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 02

Coronavirus-free Safaris – Coming soon

The coronavirus pandemic has forced approximately one third of the global population into quarantine. Millions more are following recommendations to stay at home to contain the spread of Covid-19. Staying home is the right thing to do.  Coronavirus is spread from person to person, often unknowingly as the carrier can be without symptoms.  By limiting the number of people, you are in contact with, the risk of infecting or passing on the disease to someone else is reduced.

Travel Restrictions will lift after Coronavirus

Coronavirus has been a safari stopper. Government restrictions, travel bans and grounded planes will lift, and travel will resume – slowly at first and tentatively.  After being stuck indoors for weeks or months, the desire for endless open skies, the smell of the bush, open savanna, incredible wildlife and few crowds is a lure only in the imaginations of adventurers at the moment. When it is safe to do so, we welcome those who are able to join us on a coronavirus-free safari.

8 Day 7 Night Coronavirus-Free Private Safari

To all the lovers of open space and the African bush, we have created a coronavirus free safari – taking responsible healthy travellers to ridiculously remote safari destinations for a week of wildlife. Our coronavirus free safari avoids hotels, public transport and other travelers. It’s a private safari with no other guests – interacting with only 3 people.

Corona-free Virus Safari: Reduced contact, reduced risk

Exclusive use of a private villa, a private charter plane to get you to the Serengeti and back and a private mobile safari camp – exclusively for your own use.

Your 3 human interactions:

  • Private chauffeur for all airport transfers in Arusha
  • Private pilot on your charter flight
  • Private safari guide in the Serengeti National Park.
  • * There will be a small support crew of 2 or 3 at the bush camp – out of contact with clients.

Group Size for a Coronavirus-free Safari

  • Best for small groups of 6 – families, close friends, people known to you.
  • Maximum 10 clients.
  • Please inquire for smaller groups.

Coronavirus-free Safari and the Great Migration

GMC mobile camp follows the wildebeest herds, guaranteeing migration experiences.  As travel opens up, the national parks are unlikely to be crowded, so with fewer visitors and vehicles, the migration should be spectacular. If travel opens up in time for crossing season, Carel Verhoef predicts some crossings could be many hours in duration. Resident game in any area is likely to thrive with a reduction in tourists during April – May and very likely June and beyond, so plenty of uncrowded sightings.  We have no idea when travel will start again, but the herds are moving and we will be with them.

Coronavirus-free Safari Itinerary

Exclusive use of private villa, private safari camp & charter flight

DAY BY DAY ITINERARY

DAY TRAVEL EXPERIENCE ACCOMM AREA MEALS
1 Private transfer to exclusive villa Private villa Kili Villa Arusha FB
2 Charter flight to Serengeti Private Serengeti flight GMC_mobile Serengeti FB
3 Full day Migration Safari with private guide Migration Quest GMC_mobile Serengeti FB
4 Full day or 2 x Half Day game drives Serengeti National Park GMC_mobile Serengeti FB
5 Safari game drives – migration Migration 101 GMC_mobile Serengeti FB
6 Game Drives – Full or Half Day x 2 Big cats GMC_mobile Serengeti FB
7 Charter Flight & Private transfer to KiliVilla Private Serengeti Flight Kili Villa Arusha FB
8 Private transfer from KiliVilla to JRO Private driver Tour ends

Tour Summary – Coronavirus-free Safari 

Country:            Tanzania, East Africa

Tour Start:        Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) – Arusha, Tanzania

Tour End:         Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO)

Highlights:        Exclusive use of private safari camp in remote area of the Serengeti

Private villa accommodation in Arusha at the beginning and end of the safari
Return Private Charter Flights to Serengeti

Accommodation:

  • Private Villa: Kili Villa, Kilimanjaro Golf Estate, Arusha (2 nights)
  • Canvas Tents: Great Migration Camps Mobile, Two-man Canvas Dome Tent, Serengeti National Park (5 Nights)

Meals              3 Meals per day – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Drinks            Unlimited tea & coffee, drinking water. Excludes alcoholic beverages

Transport      Game Drives in Toyota 4×4 Land cruiser

Private Vehicle transfers to Kili Villa

Return flights    Auric Air Services Private Charter from Dolly Airstrip – Serengeti National Park

Term’s and Condition’s

  • Flexible confirmation,  confirm when you are ready to travel
  • Flexible Payment terms
  • Free cancellation and refunds
  • Subject to availability

Rates                $3950 per person all inclusive (based on 6 – 10 people)

Excludes

  • International Flights, Visas, Travel Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature, drinks, gratuities

Child Policy:      Children welcome

  • 0-5 years must sleep in a tent with adult guardian.
  • 6-16 years may share with other children. Max 3 kids/tent
  • Children <16 years accompanied by an adult.

Coronavirus-free Safari Planning

If you are in Covid-19 lock-down, with time on your hands, please feel free to contact us to plan your coronavirus-free safari.  Contact us via email:  info@greatmigrationcamps.com

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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Migration Safari – Drive or Fly to the National Park?

Planning your Migration Safari

You’ve decided to go on a migration safari but should you drive or fly to your accommodation within the park? We are often asked whether driving or flying is the best option to get to the National Park? The answer to your transport questions (Drive or Fly?) is variable depending on a few factors.

Your Migration Safari Priorities

When planning your safari you will need to decide on your main interest to determine priorities such as how long you will stay in the park itself and to determine your budget. These criteria affect your choice of accommodation, and the means of transport to get there. Other factors that affect your decision whether to drive or fly to your accommodation to see the great migration include the number of guests travelling on safari and the places you would like to visit before, after or in conjunction with your safari.

Migration Safaris – Distances

The Serengeti National Park alone is a vast area of 14, 750 sq km (5,700 sq Miles) – roughly the size of Connecticut State in the USA or Northern Ireland (14,148 sq km/5463 sq mi).

The Greater Eco-system is an even larger unfenced area which includes the Masai Mara and surrounding Ngorongoro Conservation Area as well as Maswa, Grumeti & Ikorongo Game Reserves and Loliondo Game Controlled Area. At 30,000 sq km (12,000 sq Miles) it’s almost the same size as Belgium (30,528 sq km)

Seronera in the Central Serengeti is 320km west of Arusha and will take at least 6 hours of straight driving. Flight time from Arusha – Seronera is approximately 1 hour (direct with no stops en route).  Time and distance are significant factors in the decision whether to drive or fly for your migration safari.

Map of the Greater Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem.

Driving to the Migration

Driving to your migration safari will take longer than you think! The condition of the road varies but in general you will be travelling on a rough and bumpy gravel road where 100km can take 3 hours. Also bear in mind that you will be spending a lot of time in the vehicle whilst on game drives. It is highly likely that you will need to stay overnight en route to the park to break the journey or visit an attraction along the way.

Travelling by road is a good idea if

  • You have a lot of time for your safari (Minimum 4 nights inside the park)
  • You like to see the country-side & interact with locals when stopping for toilet, food, fuel and a leg stretch.
  • You are a small group or medium group: 4- 6 people travel in one safari vehicle.
    This makes the road alternative slightly cheaper when split by many so good for those on a budget.
  • You are afraid of travelling in a light aircraft.
  • You will have the same driver-guide from town to the National Park and for all your game drives.
  • You are visiting the southern or central sections of the park.
Drive In Safari Photo: BrendanAllenSoundcloud

Flying to the Migration

Flying to your migration safari is in a light aircraft and gives you an aerial view of the country. The flight is an experience in itself and flight duration is seldom more than 2 hours (flight duration varies depending on stops en route) so a quicker more comfortable option than driving into the National Park. When flying in, you will use resident camp guides and vehicle who are familiar with the local area on game package.

Flying is a good option if

  • You have limited time, with only a couple of nights on safari.
  • You enjoy comfort.
  • Your primary interest is wildlife rather than sightseeing.
  • You are a small group of 1 – 3 people OR a large group of 12 or more.
  • You don’t like backtracking – driving in and out is usually on the same road.
  • You are heading to the northern Serengeti – Kogatende and Mara River and hoping for a river crossing.
Fly In Safari Photo: BrendanAllenSoundcloud

Combination – Drive and Fly to the Migration

This option combines driving in and flying out or vice versa. Great Migration Camps recommends ending with a scenic flight rather than a bumpy drive out.

Drive-Fly combo is best for

  • Those with sufficient time – 2 days to drive in and at least 3 or more days on safari.
  • Those who would like to combine a destination en route to the park – options include Tarangire NP, Lake Manyara NP, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Natron(& Ol Doinyo Lengai)
  • Northern Serengeti Safaris – the northern sector is far away! A minimum of one night required to drive in – although we suggest two to enjoy the journey.
  • Combines sight-seeing with quality time on safari.
  • Those wanting to enjoy an adventure on the route into the National Park, but who like having the security and confidence of a departure flight to town to connect with an international departure flight.

At Great Migration Camps mobile we love all the options for different reasons.  The choice whether to drive or fly to your migration safari is really about your time, your group size, your budget and your safari/wildlife preferences. As in life there are pros and cons to all three options.

Calving Season 2019

Calving Season is in full swing, and the wildebeest seem to be hanging around the southern plains whilst the little ones get stronger for the long journey northwards as the migration cycle starts again.

GMC mobile has Limited availability March 2019.  Book now to confirm your seat for calving season and the great migration wildlife show. 2019 Calving Season inclusive packages below. Enquiries:  info@greatmigrationcamps.com

5D_4N Migration Revealed Calving Season Safari 7D_6N Born to Run Calving Season Migration Safari 8D_7N Migration Calving Season Migration Safari

Crossing Season 2019

Crossing season is filling up fast. One of the most dramatic seasons in the year long migratory cycle.  The Wildebeest make their way northwards to cross the Mara River in Tanzania and Kenya. This can be a waiting game that tests the patience of many a nature-lover. GMC recommends booking as many days as you have available to give yourself the best chance of seeing a river crossing.

6D_5N MIGRATION CHASER - crossing season migration safari  8D_7N MIGRATION UNPLUGGED - crossing season migration safari 9D_8N Great Great Migration - crossing season migration safari

How to book

PLEASE enquire early to avoid disappointment particularly during peak periods as other services can also be busy. We can assist with pre or post safari tours and accommodation in town as well as flights or transport in and out of the National Park.  We recommend 5- 10 days for your migration safari.

  • Calving season (Feb- March) -Ndutu area
  • Rutting season (June) – Grumeti area
  • Crossing season (July– Oct) – Kogatende/Mara River area

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

Festive Season Wishes from GMC

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

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

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

Thank you to the GMC Dream Team

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

Mashine and Norton - GMC Guides

Mashine Joseph Swai – GMC Head Guide

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

Zebadia - GMC camp manager

Zebadia Mmbando – GMC Camp Manager

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

Herman - GMC camp chef

Herman Shikamoo – GMC Camp Chef

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

Sally - GMC owner and administration

Sally Grierson – GMC Owner & Administration

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

Carel - GMC owner and operations

Carel Verhoef – GMC Owner and Operations

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

GMC Dream Team

Other Thanks

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

2018 Highlights

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

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

How to book

PLEASE enquire early to avoid disappointment particularly during peak periods. We still have availability but don’t delay, as other services are also busy.  We can assist with pre or post safari tours and accommodation in town as well as flights or transport in and out of the National Park.  We recommend 5- 10 days for your migration safari.

  • Calving season (Feb- March)
  • Rutting season (June)
  • Crossing season (July– Oct)

Email your inquiry to info@greatmigrationcamps.com

Kindly provide your name, country, number of people travelling and preferred dates and duration.
Children of all ages are welcome.

Enquire Now

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Black Friday – 25% off 7N Calving Season Migration Safari

You’ve seen the videos, images and heard the incredible first-hand stories of encounters of wildlife in the bush. Although all this digital content at the touch of a fingertip is fantastic, none of it comes close to actually being there yourself; and its easier than you might think – especially with this BLACK FRIDAY 2018 DEALS.

Calving season is when almost 2 million wildebeest gather to synchonrize birthing. Approximately half a million wildebeest are born within a 2-3 week period. With so many wildebeest, their goal is protection by numbers… but try convincing the hungry lions and cheetahs that have been waiting all year for their annual buffet. It’s time for predator and prey.  Calving Season 2019 coming soon to the Serengeti… will you join us?

Black Friday Calving Season Safari Deal: 25% off

What: 7 Night Migration Calving Season Safari
Must book between: 23 – 30 November 2018
Travel Dates: 25 January – 25 March 2019

25 Jan – 25 Mar 2019 Adult (16+) Child 0-5 Child 5 – 12 Child 12 – 16
25% BLACK FRIDAY DEAL $3,000 Free (Flights: $440) $1,500 $2,250
Normal Rate  $4,000 Free (Flights: $440) $2,000 $3,000

Includes:  Return Domestic Flights: Arusha (ARK) – Serengeti; 7Nights GMC Mobile Game Package – tented accommodation, shared ablutions; Meals: Three meals daily, teas & coffees, drinking water; Unlimited Game Drives with English speaking professional driver/guide; All Park and Concession Fees, All Taxes/VAT; Emergency Evacuation Cover (Flying Doctor)

Excludes:  International Flights, Visas & Travel insurance, Accommodation before or after your safari, Alcoholic beverages & sodas (cash bar), Gratuities, Any meals not stipulated, All items of a personal nature (toiletries, souvenirs etc), Additional Safari Activities, Tours or Accommodation. Government taxes and/or park fees are subject to change

Child Policy: CHILDREN ARE WELCOME
Under 16 of years of age, children to be accompanied by an adult. We recommend children should be able to sleep through the night. 0 – 5 years must sleep in adult tent. 6 -16 years may share with other children (up to 3 per tent)

How to book: Email your inquiry to info@greatmigrationcamps.com
Use the title: BLACK FRIDAY 7N CALVING SEASON ENQUIRY
Please provide your name, country, number of people travelling and preferred dates.

Terms and Conditions:

  • Applicable for all new bookings made between 23 and 30 Nov 2018
  • Deals not available with any other specials or offers or available to agents
  • 30% non-refundable deposit holds the reservation – deposit due 5 Dec 2018
  • Balance due 60 days prior to departure
  • Price is per person unless otherwise specified and based on minimum 2 people travelling.
  • Price is subject to availability
  • GMC reserves the right to cancel the reservation if payment not received in time, in which case cancellation fees apply.

Enquire Now

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Black Friday – 20% off Serengeti 7N Family Package Safari

Get your kids outside and experience the sights, sounds and smells of the Serengeti and bring nature back to life. Encounter elephant, lion, cheetah, leopard, hippo, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, gazelles, primates, reptiles and of course the migrating wildebeest in a magnificent journey of discovery for young and old. This BLACK FRIDAY 2018 DEAL – will give you 20% off your 7 Night Family Safari in 2019. Book now

Black Friday Family Package Safari Deal: 20% off

What: 7 Night Family Package Safari
Must book between: 23 – 30 November 2018
Valid for Travel Dates:

  • 16 March – 7 April 2019
  • 15 June – 14 July 2019
  • 21 Sept – 8 October 2019

 

16 March- 7 April;  15 June- 14 July; 21 Sept- 8 October 2019 2 Adults (16+)
2 Kids (0-5)
2 Adults (16+)
2 Kids (5 – 12) 
2 Adults (16+)
2 Kids (12 -16) 
2 Adults (16+)
1 Kid (12 -16)
1 Kid (5 -12)
20% BLACK FRIDAY DEAL $6,080 $9,120 $10,240 $9,680
Normal Rate  $8,400 $11,400 $12,800 $12,100

Includes:  Return Domestic Flights: Arusha (ARK) – Serengeti; 7Nights GMC Mobile Game Package – tented accommodation, shared ablutions; Meals: Three meals daily, teas & coffees, drinking water; Unlimited Game Drives with English speaking professional driver/guide; All Park and Concession Fees, All Taxes/VAT; Emergency Evacuation Cover (Flying Doctor)

Excludes:  International Flights, Visas & Travel insurance, Accommodation before or after your safari, Alcoholic beverages & sodas (cash bar), Gratuities, Any meals not stipulated, All items of a personal nature (toiletries, souvenirs etc), Additional Safari Activities, Tours or Accommodation. Government taxes and/or park fees are subject to change

Child Policy: CHILDREN ARE WELCOME
Under 16 of years of age, children to be accompanied by an adult. We recommend children should be able to sleep through the night. 0 – 5 years must sleep in adult tent. 6 -16 years may share with other children (up to 3 per tent)

How to book: Email your inquiry to info@greatmigrationcamps.com
Use the title: BLACK FRIDAY 7N FAMILY PACKAGE ENQUIRY
Please provide your name, country, number of people travelling and preferred dates.

Terms and Conditions:

  • Applicable for all new bookings made between 23 and 30 Nov 2018
  • Deals not available with any other specials or offers or available to agents
  • 30% non-refundable deposit holds the reservation – deposit due 5 Dec 2018
  • Balance due 60 days prior to departure
  • Price is per person unless otherwise specified and based on minimum 2 people travelling.
  • Price is subject to availability
  • GMC reserves the right to cancel the reservation if payment not received in time, in which case cancellation fees apply.

Enquire Now

Follow us on your favourite Social Media platform

Twitter - Great Migration Camps Facebook - Great Migration Camps Instagram - Great Migration Camps You Tube - Great Migration Camps

The Great Migration Calving Season 2019

Migration Status

2018 has been an unusual crossing season, with very little “normal” behaviour or movement of the migration. There are still huge numbers of wildebeest and zebra on the Masai Mara side and big numbers have moved down from the northern Serengeti to the western Serengeti corridor, Grumeti River area. This is the complete opposite of what is suppose to happen if we look at traditional “migration maps”, like this one (courtesy of Scott Dunn) and has us wondering what will happen in Calving Season 2019.

Traditional-Great-Wildebeest-Migration-Map
Traditional Migration Map

The short rains have started and it is the end of October. There is moisture being pushed into East Africa (Lake Victoria depression) from two sides: From the east or coastal region, moisture is pushed in with the east winds blowing and more moisture is being pushed in from the great lakes regions, west of the Serengeti.

Possible Calving Season Scenarios

If we have lots of early rain which stops in January, February and March. This is the most likely scenario – there is only so much moisture that can fall! The moment the trade winds start blowing off the coast then we might have a fairly dry February/March 2019. This scenario will cause the migration to look for permanent water when the plains have dried out. Possible locations could be the Maswa Game Reserve / Kusini / Kakessio areas west of Lake Ndutu. Or movement to Seronera where there is permanent water in the Seronera valley river system.

The second scenario sees continuous rain from November to end May 2019. There are predictions of a very wet short rainy season, if this connects with the traditional long rains of April May then there would be a constant supply of water and grass on the southern Serengeti plains. This might cause the herds to be spread out from Kakessio in the west to Oldupai in the south to Goll kopjes and even Piyaya in the east.

How to plan your safari for the calving season and what to look out for

The border between the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Authority is an “imaginary line” which basically splits the southern plains in half. Many camps and lodges are either on the Serengeti side or the NCA side of the plains. Very few companies will pay double park fees to accommodate their tourists and give them access to both sides on the same day. This leaves clients with a 50/50 chance of being on the wrong side of the imaginary line.

How do I fix this and make sure I get to see the calving season from end January to end March 2019

  1. Make sure you have park fees paid for both sides of the southern plains
  2. Book your safari with Great Migration Camps – guaranteeing you will be with the herds

When to come on safari to witness the calving season

The calving season is a window between end January and end March. Gathering in massive numbers, the wildebeest synchronize their birthing, for safety reasons. Needless to say, there are very good animal interactions and predator activity throughout this time. February – March are the two ideal months to come to the Serengeti / NCA. It is a special season due to the sheer numbers and abundance of wildlife and activity.

Talk to us about the migration and where to go when!

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

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

Contact us for Calving Season Packages.

Enquire Now

Send us your #migrationupdates via Social Media

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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

  

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