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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Top 5 Tips to Experience a Wildebeest River Crossing

Great Migration Camps wildebeest researcher, Carel Verhoef, has witnessed hundreds of river crossings, and explains what happens in the build up to a river crossing and how best to experience the “Greatest Show on Earth”.

Carel has an incredible strike rate getting his clients, not just to the wildebeest migration, but to witness river crossing(s)! Having studied and followed the great wildebeest migration for more than 15 years, he shares his Top 5 Tips for maximising your opportunities for a wildebeest river crossings. Read to the end for his Bonus Tip.

Top 5 Tips to Experience a River Crossing

River Crossing Tip 1: You need to get to the Mara River at the right time

When planning your “river crossing safari”, it’s important to deal with a knowledgeable company and consultant who have the knowledge to get you to the right place. Great Migration Camps provides Migration Updates on our Facebook page. GMC is in the privileged position of being able to move camp as the wildebeest move, ensuring we have the latest migration news and updates. Guides, pilots, managers, lodges, camps and colleagues all supply news and updates on the movement and location of the wildebeest.  Ask GMC to help with your safari plans and timings.

River Crossing Tip 2: Buy yourself as much time as you can on the river itself

If you are really want to see a river crossing, then buy as many nights as close to the river as you can. The decision of a herd to cross the river is not taken lightly and they need to build up numbers and energy to do the crossing. It can take days for the right conditions, often leaving visitors frustrated at the anticipated event that doesn’t materialise. Wildlife takes time, you have to be in it to see it and experience it – river crossings are no different! The longer you have the better your chances. (See our packages)

The good news is that the area around the Mara River (on both the Serengeti and Masai Mara sides), has plenty of resident plains game and a huge quantity of big cats. This gives you the opportunity for a classic safari to view general game that could include lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, cheetah, hyena, jackal and much much more.

River Crossing Tip 3:  Wait for the energy to build up

The higher the water level in the Mara River, the more difficult it is to cross. The jumps are intimidating and this means that the wildebeest and zebra need to build up enough energy before they leap into the crocodile infested waters. Give yourself a few days for the wildebeest numbers to build up on the river itself and do some great game viewing or bird watching while the herds gather. The potential for a crossing is greater if there are wildebeest on both sides of the river. You will immediately realise that there might be enough energy if you hear the wildebeest calls becoming louder and more frequent. The noise can be like a giant humming.

River Crossing Tip 4: Position yourself away from the river

Don’t sit too close to the river bank – this might block the herds without your knowledge. Any barrier or obstruction can prevent the wildebeest from crossing the river. Position yourself some distance away from the riverbank, preferably slightly obscured so that you can allow the wildebeest herds to move unobstructed to the water’s edge or choose their crossing point. This way you won’t interfere. Don’t worry if you don’t have a perfect view at this stage – keep your eyes peeled for the dust as the crossing starts and the noise intensity increases. Then and only then should you move closer. Once the crossing has started it will not stop because so much energy has been created. You will easily get within a few hundred meters from the crossing herds. Moving to the river too quickly can prevent a crossing and leave you with a few days more to wait.

River Crossing Tip 5:  Stay Observant

It is surprisingly easy to get stuck waiting for one herd of wildebeest to cross – especially if there are good herd numbers arriving at the river. Make sure you look up and downstream from your waiting position for other possible crossings that could be imminent. Stay observant and alert to all the build-ups on the river bank. Notice weather patterns and the behaviour of other animals. Leopards have been known to walk behind waiting safari vehicles with not a single client seeing the magical creature taking a stroll right behind them – all eyes focused on the river.

Hot Tip

During a river crossing, stop to soak up the atmosphere – it is an incredible experience. Don’t just stare through your view-finder taking pictures. Feel the energy before, during and after the crossing; let the sounds echo through you as the visual show unfolds. When you do take pictures, make sure you don’t over zoom, you need the wider angle to capture the magnitude of what is happening.

BONUS TIP:  Both Sides of the Mara River

Don’t let an international border stop you from seeing a river crossing. If you are really serious about seeing a river crossing then give yourself the best possible chance by going to both the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya. If you are travelling during July and August visit the Serengeti first followed by the Masai Mara.  During September and October, visit the Masai Mara first and finish your stay in Tanzania the Serengeti. This drastically increases your chances of seeing the wildebeest herds cross the river.

Map of the Mara River Basin. Source: www.frontiersin.org

How to book

  • Ask us.  We’d love to help you.  The earlier you enquire, the less chance to be disappointed, especially during peak periods when other services can also be fully booked.
  • We can assist with tours before or after your safari, additional 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, especially during Crossing season.
  • 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.

Check Live Availability

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