April 2014

Migration Monday Update 

Welcome to your 'Migration Monday' fix... This week's impressive photo comes from our guide Victor Nyakiriga, thanks Victor!

The Southern Serengeti, Ndutu and the greater NCA (Ngorongoro Conservation Area) are still enjoying some good rainfall; the area is looking very green with precious grass growth, which is vital for our new Wildebeest moms and all their newborn calves.



Olakira Camp reported in their latest wildlife update that they had a lot of rain, which made the roads quite muddy and in some places not passable, so please do take good care when driving in the Ndutu area. However, Olakira is still enjoying very good numbers of Wildebeest in the general Ndutu area; there are hundreds of babies with more being born daily, very exciting. The wildebeest are stretched from West of Naabi Gate all the way down to the Southern Ndutu area.

The guides at Ubuntu Camp also reported that they still have thousands of Wildebeest in the area around the camp and the plains surrounding Ubuntu, despite last week where some of them moved into Maswa Game Reserve.

Till next week!
Joe du Plessis


January 2014

Serengeti Migration update

The Great Migration, when millions of wildebeest move across the vast plains and into the rolling hills of Serengeti National Park scrambling through mighty rivers to reach the Ndutu area. Many of our guests witnessed the great migration and returned with some stunning images. It is indeed great experience to see Africa’s big cats lurked in the tall grasses taking full advantage of migration and Cheetah chasing wildebeest and group of hyena hunting the calves.

Big number of wildebeests was observed at Ndutu plains and part of them are still enroute in the central part of Serengeti heading to the southern plains. This is the last herd of the weaker ones, the migration its more concentrated in Ngorongoro side because of the marshy areas where they get enough water compared to Serengeti.  We saw a bigger concentration of predators in the area as compared to dry season where they had less prey to hunt. A pride of lions often sighted at marshy area bringing down wildebeest and zebras. Chasers of the plain (Cheetah) are now well sighted in the area and some coalition groups were witnessed roaming on the plains searching for a prey.

Lastly an ‘invisible has become visible’ – Leopards. Chance of spotting Leopards are very has during the dry season but with the presence of migration now chances of sighting Leopards are ten times more.


December 2013

The wildebeest are now truly spread out over much of the Ndutu and greater NCA (Ngorongoro Conservation Area). There has again been some very good rainfall this last week with lots of beautiful green grazing areas.

Both our camps in the area - Olakira Camp as well as Ubuntu Camp are enjoying some great wildlife viewing with good numbers of Wildebeest seen all the way from Naabi, through central Ndutu, the plains above the big and small marsh all the way to Kakesio.

If you have never been to the Ndutu area it is the perfect time to make a trip and witness these animals in big numbers, giving birth to their calves and witnessing first hand the circle of life!

Till next week,
Joe du Plessis - Head Guide

 


 

October 2013

The wildebeest know not what they do

Migration update to make one chuckle, seems to be a confusing year for the beasts!

The area around Lamai and Nyamalumbwa was rather devoid of wildebeests about 3 weeks ago, but we have now seen some herds again around the Kogatende area and even some more crossings over the last couple of days.

Generally the herds are moving towards the South already, and the big herds are currently around Grumeti Game Reserve, and generally the Western Corridor all the way up to Kirawira, while the zebras have already reached as far south as Seronera, Makoma and even some all the way to the Hidden Valley and Naabi.


September 2013

Big herds in Kogatende and crossings a-plenty

There have been rains on both sides of the Mara River in the northern Serengeti, so the migration is sticking around, and are crossing both north and south at the moment. While we have big herds in the Kogatende area and around Lamai Serengeti, there are also many in Kenya along the Mara River. We are enjoying fantastic cat sightings in Kogatende at the moment!

 


August 2013

Great Wildebeest Migration update – Jul 19, 2013

Crossing frenzy in northern Serengeti

After their very early arrival in the North, the migration is now well spread out across the Northern Serengeti with plenty of animals in the Mara River and Sand River areas, a few towards Kichwa Tembo Rd and again big herds on the Bologonja side and on the Kogatende side. Some great crossings are being seen by our guides and guests on the Mara River, but also on the Sand River side.  It's a good time to be at Lamai Serengeti & Serengeti Safari Camp.


June 2013

Serengeti Migration update

Great Wildebeest Migration update – 24 May 2013
The impressive mega herd continues to graze the lush Seronera plains of the central Serengeti, with another large herd making its way from the south towards the Baraf u/Masai kopjes. Our &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas semi -permanent camps, which are now positioned in the Seronera region, are completely surrounded by wildebeest as far as the eye can see. It’s an incredible sight to behold. Yesterday the Seronera airstrip was taken over by the grunting gnus, making it a challenge for planes to land. Never a dull moment in Africa!

 


 

May 2013

Serengeti Migration update

Great Migration Update- 2 May 2013
The mega herd is now happily grazing the plains just south of Simba Kopies and slowly making its way north towards Seronera (Central Serengeti). It is a remarkable sight to behold , with masses of wildebeest as far as the eye can see. The calves are now three months old and growing quickly. On a recent drive through Seronera, Wayne Nupen (&Beyond Regional Manager for Tanzania) witnessed four different prides of lion and two leopard, so the predators are definitely ready and waiting for the migratory herds to arrive at the perennial water holes and rivers.

 


March 2013

Serengeti Migration update

A big male lion is having breakfast 150m away

During the dry spell of the last one or two weeks, the animals were quite dispersed and had moved towards the Serengeti and Kusini area, and the triangle towards Naabi Hill. However, big rains in the last two days has seen the usual dramatic turnaround. The herds will probably start to move back more onto the Ngorongoro Conservation Area side now and search for the fresh short grass. There are already a lot of little wildie babies in evidence which makes for great viewing.

While I am writing this, the guests of Serengeti Safari Camp are sitting in the mess tent watching a big male lion having his wildebeest breakfast not more than 150m away…. It's still amazing th at we have the opportunity to witness such things…

The rain has wreaked a small amount of havoc on the roads, and those wanting to cross small Olduvai had to wait for a few hours while the water subsided yesterday. The bridge over the main arm of the g orge meant there were no issues there. Today, after two days of heavy rain, some of the roads in the south are challenging, and in true safari style, the odd vehicle is getting stuck…all part of the fun!


February 2013

Serengeti Migration update

 

The migration is spread all over the plains, from Makao all the way to the kusini woodlands, from Endulen all the way to our current Serengeti Safari Camp site, and well scattered all the way from Ndutu to Loli ondo. Some of our Nomad guides saw the wild dogs near Kusini on the edge of the woodlands, and on the plains to Makao recently. It's a pack of around 11, and 3 appeared to have collars so are being monitored. Nomad guide, Richard Knocker also saw a zorilla during his safari in December in Piyaya, southern Loliondo, and a few lucky folk have spotted ('˜scuse the pun) cheetah'¦so its not all about the wildebeest.

Happy New Year and hoping for some early calving to make for some very happy people…


December 2012

Serengeti Migration update

 By the Month of Februar y, the height of the Wildebeest migration will have shifted to the plains and woodlands around Ndutu (the area between Ngorongoro and Serengeti National parks). Vast herds of bulls , adolescents and mothers, most of who will have given birth to their biscuit colored youngsters will be scattered all over. Such a plethora of babies is all due to the interesting survival strategy wildebeest have evolved by synchronizing their births with figures so amazing that scientist has estimated that up to 8,000 calves are born daily during the 3 weeks of calving period. The young calves are vulnerable to predators, but since there are so many of them at the same time, the predators can't get them all, so sufficient numbers can grow up. A calf eats its first grass at about 10 days, although it is still suckled for at least 6 months. Even after weaning, many remain with the mother until the next year's calf is born. This cycle continues year in year out but I bet you don't want to miss out this time round!

The key element in understanding 'The Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth' is that it follows the general 'rainfall gradient' across the ecosystem, with lower rainfall in the southeast (short -grass plains) and higher rainfall in the northwest. The migration moves from Kenya back to the short -grass plains of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area once the short rains have begun (usually in late October into November), and after the short grass plains have dried out (usually in April or May), the migration moves northwest to higher rainfall areas and areas of permanent water - and fresh grass.

From December to April wildebeest, zebra, eland and Thomson's gazelle usually concentrate on the t reeless short- grass plains in the extreme southeastern Serengeti and Western Ngorongoro Conservation Area near Lake Ndutu in search of short grass, which they prefer over the longer dry -stemmed variety. In April and May, the height of the rainy season, a 4 wd vehicle is highly recommended.


 

Migration updates in the Serengeti

 

 

Serengeti Migration Update - 23rd October 2012

The wildebeest have been milling around, crossing and re -crossing for the last few weeks around the Kogatende area. It's a great time to be in the northern Serengeti!

 

Serengeti Migration Update - 24th September 2012

Game viewing has been fantastic this week. Migration is still in the North, lots of big herds are seen everywhere. Lots of wildebeest crossing, all big cats has be en seen several times as well as hyenas.
Wildebeest are crossing the Mara River continuously, and they are spread all over the Kogatende area up to Bologonja.
A leopard with 2 cubs, lions and a female cheetah has been spotted. Black rhinos moved back to the Bolongonja area. A Leopard and a pride of 8 lio ns with cubs have been spotted as well as e lephants, impalas, buffalo, giraffe and Thomson Gazelles.

Serengeti Migration Update - 07th August 2012

The big herds of the migration are all around the Bolon gonja area, around Sayari Camp, Olakira Camp as well as Rekero Camp. Lots of happy guests were able to witness the river crossings .
The Loita migration herds are in the verge of meeting the main herds as the later crosses the Talek heading for north Mara. This sets up the area between Rekero and Naboisho to be the main playground for the coming month .
In Tarangire National Park there are lots of wildebeest and zebras around the northern parts of the park near Tarangire Safari Lodge.

Serengeti Migration Update - 23rd July 2012 (The first crossing and it's all action in the north)

Exciting news from the Northern Serengeti on Friday - the first crossing of the season. Only 150 daring wildebeest but as we all know, the flood starts with a trickle. Herds are pouring into Nyamalumbwa, still plenty of Zebras and wildebeest around the Bolagonja area where the grass is high, the ground is wet, and there are some fires in the area.
In our Serengeti Safari Camp, guests have had great rhino sightings already (rhin o are only found in this part of the Serengeti, so it's always a treat) - a mother and little one. And those lions have been hanging around camp keeping people up! It's all action.

Serengeti Migration Update - 29th June 2012

The first arrivals make th eir way into the Mara by mid -June, signalling the start of the surge. But not this time. By mid - month, the herds were staying put in the central Serengeti, which is becoming very dry.
Why are they being slow to move this year? Theories abound, but no one can be sure. One certainty exists, though. The herds will always move on.
And now they have started. As we finalise this newsletter, vast herds of wildebeest are in the Fort Ikoma area on the edge of the Serengeti's western corridor, heading towards the North-East of the National Park, ready to veer North. Another large group can be found on the Musabi plains heading towards the Togoro plains near Lobo.
Interestingly, a large group of zebra has gathered in the central area at Seronera, accompanied by a smaller scattering of wildebeest. Usually the zebras are the trail -blazers, but for reasons unknown they are hanging back.

Serengeti Migration Update - 23rd May 2012

This is of course one of the more tricky times of the year to actually pin point the 'h erd' as the migration spreads out for the journey north. In the past week the main bulk of wildebeests and zebras were located near Golini but were shifting all the time.
The main collection of animals is still in central Serengeti to the north east of D unia with no real shift northwards. The rain continues to be heavy right across the eco system which may well have an effect on how quickly they advance towards the Mara in the coming month.

Serengeti Migration Update - 14th March 2012

In the last days the majority of the migration was back in the Ndutu area with their calves. Thousands of wildebeest and zebra are also around Ubuntu South. Olakira guests are perfectly placed driving towards Ubuntu location (Ubuntu closed for the season this week) .
Naboisho Camp in Kenya reported thousands of wildebeest (image) and zebra arriving from the Loita Plains, filling the grassland plains and providing guests with perfect migration images. These herds do not normally reach the Reserve and are confined to conserv ancies to north of the Mara .

AAC UPDATE - to ensure our clients have the ultimate migration experience, our Serengeti Shared Mobile Camp has moved to the southern plains from December through April.

Serengeti Migration Update - 20th February 2012

Well, just to prove that nature calls the shots, the wildebeest migration seems to be getting more intriguing and unpredictable by the day. The rains that promote the green flush that proves so irresistible to every gnu seem to be coming in dribs and drabs. Our guides, roaming the plains in search of the action, report that there hasn't been much rain around Ndutu and the wildebeest seem to be moving towards the central Serengeti. However, fresh showers in the last few days might induce a change of plan'¦watch th is space.

Serengeti Migration Update - 30th January 2012

Rains in the southern Serengeti have been very patchy, so the migration is currently quite spread out. We've seen some herds around Masek, some around Kusini and larger herds moving towards Hidden Va lley. Generally the landscape is very arid and dry and we're all looking forward to the rains!

The Serengeti Safari Camp

Following the Migration- Serengeti Shared Safari Camp

The Serengeti Shared Safari Camp makes use of a Traditional Mobile Tented Camp on a shared -use basis, periodically moving location within the Serengeti according to Migration game movements and weather conditions. Although the camp

will NOT move during your actual sta y, the chances of being w ithin reach of the wildebeest migration, which is one of the

principle goals of any visit to the Serengeti, are greatly enhanced by this mobilit y.

The camp has up to 16 guests staying at anyone time in its eight luxury tents with en suite bathrooms. The focus of the camp is a large dining tent with a shaded 'sitting out' area. As well as a fully-stocked complimentary ba r, there is a small reference library of African books and a variety of games. There is a campfire every evening, around which guests can share the day's adventures with like -minded souls.

Guests at the Serengeti Safari Camp meet up and mingle with each other during the evening over pre -dinner drinks and candlelit dinners, but during the day you will set o ff on your own, with your own privat e guide and vehicle. By having your own vehicle and guide you can ensure you can do what you want when you want to do it - be that following the wildebeest, sitting by a waterhole or just waiting too get that perfect photograph.

 

Migration movements

 

Serengeti is derived from the Masai language and appropriately means "endless plain." The park's 5,700 square miles makes it larger than the state of Connecticut. Altitude varies from 3,120 to 6,070 feet. As you enter the park gate you will take a game drive through the open plains.

Nearly 500 species of birds and 35 species of la rge plains animals can be found in the Serengeti. The park may contain as many as 1.5 million wildebeest, 500,000 zebra, 300,000 Grant's gazelle, 250,000 Thomson's gazelle, 120,000 im - pala, 70,000 topi, 20,000 bu ffalo, 9,000 eland, 8,000 gira ffe, 1,000 lion and 800 elephant.

The huge herds of plains game such as wildebeest, zebra and antelope dominate the park while the attendant predators such as lion and cheetah are to be found amongst the many kopjes scattered across the plain. Leopard can often be found draped in the trees along the Seronera Rive r.

From December-May wildebeest, zebra, eland and Thomson's gazelle usually concentrate on the treeless short -grass plains in the extreme southeastern Serengeti and western Ngorongoro Conservation Area near Lake Ndutu in search of short grass, which they prefer over the longer dry -stemmed variet y.

This is the best time to visit the Serengeti. In April and May, the height of the rainy season, a 4wd vehicle is highly recommended.

The rut for wildebeest is concentrated over a three -week period and generally occurs at the end of April, May or early June. After a gestation period of eight and one -half months, approximately 9 0% of the pregnant cows will give birth on the short-grass plains within a six -week period between the mid/end of January and February . Zebra calving season is spread out over most of the yea r, with a slightly higher birth rate December-March. The best time to see wildebeest and zebra crossing the Grumeti River is in June/early July and November .

As a general rule, by June the migration has progressed west of Seronera. The migration then splits into three separate migrations: one west through the corridor toward permanent water and Lake Victoria and then northeast; the second due north, reaching the Masai Mara of Kenya around mid-July; and the third northward between the other two to a re - gion west of Lobo Lodge, where the group disperses. At present, ther e are few roads in the region where the third group disperses; howeve r, this may change.

During July-September, the Serengeti's highest concentration of wildlife is in the extreme north. The first and second groups meet and usually begin returning to the Serengeti National Park in late October; the migration then reaches the central or southern Serengeti by December.

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