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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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  #1  
Old 24 Feb 2010
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Self Drive Serengeti/Masai Mara/Ngorongoro

Hello all,

Is it even possible to self drive these three reserves in a 4WD, with our without a guide? If so, are there set entry points and/or fees? Also, do you HAVE to use the camping lodges / camp grounds once inside the reserve, or can you just camp on the side of the road?

I know how it works down in Bots in the Okavango, but wasn't sure of the deal up in Kenya and Tanzania.

Cheers.
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Old 24 Feb 2010
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For Kenya Game Parks (ie. Masai Mara) -

-Anyone can drive in and around. Normal traffic laws of the country apply.
-No guide required.
-2wd vehicles quite feasable and common, except in rain seasons.
-Entry fee charged. If I recall correctly it is a daily/person/vehicle based charge. Visitors are charged more than Kenya Residents (to encourage tourism?!!).
-Entry gates on main roads - not open at night time.
-There are camping areas at Lodges within Parks.

Tanzania probably similar.
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Old 24 Feb 2010
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I cant speak for Masai Mara, but the following applies for Serengetti and Ngorogoro Crater. This all applied in early 2009 so may well have changed, though i have not heard of any changes personally.

Be prepared it is expensive!

1. You can not pay cash upon entering the crater national park or Serengetti. You have to go to a bank to buy the credit which gets put onto a card. Bugger me I cant remember which bank it is, but it is only one bank which does it. I used the one in Arusha, Tanzania. Could possibly be called AXIM, though dont quote me on that.

2. You are charged per 24hours in the parks. If you get to the gate to exit and you are just 5 minutes over, you will pay for another 24hours. They are strict about this. Dont be tempted to hang around waiting to see that leopard, you need to get out in time!

3. You can not just camp on the roadside, if they catch you there are big fines. You have to stay at one of the designated "camp sites".....though some of these are so basic they may as well be a bushcamp!

4. From memory, the costs were:

- Per person per 24hours, 50usd entrance
- Per person per 24 hours, 30usd camping (yep!)
- Per vehicle per 24 hours, 100usd (for a truck, poss cheaper for a landy)

Remember, the Crater and Serengetti are 2 different national parks. Lets say you enter the crater at 5am to see the sunrise and see animals. If you then leave by lunch to get into the Serengetti, you'll have to pay all those fees again at the entrance to the Serengetti.

The road between the crater and the entrance to the serengetti entrance (3 hours drive in a truck).....damn that road was some BAD corrugations in 2009, hope theyve graded it.

If its been raining that 4wd will be real useful in getting you off the main tracks to see a bit more. Can get real muddy.

No you do not need guides in either of the parks. Well you didnt when I was there, but they could prob be useful in knowng where things are happening, that Serengetti is a big place!
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Old 24 Feb 2010
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Great info again. Thanks guys. It is quite expensive, more than I had expected. But I guess that's the way it goes.

Do you know if the campsites get full around mid to late April? I'm just wondering if we can show up on the day and book it. And do you have to pay more on top of that $30USD to a specific site, or does the $30USD cover you for wherever you go?
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Old 24 Feb 2010
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^ Actually think the bank was called EXIM not AXIM

Yes there is a wide difference in costs of campstes and lodges. I always used the cheapest I was aware of and that was 30usd per night per person. Rip off central. Its basicaly a fenced off area with a bit of shelter and some toilets and taps. But hey if the money is used to look after the park then no worries.

Not been in april so dont know if it will be busy. Basically big luxury tour groups use those rich lodges, Overland companies (Guerba, ATC, Dragoman etc) use the cheap campsites, and independants squeeze in somewhere inbetween. There's a number of cheapie sites so im sure you'll find somwhere, theyre fairly decent size spots.
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