Serengeti – Safari and the Great Migration – Part 1

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We have written our Serengeti trip, which ranks first in the list of honeymoon routes, for you.

How did we decide?

It is true that we have dreamed of it as a couple since childhood. Even when we didn’t have marriage in mind, Africa was always the subject of honeymoon jokes. From the moment we decided to get married, no other place was mentioned.

Of course, we had the Serengeti National Park in our dreams. Neither of us had any guesses about which airport we should fly to, what kind of hotel we should choose, moreover, our range of options and what kind of trip it would be. We only knew what the term “wet season” meant and that it varies by region.

was sure that going with a tour could lead to situations that we would not want, but that it would provide convenience. We would never want this in Africa on our honeymoon, when we are faced with a lot of later situations that you are not sure about even on a regular European tour. I didn’t fall for it too much, I already came across those who take me to certain touristic centers (Cape Town, Johannesbug, Dar es Salaam etc.). When I searched foreign travel forums, I can say that I encountered more options and stories. That’s why I tried to make this article as detailed as possible.

Where did we stay?

Our honeymoon budget was unlimited, we planned to spend as much as possible on our dream vacation by giving up the items we would buy. Maybe when I saw the prices and conditions of Singita Serengeti House, which I had been following for years, it became clear that we could not go. We focused on other accommodation options under the same conditions.

In October, when I looked at the options on Booking.com for May 16-24, I came across full, half and “no (accommodation only)” hostel options.

During my research on foreign forums, I got really interesting information about the region. First of all, when you consider that most of the continent is made up of big and small game reserves, it makes sense that all the arrangements put the animals of the region in the foreground. There is no question of building a concrete wall in the area, preventing animals from entering, or creating corridors for wildlife. On the contrary, let’s allocate minimum zones to people. Therefore, in temporary or permanent accommodation areas called “camps”, people are protected from the wild by being accompanied by armed local guards at night. In villages, houses are generally protected with cactus walls, and cultivated areas are protected with traditional methods. As you can see on the sites of accommodation centers, there are armed locals accompanying you in trekking safari options. Starting from here, let’s go for a walk here, let’s go up that hill, let’s do yoga here.

This means that let’s eat dinner at Ikoma today, we’ll have a walk, no. Since it is not difficult to understand this, we eliminated other hostel options and turned to full board.

Accommodation close to the game reserves rather than in the city was our top priority. You can also choose to stay in the city and move to the park every day during your safari day so that I can see the city life. We preferred a different night life because we knew that the wildlife did not stop when the sun went down and we wanted to sleep listening to those sounds. Apart from that, it was important for us to see the transitions from where we sit and from our room. That’s why I focused my search on the map, as close as possible to water sources that could be the center of animal crossings, and directed them to accommodation in those areas.

Although there are not many options, there are options in different price ranges. We chose Grumeti Migration Camp, which is a camp that can be considered both close to the village and close to the game reserves. It was a win-win situation with its full board, location, staff, welcome and farewell services, and we did not regret a second of our choice.

Of course, before making the payment, we discussed all the issues we had in mind via e-mail, which helped us to answer many questions in our minds.

It is necessary to be detailed in your negotiations with the hotel. Thinking that we will stay there for 8 days, they first made an 8-day safari program. However, when we reduced it to 3 days and included the transfers, the price became even more affordable.

Planning Trip

Of course, our first priority in this regard was whether there was a direct flight to Tanzania. THY has direct flights to Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar Airports in Tanzania. However, since the flight to Seronera Airport, which will enable you to reach Serengeti, is only from Arusha, we had to fly to Kilimanjaro as the airport where we could reach there as soon as possible. For those who want to spend time in the city, of course, there are intercity bus and plane options. Since our plan was to spend our entire honeymoon in the Serengeti, we chose the route Istanbul-> Kilimanjaro. Again, one of the things you will come across while doing research is that there is no other method of transportation between Kilimanjaro Airport and Arusha, and the fee is $50. True. When you exit Kilimanjaro Airport, you are already greeted by registered and ID taxi drivers. You confirm the price and jump in the car, and after about 45 minutes, they drop you off in front of the hotel in the city of Arusha. We had to pay $60 for Arusha Airport. Not far from the city, the airport is still out of the drivers’ route. If your flight is at night like ours and your landing is in an absurd hour, of course they help for $10-20. This was exactly the case in our case. Our landing at Kilimanjaro Airport was past midnight and the flight Arusha->Seronera the hotel arranged for us was at 7:45 am. Our arrival at Arusha Airport was around 02:00 at night and the airport was closed at that time. Of course, it was a little surprising to see this because we thought that we could spend the morning there with the logic of Turkey. We talked about the situation with our taxi driver and he relayed it to 2 locals who were guarding the airport security. In this way, we were able to enter the airport and wake up there.

Visa Satus

When you enter Kilimanjaro Airport, you enter the area where you will receive your visa, and the officers fill the required form and stand in line for a small interview. While making your transactions, the officer asks where you will stay and why you are logging in, and you complete your entry for $50 at the end.

More to come 🙂

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