• info@greatmigrationcamps.com

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 

Festive Season Wishes from GMC

To all our friends, fans, colleagues, supporters and clients,

As 2018 draws to a close, Great Migration Camps mobile would like to take the opportunity to wish all of you a wonderful festive season and peaceful and prosperous 2019. May you enjoy a break with family and friends.

It’s been an extraordinary year with many ups and downs, successes, and challenges, and the wildebeest have had us running around in more than just circles in an unusual migratory year. Thanks to all our clients for joining us on this journey through the Serengeti and Masai Mara. Your comments and feedback are invaluable as we continue our quest to provide the best mobile camp closest to the migrating herds of wildebeest that make the Great Migration.

Thank you to the GMC Dream Team

December is also the perfect time to remind you of our awe-inspiring GMC dream team and say a special thank you to each and every one of you for your commitment and dedication.  As a small team, we work together in close confinement and help each other with anything that needs doing.  No task is too big or too small. Meet the team below.

Mashine and Norton - GMC Guides

Mashine Joseph Swai – GMC Head Guide

Mashine is called Mashine for a reason. Our chief driver guide, who not only manages to find wildebeest, leopard, lion and “animals on request”, but does an enormous amount of administrative work behind the scenes which includes maintaining and fixing vehicles. Ahsante Sana.

Zebadia - GMC camp manager

Zebadia Mmbando – GMC Camp Manager

Zebadia – our mobile camp manager does everything! Zeb has grown and learnt in all fields – from ensuring drinks are cold and shower water is hot, that toilets and showers work, tents are clean and properly pitched to cope with the Serengeti elements along with collecting water and supples, managing the solar system, electrics, fridges and ice machine (an essential item!) to driving, fixing U-bolts and car maintenance.  From before dawn to long past dusk – Zebadia works with the biggest smile and kindest heart. Ahsante Sana.

Herman - GMC camp chef

Herman Shikamoo – GMC Camp Chef

Herman is the newest addition to the GMC team – a young chef who is happiest in his camp kitchen. You’ll hear him singing as he cooks, making meals with love. Herman has wowed our guests with delicious meals, ranging from his superb soups to vegetable dishes, and the camp favourite – Herman’s Serengeti Samoosas – hand made in camp! Karibu and Ashante Herman.

Sally - GMC owner and administration

Sally Grierson – GMC Owner & Administration

Sally is camp mom – tirelessly ensuring that all the details have been taken of behind the scenes – organising and co-ordinating stock, supplies, orders, menu plans, emails, flights and reservations. Mama Sally ensures everyone has hats, water, sunscreen and all belongings necessary to stay healthy and happy out in the bush. Known as Dr Sally in the bush, her physio skills provide African massages as she nurtures and cares for all our guests.

Carel - GMC owner and operations

Carel Verhoef – GMC Owner and Operations

Carel, our resident wildebeest whisperer, is captain of the GMC ship. Born and bred in the bush, his innate instincts take us all on a never-ending journey to new places and destinations, creating magic with his passion and knowledge of the wildlife that surrounds us. A natural story-teller, he’ll narrate animal behaviour into a novel of magnificence. In addition, his competence at every level of living (and working) in the bush ensures that GMC mobile runs with the efficiency required to move camp quickly, whilst providing everything you need and nothing you don’t.

GMC Dream Team

Other Thanks

There are many others who have supported and helped us and your reservations are part of a broader community. Special thanks to Norton and Amani – both extraordinary guides, who drive many kilometres each day leading the search for the wildebeest and knowing when to rush and when to wait (ask anyone who has witnessed a river crossing what this means) whilst keeping a sense of humour, charming our guests and helping in camp. Norton we thank you especially for your patience and kindness with our elderly guests.  Thanks also to Kopa and Bonifence who have helped with driving the trailer to various destinations and countless tasks in camp and to Robert Swai for all our town transfers. Last but not least, thanks to the families who support each member of our team, especially whilst we are in the National Parks taking care of our guests. It is not always easy to be away from our loved ones, but we know it’s hard for you too.

2018 Highlights

One of this years highlight’s was being featured on CNN’s Inside Africa documentary on the Great Wildebeest Migration. If you didn’t have a chance to catch the broadcast – take a look below at the feature.  Thanks Brianna, Nick and the CNN team in Kenya.

We are extremely proud of our Great Migration Camps team and look forward to a busy 2019.

How to book

PLEASE enquire early to avoid disappointment particularly during peak periods. We still have availability but don’t delay, as other services are also 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)
  • Rutting season (June)
  • Crossing season (July– Oct)

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.

Enquire Now

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7 Summits Africa 2018 Expedition dates released

7 Summits Africa 2018 Expedition dates released in preparation of the Brand Africa endorsed Pan-Africa Everest 2020 expedition, lead by African mountaineer Sibusiso Vilane.

7 Summits Africa released the dates of their 2018 #7SummitsAfrica Expedition in Nairobi, Kenya.  This follows the hugely successful inaugural 2017 expedition that conquered 7 African Mountain peaks in 7 weeks during November / December 2017 – www.7summitsafrica.com. The 7 Summits Africa 2018 Expedition will take place between 25 October and 7 December 2018 and be led by Sibusiso Vilane.

The 2018 and 2019 #7SummitsAfrica Expeditions will be utilized for selecting and training an African team for the 2020 Mt Everest attempt, sponsored by Brand Africa.  The next two Expeditions will not only prepare our African mountaineering team for the highest point on the planet, but it will again showcase the beauty and the bogs, the granite and the glaciers of the seven African peaks that make up the 7 Summits Africa Expeditions.

The expedition will lead the mountaineers to some of the best wildlife encounters in East Africa.  For the first time, there is an opportunity for mountaineers from the global community to join the 2018 expedition. Limited spaces are available for individuals to join the entire expedition or part thereof as per the below dates:

25 October – 2 November 2018 – Mt Nyiragongo and Mt Karisimbi

2 – 15 November 2018 – The Rwenzoris, Mt Stanley and Baker

15 – 23 November 2018 – Mt Kenya

23 November – 7 December 2018 – Mt Meru and Kilimanjaro

7 Summits Africa is a marketing brand that promotes conservation through tourism on the African continent, destination marketing and new tourism product development to stimulate economic growth near marginalized National Parks and Reserves throughout Africa.

Carel Verhoef, founder of 7 Summits Africa, opened entries to the 2018 expedition on Monday 25 February,  “It is a wonderful chance to be actively part of conservation, whilst having an incredible African adventure.  The 2018 itinerary is fantastic, with mountaineers able to join the entire 44-day expedition or to achieve their goal over a longer period of time by climbing one mountain (or more). The mountaineering will again be combined with Africa’s best wildlife experiences; Mountain Gorilla trekking in Virunga and Volcanoes National Parks as well as Bwindi Impenetrable Forest;  the great wildebeest migration in the Serengeti and encounters with rhino and big cats in Ol Pejeta Conservancy at the foot of Mt Kenya,”  Verhoef said.

7 Summits Africa 2018 will support the NGO PAMS Foundation www.pamsfoundation.org in memory of founder Wayne Lotter who gave his life for conservation of Africa’s National Parks and Reserves.

Applications are open:  Email  sally@7summitsafrica.com

4 epic mountaineering moments in Africa

By Rebekah Funk

We’ve all heard stories of infamous and death-defying ascents on well-known peaks such as Nepal’s Mount Everest. Yet, as these stories prove, Africa’s highest mountains have played host to some of its own courageous (and outrageous!) journeys.

The amputee who bear crawled Africa’s highest mountain

While he didn’t “defy death”, there are few more inspiring mountaineering tales than that of Kyle Maynard, a 27-year-old American quadruple amputee who scaled Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in 2012 without prosthetics.

Read more

No mountain too high for Balala: Kenyan Tourism Head conquers Mt. Kenya to promote eco-tourism

Kenyan Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has conquered mighty Mt. Kenya – Africa’s second highest mountain – to showcase the diverse adventure- and eco-tourism opportunities Kenya has to offer.

“Mt. Kenya has long been underutilised and under-promoted,” said CS Balala of his hope to change this status quo by drawing global attention to this natural tourism asset via the 7 Summits Africa Challenge, presented by Great Migration Camps.

 

CS Balala (left) on top of the world

Read more

5 reasons 7 Summits Africa went to Kenya – and why you should too

1. Climb Mount Kenya

Kilimanjaro might be the highest peak in Africa, but it’s also the most popular. If you want to experience serious altitude without the traffic, head for Mount Kenya.

This majestic massif consists of a jagged range of peaks and ridges, and is one of the only spots so close to the equator to experience snowfall. From its safest achievable peak, Point Lenana, you could be able to see Mount Kilimanjaro, which is 320km away.

Read more