Migration month by month

November 19, 2018

The Great Migration – An Overview

Filed under: Migration month by month — Tags: , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 2:22 pm

Introducing our Month-By-Month Guide to The Serengeti’s Wildebeest Migration

Please see the links below for our month-by-month detailed blog posts:

January; Southern Serengeti & Ndutu Plains

February; Southern Serengeti & Ndutu Plains.

March; Southern Serengeti & Ndutu Plains and later in the month combine with Seronera (central Serengeti)

April; Southern Serengeti & Ndutu Plains and combine with Seronera (central Serengeti)

May; Southern Serengeti & Ndutu Plains and combine with Seronera (central Serengeti)

June; Seronera (central Serengeti) and combine with western corridor (Grumeti)

July; Kogatende and Lamai (Northern Serengeti)

August; Kogatende and Lamai (Northern Serengeti)

September; Kogatende and Lamai (Northern Serengeti)

October; Kogatende and Lamai (Northern Serengeti)

November; Kogatende and Lamai (Northern Serengeti) and combine with Seronera (central Serengeti) later in the month

December; Southern Serengeti & Ndutu Plains and later in the month combine with Seronera (central Serengeti)

We hope you find our month-by-month Migration blogs useful. For more information please do give us a call! Another useful tool to understand the wildebeest migration is this blog, written by one of our team members which clears up common misconceptions surrounding the Great Migration.

The movement of the Great Wildebeest Migration can be a really difficult thing to wrap your head around, but once you have a map in front of you, and an explanation by one of the experts, it all becomes a lot clearer! Therefore, we always recommend calling up and asking one of our consultants for advice on where to stay at any given time of year (as contrary to popular belief, the wildebeest can be seen in the Serengeti all year round).

Of course though, in some months the herds are more concentrated and therefore especially spectacular to see, and only from July – October/November do you have the chance of witnessing the dramatic Mara River crossings; so all in all, some months are better to catch the Migration in than others. In these series of 12 blog posts, we are going to share all our Great Migration combined knowledge and recommendations of where to be, where to stay and how to maximise your chances of seeing the mega herds in each month of the year.

As a general rule of thumb, it is never guaranteed that if we send you to a certain area that you will definitely see the migration, as their route can be notoriously unreliable. However, using 20 years experience in planning Great Migration safaris, and keeping track of satellite predictions, we think that we have a pretty good idea of where to send you at any given time of year. Follow our guidelines, and the chances are you will see the migration. The question is whether you will be lucky enough to catch a mega herd…

Accommodation options on a Great Migration safari

The name “mobile camp” can be misleading, as these camps have set locations throughout the year and usually move every few months. So don’t worry, no dismantling your tent after breakfast… They are luxurious with en suite toilets and showers, as well as comfortable double beds. Most of the office would agree that the mobile camps give a seriously authentic and special Serengeti safari experience. The beauty of these is that whenever you are venturing to the Serengeti, the mobile camps will be in phenomenal locations to catch the migration from. Our favourite is Serengeti Safari Camp.

The next “step up” in luxury is the permanent camps. These are not mobile, so do not move locations depending on where the migration will be. However, if they are set up in the right position at the time of your safari, then they can be a fantastic option. You feel under canvas, which really does add to the safari experience, but also often with raised platforms and decks for you to chill out on in between game drives. These outwardly can appear more luxurious than the mobile camps, but often they aren’t! Staying at a non-mobile camp doesn’t mean you will have an overall more quality experience, as many of the mobile camps are still seriously luxurious, whilst some of the permanent camps may be mid-range. What it essentially comes down to is your preferred style, and the camps which are best positioned for you to catch the migration from in the month that you are travelling in. A great example of this is Namiri Plains.

The most luxurious options in the Serengeti are the permanent lodges. These lodges have solid structures and a few more creature comforts such as pools, big spacious and often open planned rooms. Some of the permanent lodges in the Serengeti can be huge, and rather soulless such as Four Seasons Serengeti. We think if you want real luxury and still an authentic safari experience, you are better to look to the more safari-centric companies and their more intimate, yet no less luxurious permanent lodges such as Asilia’s Sayari or Nomad’s Lamai Serengeti.

A guide to the Serengeti’s Great Wildebeest Migration in December

Filed under: Migration month by month — Tags: , , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 12:07 pm

Where are the herds in December?

December is a notoriously tricky month to predict. The November short rains disperse the wildebeest herds across the Serengeti as they head south in preparation for calving season, which kicks of towards the end of the month and lasts through until March. Generally, the main herds may linger in Namiri Plains (just south east of the central Serengeti region, Seronera) or in Kusini which is towards the south west of the central area. Some as early as December may have already made it to the fertile Ndutu plains in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in preparation for calving season.

Is December a good time to see the Great Migration?

December is a very popular time to be in Tanzania, due to the beginning of the calving season, but also because East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) is by far the best place to be in Africa over the festive period as it is mainly dry and the wildlife is excellent. This means that although December is a somewhat transitional month for the migration, the park is still going to be busy with tourists seeking an adventurous Christmas period (but only towards the end of the month)! If you want to avoid the crowds and peak season prices, go before the 20th December.

Because of the November rains, the wildebeest disperse as they have plentiful grass to eat so you are less likely to get those huge condensed herds which are so fabulous in the dry season. If your dates are slightly more flexible look at early December to avoid peak, peak season prices which you get from around 20th December up until the 7th of January and also to avoid the Christmas crowds. If The Great Migration herds are your absolute priority and you are looking for a wintery break but have flexible dates, to get the most dramatic condensed Migration scenes, you should look to February. February is the only month when the herds are ALWAYS where we think they will be, in the Ndutu area of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

So, where should I stay to get the best chance of catching the herds in December?

We would say that from 1st – 15th December you should be looking at the areas in the central Serengeti region. You could look at either Moru (just south of the centre), Kusini (further south west of the centre) or in the Seronera region itself (the centre!) where the more permanent camps are located (ones which stay here throughout the year, and do not move locations to follow the migration). As December is a more transitional month and the herds tend to be scattered across central and into the southern Serengeti, it is important not only to consider where the migration may or may not be, but also what style of camp suits you the most. For the later dates in December, we would urge you to consider two locations – one in the central Serengeti area (as above) and another in the Ndutu area of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (very south of the park), for a chance of catching the start of calving season. Here are our picks for the best camps to stay in for the Migration in December…

Which camps to stay in for an early December central Serengeti Safari ?

Kiota ($325 pppn until 19th Dec, where rates increase to $515 pppn!). As you can see, this is an exceptional value property and going in early December means a seriously good value safari. Located in Seronera, with amazing views of the surrounding plains, it is exceptionally well positioned for the migration in the transitional months, as well as benefitting from the excellent central Serengeti resident wildlife. It is very comfortable with lovely staff and a very welcoming atmosphere.

Namiri Plains ($893 pppn until 19th Dec, where rates increase to $1208 pppn). Namiri Plains is one of the best locations in the whole of the Serengeti in our view. It is set in the eastern area of the park and with only one other camp in its vicinity, hardly any vehicles venture here. This does not mean its wildlife is less prominent by any means, but quite the opposite. As a former cheetah conservation area the big cats here are extremely good. Fine food, luxury tented accommodation in a magical area; you can’t get much better than this.

Dunia ($804 pppn until 19th Dec, where rates increase to $914 pppn). Another Asilia property, and one which we love to send couples and families alike to – it suits everyone, and the all-female staff create an incredibly welcoming and warm environment. Exceptionally well positioned in a quieter area of the Seronera region, with it’s excellent resident wildlife, it is a fantastic choice.

Which camps to stay in for a late December Serengeti safari in Ndutu?

Combine one of the above camps with a mobile camp. It is a nice idea to combine a more permanent camp in the central areas (of which there are a few excellent ones), with a mobile camp in the south to give variety in accommodation. Uniquely to the south, there are not any permanent camps, so to stay here you must go mobile, which we would urge you to do anyway, as there is nothing quite like a piece of canvas between you are the wild Serengeti plains.

Mid range mobile camps

Chaka ($330 pppn until 19th Dec, where rates increase to $457). Sister camp to Kiota and with the same ethos of very comfortable accommodation and an excellent overall experience in great locations, at an amazing price; you can’t go wrong with Chaka.

Barefoot luxury mobile camps

Serengeti Safari Camp ($725 pppn until 20th Dec, where rates increase to $900 pppn, as well as 7 for 5 and 5 for 4 deals throughout the month). An office favourite. Moving between 3 locations throughout the year and with 2 mobile camps, Nomad Tanzania’s passion of exceptional safaris shines through in everything they do… Safari mad but without compromising on quality one little bit, Serengeti Safari Camp is unbeatable for an authentic Serengeti safari.

Ubuntu ($664 pppn throughout the whole of December). Asilia’s best value mobile camp, Ubuntu is similar in style to Serengeti Safari Camp and in an equally excellent location at this time of year. A fabulous choice for a barefoort luxury tented Serengeti safari.

Alex Walker’s Serian (1,110 pppn) – Luxurious food, service and tents but with a really classic safari style. A huge perk of Serian is that your price includes a private vehicle and guide for your whole stay. Serian has two camps at this time of year, one in the Kusini region of southern Serengeti (Serian Kusini, to the slightly north and west of Ndutu) and another even south of this, deep into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area called Serian South. One thing to consider is that Serian South is not in the national park which means you can enjoy walking, cultural visits as well as fly camping…

Very luxurious mobile camps

Serengeti Under Canvas ($885 pppn until 20th Dec, where rates increase to $1,240). &beyond’s Serengeti mobile camp, this is a very luxurious tented option and for those who don’t mind splashing out on a premium experience. (It doesn’t have to be splashing out a huge amount if you go in early December!).

Olakira ($789 pppn until 19th Dec, where rates increase to $971pppn). Asilia’s most luxurious mobile camp, it is not quite as glitzy as Serengeti Under Canvas but by no means is a less desirable option as it’s price tag is a bit less!

Great, thanks for the options… What would you do in December though?

Early December – I would spend a good 4/5 nights in Namiri Plains for explosive predator action, and also be in with a good chance of catching the migration. For lower budgets, Kiota is the one. Dunia is beautiful, but Namiri’s location means you really do escape the crowds of central Serengeti and also benefit from the ASTONISHING amount of resident cats.

Late December – I would begin my Serengeti time in Serengeti Safari Camp for an unbeatable overall safari experience, and an exceptionally well ran camp. I would spend 3 nights here then hop over to Namiri for the same reasons as stated above. If I was on more of a budget, I would have absolutely no problems with doing a Chaka and Kiota combination for exceptional locations for half the price of SSC and Namiri.

A guide to the Serengeti’s Great Wildebeest Migration in November

Filed under: Migration month by month — Tags: , , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 12:06 pm

Where are the herds in November?

The likelihood is that at the beginning of November, the herds are still lingering in the northern Serengeti regions of Kogatende and Lamai and you can still catch river crossings at this time. Towards the end of the month, by the time the light rains have begun, the wildebeest begin to descend south in their second big migration of the year. On their descent south the splinter off into different parts of the Serengeti, so at this time it can become tricky to predict where the “mega herds” will be.

Is November a good time to see the Great Migration?

Especially early November is still an excellent time to catch the river crossings and some mega herds, as much of the time even when some are pushing south, many are still around the Mara River in Kogatende and Lamai. However, October is probably a little better, as they do begin to disperse when the rains fall so the more you go into November, the more the herds spread out.

Towards the end of the month, river crossings are much less frequent as most have begun to disperse south. However, because of the light rains, the camps and lodges are exceptional value for money… We cannot stress this enough! You can stay at some of the continent’s most luxurious permanent lodges in November at half the price they would be in July and August, and still be in with the chance of catching scenes such as this (shot by a member of our team in November a few years ago). As well as this, the parks are a lot quieter so you get a little slice of Serengeti wilderness all to yourself. All in all, if you don’t mind getting a bit wet and love value for money, then early November in particular is a fantastic time to see the migration.

So, where should I stay to get the best chance of catching the herds in November?

In early November, we would suggest basing yourself in the Kogatende and Lamai areas of the northern Serengeti to give yourself a chance of witnessing a late river crossing. In the second half of the month, it can be a good idea to split your time between the northern Serengeti and the central Seronera region of the park. As the herds disperse, many will head down towards the centre of the park so if you are set on catching the herds, this would be a good combination of locations. This way, even if the herds haven’t quite made it down to central Serengeti, you would have most likely caught them in the north. Aside from the migration, November is an excellent time to make the most of low rates and have an exceptional value Serengeti safari, with no other vehicles. Seronera is usually really busy in the peak months, so visiting here in November gives you a seriously spoiling more private stay in an area that in peak months is so popular (due to it’s phenomenal resident game).

Which permanent camps to stay at in the northern Serengeti (Kogatende/Lamai) for a November safari?

Sayari ($784 pppn) – Sayari is serious luxury under canvas. Its permanent wooden base structure offers a really nice contrast to the purely tented mobile camps. The main area is fitted with comfortable sofas and there is also a lovely pool to chill out by in between your game drives. It’s location is close to the Mara River making it a great place to stay to catch the crossings.

Nomad Lamai Serengeti ($760 pppn) – In a similar position to Sayari, Nomad Lamai is an excellent lodge to stay at if you are hoping to catch the river crossings. It’s rooms are wound between a set of Kjopes, and each one has fabulous sweeping views of the plains below. Lamai offers the ultimate barefoot luxury Serengeti experience, yet without losing any authenticity.

Which mobile camps to stay at in the northern Serengeti (Kogatende/Lamai) for a November safari?

Serengeti Safari Camp ($725 pppn). Our favourite barefoot luxury authentic Serengeti mobile camp. As there are two camps which move independently throughout the year, there is no in-between period where the camp is moving locations and thus not open. Our pick for a November safari.

Olakira ($789 pppn, until closes on 15th Nov) – Asilia’s most luxurious mobile camp, it is not quite as glitzy as Serengeti Under Canvas but by no means is a less desirable option as it doesn’t come with quite such a hefty price tag. Though it certainly is not cheap!

Which central Serengeti camps to potentially combine with a northern one for a late November safari?

Kiota ($325 pppn). This is an exceptional value property. Located in Seronera, with amazing views of the surrounding plains, it is exceptionally well positioned for the excellent central Serengeti resident wildlife. It is very comfortable with lovely staff and a very welcoming atmosphere.

Namiri Plains ($893 pppn). Namiri Plains is one of the best locations in the whole of the Serengeti in our view, migration or no migration. It is set in the eastern area of the park and with only one other camp in its vicinity, hardly any vehicles venture here. This does not mean its wildlife is less prominent by any means, but quite the opposite. As a former cheetah conservation area the big cats here are extremely good. Fine food, luxury tented accommodation in a magical area; you can’t get much better than this.

Dunia ($804 pppn). Another Asilia property, and one which we love to send couples and families alike to – it suits everyone, and the all-female staff create an incredibly welcoming and warm environment. Exceptionally well positioned in a quieter area of the Seronera region, with it’s excellent resident wildlife, it is a fantastic choice.

A guide to the Serengeti’s Great Wildebeest Migration in October

Filed under: Migration month by month — Tags: , , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 12:04 pm

Where are the herds in October?

As with August and September, the herds are yet again in a pretty identical position in the northern Serengeti areas of Kogatende and Lamai, and in the Masai Mara. There is a chance in late October that the light rains will come a bit early and therefore push the herds south, however, this takes a long time as there are so many of them! The chances are even if you are visiting the north in late October, that a good few of the herds will still be lingering in the north.

Is October a good time to see the Great Migration?

Contrary to popular belief, early – mid October is still a phenomenal time to see the river crossings and so is even late October. Even if the light rains do come a bit early in late October and the herds do begin to push south, this takes a long time as there are so many of them. The chances are even if you are visiting the north in late October that a good few of the herds will still be lingering in the north and crossing the Mara River in between Kogatende and Lamai. October is an even quieter time of year than September and August to see the crossings and there are some seriously good deals in our favourite camps. In the office, we are forever torn, but many of us will say that October is our favourite time to see the migration. Aside from the park being quieter, it is desperately dry at this time of year, so the game viewing throughout the Serengeti is phenomenal as the animals congregate to the water areas. October is also a great time to catch some unbelievable predator action.

So, where should I stay to get the best chance of catching the herds in October?

In the northern Serengeti in Kogatende or the Lamai Wedge if you are looking to catch some river crossings. You should not anticipate their move south in your choice of camp, as river crossings are still happening and should not be missed if you are in the Serengeti at this time of year. The Masai Mara is still busy at this time of year, as it is a smaller area with a lot of camps, so we would always recommend sticking to the Serengeti in between July and November if you are looking to catch the migration. It is worth noting too that the wildebeest are always in the northern Serengeti from when they arrive up in the north until they leave for south again, whereas they are only sometimes in the Masai Mara at this time. Visiting Kenya is not integral to their route, but more of an offshoot from their main Serengeti path. They don’t see the country border and think “we must go to Kenya!” – it is just an extension of their circular route which essentially revolves around the Serengeti.

Which permanent camps to stay at in the northern Serengeti (Kogatende/Lamai) for an October safari?

Sayari ($1,376 pppn) – Sayari is serious luxury under canvas. It’s permanent wooden base structure offers a really nice contrast to the purely tented mobile camps. The main area is fitted with comfortable sofas and there is also a lovely pool to chill out by in between your game drives. It’s location is close to the Mara River making it a great place to stay to catch the crossings.

Nomad Lamai Serengeti ($1,315 pppn) – In a similar position to Sayari, Nomad Lamai is an excellent lodge to stay at for a July – October Serengeti safari if you are hoping to catch the river crossings. It’s rooms are wound between a set of Kjopes, and each one has fabulous sweeping views of the plains below. Lamai offers the ultimate barefoot luxury Serengeti experience, yet without losing any authenticity.

Which mobile camps to stay at in the northern Serengeti (Kogatende/Lamai) for an October safari?

Chaka ($435 pppn) – Very comfortable accommodation and an excellent overall experience in great locations and importantly, at an amazing price. You can’t go wrong with Chaka for a basic yet authentic Serengeti safari.

Serengeti Safari Camp ($900 pppn). Our favourite barefoot luxury authentic Serengeti mobile camp, for an early July safari there is nowhere better. As there are two camps which move independently throughout the year, there is no in-between period where the camp is moving location and thus not open. The rates do not change from high season, but there are come incredible deals with other Nomad properties in the country… Ask us for more info!

Ubuntu ($768pppn) – Asilia’s best value mobile camp, Ubuntu is similar in style to Serengeti Safari Camp but is a little further away from the Mara River.

Serengeti Under Canvas ($885) – The premium option if you are looking at staying under canvas in a tented camp and with great mid season rates in October.

Olakira ($971 pppn) – Asilia’s most luxurious mobile camp, it is not quite as glitzy as Serengeti Under Canvas but by no means is a less desirable option as it doesn’t come with quite such a hefty price tag. Though it certainly is not cheap!

Kimondo ($914 pppn) Kimondo is in Lamai Wedge which benefits from being somewhat cut off from the rest of the Serengeti, only with a few other camps in the region, of which, it is the most reasonably priced option.

Alex Walker’s Serian ($1,110 pppn) – Luxurious food, service and tents but with a really classic safari style. A huge perk of Serian is that your price includes a private vehicle and guide for your whole stay.

A guide to the Serengeti’s Great Wildebeest Migration in September

Filed under: Migration month by month — Tags: , , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 12:02 pm

Where are the herds in September?

In September, the herds are pretty much in an identical position to where they are in August, in the Lamai wedge and Kogatende areas of the northern Serengeti, as well as sometimes up in the Masai Mara too. Many people think that the Masai Mara is the place to be at this time, but that is simply not true, as the wildebeest tend to pour out into Kenya as an extension of their route, and as such, entering the Mara is not an integral part of their journey. So all in all, you should be looking at the Serengeti over the Mara for the river crossings.

Is September a good time to see the Great Migration?

Many people think that August is a better time to see the river crossings, as it is peak season throughout all the northern lodges and mobile camps. However, we would argue that this is not true. By going in September you can take advantage of some fabulous free night deals, as well as being in with the same chance as seeing the crossings as in August.

In September, you benefit from school holidays being over and thus a few less vehicles around. Also, when compared to July, we would argue that September is a better time to almost guarantee seeing the migration in the north. This is because the wildebeest can be late, so July is a slightly trickier time to predict, whereas if you go in September though, you are pretty much guaranteed to see the herds as they absolutely will have arrived in the north by this time and always linger well into September. Contrary to popular belief, once the herds arrive in the north, they do not simply head straight for the Masai Mara then head south, but they linger criss-crossing over back and forth through the Mara River – it is not a single mass movement, but more a chaotic gathering which can mean river crossings happen daily from July all the way through until late October.

So, where should I stay to get the best chance of catching the herds in September?

Northern Serengeti! Lamai and Kogatende are the place to be if you are hoping to catch the crossings and the migration herds in general. It is important to remember that when the wildebeest are crossing the Mara River in between Kogatende and Lamai in the Serengeti, they are only sometimes also crossing the Mara River on the Kenyan side! As the Masai Mara is a smaller area and with a lot of camps, it is also much busier here than in the Serengeti, so we would always recommend avoiding Kenya within the migration river crossing months of July – October and focusing on the northern Serengeti.

Which permanent camps to stay at in the northern Serengeti (Kogatende/Lamai) for a September safari?

Sayari ($1,376 pppn) – Sayari is serious luxury under canvas. It’s permanent wooden base structure offers a really nice contrast to the purely tented mobile camps. The main area is fitted with comfortable sofas and there is also a lovely pool to chill out by in between your game drives. It’s location is close to the Mara River making it a great place to stay to catch the crossings.

Nomad Lamai Serengeti ($1,315 pppn) – In a similar position to Sayari, Nomad Lamai is an excellent lodge to stay at for a July – October Serengeti safari if you are hoping to catch the river crossings. It’s rooms are wound between a set of Kjopes, and each one has fabulous sweeping views of the plains below. Lamai offers the ultimate barefoot luxury Serengeti experience, yet without losing any authenticity.

Which mobile camps to stay at in the northern Serengeti (Kogatende/Lamai) for a September safari?

Chaka ($607 pppn) – Very comfortable accommodation and an excellent overall experience in great locations and importantly, at an amazing price. You can’t go wrong with Chaka for a basic yet authentic Serengeti safari.

Serengeti Safari Camp ($900 pppn) – Our favourite barefoot luxury authentic Serengeti mobile camp, for an early July safari there is nowhere better. As there are two camps which move independently throughout the year, there is no in-between period where the camp is moving location and thus not open.

Ubuntu ($768pppn) – Asilia’s best value mobile camp, Ubuntu is similar in style to Serengeti Safari Camp but is a little further away from the Mara River.

Serengeti Under Canvas ($1,240) – The premium option if you are looking at staying under canvas in a tented camp.

Olakira ($1,070 pppn) – Asilia’s most luxurious mobile camp, it is not quite as glitzy as Serengeti Under Canvas but by no means is a less desirable option as it doesn’t come with quite such a hefty price tag. Though it certainly is not cheap!

Kimondo ($986 pppn) – Kimondo is in Lamai Wedge which benefits from being somewhat cut off from the rest of the Serengeti, only with a few other camps in the region, of which, it is the most reasonably priced option.

Alex Walker’s Serian ($1,110 pppn) – Luxurious food, service and tents but with a really classic safari style. A huge perk of Serian is that your price includes a private vehicle and guide for your whole stay. There is one camp in Lamai and the other in Kogatende.

A guide to the Serengeti’s Great Wildebeest Migration in August

Filed under: Migration month by month — Tags: , , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 11:58 am

Where are the herds in August?

The herds in August are up in the north, crossing the Mara River between Kogatende and the Lamai Wedge. This is peak time to see the river crossings because even if the wildebeest are late, they will have reached the Kogatende area by this time. If they are early, and arrive north in June, they will still be lingering here and in the Masai Mara throughout August and through to October… Win, win. All the way through the month, river crossings should happen almost daily – it is all a case of waiting patiently for the wildebeest to decide to cross. You would be very unlucky for the wildebeest not to be surrounding the Mara River if you decide to go in August. On the flip side though, you would also be lucky to see a crossing, as not everyone does, as no matter how many hours are spent waiting with a herd by the river banks, they may simply not decide to cross over for hours!

Is August a good time to see the Great Migration?

Yes, August is one of the very best times to be in the Serengeti because this is peak season for the mighty Mara River crossings in the north. At the beginning of August, as the main herds approach, you can be in for some huge crossings. Like with July, the first crossings of the season can be explosive, with wildebeest falling left right and centre, trampling each other or being taken down by the hungry waiting Mara River crocs.

The only downside of visiting in August is that because it is so popular, you do not benefit from any special offers from camps and lodges, and the crossing points can be busy as it is peak season. If you were to go in September for instance, you would avoid there being so many vehicles. That being said, even in peak season the Serengeti is much quieter than the Masai Mara river crossings (as the Mara River cuts through both).

So, where should I stay to get the best chance of catching the herds in August?

You should solely focus on the Kogatende and Lamai areas in the northern Serengeti throughout August. It is too much of a good time to see the crossings not to base yourself in these areas. Many head for the Masai Mara, but as well as it being a lot busier than the northern Serengeti, the Migration is always in Kogatende/Lamai from the time they reach the Mara River, up until when they head south again, whereas, only sometimes at some point within this time are river crossings also happening in Masai Mara. It is not integral to their route. All in all, we would therefore head for northern Serengeti as opposed to the Masai Mara to catch the crossings. Lamai does tend to be a bit quieter than Kogatende, though both are excellent and there is a bit more choice of accommodation on the southern side of the Mara River at Kogatende.

Which permanent camps to stay at in the northern Serengeti (Kogatende/Lamai) for an August safari?

Sayari ($1,376 pppn) – Sayari is serious luxury under canvas. It’s permanent wooden base structure offers a really nice contrast to the purely tented mobile camps. The main area is fitted with comfortable sofas and there is also a lovely pool to chill out by in between your game drives. It’s location is close to the Mara River making it a great place to stay to catch the crossings.

Nomad Lamai Serengeti ($1,315 pppn) – In a similar position to Sayari, Nomad Lamai is an excellent lodge to stay at for a July – October Serengeti safari if you are hoping to catch the river crossings. It’s rooms are wound between a set of Kjopes, and each one has fabulous sweeping views of the plains below. Lamai offers the ultimate barefoot luxury Serengeti experience, yet without losing any authenticity.

Which mobile camps to stay at in the northern Serengeti (Kogatende/Lamai) for an August safari?

Chaka ($607 pppn) – Very comfortable accommodation and an excellent overall experience in great locations and importantly, at an amazing price. You can’t go wrong with Chaka for a basic yet authentic Serengeti safari.

Serengeti Safari Camp ($900 pppn) – Our favourite barefoot luxury authentic Serengeti mobile camp, for an early July safari there is nowhere better. As there are two camps which move independently throughout the year, there is no in-between period where the camp is moving location and thus not open.

Ubuntu ($768pppn) – Asilia’s best value mobile camp, Ubuntu is similar in style to Serengeti Safari Camp but is a little further away from the Mara River. Dissimilarly to Serengeti Safari Camp, it is also low season rate up until the 10th

Kimondo ($986 pppn) – Kimondo is in Lamai Wedge which benefits from being somewhat cut off from the rest of the Serengeti, only with a few other camps in the region, of which, it is the most reasonably priced option.

Alex Walker’s Serian ($1,110 pppn) – Luxurious food, service and tents but with a really classic safari style. A huge perk of Serian is that your price includes a private vehicle and guide for your whole stay. Note one of the camps is in Kogatende and the other in the Lamai Wedge providing a nice option in locations.

Serengeti Under Canvas ($1,240) – The premium option if you are looking at staying under canvas in a tented camp, but also want a seriously luxurious experience.

Olakira ($1,070 pppn) – Asilia’s most luxurious mobile camp, it is not quite as glitzy as Serengeti Under Canvas but by no means is a less desirable option as it doesn’t come with quite such a hefty price tag. Though it certainly is not cheap!

A guide to the Serengeti’s Great Wildebeest Migration in July

Filed under: Migration month by month — Tags: , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 11:56 am

Where are the herds in July?

July has always classically been the month which sees the first of the mega Mara River crossings. It is another big movement month for the herds, as many that were lingering in the western corridor make their way north in search of greener pastures. In the first few weeks of the month it can be a mistake to solely focus on the north and the potential of a river crossing as they can often not arrive there until mid-July.

Is July a good time to see the Great Migration?

If your priority is to see a river crossing, and if you are in the north and near the Mara River when the wildebeest have arrived, then absolutely, July is an incredible time to see the herds. However, we would always say that if you go a bit later then you will maximise your chances of seeing the river crossings. This is because if the herds are late, if you go in August the chances are they will definitely be in the northern Kogatende region by this point. However, July is tricky because you never know when the first herds are actually going to arrive. Once they have arrived though, river crossings can happen daily – it is not something that just happens one week and is over the next. Once the wildebeest reach the Mara River they linger, some cross in herds of thousands, one may suddenly then the next day decide to cross back, and 100 may follow. They graze in Kogatende and the Lamai Wedge (with the Mara River dividing these two areas) and will often linger until late October around this area.

So, if the herds have made it then July is a fantastic time to see the migration. The first crossings of the season are often seriously explosive with the crocs being hungry, and the wildebeest acting very manic. As such, the first crossings leave a trail of carcasses behind them so although you should stay relatively close to the river, being on the banks can be a mistake! We would recommend visiting in late July though, so even if the herds are a bit late, the chances are they would have reached the north of the park when you are there.

So, where should I stay to get the best chance of catching the herds in July?

To maximise your chances of seeing the Migration in early July, as they may be late in their cycle and still lingering around the western corridor, we would recommend first going to a camp in the west, and then moving on to one in the north in the hope of catching a river crossing.

In the second half of July, we would recommend solely focusing on the north, as it is pretty unlikely that by this late none of the herds would have reached the Mara River and the surrounding Kogatende area.

Which mobile camps to stay in the western corridor to combine with a northern Serengeti camp for an early July safari?

Serengeti Safari Camp ($900 pppn). Our favourite barefoot luxury authentic Serengeti mobile camp, for an early July safari there is nowhere better. As there are two camps which move independently throughout the year, there is no in-between period where the camp is moving location and thus not open.

Ubuntu ($768pppn). Ubuntu is actually in the western corridor until the 10th July, so if you are looking at visiting the Serengeti before the 10th it is an excellent option. Asilia’s best value mobile camp, Ubuntu is similar in style to Serengeti Safari Camp and in an equally excellent location at this time of year. Dissimilarly to Serengeti Safari Camp, it is also low season rate up until the 10th!

Which permanent camps to stay at in the western corridor to combine with a northern Serengeti camp for an early July safari?

Okay, so this is where things get a bit different in terms of Serengeti accommodation. In the western corridor, the area of Grumeti is actually a private reserve owned by Singita, a luxury company who have properties all over the continent. Singita are the crème de la crème of safari camps. Their private reserves mean that (especially in the rainy season) you really will not see any other vehicles. The guiding is exceptional, the food delicious and the accommodation out of this world luxury but without compromising on the intimacy which a mobile tented camp offers. However, you do pay a premium!

Sabora – (1475 pppn). 1920’s themed, Sabora is a magical place to base yourself. With day beds set out in the bush, and in an area where game often passes casually through camp, it is a seriously spoiling tented experience. It also has a pool (of course), and a gym!

Sasakwa – (1,615 pppn). A raised lodge with sweeping views and all the amenities you could ever wish for, Sasakwa is a grand old home away from home. Singita standards throughout, it is for those who love old school and want to pay a premium.

Faru Faru – (1475 pppn). A little like Sasakwa but with a modern twist, Faru Faru is an exceptional property with all the permanent luxuries you could wish for. It is probably Singita’s flagship Tanzania property.

Which permanent lodges to stay at in the northern Serengeti (Kogatende/Lamai) for a July safari?

Sayari ($1,376 pppn) – Sayari is serious luxury under canvas. It’s permanent wooden base structure offers a really nice contrast to the purely tented mobile camps. The main area is fitted with comfortable sofas and there is also a lovely pool to chill out by in between your game drives. It’s location is close to the Mara River making it a great place to stay to catch the crossings.

Nomad Lamai Serengeti ($1,315 pppn) – In a similar position to Sayari, Nomad Lamai is an excellent lodge to stay at for a July – October Serengeti safari if you are hoping to catch the river crossings. It’s rooms are wound between a set of Kjopes, and each one has fabulous sweeping views of the plains below. Lamai offers the ultimate barefoot luxury Serengeti experience, yet without losing any authenticity.

Which mobile camps to stay at in the northern Serengeti (Kogatende/Lamai) for a July safari?

Chaka ($607 pppn) – Very comfortable accommodation and an excellent overall experience in great locations and importantly, at an amazing price. You can’t go wrong with Chaka for a basic yet authentic Serengeti safari.

Serengeti Under Canvas ($1,240)  – The premium option if you are looking at staying under canvas in a tented camp, but also  love luxury accommodation.

Olakira ($1,070 pppn) – Asilia’s most luxurious mobile camp, it is not quite as glitzy as Serengeti Under Canvas but by no means is a less desirable option as it doesn’t come with quite such a hefty price tag. Though it certainly is not cheap!

Kimondo ($986 pppn) Kimondo is in Lamai Wedge which benefits from being somewhat cut off from the rest of the Serengeti, only with a few other camps in the region, of which, it is the most reasonably priced option.

Alex Walker’s Serian ($1,110 pppn) – Luxurious food, service and tents but with a really classic safari style and safari-mad. A huge perk of Serian is that your price includes a private vehicle and guide for your whole stay.

A guide to the Serengeti’s Great Wildebeest Migration in June

Filed under: Migration month by month — Tags: , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 11:46 am

Where are the herds in June?

The transitional period we see in May continues throughout June. By June, usually around 20% of the herds are in the western Grumeti region as they face their first obstacle on their journey; the Grumeti River. These are not where those famous huge river crossings happen though, which happens later on when the herds have reached the north of the park, and ultimately the Mara River.

The weather at this time of year can be difficult to predict, and therefore so can the wildebeest. As the rains change, the herds can double back on themselves, some may make their way to the central Serengeti, whilst others will linger for most the month in the Western Corridor, whilst a few may push north early… It is a very testing time for us to predict as it does change from year to year.

Is June a good time to see the Great Migration?

If you catch the herds, then absolutely, this is a phenomenal time to see the migration. Rutting season for the males begin in April and June is the peak of this period, which involves a lot of noise and is a very interesting time to be in the midst of the herds. Although it is tricky to predict, if you base yourself in two different camps (which we would strongly recommend you do) then you have a good chance of catching some big herds.

So, where should I stay to get the best chance of catching the herds in June?

We would definitely suggest throughout the whole of June splitting your time between two camps; one in the central Seronera region and the other in the western corridor. There are a few mobile camps which are situated in the Grumeti (west) region throughout June, and couple this with a more permanent lodge in the Seronera region means you get the best of both worlds in terms of accommodation style, whilst also maximising your chances of seeing the herds.

Which permanent camps to stay at in the central Serengeti (Seronera) for a June safari?

Kiota ($325 pppn before June 16th, $430 pppn after June 16th). This is an exceptional value property. Located in Seronera, with amazing views of the surrounding plains, it is exceptionally well positioned for the excellent central Serengeti resident wildlife. It is very comfortable with lovely staff and a very welcoming atmosphere.

Namiri Plains ($1,122 pppn). Namiri Plains is one of the best locations in the whole of the Serengeti in our view, migration or no migration. It is set in the eastern area of the park and with only one other camp in its vicinity, hardly any vehicles venture here. This does not mean its wildlife is less prominent by any means, but quite the opposite. As a former cheetah conservation area the big cats here are extremely good. Fine food, luxury tented accommodation in a magical area; you can’t get much better than this.

Dunia ($914 pppn). Another Asilia property, and one which we love to send couples and families alike to – it suits everyone, and the all-female staff create an incredibly welcoming and warm environment. Exceptionally well positioned in a quieter area of the Seronera region, with it’s excellent resident wildlife, it is a fantastic choice.

Which mobile camps in the western corridor to combine with a central Serengeti camp for a June safari?

Serengeti Safari Camp ($900 pppn). An office favourite. Moving between 3 locations throughout the year and with 2 mobile camps, Nomad Tanzania’s passion of exceptional safaris shines through in everything they do… Safari mad but without compromising on quality one little bit, Serengeti Safari Camp is unbeatable for an authentic Serengeti safari.

Ubuntu ($768pppn) Asilia’s best value mobile camp, Ubuntu is similar in style to Serengeti Safari Camp and in an equally excellent location at this time of year. A fabulous choice for a barefoot luxury tented safari experience.

Serengeti Under Canvas ($885 before 15th June, 1240 after 15th June)  – The premium option if you are looking at staying under canvas in a tented camp, but also do not want to compromise on quality.

Which permanent camps in the western corridor to combine with a central Serengeti camp for a June Safari?

Okay, so this is where things get a bit different in terms of Serengeti accommodation. In the western corridor, the area of Grumeti is actually a private reserve owned by Singita, a luxury company who have properties all over the continent. Singita are the crème de la crème of safari camps. Their private reserves mean that (especially in the rainy season) you really will not see any other vehicles. The guiding is exceptional, the food delicious and the accommodation out of this world luxury but without compromising on the intimacy which a mobile tented camp offers. However, you do pay a premium!

Sabora – (1475 pppn). 1920’s themed, Sabora is a magical place to base yourself. With day beds set out in the bush, and in an area where game often passes casually through camp, it is a seriously spoiling tented experience. It also has a pool (of course), and a gym!

Sasakwa – (1,615 pppn). A raised lodge with sweeping views and all the amenities you could ever wish for, Sasakwa is a grand old home away from home. Singita standards throughout, it is for those who love old school and want to pay a premium.

Faru Faru – (1475 pppn). A little like Sasakwa but with a modern twist, Faru Faru is an exceptional property with all the permanent luxuries you could wish for. It is probably Singita’s flagship Tanzania property.

A guide to the Serengeti’s Great Wildebeest Migration in May

Filed under: Migration month by month — Tags: , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 11:37 am

Where are the herds in May?

May is the first big push of the year from the wildebeest, as they head ultimately for the Mara River in the north. Around this time, the best place to see the big herds is usually the central Serengeti region of Seronera. Towards the end of the month, a lot of the herds can be heading up the Western corridor around the Grumeti region. It is probably therefore best after the 15th to combine these two regions at this time of year if you are absolutely set on seeing the migration. The problem in  April and May, is that as there are heavy rains around the whole Serengeti, the herds do tend to disperse somewhat, so predicting where the big herds will be is tricky as they simply cover more ground.

Is May a good time to see the Great Migration?

May is classically not the best time to see the Migration due to the rain dispersing the herds, also because it is a very transitional month, meaning the location of the wildebeest is difficult to predict. However, alike with April, visiting in May means you do benefit from low season prices in a very quiet time of year to be in the Serengeti. You can take full advantage of the permanent and often more expensive central Serengeti camps for half the price, and with no one else around, making it an attractive month for a certain type of traveller. So for the weathered safari enthusiast, May is a fantastic time to be in the Serengeti and hopefully catch a big migration herd without anyone else around at all.

So, where should I stay to get the best chance of catching the herds in May?

In the first half of May, we would recommend basing yourself in the central Serengeti region of Seronera and in the second half of the month, we would suggest combining a camp here with one towards the western corridor. The western corridor is where the herds classically are in June, though some can often arrive early (or late!). Basing yourself in two locations though will give you the best chance of catching the herds in these more transitional months. Also, because the Serengeti is so quiet at this time of year, you have more of a chance of being provided with a free of charge private vehicle, which means you have the freedom to go out for longer drives if the wildebeest herds are not in the immediate area.

Which permanent camps to stay at in the central Serengeti (Seronera) for a May safari?

Kiota ($325 pppn). This is an exceptional value property. Located in Seronera, with amazing views of the surrounding plains, it is exceptionally well positioned for the excellent central Serengeti resident wildlife. It is very comfortable with lovely staff and a very welcoming atmosphere.

Namiri Plains ($498 pppn). Namiri Plains is one of the best locations in the whole of the Serengeti in our view, migration or no migration. It is set in the eastern area of the park and with only one other camp in its vicinity, hardly any vehicles venture here. This does not mean its wildlife is less prominent by any means, but quite the opposite. As a former cheetah conservation area, the big cats here are extremely good. Fine food, luxury tented accommodation in a magical area; you can’t get much better than this… and at the April/May price of $500 per person per night, it is exceptional value too!

Dunia ($451 pppn). Another Asilia property, and one which we love to send couples and families alike to – it suits everyone, and the all-female staff create an incredibly welcoming and warm environment. Exceptionally well positioned in a quieter area of the Seronera region, with its excellent resident wildlife, in April and May at this price it is simply a bargain.

Which mobile camps in the western corridor to combine with a central Serengeti camp for May safari?

Ubuntu (430 pppn) – Asilia’s best value mobile camp, in May Ubuntu is absolutely phenomenal value for money! Located in the western corridor from here up until July, it is in a good position if you are considering a late-May Serengeti safari. Barefoot luxury in the Serengeti for a seriously good price – at this time of year, it is unbeatable for value for money.

Serengeti Safari Camp ($725 pppn) – Our favourite mobile tent in the Serengeti and at a great low season price, if you are looking for a truly authentic yet luxurious Serengeti safari, it has to be SSC.

Serengeti Under Canvas ($885 pppn)  – The premium option if you are looking at staying under canvas in a tented camp, but also do not want to compromise on quality. Serengeti Under Canvas is the most luxurious classic Serengeti tented option in the western region in May. Don’t be fooled though – this does not mean that the other two camps are not luxurious, but it means Serengeti Under Canvas simply makes this a priority.

Which permanent camps in the western corridor to combine with a central Serengeti camp for a May safari?

Okay, so this is where things get a bit different in terms of Serengeti accommodation. In the western corridor, the area of Grumeti is actually a private reserve owned by Singita, a luxury company who have properties all over the continent. Singita are the crème de la crème of luxurious safari camps. Their private reserves mean that you really will not see any other vehicles. The guiding is exceptional, the food delicious and the accommodation out of this world luxury but without compromising on the intimacy which a mobile tented camp offers. However, you do pay a premium!

Sabora – ($1,475 pppn). 1920’s themed, Sabora is a magical place to base yourself. With day beds set out in the bush, and in an area where game often passes casually through camp, it is a seriously spoiling tented experience. It also has a pool (of course), and a gym!

Sasakwa – ($1,615 pppn). A raised lodge with sweeping views and all the amenities you could ever wish for, Sasakwa is a grand old home away from home. Singita standards throughout, it is for those who love old school and don’t mind paying premium.

Faru Faru – ($1,475 pppn). A little like Sasakwa but with a modern twist, Faru Faru is an exceptional property with all the permanent luxuries you could wish for. It is probably Singita’s flagship Tanzania property.

A guide to the Serengeti’s Great Wildebeest Migration in April

Filed under: Migration month by month — Tags: , , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 11:29 am

Where are the herds in April?

Although rainfall can make the herds spread out a bit, the migration in April is fairly similar to the previous few months. You will most likely not catch calving season, but most of the wildebeest will linger around the southern plains of Kusini and Ndutu as they do in March. Although some would have dispersed to the east, west and a little bit north, many will still be in the Ndutu region. As you can tell, as the rains come the wildebeest’s movements can be difficult to predict. Therefore we would suggest staying south, as we know they have a tendency to linger throughout the month, but we don’t know exactly which particular direction the big herds will head to!

Is April a good time to see the Great Migration?

If you don’t mind getting a bit wet and want to save on some of our favourite lodges, then yes!

However, this is not the time to catch humongous, concentrated herds which are prominent in high season. However, they are still there and in some years can be just as concentrated in the Ndutu plains as they are in the height of February’s calving season…

Ndutu region has exceptional resident cats, and it can get busy in the peak months of January and February, but in April the Serengeti is like a ghost town. This means if you don’t mind getting a bit wet occasionally, you can have an exceptional slice of African wilderness all to yourself, which is very special. The rains bring dramatic clouds, lightening and dramatic sunsets… Oh, and you can stay in some of our favourite camps for a fraction of the price they are in high season. We would recommend travelling at this time if you don’t mind getting wet, love exceptional value for money, dramatic scenery and some excellent wildlife viewing.

So, where should I stay to get the best chance of catching the herds in April?

Stay in Ndutu throughout the month as the wildebeest do linger, even if most have pushed east, west and north. Throughout the month, if you would like the best chance of seeing the Migration then combine Ndutu with an area of the central Serengeti as you would in late March.  Also, many mobile camps close at this time, so most of your options are located in the central area of the park where the camps are permanent and thus have a more rigid structure to weather the storm.

Which camps to stay at for an April Serengeti safari in Ndutu?

Serengeti Safari Camp ($725 pppn) – An office favourite. Moving between 3 locations throughout the year and with 2 mobile camps, Nomad Tanzania’s passion of exceptional safaris shines through in everything they do… Safari mad but without compromising on quality one little bit, Serengeti Safari Camp is unbeatable for an authentic Serengeti safari. At this time of year, it is also exceptionally good value for money.

Serengeti Under Canvas ($885 pppn) – The most glamorous of the Serengeti’s mobile tented camps, &beyond’s Serengeti Under Canvas is tented luxury at it’s finest. It is in the Ndutu plains in this month, and is thus well located to catch the herds which linger from calving season. A great choice if you are a sucker for luxury but don’t want to fork out a huge amount of cash (comparably to other times of year!).

Permanent camps in central Serengeti to combine with SSC or SUC

Kiota ($325 pppn). This is an exceptional value property. Located in Seronera, with amazing views of the surrounding plains, it is very well positioned for the excellent central Serengeti resident wildlife. It is very comfortable with lovely staff and a very welcoming atmosphere.

Namiri Plains ($498 pppn). Namiri Plains is one of the best locations in the whole of the Serengeti in our view, migration or no migration. It is set in the eastern area of the park and with only one other camp in its vicinity, hardly any vehicles venture here. This does not mean its wildlife is less prominent by any means, but quite the opposite. As a former cheetah conservation area, the big cats here are extremely good. Fine food, luxury tented accommodation in a magical area; you can’t get much better than this… and at the April/May price of $500 per person per night, it is exceptional value too!

Dunia ($451 pppn). Another Asilia property, and one which we love to send couples and families alike to – it suits everyone, and the all-female staff create an incredibly welcoming and warm environment. Exceptionally well positioned in a quieter area of the Seronera region, with its excellent resident wildlife, in April and May at this price it is simply a bargain.

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