previous trips in the Serengeti, more in Tarangire)




15. Leopard (T, CS, NS; 7 total)




16. Common Genet (NS)


17. Large-spotted Genet (M)


18. Spotted Hyena (T, N, CS, NS)




19. Striped Hyena (M)


20. Egyptian Mongoose (T)


21. Slender Mongoose (M, T)


22. White-tailed Mongoose (M)


23. Banded Mongoose (M, T, CS, NS)


24. Dwarf Mongoose (T, NS)


25. Black Rhinoceros (N)


26. Plains Zebra (all)




27. Common Warthog (all)


28. Common hippopotamus (M, N, CS, NS)


29. Giraffe (all, although only around rim of Crater)




30. African Buffalo (all)


31. Lesser Kudu (M)


32. Greater Kudu (T)


33. Common Eland (all)




34. Steenbok (T, CS)


35. Kirk’s dik-dik (M, T, CS, NS)


36. Klipspringer (T, NS)


37. Thomson’s Gazelle (all)


38. Grant’s Gazelle (M, T, N, CS)


39. Oribi (NS)


40. Bohor Reedbuck (T, CS, NS)


41. Waterbuck (M, T, CS, NS)


42. Impala (all)


43. Topi (CS, NS)


44. Coke’s Hartebeest (T, CS, NS)


45. Common Wildebeest (all)




46. Unidentified mouse (M; being eaten by snake)


47. Mountain dormouse (N)


48. Small bat species (M, T, CS; perhaps multiple species, roosting in roofs of camps)


49. Medium bat species (NS; eating insects at dinner in Kuria Hills)


50. Large bat species (flying around JRO airport on departure


51. Brown rat (N)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



Thanks a lot for the advice and the list ! I was immediately thinking about my two lists after my Kafue Safari back in September and posted in November you might have seen in the TR ; interesting to compare : after three safaris wild dog has also become something of an obsession for me because they are supposed to be in the three NP I did ( Kafue , South Luangwa and Ruaha ) but after 30 days of safari no dogs seen but  a lot of bushbuck especially at Musekese with some resident ones  Never seen Topi , Thompson’s or klipspringer (common in Ruaha) either and Cookson’ s might be for the next one in North Luangwa !?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Zubbie15 said:

51 different mammals seems a pretty good haul


Better than pretty good, I would say!


Good job on the Black Rhino - I missed it during the TR.    

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, offshorebirder said:

Good job on the Black Rhino - I missed it during the TR. 


Haha, glad to know someone was paying attention.  We saw them distantly in the Crater, I only took one record photo which I hadn't planned to show.  




Maybe I'll add just a few more words about our camps, in case there's any interest.  I really liked them all, they treated us well.  I'm sure some here would find them bigger than ideal (especially Kubu Kubu) but they were fine by us.


Manyara Ranch


Great start to our trip, and the one place I actually took a couple of pictures of the camp. It was nice to be there, essentially alone, for the first two nights, and is highly recommended.  My wife liked the luxury of the places like Mpingo Ridge and Kuria Hills, while this simpler camp probably appeals more to me.






Mpingo Ridge


Somewhat larger if full, but when we were there it didn't seem to have more than 12 people on any night.  I liked being a little further into the park, and away from the busier entrance region.   Only one photo, from breakfast our last morning.  I love that view...




Lemala Ngorongoro

We didn't stay here more than a night, and with my wife being sick didn't do much.  The only place we stayed with a communal table for dinner.  It's a real canvas tent, so got fairly chilly during the night, but the bed covers were sufficient that I didn't feel cold.


Kubu Kubu

Larger, permanent camp (25 rooms), so certainly not everyone's cup of tea.  We expect our next trip to Tanzania to be with our kids, and this seems like it would be good for families (buffet meals, a little more contained environment). Sadly, the only picture I took was of the shower.




But a big room, comfortable bed, small balcony, and a sitting area - not much more you need.  Oh, and another great view...




Kuria Hills


Clearly the sister camp (if a little older) of Mpingo Ridge, same general idea.  Is it too fancy for a real safari (fridge in room, for example)?  Quite likely, but still great luxury.  The camp was fairly spread out - we were in one of the further tents, and it was probably a 5 minute walk to the central part of the camp.  I'm sure some tents had amazing views, ours not so much.  We looked out more onto some grassland (see second pic below), although I guess we could have been lucky and seen some action.  The only pictures I took were of our balcony, you can see we were fairly close to the bush.   This was the first camp I have stayed at that required 24 hour guide walk to/from your tent, due to resident buffalo. We definitely heard them a couple of nights.






So all in all a nice mixture of camps, with no complaints. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, last post!  


Would we change anything?  Well, it might have been nice to break things up a bit by going to Lake Manyara and seeing a more forested park.  And I'd love to have an extra day or two for the Central Serengeti.  But where to get those days? Maybe one less in Tarangire, depending on priorities.  Or remove Manyara Ranch?  Ugh, I don't know - I was happy with what we did, and while I'm sure a return trip would look different, it wouldn't be because of any issues with this itinerary.  








What about the migration?  I'm torn, honestly.  As great as it was to see a bunch of crossings, things just seemed to be a bit of a zoo at the river.  And while I'm happy to sit with a sleeping cat to see what it might do, watching wildebeest wander around for hours, knowing there's a good chance they won't do the one thing you want to see, isn't ideal.  And of course that has the tendency to cause all the vehicles to congregate, so even if there aren't too many people in the area, it can feel busy.  I'm pretty sure that I'd much rather, if chasing the herds again, come in February/March and see the herds in the Ndutu area, where in my experience it was much easier to find your own sighting without many (any) people around.  But we'll see, as mentioned before we hope to return with our kids (likely in 2023, assuming continued health and wealth) and whether my wife will agree to take them out of school is still to be determined.






So with that, I guess I'm done. It's been fun to relive this trip, especially given how 2020 is turning out.  Thanks for all the likes and comments, especially to those who have made it this far.  Stay safe everyone, and happy travels in the future. Oh, and if anyone is looking for a good guide for the area, I can wholly recommend Mussa at Roam Serengeti Safaris - he started the company in 2016, and like so many people in the industry right now is struggling (last I heard from him all of this trips for this year were canceled/postponed), but he's a great companion and a knowledgeable guide.   





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Zubbie15 Thanks for all the work you have put in this trip report, I really enjoyed it, it was fun to “be back” and relive my own memories. Great picture of the lioness in your last post.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Zubbie15Thanks a lot for your wonderful trip report and very impressive pictures. It gives me an idea what to expect from our upcoming safari to Tanzania. I can hardly wait two more long years........

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for following along @Biko and @Athene!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thank you from me too. Brought back some memories of our time in the Serengeti much too long ago. Overall superb report and photography. Hope you make it back with your kids. Even though mine were with us when we were there I hope to go back as a family as well. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great trip report with fantastic information. Congratulations on a ton of amazing pictures as well.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, campsafari2015 said:

Great trip report with fantastic information. Congratulations on a ton of amazing pictures as well.

thanks @campsafari2015.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy