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

Follow us on your favourite Social Media platform for Migration Updates, Serengeti News and Amazing Sightings.

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October 2018 – Migration Updates

Migration Updates – what happened in September 2018?

Wildebeest Whisperer, Carel Verhoef, reports back on an eventful month of the great migration – with a lot of confusion as the wildebeest moved back and forth across the Mara River.

Towards the end of August there was significant rainfall (50 mm!) on the Serengeti side from the central Seronera and eastern Barafu Kopjes to Kogatende in the northern part of the Serengeti. Lots of rain on areas that had been burnt earlier in August. This caused the herds to start moving from north to south, and some concern that the herds would not move north to Kenya at all. Big herd numbers were gathered around the Sand River. The rain seemed to split the herds into a northern and southern group, with some large numbers in Kenya from earlier crossings and many wildebeest wandering south – making it as far as Mbuzi Mawe!

To cross of not to cross
This image by Brendan Allen sums up the season – to cross or not to cross? #Zebra

The Kenyans burnt a large area in the Masai Mara from Talek to Lookout Hill on 6 September. Not long after this there was another shift at the wildebeest headed north again arriving in Kenya and the Mara Triangle towards the end of September. There were some big crossings at the Sand River into the Mara Reserve with large numbers arriving in the Mara North Conservancies.

At the moment the herds are scattered with some as far north as the Mara Triangle and southern conservancies, some around Kogatende and as far south as Lobo on the Serengeti Side. Mara River crossings are happening on both the Kenyan and Tanzanian sides.

Migration Predictions

The big question is when the short rains will start as this will impact on the movement of the herds. If there is no rain, the herds should stay up north in both the Serengeti and Masai Mara as there is permanent water and some good springs. Great Migration Camps suggests this is the likely scenario for the next couple of weeks at least.

If the rain comes, the area of rainfall will help make the decision for the wildebeest herds. Rain further south means the herds could move towards Kleins Gate and Lobo sooner rather than later.

Of course all these micro-movements have us here at Great Migration Camps asking the question about where calving season will be? Potentially the herds may not move all the way south to the Ndutu and southern Serengeti plains… but have no fear, Great Migration Camps will still be there – wherever they may be! Calving season bookings are open.

Migration Update 28 August

Huge crossings of the Mara River on the Serengeti side from north to south. Update from Danny Akiyoo – guide at Asilia Africa. Watch the video here.

Migration Update 02 Sept

Lenny Koshal with news of wildebeest herds crossing the Sand River north to south update. Take a look at this crossing! 

Migration Update 04 Sept

Great crossing Serengeti side at Makutano north to south again. Update from Asilia Africa guide Elia Edward

Migration Update 18 Sept

Zebra Crossing! It’s not just the wildebeest who migrate or cross rivers – look at this huge Zebra crossing on the sand river near Sala’s Camp moving south to the Serengeti.

Migration Update 20 Sept

Frank Gabriel, from Lemala Camps and lodges, always sends fabulous updates like this huge herd crossing the Mara River on the Serengeti side – headed south! 

Migration Update 21 Sept

Ainslee Wilson from Alex Walker’s Serien reported a big wildebeest crossing at No 7 headed from north to south.

Migration Update 22 Sept

In mid-September there was still movement of the herds from north to south – crossing the Mara River on the Serengeti. Update from Asilia

Migration Update 25 Sept

Huge herds near Nomad in the Serengeti – 20 km south of the Mara River, doing some wildebeest stuff. 

Migration Update 28 Sept

Mashine (Joseph Swai) sent footage of a massive crossing on the Serengeti Side at No 4 headed north. Watch the video. 

Migration Update 30 Sept

Herds cross the Mara River at Lookout Hill from east to west in Kenya. Update from GMC-mobile and a great thunderous dusty crossing. 

Migration Update 7 Oct

Northern end of the migration in the Kenyan Conservancies – Mara North and Olare Motorogi. Crossings headed north across the Mara River – update from Baraka Willium

Migration Update 9 Oct

Governor’s Camp collection reporting from Mara Triangle, huge herds around Little Governor’s Camp. What happens next is anyone’s guess…. watch this space or follow us on Facebook for the latest updates about the movement of the wildebeest from the field. 

Calving Season

Where will the herds be when the wildebeest drop their calves en masse come February? Traditionally the herds gather on the Southern Serengeti Plains near Ndutu for calving season.  Will they be there at the start of 2019 or will the wildebeest keep us all guessing. One thing we know for certain, is that where ever the herds go, so will GMC Mobile!  Book now for calving season and be sure you are in the right place at the right time.

Game Package Rates $330 and Full board Rates $230 (excludes Park Fees and getting there).

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

Send us your #migrationupdates via Social Media

  

August 2018 – Migration Updates

Great Migration Camps checked in with Wildebeest Whisperer, Carel Verhoef, about an action packed month following the wildebeest in their cyclical quest for food and water.  Here are the latest updates and predictions for the Great Wildebeest Migration.  Great Migration Camps has also had Migration Updates from guides, camps and lodges out in the field.

Take a look at the incredible journey of survival as the great wildebeest migration meets the Mara River in 2018. Footage from this season – the build-up, the action, the crossings, the successes and the fatalities.

The Wildebeest Migration in August 2018

The first little crossings happened in early July but as we predicted August has again been the best month for river crossings on the Serengeti side. Big herds of wildebeest crossed the Western Corridor in late July and they congregated in large numbers near Makutano and Nyamalumbwa  Hills, as there was lots and lots of grazing.  Initially these herds started moving north – predominantly through the Eastern sector of the Serengeti, with numerous crossings at the Sand River.  There were also some good crossings between Makutano and Crossing Point No 7 at the end of July and early August.

However Nature, being what it is, decided to throw some good widespread rains (40-50mm) over the Central and Northern Serengeti in early August.  Within a week, short new grass was sprouting on the plains, rejuvenating huge areas that had been burnt by TANAPA authorities south of the Mara River, all along the Kichwa Tembo road and Ndasiato. These juicy grasses, lured the wildebeest southwards and the big herds moved onto the Lamai Wedge and then south to the plains beyond Kuria Hills.  Some fabulous south-bound crossings between Crossing Point No 4 and No 7.

Finally, in the past few days, there has been a bigger push north by the herds, to the Mara Reserve and Mara Triangle in Kenya.  At last there have been some sizeable crossings on the Kenyan side.

Must Watch Video! Crocodile takes wildebeest during 2018 Migration Crossing Season.

Migration Update: 3 August 2018

Huge rain on the Serengeti side and a shift of movement back to the south, will this drive the herds back to the Serengeti? Watch the video of the herds on the plains sent by Carel here 

Migration Update: 30 July 2018.

Crossings continue from south to north towards the Lamai Wedge and the Masai Mara. Yesssss! See the video from guide, Hamza Nyelo here

Migration Update: 7 August 2018

Huge crossing of 2 hours from north to south at Number 1 on the Serengeti Side. Wonderful day on the Mara River.  See the river crossing video from Carel here

Migration Update: 12 August 2018

Two hour crossing from north to south, new grass on the plains after extensive burning and recent rain driving the herds back south between the Kitchwa Tembo road and the Sand River, daily crossings.

Migration Update: 13 August 2018

Huge crossing at No 3 in front of Lemala Mara.  Video capture by Frank Gabriel here

Migration Update: 16 August 2018

This update from guide Onesmus Ole Irungu as huge herds arrive on the Masai Mara side – nice month ahead on the Mara triangle or reserve sides. See the pictures here

Migration Update: 18 August 2018

Baraka Willium from Lemala reports daily crossings and the herds on the move again back to the north. Watch the video here

Migration Update: 18 August 2018

The wildebeest keep coming on the Serengeti side. Update from Alex Walker Serian’s Serengeti North camp. See rivercrossing video here

Migration Update: 19 August 2018

Big crossings video on the Kenyan side, from guide Sammy Kaleku as the wildebeest move from East to West across the Mara River in Kenya. See video here

Migration Predictions

Good crossings are expected on the Kenyan side of the eco-system throughout September. It will be interesting to see how far north the herds venture this year, with a year of unpredictable weather and patterns.  The Serengeti side should continue with some river crossings as the wildebeest continue to move northwards.

Great Migration Camps Availability

Great Migrations Camps will be moving to Kenya – on the Mara Triangle side of the Masai Mara Reserve.
Limited spaces still available at special campsite Kiboko in the southern Mara Triangle until 20th Sept. Or join us when we move just south of Little Governors camps from 20th to the end of September.

Game Package Rates $330 and Full board Rates $230 (excludes Park Fees and getting there).
Contact us for last minute specials or resident rates.

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

Send us your #migrationupdates via Social Media

  

July 2018 – Migration Updates

Crossing season at the Mara River is starting, according to our sightings. Great Migration Camps has also had Migration Updates from guides, camps and lodges out in the field.

The Wildebeest Migration in July 2018

The first half of 2018 brought a massive amount of rain to East Africa, resulting in an abundance of food and water in the Serengeti. This in turn caused a slower than usual movement of the wildebeest herds migrating north to the Mara River. Most of the herds have been congregating in the Western Corridor near Grumeti, but the Eastern Herds have been moving north slowly. The first crossings have been witnessed, now is the time to be at the Mara River, Serengeti side.

Migration Update:  9 July 2018

Great Migration Camps was at the Mara River for the first small crossing. A small herd headed north to south! Take a look…

Migration Update: 14 July 2018

Mara Bush Camps sent a migration update from the Masai Mara side – reporting a crossing on the Sand River. Look at the video here

Migration Update: 15 July 2018

There were some huge herds cross the Kichwa Tembo road just south of the Mara River, Serengeti side.  The small herds are starting to congregate together and migrating north with some energy.

Later that day, Lemala guide Baraka Willium, recorded the first major crossing of the season on the Mara River in his migration update on 15 July 2018 , wildebeest headed south to north. Take a look at the video here.

More Migration Action is on the way

The end of July is hotting up as the Migration Updates start coming in.  We’ll keep you posted with the latest news and sightings and recommend trying to get yourself to see the most incredible natural show on earth.

August looks set for a bumper season, with lots of predator action to follow the herds.  Watch this amazing scene as a male lion defends his kill earlier this month. More of this on the way.

Great Migration Camps Availability

Join Great Migration Camps mobile at the Mara River, Serengeti side in August 2018.
Game Package Rates $330 and Full board Rates $230 (excludes Park Fees and getting there)

In September 2018, Great Migration Camps will follow the wildebeest to the Masai Mara in Kenya.
Game Package Rates $330 and Full board Rates $230 (excludes Park Fees and getting there)

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

Send us your #migrationupdates via Social Media