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Safari in the Serengeti or Masai Mara?

Both the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya are world renowned safari destinations, both regions offer a brilliant safari experience. If you only have the time to visit one region then which one should you choose?

The question of whether to safari in the Serengeti versus the Masai Mara can easily be answered if you are interested in seeing the great wildebeest migration, particularly from November to end of June. The reason is that the great migration herds tend to be in the Serengeti during this time and so if your objective is to see the Migration, then a Tanzania safari including a safari to the Serengeti is what you should undertake if travelling from November to late June. The Masai Mara though, still has excellent all year round game viewing and it is also less expensive than visiting the Serengeti and so if cost is an issue and seeing the migration is not, then the Masai Mara is well worth a visit.

The other factor to bear in mind is exclusivity. The Serengeti is far bigger than the Masai Mara and so it is easier to enjoy a more exclusive safari experience in the Serengeti than it is in the Masai Mara. That being said, the central regions of the Serengeti can get very busy and so selecting your camps carefully is the key to getting an exclusive safari. In Tanzania it can also work out more cost effective to have your own private guide and vehicle for the duration of your Tanzania Safari. This is due the close proximity of the northern parks such as Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara, the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. Another factor that makes the Serengeti a more exclusive safari destination.

Choosing between these 2 magnificent wildlife regions does get more complicated if you are looking to travel from mid-July until October with the hope of seeing the great herds cross the Mara River. The Masai Mara has some exceptional tented camps that are in the perfect locations for seeing the migratory herds. Most of the herds also tend to cross over into the Masai Mara and so from mid-August to the end of September the Masai Mara is probably the place to be. Wildebeest however, are crazy animals and a lot of the herds tend to cross back and forth over the crocodile infested Mara River and so seeing the migration is still excellent from the Serengeti during this time. The Serengeti has also got a number of well positioned permanent camps and a vast array of semi mobile tented camps, which offer a terrific game viewing experience of the migratory herds and resident wildlife.

Both the Masai Mara and the Serengeti offer an exceptional safari and both regions should be visited where possible. The Serengeti is preferable for those that want more exclusivity and particularly if travel is from November to June and seeing the migration is of paramount importance. The Masai Mara certainly does deliver throughout the year with great resident wildlife and from August to October seeing the great herds spread out on the Mara Plains is a phenomenal site to witness.

Stuart Parker

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