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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This close.

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Move out of my way.

How close do you get to the wildlife on Safari?
Close, really close. In fact sometimes they can get so close, you can smell them. And that can be a memory etched in your brain forever. In a good way of course, especially when you are away.  You just have to be in the right place at the right time.

When on my Safari to Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park this year, I was lucky to encounter a lion with her baby, 20+ lion family snacking on a wildebeest [taken with my iphone], lots of elephant families in both Serengeti and Tarangire, female impalas harems, rhino crossing close by and more.  When we were driving out of the private area after my Serengeti Walking Safari, I even saw a cheetah with a baby cub walking right by our vehicle. Side note here – do not pack your camera as I missed this shot. Or maybe it was nice just enjoying the moment without taking pictures. Safari problems.  

My client Carlos M has had a cheetah jump on a Safari land cruiser close by when in Masai Mara. How close is that!

In Northern Serengeti, we were enjoying some coffee when a herd of wildebeest decided to gallop right past our vehicle. Coffee time with a view – very enjoyable.

Migration in the background

Hello wildebeest. Coffee?

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

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

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

Bush breakfast on Safari

One of the perks of being on Safari is having a bush breakfast. Ideally, you want to leave before the sun is up. Why? So you can be ready to admire the beautiful colors the sun sprays over the landscape.  A memorable start to any day on Safari. The early morning bird chirping committee will help wake you up.  Also, having coffee + tea and cookies delivered to your door by your crew for your wake-up call makes getting up an enjoyable treat.  An afternoon siesta will be well deserved.

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Watching the sunrise in Northern Serengeti with the wildebeest. Splendid.

Not an early riser? 
No worries. Enjoy the sunrise from your room – that works great as well. Some days on Safari you just want to take it easy and maybe read a book watching the sunrise from the comfort of your room/tent.  Perfect plan. Afterall, you are on Safari. A good breakfast will await you in our dining area.

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The views, the sounds, the stillness, the bush breakfast. Life on Safari is delicious.

Back to the morning where you do want to enjoy a bush breakfast.

Your guide will set up your ‘food truck’ style breakfast in an open area.  Just sit back, enjoy your freshly baked bread with eggs, an array of fruits, sweet bread, a good strong cup of Tanzanian coffee or tea all the while listening to the sounds of the wildlife at a safe distance and the morning winds.  Ahhh, life on Safari is amazing. And it is just the morning.

Experiencing a bush breakfast should be on your list of must do things on Safari.

Let us make this happen.
Email – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Call us –  1.877.558.6288

The Great Migration

News from the bush //

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The Wildebeests moving into an area very close to Olakira Camp in Northern Serengeti. Taken around 6:45 am on our morning game drive.

As much as you see pictures, read articles or watch videos, nothing really prepares you and your senses when you are in the middle of the Great Wildebeest and Zebra Migration, one of the Natural Wonders of the World.  The sheer numbers of Wildebeests and Zebras. The grunting and galloping sounds. The smell from these animals. The single file walking. The springy trotting.  The predators [amazing 20+ lions enjoying a wildebeest] that are enjoying a field day as ‘food’ is finally abundant.

This is how I feel when sitting in the middle of the herd in one of my favorite areas, Northern Serengeti [which is a great place to visit year round] in early June when the migration had arrived into this region earlier than the normal cycle from Western Serengeti. They usually arrive into Northern Serengeti in late June to early July. That is nature for you.  Unpredictable and awesome in its splendor.

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!