• info@greatmigrationcamps.com

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 

“Seasons” of the Great Wildebeest Migration 2022

The Great Wildebeest Migration happens 365 days a year but we’re the only ones that can guarantee you’ll see it. We don’t wait for the herds to come to us, we take you to them – leaving no trace.  We follow the wildebeest in our small pioneering camp according to the wildebeest and their movements.  Great Migration Camps is headed north for crossing season 2022.

Calving Season (January- March)

  • Almost 2 million wildebeest gather on the southern plains of the Serengeti for calving season. The herds don’t all arrive at the same time in January.
  • Females synchronize their birthing, so about 500,000 wildebeest are born in a 3-week period (early Feb)
  • Sheer numbers give them a level of protection whilst the calves are still young. This many creatures need a lot of food. The southern plains have the most nutritious grass to sustain the numbers.
  • Despite significant predator action, the wildebeest stick around for as long as possible, as the grass is good & the calves gain strength.
  • As the grass dries out, the wildebeest start moving north- the timing of which is unpredictable and sadly doesn’t correspond with any fixed dates.

The Long Rains (April- May)

April – May is the long rainy season so the wildebeest move to locations where it has rained. They can scatter & almost disappear which seems crazy as there are hundreds of thousands of wildebeest in the great migration

  1. North to the Seronera area
  2. North-West via Kusini to the western corridor.
  3. Eastern border of the Serengeti.

Rutting Season (June)

  • Breeding season for the wildebeest takes place in June.
  • Birthing is synchronized so it figures that rutting is also synchronized.
  • In June, smaller family herds gather (often in close proximity) dominated by one male.
  • The lone male spends a great deal of energy protecting his females from males without their own harem,

River Crossing Season (July- October)

  • The Mara River starts in Kenya and runs north -south and then east to west in Tanzania
  • River Crossings generally start from mid-July (earliest).
  • Generally peak season is August & September but depends on the weather and rainfall.
  • The northern Serengeti (Tanzania) and Masai mara (Kenya) have more permanent water & grass attracting the wildebeest to the north. To get there they need to cross the Mara River.
  • It’s probably the most dramatic time of the migration as a river crossing is dangerous for the wildebeest. Hungry crocs & predators await, it’s easy to break a leg jumping into the river or drown during a crossing.
  • The crossings themselves generally involve a buildup of wildebeest numbers. The wildebeest can move up and down the Mara River looking for good spots to cross or to simply wait for more wildebeest to join the growing herd. The micro movement up and down the river with multiple hesitations and disruptions can and does drive people crazy! They just won’t cross until they decide.
  • The wildebeest can cross northwards but a little rain or fresh grass can bring them south again. Ultimately, they could cross the Mara River multiple times.
  • Book early as supplemental services get full (flights etc)
  • When it comes to river crossings – you have to have patience.  You can be at a great spot, with a large mass of wildebeest waiting to cross. The wildebeest can do nothing for 2 days …yet the moment you wake up late, they will all cross over in 20 minutes and you’ll find them standing on the opposite bank, with only a few fat crocs to show where they were!!!!

Waiting for Rain (November- January)

  • We call this final period “waiting for rain”! The short rains are usually in Nov-Dec but this can vary a lot.
  • In general, the wildebeest move southwards through the Serengeti to the southern plains… following water and rivers.
  • They can move in large herds or as small family groups as they make their way back towards those plains where the journey started in a seasonal yet variable repetition of events.

For human mortals – here is the month-by-month calendar version

  • January-February-March
    Dry months of the year. Wildebeest move south for calving season on the southern plains.
  • March
    Usually dry and before the long rains. Wildebeest start moving north as plains dry out.
  • April-May
    Long rains. Wildebeest on the move – mostly headed north and north-west. Access can be difficult, getting stuck is common. Interesting sightings and beautiful as very green with no dust.
  • June
    The transition to dry season. Can have dramatic clouds. Wildebeest rutting season, big herds in the west and NW. Some herds move up the eastern border of the Serengeti.
  • July-August-September
    Dry season and it coincides with northern hemisphere summer holidays. River crossing season of the migration in the northern Serengeti.
  • October
    The good conditions last into about mid-October when the buildup for the short rains begins. Can be spectacular and not particularly crowded. An untraditional “spring” brings new wild life.
  • November
    Tanzania’s short rainy season starts & continues until the beginning of December. Afternoon rains are common so be prepared for a shower. Uncrowded. Wildebeest location unpredictable.
  • December
    Rains can extend, and the mountain becomes popular over Festive Season and for new year goal setting trips. Wildebeest start moving south for calving season.

Bookings are open for River Crossing Season 2022 of the Great Wildebeest Migration.  info@greatmigrationcamps.com

The Great Migration Explained 2022

For many people, the aim of a trip to Tanzania is “to see the Great Migration“.  Not everyone realizes that the migration is not a once-off event, but rather a continuous year-round process. Each part of the cyclical journey provides uniquely different experiences. It’s coming up to the dramatic river crossings of the Mara, which is just one part of the migratory cycle, though what many think IS the great migration. It seems there is a good crossing season ahead – book early for the 2022 wildebeest migration in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

What is the great migration?

  • The seasonal movement of wildebeest from one habitat to another in the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem.
  • The migration involves a return journey.
  • The herds move backwards and forwards across the park (or out of it!), sometimes over 40 km overnight.
  • It is not one huge herd of animals, but numerous large & small herds, all with their own agenda.

Why do the wildebeest migrate?

  • The simple answer is for food and water. Other factors include reproduction, predation & protection.
  • The southern Serengeti plains are ideal for reproduction. Wildebeest have synchronized birthing and the plains are the only place that can sustain the sheer numbers and provide enough nutrition.
  • If the wildebeest could stay all year, they would! The plains dry out, and the wildebeest are forced to move north to permanent water sources and sufficient grazing.
  • Weather influences the quality of water and grazing – thus the timing, intensity, location and duration of rainfall plays a crucial role in the wildebeest movement.

When is the great migration?

  • Calving Season (Jan-Mar).
    Most calves are born in early Feb, the wildebeest stay as late into March as possible for the mothers & calves to get enough strength to move north.
  • Long Rains (April-May)
    Rainy season gets thr wildebeest on the move
  • Rutting Season (June)
    Breeding season – fascinating interaction with males protecting their harems
  • Crossing Season (July-Oct)
    Peak period of the river crossing season is August and early September.
  • Waiting for Rain & Short Rains (Nov-Jan)
    Rain brings fresh grass to the southern plains, and the wildebeest follow for calving.

 

NEXT EVENT:  Book Now for Great Migration River Crossing Season 2022

Book Now: info@greatmigrationcamps.com

Coronavirus Safari Blog 03

Serengeti Show Live – Coming soon

Great Migration Camps has temporarily closed our mobile camp until June 2020 in efforts to ensure the safety of our staff, guests and to be part of the global solution in containing the spread of coronavirus. Great Migration Camps refuses to take any risks. When travel is safe, we are ready to welcome you and take you on a Serengeti safari.

We have coronavirus-free safaris in place, for when the situation changes. With fewer tourists this season, the river crossings should be spectacular and we’ll be ready when the globe is ready. #StayHome #StaySafe #TravelLater

Covid-19 Virtual Safaris

Travel bans have restricted tourism across our planet. Coronavirus has shut down the travel industry. Tanzania and the Serengeti National Park are no exception.

There is a high demand for wildlife shows and virtual safaris at home as millions of people around the globe are in lockdown. Nature makes people feel better.  The desire for good news, knowledge and wildlife content has never been greater for those confined to their homes.

Coronavirus Safari Lockdown in the Serengeti

Open natural spaces are the anecdote to cabin-fever. Our lockdown is the Serengeti National Park. What is life like in lockdown in the Serengeti National Park during Covid-19?

Life in the bush is a daily adventure and we will bring it to living rooms across the planet from the Serengeti. 40 episodes of Serengeti Show Live safari broadcasts will be produced during April and May 2020 by our film crew in lock down in the bush.

Each episode will feature the wildlife sighting of the day in HD video – spectacular videos of animals in the wild and their interactions.

Life in the bush goes on without tourists, so we will continue to follow the wildebeest herds and bring you great migration updates and videos of the herds and migratory patterns.

Parents can take a break with the Kids’ Corner – a fun and interactive segment of each show will be dedicated to entertaining and educating our future conservationists.

Behind the scenes we will share interesting facts, great footage and real-life adventures from life in the bush.

Conservation Through Tourism during Covid-19

We are fascinated to research the impact this Covid-19 enforced tourism break will have on the Serengeti.  How it will recover from tourism-induced stress?  Over tourism can disturb breeding patterns, feeding habits, and migratory movement. It can pollute landscapes and destroy habitat. There is some good news.

  • Satellite images from NASA’s Earth Observatory show significant drops in pollution across countries and cities since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, as travel restrictions in those countries halt industrial production as well as air, train and road traffic.
  • Venetian canals have cleared with a reduction in tourist numbers, & although the reports of dolphins playing in the deserted canals, was actually in Sardinia – the good news from the natural world is captivating those in quarantine

Will the landscape in the Serengeti Eco-system change in the next few months? A tourism break could be good – but for how long?

Educating future generations and staying top of mind with potential travelers will be critical to tourism recovery. Tourism is extremely important to Tanzania. The industry accounts for half a million jobs in direct employment and more than double that in jobs that indirectly support the industry. Tourism funds conservation – park authorities rely heavily on tourism for routine operational funding including guards and rangers. There will be fewer eyes to protect against poaching, due to the reduced number of tourist vehicles and daily presence in the park.

For now, we need to protect the wildlife and habitat that is the Serengeti National Park. We need to monitor the environmental changes. We need to talk about sustainable tourism. We need to educate the future custodians. We need to share our Serengeti Stories to a world that desperately needs good news. We need to entice travelers to return when it is safe to do so.

#conservationthroughtourism

How you can help the Serengeti during Covid-19?

If you’d like to be part of the coronavirus solution, people need to stay home now.

Join us to help deliver unique edited daily Serengeti Show LIVE episodes to your inbox ready for distribution via your channels.  Help save Africa’s National Parks and tourism sector NOW!

We are the only film crew in the Serengeti and able to provide new original content from a wildlife destination and broadcast the great migration and 4K wildlife content on a daily basis during Coronavirus Lockdown.

Tune in to the show, share it with your colleagues and clients, watch it with your kids. If you are in a position to contribute towards local operating costs, sponsor production costs, or connect us with a broadcast partner – we’d love you to hear from you.  Let’s save the Serengeti together.  Get involved.  Contact us via email:  info@greatmigrationcamps.com

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Crossing Season Special – Wonders of the Wildebeest

Crossing Season is almost here whereby hundreds of thousands of wildebeest head to the northern Serengeti and Kenya in search of succulent grass and water, during the dry season. In the process the mighty Mara River stands in their way.

For many this is the highlight of the great wildebeest migration and there is little doubt that you want front row tickets to this part of the Great Migration Show.  Crossing season is an incredible spectacle – for any wildlife enthusiast it is a lifetime dream.  Take note that the Great Migration is an ongoing event taking place all year round as the herds travel on a cyclical grazing path around the Serengeti Masai Mara Eco-system.

Great Migration Camps recommends giving yourself enough time on your safari, with a minimum of 4 nights to increase your chances of seeing a river crossing. This season our very popular 9 Day Wonders of the Wildebeest package is on special for travel between 1 July – 30 Sept 2019 for those wishing to experience a river crossing.  You could save up to $300 per person travelling!

Wonders of the Wildebeest – 9 Day, 8 Night All inclusive package

Overview WoW crossing season special.

This 9 Day Migration Safari focuses on river crossings near the Mara River. During this period, the wildebeest move towards the northern sector of the Serengeti-Masai Mara eco-system, therefor we suggest you fly directly to the north to spend more time following the wildebeest. You have SIX full days in the Serengeti National Park (northern sector) following the wildebeest herds with all the build-up and action at the river.  Don’t worry, we see plenty of other wildlife in classic safari game drives.  You spend one night in Arusha, fly to Kogatende, enjoy a week of action packed safari, return flight to Arusha to end your tour.

Highlights WoW crossing season special

Flight over the Serengeti National Park, Wildebeest Migration, Mara River Crossings

Itinerary Overview  – WoW Crossing Season Special

Overnight Area Meals
Arrive in Arusha, transfer to hotel and overnight Ilboru Arusha
Flight Arusha to Serengeti Koga, afternoon game drives GMC mobile Mara River B, L, D
Unlimited Migration Game Drives – Full Day or 2 x Half Day Drives GMC mobile Mara River B, L, D
Unlimited Migration Game Drives – Full Day or 2 x Half Day Drives GMC mobile Mara River B, L, D
Unlimited Migration Game Drives – Full Day or 2 x Half Day Drives GMC mobile Mara River B, L, D
Unlimited Migration Game Drives – Full Day or 2 x Half Day Drives GMC mobile Mara River B, L, D
Unlimited Migration Game Drives – Full Day or 2 x Half Day Drives GMC mobile Mara River B, L, D
Unlimited Migration Game Drives – Full Day or 2 x Half Day Drives GMC mobile Serengeti B, L, D
Fly Serengeti Koga to Arusha for onward travel     B

Getting there

Tour Starts and ends in Arusha, Tanzania

Arusha in Northern Tanzania is the start and end point of this tour and is accessed by Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) or Arusha Airport (ARK). Flights from Arusha airport take you directly to the Northern Serengeti (Kogatende Airpstrip) and the heart of the migration.

Accommodation

Ilboru Safari Lodge (or similar). Mid-range accommodation in Arusha.

Great Migration Camps mobile tented camp. Tented accommodation in Serengeti National Park.

Great Migration Camps Mobile               
ACCOMMODATION
2-person canvas dome tent
Memory Foam Mattresses & Pillows
MEALS
Three Meals Daily
Drinking Water – clean, filtered
Great Coffee
TRANSPORT
Pop- up Roof 4×4 Safari Vehicle
Unlimited Migration Game Drives
DRINKS
Alcoholic Beverages & Sodas Excluded
Cash Bar. Unlimited tea & coffee
Cold Beer Chilled Wine Gin&Tonic
CHILD POLICY
Adults to accompany children U16 years
0-5 years must sleep in adult tent
6 -16 years may share with other children
MINIMUM NUMBERS
Minimum 4 persons for packages
Minimum 3 Night stay
Minimum 2 persons in camp
Best Outdoor Hot Showers in the Bush
EMERGENCY EVACUATION
Amref Service
Flying Doctor
SUSTAINABLE
We leave no trace. No single use plastic. Solar Power. Waste separation/management
Great
Bedding
& Linen
LOCATION – MAY CHANGE
We follow the wildebeest herds.
If they move, we move.
GUIDING
We take the road less travelled & avoid the crowds. Leave at dawn for golden hour prepared for full day game drives
Great Migration Experiences Guaranteed

WoW Crossing Season Package Activities

River Crossings and the wildebeest migration are the top priority on our programme, as such we prepare to head out at first light, to capture the golden hour at the start of the day and keep track of the wildebeest herds.  We are always fully prepared for a full day out, taking tea and coffee for a mid-morning break and bush lunch as one never knows what one might encounter.  The days are flexible and depend on the wildlife sightings and migration experiences that we encounter, meaning that some days we will return to camp for lunch and relaxation time in camp, whilst other days we travel far and return at dusk.  We try and stop for an evening drink to watch the setting sun, before returning to camp to freshen up for the evening. Evenings are enjoyed around the camp fire, and meals are cooked over hot coals in the spirit of a truly mobile safari camp following the herds.

WoW Crossing Season Package Includes

1 N Accommodation in Arusha (B&B), 7 N Tented Accommodation at GMC mobile in the Serengeti National Park, three meals daily, teas and coffees, laundry, communal ablutions, emergency evacuation insurance (flying doctor cover), VAT, National Park Fees entrance fees and camping fees, all transfers, return domestic flights to the Serengeti National Park.

WoW Crossing Season Package Excludes

Gratuities, Alcoholic beverages & sodas (cash bar), international flights, visas, travel insurance, all items of a personal nature, any meals not stipulated

WoW Crossing Season Child Policy: Children are welcome

Under 16 of years of age, children to be accompanied by an adult.
0 – 5 years must sleep in adult tent. 6 -16 years may share with other children, however we recommend children should be able to sleep through the night.

WoW Crossing Season Package Rates

9D8N Wonders of the Wildebeest Adult 16+ Child* 0-5 Child* 5- 12 Child* 12- 16
Standard Package 2019 4100.00 470.00 2000.00 2750.00
Fly In Special 2019 3800.00 470.00 1820.00 2540.00
  • Rates are quoted in US Dollars and include VAT.

WoW Crossing Season Package – How to book

  1. Check Live Availability  to see if we can accommodate you at Great Migration Camps.  Send your request.
  2. Email your inquiry to info@greatmigrationcamps.com.
    Kindly provide your name, country, number of people travelling and preferred dates and duration.
  3. GMC will confirm your reservation and assist with any extra services you may require.
  4. Complete your Traveller Registration Form and Sign the Booking Terms and Conditions
  5. GMC will send an invoice, a 30% deposit is payable to secure the reservation. Balance due before arrival.
  6. Confirmation, a summary of services and any travel vouchers will be issued on receipt of final payment.

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Migration Safari – Drive or Fly to the National Park?

Planning your Migration Safari

You’ve decided to go on a migration safari but should you drive or fly to your accommodation within the park? We are often asked whether driving or flying is the best option to get to the National Park? The answer to your transport questions (Drive or Fly?) is variable depending on a few factors.

Your Migration Safari Priorities

When planning your safari you will need to decide on your main interest to determine priorities such as how long you will stay in the park itself and to determine your budget. These criteria affect your choice of accommodation, and the means of transport to get there. Other factors that affect your decision whether to drive or fly to your accommodation to see the great migration include the number of guests travelling on safari and the places you would like to visit before, after or in conjunction with your safari.

Migration Safaris – Distances

The Serengeti National Park alone is a vast area of 14, 750 sq km (5,700 sq Miles) – roughly the size of Connecticut State in the USA or Northern Ireland (14,148 sq km/5463 sq mi).

The Greater Eco-system is an even larger unfenced area which includes the Masai Mara and surrounding Ngorongoro Conservation Area as well as Maswa, Grumeti & Ikorongo Game Reserves and Loliondo Game Controlled Area. At 30,000 sq km (12,000 sq Miles) it’s almost the same size as Belgium (30,528 sq km)

Seronera in the Central Serengeti is 320km west of Arusha and will take at least 6 hours of straight driving. Flight time from Arusha – Seronera is approximately 1 hour (direct with no stops en route).  Time and distance are significant factors in the decision whether to drive or fly for your migration safari.

Map of the Greater Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem.

Driving to the Migration

Driving to your migration safari will take longer than you think! The condition of the road varies but in general you will be travelling on a rough and bumpy gravel road where 100km can take 3 hours. Also bear in mind that you will be spending a lot of time in the vehicle whilst on game drives. It is highly likely that you will need to stay overnight en route to the park to break the journey or visit an attraction along the way.

Travelling by road is a good idea if

  • You have a lot of time for your safari (Minimum 4 nights inside the park)
  • You like to see the country-side & interact with locals when stopping for toilet, food, fuel and a leg stretch.
  • You are a small group or medium group: 4- 6 people travel in one safari vehicle.
    This makes the road alternative slightly cheaper when split by many so good for those on a budget.
  • You are afraid of travelling in a light aircraft.
  • You will have the same driver-guide from town to the National Park and for all your game drives.
  • You are visiting the southern or central sections of the park.
Drive In Safari Photo: BrendanAllenSoundcloud

Flying to the Migration

Flying to your migration safari is in a light aircraft and gives you an aerial view of the country. The flight is an experience in itself and flight duration is seldom more than 2 hours (flight duration varies depending on stops en route) so a quicker more comfortable option than driving into the National Park. When flying in, you will use resident camp guides and vehicle who are familiar with the local area on game package.

Flying is a good option if

  • You have limited time, with only a couple of nights on safari.
  • You enjoy comfort.
  • Your primary interest is wildlife rather than sightseeing.
  • You are a small group of 1 – 3 people OR a large group of 12 or more.
  • You don’t like backtracking – driving in and out is usually on the same road.
  • You are heading to the northern Serengeti – Kogatende and Mara River and hoping for a river crossing.
Fly In Safari Photo: BrendanAllenSoundcloud

Combination – Drive and Fly to the Migration

This option combines driving in and flying out or vice versa. Great Migration Camps recommends ending with a scenic flight rather than a bumpy drive out.

Drive-Fly combo is best for

  • Those with sufficient time – 2 days to drive in and at least 3 or more days on safari.
  • Those who would like to combine a destination en route to the park – options include Tarangire NP, Lake Manyara NP, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Natron(& Ol Doinyo Lengai)
  • Northern Serengeti Safaris – the northern sector is far away! A minimum of one night required to drive in – although we suggest two to enjoy the journey.
  • Combines sight-seeing with quality time on safari.
  • Those wanting to enjoy an adventure on the route into the National Park, but who like having the security and confidence of a departure flight to town to connect with an international departure flight.

At Great Migration Camps mobile we love all the options for different reasons.  The choice whether to drive or fly to your migration safari is really about your time, your group size, your budget and your safari/wildlife preferences. As in life there are pros and cons to all three options.

Calving Season 2019

Calving Season is in full swing, and the wildebeest seem to be hanging around the southern plains whilst the little ones get stronger for the long journey northwards as the migration cycle starts again.

GMC mobile has Limited availability March 2019.  Book now to confirm your seat for calving season and the great migration wildlife show. 2019 Calving Season inclusive packages below. Enquiries:  info@greatmigrationcamps.com

5D_4N Migration Revealed Calving Season Safari 7D_6N Born to Run Calving Season Migration Safari 8D_7N Migration Calving Season Migration Safari

Crossing Season 2019

Crossing season is filling up fast. One of the most dramatic seasons in the year long migratory cycle.  The Wildebeest make their way northwards to cross the Mara River in Tanzania and Kenya. This can be a waiting game that tests the patience of many a nature-lover. GMC recommends booking as many days as you have available to give yourself the best chance of seeing a river crossing.

6D_5N MIGRATION CHASER - crossing season migration safari  8D_7N MIGRATION UNPLUGGED - crossing season migration safari 9D_8N Great Great Migration - crossing season migration safari

How to book

PLEASE enquire early to avoid disappointment particularly during peak periods as other services can also be busy. We can assist with pre or post safari tours and accommodation in town as well as flights or transport in and out of the National Park.  We recommend 5- 10 days for your migration safari.

  • Calving season (Feb- March) -Ndutu area
  • Rutting season (June) – Grumeti area
  • Crossing season (July– Oct) – Kogatende/Mara River area

Email your inquiry to info@greatmigrationcamps.com

Kindly provide your name, country, number of people travelling and preferred dates and duration.
Children of all ages are welcome.

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