The wildebeest and zebra migration pattern

One of the biggest draw to the wildlife-rich Serengeti National Park in Northern Tanzania and Masai Mara in Kenya is the wildebeest and zebra migration. The 1.5 million wildebeest and 0.5 zebra strong herbivore team, and its many herbivore and carnivore co-dependants, are constantly roaming this expansive area. The phenomenon is one of the Natural Wonders of the World. An experience that must be witnessed first hand as words alone can’t justify this wonder.

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The large herds are constantly moving this approximately 7,000 sq. miles area in search of fresh food and water.

They will feast on the nutritious mineral-rich grass of the Southern Serengeti during birthing time. With lots of calves, the cats have easy target. They sustain themselves on the long grass of Northern Serengeti and Masai Mara after rutting in Western Serengeti. And pass through Central and Eastern Serengeti / Loliondo area when heading back to Southern Serengeti. While on the move, you may be lucky and witness the Grumeti River crossing in Western Serengeti  and Mara River crossing in Northern Serengeti. That is bonus.

Quick guidelines ::

– November to December // short rain season.
Sporadic showers will not hinder your Safari. The wildebeest and zebra migration are heading to Southern Serengeti from Northern Serengeti. They are moving down via east of Serengeti in the Loliondo area and the many private concession areas. During this time, it is best to hedge your bets and stay in two regions of Serengeti.

– January to March // hot.
Birthing season for the wildebeest and zebra. The place to be is Southern Serengeti to Loliondo and the many private concessions areas. The herds will also spill over to Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
A good time to enjoy lots of hunts as cats come out to play with lots of young calves around.

– April to May // long rain season.
Showers can last a few hours but when it clears, fresh skies. If you don’t mind being adventurous this is a great time to visit and get some amazing deals on lodges. Central Serengeti to Western Serengeti is the place to be.

– June to July // cooler months.
June is green after the rains. Enjoy the wild flowers. Migratory animals are roaming from Central to Western Serengeti on their way to Northern Serengeti. During this time, the herds may be crossing the Grumeti River to get to Northern Serengeti or may already be in this area. Grumeti River is home to large crocodiles. Areas outside western Serengeti are also prime viewing spots.

– August to October // cool and dry season.
The Wildebeest and Zebra population are usually in the long lush grass of Masai Mara and Northern Serengeti. They are in this region for a few month enjoying vegetation that long rains of April May brought about. The herds are going back and forth between Tanzania and Kenya and increasing the odds of seeing a lovely Mara River crossing.

sunrise_migrationPlanning a Safari to Serengeti?
The wildebeest and zebra herd of a million plus are always moving. The thing to remember is getting to the right place, right lodge at the right time.  

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Get in touch via email – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Call us at 1.877.558.6288 or 713.592.6228.

Together, we can plan your family Safari for the memory books. Life worth Exploring. ™

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Keep Calm and Swat Away!

TseTesThis is Richard, my guide on my exhilarating Walking Safari in our private area in Serengeti. He has company – Tsetse flies. I had their company as well … I was right behind him and took this shot.

When on Safari in Tanzania and Kenya, there are areas in the parks and conservation areas where you just can not avoid these pesky flies. We are talking amazing areas like Northern and Central Serengeti and Tarangire National Park.  Rivers, bushes, woody areas are were you find them. Not going there would be such a shame.

You can do a few things to help yourself.

Wear light-colored clothing.
These buggers are attracted to dark colors. Avoid dark blue and black clothing on Safari. You will notice cloths with this color hanging from trees in various areas, put there by the park officials, in hopes that these flies will be hanging out on the cloth instead of on you.

Try loose clothing.
Create a barrier between the fly and your skin. This is the best protection. And will keep you cool when hot. Win-Win.

Fly swatter.
Some clients have brought these swatter and it has helped them but you have to be really fast. They come in droves and are quick to nip.  You have to Keep Calm and Swat Away. You will feel accomplished when you get a few.

Anti-itch cream.
Okay so let’s be realistic here. Chances of getting bitten are there. You can put some anti-itch cream right away and it will help with the itch. And try not to scratch the sweet itch as you are in risk of getting a gash – personal experience here. Ouch.

Tsetse flies do carry the disease sleeping sickness but the chances of getting the sickness is very rare. If you exhibit high fever for days and it is not Malaria, let your hospital/ doctor [with help from infectious disease] know you have been in areas with Tsetse flies.

The silver lining here is that these flies keep the cows and humans away from the wildlife zones. They don’t seem to bother wildlife which means more areas for the wildlife to roam and slow down of human encroachment. We are talking about the Maasai tribe who live on the periphery of the parks with their cow herds and farmers with their machines. Stay back!

Keep Calm and Swat Away. Happiness is being on Safari … even with pesky Tsetse flies.

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Life worth Exploring. ™
Make memories on your Journey To Africa Safari.

Get in Touch //
Email us – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Toll Free – 1.877.558.6288 
Outside of US – 1.713.592.6228
Form – Request Information

 

What is a Luxury Safari?

Luxury is relative to each one of us. Is it having 300+ thread counts in our beds or would using a wilderness tent [small dome tent with a sleeping cot] be okay with you if it means enjoying walking in our private area in Serengeti? The best bottle of wine with gourmet meals? Are you going to be happy with perfectly good 5 gallon bucket shower or do you need endless water and a bubble tub? We want to know more about your expectations on Safari.

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How do we define luxury Safaris? 

Here are our 4 thoughts. The minimum expectation you are guaranteed when enjoying our Safaris in Tanzania, Kenya and beyond.

1] Peace of Mind.
Our Safaris take care of you from arrival into Kilimanjaro Airport or Jomo Kenyatta Airport  to when we drop you off at the airport for your flight home. “Safaris are like grandmothers” – Susan Portnoy, a photographer mentioned. All the care with the warm and fuzzy.

We will book your Safari lodges and take care of all the in-between. Your park fees and conservation fees.  All meals and snacks on Safari are arranged. Our well maintained closed or open vehicle will have bottled water and soft drink as well as plugs to charge camera batteries, phones and other electronics so you don’t have to wait until the evening when you go to the lodge. Local flights will be booked. Transfers will be arranged – someone will pick you up and drop you off. And much more.

What we insist you must do is sit back and relax! You are on Safari.

2] Experiences and Great Memories.
Many studies
show that happy people are those who have accumulated experiences and memories in their lives. We aim to enhance your happiness.

“Travel is my therapy”

How do we plan on doing that?

– Via our guides and their knowledge, warmth, patience and more. To our first time on Journey To Africa Safari goers to our fifth time client, our guides are our backbone. They help make great memories and experiences on your Safari. They are also our ambassadors.

– Adding details to your Safari.  We don’t want to give away too much of what we do here but it’s the little things that make the big things happen.

food for Safari - sundowners - Oliver's Camp

3] Ambiance.
Trust us! You will not go hungry on your Safari. Three meals cooked with the basic of tools and snacks – we are talking cakes and cookies and nuts –  at any time. And the abundance of good coffee and tea.

But the best luxurious part is that the settings will be amazing. You may have breakfast in the middle of park, lunch overlooking the Serengeti, Tarangire River or Hippo pool in Ngorongoro, have picnic under the accacia tree and spot elephants roaming in a distance. And dinner under the stars with candlelight sharing stories with your camp manager and other Safari goers while hearing the hyenas, wildebeest or lions in the distance.  Different from how you enjoy your food at home. Luxury.

Food evokes memories and after a Safari, you will bring home lots of those.

dinner ambiance

4] Lodges with a Soul.
Our criteria when choosing the lodges we recommend is that they have to have the 3 Cs. Conservation + Community + Carbon off-setting ethos.

Your dollars help out in a lot of behind the scenes effort.  Now that is luxury to us. The ability to assist the visiting country, it’s people and the precious wildlife.

Whether it is wildlife conservation via Honeyguide Foundation with our Asilia Africa lodges like Olakira Camp or supporting a sustainable orphanage by building a fully equipped bakery like Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge or off setting carbon footprints like our walking Safari partners.

Our lodges also support a lot of families. 1 staff member in our lodge will take care of 4-6 + family members at home. Ask us for more details on each organization should you be interested.

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We hope you will join us on a Luxury Safari.

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Life worth Exploring. ™
Make memories on your Journey To Africa Safari.

Get in touch //
Email – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Call – 1.877.558.6288 / 713.592.6228 [outside US]
Form – Request Information

 

Ebola and Safari in Tanzania and Kenya

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Enjoy waking up on Safari from Namiri Plains in Central Serengeti, Tanzania

Ebola has been in the news a lot lately. It is a terrible disease that has plagued West Africa. The good news for those heading to, in, or planning to head to Tanzania and Kenya on a Safari – we are 3,300 miles away.  The distance of Orlando, FL and Juno, Alaska.

The virus has not been detected in Kenya or Tanzania. The airport officials are on a look out with anyone coming in that look like they have a symptom. Thermometers and thermal scanners have been brought in for detection in some airport. They would be immediately quarantined. No one has been quarantined yet in Tanzania and Kenya. Kenya and other countries with airlines are so cautious that they have stopped flights.

Talking about flights, it is not transmitted via air.  You would need to handshake a person with Ebola to contact this terrible disease.

Should a sick individual even have a ticket to travel from West Africa, they will not be able to travel as they will be too sick. And may not even be able to get on board.

So, don’t change your Safari plans. If you are planning a Safari to Tanzania and Kenya, don’t let Ebola stop you.  There are some great Safari deals right now for both Tanzania and Kenya to take advantage.

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Life worth Exploring! ™
Make memories on your Journey To Africa Safari.

Get in touch //
Email – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Toll Free – 877.558.6288
Outside US –  713.592.6228
Form – Request Information

Safari Client Post – Carlos M

Journey To Africa client Carlos M wrote this lovely blog post. He loves cats! When he and I first started planning his first Safari with his son Jeff to Tanzania in 2011, he told me he has watched every NatGeo show and going on Safari is a dream. As soon as he came back, he told me he is hooked. He took 3 of his friends for his second Safari in 2013 and this time we added Kenya’s Masai Mara.  Asante Carlos for this post.

Carlo M at Oliver's Camp in Tarangire with his cuban cigar.

Carlo M at Oliver’s Camp in Tarangire with his cuban cigar.

Here goes // Carlos’s top 10 //

… Mefi, it’s been less than a year since I returned from my second safari, and I have to admit, I can’t wait to go back. You going brings back so many memories. For some reason, other trips I take leave me with memories, but not great memories as safaris do. It is such a different experience from other things I have done.

I don’t know what people expect to see when they go on a safari. All safaris are different. Below I have captured my favorite memories to give others an idea of what they might experience in a safari to Tanzania and Kenya.

My top 10 Journey to Africa safari wildlife memories (in no specific order) are:

  1. While on the walking safari at Tarangire, about ½ a mile from camp, and about 15 yards in front of us, a young male lion raises his head out of the tall grass, looks at us and runs away. It was so unexpected!!!

    Young male lion.

    Young male lion.


  2. Rhinoceros are getting increasingly hard to find. Beside a dwindling number, they are very shy animals. My son and I were very fortunate to see a mother and calf within about 40 yards. We had seen rhinos in the distance, but watching them this close was special. A few weeks before, one had been poached.
  3. While staying at Olakira in the northern Serengeti, we saw 4 or 5 wildebeest Mara River crossings. There were wildebeest everywhere, running in a single file in every direction. We saved the best crossing for last. On the last game drive before heading for the air strip, we saw a great crossing. Our vehicle was right in the middle of the herd as we inched our way along. They were grunting (I can still hear them) and kicking up dust. They got to the river and stopped. They left and returned several times. By this time we had left the herd and positioned ourselves at a high point to see the crossing. All of a sudden, a lone zebra starts across. When it got to the other side, it was pandemonium. The crossing started in masses. We watched for about 40 minutes and headed for the airstrip. WOW!! What a way to end the trip.

    Wildebeest in Northern Serengeti.

    Wildebeest in Northern Serengeti.

  4. The Central Serengeti is loaded with cats. We saw more cats here than any place else. While on a game drive, we saw a very well fed lioness on a tree. We watched for a while and also noticed several lionesses beginning to congregate to our left about 50-75 yards away. They showed up one by one until there were 6. All of a sudden, the lioness in the tree climbs down, runs right in front of our vehicle, grabs one of the lioness, and they run to the left. In the meantime, we see a lone zebra coming to a nearby stream. The remaining 5 lioness get in crouch attack mode and start crawling forward. By this time, the 2 lioness circled behind the zebra. We see the zebra’s ears perk up, she starts to run, and in seconds all we see are 7 lions and 4 zebra legs sticking up in the air. It was perfectly orchestrated. It was spell binding and breathtaking. (By the way, this is my top memory)

    A young lion couple.

    A young lion couple.

  5. Late one afternoon, while in the Central Serengeti, a female leopard went on her evening hunt. We were able to watch her for about 15-20 minutes. She came within 10 feet of our vehicle. We found out that night in camp from a fellow guest that she had 2 cubs. They actually stayed near her den for 6 hours earlier that day hoping to see and photograph the cubs, and they did.
  6. Tarangire National Park is loaded with elephants. One of my favorite memories has to be watching 3 young elephants playing in the swamp. You could tell they were having a great time. The herd, consisting of several cows and babies was nearby. It was a beautiful sight. That same day, a lone bull in musk started chasing our vehicle. The guide said he probably wanted to mate with the Land Rover.

    Elephants playing at Silale Swamp near Oliver's Camp in Tarangire National Park

    Elephants playing at Silale Swamp near Oliver’s Camp in Tarangire National Park

  7. Shortly after landing at the Masai Mara on the way to Sekenani Camp, in the span of 1 hour we saw 4 of the Big Five. WOW!! We saw a large male leopard on a tree, several lions enjoying a Cape buffalo they had killed the night before, a herd of elephants, and a herd of Cape buffalo. Does not get any better than that.
  8. While on a game drive in the Masai Mara, we came across a large pride of lions which included several cubs. After a waiting for a while, all 4 cubs finally lined up, looked at the camera, and gave me the opportunity to take one of my favorite safari pictures.
  9. On nature shows, I have seen many cheetahs climb on a vehicle to get a better observation point for prey. Actually got to see it in person. We found 2 cheetah brothers lying under a tree. There were about 10-15 vehicles nearby. All of a sudden one of the cats jumped on the hood and onto the roof of one of the vehicles. Those of us in the other vehicles had the show of a lifetime. The occupants of the vehicle could not see a thing. We all thanked them for providing us a great show. The cheetah stayed on the roof for about 15 minutes then left. He did not even look at the occupants.

    Leopard on top of a Safari vehicle in Masai Mara.

    Leopard on top of a Safari vehicle in Masai Mara.

  10. On the afternoon of the last day, our Masai guide in the Masai Mara asked us if there was anything else we wanted to see. I told him I wanted to see a male lion, a friend wanted to see a large herd of giraffe, and another friend wanted to see one last cheetah. Within 15 minutes, we were parked near a large male lion, 10 minutes after that a herd of 17 giraffe was in front of us, and on the way back to camp we had our cheetah. I don’t know if he could smell them, but he found them rather quickly!!
  11. While these are my top ten memories, the list would not be complete without #11. While parked on a low hill, whether at the Serengeti or the Masai Mara, I found myself looking at the expanse of savannah below, and seeing wildlife in every possible direction as far as the eye could see. This was absolutely breathtaking and indescribable. This scene was repeated over and over.

    Lion looking at the open savannah. What a view!

    Lion looking at the open savannah. What a view!

May God bless the Serengeti, the Masai Mara, and all its inhabitants. This is a treasure to be preserved and enjoyed

Photo of the week

A family affair

A family affair

When you are around Lake Manyara area or at the gate of Ngorongoro Crater, you tend to see large groups of congregated baboons. They are usually grooming each other or camping right in the middle of the road having a conference of some sort.

And sometimes, you see a family going on their own Safari.

Let us help you plan your family’s Safari to Tanzania + Kenya and beyond. We use lodges and camps like Mara Bush House in Mara North Conservancy or Rhotia Valley inKaratu. Kids not only learn about wildlife but also get to interact with children or have activities that are geared to have then enjoy their time on Safari.

 

Did you know? Elephant ears.

 

African elephant ears!

African elephant ears!


What large ears you have?

An African elephant’s ears are about one-sixth the size of its large body. Elephants don’t have sweat gland so they flap their ears and use them to cool down in the hot African sun.  The extensive blood vessels that passes through the ears also radiate heat away. Spraying their ears with water and flapping will definitely aid in the cooling process.
And of course, they use them as fans to get rid of pesky flies.

Save our beautiful elephants!
http://www.savetheelephants.org/
http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/