Which Africa tour to choose?

My husband and I have been on the Zambia, Botswana, and South Africa tour and want to go back to Africa, We are considering the Great Migration tour but can't decide which time of year is best to go. We would appreciate any opinions and suggestions on this topic. Also, would this tour be your second choice for a Tauck tour of Africa? If not, which would you choose and why?


  • edited August 2019

    That's a hard question to answer. The Great Migration Tour is new and I haven't seen any reviews on it yet. The 3 nights at the mobile camp in the Serengeti are more rustic than the tented camp Tauck uses in the Mara on the Kenya & Tanzania Classic Safari. We've been to Africa twice. Our first trip was South Africa and Elegant Adventure. Our second was Kenya & Tanzania the Classic Safari. We loved it.I especially enjoyed Amboseli with all the elephants. The Great Migration safari doesn't go there.You also won't go to the Mt. Kenya Safari Club which we enjoyed. We went the end of August and the migration was late that year getting into the Mara. We only saw the very beginning and did not get to see a river crossing. So, if seeing the Great Migration is your priority then I would do that one and ask Tauck which months are best to see it at the mobile camp in the Serengeti. The camp in the Mara isn't mobile. So, if the migration isn't close when you're there, you won't see it.If you want more variety of locations and more upscale lodging then do the Classic Safari. Read both itineraries carefully and read the lodging descriptions to help make your decision. I would also wait until people post trip reviews of the Great Migration safari.

  • edited August 2019

    I have taken, K and T, Tanzania Zanzibar, Elegant South Africa and Botswana Zambia, South Africa. If I were you, I would take the K and T tour. We have seen a few small animal crossings with crocs etc and the animals being skittish etc trying to cross. We have no interest to go during the so called Great Migration. We also think the tour Tauck offers is expensive and shorter, just not worth it. Instead, we hope Tauck starts to offer Namibia again, we would love to go back there, it’s beautiful, if you want to see lots of animals, don’t go there though. You will see oryx and desert elephants. We jumped at the chance to do the K and T Rwanda tour and booked it immediately, can’t wait to go.

  • Comparing the K&T Classic Safari trip and the Great Migration trip it appears that the Great Migration trip focuses on just that, the Great Migration in the Serengetti and Masai Mara, at the expense of Amboselli and Mt Kenya Safari club. What this means is by missing Amboselli you miss the location that has the highest concentration of elephants and by missing Mt Kenya Safari club you miss the location where you have the greatest exposure to rhinos. Not that you don't see elephants and rhinos in other places it's just in those two locations your chances for numerous great photo opportunities of elephants and rhinos increase significantly.

  • edited August 2019

    The times and locations for the migration can change from season to season and depend a lot on the rains. We were lucky enough to observe a "mini" migration in the Mara on K&T, no river crossings. The rains had been late that year and according to our guides the wildebeest were a bit confused so hadn't left the area. I must have thought it wasn't all that impressive since I apparently didn't take any stills, just some short videos of the long lines of meandering, "gnuing" wildebeest and their traveling companions, the zebras, impala, gazelle, etc.

  • I posted these pictures to another thread, but I thought I'd post them here as well. They were taken during our K&T Classic tour. We actually saw a couple of crossings, some in each direction. Watching was special. The animals would sometimes make a fake charge to the river but not cross. While other times they actually crossed. The pictures show the animals crossing and the fact that sometimes they don't make it across.

  • We just returned (August 2) from the Great Migration. We were in the Serengetti and the Mara at the perfect time, (July 20-29) and saw thousands of wildebeests and zebra racing along and crossing. The crocs were waiting at the river and managed to snag a baby wildebeest ( that's nature) and we watched a young wildbeest struggle against the current and eventually make it to the other side. We saw all of the big 5 between the Serengetti and the Masai Mara. The Mara had tons of elephants when we were there. We are city folk seniors and were a bit apprehensive about staying in a mobile tent camp in the middle of the Serengetti. The tents were wonderful: large, king-size beds, designer linens, dependable electric lighting, hot water bottles at night, freshly supplied hot water for your indoor shower, fresh hot water in the AM for your washing basin, carpeted floors and an indoor porcelain flush toilet. "Mobile camp" means that the camp is moved around the Serengetti 3 times a year to follow the herds. We did not see any animals in the campsite, but we slept to the sounds of lowing wildebeests and snuffling zebras, and in the morning their fresh droppings were proof that they had been there. We even heard a lion in the distance one night. Our guides demanded that were were escorted our tents in the dark because the "wild" animals can and do make their appearance. That said, the experience although not as deluxe as the finest hotels in Europe was hardly like camping in a boy scout pup tent. We will probably never get back to Africa due to the travel time/expense and our advancing age, but if we could, I would try the K and T classic for a contrast. We did spend 4 days in Capetown on our own and while we enjoyed the scenery and wine country we did not do another game drive. When all is said and done, Capetown is just another beautiful city like San Francisco, Auckland, Sydney etc.

  • We have done Z, B, and SA once, and K&T twice. I probably don’t have to telegraph my recommendation. Our two K&Ts could not have been more different in spite of the ‘similar’ itinerary. Our first K&T had three nights at Mt. Kenya, and our second had two. The first was dry with a full blown massive crossing at the Masa Mara. Our second was wet with no substantial crossing. But, the second had more animals. The first we saw many Chetahs and no leopards. The second we saw leopards but no chetahs. We prefer the ‘all safari’ option versus one that splits touring and safari. For us it is all about the animals. If that is what you are looking for ... K&T.

  • Sealord, do you mind sharing with me the dates that you went on the K&T tour and which date you think was best?

  • I was on the Tanzania Zambia tour at the exact same time as Sealord went on his first K and T tour. We met and spoke to him and his wife at the Arusha hotel, but he does not remember.
    You just cannot really say there is one best time to go, it’s partly luck especially if seeing animals is the most important part of the trip for you. If I remember correctly, that year there was a drought, so there were less animals, no maybe that was the first time we went. But Sealord has commented on the difference of his two times in the past. However, you will definitely see more animals than on your previous tour than perhaps elephants. You are very unlikely to see wild dogs and certainly no Meerkats. So in a way, the qualify of animals you see is better on the Botswana tour, we even saw the very rarely spotted Honey Badger when we went to Botswana.

  • For many, their best Africa trip was their first (usually K&T) and kinda of like their first boy or girl friend, while for others it is their most recent. The trips are different. Except for the hippos below the tent decks in Mara River and possibly animals visiting the Four Seasons watering hole (the two days we were there, we didn't see a single animal at the watering hole, however!), the animals you'll see on K&T are seen during game drives in the Serengeti, Masai Mara, or the controlled environment of the Ol Pajeta Conservancy. We did, however, see a family (mother, father, baby) of small Klipspringers under the walkway outside our room at the Four Seasons. On Botswana, SA, Zambia- you'll see animals all the time from your deck at two of three of the tented camps- open your tent door, step onto the deck at Khwai River and see, hippos, a herd or two of elephants (one or two of which may actually come, uninvited, into camp), impala, zebra, giraffe, etc. etc. You'll also see more of the same on game drives too- lions (as many as on K&T but usually up closer on B,SA,Z), leopards, wildebeest, various antelope (water buck, impala, red lechwe, etc. but not nearly as many varieties as on K&T.) You will also see more smaller animals during B,SA,Z- wild dogs, dwarf and yellow mongooses, bat-eared foxes, squirrels, and spring hares, and of course the wonderful meerkats. You will also see far more birds on B,SA,Z!! And yes, the meerkats get up close and personal and do indeed ll climb up on anything (or anyone) to get better view of the area.

    If you are only going to take one trip it is a real toss up. We give both an 11 on a 10 point scale. Maybe the one thing that might put B,SA,Z a notch ahead for us were the extra activities we did on our own- microlight flight over Victoria Falls and animal encounters (rode elephants and walked with lions and cheetahs) that some people frown upon. So my recommendation is just plan on taking both!!! Do K&T first and then B,SA,Z! I believe it was Leo, a former forum regular, who first said quite a few years ago, "Go to Africa once and you WILL go back!"

  • Alan - curious about your bottom picture. Are those lions rescues, so used to people, or recently fed, so you aren't on the menu?

  • There were 4 juveniles, one male (we are petting) and 3 females, all siblings. We were told they were from a litter rescued at age? Obviously they have been socialized. There were plenty of (safety) handlers, we had to follow specific protocols when we approached and interacted, and we carried "distraction" sticks in case any of them became too interested in us. Tauck used to offer this activity but stopped a few years ago.

  • We had a similar experience to Alan. This was in Zambia. I also agree that Botswana had a better variety of animals. If it was a pure Botswana safari, instead of half touring and half safari, we would have done that one twice. But, we still love K&T.

  • milmil
    edited January 2

    CaraBethP Happy New Year.
    Well, regarding Africa,all I can say it's , We told you! , Africa it's Amazing and Addicting, regarless of which country you visit .
    Yes,the SA, B and Zambia it's and Amzing one to. I did it last Sept. and as I was worry about not seeing enough animals, I can tell you .. it was Heaven!
    We saw more then 300-400 elephants at the Chobe river, Rhino mom with baby, tons of animals at water holes in Kalahari, a lot of lions, Zebras, Meerkas.. etc.
    It is an Amazing trip.- Hopefully you'll get Chris Mancinni- he is a legend.
    Have a lovely day.

  • We have done Z, B, & SA, and we have done K&T three times. We love both tours, but after seeing South Africa we did not feel it necessary to do that touring again. For our return trips, we also wanted to do more than six days of game drives. We really liked the camps on the Z,B,&SA, but the Mount Kenya Safari Club is my favorite place on the planet. During the pandemic Fairmont remodeled the Safari Club, and basically removed William Holden. I don’t think that was appropriate. There are still some pictures at the animal sanctuary.
    Nice picture CaraBethP.

  • We LOVED the Safari club! While we were there they held a very big fancy wedding. The presidents of both Kenya and Tanzania were there.

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