Why Serengeti still takes my breath away

As soon as we passed Oldoniyo Lengai, the volcanic mountain in Loliondo, east of Serengeti National Park from my Tanganyika Flying Company scheduled flight to Kogatende airstrip in Northern Serengeti, my heart skipped a beat.  Serengeti, here I come … again and again.

Why Serengeti still takes my breath away?
My current top eight reasons why I could go back to Serengeti in a heartbeat.

One.
The Great Wildebeest and Zebra Migration.
Oh yes!  Being surrounded by hundreds and thousands of animals is unexplainable unless you have been there to witness it first hand. When I was flying to Serengeti in early June, I was expecting to see the migration in Central Serengeti. Well to my surprise, and lucky me, I got to see the arrival of the herd in Northern Serengeti earlier then normal from Western Serengeti. There is no exact timetable on these matters.  Luckily our guide said some of the Wildebeest and Zebra groups where still in Western Serengeti as we had clients booked in that region to experience this phenomena.

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Walking in single file. The herds are coming into Northern Serengeti from Western Serengeti. Oh the excitement!

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The longer we sat watching them march in, the larger the herds grew. What an experience!

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The morning sun spraying gold over Serengeti. Here is a small herd having just crossed the river.

Two.
Cats and cats. 
Oh these beautiful animals. Serengeti is home to a large concentrations of lions, cheetahs and leopards. In Northern Serengeti, I was lucky to see group of about 20+ lions ranging from couple of month olds to their mamas having a go at a freshly hunted wildebeest. ‘Food’ aka the migration was coming in. What an experience! Reuben, my Olakira Camp guide and I did not want to leave. He had promised me a sundowner near the table hills but we opted to stay back. How can you blame me. Look at those eyes.

We spent a while enjoying the interactions of this beautiful family in the Northern Serengeti valley.

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In the valley, about 20+ lion family enjoying a recent wildebeest kill. Some cubs were just a few months old.   What a splendid sighting!

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Some having a go at dinner while others needed a stretch or rub after some grub.

Central Serengeti is known as cat central. And it did not disappoint. We got to enjoy a few sighting away from the crowds that Central Serengeti attracts. Trust your guide and head the other direction.

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Look at that wee one following her mama through the tall grass.

Rains were about to come when in Central Serengeti and my guide Makubi and I were trying to get to Dunia Camp. Well, this stunning leopard appeared and getting wet was an understandable option. We got to hang out for a bit and stare.

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A stunning leopard spotted resting on a branch.

Three.
Elephants.
I love elephants! They are just beautiful and so precious and threatened.  In Northern Serengeti, I spotted a few but at a distance. South Central Serengeti, very close to Moru Kopjes, I was elated. Large herds were right next to the road. Elephant mama and babies – lots of them. Please stay safe! I am coming back to see you grow.

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Elephant mama warning us. We hear you mama. We will not harm you and your babies.

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Little one marching on. Look at that little trunk.

Four.
Impalas, why of course.
On this Safari, thanks to Makubi and my private Serengeti walking guide Richard,  I got to know more about these beautiful yet polygamous animals.

Did you know a male impala has a harem of female impalas? Yup, one male can have up to 20 ladies at his back and call. Then there are the bachelor herds who are always ready to spring into action should a window open.  As per Makubi, it is similar to the Maasai and Kuro tribe members who live on the boundaries of Serengeti. Ummmh!

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A female group with babies.

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Privacy please! Here is a male impala getting ready to mount on the female. The mating ritual lasted for about 20 minutes before she would let him on.

Five.
Birds.
My friend and elite guide Paul Oliver is a birder. I know many birders. He has been trying to get me into birding.

So this time, I chose to look up and was so impressed with the many colors that were presented to me. Lovely magpies shreks, common but colorful lilac breasted roller and egyptian geese.  I will have to work on honing my birding skill on my next Safari. I am hooked.

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The beautiful watercolor like Lilac breasted roller

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Magpie shrek. Mama bird with the white feather just handed over a worm to the baby Magpie. It was a fun exchange to witness.

Six.
An array of eco-system.
Serengeti has so much to offer. My time in Northern Serengeti and Central Serengeti gave me a glimpse of hills, valleys, rivers, endless plains, long grass, short grass, stunning kopjes, bushy terrain, woodlands and more.

When game driving or heading back to your camp, you can stare at the landscape and not tire of what you have in front of you. The sunrise that starts to peek behind the acacia tree and the sunset that makes for the magic golden hour are pure bliss. Serenity in Serengeti.

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The table hill of Northern Serengeti. So many other hill dotted in the North.

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The open plains of Central Serengeti heading towards Dunia Camp near the Moru Kopjes

Seven.
Great lodges here to unwind end of the day.  
At the end of the day, it feels so good having a comfortable bucket shower [common in most tented camps] and then heading to the main lounge and dining area. Usually the first stop is the campfire [unless is rains like it did for me at Dunia Camp] where you get to relax with your drink and get to know other guests. This is when the stories start. Who got to see what, were and do you have pictures to share? You get to sharing things like where are you from, why Tanzania, where are you going next, etc.  I usually get the envious, how many time have you been on Safari?. Plenty but many more to come.

Just a good way to end a day on Safari. Oh, and the food is delicious as well.

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The stunning view of Serengeti from Lamai Serengeti.

Eight.
Private Serengeti!
What a thrilling experience this was for me. No vehicles, seeing animals on foot, adrenaline pumping moments and you being able to hear your breath as you try to be still when a buffalo is 30 ft away from you. I would jump at a chance to be out there again. I ended my day sitting with a cold Kilimanjaro beer on a kopje, watching one of the most memorable sunsets in Serengeti.

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Golden Hour! Roaring fire, cold beer, stunning sunset while sitting on top of a kopje in Serengeti. Happiness.

Serengeti never fails to take your breath away.  An adventure awaits all day, any time, all year-round. Karibu [welcome] Serengeti!

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

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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

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Safari Diary – Lamai Serengeti [Lodge Review]

When you are game driving close to Lamai Serengeti, you have to squint a bit to see the rooms peaking up from the Kogakuria Kopje. Each of the rooms and the main areas are carefully set not to be too obtrusive when you are game driving on the ground. As you climb up the kopje towards the main area, you are welcomed in the circle by a fresh cold drink.

You are in bush chic Lamai Serengeti.
Nick and Janna, the current managers of Lamai Serengeti were gracious hosts and showed my around this earthy + serene property.

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Part of the lovely lounge at Lamai Serengeti overlooking the Serengeti. Cozy comfortable seating.

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Cozy comfy lounge. Enjoy a warm fire during cooler months.

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Life on Safari is delicious! And the views.

The main area of Lamai Serengeti is spacious, serene with neutral toned furniture and splashes of color from pillows. You want to sit and just stare at the expansive view with your cold drink in hand. Need to check your email after your game drive, wi-fi is available at the library near the lounge. Take a drink from the well stocked bar.Food at Lamai Serengeti is excellent.

After all,  Life on Safari is delicious. 

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That’s a nice boulder  – Shrek. The entrance to your spacious room. Notice the window near the door. That is where your morning coffee / tea and snack will be placed.

The 8 rooms are all well spaced out.
Each of the main rooms have king beds or can be converted to two twins. A day bed can become a triple if necessary. If you are a family with 2-3 younger kids, they have a very comfortable family room. The kids room has two twin beds bordering the master room. If you need two separate rooms, they will put you in two rooms close together. Kids over 6-year-old are warmly welcomed.

Need your own space in Serengeti? Hamna shida [no problem]. Lamai Serengeti has 4 rooms that can cater up to 8-10 people. You will have your own pool, personal chef and butler and separate entrance. Honeymooner on Safari? Your room will be high up on the kopje where you will have the ultimate privacy – just be sure you are ready the conquer the kopjes.

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The large rooms made with local material. Neutral with color accents keeps the rooms soothing.

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Mosquito nets surround the whole room.

With all the room at Lamai Serengeti, you can close in the whole room with mosquito netting and keep the bugs at bay. Especially great at night when you can have visible views of the outside without bugs bothering you.  Use the day-bed for to enjoy a good book read or pen a letter home with postcards available on the desk. We will mail the card for you as well.

A must do is enjoy the outside deck.  Sit, admire, ponder, relax and pinch yourself – you are in Serengeti.

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The amazing views from the rooms. All the rooms face towards the Serengeti. With a binoculars in hand, you can game view from the comfort of your own room.

You will not bump into each other in this large bathroom. Using concrete, wood and local materials, this chic bathroom is sure to impress. Flush toilet, hot and cold showers, running sink water and all with amazing views of Serengeti.  Brushing never felt this pleasing.

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There is a door for privacy to this large spacious bathroom.

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Enjoy your views while brushing your teeth.

Be ready to enjoy walking Safari with our guides in the surrounding kopjes all the way to the bottom. This always get your heart racing and gives you a different perspective on Safari.

Oh and they have a pool with a view of Serengeti. Now how is that for possible siesta afternoon.

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Take a siesta by the pool on warmer days.

Happiness is being on Safari!  And enjoying great service, amazing surrounding and all the creature comforts from a great lodge only enhances your experience.

Make memories on your Safari when staying at Lamai Serengeti.

Get in touch //
Email – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Call – 1.877.558.6288

Best time to go on Safari in Northern Tanzania

Taken by our elite guide Paul Oliver in Western Serengeti from Sabora Tented Camp

Taken by our elite guide Paul Oliver in Western Serengeti from Sabora Tented Camp in May 2014

One question we get a lot is what is the best time to go on Safari in Northern Tanzania?
Really, anytime you can make it, is good time for Safari. The wildlife is always present. If you are interested in the Great Wildebeest and Zebra Migration, a natural wonder of the world where 1.5 million Wildebeest and 0.5 million Zebra roam the Serengeti and Masai Mara eco-system, then we move you in the right place, right lodge for the right month.

Having said that, some people are extremely sensitive to heat.  If that is the case, stay away from December to March as Serengeti can be dry, dusty and hot [90Fs during the day with cooler 70Fs during the evening]. Our camps + vehicles do not have air condition which can be an issue.

If you are up for an adventure, pack your bags.

  • November to December // short rain season. Sporadic showers will not hinder your Safari. Wildebeest and Zebra migration heading to Southern to Eastern Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
  • January to March // hot. Birthing season for the Wildebeest and Zebra. Still in Southern to Eastern Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Tarangire National Park with its resident wildlife and its rivers and swamps will make you fall in love with this park.
  • 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 [plans may change but we always have a Plan B] this is a great time to visit and get some amazing deals on lodges.  Paul Oliver calls this the secret season – less crowd but awesome wildlife – see his picture above. Tarangire National Park has black cotton soil which is tricky to drive on when it has rained hard but as we mentioned, get ready for an adventure.
  • 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. Wildlife from the surrounding areas are about to enter Tarangire National Park.
  • August to October // cool and dry season. The Wildebeest and Zebra population is dispersed in Masai Mara to Northern Serengeti. Mara River crossing is a site to witness. Tarangire National Park is alive with wildlife thanks to its permanent Silale Swamp and Tarangire River.

Twende [Let’s go] Safari!