Off Season Tanzania

July 14th 2014  |   Tanzania  |  by   Victoria Langmead
Off Season Tanzania

Off Season Tanzania

November is traditionally known as the end of the East African long, dry season, with the short rains bringing a welcome relief to the stark, parched land. In safari terms, November is often overlooked as a time to travel but as I discovered on my recent trip to northern Tanzania it is in fact a wonderful time to be on safari.

Off season value

Not only do camps and lodges lower their rates, making a safari here excellent value, but visitor numbers are also low so you get a more private safari experience than at other times of the year. It can be hot and you do get the odd thundery downpour, for which you need to be prepared, but the animal viewing is superb as the wildlife tends to congregate around the few remaining water sources. It is home to famous safari areas like the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, and it was great to be back in this area again.

A surprise ‘back to basics’ camping trip

I sampled well over 30 lodges but the find of my visit was a simple mobile camping operation in the remote far north of the Serengeti. Although I’m known in the office for enjoying my creature comforts, and I certainly enjoyed some wonderfully luxurious lodges on this trip, my night camping in the bush with Jean Du Plessis, who owns and runs Wayo Africa, was the best of the whole trip. It was lovely to be back to basics, have the feeling of being well of the beaten track and doing something a bit adventurous. Jean founded the company in 2008 with the aim of recreating a traditional tented safari and enabling guests to experience the African bush in a way not possible from a permanent lodge or camp. Although game drives still form a major part of the safari, almost every area Jean visits allows for exploration on foot, and he gets to areas where the local tribes still see few visitors, so true cultural interaction is possible.

What is the mobile safari like?

You aren’t confined to doing the same thing every day, the safaris are totally flexible and take into account the area and wildlife movements and will be run to suit your own preferences. It’s proper camping, but comfortable at the same time. The 3x3m dome tents have a thick foam mattress and full bed linen. There is a traditional safari shower and long drop loo nearby. Meals are home cooked by the very friendly camp team and are typically enjoyed under the African sky. This sort of mobile safari has been available in Southern Africa for a long time, but it’s the first we’ve come across in the Serengeti so it offers a great opportunity to see the game rich areas of East Africa. It truly is the real deal and we think it is well worth shouting about.

What makes it so good?

  • You can get right off the beaten track and follow animal movements, reaching the areas of greatest game concentrations throughout the year.
  • You are hosted by a knowledgeable, friendly and professional guide.
  • It’s simple camping in the style of safari pioneers – but in more comfort.
  • It’s an intimate way to explore the bush and your surroundings.
  • There are varied activities depending on your location. For example, you can explore the bush on foot in the company of a specialist walking guide, or can take game drives in a fully safari-equipped 4x4s each day.
  • A mobile safari combines very well with some time in a permanent lodge.

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