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Mara Sarova Tented Camp or Mara Serena Lodge? Help!

New York
Level Contributor
29 posts
71 reviews
Mara Sarova Tented Camp or Mara Serena Lodge? Help!

Hi Everyone,

I'm planning a trip to the Mara - I've never been - and I wanted to stay one night in Sarova and two nights in Serena, but my travel agent told me Serena is unavailable for the dates I want. I'm thinking of changing the dates, because I see from the maps that Serena is in the Mara Triangle, which I've heard excellent things about, and where the river crossings of the Wildebeest most likley would take place. I also heard that this area of the Mara is less crowded since the Serena is really the only place in the triangle in terms of affordable lodging. I also heard night drives are offered in this area, which they are not in other areas of the reserve.

Second question, if I do stay at Sarova for all three nights, is this place driving distance (like during the game drives) to the Mara Triangle? Or is it too far to ever end up there during the drives?

Any feedback on this matter would be greatly appreciated as I am really stressing myself out over this (I've been saving for this trip for a long time and I want to pick the right thing!) and I'm supposed to hear from my agent tomorrow if Serena has availability during nearby dates. Also I am less concerned about the luxury, food, etc. of the place and more interested in the surroundings and the better wildlife sightings.

USA
Level Contributor
718 posts
22 reviews
1. Re: Mara Sarova Tented Camp or Mara Serena Lodge? Help!

What month are you going? I would not split a 3-night stay into 2 and 1.

If your dates are flexible and Serena has openings, I'd adjust and stay there. Only been to Serena, not Sarova, but others who've gone to Sarova during migration time have driven to where they needed, have enjoyed resident wildlife, and have had an outstanding time.

One thing you may wish to state up front with your agent and then upon arrival at your lodging is that you'd like at least one day where you take a lunch box and stay out all day. That increases your mobility.

Even if you are at the perfect spot for a wilde crossing, in a 3-day stay they may or may not cross. But don't stress out over crossings or lodging. If you have 3 days in the Maasai Mara, you'll see amazing things and have a fabulous time, no matter where you stay.

New York
Level Contributor
29 posts
71 reviews
2. Re: Mara Sarova Tented Camp or Mara Serena Lodge? Help!

Thanks for the input. I'm going in late July and the original plan was to be in the Mara for July 27-29th but might go a few days earlier to fit in everything in. Why would you not recommend staying at two places? I thought that when traveling from point A to B you would be able to see different parts of the park and wildlife on the way. I've been to Kruger in South Africa and that is the way it was. Is it different in the Mara?

And yes I definitely plan on taking a boxed lunch in the park - as I said animals are my main priority!

nyc
Level Contributor
15,087 posts
3. Re: Mara Sarova Tented Camp or Mara Serena Lodge? Help!

If you are driving to/from the Mara and have your own guide/vehicle, then splitting the time isn't so terrible. However, if flying to/from, you'll have to pay for the "transfer" which can run $200/vehicle.

Still as lynn mentions, best to stay in one place over the 3/nts ( 3/nts = 2-full days)... so definitely stay in one place. Unless you enjoy packing up and moving on. Most visitors avoid 1/nighters unless it's a location mid-way between what would otherwise be a long drive.

New York
Level Contributor
29 posts
71 reviews
4. Re: Mara Sarova Tented Camp or Mara Serena Lodge? Help!

We will have our own vehicle guide, so the cost does not differ. As long as we are driving through the park (and not around it thus missing wildlife viewing) then I am fine with it.

For those who have stayed at Serena, did you go on one of the night drives? This is another reason why I wanted to be at Serena; they don't offer night drives in the Sarova area.

nyc
Level Contributor
15,087 posts
5. Re: Mara Sarova Tented Camp or Mara Serena Lodge? Help!

... and they may NO longer be offering night drives at Serena. Besides the cost is high about $80/person, done around the base of the hill from the lodge for about 1/hr. I'd verify this activity beforehand.

Texas
Level Contributor
9 posts
11 reviews
6. Re: Mara Sarova Tented Camp or Mara Serena Lodge? Help!

We stayed at Sarova last August and couldn't have been happier with the area and wildlife. We are about to take a third trip to Kenya in May and will stay at Serena. Our first trip in the 90's we stayed at Intrepids. I am convinced that no matter where you stay in the Mara you will see a lot of animals and you'll be impressed with the landscape, all very different. While there in August we did drive to the river crossing, taking a day trip and packing a nice lunch. All the way there we spotted lots of wildlife and were happy. I loved the tents at Sarova and I'm sure I'll love the lodge at Serena, of course we also have Kirawira Tented camp planned as well in Tanzania. If this is your first time in Kenya and the Mara, I don't see how you would be disappointed. Have a great time!

Carmel, California
Level Contributor
4,774 posts
11 reviews
7. Re: Mara Sarova Tented Camp or Mara Serena Lodge? Help!

If transferring from the Sarova to the Serena, the drive will be inside the reserve. While I normally wouldn't want to split a 3 night stay, I think logistically it would work fine if you had to do so due to availability. It will actually make your initial drive to the Mara a bit shorter vs driving all the way to the Serena.

Chester, United...
Level Contributor
2 posts
4 reviews
8. Re: Mara Sarova Tented Camp or Mara Serena Lodge? Help!

hi we have just come back ( 28 march ) stayed at keekroc in the mara we are going again in march as the weather is cooler and our safari driver has told us serena is best as you can have a bush breakfast would suggest at least 2ngts at serena also if you are just going for the migration it cannot be guaranteed it depends on a lot of things so book your trip as to what you want and if the migration happens its a bonus give me a clue as to where you are thinking of going and i will try and help would suggest samburu 2nts treetops 1nt lake nakuru 1nt serena 2nts ending with keekroc for 3nights you can book this yourself and book your own flights good luck

New York
Level Contributor
29 posts
71 reviews
9. Re: Mara Sarova Tented Camp or Mara Serena Lodge? Help!

Well I got an update and the Serena did open up so we are booked there now and are very excited!

USA
Level Contributor
718 posts
22 reviews
10. Re: Mara Sarova Tented Camp or Mara Serena Lodge? Help!

Start packing Traveljunkie! And hope for no volcanic activity.

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