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Finding the Great Migration- June 2022

Finding the Great Migration:  Migration Update June 2022

Great Migration update 18 June 2022. This is a difficult time of year to find the great migration.  In years of normal rainfall, the statistics and literature indicate that the large herds should be on the western side of the Serengeti National Park. The western side of the Serengeti gets more rain due to its physical location close to Lake Victoria, so the logic is that in dry years the wildebeest herds should migrate through the North Western Serengeti.  Finding the herds can be tricky as vast tracks of the area is privately owned hunting blocks of the park buffer zone.

Serengeti Great Migration Update, Serengeti Balloon Safaris, 16 June 2022

Finding the great migration in the west – June 2022

It’s mid-June 2022, and the majority of the herds are in the western corridor of the Serengeti.  This is the longer route to the Mara River and northern Serengeti.  The herds are moving slowly and a full Grumeti River has also slowed the progress of the herds moving northwards.

There was a lot of early rain in the NW corner of the ecosystem. The rains stopped early this year, so the southern plains dried out quickly causing the wildebeest herds to migrate. The wetter north-west corner is the preferred dry season grazing. Wildebeest love the red oat grass that grows in the moist, deeper soils.  June 2022 is becoming a classic text book year for the great migration.  By the end of June, all the Western herds should have crossed the Grumeti River, and we can expect the migration to reach Kogatende and the Mara River from the west for river crossings in 4-6 weeks’ time.

June is a privileged time to find the great migration. You may have to work a bit harder out in the west – which is further away and fascinatingly wilder. If you are lucky to find the great migration in June- it is spectacular.   Witness this great natural phenomenon of hundreds of thousands of animals marching in columns up to 40 kilometers long and be blown away. Check out the video below from the Western Serengeti and the marching herds. It’s insane! Follow up your watch journey to the western Serengeti with Episode 24- West End . There’s more great migration, as well as river animals of the Serengeti on show.

Migration Madness. Episode 23 of the Serengeti Show Live Series in 2020.
Discover the Western Corridor of the Serengeti and the classic long columns of wildebeests migrating through the area- it’s astounding!

Finding the great migration in the east – June 2022

Finding the great migration in the east, is sometimes forgotten when the western herds dominate the wildlife news.   This June many of the Eastern Herds, moved west through Seronera to join the western herds and contribute to the big numbers on that side of the Serengeti National Park.

20% of the Eastern Herds remained on that side of the Serengeti, and those wildebeest can currently be found near Togoro Plains. The eastern great migration herds are moving northwards fairly quickly so we anticipate them reaching the Sand River in the first week of July.  This means there could be some Sand River Crossings into the Mara Reserve as early as July 2022 for the first river crossings of the 2022 season.

This seasonal river with a sandy bottom, is the virtual game drive of Episode 28 exploring the Serengeti. Watch for an unexpected crossing.

If the conditions in the Mara reserve aren’t suited to the wildebeest needs yet, the early herds may back track to the Serengeti and cross the Mara River from north to south.  These would be the first Mara River Crossings.

The third, yet least likely scenario for the first river crossings of 2022, is that the eastern herds don’t cross the sand river in early July. They would move north and west, slowly gathering near crossing point No 10 or Makutano for a potential Mara River crossing at the junction.

Finding the great migration in July. Predictions for river crossing season ’22

  • We predict some small river crossings to start in the first half of July. Crossings would likely be the Sand River or Eastern Mara River.
  • The first herds of the great migration coming from the West, should arrive at the Mara River in mid-July 2022.  Big herds are already gathering as the wildebeest migrate northwards.
  • At Great Migration Camps we are eagerly waiting for a bumper season.  We are expecting some big river crossings starting in July ’22.

Join us for the world’s largest overland mammal migration as 1.5 million wildebeest, 400,000 zebra, 18,000 eland and 200,000 Thompson’s gazelle move through the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. We don’t wait for the herds to come to us, we take you to them – leaving no trace.

Email info@greatmigrationcamps.com to book your seat to the great migration. We still have some space still available in early July & late August. Book soon to avoid disappointment.

wildebeest

Wildebeest

noun [ C ]
UK /ˈwɪl.də.biːst/ US /ˈwɪl.də.biːst/

​a large antelope with curved horns
a herd of wildebeest
plural wildebeest or wildebeests

a large African animal with a long tail and horns that curve to the sides that lives in areas covered in grass

Wildebeest are large African antelopes and belong to the Bovidae family. The word wildebeest comes from the Afrikaans language and translates to wild beast. Another name for the wildebeest is gnu (pronounced “new”).

Wildebeest Synonym

gnu (/njuː/ NEW or /nuː/ NOO)

‘Gnu’ is from a Khoikhoi language (which pronounced the [g]), which likely imitated it from the grunt-type noise that a wildebeest makes.

Wildebeest Word Origin

early 19th cent.: from Afrikaans, literally ‘wild beast’.

Dutch settlers first “discovered” wildebeest in about 1700, on their way to the interior of South Africa. Due to their resemblance to wild cattle, the Afrikaans people called them “wild ox/cattle” or “wildebeest” due to its untamed appearance and vigorous nature.

Wildebeest Size and Appearance

The blue wildebeest is a member of the antelope family, although its heavy build and disproportionately large forequarters make it look more bovine. They have large heads, shaggy manes, pointed beards, and sharp, curved horns.  Blue wildebeests can reach 8 feet in length, stand 4.5 feet tall at the shoulders and weigh up to 600 pounds. Both males and females grow horns.

Wildebeest collective noun

confusion of wildebeests or an implausibility of wildebeests

The noun for a group of wildebeest is taken from the loud noise and confusion that erupt during migration season – caught up in the middle of the movement, your head is bound to spin.

Wildebeest species

There are two species of wildebeest: the black wildebeest or white-tailed gnu (Connochaetes gnou), and the blue wildebeest or brindled gnu (Connochaetes taurinus). In East Africa, the blue wildebeest perform the annual great migration and are the Serengeti species.

COMMON NAME: Blue Wildebeest
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Connochaetes taurinus
TYPE: Mammals
DIET: Herbivore
GROUP NAME: Herd
AVERAGE LIFE SPAN IN THE WILD: 20 years
SIZE: 125 cm (48 inches)
WEIGHT: 118 – 270 kilograms  (260 – 595 pounds)
HABITAT:  Open woodlands, open grassy plains.
DIET: Herbivorous
GESTATION:  8.5 months
PREDATORS:  Lions, cheetahs, hyena

Is it time to get your safari on and see some wildebeest for yourself? 

Chat to us about which aspect of the Great Migration you’d most like to see. Read our explainer here. We can advise you on your Tanzania Safari and help you to plan your great migration safari to see the wildebeest herds!  Contact us on sally@greatmigrationcamps.com. Let’s chat Great Migration! Let’s chat Conservation through Tourism. Come and see the wildebeest for yourself.

Serengeti Great Migration: River crossings, where to stay?

Where to stay in the Serengeti for the Great Migration River Crossings 2022?

A Mara River migration crossing in the Serengeti is without doubt one of the greatest wildlife experiences on earth (and there are many out there).  Navigating your way through the information to figure out how to get to the migration can be overwhelming.  It is difficult to distinguish between the types of accommodation and the terminology. It is really hard to figure out where to stay to see the wildebeest cross the Mara River, and I’m not talking safari-style (that’s personal to each camp and guest).

The Serengeti is an extraordinary place, yet it is also very large making it to be in the “wrong” location for the great migration due to the size of the place and the unpredictability of the migratory herds.  Remember this Migration Update which illustrates the comparative size of the Serengeti to states and countries? 

It is much easier to understand that it is possible to be staying many hours drive from the wildebeest herds,  and there is a chance you could miss nature’s greatest show.  Where you stay and what type of accommodation you stay in, can affect your river crossing great migration experience.

Where are the Great Migration River Crossings? Northern Serengeti

A reminder that the Mara River Crossings happen annually, roughly from July-October as the great migration passes back and forth through Tanzania’s Northern Serengeti and Kenya’s Masai Mara.  The great migration USUALLY moves through Kenya at some point in these 4 months, however the migration is ALWAYS in Tanzania.

In Tanzania, this means you will need to stay in the Northern Serengeti, with the closest airstrip at Kogatende. There is more accommodation on the southern side of the Mara River at Kogatende, making the Lamai side of the river a bit quieter than Kogatende.  Get your timing right for the Masai Mara and you will have an incredible migration experience in Kenya, there are amazing places to stay beyond the scope of this blog.

Where to stay for the river crossings, Great Migration – Safari Lodges, Serengeti

Permanent buildings, bigger capacity and all the bells and whistles.  Permanent lodges act as a luxury gateway to experiencing the African bush. They have fantastic safari operations, from food, to linen and guiding.  Set in exotic locations, with elevated views, private plunge pool, libraries and luxury amenities. Each lodge creates its own signature niche– from interior design to signature activities like spa therapy’s, wine tastings to decadent bush breakfasts (all for additional fee).

Where to stay for the river crossings, Great Migration- Semi-permanent Camps, Serengeti 

In theory they can be packed up and leave nothing behind. Many have been in the same place for 10 years or more and don’t move at all. Boreholes have been sunk, and these luxury camps are extravagant tented structures on wooden platforms with draping and safari-style furnishings,  East African safari décor, and quality amenities. Great locations and generally have good service and years of experience. We love booking our guests into boutique spots.

Where to stay for the river crossings, Great Migration- Mobile camps, Serengeti

These tend to move move between two set locations in the Southern Serengeti, during the calving season and in the Northern Serengeti for the crossing season. A team and crew will take a couple of weeks to set up camp which stays in the location for about 4 months (sometimes a bit longer) before packing and moving to the opposite end of the park.

These safari camps are “mobile” in that they can move, but it’s not fast nor often! These stylish mobile safari camps are no less luxurious than the permanent camps and lodges, with varying facilities and services according to the particular camp’s style & budget.

Where to stay for the river crossings, Great Migration Camps, Serengeti

Yes that’s unashamedly us!  Great Migration Camps operate like a luxury “fly-camp” (a sleep-out adventure in the wild for lodge clients). This is a comfortable, all needs camp that can move in a day following the herds. This is a RAW, real, immersive experience, close to nature, close to wildlife and close to what people are coming to see. The camp location moves, to various special camping sites, which are private as we are fully self-sufficient.

Where to stay for the river crossings, Great Migration- Budget Camping

Basic food and tents in public campsites making use of public facilities – most notably ablutions. Public campsites are in central convenient locations of the park, with variable servicing of public toilets and facilities. Clients travel with the luggage and tents, seldom leave camp before 08h30 as everyone has to eat and pack up before departing camp. Return earlier in the evening for food preparation and camp chores.

There is no public campsite in the Northern Serengeti, where the river crossings take place, so at best you can do a day trip from Lobo or Seronera. (Self-sufficient self-drive campers can get in touch with GMC directly for camping assistance in the northern Serengeti)

Where to stay and how long to stay for? Great migration river crossings, Serengeti?

At Great Migration Camps, we believe you have to be in it to win it.  With wildlife,  and especially the great migration, there is no quick fix or instantaneous gratification for sightings. Give yourselves as much time as you have available and can afford to spend near the Mara River for the crossings.  We recommend a minimum of three nights, which only allows two full days for safari.

There is a lot of distance to cover- some 50km of Mara River, no highways and no traffic reports.  Wildebeest herd  “building” can take a few days as they gather one by one into big groups. At a certain trigger, they develop herd mentality to think and act as one to cross the Mighty Mara River. This is unscripted, so do yourself a favour if you have made a long journey to Tanzania, give yourself enough time for the show to unfold. You won’t regret it.

Book your stay to the Great Migration River Crossings, Serengeti 2022

We still have tickets available to the Greatest Natural Show on Earth 2022, starring Great Migration Camps, in conjunction with Conservation Through Tourism. Get your 2022 River Crossing tickets now by emailing sally@greatmigrationcamps.com. Tickets are selling out fast, don’t delay, book your river crossing migration safari today.

We can book your entire safari- meeting you on arrival, with a full tour itinerary. This includes all the road or air transport,  experienced guides, route planning and accommodation bookings.  Our camp is not suitable for everyone. There are many safari camps that are much finer & fancier than ours- we would love to put you there.  Get in touch via email: info@conservationthroughtourism.com

Other Animals of the Great Migration

The Serengeti National Park & Great Migration’s other animals

90% of the clients that stay at Great Migration Camps, come to the Serengeti “to see the great migration”. Besides the wildebeest, every client also wants to experience other animals encounters in the Serengeti.  You will, guaranteed. Serengeti National Park is home to over 300 animal species. And the populations of many are very healthy and strong.

The Serengeti National Park is a unique setting of ‘endless plains’ dotted with rocky outcrops (kopjes) interspersed with rivers and woodlands and a wide range of habitats.  Due to the topography, geology, soils, rainfall, and drainage systems, the Serengeti National Park sustains the largest number of ungulates and the highest concentration of large predators in the world.  Famous for the great wildebeest migration – their grazing and trampling of grass allows new grasses to grow, while their waste helps fertilize the soil, making it one of the most productive ecosystems on earth.

Migrating Animals in the Serengeti

At the heart of the Great Wildlife Migration is the wildebeest, or the blue wildebeest to be more precise

  • Wildebeest:  The wildebeest are so important that sometimes the migration is referred to as the Great Wildebeest Migration. Around 1.7 million wildebeests take part in the migration.   
  • Zebras:  Around 300,000 zebras travel alongside the wildebeest as part of the Great Migration.  Did you see our must watch video on the Serengeti Zebra Migration?   
  • Thomson’s gazelle:  Sometimes referred to as a “tommie”. Around 500,000 take part in the Great Wildlife Migration!  They’re fantastic runners, and can exceed 65 km per hour. 
  • Eland – Around 18,000 elands take part in the Great Migration. Eland are the largest antelope and they can be very shy.

Serengeti Animals create Outstanding Universal Value

UNESCO recognizes the Serengeti National Park for its outstanding universal value with a whole bunch of accolades – there is a whole lot of wild in this incredibly beautiful and abundant park.  Check it out.

  • The Serengeti National Park hosts one of the largest and most diverse large predator-prey interactions worldwide.
  • The ecosystem supports 2 million wildebeests, 900,000 Thomson’s gazelles and 300,000 zebras as the dominant herds.
  • Other herbivores include 7,000 elands, 27,000 topis, 18,000 hartebeests, 70,000 buffalos, 4,000 giraffes, 15,000 warthogs, 3,000 waterbucks, 2,700 elephants, 500 hippopotamuses, 200 black rhinoceroses, 10 species of antelope and 10 species of primate.
  • Major predators include 4,000 lions, 1000 leopards, 225 cheetahs, 3,500 spotted hyenas and 300 wild dogs.
  • Of these, the black rhino Diceros bicornis, leopard Panthera pardus, African elephant Loxodonta africanaand cheetah Acynonix jubatus are listed in the IUCN Red List.
  • There are over 500 species of birds that are perennially or seasonally present in the Park, of which five species are endemic to Tanzania. The Park has the highest ostrich population in Tanzania and probably Africa, making the population globally important.

Serengeti Species:  Other Animals of the Great Migration

In addition to the migrating wildebeest, zebra, eland and tommie’s, there are more than 35 species of plains animals. Add some 3,000 lions and great numbers of spotted hyenas, leopards, hippopotamuses, giraffes, cheetahs, and baboons.  Birds, Reptiles, Insects and fish are found in addition to the mammals. Rare and seldom sighted animals include Wild Dog, African Wild Cat, Rhino Bat Eared Foxes, Caracal, Serval, Pangolin, snakes.  More than 350 species of birds, including ostriches, vultures, and flamingos, have been recorded. Crocodiles inhabit marshes and water sources near the Mara River. 

Some of the exciting animals to look for on your great migration safari are: 

Aardvark | Aardwolf (civet hyena) | Baboon | Bat-eared fox | Cheetah | Crocodile | Eland | Elephant | Thomson’s Gazelle | Grant’s Gazelle | Giraffe | Hippo | Hyena | Impala | Jackal | Kongoni (hartebeest) | Leopard | Lion | Monkeys | Mongoose | Porcupine | Serval | Topi | Wild dog (painted dog) | Wildebeest (gnu)  | Zebra  (How many you can spot in the Serengeti Show Live, halfway highlights show? )  

Is it time to get your safari on and see some Serengeti for yourself? 

Chat to us about which aspect of the Great Migration you’d most like to see. We can advise you on your Tanzania Safari and help you to plan your great migration safari!  Contact us on sally@greatmigrationcamps.com. Let’s chat Great Migration! Come and see the Serengeti Animals for yourself. 

Great Migration Update: Where are the wildebeest? May ’22

Great Migration Update 27 May 2022

Where are the Wildebeest of the Great Migration?

The annual migration cycle is one of movement in May and June, making these tough months for accurate location predictions of the wildebeest herds.  The migration is on the move due to some contributing factors.  So far this May 2022,  most of the migration updates have been coming from Seronera as wildebeest herds move through the central Serengeti.

The back-end of the migratory herds are still in the southern and western sectors of the Serengeti National Park.  These pockets of wildebeest are moving slowly.

The Eastern herds, were moving northwards fairly quickly, and there are still some migratory herds on the Eastern Plains.  There are some scattered herds around Mbuzi Mawe, Banagi Hill and Togoro Plains.  Many of the wildebeest that were heading north on the eastern border, crossed through Seronera to the west.

The eastern herds that crossed over to the western Serengeti have become the leaders of the great migration.  They can easily travel 10km per day, often in long lines as they head north.  A few large herds were crossing the Orangi River near Hembe and heading North-West.

Why is the wildebeest whereabouts significant to the great migration?

It is far easier for the wildebeest herds to cross the Upper Grumeti river which has fewer obstructions and geographical barriers than the lower stretches of the river. The lower Grumeti River can be treacherous as it is far larger in size with more water which is dangerous & can slow the wildebeest down.

The impact of the Grumeti River on the great migration

The Grumeti River is a lifeline that cuts through the incredible Serengeti scenery from the north east of the national park and west to Lake Victoria. In river terms, the Grumeti River is short at only 180km, with the upper catchment area near Klein’s Gate.  Water from the Lobo Hills and Bologonja areas, feed into the Upper Grumeti River.

The real water comes from the Upper Orangi River whose catchment area is a vast area in the Serengeti (from Central Banangi Hill, Ngare Nanyuki, Seronera Valley and Makoma).  All the water from the central Serengeti flows into the Oranji River, which feeds the lower Grumeti River, providing a huge catchment area with the Upper stretches of river.   The confluence of the Orangi and Grumeti Rivers is just west of Hembe.

The Grumeti River flows for 3-4 months a year during the wet season, and yearly flooding can occur, as the River is on a broad floodplain, with typical sandy soils and riparian forests.

The impact of the change in vegetation on the great migration

In the south-eastern plains of the Serengeti, there is shallow volcanic ash soil, ideal for the wildebeest during calving season as the grass is short, nutritious and abundant – enough to sustain 1.5 million wildebeest for a few months.  As the plains dry out, the wildebeest are forced to move north, where the changing landscape and soil types alter the vegetation.

It’s wetter in the west – there is more water and more rain as you closer you get to Lake Victoria.  There is lots of water at all the springs and granite zones all the way north from Seronera to the Masai Mara.  Navigating through the wet takes longer and slows the wildebeest herds down.

In addition to the water, there is a lot of grass. The deep sandy soils of the North-western Serengeti have rich, nutritional red oat grass – in abundance right now. One can hardly blame the wildebeest for taking their time, through 80km of delicious red oat grass to graze.

Flashback to this video taken in 2017 where we stopped to look at the red oat grass – beautiful grass that the wildebeest love, and had a lovely interaction with this young bull elephant on the plains of the Lamai Wedge, Northern Serengeti,

To date, we are not aware of any fires, which are commonly lit at the beginning of the dry season by park rangers, to prevent larger-scale fires later in the season, that can reduce woodland cover.

Great Migration Updates:  movement of the wildebeest herds

These migration updates are gathered from a network of guiding professionals and safari experts in the field. Reports are shared directly from the Serengeti itself.  We share these updates for those planning a safari, as well as those who guiding safaris or supplying supplementary services to the industry.

In the south, the Serengeti borders the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. In the north, the Serengeti borders Kenya’s Masai Mara.   Surrounding the Serengeti National Park are buffer zones:  Maswa, Loliondo, Grumeti and Ikorongo.  The entire eco-system is open and unfenced, which in itself allows the great migration to take place.

Wildebeest being out of the park boundaries, partially explains why they can be hard to find.   It may seem strange that nearly 2 million creatures can’t be found, as if the great Houdini had performed a vanishing act in the Serengeti.  Remember, the Serengeti is huge- it’s the size of a small country – about 30,000 square kilometers (12,000 square miles), and 160km (100 miles) of bush from north to south.  (Manhattan Island in New York which is 21.6 km (13.4 miles) long and how hard it is to find someone in that city.

We love maps, especially when they include Tanzania, the Great Migration or the Serengeti National Park.  Check out MapFight – it’s a really cool map comparison tool –  you can compare the sizes of any areas or country. Let us know how your country or state compares in size to the Serengeti and you will have a better idea of the vast scale, and why we are constantly looking for wildebeest.

Join Great Migration Camps or follow us, as we follow the Great Wildebeest Migration .  A journey through the Serengeti from the southern plains to the Mara River and back.  We follow the wildebeest, zebra , eland and Thomson’s gazelle as they migrate through the Mara-Serengeti Eco-system.

We have mixed availability in Kogatende area for the River Crossing Season 2022.  Book early  for the great migration river crossing season.  Email: sally@greatmigrationcamps.com #Conservationthroughtourism

 

 

Serengeti Zebra Migration

The Serengeti Zebra Migration

The Great Migration encompasses a circular, seasonal movement of wildebeest, zebras, and Thomson’s gazelles and eland in the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem.  The annual migration of the blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) covers the entire range of the Greater Serengeti ecosystem, a round-trip that exceeds the straight-line distance of 650 km.  Data from GPS collars suggest that the true distance covered is over 1500 km.  The wildebeest migration is constantly moving, with females having an average daily movement of 4.5 km. The Serengeti zebra migration moves with them.

Animals of the Great Migration

Among the 2 million animals of the great migration, around 300,000 of these animals are zebras.  A symbiotic relationship exists between the zebras and wildebeest of the Serengeti.  The main reason they stick together is for safety.

The Serengeti Migration: Zebra and Wildebeest

  • Together they have a strong “alarm” system, and the massive size of their accumulated herds reduces the chance of any single individual being targeted by a predator.  The wildebeest uses its superior sense of sound and smell to stay wary of predators, while the zebra uses its excellent eyesight to scan for threats.
  • Zebras and wildebeest don’t compete for food, either.  Wildebeest are fussy eaters; they are selective grazers and only feed upon the shorter parts of the grass. Luckily for them, zebras are bulk grazers – cropping the grass (like a lawnmower) and making it palatable for the wildebeest to consume.
  • Zebras have a great memory which helps them recall safe migration routes, which comes in handy for directing the sometimes-aimless wildebeests.  The wildebeest’s fantastic sense of smell can detect water even in dry times, an advantage for the zebra.
  • Both species like a more plain open grassy areas though this makes them more vulnerable and that is why they need the safety in numbers (advantage) from predators.

Serengeti Zebra Migration
Serengeti Zebra Migration

The Serengeti Zebra Migration

Join Great Migration Camps or follow us, as we follow the Great Wildebeest Migration through the Serengeti on their journey from the southern plains to the Mara River and back.  We follow the wildebeest, zebra , eland and Thomson’s gazelle through the Mara-Serengeti Eco-system.

We have mixed availability in Kogatende area for the River Crossing Season 2022.  Book early  for the great migration by emailing info@greatmigrationcamps.com to avoid disappointment. #Conservationthroughtourism

Entries OPEN for Serengeti Video of the Year 2022

2022 Serengeti Video of the Year Entries are open.

The video of the year competition runs from 1 June until 30 May every year in the Serengeti. Share your best nature and wildlife videos from the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and stand a chance to win $1,000 in cash or Serengeti bed nights at Great Migration Camps.  These videos capture incredible moments from the Serengeti National Park, videos that many of our viewers would never otherwise see, in a place they may only dream of visiting – the iconic Serengeti.

The Serengeti National Park is home to the Great Wildebeest Migration, & as these videos represent, home to many more beasts in the wild as well! These wildlife videos capture the spirit of the Serengeti.  Submit your Entry for Serengeti Video of the Year and stand a chance to win in 2022. Thanks to Conservation Through Tourism for the project & to Serengeti Show Live for bringing wildlife video to mainstream social media.

Winner of Serengeti Video of the Year 2021

The winning video is by popular view. It comes as no surprise that the winning videos have been captured by first class wildlife safari guides, who work in the Serengeti.  Wildlife footage & videos are challenging to capture as wild animals are unpredictable. Wildlife doesn’t take model direction in the bush and you can’t force wildlife to do what you want to get your shot. You CAN do your best to anticipate their movements, so guide knowledge, vehicle positioning and a lot of time and patience are the secrets to the success of the winning Serengeti videos.
See the Top 3 Serengeti of the Year Videos of the 2021 season in the blog below.

Congratulations to Michael Thomas.
His video of life on the plains and the difference in feeding patterns between lion and hyena is the 2021 WINNER of Serengeti Video of the Year.  Congratulations to the  our highly mentioned videos – match watch scenes from the Serengeti.  Click the image below to watch Serengeti Video of the Year 2021. 

Serengeti Video of the Year
WINNER: Michael Thomas

Guidelines to enter Serengeti Video of the Year 2022

  • Footage should be taken in the Serengeti National Park in 2022.
  • All footage used in your video must be your own.
  • You need to submit your entry via Whatsapp so the length should be between 10 seconds and 3 minutes.
  • Video quality is not a barrier to entry, however stable videos in 1080 p tend to fare better.  It’s the content that counts.
  • There is no limit to the number of entries you can submit.
  • There is no charge to submit an entry.
  • By submitting your video, you agree to being published.
  • The best entries each are showcased on social media monthly.

Serengeti Video of the Year
HONOURABLE MENTION: George D’Souza

How to enter Serengeti Video of the Year 2022

  • Send your wildlife video captured in the Serengeti via Whatsapp to +255759756 814
  • Give us your name & where & when you filmed the subject.
  • Sharing your social media handles make it a little easier for us for us to tag you.
  • We suggest you like our pages to view amazing wildlife video content & updates from the bush.

Serengeti Video of the Year 2022 Prizes

  • Winning video gets US$1,000 in cash
  • OR an 3-night safari for two people at Great Migration Camps
    (*T’s & C’s apply. Excludes Park Fees, Transfers, Domestic Flights)

Serengeti Video of the year
HONOURABLE MENTION: GMC footage

Ethical Wildlife Videography

  • The welfare of the animal is more important than any video.
  • We should always be conscious of our actions in the field and the potential impact on wildlife & habitat.
  • Only  moving footage of natural occurrences in the Serengeti National Park will be considered.

Wildlife videography can be a double-edged sword.

  • Incredible wildlife videos can be the best allies for the conservation and preservation of wild landscapes and animals.
  • Conversely altering animal behaviors (e.g., chasing or baiting) to get an iconic video may have serious consequences for the dynamics of the ecosystem, or the animals individual risk.

We encourage truth in captioning. In today’s highly digitized world, geolocation data, pulled from publicly shared image files can be used illicitly.  Do be mindful of endangered species.

Photographic and Videography Serengeti Safaris

Get in touch, on info@conservationthroughtourism.com and join us in the Serengeti with your camera.

Great Migration: Where to cross the Mara River?

Part 2: Where the wildebeest cross the Mara River?

Knowing where the wildebeest cross the river, can improve your great migration experience,  as you should choose which side of the river to observe the wildebeest crossing the Mara River.  If the herds cross to the north then it is probably better to be on the northern bank of the river and visa versa for the return journey.

Where the wildebeest cross the Mara River?  Changing crossing points 

In Part 1 we talked about favourite or geographically determined crossing points for the wildebeest during the Mara River Crossing Season.  This also changes!  The Mara River Floods of 2018 and 2020, changed its course, making new bends in the river and causing a shift in Crossing Points.  Knowing recent climatic events can get you front row seats to observe this natural show.

Where the wildebeest cross the Mara River?  The inside bend

Let’s take a river crossing example.

The river crossings from South to North take place in the inside bends of the Mara River:-  these are crossing points Makutano, No 8,  No 6, N0 4,  No 3 and No 1 in front of Singita.
The return journey from North to South, takes place on the alternate (now inside bends) of the river at crossing points No 2, No 5, No 7 and No 9.

Where the wildebeest cross the Mara River?  Early season crossings

The crossings early on in the season will come from the Eastern side.  The eastern herds are mostly bachelor herds, with fewer obstacles in their way, so they move quickly.  The first river crossings of the year will probably be Sand River crossings between Bologonja Spring and the Sand/Mara river confluence. Sand River crossings have taken place as early as June.
The first Mara River crossings are commonly at No 10, No 9, No 8 and Makutano in July each year.
When the western herds arrive from Ikorongo and the Grumeti Reserves they would start crossing at the western crossing points from late July onwards at crossing points No 1 – 4 and perhaps at No 5 and No 6 in front of Sayari.

Conservation Talking Points

Flash flooding and fast runoffs during the dry season (July – October). Fast flowing water is difficult for wildlife and animals to judge in general.  The wildebeest sometimes miss the exit points of the Mara River due to the strength of the fast flowing water of the Mara River, resulting in drowning.  These changing climatic conditions (Floods 2018, 2020) have an impact on the survival rate of the Mara River crossings.   The solutions can often be found in the catchment area, the source of the Mara River, the area where trees should be holding the water.

In case you missed Part 1 in our river-crossing series:  here’s the link.   Great Migration 2022: Where to cross the Mara River? 

Book now to see the Great Wildebeest Migration:  info@greatmigrationcamps.com
Contact us now for River Crossing availability 2022 season.
Follow our migration updates from the Serengeti National Park here:  Great Migration Updates

Great Migration ’22: Where to cross the Mara River?

Part 1: Where to cross the Mara River?

The Mara River Crossings of the wildebeest & zebra, of the annual Great Migration in Tanzania & Kenya is an event like no other in the natural world.  It’s not a single event, nor a single herd, nor a single stretch of river, nor a specific date or time.  Wildebeest crossing the Mara River is a visually magnificent 3-D, confusion of tangible adrenalin with stereo sound.  In the animal history world, these dramatic & chaotic river crossing scenes must rank at the top due to the raw visual, auditory & sensory intensity.  It will take your breath away.  The 2022 Mara River Crossings are the next event in our part of the planet.

In case you missed it: The Great Migration Explained 2022 

Things to consider when crossing a river

As kids we were taught various bush survival skills which included river crossing techniques for our safety.  We knew if the river was too wide, flowing too fast or was too high & discoloured, the crossing point was not acceptable. Acceptable crossing places had shallow water, easy banks to get out on the other side and a nice gravel or boulder river bed.  Deep, slow water was okay if it wasn’t too wide.  As humans we had to remove loose clothing, belts & backpacks.

  • Watch the far bank
  • Don’t fight the current
  • Don’t grab logs or rocks
  • Try to move side on to the current

Where to cross a river

Where to cross a River? Crossing points

The first question was whether we had to cross or not. Was there an alternative option?

It we had to cross, the second question was where to cross the river. What is the best river crossing point?

  • The nature of the river bed (is it sand, gravel, rocks, boulders?)
  • Speed of river flow
  • Depth of the water
  • Turbulence of the water
  • Temperature (coldness) of the water
  • Capabilities of the group
  • Entry and exit points
  • Run out

Where to cross the Mara River?  Crossing Points for the Great Migration 2022

  • The Mara River is almost 400 km long and is wide, craggy and treacherous.
  • It is home to Africa’s largest crocodile population.
  • The Mara River represents the end of a long challenging journey for the wildebeest.
  • It makes logical sense that the wildebeest are hesitant to cross the river when they arrive, making them seem aimless and indecisive.
  • Despite facing the same river risks as humans, such as drowning in strong currents, or breaking a leg on rocks or river bank entries – the wildebeest must also contend with predators (crocodiles & carnivores)
  • The wildebeest cross the Mara River on instinct, in a bi annual ritual- what goes north, must return south. The herds cross the Mara River at least twice, sometimes more.
  • Humans have spent decades documenting the wildebeest movements to make it easier for ourselves to witness this river crossing event. The most commonly used geographical areas of the river have been named or numbered as Crossing Points.
  • Each point is a stretch of river not a single GPS location and is used as a guideline for finding the wildebeest

Mara-River-Crossings-2022
Tanapa-Crossing-Points-Mara-River-2022

Mara River Crossings 2022: What to expect from the wildebeest?

  • NOTHING! They are unpredictable.
  • When a herd of wildebeest arrives on the banks of the Mara River, they usually search for a place to cross where the banks are not too steep and the water not flowing too fast.
  • The buildup is tense. Hours or days can be spent waiting near a crossing point before they get enough numbers and courage to leap into the Mara River.
  • Triggers can cause many false starts for the wildebeest.  The ultimate trigger starts an adrenalin charged surge into the water and a race to the opposite river banks & perceived safety.
  • They are in the zone seemingly oblivious to the known dangers- they swim frantically, grunt loudly and move as a mass of nervous energy.
  • Exiting on the opposite bank, can be gentle and gradual or often tragically a near vertical slope where any good foothold changes to a slippery mudbank, with every passing hoof.  The glistening bodies fight against each other to get out and avoid sliding back to the watery nightmare.
  • Unbelievably, within ten minutes the wildebeest can be seen calming grazing with little or no indication of their ordeal – for them it’s just another day.

Mara River Crossing Points 2022:  Human behaviour at the crossings 

  • The main objective is to observe the river crossings but not alter or impact the outcome of a crossing.
  • Wildlife always has right of way, don’t obstruct.
  • Waiting for a river crossing, vehicles should be stationary and out of sight of the animals.  It is common to see safari jeeps hiding behind the tree line to avoid windshield reflections or other distractions.
  • There are parking areas at the crossing points – designed to stop the vehicles frightening or blocking a river crossing.
  • ONLY when the wildebeest have started to cross the river, may safari vehicles approach the river slowly.  (In reality there is a race to the river for the best viewing spot of the greatest animal migration in Africa along the river bank.)
  • Do we even need to say it?  Stay in the vehicle (we are not the only animals watching the wildebeest)

Part 2:  Where Wildebeest Cross the Mara River

Book now to see the Great Wildebeest Migration:  info@greatmigrationcamps.com
Contact us now for River Crossing availability 2022 season.
Follow our migration updates from the Serengeti National Park here:  Great Migration Updates 

Great Migration Serengeti, Wildebeest Update May 2022

Serengeti National Park, Great Migration Update

May 2022

Migration Update from the Serengeti, things are picking up speed now with the western herds reaching Seronera valley. The wildebeest herds have moved quickly across the plains  the last few weeks. The Eastern herds are also on the move north, so the migration is still a bit scattered, with some small pockets still in the south.  Great Migration Camps is following them best we can on a daily basis!

Travel confidence is building and in March 2022, a travel advisory from the Govt of Tanzania reduced travel restrictions for travellers.  That’s good news for those hoping to visit the Serengeti to see the great migration river crossings on the Mara River, this season.  If you plan to visit – book soon- people are starting to travel & the great migrations is a bucket list item.

Tanzania Entry Requirements (Covid-19) for visitors to the Great Migration

  • Online Health Surveillance Form within 24 hours prior to arrival.
  • Travelers should follow airline protocol for travel to and from Tanzania.
  • Fully vaccinated – exempt from both RT PCR and Rapid Antigen Test requirements. Present valid vaccination certificate with QR code for verification.
  • Not fully vaccinated or unvaccinated, ineligible for vaccination for visitors to the Great Migration
    • A negative COVID-19 Rt-PCR or NAATs certificate with QR code within 72 of departure.
    • Health screening procedures are in place at airports and other ports of entry- with Rapid Antigen Testing on arrival. ($10 – for your own cost). Those eligible should are advised to book and pay online to avoid queues
    • There are no quarantine measures, curfews or restrictions on movement in place.
    • If found positive, there will be a PCR confirmation test & self-isolation required (own cost)

Covid  Travel Security:  if you’re diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days, and up to 24 hours prior to departure, you will get a travel credit.

Book now to see the Great Wildebeest Migration:  info@greatmigrationcamps.com
Follow our migration updates from the Serengeti National Park here:  Great Migration Updates