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Honeymoon lodge conparison...advice needed

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Ok, after much research, I've narrowed our options down to 8.  I'm going to include the quotes I got (with some negotiation on a few), and see what you all think.  Based on my research, Royal Mara, Mara Eden, or Governors Camp offer the best deal, by far. We're going early July (2nd-8th) and would love to try to find a way to see migration.  We're continuing on to the Seychelles...which isn't exactly cheap, either, so we're trying to find a happy medium.  What would you all suggest, as you are way more experienced than me.  This is for two people, and they include transfers and airfare.  Most include drinks, but not all. Royal Mara and Mara Eden do not. Thanks in advance!

 

1) Royal Mara - $5624; 6 nights ; will likely reduce to 5 nights

 
2) Kichwa Tempo - $6266 (classic tent) ; $7836 (superior tent); 6 nights
 
3) Soroi Serengeti (Serengeti) - $8840 + 5% credit card surcharge; 5 nights
 
4) Kicheche Bush Camp - $8000; 5 nights
 
5) Sand River Masai Mara - around $7850; 5 nights
 
6) Mara Eden - $5250; 5 nights
 
7) Governors Camp (5 nts) + Lazizi Premiere in NBO (1 nt) w/ Sun Safaris before flight to Seychelles - $7250
 
8) Tipilikwani Mara (3 nts) + Encounter Mara (2nts) + Eka Lodge in NBO (1 nt) w/ Sun Safaris - $8264 ; though with this option, I may be inclined to change itinerary a bit.
 
9) Package w/ Gamewatchers Safaris - $3650 pp (Tanzania ; Includes private vehicle and guide) - Kirurumu Tented Camp (1 nt) / Serengeti Sopa Lodge (2 nts) / Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge (2nts)

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I guess it depends on how much you drink :D  Just kidding. My preference has always been  smaller camps. Some of these you list are huge (37-40 tents/rooms). Although both Royal Mara and Mara Eden don't include drinks, they are smaller and more intimate camps. Tough call.

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If you want to see the migration then in July you will need to be in Tanzania in the Serengeti not in Kenya. However there will still be plenty to see in the Mara.

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What's your criteria for the accommodations?  I ask only because while I don't know all these that you list, the ones I do recognize are really an apples to oranges to grapefruit sort of comparison.  It'd be like my asking you if you'd rather travel on a train, a school bus, a family SUV or my two seater sports car, if that makes sense.

 

I think many on here would lean toward the smaller camps.  I've stayed at Encounter Mara, for example, and it's small enough that the managers get to know you immediately, cater to your every whim on the turn of a dime and you get to know your fellow safarigoers.  I've also stayed in larger lodges and it can feel almost as impersonal as a large hotel here in the US.  I really love the intimate feeling of the small camps and how well taken care of I am when I'm there.

 

I'd also make sure you know what's involved in each type of accommodation.  Availability of electricity, wifi, water for showers, flush toilets, vehicle sharing, game drive times, other activities, etc. vary from tented camp to larger lodge.  Make sure your other half is aware of what you choose.  On my first safari, two of my safari friends were VERY upset to arrive at our last camp with bucket showers and toilets that flush into the ground.  They just weren't prepared for that.

 

I wouldn't let whether drinks are covered or not be a deciding factor.  When you're spending $5-9k for accommodations, I don't think $10 a night is going to break the bank.

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I have to say that I have been to Kicheche Bush Camp twice and couldn't recommend it more highly even if you won't be there at the perfect time to see the migration.  There could be no better hosts than Emma and Darren the husband and wife team who manage it. I also feel strongly that you'll appreciate the small  

nature of it. The wildlife viewing is simply stunning within the Conservancy and you'll see plenty of lions,cheetahs and yes even leopards.

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