The Great Migration
The extraordinary annual Great Migration of wildebeest and other grazing herbivores across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is one of the greatest spectacles in the natural world. Over two million herbivores partake in this journey, with about 200 000 zebra and 500 000 Thomson's gazelle behind the main players... one-and-a-half million wildebeest!
AN UPDATE FROM THE SERENGETI SIDE
26 October 2012 ~ Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Although the mega-herd is still scattered along the Oloololo escarpment in the Masai Mara, there is still plenty of action on both sides of the Mara River as the animals move back and forth. Large herds of wildebeest have moved down into the northern Serengeti, delighting guests at our &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas semi-permanent camps with at least one or two crossings per day! The herds are crossing the river from the Kenyan side and heading east towards the &Beyond Klein’s Camp wilderness concession.
Never a dull moment!
22 October 2012 ~ Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The reverse migration still has the wildebeest moving back and forth, with the enormous mega-herd still scattered along the Oloololo escarpment. At &Beyond Kichwa Tembo, the views are absolutely spectacular with animals grazing as far as the eye can see. As guests relax by the swimming pool they can watch and photograph the migration in the distance. There was even a wildebeest traffic jam on the &Beyond Kichwa Tembo airstrip, which had to be cleared before the plane could take off — something the guests won’t soon forget!
Although the mega-herd is in the Mara, there are plenty of wildebeest and zebra gathered along the Mara River around Kogatende. This is where our two &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas camps are situated, keeping guests close to the action. Guests visiting &Beyond Klein’s Camp are also witnessing the natural phenomenon on exciting full-day safaris. Repeat guests Scott and Elaine were lucky enough to witness three river crossings during their stay! There is also a large concentration of zebra in the &Beyond Klein’s Camp wilderness concession, and of course a constant supply of nearby predators hoping to catch an easy meal. Last week chef Sakaina spotted two lionesses on a zebra kill just behind the lodge, providing lots of excitement for staff.
DOING A DOUBLE TAKE
18 October 2012 ~ Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The annual Great Migration is one of the most fascinating and awe-inspiring events in the natural world, something that should be on everyone’s bucket list. The exact path is rarely the same in terms of precise timing and direction (it is Mother Nature, after all) and this year in particular has seen plenty of movement back and forth across the Mara-Serengeti border.
Our rangers at &Beyond Kichwa Tembo were thrilled to see the massive herds make their way back to the Mara for the second time this year. The herbivores left the Mara prematurely and ventured back to the Serengeti in September (typically one month ahead of schedule), but the current reverse migration has brought the mega-herd back to the plains between Oloololo gate and the Serengeti border. Hundreds of thousands of wildebeest are now grazing the Oloololo escarpment a mere 15 km southwest of &Beyond Kichwa Tembo and Bateleur Camp. The sightings have been superb — in addition to the vast herds, two lionesses and seven young cubs were seen earlier this week feeding on a kill.
MARA ON THE MIND
12 October 2012 ~ Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The large migratory herds are somewhat scattered at the moment, with the mega-herd still concentrated around Kogatende (which is where the two &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas camps are positioned, amidst the action). The majority of the animals that had gathered in the Lobo region a week ago have now been seen heading north towards the Bologonja plains.
With so many wildebeest still happily grazing near the Mara River, guests continue to witness the exciting river crossings. At &Beyond Klein’s Camp, there are approximately 1 000 zebra and more than 500 wildebeest on the wilderness concession, and guests are also enjoying full-day game drives to the border to witness the Mara River action.
Further north, there are also large herds congregating on the open grassland savanna of the Mara Triangle, heading towards Oloololo gate near &Beyond Kichwa Tembo.
THE LURE OF THE SUMMER RAINS
05 October 2012 ~ Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The migratory herds are dotted across the Mara plains, from east to west, and still, the dramatic river crossings continue. Earlier this week, &Beyond guests visiting &Beyond Kichwa Tembo observed a large crossing of thousands of wildebeest. Our &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas semi-permanent safari camps are positioned in the Kogatende region, and guests there are also witnessing the brave (and seemingly never-ending) crossings as some of the herds are lured back to the Serengeti by the spectacular thundershowers and fresh new grass.
THE GREAT DIVIDE
26 September 2012
Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya / Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The mega-herd is still grazing the verdant plains of the Masai Mara, but it seems to have divided into two massive sub-herds (we’re talking wildebeest in the tens of thousands!). One herd is situated on the southwestern side of the Mara Triangle, while the other has gathered in the northern/central part of the greater Mara. Just days ago, no less than 2,000 wildebeest were seen crossing the Mara River into the Mara Triangle. An unbelievable sight to behold! Guests visiting &Beyond Klein’s Camp are lucky enough to spot wildebeest right from the bar area. What better way to enjoy an afternoon cocktail than with the Great Migration in the backdrop?!
18 September 2012
~ Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya / Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The mega-herd has gathered on the marsh just south of the Mara River on the Tanzanian side. The exciting Mara River crossings continue, and just yesterday, a massive herd (a few thousand strong) of feisty wildebeest pushed its way courageously through the deep crocodile-infested water. The enormous herds continue to move into the wilderness concession at &Beyond Klein’s Camp; the mountains and plains at &Beyond Klein’s all the way up to the Kenyan border are teeming with wildebeest allowing for some truly fantastic photographs. At &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas, guests are still witnessing the gruelling crossings on a daily basis, sometimes en route from the airstrip before they even reach the camp!
Guests visiting &Beyond Klein’s were lucky enough to witness a female cheetah with five eight-month-old cubs just a few kilometres from camp. This is rare, since cheetahs are not usually able to raise so many cubs due to the ever-present threat of predators. Watch this space for more news from the field!
HERDS ARRIVE AT KLEIN'S CAMP
~ 11 September 2012 ~
Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The Great Migration has now moved into the &Beyond Klein’s Camp private wilderness concession. A massive herd of wildebeest is migrating through the valley from Kenya, and guests at &Beyond Klein’s have been spoiled with this fantastic view from the camp. Of course, the arrival of these herbivores means that predators are springing into action. Yesterday guests witnessed several lion prides, as well as a young male leopard with a wildebeest kill up a tree. Watch this space as the great trek continues!
TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK
10 September 2012
~ Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya and Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Thousands of wildebeest continue to cross from the greater Mara into the Mara Triangle; however, the mega-herd itself is hovering close to the border between Kenya’s Masai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti. Below the border in Tanzania there has been plenty of rain, which has not only brought beautiful colour and life to the landscape, but it has also enticed several wildebeest and zebra to backtrack into the Serengeti plains. These small herds of roaming herbivores can’t seem to make up their minds and &Beyond's guests have been delighted to witness the unexpected river crossings. With rising water levels in the Mara River, the crossings have been a real challenge for the herds, and far less of a challenge for the crocodiles that are taking advantage of the easy meals.
FOLLOW THE RAIN
31 August 2012 ~ Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Guests visiting &Beyond Kichwa Tembo witnessed some truly nail-biting river crossings as the last of wildebeest traversed the mighty Mara at the rocky crossing point. Thousands of herbivores have moved from the Greater Mara into the Mara Triangle, while other herds can be seen along the base of the Oloololo Escarpment and in the lush Olpunyata swamp area.
Although the Great Migration has moved into Kenya, the Serengeti received some rain last week, which has enticed some of the smaller herds back into Tanzania. Guests visiting &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas witnessed these unexpected crossings, not to mention the abundant year-round game (from lion and leopard to beautiful birds, elephant and giraffe). The large quantity of rain has dusted off the land and the new grass is growing nicely. If the rain continues, some of the herds could move back into the Serengeti. Only time will tell…
DRAMATIC DAILY RIVER CROSSINGS
24 August 2012 ~ Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The massive mega-herd of wildebeest and zebra is now happily grazing the verdant plains of the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, while the other large herds continue to follow suit and bravely cross the Mara River. Guests visiting &Beyond Kichwa Tembo are enjoying exciting full-day adventures (complete with extravagant picnic lunches) into the Mara to spend as much time as possible watching the extraordinary spectacle. &Beyond's two Serengeti Under Canvas camps are situated at Kogatende, which is in the northern reaches of the Serengeti National Park very close to the Mara border. The Mara River flows into the Kogatende area, so our guests in the Serengeti and the Masai Mara are all witnessing the thrilling river crossings. From lions, leopards, cheetahs and elephants, to the ongoing battle between the wildebeest and hungry crocodiles, it really is an exciting time to visit East Africa!
A TALE OF TWO RIVERS
10 August 2012 ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The massive migratory herds are now spread out from the Serengeti all the way up to the Masai Mara, with the vast majority still grazing in Tanzania. There have been almost daily Grumeti and Mara River crossings, which has been exciting for our guests visiting &Beyond Kichwa Tembo, Klein’s Camp, Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp and Serengeti Under Canvas. Large herds of wildebeest can now be seen just 25 km from &Beyond Kichwa Tembo, with regular river crossings taking place at the rocky crossing point.
Watch this space as the action continues!
STILL MORE CROSSINGS
27 July 2012 ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
There are still lots of wildebeest hanging around the Western Corridor and so the river crossings continue. This has been a real treat for guests visiting &Beyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp who have been able to witness the migrating herbivores come head-to-head with the notoriously large (and hungry) crocodiles. Although there is still a large herd of wildebeest near &Beyond Grumeti, the mega-herd has now moved north to the Kogatende region, which is where our two &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas camps are stationed.
The bonus to having so many “lawnmowers” moving through is that the grass plains around Grumeti are now short and for the next few months guests will enjoy excellent game viewing as the abundant year-round plains game fill the savanna.
THE HERDS ARE HEADING NORTH!
16 July 2012 ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The vast majority of the Grumeti River crossings have now come and gone and the mega herd is starting to move northward, out of the Grumeti region. As the tail end of the Great Migration follows suit, there are still some staggered crossings taking place and the sightings at &Beyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp continue to be memorable with easy prey for the cats and crocodiles. Our two &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas camps have now relocated to Kogatende in the northern Serengeti, perfectly positioned in the midst of the action.
Watch this space for more updates!
MINI MIGRATION UPDATE
12 July 2012 ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The action has slowed down somewhat, but the large migratory herds are still centered around &Beyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp and appear to be staying put for the time being.
Although there haven’t been any crossings in a couple of days, &Beyond guests have still been witnessing plenty of excitement. There have been some fantastic cat sightings and lots of predator action. Some not-so-lucky wildebeest broke their limbs and drowned, and sad as it is, the circle of life continues and the crocs are all very fat and happy!
Watch this space for more updates…
THE MOMENT WE'VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR!
06 July 2012 ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
If you follow our updates on &BeyondSafaris">Facebook, you will already know that the eagerly anticipated Grumeti River crossings have begun! &Beyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp and both of our &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas tented camps are completely surrounded by massive herds of wildebeest as far as the eye can see. The hair-raising crossings are now happening daily and the circle of life continues, as the predators catch an easy meal. The great herds of zebra (and some smaller herds of wildebeest) have already moved on and are now happily grazing the wilderness concession at &Beyond Klein’s Camp. Never a dull moment!
THEY'RE GETTING CLOSE!
25 June 2012 ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
It’s time! The massive herds continue to make their way northwest and they’re now a mere 15 km from the banks of the Grumeti River. As the herds gather to increase their numbers, it will be just a matter of time before they make the highly anticipated annual Grumeti River crossing. Guests visiting both &Beyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp and &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas will have the perfect vantage point to witness the incredible, nail-biting action when it happens.
13 June 2012 ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The vast majority of the herds are still gathered around the Mbuzi Mawe and Seronera regions, where the grass remains lush and green. Our &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas rangers continue to monitor the migratory herds daily, and the first signs of movement have been seen. Some wildebeest and zebra have taken the lead and have been spotted making their way northwest towards &Beyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp. They are a mere 25 km from one of our Serengeti Under Canvas camps, and guests have had some fantastic sightings. This is a good sign that the herds are starting to move and the highly anticipated Grumeti River crossings are drawing near.
SLOWLY HEADING NORTH
28 May 2012 ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The massive migratory herds are now grazing around Naabi Hill and the Seronera region and are slowly heading northwest. The first large herds of zebra (they typically precede the wildebeest) have been spotted on the Musabi plains, which is roughly half way between Seronera and &Beyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp. This is a good indicator that the herds are moving towards the Western Corridor. The Seronera region is still lush and green, meaning that the herds are in no big rush to leave, but we anticipate them to get to the central Serengeti within the next 12 days or so. Guests visiting &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas, situated a mere 20 minutes west of the Seronera site, have witnessed great sightings of the extraordinary herds.
Watch this space for more updates!
EASTER IN EDEN
10 April 2012 ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The massive herds of the Great Migration chose the perfect location to spend their Easter weekend — a scenic spot called Eden Valley, in between Ndutu and Naabi Hill. They were still grazing there this morning, and we don’t anticipate much movement as it has been raining in the area for the past few days. &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas is still situated in the Ndutu region, in the midst of the action, and will soon follow in the footsteps of the herds to the central Serengeti. Watch this space!
02 April 2012 ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Despite the fact that the rains stopped about two weeks ago, the mega-herd continues to graze the Ndutu plains. The grass is lush and green and the marsh areas are still wet, enticing the wildebeest and zebra to stick around. As the migratory herds passed through the Lake Ndutu region, many predators were seen following the cloud of dust in search of weak prey. Both &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas camps are still positioned at Ndutu, right in the middle of all the action. In approximately two weeks’ time, the Great Migration should make its way towards the central Seronera and Western Corridor. Although the weather has been very unpredictable this year, with sporadic rains in the northern Serengeti that has altered the animals’ routing. Stay tuned to see what happens!
RETURN TO NDUTU
05 March 2012 ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The rains have now reached the Ndutu region in the eastern reaches of the Serengeti, enticing many of the wildebeest herds back. The mega herd is now happily grazing the grassy plains approximately 4 km northwest of the Ndutu airstrip. Both &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas camps are right in the middle of the action, very close to the herds: one camp is situated by Lake Masek; while the other is located at Lake Ndutu.
Our guests are being spoiled with unforgettable sightings of the massive herds, as well as a striped hyena, tree-climbing lions and a female cheetah with her four cubs. The mother hunts every few days to feed her young, allowing for some really exciting sightings for our guests. Watch this space as the drama continues to unfold!
ON THE MOVE
27 February 2012 ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The dry conditions in the south have caused the mega herd to congregate in the central Serengeti. The climate, however, does appear to be changing and the herds are on the move. We anticipate they’ll pass through the central plains quickly as they head south to drop their young. Not only have guests visiting &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas been witnessing the massive herds, but they have also had great sightings of leopards and lions in the Serengeti.
Watch this space for more updates!
AWAITING THE RAIN
14 February 2012 ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Typically at this time of year, the migratory herds should be gathered on the southern Serengeti plains to drop their calves. This year, however, the dusty, dry conditions in the south have forced the wildebeest to split up and change their path. The mega herd is headed to the central Serengeti, near Lake Magadi. The vast herd stretches from the Nyarboro Hills to the Rongai Hills as they await the rains in the south. Another large herd has moved to the Kusini region, close to the Maswa game controlled area where the grass remains lush and green. We all await the rains with anticipation…
03 February 2012 ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The mega herd has moved 30 km from Lake Ndutu towards the Matiti Hills. Calving season is now well underway and &Beyond's guests have been witnessing some of the miraculous births. Over the past two weeks, the rains have subsided; however, the prevailing clouds and rise in temperature signify that the rains are coming. Some smaller herds are still grazing the Ndutu plains, where there is an abundance of water to keep them stationary. Other herds, meanwhile, are headed southwest to savour the lush green grass near the Ngorongoro forest. Once the rain does eventually come, all of the herds will gather around Lake Ndutu, where their calves can feed on the alkaline, giving them strength for the long journey ahead.
THE CROSSINGS CONTINUE
The large herds of the Great Migration are now gathering in the southeastern corner of the greater Masai Mara and just southwest of the Mara Triangle. The river crossings near the south Mara bridge continue and our guests have witnessed some truly exciting moments.
There are still streams of wildebeest and zebra arriving from the northern Serengeti, so the Mara crossings will carry on for a while. In a few weeks’ time, our rangers anticipate that the mega-herd will be grazing in the northern Mara plains. Watch this space!
THE MIGRATION ARRIVES AT &BEYOND KLEIN'S CAMP
Thanks to some welcome rain in mid-August, a mass of wildebeest has now made a detour to the east and has settled onto the &Beyond Klein’s Camp wilderness concession. This splinter group of the Great Migration is estimated at an impressive 500 000 animals, which is substantially larger than the herds that visited Klein’s Camp last year.
Everywhere you look there are herds of wildebeest, dotted with eland, buffalo and zebra. It’s amazing! Our rangers and guests have witnessed plenty of action with the resident pride of 23 lions, a male leopard was seen with a wildebeest kill up a tree, and four lionesses and their ten cubs were seen on another kill. With more rain expected, we estimate the herds will stick around for a couple of weeks at least.
MIGRATION UPDATE: MARA BOUND!
The Great Migration is now gathered on the northwestern plains: some are grazing at Wogakuria, while the mega-herd is stationed in the Bologonja region. The majority of the wildebeest are now headed for the ever-daunting Mara River crossing. This year’s constant weather changes have affected the Migration routing, and the herbivores have done a lot of moving back and forth. Guests visiting our two &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas camps have been watching the drama unfold daily as mighty herds gather and predators take their chances (on land and in the water!).
IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN!
The Great Migration has now entered Kenya’s Masai Mara. Some of the smaller herds that are just a few steps ahead of the mega herd have now crossed into the Mara Triangle. The mega herd is grazing at Ngiroare, on the border between Tanzania and Kenya (within close proximity of Game Rangers Post) and is slowly moving north. &Beyond Kichwa Tembo guide Protus took his guests there yesterday and they witnessed the impressive herds as well as some lions on the prowl. Other guests observed the very first river crossings by scouting herds.
“The crossing was absolutely the most memorable, truly unbelievable experience of a lifetime!” ~ Joe & Shelly
MIGRATION UPDATE: MARA BOUND!
The mega herd is fast approaching the Masai Mara. The mass of herbivores is currently grazing along the Sand River, near Mara South bridge. Half a million wildebeest and zebra were spotted yesterday at Kogatende, and many smaller herds are nearing the Mara/Serengeti border (on the Mara Triangle side). &Beyond rangers estimate that within a few days’ time, the herds should arrive at the Mara River. Watch this space!
The Western Corridor now faces a drought which has forced the herds to scatter in different directions in search of better grazing. There hasn't been a water shortage in the area for the last four years, so the migratory herds are confused: some headed north towards Lobo and Klein's; while others carried on through Fort Ikoma Gate and onto Wogakuria and the northern plains.
&Beyond's two Serengeti Under Canvas camps are currently situated in the Grumeti region, where guests have been witnessing the large herds that are gathered on the eastern side of the Mbalageti plains. The game drives remain fantastic, the predators are on alert, and there are still hundreds of zebra grazing near Seronera and heading west.
The mega herd has now gathered in the central Seronera region and Moru Kopjes, with smaller herds joining up with them daily. The rains continue and the vegetation is lush as far as the eye can see. As the clouds start moving west, this will entice the great migratory herds to soon commence their journey towards the western plains.
The wildlife sightings have been incredible; &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas rangers Solomon and Medison introduced their guests to the Big Five just a few hours into their morning game drive. What an unforgettable experience, to see the Great Migration and the Big Five on one game drive!
When the guests departed, they left this beautiful feedback:
“We have always wanted to experience the endless herds of the Great Migration, and &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas has landed us right in the middle of them. The sheer magnitude of the wildebeest populations truly has to be seen to be believed, and the predator viewing is top class (we saw great lion, leopard and cheetah sightings). Thanks to &Beyond, and particularly the Serengeti Under Canvas team, for treating us to some old fashioned African romance, and landing us right in the in the middle of the greatest show on Earth!”
The mega herd has left Ndutu and is now grazing the woodlands of Moru Kopjes and Simiyu, while other smaller herds continue to move back and forth with the heavy rains. The lush green grass stretches as far as the eye can see, so food is in abundance for these migratory herbivores. Our &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas rangers estimate that by mid May, the wildebeest and zebra will gather in the Seronera region.
&Beyond's two Serengeti Under Canvas camps are now situated on the Rongai escarpments. Following the most beautiful of African sunsets, lions can be heard roaring and zebras grunting in the distance. Come and see for yourself!
MIGRATION UPDATE: HAPPY HERDS
Although the herds were quite scattered around the Ndutu region last week, this week there is a massive concentration of wildebeest and zebra at Ndutu enjoying the new grass.
According to our &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas rangers, the herds appear to be slowly moving back to Kusini. Our two camps are still located at Ndutu and guests have been enjoying remarkable sightings.
Watch this space for more updates!
ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK
The recent rain in the Ndutu plains has enticed the mega-herd of one million wildebeest and zebra back from the Gol Kopjes, and now they are once again happily grazing at Ndutu. The endless plains are lush and green, and the sunsets have been a definite highlight. Our two &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas camps are situated at Ndutu, close to all the action.
Just 30 minutes into their first game drive with ranger Paul Panga, guests were amazed to see: leopard; cheetah feeding on an impala; hyena chasing a newborn zebra; and lion stalking and taking down a wildebeest. Words cannot describe the excitement as all of the action unfolds!
THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME
Just over a week ago, the southern Serengeti received some serious summer rains (and even some hail!), which has managed to keep the mega-herd settled and happily grazing. The Ndutu plains are flooded, quite literally, with wildebeest and zebra, while Lake Ndutu is flooded with pink flamingoes. Words cannot do the scene any justice.
Our &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas camps are perfectly situated at Ndutu, within close range of the impressive herds, and just a few days ago, guests were lucky enough to witness a lion kill right in front of the Serengeti Under Canvas tents!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS: THE MIGRATION REACHES THE SOUTHERN SERENGETI
The vast migratory herds of zebra and wildebeest have now settled in the Southern Serengeti in the Ndutu region. Our &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas camps are perfectly situated at Ndutu, within close range of the impressive herds. The enormous herds are overwhelming and the sightings have been unbelievable. Watch this space for more updates in the New Year! Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and safe holiday season and an exciting new year ahead.
NEVER A DULL MOMENT
The recent rains and fresh new grass have lured the migratory herds to the central Serengeti plains (Seronera) and Western Corridor. The mega-herd is not concentrated in one area, but rather medium-sized herds are scattered throughout, and they are slowly heading south towards Ndutu. Our &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas camps are perfectly situated in the Seronera region, within close range of the impressive herds. Not only have our guests been up close and personal with the Great Migration, they have also had incredible sightings of the resident game. Large prides of lion are being seen on a daily basis, and leopard and cheetah have also been seen regularly. Several guests were lucky enough to spot the Big Five on their short game drive between the airstrip and the camp! From a lion kill just north of the Ndutu region, to many wildebeest and zebra sporting pregnant bellies, the sightings have been amazing. Watch this space for more updates!
ONE ANGRY HIPPO - MIGRATION UPDATE
The mega-herd has finally crossed the border and returned to the Serengeti, and guests at &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas are right in the midst of all the excitement.
Last Friday, they witnessed an impressive crossing at Kogatende of approximately 1 000 wildebeest. A pod of hippo was visibly irritated by the onslaught of sudden chaos, and one hippo started actually chasing the wildebeest off his turf.
Guests also watched on in amazement as another young wildebeest narrowly missed being taken down by a crocodile, then got swept downstream by a current, was bitten by the hippo, then managed to get himself stuck in a hole, successfully dodged yet another crocodile’s jaws, and eventually got away! Everyone was cheering him on as he reached the other side.
Up north in the Masai Mara, there are still some large herds at &Beyond Kichwa Tembo and guests are still witnessing regular Mara River crossings. With the recent rains, they continue to move back and forth in search of optimum grazing.
ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER
Huge herds of wildebeest have arrived two months early at &Beyond Klein’s Camp. An estimated 150 000 to 200 000 wildebeest are happily grazing the wilderness concession, which has never been seen before at Klein’s!
The views are impressive, with herds as far as the eye can see, and the daily sightings have been exciting (three wildebeest were recently taken down by lions in one sighting). Over in the Masai Mara, the mega-herd remains in the Mara Triangle, with plenty of movement back and forth.
Many herds that left the Triangle last week have now returned, because the recent rain has encouraged new grass growth. And of course, with the herds moving in so many different directions, the Mara River crossings continue on a daily basis, allowing for even more great sightings at &Beyond Kichwa Tembo.
GREAT MIGRATION AT KLEIN'S CAMP
Last Friday morning, the &Beyond Klein’s Camp family woke up to a beautiful sunrise, and as they searched the valley below for signs of wildlife, they were astonished to see thousands of black dots on the horizon.
The binoculars confirmed that the Great Migration has in fact arrived two months early in the northern part of the Klein’s Camp wilderness concession. These herds are one step ahead of the mega-herd, which is still grazing the Mara Triangle.
The Klein’s concession is alive with a great diversity of wildlife, including elephant, zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, giraffe, eland and buffalo. Lion have been calling every night and are being spotted regularly, and the resident female leopard has been seen along the Grumeti River with her three cubs. What a fantastic time to visit Klein’s Camp!
MIGRATION ON THE MOVE
The vast majority of the migratory herds have crossed the Mara River and moved across to the eastern side of the Masai Mara National Reserve. Some of the smaller herds remain in the Mara Triangle, and river crossings are still occurring regularly.
We suspect that some of the herds will be drawn back to Mara Triangle over the next few days, due to the recent rain that has improved grazing conditions. With the Mara River swelling, this will no doubt result in some spectacular game viewing for guests visiting &Beyond Kichwa Tembo.
The mega-herd has now moved across to the eastern side of the Masai Mara in search of better grazing conditions. A number of smaller herds of up to a few thousand wildebeest remain scattered around the Mara Triangle. Other herds are still gathered along the Oloololo escarpment, within close range of &Beyond Kichwa Tembo.
Mara River crossings (on a much smaller scale) are still taking place regularly. Recently at Kichwa Tembo, clouds have been forming in the late afternoons, and we hope that there will be some more rain to not only lure the herds back for more grazing, but also to bring new life to the ever-beautiful Mara landscape.
The herds are grazing the northwestern plains of the Serengeti, reaching all the way to the Kenyan border, are unsettled due to the changing weather patterns. They keep moving towards the Masai Mara, and rain clouds keep drawing them back to the Serengeti. And so... the Mara River crossings continue as the herds head back and forth, unable to make up their minds.
Guests visiting &Beyond Kichwa Tembo, Bateleur Camp and Serengeti Under Canvas camps (situated in the Wogakuria area) have been spoiled with river crossings almost every day. Some guests were lucky enough to witness four in a single day!
As more and more wildebeest and zebra stream into the Masai Mara, the mega-herd is moving further north towards the Kichwa Tembo concession, and our guests can actually see the Great Migration from the comfort of their tents or whilst lounging at the pool. Some guests have said it's better than National Geographic!
With the rains holding off and the herds moving around in search of optimal grazing, the Mara River crossings could continue for a while. It's all up to Mother Nature. Watch this space!
Due to a sudden drought, the herds that remained in the Serengeti’s Western Corridor quickly moved north to the Mara plains. The Great Migration has now flooded the Masai Mara, from the greater Mara to the Mara Triangle. It is quite literally a sea of 1.5 million wildebeest and zebra — a truly breathtaking and overwhelming sight. Guests are still witnessing the exciting Mara River crossings as the herds make their way to the Mara Triangle, meanwhile other herds in their thousands can be seen grazing along the Oloololo escarpment. &Beyond's two Serengeti Under Canvas camps have now moved into the Wogakuria area.
You Wonít Believe Your Eyes
The herds are everywhere! In the southeastern Masai Mara, and along the Serengeti/Mara border, there are throngs of wildebeest and zebra as far as the eye can see. Many large herds are also peacefully grazing just southwest of the Mara Triangle. For the last few weeks, guests at &Beyond Kichwa Tembo have been witnessing extraordinary, once in a lifetime sightings as the herbivores bravely attempt the terrifying river crossing. Stay tuned for more updates...
Where in the World is the Great Migration?
The front-runners of the Great Migration have arrived in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve earlier than expected. The herds, which usually start arriving in mid to late July, entered the Mara on the 15th of June. Guests visiting &Beyond Kichwa Tembo and Bateleur Camp have been among the first to witness the start of the Mara River crossings. Given that the crocodiles have had little to feed on over the past few months, they were in full predator mode, allowing for some really exciting sightings. This is the perfect time to visit Kichwa Tembo and witness the Greatest Show on Earth, perhaps from the vantage point of a hot air balloon. Visit WILDwatch.com to view other extraordinary sightings at &Beyond's 46 lodges and camps in Africa and India.
Two for the Price of One!
This must be a first! Due to a large number of herds that arrived a month earlier than expected in Kenya’s Masai Mara, the Grumeti River crossing is now happening at the same time as the Mara River crossing! Guests are spoiled for choice — they can witness this highly anticipated, truly unforgettable spectacle on both sides of the border. At &Beyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp, guests are right on the doorstep of the Grumeti crossings, and up north in Kenya, guests visiting &Beyond Kichwa Tembo and Bateleur Camp have also been eyewitness to the exciting Mara crossings. &Beyond's two Serengeti Under Canvas camps are also perfectly situated less than 10 km from the action. It really is the Greatest Show on the Planet — come and see for yourself!
An Early Arrival
The front-runners of the Great Migration have arrived in Kenya's Masai Mara Game Reserve earlier than expected. The herds, which usually start arriving in mid to late July, entered the Mara on the 15th of June. Guests visiting &Beyond Kichwa Tembo and Bateleur Camp have been among the first to witness the start of the Mara River crossings. Given that the crocodiles have had little to feed on over the past few months, they were in full predator mode, allowing for some really exciting sightings.
The Greatest Show on Earth
The massive mega herd is gathering in the Western Corridor, while some smaller herds are already heading north towards the Lobo region and Klein's wilderness concession. Both of &Beyond's Serengeti Under Canvas camps are perfectly situated near the Grumeti River, just waiting for the action to begin! The rains have temporarily stopped, although we anticipate from the heavy clouds in the distance that there will be some rain over the next few days, which (we think) will be followed by the highly anticipated Grumeti River crossing - the Greatest Show on Earth. The sunsets over Lake Victoria have been truly breathtaking, and the sightings have been exciting. Stay tuned for more updates!
Let the Games Begin (Almost)
As all of the football teams gather in South Africa, up in Tanzania, it's a different story altogether! The herds are everywhere! As the mega-herd gradually makes its way north towards Lobo, other wildebeest herds are favouring the route towards Ikoma, while zebra in their hundreds are still grazing the Seronera plains. &Beyond's Serengeti Under Canvas camps are still situated in the central Serengeti and guests have been witnessing some phenomenal sights. Stay tuned as the herds eventually decide to gather for the highly-anticipated Grumeti Crossing (maybe it will coincide with the celebrations in South Africa?!). Only Mother Nature can tell...
"Falling asleep to the sound of nature all around us, and then waking up to a magnificent sunrise on the Serengeti will remain with us forever."
~ &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas Guest Book
Gearing up for Grumeti
The Greatest Show on Earth is still mesmerising guests in the Serengeti! Over one million wildebeest and zebra are peacefully grazing the central Serengeti plains and Seronera region. The rains have stopped and we are witnessing the most breathtaking sunrises - what a truly unforgettable sight to see the sun rise over the vast herds of the Great Migration. The young wildebeest calves are now four months old and are coping well, slowly learning how to fend for themselves. The tail end of the Migration seems to be taking the ‘scenic' route and has yet to arrive in the central plains. A few herds were briefly seen approximately two hours away from Grumeti, however, these herds, being as elusive as they are, had disappeared the next day! Meanwhile other herds are slowly taking the North Route and are grazing near Mbuzi Mawe. Stay tuned for the highly anticipated Grumeti crossing.
It's almost time!
The beautiful rains continue to keep the central Serengeti plains lush and green, and this is where the vast majority of the herds are currently grazing. Some are slowly headed towards the Ngare Nanyuki, while others have moved to the Barafu Kopjes. We predict that they will all depart for the Western Corridor in the next two to three weeks, where they will gather for the world-famous Grumeti River crossing (but with Mother Nature, who really knows exactly?!). &Beyond's Serengeti Under Canvas camps are now situated in the central Serengeti, and guests are taking home extraordinary memories (and photographs) to last a lifetime. Stay tuned for more updates as the mass of wildebeest make their way to the Grumeti River!
All stations go! (Ösoon)
The epic adventure continues in the southern Serengeti. The mega-herd has hardly moved – the wildebeest and zebra are still happily grazing the Ndutu plains, while others are favouring the Olduvai and Bulbul plains. In fact, for the past four years in a row, the southern Serengeti has received just enough rain to keep these migratory herds stationary for longer than usual. The young wildebeest calves are healthy and preparing to move on with the herds when the time comes. &Beyond's two luxurious Serengeti Under Canvas camps are situated at Ndutu, within close range of the Great Migration. The predators continue to put on a show by day, and at night, guests have enjoyed hearing the mighty roars in the distance.
Timing is Everything
It has been seven weeks since the mega-herd arrived in the Southern Serengeti, and the action just hasn’t stopped. By day, guests watch in amazement as the wildebeest give birth to their young on the lush, green grasslands, and the nights are just as active, with the most incredible thundershowers (with thunder and lightning so spectacular, one would think the heavens were opening). The game drives continue to delight, with predators around every corner waiting to pounce. And as you drive from the Ngorongoro Crater towards the southern Serengeti plains, the views are unforgettable – literally a sea of wildebeest and zebra. It is a photographer’s delight.
“Seeing the Great Migration was beyond our expectations. There is no way to describe the vastness of the herds and no way to capture it all in one photo. We were so fortunate to have timed it right, and having Frank and Abdullah as our guides was the perfect touch!”
~ &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas Guest Book
The Circle of Life
The mega-herd continues to graze the lush emerald green pastures of the southern Serengeti plains, all the way out to the Olduvai plains. There has been plenty of glorious rain, and Lake Ndutu is still full. The two main rivers that flow out towards the Ngorongoro Crater were recently flooded, making vehicle crossings an adventure! The wildebeest and zebra calving season is in full swing, providing guests at &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas with unforgettable sightings of the little ones as they find their legs. The predators have been on high alert, often (sadly) taking advantage of the weaker ones, some only a few hours old. The circle of life continues in the Serengeti.
Grazing on the Southern Plains
All Over the Show
The herds are everywhere! The northwestern plains and the Wogakuria region are still experiencing heavy rains, so inevitably, there are still some herds grazing this lush green grass. There is a large herd of wildebeest on the Kenyan side of the Mara River, some have settled temporarily in the western Grumeti region as they head south, while other herds are heading to Lobo kopjes as they too trek south. One of &Beyond's Serengeti Under Canvas camps is situated at Wogakuria, where guests have marvelled at the herds leaving the Mara and heading back to Ndutu for calving season. The other Serengeti Under Canvas camp is now settling in the Central Seronera area, where guests can delight in hot air balloon safaris over the vast Serengeti plains.
Heading South (almost)
There has finally been some rain in the Masai Mara and the Mara River is overflowing, ever so slightly. The northwestern plains of the Serengeti are lush and green, making for some spectacular views. The mega-herd remains on the Kenyan side of the River, although some herds are headed towards the Lobo region, while others are moving west to Grumeti. This is an indication that the mega-herd will soon commence its journey to the southern Serengeti plains. The central Seronera region has also received some rains and heavy clouds were seen towards the south. &Beyond's Serengeti Under Canvas camps are situated a mere 18 km from the Mara River, so guests are poised for the epic crossing to begin once again.
“Things we will never forget: watching the sunrise from our bed, elephants crossing the Mara River, and being able to hear lions at night!’’
The Circle of Life
The mega-herd continues to graze happily in the Lamai Triangle and Wogakuria plains in the northern Serengeti, near the Kenyan border. The rest of the herds are scattered on both sides of the Mara River, some in the Masai Mara, others in the Serengeti. Despite the River’s unusually low water levels, guests staying at &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas have all mentioned the river crossings as the main highlight of their safari. Both camps are situated at Wogakuria, a mere 18 km from the water’s edge. Rangers Paul and Cyst continue to delight their guests with unbelievable sightings, from brightly coloured birds and a sea of zebra and wildebeest, to lions and cheetahs on the hunt.
“Life is great in the bush!! Beautiful Tanzanian people at the camp. Thank you.”
~ &Beyond Guest Book
Back & Forth ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The indecisive mega-herd has once again crossed the Mara River, re-entering the Serengeti National Park, and is now grazing peacefully some 12 km from the River. Meanwhile, other herds are settled in the Wogakuria area and the Lamai Triangle. The River levels remain low, due to the limited rainfall received this year, however short showers have kept the area lush and green. The lower water levels have enabled our &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas guests to easily cross the River, back and forth, to view the massive herds. As ranger James Ombeni bid farewell to his guests, they mentioned that their “very unique sighting of a crocodile coming out of the water to capture an injured zebra and drag it into the water” was a definite highlight.
Just Beyond Our Doorstep - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The recent rains have enticed the mega-herd back to the Serengeti side of the Mara River, where the grass is lush and green. Other herds have been slowly making their way across the River, which is still experiencing much lower water levels than usual. Both &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas camps are now situated in the Wogakuria area, with the mega-herd grazing right on our doorstep! While the land-based predators have been feasting, the crocodiles have not been as lucky, having to wait for the young or weak wildebeest to approach the riverbanks. &Beyond guide Mohamed Omari ensured his guests witnessed the action, watching crocodiles lying on the riverbank in ambush. Stay tuned for more Mara River action!
Migration Moves up to the Mara - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Right on schedule, the mega-herd has now vacated the Western Corridor leaving the resident herds behind. The action is now centred around the northwestern plains and the Mara Triangle, where the vast herds of wildebeest and zebra are grazing happily. Although the current water levels of the Mara River are rather disappointing, this has made the world-famous river crossing a lot less daunting. The herds continue to cross back and forth, as heavy rain clouds gather on either side of the Mara River. &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas guide Cyst ensured his guests were there to witness the first crossing.
Let the Grumeti Games Begin!
The mega-herd is now happily grazing the Grumeti plains and guests are in for a real treat as the herds approach the dramatic Grumeti River crossing. The northwestern journey towards the Masai Mara Game Reserve has also begun, with a few smaller herds spotted heading north over the last few days. This is a promising sign for the upcoming Mara River crossing. Our two &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas camps are perfectly positioned in the Grumeti area, and will soon move to the Mara Triangle to keep guests as close to the action as possible. Our guests have enjoyed some unforgettable game drives, watching in amazement as the herds risk their lives as they bravely cross the Grumeti River.
“The expanse of the Serengeti plains and grassland, the buffalo’s boldness, the wildebeest migration and the waterhole activity of the zebras , wildebeest and elephant, seeing the pride of lions and wildebeest kill … all deepened my regard for the cycle of life of all living creatures.”
~ &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas Guest Book
Approaching Grumeti ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The epic journey never ends, as the grazing herbivores continue their year-round trek across the Serengeti Mara ecosystem. Last Friday, &Beyond ranger Mohamed located the mega-herd on the Musabi plains, making its way to the Simiti and Mbalageti plains, just 40 km from the Grumeti region. &Beyond's two Serengeti Under Canvas camps are currently situated directly in the path of the ever-moving wildebeest: one at Mbalageti (21 km from Grumeti) and the other at Kirawira (12 km from the Grumeti airstrip). Guests continue to enjoy daily, up close and personal sightings of this world-famous event.
Drama to Come ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Now in the Western Corridor of the Serengeti National Park, the mega herds are grazing at Belabela plains, making their way to Musabi and Mbalageti Plains, while the stragglers are still browsing at Seronera in the central Serengeti. Following the heavy rains that are pouring throughout the entire Western Corridor, signs of flooding have already been spotted at the Grumeti River and the Grumeti crossing promises to be a phenomenal sight this year. Guests staying at &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas witnessed some rare and special sightings with their guide Mohamed while watching the greatest show on earth make its way westward.
The Heart of the Serengeti ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The northward journey is complete, and the mega-herd has just arrived in the central Serengeti. With the recent heavy rains in the Grumeti region, a few smaller herds are already making their way to the Western Corridor. Both &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas camps are located in the central plains, within close proximity to an astounding 3 km stretch of grazing wildebeest and zebra. Over the weekend, rangers Daniel and Paul ensured their guests witnessed this amazing sight, and many predators were spotted in the distance eyeing their next meal. Following in the footsteps of the mega-herd, the Serengeti Under Canvas camps will move to the Western Corridor in two week’s time.
“There are too many memories to share! The cheetahs with a fresh kill, the elephants, the pride of lions lazing beneath a tree, the baby hyenas. It has been the trip of a lifetime!”
Moving North... ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The migratory herds remain in the southern Serengeti, approximately 5 km from Naabi Gate, and are slowly making their way back towards the central Serengeti. The heavy rains continue, and the herds are enjoying the excellent grazing conditions. We anticipate that the mega-herd will start its journey to the Western Corridor in the next few weeks, and our two luxurious &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas camps are now well situated in the Seronera region. Predator sightings have been exciting, and ranger Frank Kivuyo’s guests have gone home with memories to last a lifetime.
The Return of the Herds
As anticipated, the drought in the Southern Serengeti is over, and the Ndutu region has once again been blessed with heavy rains. The herds that had moved slightly southwest have now made their way back to the plentiful Ndutu plains. Serengeti Under Canvas guests and their ranger Paul Panga witnessed Lake Ndutu being restored to its natural state, after a month-long drought that had caused the water levels to decline drastically. The Serengeti Under Canvas teams continue to ensure that their guests all return home with lifelong memories of Africa’s Great Migration.
“First-class service and accommodation. Dining outside under the stars was a wonderful memory that will last a lifetime. As was falling asleep to the sounds of the wildebeest.”
~ Serengeti Under Canvas Guest Book
In Search of Greener Pastures
The rain shortage in the Southern Serengeti has forced the mega-herd to gravitate towards the Matiti Hills area, close to the Maswa Game Reserve border. The water levels of Lake Ndutu dropped slightly, due the dependence of the great herds, prompting the wildebeest and their newborn calves to move in pursuit of heavier rain clouds in the distance. The Ndutu region has received 40 ml of rain over the last three days, and we anticipate that with the oncoming heavy rains, it will entice the herds to return to complete their calving season. This ongoing cycle, driven by Mother Nature, continues to draw guests from around the world.
Unforgettable ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
This week, the summer rains have not been as consistent; however, the light rains received in the Southern Serengeti (Ndudu region) have been enough to keep the mega-herd happy and healthy. From Ndutu, all the way up to Oldupai and the Bulbul depression, the plains are teeming with wildebeest and zebra as far as the eye can see. Predators continue to prey on the weaker ones, creating a spectacle for our guests. Serengeti Under Canvas guides Medison and James ensured that their guests were able to witness the excitement: from stalking and chasing, to killing and feasting.
In the words of one delighted guest:
“Sunset in the west, full moon in the east, herds in the middle, and three cheetah watching it right in front of us. We will always remember this!”
The First Babies of 2009 ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The mega-herd continues to graze the Ndutu plains, which are green as far as the eye can see. Our Serengeti Under Canvas camps are located right in the middle of the Great Migration, and yesterday, ranger Cyst took his guests out to witness the arrival of the first four wildebeest calves. Everyone sat in amazement as the little ones struggled to stand on shaky legs. Sadly, the predators are lurking nearby, their mouths watering at the sight of this abundant food that they have been awaiting for some time. Mother Nature runs its course…
Water, Wind & Wildebeest... ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Heavy rains continue in the Ndutu region, as well as Kusini, Mlima Matiti and Miti Mitatu, bringing new life and lustre to the surrounding vegetation. Lake Ndutu is once again full, and the mega-herd is grazing approximately 20 km from the Ndutu airstrip. If the rains continue, we anticipate the herds to soon gather around Lake Ndutu. Serengeti Under Canvas guide, Mohamed, made sure his guests saw the enormous mega-herd as it moved south, and they were lucky enough to see some exciting predator action as well. They also witnessed a fascinating wind storm as it passed through the Ndutu plains and toward the woodland.
Still heading south ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The mega-herd spent the holidays on the Ndutu plains. The southern Serengeti is lush and green following the rains that were received almost daily over the festive season. Rain has now eluded the Ndutu area, where a few small herds remain, however the majority of the zebra and wildebeest are currently grazing in the Kusini and Naabi Hill area on the border between the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Guests at Serengeti Under Canvas are enjoying daily game drives with unforgettable sightings and delicious picnic lunches among the herds.
Completing the Cycle... ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The mega-herd has completed its annual migratory cycle – once again returning to the lush plains of the southern Serengeti. The wildebeest and zebra herds have started arriving at Ndutu, an area that is renowned for the wildebeest calving at the beginning of the year. After the recent heavy rains, fresh new grass has sprouted in the Ndutu region and everything is green and beautiful, and the plains are teeming with grazing herbivores and hungry predators. Ever following in the footsteps of the Great Migration, the &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas camps will move to Ndutu on 12 December. There are still many large herds grazing in and around the Seronera area, and by mid-December, we anticipate they will all arrive at Ndutu, Oldupai and the Olbalbal Depression where they will await the calving season. Our camps will remain in the southern Serengeti from now until March 2009, and they will start to move west with the herds in April.
Heading South - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The mega-herd is making its way south to the Central Serengeti plains, where there has been plenty of rain for the last two weeks, and the grasses are now lush and green. The &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas semi-permanent camps are currently situated in the Wogakuria area, but will both be moving down to the Central Serengeti in the next few days. Sightings of resident game remain fantastic, with many predators still lurking, and on Wednesday guests watched as a herd of 200 wildebeest attempted to cross the Mara River. They only made it half way and then turned back, as the River is so flooded and the crossing became too much of a challenge.
More Rain, More Movement...~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
There is still plenty of action centred around the Mara River. Yesterday morning, just west of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas Camp 1, ranger Medison Samwel and his guests watched as a herd of 500 wildebeest trundled past. They are headed towards the Lamai Triangle to join other herds for another memorable Mara crossing. Heavy rains are expected to continue in the Wogakuria area, resulting in lush new grass that will continue to entice the herds. Last night, there was plenty of predator action to be heard just outside of Serengeti Under Canvas Camp 2, positioned at Sundowner Rock. As guests departed for their morning game drive this morning, a pride of lions were found a mere 500 m from camp, feasting on the unlucky wildebeest that they took down last night.
North or South? ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Early rains in the Serengeti have confused the migratory herds yet again. Although there is still a huge herd of wildebeest grazing in the northern Serengeti, some of the animals have already moved south to the central Serengeti plains (near the Seronera area). It is raining around Kogatende and CC Africa's Klein's Camp concession; however, further south the plains remain very dry. We anticipate that this will drive the herds back to the north. Game drives in the Kogatende area have been exciting, and guests are still enjoying daily Mara River crossings. The predators, of course, are still cashing in.
An Impressive Sight ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The mega-herd is gathered on the Masai Mara plains, but there is still plenty of action in the Serengeti as well. Approximately 200 000 wildebeest are roaming CC Africa's Klein's Camp concession, and another 500 000 are enjoying the grasses of the northwestern Serengeti. There is a huge herd in the Bologonja/Sand River area, within close driving distance of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps. There are still some herds crossing from the southern bank of the Mara River to the northern bank. The resident cats are enjoying this time of plenty. Yesterday guests witnessed a large male leopard high up in an acacia tree with a baby wildebeest kill on the branch next to him. Just a few kilometres away, they watched as the Wogakuria lion pride fought fiercely for a morsel of their wildebeest kill, which sadly was not enough to feed the entire pride.
Endless Obstacles ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
There have been scattered showers in the Masai Mara, as well as some rains in the northern Serengeti, resulting in general confusion among the migratory herds. There has been a bit of back and forth movement, with many animals moving from the northern part of the Mara River, down to the southern part. On Saturday, Serengeti Under Canvas ranger Cyst took his guests to the Mara Bologonja junction, where they witnessed thousands of wildebeest crossing the Mara River. Three unlucky wildebeest were easily snapped up by the Nile crocodiles. Once across the River, the mega-herd was still not out of harm's way - as a mother and baby wildebeest were then hunted by the Wogakuria pride of 32 lions. It's not easy being a wildebeest!
Steady Stream - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The year-round cycle continues, and the sightings rarely disappoint! On Wednesday, Serengeti Under Canvas ranger Medison drove his guests to the banks of the Mara River where they watched a 45-minute steady stream of wildebeest and zebra crossing the River. The northern Serengeti is still receiving some rain, and so, while the majority of the herds have crossed into the Masai Mara, there are still some confused herds crossing back to the Tanzanian side. The northern Serengeti plains remain lush and green, enticing many herbivores back. Several herds have settled in the Lamai Triangle.
To cross or not to cross... - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The mega-herd has gathered in the Mara Triangle, while some smaller, straggling herds remain in the northern Serengeti, waiting for the water levels of the Mara River to subside before attempting the fearsome crossing. Recent rains flooded the River and temporarily halted the herds' movements. The rains continue, but only in the form of evening showers. Fortunately, in the last four days, the currents have slackened, allowing some of the herds to manage the crossing. Serengeti Under Canvas rangers Medison and Mohamed ensured their guests witnessed all the excitement!
Waiting Game ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Beijing is hosting the 2008 Olympics, but, while the Games only happen every four years, let's not forget that Kenya and Tanzania host the world-famous Great Migration of 1.5 million wildebeest and 200 000 zebra across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem year round. There has been plenty of rain in the Wagakuria region and the southern Masai Mara plains, which has flooded the Mara River and placed the Mara crossings temporarily on hold. The herds have gathered near the River and are waiting for the water levels to go down before the exciting crossings continue. Serengeti Under Canvas guests have not been disappointed - rangers Daniel and Ivan have taken guests on some exciting game drives to see the hippo and predator action near the riverbanks.
Back and Forth...~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The action is still focused around the Mara River, with constant sightings on both sides of the river, as well as the Mara Triangle. The weather continues to confuse the herds, and there is plenty of back and forth movement between the Serengeti National Park and the Masai Mara National Reserve. Serengeti Under Canvas ranger Mohamed ensured his recent guests witnessed several crossings during their safari, as well as some exciting predator action.
And still ... the crossings continue! ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Grazing conditions on either side of the Mara River continue to be favourable, and guests in the Serengeti and the Masai Mara are still enjoying exciting river crossings. Two of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps are ideally situated in the Wagakuria area, with guests witnessing crossings almost every second day!
The Spectacle Continues 2008 ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The mega-herd has crossed the Mara River towards the Mara Triangle, yet there are still huge herds in the northern Serengeti, and the Mara River crossings continue! There are large concentrations of wildebeest and zebra in both the Masai Mara and Serengeti, and the sight of it is truly spectacular.
"The ultimate destination and experience. The people, camp, environment ... mixed in with the greatest show on earth at the Mara River crossing. Perfection!!"
"The pulse of Africa beats right here. Simply the best!"
~ CC Africa Serengeti Under Canvas Guest Book
Where the Action is... ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The Mara River is where the action is! The Migration can be seen from both sides of the River - in the Serengeti National Park and the Masai Mara National Reserve. Massive herds of wildebeest continue to make their way across the Mara River, and the Mara plains are now full of life, from grazing herbivores to many satisfied predators. One of CC Africa's semi-permanent Serengeti Under Canvas camps is now situated near the Mara River at Kogatende, and guests have been delighted with some spectacular Migration sightings. And guests staying at CC Africa's Klein's Camp in Northern Tanzania have also witnessed the action on exciting game drives from the Klein's concession to Kogatende.
Mega-Herd Takes the Plunge ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Weather conditions in northern Serengeti National Park have caused confusion for those migratory herds that were grazing the northern plains. They are now headed northwest, while the tail end of the Migration is still scattered along the Western Corridor and Grumeti Reserve. The mega-herd has commenced the challenging Mara Crossing, much to the delight of the hungry crocodiles. Serengeti Under Canvas guests have witnessed some unbelievable once-in-a-lifetime sightings of many successful (and some not so lucky) crossings.
Migration Moves to the Mara ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The first of the migratory herds have arrived in the Masai Mara! Just weeks before the highly anticipated Mara River crossing, some of the smaller herds have already braved the frightful feat. Guests at one of CC Africa's three Serengeti Under Canvas semi-permanent camps, along with their guide Solomon, witnessed the arrival of the very first herd to the Wagakuria area on the northwestern plains. Some herds have taken the route towards the Sand River on the border between Tanzania and Kenya - while others are slowly moving towards the Mara River.
Predator Action! - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The northward trek has commenced; however, some migratory herds still remain in the Western Corridor. Thousands of herbivores continue to slake their thirst along the Grumeti River, many of them becoming an easy meal for the high concentration of giant Nile crocodiles in the water and predators lining the riverbanks. Yesterday, guests departing one of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps were delighted when their homeward plane was delayed, allowing them extra time to observe a lone lioness while en route to the airstrip. The lioness was guarding her wildebeest kill, when another wildebeest suddenly appeared on the scene. Busy drinking, it did not notice the lioness. Although she had not yet even tasted her first kill, she made a valiant effort at a second (unsuccessful) kill. Better luck next time.
Serengeti Sightings - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Our Serengeti Under Canvas camps are keeping up with the herds in the remote corners of the Serengeti, and hence communication has been somewhat staggered. The mega herd has taken the Nyasirori route and is now grazing on the border of Serengeti National Park and the Grumeti Reserve, while the other herds are scattered across the Musabi plains and Grumeti region and on the boundary of Maswa Game Reserve. The last few days have seen some heavy rainfall and cloudy skies, but the wildlife sightings continue to be truly spectacular. On Tuesday, guide Frank and his guests watched a cheetah take down a Thomson's gazelle, and just a few meters away, they also witnessed a rare sight: a Nile monitor lizard swallowing another monitor lizard! On Wednesday morning, guests looked on as a large herd of wildebeest drank from the Grumeti River, very wary of two nearby crocodiles, which had been seen hunting freshwater catfish earlier in the day. We believe this could be the beginning of a phenomenal Grumeti crossing.
Ahead of Schedule - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Each year, large herds of zebra spend most of the year on the Loita plains northeast of the Masai Mara. When the Great Migration enters the Mara, these zebra move south to meet up with the great migratory herds. The zebra have just arrived at Kichwa Tembo ahead of schedule, which could be an indication that the Migration might enter the Mara plains earlier than anticipated.
It has been a week of exciting river crossings and plenty of predator action! Guests at Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp in the Serengeti have watched in awe as some of the herds braved an early Grumeti River crossing, while guests at Kichwa Tembo in the Masai Mara have also witnessed herds of zebra crossing the Mara River. Stay tuned for more Grumeti action!
Itís About to Begin! ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The mega-herd is slowly gathering near the Grumeti River, and everyone is waiting in anticipation for one of the greatest shows on earth: the world-famous Grumeti River Crossing. All of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps are situated within reach, and guests are about to witness the sheer adrenaline as the wildebeest brave this frightful crossing. A few lucky ones have already taken the plunge, and have successfully crossed the river and are now scattered near Masira Hill. The predators are in their element, taking advantage of the easy prey and putting on quite a show for our guests.
Better Luck Next Time - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The mega-herd is now gathered at Nyamuma plains, while other large herds are grazing the Mbalageti plains. The Simiti lion pride has been active, and although they did not manage a kill, guests at one of CC Africa's three Serengeti Under Canvas camps were delighted to watch the lions stalking the herds close to camp. The Under Canvas team suspects that the pride might have more luck tonight!
Mass Movement - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Great herds of wildebeest and zebra continue to arrive in the central Serengeti, joining the massive herds that are already there grazing with their young. The mega-herd will soon start making its way to the western Serengeti - an area renowned for its vast, open plains. The smell and promise of rain coming from the eastern shores of Lake Victoria is pulling the herds ever onwards on their great annual trek. The tail end of the Migration is still grazing near Gol Kopjes, making its way to the Naabi Hills. They still have quite a distance to cover before joining the mega-herd. The only place where they might possibly cross paths will be at the Mara Triangle when the herds gather once again for the world-renowned Mara River crossing in mid-August. Yesterday, guests at CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps witnessed a great spectacle as thousands of wildebeest made their way towards Meru, leaving behind a huge cloud of dust. The predators have also been putting on a show, hunting for easy meals as the herds pass through. Stay tuned for more!
~ Fonnary Moshi, Camp Manager, Serengeti Under Canvas
As Far as the Eye Can See ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
What an amazing sight - the central Serengeti is literally flooded with well over a million wildebeest and zebra, who are busy munching on the tall green grass. The herds are gathered near the Seronera airstrip, and are spread out for almost half a kilometre towards the central plains. The rains have now stopped and hundreds of young wildebeest can be seen playing tag and jostling about. Guests at CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps have been able to witness the Great Migration in all its splendour. The predators have also been creating a spectacle, as they hunt for easy meals right on their doorstep. Guests enjoyed watching hungry hyenas who sat, mouths watering, as they tried to scavenge from a lioness kill.
A Spectacular Sight ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The mega-herd has moved from the Ndutu region to Naabi Hill gate, and will soon make its way to Seronera, in the heart of the Serengeti. Two of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps are now perfectly positioned at the Prins Charles campsite at Seronera, anxiously awaiting the imminent arrival of the Great Migration.
"Seeing a herd yesterday of more than 250 000 animals was the most spectacular part of the Migration that I have seen during the past seven months at Serengeti Under Canvas!"
~ Shaun Strydom, General Manager, Serengeti Under Canvas
Serengeti Action ~ Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The Serengeti plains have been receiving plenty of rain, and the herds have spread out from Ndutu all the way to the Olduvai plains. Guests visiting CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps have been spoiled for choice when it comes to game viewing. A 4 m African rock python was spotted, and later that day, they saw a 3 ft long baby python. But it wasn't long before this baby snake was snatched by a secretary bird. There have also been sightings of the mother cheetah and her six healthy cubs. Stay tuned for more next week!
Beasts & Birds - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The last couple of weeks have been dry, so the animals began to move north towards the Kusini area. A recent rainfall, however, brought many of the animals back south again. The mega-herd is now happily grazing the Miti Mitatu plains, between Matiti and Kusini. The long rains have just begun in the Ndutu region, resulting in some confused movement among the herds. CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas guests continue to witness strange and wonderful things on the Serengeti plains: they were lucky to spot a rare Albino roller; and elsewhere, a juvenile pelican was seen scavenging on a fresh wildebeest carcass, along with vultures and marabou storks. And then there's the zonkey ... stay tuned for photos of this interesting find!
Serengeti: Full of Life - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The vast Serengeti plains are flourishing and CC Africa's three Serengeti Under Canvas camps have been busy looking after guests and showcasing the Migration right on our doorstep! The mega-herd has now gathered on the Matiti and Maswa plains and they continue to give birth to new wildebeest calves every day. This week's game drives have been exciting, with regular sightings of an aardvark in the Matiti area. The mother cheetah and her six little cubs are healthy and full of energy. And yesterday, guests saw a big male leopard relaxing near Lake Ndutu, keeping a close eye on his two baby wildebeest kills stored high up in the safety of a nearby tree.
An Unfair Advantage - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The rains have finally ceased and, as far as the eye can see, the grass is lush, green and beautiful. The wildebeest are now roaming the plains in the thousands, and they continue to drop their young. Sadly, there are hundreds of orphaned wildebeest calves wandering aimlessly in search of their mothers who have been hunted by hungry predators. The predators use this opportunity to cash in on another easy meal. The lone elephant that frequently visits CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps has now appeared for the fourth time in a row! He keeps returning to drink the fresh water, giving guests some fantastic up close and personal sightings.
Predators Arenít Going Hungry...
The mega-herd is now scattered along the perimeter of Nabi Hill gate and the border of the Ngorongoro Conservation area. With each day comes new life, but sadly, death is also ever-present. There are wildebeest calves everywhere and guests are enjoying some fantastic Migration sightings. Predators and scavengers continue their lucky streak...
Animals Everywhere! - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
There has not been as much rain in the southern Serengeti as compared to last year, but there has been enough to keep the southern plains suitably lush and green for the migratory herds. The animals continue to move to and fro, as they see and smell the rain falling in different regions. The mega-herd has settled in the Kusini area, near the Moru Kopjes, and the wildebeest continue to drop their young. Guests visiting CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps have witnessed life and death on the Serengeti - from many births to the ever-present carnivore activity.
Dung Beetles Everywhere! - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Every day hundreds of wildebeest are dropping their young, which is uncharacteristically early for this time of year. Yesterday, guests at CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas watched for an hour as a wildebeest gave birth. The calf was healthy and strong, but wasn't given a fair chance. In the distance, a mother cheetah and her four cubs also witnessed the birth and were watching with hungry eyes. The mother cheetah pounced and captured the newborn wildebeest, taking it back to the cubs to play with and eventually kill. The Serengeti plains are covered with wildebeest dung, which has attracted enormous amounts of dung beetles. What a sight, all the dung beetles busy rolling their balls of dung and burying into the soil!
Serengeti Sightings - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The Serengeti plains are lush and beautiful and CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas guests continue to enjoy the excitement of Africa's Great Migration. The mega-herd is expanding daily, with more and more animals completing the trek from Kusini to Ndutu. Thousands of wildebeest are happily grazing the new grass alongside their newborn calves, with the ever-present threat of predators nearby. Yesterday, guests watched as a male lion and two lionesses fed on a wildebeest that they had killed during the night - a mere 300 m from the camp. Other guests were delighted to see a mother cheetah with her six adorable six-week old cubs.
Babies and Bullies - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The plains are beautiful, lush and green and there are animals everywhere! Massive herds are now travelling from the Kusini area and have spread out across the Miti Mitatu and Matiti plains. There are lots of pregnant female wildebeest dropping their young, a very uncommon sight this time of year. Amidst this excitement, the predators have also been active. A pride of lions has been spending plenty of time along the shore of Lake Masek, preying on victims stuck in the mud ... always an easy meal! Yesterday, guests from CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camp watched as four cheetah cubs caught and played with a scrub hare, only killing it an hour later.
New Yearís Babies? - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve
The vast herds of zebra and wildebeest saw the New Year in on the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti. Yesterday, a huge herd was spotted near the boundary of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. There are lots of newborn wildebeest, which is fairly uncommon for this time of year. They are typically born at the end of February, so this has been a nice surprise for our guests. Two of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps are currently located in the Ndutu area, where hundreds of animals are grazing around the tents. What a sight! Early next week, all three of our Serengeti Under Canvas camps will be situated in the southern Serengeti, just in time for calving season.
Lush and Green - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve
The mega-herd is busy grazing the lush grasses of the Western Corridor, and is slowly making its way down the Mbalageti Plain to the Musabi area. There is a massive herd of wildebeest and zebra a mere 30 km from CC Africa's Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp. Another smaller herd has been spotted near the Naabi area, making its way south. A herd of approximately 300 wildebeest and zebra is currently grazing the central plains, with the numbers rising every day. Light rains continue, with some clear skies, and it is green everywhere!
Mega-Herd Movement - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Rumours were circling that the mega-herd had finally arrived in the Western Corridor of the Serengeti. One of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas guides, Frank, took his guests on a game drive to the Western Corridor to see if the rumours were true. Frank's photograph below speaks for itself! Some wildebeest and zebra remain in the Lobo region, slowly making their way down to the central plains, where one of CC Africa's three Serengeti Under Canvas camps is perfectly positioned for the arrival of the mega-herd. The rains have begun, and we expect the mega-herd to arrive in the central plains in about four days' time. The birdlife has also been spectacular, with guests recently spotting 8 out of the 12 Serengeti Under Canvas Star Birds.
Apologies for the delay with last week's update - we have been busy moving one of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps to its new site, in keeping with the recent migration movements. The animals are still a bit puzzled by the weather patterns, and the herds remain scattered. Many of them are grazing in the southwestern Serengeti plains, some are in the Lobo area, others are near the Bologonja area, and a huge herd (pictured below) is busy making its way from the Ikoma entrance gate to the central part of the park. One of CC Africa's three Serengeti Under Canvas camps is still located in the central plains, where it is dry, but filled with resident game. Last week, guests witnessed thousands of zebras at Makoma Hill, hundreds of elephants, and plenty of curious cats in the area. Never a dull moment in the Serengeti!
Rain Causing Confusion! - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The rains have really confused the migratory herds this year! Some herds still remain in the Masai Mara, some are scattered in the Lobo region, while another large herd recently made its way via the Grumeti region to the Nyamuma plains. It is raining in the central Serengeti, and we anticipate many of the wildebeest will make their way down to this region very soon. CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas guests have witnessed some extraordinary sightings in the last few days: 18 lions feeding on a giraffe carcass, three leopards up a tree, and two cheetahs very close to the camp. Never a dull moment!
Moving South - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The northern and western regions of the Serengeti are lush and green, while the central plains remain dry. The herds are scattered in the northwest enjoying the new grass, as they slowly make their way to the central Serengeti. Recent weather patterns have confused the herds somewhat - they would typically move straight from north to south, via the central plains. However, this year, they moved west instead. Two of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps are currently located in the game-rich central plains, perfectly positioned for the arrival of the herds - we anticipate the rains should come soon and the herds will make their way south. Guests continue to witness some remarkable sights, including the resident lions, leopards and cheetahs. On Tuesday, a female black rhino and her calf were spotted a mere 2 km from camp. The third Serengeti Under Canvas camp is situated in the Klein's Camp concession, enjoying some great Migration sightings, and will soon move south with the herds to the Ndutu region.
And in the Masai Mara ... the Kichwa plains are still flooded with zebra and wildebeest. What a spectacular sight to land on the Kichwa airstrip, surrounded by the migratory herds! Stay tuned for more next week!
Harsh Realities on the Serengeti Plains - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The short rains have started in many parts of the Serengeti, and beautiful new green grass is popping up everywhere. The mega-herd has split into four separate herds - one has settled in the Lobo area, another is in the western part of the Serengeti on the Musabi plains, while the other two unhurried herds are still making their way down from the northern Serengeti near the Ikomo region. If the short rains continue, the herds are expected to make it to the central Serengeti in approximately four to five days. CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas guests have been on some memorable game drives lately, witnessing two leopards and watching as a pride of lions took down a male buffalo. There have been regular cheetah sightings, and on Wednesday, sadly, three cheetah cubs were killed by the same lion pride.
Seeing Spots - Northern Arm of Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The herds continue to munch on the lush Mara grass. CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas guests are witnessing the herds in astounding numbers as they gather closer and closer to the Mara River. Soon they will begin their return journey. Plenty of predators have also been seen in the area, quietly observing and awaiting their next meal. Stay tuned for more Migration movement next week!
A Hungry Eye ~ Northern Arm of Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The herds are still enjoying the lush new grasses, thanks to the recent rains. The mega-herd has made its way to the Masai Mara, while the tail end of the Great Migration still lingers in the Serengeti plains. Guests from CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas recently witnessed a hungry lioness patiently eyeing the herds that remain in the area. The mega-herd will soon start making its way back - crossing the Mara River back into the Serengeti. Many of the herds are now gathering by the river, preparing for their return journey.
Confusion in the Serengeti
The rains continue to cause confusion for the migratory herds. The animals keep moving back and forth according to the weather patterns and lush new grass that keeps popping up in different areas. The massive herd of wildebeest and zebra that recently made its way past one of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps, has now returned and is currently scattered all around the camp feasting on the new grass. Thousands of animals remain on the other side of the river, slowly making their way to the western side of the river, where they will soon make the journey to the southern short-grass plains. The resident predators (lion, leopard and hyena) are taking advantage of their position. On Wednesday, CC Africa guests watched patiently as a lioness scavenged a baby wildebeest kill from a leopard. The leopard had attempted to drag the kill up a nearby tree, but was unable to do so before the lioness took over. Stay tuned for more action and adventure in the Serengeti...
Itís Raining Again! - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Recent rains in the northern Serengeti have produced lush new growth on the plains. Many of the animals on the eastern side of the Mara River are crossing over to the western side to feast on this new grass. Both of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps are surrounded by thousands of happy zebra and wildebeest. On the weekend, CC Africa guests witnessed a massive river crossing with most of the herds making it safely to the other side - a few of them drowned due to the high water levels. We suspect the herds will remain in this area for a few days, taking advantage of the green grass, as the central plains are still very dry. Stay tuned for more!
Where to Look?! - Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The action continues! Kichwa Tembo guide Sammy set off early last Saturday with his guests in search of the Migration. An impressive herd of 50 000 herbivores was waiting patiently at the river's edge at Serena Crossing. Sammy positioned the vehicle downstream, and two hours later, the zebra led the way, springing into the fast-moving currents, with the wildebeest following closely behind. Soon the crocodiles surfaced and one of them dragged a young wildebeest downstream. Moments later, another crocodile sprung from the water at another young calf, but at the same time, a nearby lioness was busy taking down another wildebeest on the other side of the river! She had been waiting patiently in the bushes for just the right moment. The guests were amazed and weren't sure where to look!! A double treat that they won't soon forget!
Curiosity Killed the Cat Wildebeest - Tanzania and Kenya
Mara Update: It has been yet another remarkable week in the Mara! At the peak of the Migration, CC Africa guests have been blessed with some truly unforgettable sightings. Guide Sammy and his Kichwa Tembo guests took a picnic lunch down to the river and waited patiently at Termite Hills crossing for the action to begin. An estimated 10 000 herbivores gathered near the river, and two hours later the wildebeest sprung into the water and the guests enjoyed a 30-minute crossing. A crocodile made a kill and the group saw him swim upstream with the wildebeest in its mouth. Minutes later, a young wildebeest decided to brave the crossing (probably looking for its mother). Due to the strong current, the wildebeest realised it wasn't going to make it across, so it decided to go back. The greedy crocodile let go of his previous kill and made his way towards the young wildebeest. As everyone held their breath, the young animal made it safely to the riverbank, but the crocodile continued to pursue. The wildebeest saw the crocodile, and instead of running away, it curiously sniffed the croc, wondering what it was. The crocodile jumped in the air and caught the poor animal by the head and dragged it into the water. A sad, but interesting end to the crossing!
Serengeti Update: It is raining in the Serengeti, and the plains are absolutely beautiful with fresh new grass appearing everywhere. This has caused some confusion, as many animals that had already made the Mara crossing are now coming back to feast on the new grass. The herds are a mere 5 km from one of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps. Earlier this week, guests watched as 100 000 animals crossed the river.
Another amazing day in the Mara! - Northern Arm of Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The Great Migration is at its peak, with thousands of wildebeest and zebra now roaming the Mara. CC Africa guide Sammy and his guests watched for an hour as more than 100 000 wildebeest crossed the Mara River near the Mara Bridge. They noticed an adult wildebeest who managed to get stuck in the river. Nearby, two Rüppell's griffon vultures were busy feeding on a carcass. To everyone's amazement, one of the vultures flew over and landed on the poor live wildebeest, and began pecking at him! Perhaps it was the pain or the shock, but the wildebeest managed to free itself and darted from the water - definitely his lucky day! Just 200 m from the crossing, the guests also witnessed a mother cheetah and three cubs on a young wildebeest kill. They feasted for only five minutes, and as they walked away, vultures swooped in and consumed the kill in minutes. CC Africa guide Joseph and his guests waited patiently for hours, watching two consecutive crossings at Miti Moja, meaning ‘one tree crossing.' A definite highlight for these guests was witnessing two crocodile kills. The excitement continues!
The Crossings Continue - Northern Arm of Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The northern Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is still scattered with thousands of migratory ungulates, especially at Kogatende. Yesterday, CC Africa Serengeti Under Canvas guests watched a herd of 3 000 animals successfully crossing the Mara River. Today, the herds were not as lucky! On game drive this morning, guests witnessed an astounding 500 000 wildebeest and zebra braving the same crossing, however, six of them became breakfast for the hungry crocodiles and another 15 drowned in the chaotic crossing. The majority of the herds are now on the eastern side of the Mara River, but there are several herds that are still enjoying the lush green grasses on the western side of the river and will need to soon make the fearsome crossing as well. Guests have been enjoying regular sightings of resident lion and cheetah. And yesterday, Didas and Frank witnessed a rare sight on their way back from the airstrip - they saw a lappet-faced vulture killing a ring-necked dove. Vultures are normally scavengers, but this one particular bird seemed tired of leftovers, and went for the fresh food instead! This was a first-time sighting for Didas, and the second time that Frank has witnessed such an exciting sighting. Stay tuned for more!
Both sides of the border... Northern Arm of Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Game drives have been spectacular - sitting in a game drive vehicle, surrounded by such massive herds of wildebeest, is truly unforgettable. It appears that the small rains have pulled many of the herds back from the Mara, hence game viewing between Klein's Camp and Bologonja, and towards the Serengeti Under Canvas camps near Kogatende has been exciting. On Wednesday, the herds were spread out, covering many valleys.
There is plenty of movement in Kenya as well! On Tuesday, CC Africa guests at Kichwa Tembo were thrilled to see a leopard meandering along the edge of the Mara River toward the end of the Kichwa airstrip. Visiting from Japan, it was their first time seeing a leopard. The Migration is still making its way from South Bridge and the southwest of the Mara Triangle (just 35 km from Kichwa Tembo). On Wednesday, guests watched 1 000 animals gather on Lookout Hill, but in the end, they decided not to make the crossing afterall. Thousands of wildebeest and zebra have moved to the Ngiro region of the Mara, in the direction of the Oloololo Escarpment. Stay tuned for more movements!
Mara Madness! - Northern Arm of Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The mega-herd has settled in the north, and will remain in the northern ‘arm' of the Serengeti and the Masai Mara for the next few months. Guests can expect excellent sightings at both of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps, as well as at Klein's Camp and Kichwa Tembo.
On Tuesday, a family of six visiting Serengeti Under Canvas, enjoyed a riverside picnic and were pleasantly interrupted by the sound of 200 000 wildebeest crossing the Mara right in front of them! Three wildebeest were caught by the hungry crocs and sadly, five of them broke their feet in the frenzied crossing and drowned.
The Mara is experiencing daily sightings of the Great Migration. After crossing the Sand River, hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra are heading straight to the Mara crossing points near Mara South Bridge and especially at the Fig Tree crossing point - crossing from the greater Mara into the Mara Triangle. The herds will spread out across the Mara plains, heading towards the Western Corridor of the Mara Triangle. Guests watched as 300 000 wildebeest and zebra gathered at the Serena crossing point, and then 50 000 of them crossed into the Triangle, with only one casualty - a lone zebra who had already successfully made the crossing, but decided to go back to reunite with its family on the other side. Sadly it ended up in the jaws of a crocodile that had missed this kill the first time around! There were several other crossings along the Mara River, between the Serena crossing and the Mara South Bridge, some 50 km southeast of Bateleur Camp at Kichwa Tembo, and a mere 28 km from Kichwa Tembo Masai Mara Tented Camp.
Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Excitement is building in the Mara! On Tuesday afternoon, CC Africa guests watched in amazement as the Mara River crossing began - over 10 000 wildebeest and zebra crossed the river at the fig tree crossing near the Mara south bridge, a mere 50 km southeast of Kichwa. The next day brought about two more substantial crossings, with 7 000 animals safely crossing to the other side. So far, there have been no casualties during these Mara crossings.
Practice Makes Perfect - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Both of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps are perfectly situated just south of the Mara River, keeping pace with the massive herds as they head to the Mara plains in Kenya and Northern Tanzania. Of course there is no one single herd, so fantastic Migration sightings continue from north of the Grumeti River all the way up to Kichwa Tembo in Kenya.
Update from the Masai Mara National Reserve
Impressive herds of zebra and wildebeest have now crossed the Sand River into the Masai Mara. Last Friday, one of CC Africa's Kichwa Tembo rangers, Timothy, saw an estimated one million animals between Roan Hill and Lookout Hill. The herds are quickly approaching the Mara River, a mere 50 km south of Kichwa Tembo. In a matter of days, guests will start witnessing the Mara River crossings near the south bridge.
White Wildebeest? - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
&Beyond's Serengeti Under Canvas camps have now both made the journey northwards, following directly in the footsteps of the mega-herd. The zebra and wildebeest are everywhere! The massive herds are grazing a mere 15 km from camp and only 26 km from the Mara River - getting closer and closer to the daunting Mara River crossing. And there are plenty of predators lurking around! Yesterday, guests saw four cheetah mothers with three cubs, a pride of eight lions feeding on a wildebeest, and en route back to camp they witnessed a rare sighting: an albino wildebeest - completely white! Avid birdwatchers have been enjoying regular sightings of pennant-winged nightjars at the camp.
At Last! - Masai Mara National Reserve
The Migration arrived in the Mara on Tuesday. Over 100 000 wildebeest and zebra crossed the Sand River and entered the Masai Mara, and are busy making their way to an area near Roan Hill, approximately 70 km southeast of Kichwa Tembo. Huge zebra herds are crossing the Mara River at the Serena crossing point, a mere 27 km southeast of Kichwa. These herds have come from the greater Mara, into the Mara triangle, and are heading straight to the Mara-Serengeti border to meet their Serengeti counterparts. How exciting! There is so much activity in the Mara ... stay tuned!
Moving into the Mara - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Guests in the Western Corridor are watching as the tail end of the Migration heads north. Yesterday morning a massive herd of migratory wildebeest and zebra left the Ndabaka plains, made its way past one of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps, and proceeded to cross the Grumeti River. Each day, the herds around the Masira and Kawanga plains are diminishing as the Migration continues its arduous path. The resident game remains and the sightings have been fantastic! Yesterday, CC Africa's guests were on a game drive with Cyst, one of our senior rangers, and they were lucky enough to witness the rare patas monkey! Having worked as a ranger for almost ten years, this was Cyst's first time viewing the species!! The resident lion pride near the camp is also keeping guests entertained - yesterday morning they took down two wildebeest on the spot. On Tuesday, guests watched as a mother cheetah and four sub-adults caught a baby Thomson's gazelle, which (sadly) was still alive as the cubs practiced their killing techniques for 45 minutes before eventually killing the poor gazelle. This weekend, one of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps will move north, where the migratory herds have already started to arrive.
Sightings Galore! - Serengeti National Park , Tanzania
There are still some small herds lingering in the Western Corridor, however most of the herds have now commenced their journey northwards. Yesterday, CC Africa guests witnessed a massive herd of 40 000 animals leaving the Kawanga plains and heading to the Nyasirori plains. What a sight! Soon the Western Corridor will once again be dominated by resident wildebeest and zebra, as the migratory herds slowly move out. In about a week's time, one of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps will move to the northern Serengeti where guests will be able to watch the next big drama as the mega-herd crosses the Mara River on their way to Kenya 's Masai Mara National Reserve. Despite this mass exodus, there are still some herds that have not yet made it safely across the Grumeti River . Yesterday morning, guests saw two baby wildebeest taken down by massive Nile crocodiles ... and just on the other side of the river, the Mbega lion pride killed two adult wildebeest that had only just managed to escape the hungry crocodile jaws! And that's not all ... other guests recently witnessed a leopard killing a baby bush buck on their first game drive and managed to capture all of the excitement on video! The Serengeti continues to captivate...
Feeding Frenzy - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The Western Corridor is still full of activity, as the mega-herd continues to graze here. Some zebra and wildebeest are in the Lobo area, making their way north, where, in 3 weeks' time, both of the CC Africa Serengeti Under Canvas camps will be located. Plenty of animals are still busy grazing the Grumeti plains, and the tail end of the Migration is finally on its way west. On Wednesday, we spotted thousands of wildebeest and zebra on the Seronera and Musabi plains, heading west. On Tuesday, guests at one of the CC Africa Serengeti Under Canvas camps (a few kilometres from the Grumeti River) were enjoying their lunch, which was interrupted when thousands of wildebeest began crossing the River, right next to the camp! Guests watched in awe for 50 minutes as the lucky wildebeest safely reached the other side, as well as those unlucky ones that ended up in the mouths of the mighty Nile crocodiles. On a game drive along the River, we found 17 crocodiles feeding on 5 different wildebeest that never made it across the River. The birdlife has also been spectacular, with guests spotting 8 out of the 12 CC Africa Under Canvas Star Birds! How fantastic!
Hungry Cats & Crocs... Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Thanks to the recent rains that confused the Migration, the mega-herd is still in the Western Corridor, scattered across the plains and the woodlands. For the past week, CC Africa's guests have enjoyed daily sightings of animals attempting the famous Grumeti River crossing, with many hungry crocodiles managing to get their annual meal. Yesterday, some of our guests sat in awe as two crocodiles managed to take down some thirsty wildebeest a mere 2 km from CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas Camp. Sightings continue to delight our guests, cheetah are regularly seen in the area, as well as the pride of Grumeti lions who recently took down three wildebeest at the same time! "Having worked as a guide here for six years, this is the first time I have seen this happen!" said Didas, CC Africa Camp Manager. Guests also witnessed a leopard up in a tree with a baby wildebeest kill. Never a dull moment on the Serengeti!
Lost and Found - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The great news is that we have managed to locate the ‘missing' migratory ungulates! They have split into two large herds - one is now making its way to the northern Serengeti, while the other is still happily grazing the plains of the Western Corridor. Thousands of animals are gathered on the Kawanga, Masira and Kirawira plains, however we have not yet witnessed the famous Grumeti river crossing, as the animals are still on the northern part of the river, slowly making their way south. Both of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps are perfectly situated near the River, ready for one of the world's most amazing wildlife spectacles. The resident pride of 16 lions has been regularly spotted just a few meters from the camp. Stay tuned for more excitement!
Never a Dull Moment - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The mega-herd is making its way back to the Western Corridor. Thousands of wildebeest are grazing the Musabi plains, just 45 km from CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camp. Several herds are located around Seronera, and others have been spotted near Ikoma gate. The game viewing continues to ‘wow' our guests: elephants near the camp, resident lions on day and night drives, five cheetahs near the camp, two serval cats on the hunt, and duelling hippos (a fight that lasted two hours)! We expect the much-anticipated river crossing to commence next week...stay tuned!
The Herds Have Scattered...Momentarily - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
It was the recent rains that brought the mega-herd to the Western Corridor earlier than anticipated, but now that the rains have begun in the central Serengeti plains, many of the animals are relocating. The remaining herds have not been located yet. Our rangers have been out every day, locating the big herds bit by bit. Despite this mysterious disappearing act, the sightings in the Western Corridor have been truly amazing. On Wednesday, CC Africa's Under Canvas guests watched as three lions made a kill just 300 metres from camp. Yesterday morning, a mere 500 metres from the feasting lions, five cheetahs failed to take down a baby wildebeest. Later on they were spotted with a successful impala kill. And right next to CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camp, guests witnessed as crocodiles feasted on an unsuspecting wildebeest that came down to the Grumeti River for a drink. Stay tuned for an update on the missing wildebeest!
Beauty on the Serengeti - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The animals are everywhere ... as far as the eye can see! The mega-herd has gathered in the thousands along the western corridor. The Mbalageti, Masira and Kawanga plains are literally covered with wildebeest, hardly a patch of grass exposed! Both of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps are situated in the western corridor, right in and amongst the action. One of our camps sits right next to the Grumeti River, with many guests watching wide-eyed as crocodiles attack unsuspecting prey. The game drives have been equally impressive, with guests recently witnessing a cheetah take down a baby wildebeest.
"It is really beautiful here. I don't know how to explain it. I have spent six years working in the Grumeti area, and this is the first time I have seen the Grumeti River with so much water at this time of year, so it's a real crossing! On our last day of setting up the camp, our attention was caught by a noise from the river ... it was a male wildebeest calling as both of his legs were trapped in the mouth of a crocodile." ~ Didas Godfrey, Camp Manager, &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas ~
Grumeti Gathering - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The mega-herd is now gathering on the southern side of the Grumeti River. One of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps is superbly situated 20 km from Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp, allowing guests some truly remarkable sightings. Some animals have been attempting to cross the river, and already the crocodiles have managed to feast on some unlucky wildebeest. Game drives have been exciting, with full-bellied crocodiles sunbathing on the river's edge, carnivores feasting, and vultures and hyenas scavenging.
Wildebeest Crossing - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The westward march continues. The mega-herd is now happily grazing the plains approximately 35 km from Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp and 15 km from Mbalageti, where one of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps will be situated this coming weekend. The countless animals have now taken over the entire Musabi and Mbalageti plains, blissfully munching the lush green grasses. On Wednesday, guests arriving at Seronera were stopped by herds of wildebeest and zebra that were crossing the road and blocking their way back to Camp! They waited as animals in the thousands passed by, and even witnessed a kill while they waited! Two young male lions feasted on a baby wildebeest, and greedily went in for another successful kill as the herds passed by.
Walking West - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The Migration is still on the move! After a brief stop in the central Serengeti, the mega-herd is now well on its way to the woodlands of the western corridor where the recent rains have encouraged lush vegetation. Each day, CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas guests are witnessing this mass exodus of animals moving past the camp and heading west. On Wednesday, one particular guest was relaxing in the lounge area and quietly watched as a long continuous line of wildebeest and zebra took almost three hours to pass by! The majority of the herds are now grazing the plains between Hembe and Musabi, in preparation for the gruelling Grumeti River crossing. Both of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps will soon be located in the western corridor, near the Grumeti River where guests might witness firsthand as the giant Nile crocodiles fight for their annual meal.
Wildlife Abounds - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The animals are EVERYWHERE!! Guests at one of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps were amazed to see nearly half a million wildebeest literally just outside of their tents. What a beautiful sight! The herds have finally left the Ndutu region, and are now peacefully grazing the plains between Naabi Hill and just south of Seronera. Guests at our other Serengeti Under Canvas camp (situated at Emakati on the Rongai Hills) have been hearing the glorious grunting sounds of another several hundred thousand wildebeest grazing past their tents at night! And the sightings have been incredible, as the predators take advantage of the huge herds all around them. CC Africa guests recently witnessed a pride of three lionesses taking down three wildebeest at the waterhole, while other guests were speechless as they watched a leopard, high up in an acacia tree, leap down and kill a wildebeest calf and proudly drag it back up the tree.
"For the nine years I have been working in the Serengeti, I have never seen such a big Migration herd."
~ Didas Godfrey, Camp Manager, Serengeti Under Canvas (Camp One) ~
The Migration is on the Move - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The herds have dropped their young and are splitting off into several groups as they slowly move away from the Ndutu area. Some herds are still mingling near Ndutu, some remain in the Kusini area, others are heading northwest into Maswa Game Reserve, and most excitingly, the large herds are currently a mere 10 km from one of CC Africa's Serengeti Under Canvas camps! The other Serengeti Under Canvas camp is still situated at Ndutu, where the Migration sightings remain constant. During the next three weeks, as the herds move out, this camp will also be relocated. Recent sightings by CC Africa guests include several lion, leopard, the elusive black rhino (on several occasions in the Moru area) and spectacular sightings of the Migration itself. CC Africa's Klein's Under Canvas camp, although currently closed, is now fully staffed and the team is eagerly preparing for its June opening. Stay tuned!
The Great Northwards Trek - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The Migration has commenced its long walk northwards and is now grazing the plains between Lake Ndutu and Seronera. To pre-empt this movement, one of &Beyond's Serengeti Under Canvas camps is now positioned at Elmakati (between Lake Ndutu and Seronera) where game viewing has been spectacular (although the arrival of the large herds is still a few days away). The other two camps are situated in the Ndutu area. Both sites are perfectly positioned, each offering different perspectives of the Great Migration.
A Life Lesson - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The mega-herd continues to whirl in ever larger circles across the southern plains, in preparation for the journey to the Central Serengeti, and ultimately to the Mara region. &Beyond's Serengeti Under Canvas guests are enjoying spectacular and unforgettable Serengeti sightings.
"What a highlight - we saw the Migration with the huge herds of bearded wildebeest, zebra and gazelle. It was one of those days that I will remember for years to come. A nice surprise included a sighting of caracal - a very rare sighting indeed. Most of all, the lesson that I have learned today is that the Migration is a comparison to the lives we lead. We are born free, roaming this earth and with a little luck we get to repeat our natural cycle a couple of times. Traps and threats along the way make us all the wiser and with a little luck we survive another day."
&Beyond Under Canvas Guest Book
Waiting Game - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The mega-herd appears to have completed its annual miracle of restocking its multitude with innumerable calves, and is currently grazing in the southern Serengeti. The arduous northward trek is set to commence any day now. We can only guess when this movement will officially begin; however, due to the lush grass that is still available, we expect the great trek to begin in earnest during the next two weeks. Some large herds have already been sighted north of Naabi Hill, yet paradoxically, other large herds are still being sighted south of Kusini. &Beyond's Under Canvas guests continue to delight in thrilling game drives with daily leopard sightings, including one outside of tent #5 at 6 am one morning! Cheetah and lion are now almost commonplace, and all of the plains species abound in hundreds to thousands. After last week's spectacular 5-kill day, &Beyond ranger Frank Christopher managed to beat this sighting with a spectacular 7-kill drive!
Carnage on the Serengeti
With such incredible recent sightings on the Serengeti, it would seem difficult to report on anything that could surpass these magnificent scenes ... but four days ago &Beyond's guests experienced THE game drive of game drives! They encountered a bat-eared fox, elephant, jackal, 10 000 zebra, 20 000 wildebeest, and a hungry cheetah. After watching the cheetah stalk, then flop down in the grass, anticipation was building. The cheetah eventually took off on a high-speed chase. The kill was quick and clinical. The wildebeest calf was brought down and instantly suffocated, creating mixed emotions for our guests: the excitement of seeing what most visitors to the bush yearn for - the kill; and the sadness at witnessing such a gruesome sight. On an afternoon drive that very same day, the same guests encountered a pride of lions: two males, three females, and a cluster of cubs. The pride watched as a hapless herd of wildebeest approached, on their way to water. The lions thought it is Christmas! A chase ensued, until the first wildebeest was quickly brought down. They had tasted blood and the opportunity was simply too good to miss - over the next two hours, our guests waited and watched as the pride brought down another three wildebeest and fed their not-so-hungry cubs. An amazing five kills in one day!
Life and Death on the Serengeti
Having spent the last six weeks on the short grass plains, the herds were spread out from Kusini in the south of Serengeti National Park all the way to Gol Kopjes in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The animals now appear to be congregating in the Ndutu area, before commencing their arduous trek to the Mara River, where their next challenge awaits: the legendary river crossing. For now, it is a time of plenty. The herds are replenishing themselves with the nutrient-rich grasses on the southern plains, they are replenishing their numbers to the tune of 400 000 newborn calves (every second animal seems to be a newborn wildebeest!), and they continue to enjoy Eden while they can. The Migration is expected to remain in the south for the next month, before drifting off to Moru Koppies, the Rongai Hills and Seronera. And the cats are fat! Sightings have included: a coalition of cheetah brothers taking down an adult wildebeest; hyenas and marabou stork enjoying the spoils of countless placentas; and even the elusive caracal has been seen on several occasions in the Ndutu woodlands. The noise of the herds as they drift into the woodlands can be heard at &Beyond's Under Canvas camps - a wonderful cacophony of grunts and groans from the wildebeest and an uncoordinated orchestra of whistling and whooping from the countless zebra. The roars of lion and the cackles of hyena accompany our guests as they drift off to sleep, dreaming of another day of life and death on the Serengeti.
Tanzania Under Canvas
Flying over the northern highlands of Tanzania, looking down at the small black dots, it is clear that the rains have blessed this landscape with
greenery reminiscent of the emerald isle - an undulating sea of beauty. As the aircraft begins its descent, the hills are no more - we are over the short grass plains flying towards a lake surrounded by a mass of trees. The black dots increase in number and grey dots are added to the mosaic. Most passengers are unaware of the dots - they have just begun their safari and their eyes are as yet untrained to identify the scene below. Their gripping knuckles become white as the pilot sweeps over the airstrip at full speed to encourage the dots to give the aircraft some space to land on this patch of Eden. The forest surrounds us we are flying so low. Suddenly the aircraft is on the ground - mud splatters up from the rain sodden ground. We have landed at Lake Ndutu.
The familiar green vehicle with the equally familiar smiling khaki clad ranger hails us as we eagerly alight from the 'plane - 'Karibu! Welcome to paradise. Chai? Kahawa?' Tea for me please! The other guests appreciate the strong Ngorongoro coffee to calm their nerves. Biscuits, a cigarette. All is calm now; the pilot and his screaming leviathon have left us to collect stranded passengers on the banks of the Grumeti River. We all enjoy the silence. Ivan the ranger introduces himself and there is a perceptible air of assurance that our daily worries are left behind. Ivan will take care of us. As we drive off, the inevitable question is asked.. 'Ivan, where is the migration?' Before Ivan answers, there is a blinding realization... the black dots - wildebeest... the grey dots - zebra!
Imagine 20 large football stadiums full of people, but swap the people for Gnu, Zebra, Eland and Gazelles. Imagine all those dots on a very, very large field of green.
Ivan informs us that tomorrow we will be out all day joining the dots.
I can't wait for tomorrow!
Tanzania Under Canvas
Home Is Where the Heart Is - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The mega-herds have clearly found a spot to call home! Thousands of wildebeest and zebra continue to mingle and graze the short grass plains. Although relaxed, the rains persist ... but the animals do not seem to mind, as the plains are deliciously lush and verdant. Calving continues, and our guests are enjoying daily sightings of the Migration, which is currently a mere 30 km from &Beyond's two Serengeti Under Canvas camps (in the Lake Ndutu region). Guests at have also witnessed some exciting big cat sightings, from lion and cheetah to the elusive leopard!
Singing in the Rain ... Again!
Just when we thought the heavy rains were coming to an end, they have made a surprising full-fledged return. The occasional late afternoon showers experienced last week have turned into biblical night-long deluges! At times, flights have been rerouted to Seronera airstrip, as Ndutu airstrip has been temporarily waterlogged. The rains have proved to be an exciting adventure for our amazing and spirited team who has worked hard to keep our guests dry, always with a warm, Tanzanian smile! Such is life on the mighty Serengeti plains! &Beyond's two Serengeti Under Canvas camps remain in the Lake Ndutu area, within close range of the mega-herds as they continue to graze the short grass. The wildebeest, zebras, elephants and newly ensconced hippos have embraced the rains - and the resultant long, lush grass. Oh yes, the PADI dive school from Mnemba has relocated to Ndutu, too.
Seeing Spots - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Apologies for the delay with this update. Once again, we were in the process of moving CC Africa's luxurious semi-permanent Serengeti Under Canvas camps from Seronera to the Ndutu area. This movement is in line with current Migration patterns. There are thousands of animals now grazing on new grass around Miti Mitatu and the Kusini plains. The game drives continue to wow our guests, not only with the spectacular Serengeti scenery, but with exciting sightings too. A leopard was recently seen very close to camp feeding on a baby wildebeest. Guests on a game drive with one of our senior rangers, Cyst, were lucky enough to witness 18 different cheetahs on the same drive ... a new record!
Masai Mara (Kichwa Tembo)
For the last week we have been experiencing fantastic views of the wildebeest migration and river crossings at the Mara river near Kichwa Tembo Airstrip. The greatest of all migration was probably on the 17th September 2006 where a massive number of animals(estimated to be more than 500,000 animals) crossed for more than seven hours. Surprisingly, there were no crocodiles at the crossing but afterwards there were more than two hundred carcasses floating on the river that had died due to stampedes and drowning.
Some crossed at the wrong crossing point where there was no exit and due to the confusion most of them died due to drowning. The crossing has continued up to now, and as I write this, there might be some crossing at the moment.
Kichwa Tembo Masai Mara Tented Camp - Ranger Team
Serengeti (Klein's Camp)
Even though the bulk of the migration is in the Masai Mara, we still have some nice herds of a few thousand in the valley. Yesterday afternoon we were able see them from the Kleins Camp bar. Not to mention that for the last two mornings we have had leopard sightings on the way to the airstrip.
Kleins Camp Manager
Masai Mara (Kichwa Tembo)
The great annual migration of the herbivores [wildebeest, zebra, eland and Thompson’s Gazelle] has just arrived back from Serengeti to the Mara. We recently witnessed approximately over 20,000 wildebeests cross the Mara River between Mara Serena lodge and Mara south bridge and out of the above mentioned number only one was taken by the hungry, patient crocodiles.
At least nearly 20,000 migrants are at the Mara triangle and the huge mass are still coming soon, to enjoy their honeymoon bread[red oat grass] before they head back to the Serengeti later in the year. More interesting crossing details will be aired to anyone who loves the wildebeest kingdom.
On 20/07/06 along the Mawemawe crossing near Serena about 1,000 wildebeest and zebras were crossing the river before they were cut off by a huge crocodile that snatched one foal of a zebra cutting and tearing the stomach and the intestines were out. The helpless zebra managed to escape but fifty meters away from the river he died. The crocs came out and started eating it, suddenly the hyenas[opportunistic group] took the kill from the crocs chasing them in to the river. Within five minutes they had finished everything leaving only bare bones and nothing for the cleaning squad like the vultures, jackals and the rest.
Other interesting sightings along Kichwa Tembo include the lonely female cheetah with her five cubs aged four months successfully enjoying plenty of prey like impalas and tommy along Kichwa plains. Also to be found are the Kichwa pride of two lioness and five cubs aged eight months. This becomes a traditional welcome to guests who come to Kichwa and Bateleur camp.
&Beyond's Kichwa Tembo
Masai Mara (Kichwa Tembo)
Today we were taking a game drive along the swamp area when we came across a huge herd of wildebeest on the move. We assumed they were heading towards the water. We decided to follow them and our assumptions were confirmed when they came across a swamp area with some water at the centre. They stopped there for a few minutes and then started walking, heading towards the bigger Mara River probably because there was a lot of mud. As they left one of them decided to go towards the water it got stuck in the mud.
All of a sudden we saw a young lion probably 2yrs old going towards the beast hoping to utilize the God given chance, it too had difficulties but it was determined. As it got very near, the wildebeest turned unexpectedly and hit the lion with its horns which sent it sprawling - a distance the lion decided that was an unworthy opponent and went away running. The wildebeest somehow managed to get out of the mud and ran towards the others at top speed.
Benedict Kalului with Ray Top Group
&Beyond's Kichwa Tembo
Masai Mara (Kichwa Tembo)
Finally the zebras and wildebeests from both the loita hills and the Serengeti have entered the Masai Mara. An amazing view of those from the loita hills crossing the Mara river can be seen near Kichwa Tembo camp and those from Serengeti at Mara bridge, the southern part of the Masai Mara. Watch the amazing action of the animals manoeuvering the dangerous rivers full of crocodiles and strong currents.
It's been observed for the past one day that crocodiles are managing to catch three wildebeest at Mara Bridge crossing, two at Serena crossing and another two at Kichwa crossing.
The duration of the crossing goes up to one hour with thousands of wildebeests and zebras. Other animals benefiting from the migration are the predators such as lions, hyenas, leopards and cheetahs which are now visible and hunting even during the day.
Kichwa Tembo Masai Mara Tented Camp
Masai Mara (Kichwa Tembo)
This morning (17th July 2006) at Kichwa Tembo crossing we witnessed thousands and thousands of wildebeest and zebras crossing. The duration of the crossing took about 45 minutes with the unsuccessful attempts of crocodiles trying to get some meal.
Sammy Komu and Kichwa Tembo Rangers team.
&Beyond's Kichwa Tembo
Serengeti (Klein's Camp)
It is very unusual to have the migration around Klein's at this time of the year, but as everybody knows you cannot really predict the exact movement of the herds.
According to my findings from people who've been here for long time, it has been around ten years since they have seen the herds around this area at this time of the year.
We have got huge herds approximated at around 200,000 animals or more 5 days away from Klein's concession. The herds are in the Mbuzi Mawe area and lots already around Lobo area some 30km away from Klein's camp.
John Ole Parmwat