Migration Time in the Serengeti

Joe has just come back from safari in Tanzania.  It was one of those perfect trips, taking in the highlights of northern Tanzania –  Tarangire, the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.

After Tarangire and the Ngorongoro highlands, a short flight from Manyara took us over the Mara River, where we hoped later to be lucky enough to see a river crossing.  Of course this is never guaranteed.

Our home in the northern Serengeti was the award-winning Sayari Camp, renowned for extraordinary wildlife sightings and supreme comfort. Set on the unspoilt plains of the Northern Serengeti, close to the famous Lamai Wedge, the camp gave us easy access to the Mara River and multiple river crossing points, as well as lots of great game drive routes through the stunning, rocky kopjes of Kogatende.

On our first day out, we were lucky enough to revel in a spectacular river crossing, synonymous with the migration.  The wildebeest have started to move towards Kenya and the Maasai Mara early this year, and the back and forth across the Mara River had already begun.  Whilst the migration is generally a circular movement through the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, the wildebeest do move too and fro across the Mara River because the grass is always greener on the other side!

While seeing a river crossing is spectacular and features very highly on most people’s bucket lists, there is also something awe inspiring about driving through thousands of wildebeest on their perpetual journey across the plains.  Lines of wildebeest, mingling with zebra and other plains game as they head to the rivers and greener pastures, from as far as the eye can see.

This time of year in the Serengeti provides a glut of food for many other animals, not only the predators but the scavengers who clean up after them.  This wake of vultures is intent on picking carcasses clean, fulfilling their unique and important ecological role in preventing the spread of diseases from carrion.

While the Maasai Mara is often front of mind when thinking of the migration at this time of year, the northern Serengeti can be an amazing alternative, easily paired with other unique and often under rated Tanzanian locations.