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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Coronavirus Safari Blog 01

Great Migration Camps response to Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

Coronavirus. There’s so much attention on one word.  On March 11, the head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, declared the spread of COVID-19 a pandemic. And also stated “…we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.”

Stay Home. Travel Later. Coronavirus

The evidence is overwhelming right now. Except for essential travel and returning home, travel should be on hold for a while. On the ground, physical distancing and staying at home as much as possible is encouraged and, in some countries, is mandatory.

We urge our clients and their families and communities to adhere to WHO recommendations for coronavirus public health guidelines. We appeal to you to follow recommendations and rules imposed by your country during this time of uncertainty and to stay at home now – you can travel later.

Isolation. Coronavirus. Lion cub. Serengeti
Lion Cub, Serengeti. Coronavirus. Isolation. Stay Home. Travel Later. Image: Carel Verhoef, Great Migration Camps   

Great Migration Camps Coronavirus (Temporary) Closure

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. For now, we are accepting new reservations, conservatively for travel dates from mid-June. Realistically this may be later, pending the progression and spread of Covid-19.  Travel bans and Government restrictions will determine when safaris will open up again safely.  Great Migration Camps refuses to take any risks, however when travel is safe, we will be ready to welcome you to take you on safari to the Serengeti. We are planning safe safaris with limited contact points, 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.

2021 Safari Price Freeze due to Coronavirus

All Great Migration Camps mobile camp rates stay the same for safari’s in 2021 – a Coronavirus Price Freeze. * 3rd party services, such as hotel reservations, or park fees may be subject to price variation, beyond our control.

Flexible Safari Terms and Conditions due to Coronavirus

All existing reservations are secure and all our terms and conditions are completely flexible – from payment terms, to postponements or cancellations. We are already in communication with every client who is booked and confirmed and would like to thank all of you to an unwavering commitment to travel as soon as it is responsible to do so.

When travel restrictions are lifted or it becomes safe to travel – clients can reschedule at any date (subject to availability only), provided you are cleared and your travel plans are responsible.  Ideally, we will need confirmation and payment 5 working days prior to arrival.  If you would like to stay home and want your deposit back – no problem.

Time for Reflection

Our thoughts are with everyone affected by coronavirus in whatever way, we encourage you to stay healthy, take care of those in need and please be responsible. Thank you to medical personnel across the globe, and those providing essential services.  During this period, many of us are restricted in our movements and have unexpected time on our hands – feel free to chat to us, plan with us, watch wildlife footage and keep your safari dream alive for when some semblance of normality returns to Planet Earth.  Perhaps now, we are being forced to reflect and start making changes for the better – personally and professionally, locally and globally and consider our actions on Planet Earth.

#Stay Home #Travel Later.

GMC Guest Reviews & Testimonials

Tourism is about experiences, but sometimes the gap between expectations and experiences can be vastly different.  Tourism is a mixture of subjective elements and objective requirements  – food, lodging and travel services.  At Great Migration Camps we try to manage our guests’ expectations and try and live up to this quote: “Your smile is your logo. Your personality is your business card. And how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.” ~Unknown.  

Read on to hear from some of our previous guests about their experiences and we’ll leave the jury out for judgement on our trademark. 

Guest Testimonials

 

“What an incredible experience. Highly highly recommend this camp. Great for kids of all ages too. Lovely food, lovely facilities, top quality guides and drivers. And most importantly the most amazing game drives I’ve ever been on in my 30 plus years on this African continent.”
– Robyn Lee, March 2019
Zimbabwe/USA 

“Rick, Robyn, Lincoln and I all had the most wonderful safari with you!!  Superlatives are few and far between to describe it, you treated us so amazingly and looked after us to such an incredible degree. Lincoln cannot stop asking for “Miss Sally” and Elvis and his “Happy Fri-yay” can be heard often!! We wish you and Carel every success with your endeavours and please say a big thank you again to Elvis, Zebediah and Herman – they were wonderful!! “
-Margaret and Rick Kriel, March 2019 USA 

“Thank you for a remarkable 2 days in the Bush at Kogatende. We had a spectacular time. What a wonderful experience. The game drives were truly spectacular (on the last day, we had a remarkable leopard sighting, cheetah, and a lion!!). But for us, it was the care that Carel and Sally took during our time there that truly stood out. I don’t think any of us will forget the 12 hour true Bush experience we had with Carel. And of course just being able to sit out in the camp around a bonfire, see the stars, and see the sunrise in the morning were truly special moments. You have a terrific camp and created a truly spectacular experience. Many thanks again.” – Vik Malhotra, July 2019 NY, NY, USA 

GMC Guest reviews - Mary Malhotra“Greetings from the wild and crazy east end of Long Island NY. I’ve been home for 5 days but our time with you, is still shining bright. Thank you for an experience of a lifetime (especially for this city girl!). Our time with all of you was a wonderful end to a great two weeks in Rwanda and Tanzania. Despite my initial trepidation about being out in the bush, your welcome and care quickly put me at ease. Our quiet morning time over a cup of tea watching the sunrise, incredible game drives, fabulous coffee (and tea!) stops, lunch watching ostriches courting each other, cocktails around the fire & delicious dinners, all in the bush, left me awestruck. Thank you!” -Mary Malhotra, July 2019 NY, USA 

“Asanteni Sana GMC team for a fabulous week in the bush! Holidays are never long enough but this really was a time to have had extended the trip! The distances to cover may not be huge when seeking out the dawdling plains game – not that it was their fault but the combined abundance of food and water. One forgets that in the bush everything and everyone moves at a different pace… getting up (ha ha!), navigating the road conditions, seeking the illusive spots, stripes and socks or simply getting mesmerised by the smallest to the largest inhabitants of the Serengeti. It takes time and patience with a bagful of humour…you and your staff have it all!” – Pippa Wordie, July 2018 UK

“From someone inside the tourism industry, I was impressed with GMC from the start: they open the Serengti to those who can’t afford the luxuary or fly-in options, their pre-travel documentation and information was detailed and hugely helpful, their camp is so comfortable but lean on excess which makes it mobile, flexible and affordable. Most importantly, they get you into the wild and outside of set lodges and campsites. Their passion for this product drives them and is reflected in their wonderful team of driver-fieldguides (Norton and Armani, take a bow), effective & accomplished camp manager, Zebediah, and ever-eager camp chef.” – Keira Powers, July 2017 South Africa 

“What comes through GMC’s entire operation is a dedication to the wilderness. From their low-impact camp, to their knowledge and partnerships in the region, to their field-guiding, campfire insider-anecdotes and, most of all, their attitude and approach at the Mara River. It was heart-breaking mayhem there amongst the other “jeep jockeys”, but GMC kept their cool and stuck to their principles in respecting the Wildebeest lines and river crossing habits.”
– Gavin Reynolds, July 2017 Cape Town, South Africa

“We spent a memorable 10 days with GMC. Their camp set up was excellent, we slept comfortably, the meals were good and their staffs’ knowledge and experience of the Serengeti was superb, resulting in perfect days and wonderful sightings. Carel and Sally were great hosts.”
– Gail Powers, July 2017 Sedgefield, South Africa 

 

“I am a lifelong camper and explorer and GMC was able to build a mobile camp operation that made me smile. Carel’s years of experience camping there has informed the design of his custom- and self-built safari trailer that is your home-on-4×4-wheels. Carel is your Serengeti version of Crocodile Dundee – you can’t be in better hands in the bush!”
Dudley Powers, July 2017 Sedgefield, South Africa

 

“Finally home with Serengeti memories to last us a lifetime. I really want too congratulate you both for organising a trip which showed off your beloved Serengeti to its most ultimate best. You were the perfect hosts, the meals nutritious and delicious, the camping sites superb, magical days filled to capacity with the most amazing sitings and delightful company, which altogether far exceeded all our expectations. So thank you, thank you for all the long and busy hours you put in to make it so wonderfully successful and may your migration trips go from strength to strength, they only will as you offer the truly real experience.  Thank you again” – Cindie Maxwell, July 2017 Elgin, South Africa

Blogger Reviews

Sally and Pete Shaw travelled overland though Africa from Cape Town and detoured from their self-drive adventures to join Great Migration Camps in the Serengeti in August 2018. Sally wrote a delightful blog of all their experiences – here’s what she documented about their Serengeti Excursion. READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE

 

 

The Shaws persuaded fellow overlanders, to join GMC for the Serengeti part of their trip. Thank you Richard and Susan Gie – August 2018 who arrived in “Klippie” – their own fully kitted vehicle, to experience the Serengeti and great migration with GMC.  READ THEIR STORY

 


Client Videos

Thank you Mike Sowerby, Australia (with a little help from your son) for this amazing video created from your extended Serengeti Safari right the way through the park in March 2017 

Migration Updates – July 2019

Migration Updates – Where are the Wildebeest Herds?

The great migration has been erratic in 2019, with late rains extending into June 2019.  There was significant moisture in the air, especially in the North around the Mara River, causing some early movement northwards of the wildebeest herds.  Patchy rainfall continued throughout June in the Mara region and Ngorongoro district also received out of season rainfall.

Crossing season for the wildebeest, is triggered by the dry season which can run anytime between June and October.   The scattered moisture seemed to confuse the wildebeest herds, who decided to take it easy towards the end of June and early July – hanging out and grazing peaceful, with large numbers north of Lobo, with the exception of some of the eastern Herds, who arrived early at the Sand River and crossed into the Mara Reserve first.

From mid-July, the wildebeest action has leapt into full gear, with almost daily crossings at the Mara River and movement of the herds up and down the banks of the river, forwards and backwards!  Don’t let this apparent confusion, distract you – the wildebeest have a natural instinct to sense rainfall and a survival ability relying on their strength in numbers.

Migration Updates – July 2019

GMC Migration Update – 13 June 2019

Herds moving north!!! This was filmed just south of Lobo, north-eastern Serengeti!! Thanks for the update Gabriele Brown from Urth Expedition #Migration

Migration Update – 14 June 2019

Update from andBeyond Travel herds crossing from Triangle to Reserve side. Big herds at Lobo and Klein’s Camp and big herds around the Grumeti side too at Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp Looks like you are covered #Migration #GreatMigration #RiverCrossings2019

Migration Update – 28 June 2019

BREAKING NEWS – Herds turn south from Lobo towards the south west with rain from Bologanja, Lobo and the western corridor #GreatMigration #RiverCrossings2019 #Wildebeest

Migration Update – 07 July 2019

Huge herds gather at Bologonja in the north-eastern Serengeti with lots of rain around Lobo and Kichwa Tembo road…. happy guiding and crossings looking good for end July and August. #Migration #Wildebeest #RiverCrossings2019

Migration Update – 08 July 2019

Nice sighting on the Sand River side at Sand River Masai Mara Camp WOW!! Herds heading north and west!!!

Migration Update – 11 July 2019

Mara River crossing at No 8 this morning, south to north, update from Miraji Gwau from Lemala Camps & Lodges – River crossings have started!! – #GreatMigration #Wildebeest #RiverCrossings2019

Migration Update – 13 July 2019

Update from @Kevin Mlay Naturalist – Mara River crossing from south to north at Makutano #GreatMigration#Wildebeest #MaraRiverCrossings2019

Migration Update – 15 July 2019

Huge herds at Kogatende, northern Serengeti, crossing at No 8 back from the north to the south, Update by superb Lemala Camps & Lodges guide Miraji Gwau, get to the Mara River NOW!! #GreatMigration #MaraRiverCrossings2019 #Wildebeest #SerengetiMigration

Migration Update – 15 July 2019

How is this for a crossing???? WOW update by Asilia Africa guide Emmanuel Qamara #Migration #GreatMigration #Wildebeest #WildebeestMigration #MaraRiverCrossings2019

This post got so much attention, it was featured in USA today!

Migration Update – 18 July 2019

From Adam Bannister Wildlife on the Masai Mara side – “Lots of small crossings yesterday at Lookout Hill. Huge gatherings under Lookout hill on the Mara Reserve side of the river a few kilometres north of Mara Purungat bridge” Thanks Adam! #GreatMigration#WildebeestMigration #MaraRiverCrossings

Image may contain: outdoor Image may contain: outdoor and water Image may contain: outdoor, nature and water

Migration Update – 20 July 2019

Predator follows prey – the drama at the Mara is real! Did you spot the Lioness? Thanks Emmanuel Qamara, guide at Asilia Africa for another action packed river crossing update – wildebeest herds headed north.#MaraRiverCrossings2019 #Migration #Wildebeest #greatmigration #WildebeestMigration

Migration Update: 26 July 2019.

The action started at 6h45am at crossing point No 4. @Miraji Gwau from Lemala Camps & Lodges picked up this huge crossing as the sun rose over the Mara River yesterday morning.#migrationupdates #greatmigration #Wildebeest #mararivercrossings2019

GMC Mobile Location

GMC Mobile camp is currently in the Northern Serengeti, close to the Mara River and almost daily river crossings. Predictions suggest that August will have countless crossings. Great Migration Camps mobile still has some availaiblity for August 2019 – contact us now to experience the greatest natural show on earth and join us on our journey following the great wildebeest migration 2019…. We follow the herds guaranteeing migration sightings all year round.  Make sure you are in the right place at the right time.  That time is right now!

How to book

PLEASE enquire early to avoid disappointment particularly during peak periods as additional services are also busy and booked. GMC books ALL accommodation in the path of the Great Wildebeest Migration and can arrange flights or transport in and out of the National Park.  We recommend 5- 10 days for your migration safari with pre or post-safari tours extensions.
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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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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February 2019 – Migration Updates

Migration Updates – Where are the Wildebeest Herds?

Feb 2019 Migration Updates: The herds moved to lakes Ndutu and Masek early this year with some good numbers around both lakes, as well as the small and big marsh areas.  Good numbers of wildebeest were reported around the smaller hidden valley lakes and ponds throughout January 2019.
The short rains delivered some really good early rains across the Serengeti plains. The fresh new good grass following the rains, ignited the calving season and little wildebeest calves have been born throughout the ecosystem.  The traditional special camp sites around campsite valley, Ndutu, Ndutu Safari Lodge, Alex Walker’s Serengeti South Camp and Nomad’s Serengeti Migration Camp have all reported wonderful sightings of predator interaction and new wildebeest arrivals.

Migration Predictions for March/April 2019

We believe the short rains have stopped and this means the plains will dry out fairly quickly and the wildebeest herds would shift towards more permanent water sources.  The western herds would move to Maswa and Kakessio so Alex Walker’s camps and Kusini based camps would be in a good position. There might be a shift towards the eastern boundary of the Serengeti National Park this year in the region towards Gol kopjes and Nasera rock or Piyaya area.

GMC Mobile Location

GMC Mobile camp anticipates exploring the eastern plains and follow the eastern herds on their journey towards Namiri plains and Turner spring as the wildebeest head towards the Kenyan border and the start of their annual migration.  The GMC team will document dates and routes of the eastern herds this year. Traditionally these herds arrive at the Sand River first and cross into the Mara reserve first every year.  Join us on our journey following the great wildebeest migration 2019….

Calving Season

GMC mobile has a few spaces still available this March during calving season.  Please contact us for reservations and enquiries.  We follow the herds guaranteeing migration sightings all year round.  Make sure you are in the right place at the right time.  Game Package Rates $330 and Full board Rates $230 (excl Park Fees and getting there).

Contact: +255 686 493 065 |  Email: info@greatmigrationcamps.com

Migration Updates – February 2019

GMC Migration Update – 28 December 2018 Aerial view of Wildebeest Herds Ndutu.

Thanks Serengeti Balloon Safaris for the update. Ndutu is full of wildebeest!
“Today we flew for just over an hour and were in sight of the herds throughout, not to mention the accompanying zebra, as well as 2 serval cats, lions on a kill, eland, thomson’s and grants gazelle, ostrich, and jackals. Well done Capt Masudi and the rest of the team, a top day!” See post here

GMC Migration Update – 28 December 2018

Herds arrive at Lake Ndutu – update from Serengeti Nomad.  Migration in ndutu following rain storm 3 days ago! Herds are in open plains at shamba la maharge moving towards naibatat hill and albida plains ! Some are moving along the lake masek into woodland! Big time for cats as they are every where. See post

Serengeti Nomad - Calving 19'. Lake Ndutu (1)

GMC Migration Update – 4 January 2019

Is this the first new-born wildebeest of the 2019 calving season? Probably not but certainly the first picture of one thanks to Serengeti Nomad . See post

GMC Migration Update – 15 January 2019 

Update from Serengeti Balloon Safaris– herds gather on the southern plains from Naabi to hidden valley and across into NCCA. “A magnificent day to take a balloon flight over the Southern Serengeti with Serengeti Balloon Safaris, with light winds and partially cloudy skies both balloons calmly lifted off from our Ngorongoro Conservation Area site and floated west over the plains towards Lake Ndutu. What a spectacular view to see the great migration that seemed to have increased by the tens of thousands today! They have littered the short grass plains of the Southern Serengeti from Naabi Hill to Hidden Valley throughout the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and as far as the eye could see. Though the plains were dominated by The Great Migration some of the other wildlife we experienced included Jackals, Secretary birds, Vultures, Ostrich, Hyenas, thousands of Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelle and many Giraffes.” 

GMC Migration Update – 17 January 2019

And we have a zebra crossing on the Masai Mara side… The rest of the wildebeest are around the central to Southern Serengeti.. Update by Angama Mara thank you!

GMC Migration Update  – 19 January 2019

Lake Ndutu crossings and herds between Naabi hill and Ndutu, marshes and the southern plains.. Thanks for the update Serengeti Nomad .  “Migration is in ndutu , today we were lucky to watch migration crossing lake ndutu towards the woodland goinginto the open plains on the north east side of ndutu area like going to golini and gol mountains @nonadtanzania #migrationupdate #herdsonmove”  See post

GMC Migration Update  – 22 January 2019Newborn Wildebeest Ndutu

Baby time at Ndutu.
Thanks to Chem Chem Safari Lodges – Tanzania Africa
Just love calving season on the Southern Serengeti Plains! And it’s not just the wildebeest.  Scroll down for some other amazing wildlife sightings this month! Seeing is believing.

GMC Migration Update  – 24 January 2019

Am I a wildebeest?? Where are we going?? Can I come with you to Kenya…. Please?
Lowis & LeakeyThe wildebeest seemed as shocked as Ninian was to find a hippopotamus way out on the short grass plains near Barafu. #lowisandleakey #hippopotamus #migration #namiri #tanzania

GMC Migration Update – 29 January 2019

Calving season has started at Ndutu and the greater NCA and Southern Serengeti plains. Yehhh a new generation of migratory wildebeest on their way. Thanks for the update Serengeti Nomad . #GreatMigration #TheGreatMigration
#SerengetiShallNeverDie  #GMCMobileCamp  

Serengeti Nomad - Calving Season 2019  

GMC Migration Update – 29 January 2019

Too cute from Serengeti Nomad calving season underway… Early at Ndutu this year, might there be a shift to Maswa or Piyaya this year?

Other Amazing Sightings Reported from the Serengeti…

Kleins-Camp - Wild-Dog18 Jan '19 Spectacular sighting of Wild Dogs on Klein's Concession by @michaelnalleyphotography
18.01.19 Wild-Dog Klein’s Concession @michaelnalleyphotography

Ndutu-Safari-Lodge-caracal-Feb2019Nice caracal from Ndutu Safari Lodge An incredibly beautiful and rare sighting of a Caracal Cat the other evening.
01.02.2019 Caracal Ngorongoro Conservation Area @NdutuSafariLodge

Ndutu-Safari-Lodge-10-Feb
10.02.19 Beautiful Storm Clouds & Rain Southern Serengeti Plains @NdutuSafariLodge

The King is Crossing - Lake Ndutu - 26 Jan 2019 Jens Cullmann Photography
26.01.19 Lion. Jens Cullmann Photography

25 Jan 2019 - All is well with the Marsh Pride, as you can see from these photos, the cubs of Kabibi and Rembo are becoming real little characters - playing with each other and their mothers - and even learning to climb - starting with an easy tree stump! We shall be posting some more photos over the next few days. All photos kindly sent in by Moses Manduku.
25.01.19 Marsh Pride is well Masai Mara, Kenya Photo: Moses Manduku

08.02.19 Ndutu Sunrise
@NdutuSafariLodge

 

How to book

PLEASE enquire early to avoid disappointment particularly during peak periods- additional services are also busy and booked. 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. Join us now for Calving Season; in June for Rutting season or between July and October for 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.

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