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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.

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

 

 

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.