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Is this a "must see" or an "it's nice if you have the time"?

Illinois
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Is this a "must see" or an "it's nice if you have the time"?

My husband and I are planning a trip to Africa and I'm getting overwhelmed as is our budget. If something in our itinerary must go, should it be Victoria Falls or Ngorongoro Crater?

We know we want to go to Sabi Sands Game Preserve, the Masai Mara, and the Serengeti. It just doesn't look like we will be able to to both Victoria Falls and the Ngorongoro Crater.

Thank you, in advance, for any advice you can share.

melbourne
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1. Re: Is this a "must see" or an "it's nice if you have the time"?

Don't know why you won't fit the Crater in as it is 3 hours drive from the Serengeti and doable if you add an extra night.

When are you travelling? You will be spending a lot of time flying if you plan to do all those 4 parks in the trip and Vic. Falls. I hope you have a month or more. otherwise you will get get a quick flying visit of each.

Ottawa, Canada
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2. Re: Is this a "must see" or an "it's nice if you have the time"?

Perhaps you can find similar environments in fewer countries. African flight infrastructure is expensive, between country flights limited and time consuming. Consider that Masai Mara is just a small extension to the Serengeti. Depending on when you plan to travel, for the wildebeest migration, one might be better than the other for viewing. But in my book, Serengeti would win hands down for most of the year. Then that frees up time to see Ngoro Crater which is a much more unique phenomenon.

Illinois
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3. Re: Is this a "must see" or an "it's nice if you have the time"?

Thank you. This will be a once in a lifetime trip - literally. We have 2 1/2 weeks and need to prioritize. I know the crater is much closer to where we will be in the Serengeti, but if we had to choose between Victoria Falls and Ngoro, I'm hearing you say don't miss Ngoro as it will be time better spent than crisscrossing.

Illinois
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4. Re: Is this a "must see" or an "it's nice if you have the time"?

Thank you. This will be a once in a lifetime trip - literally. We have 2 1/2 weeks and need to prioritize. I know the crater is much closer to where we will be in the Serengeti, but if we had to choose between Victoria Falls and Ngoro, I'm hearing you say don't miss Ngoro as it will be time better spent than crisscrossing.

Washington DC...
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5. Re: Is this a "must see" or an "it's nice if you have the time"?

Unless there's lots of time for the trip (2.5 weeks is borderline) I usually suggest that visitors choose Southern Africa (Sabi Sand, Vic Falls, Okavango Delta) or East Africa (Mara, Serengeti, Crater) and concentrate on it. Flying country to country in Africa can be costly and not all that convenient. Going from East Africa to Vic Falls will cost you lots of time and money for an attraction which, in my mind, is worth one night---too much of everything for not the biggest payoff.

Stick with East Africa and the Crater. You may get bit by the I've-got-to-go-back-to-Africa bug and then you can see Vic Falls as part of your Southern Africa itinerary. I could afford another safari if I had a buck for each time I've heard "once in a lifetime" become "I'm going back."

Good luck with your planning. You'll have a great trip in any case.

Edited: 21 October 2013, 22:01
Appleton, Wisconsin
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6. Re: Is this a "must see" or an "it's nice if you have the time"?

With that amount of time you will need to prioritize what you want to see and decide between East Africa and South Africa. If you really want to do Vic Falls then South Africa is a better choice. If you really want to see the Serengeti than the Crater would be a better choice. As noted above the time and expense it takes to get from East Africa to South Africa can be prohibitive. I know you mentioned the Mara and Serengeti. Most people will choose to do their safari in one country. The trip between the Mara and Serengeti will take a day. There is not an easy way to go between them.

If you are starting to plan a safari take a look at the Top Questions on the right hand side of this page. The first post has good tips for how to go about planning a safari. The 4th post has some nice recommendations for tour operators. You might also benefit from reading trip reports topic at the top of the forum.

Illinois
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7. Re: Is this a "must see" or an "it's nice if you have the time"?

Thank you so much! Your comment helps and I'd love for my husband and I to be two of the folks that can go back someday.

Isle of Man, United...
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8. Re: Is this a "must see" or an "it's nice if you have the time"?

My two cents. first of all unless you are 90 years old there is every chance you will get to go back and even if over 90 you might still do so. As steve says a lot of these 'once in a lifetime' trips have a habit of being repeated. Certainly to Africa.

As your timescale is only 17 days I doubt you will be happy cramming all your 'wants' into the one trip without an awful lot of time at Airports and in planes. You risk being very frustrated.

As I would be if I wanted to visit USA and see Niagra, Grand Canyon, San Francisco and Florida in that time scale. Would I have time for Chicago, NYC and Washington too? How about New England.

So with Ngorongoro on your way to Serengeti just drop into the crater for six hours. Better than two more international flights, visas, and hassle to see a large Waterfall for 20 minutes.

Indeed as Irngirl says, I would scrub out the maasai mara and save another Visa and two days of transfers.

Edited: 21 October 2013, 23:07
Honolulu, Hawaii
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9. Re: Is this a "must see" or an "it's nice if you have the time"?

We were just like you, this was going to be our once in a lifetime trip to Africa. Had been traveling all over the world already, getting up there (grandchildren).

Now we are planning third trip back in three years. Each time we keep narrowing down where we are safaring to. Our favorite places now are pretty much Serengeti and Ngorongoro and Tarengire. All close together and can be done at a reasonable budget.

Happy planning and traveling.

Chicago
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10. Re: Is this a "must see" or an "it's nice if you have the time"?

I agree with the above. You could have a spectacular trip with Serengeti, the crater, Tarangire, Lake Manyara, and even have some time to visit various tribes or rock art or Olduvai Gorge or... The list goes on.