Thursday, July 31, 2008

Current location of the wildebeest migration

The map shows the migration across the Serengeti and Masai Mara, concentrated in the Mara Triangle. The wildebeest continue to cross the Mara River in search of grazing and water. I have indicated the Mara River on the map.

Here is an update from Governor’s Camp:
“The Wildebeest Migration has arrived in the Masai Mara.
This photo was taken on the 26th of July 2008 and since then we have been seeing almost daily river crossings.
The Governors’ Collection of Camps are located in the heart of the best game viewing area of the Masai Mara, only 30 minutes away from the regular river crossing sites.
There is still the opportunity to book a safari to see this year’s wildebeest migration.” Source: Governor’s Camp

The last comment from Governors is generally true about most camps in Kenya this year. In other words, the over-stated media coverage of the political unrest from the recent elections is still being felt in the tourism industry and the number of visitors in the Masai Mara is down this year. Given the fact that 2008 is turning out to be a superb year for the migration and there are fewer safari guests in the reserves, this is an excellent year to visit the region. Contact us to assist you in planning your visit.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mara River crossing continues unabated

The Mara River is still the place to be for the migration, whether on the Kenya or Tanzania side. The wildebeest and zebra are still crossing the river in huge numbers and facing the threat of the waiting crocodiles. Safari guests have been privileged to see excellent action by predators, whether crocodile, lion or hyena.
The main herds are now in the Mara Triangle and will cross back and forth over the Mara and Talek Rivers during August and probably most of September. There is good grazing in both Serengeti and Masai Mara, especially where rangers burnt back the long grass in June. New grass shoots, after the moderate rain over the course of July, are sustaining the herds. The Mara River is lower than usual, but still the best source of water in the eco-system at the moment. This will keep the herds in the north until the rains start in the southern Serengeti. The herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle are spread across a large area of the northern Serengeti and Masai Mara, especially towards the west and north around Burrungat plains.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mara River crossing video

This video of the Mara River Crossing was produced by CNN. It shows wildebeest and zebra crossing the Mara River into the Mara Triangle. It also has some great aerial shots of the migrating herds and panoramic views over the savannah plains of the Mara.

Migration Update: Serengeti or Masai Mara?

There have been large numbers of wildebeest and zebra crossing the Mara River in both the Serengeti (Tanzania) and Masai Mara Reserve (Kenya). Unfortunately, visitors are still not allowed to cross directly between the two reserves. Maybe, one day the Tanzania and Kenya authorities will consider creating a transfrontier park. Until then, safari enthusiast are stuck on one or the other side. At the moment, both the Serengeti and Masai Mara are experiencing excellent game viewing and camps are reporting large numbers of game, including predators.

The northern Serengeti is relatively remote with very few camps. Klein’s Camp or the mobile camps around Kogatende are good options for Northern Serengeti at the moment. The lower tourist numbers do add to the safari experience, but the cost is generally higher than the equivalent in the Kenya. The easier and safer option is the Maasai Mara as you are virtually guaranteed to see the Mara River crossing and there are lots of excellent camps. One of our favourites is Porini Lion Camp in Olare Orok Conservancy. They currently have resident cheetah.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Migration News: Hot Air Balloon over the Masai Mara

There are huge populations of wildebeest abd zebra in the Mara Triangle. The Loita herds from the north have merged with the Serengeti herds.

Hot air ballooning over the Masai Mara offers spectacular views over the savannah with hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Migration update: Highlight of the year in underway

The Masai Mara migration is in full swing. Herds have been crossing the Mara River into the Mara Triangle and also heading north towards Burrungat plains. There is now game spread across most of the western and northern Masai Mara Reserve and across the adjoining conservancies and ranches. The limited amount of rain in the last 2 weeks has allowed new grass shoots to germinate providing good nutrition to the herds.

There are still huge populations of wildebeest in the northern Serengeti especially around the Sand River.

Some experienced game rangers have commented that the migration populations are extremely good this year and may be some of the highest in a number of years, but this is hard to verify. There certainly are very good concentrations of game across the Maasai Mara and Serengeti.

The best place to be based for a safari is along the Mara or Talek Rivers. The ranches and concession areas around the Reserve are also excellent options to allow visitors to do a game drive in the reserve and then escape to the privacy and exclusivity of the private concession in the evening.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Highlight of annual migration

The Mara is full of wildebeest, zebra, Thomson’s gazelle and their predators. Game has continued to stream into the Masai Mara and have been crossing the Mara River. Visitors have been treated to spectacular crocodile kills. Lion prides have also been rampant. This is truly the highlight of the annual migration.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Migration Update: Northern Serengeti and Masai Mara

The southern and western Serengeti is extremely dry so the wildebeest have quickly moved
out of the western corridor and into the northern Serengeti and the Masai Mara. The grazing and water are good in the Masai Mara and around the Mara River.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Masai Mara Safari

The “early arrival” herds of ungulates continue to stream into the Masai Mara Reserve from the Serengeti. The best place to be based for a safari is along the Talek or Mara Rivers or anywhere close to the Mara Triangle in the Masai Mara Reserve. We recommend that you split your time between one of these camps and a camp in one of the private concession areas or private ranches. This allows you to see the wildebeest crossing the crocodile filled Mara or Talek Rivers for a couple of days and then get away from the abundant other visitors that inevitably accompany the migration. This is still limited availability in the Mara, but we are also already getting solid enquiries about the migration in 2009!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Migration Update: Northern Serengeti and Masai Mara

The migration covers the northern Serengeti and have just entered the Masai Mara around the Sand River Gate.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Masai Mara migration of 2008 has begun

One of the highlights of the annual migration, the arrival of the wildebeest into the Masai Mara, has commenced. The first arrivals from the Serengeti have started crossing the crocodile infested waters of the Mara River. This is what most people consider to be the quintessential “annual wildebeest migration” and this year looks likely to be a spectacular event. Only the first few thousand, of an estimated 2 million plains game, have arrived in the Masai Mara, but their arrival is a great source of excitement amongst safari enthusiasts.

There is plenty of water and the Mara and Talek Rivers are flowing strongly. There has been some rain in the last few days. New fresh shoots of grass are appearing where rangers burnt the long grass over the last few weeks. In other parts of the reserve the grass is still long making game viewing a bit more challenging. This will soon change as the wildebeest, zebra and gazelle churn up the soil with their hooves.

Camps in the Mara and adjacent ranches are reporting strong interest in this year’s migration, but most camps still have limited availability. This is unusual for the high season as most camps are normally fully booked 6 months to a year in advance. The current lower tourist numbers is probably due to the bad publicity associated with recent elections in Kenya, the increase in the price of international flights and the downturn in the world economy. This is good news for those visitors that do get see the crossing this year as there may be less people around. But, it is still early enough in the season for this to change.

Even though the big news is that the migration has started entering the Masai Mara, it is important to note that the entire migration is spread over a large area covering the Serengeti and Masai Mara. The tail end of the migrating herds is around Ikorongo in the western corridor of the Serengeti, large populations can be found in the northern Serengeti, while some herds are heading in easterly direction towards Lobo. For the next couple of months the wildlife will move back and forth across the northern Serengeti and Masai Mara, constantly criss-crossing the rivers and Kenya-Tanzania border.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Predators of the migration

The main herds have left the Grumeti heading north. Despite this, there is still excellent game viewing with lots of predator activity around Grumeti. The below photographs were take by Singita game guides in the Grumeti Reserve in the past few days. Photos: Courtesy of Singita.

Cheetah startling a Thomson’s gazelle. The subsequent pursuit and kill were caught on camera by a game guide:

The female cheetah later carried the gazelle under the shade of a nearby tree and consumed the entire carcass. Guest at Grumeti experienced this hunt occur in front of their open 4x4 game vehicle.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Serengeti Migration News: Herds heading north

The migration has been moving north out of the Grumeti through Ikorongo and Robanda. They are heading towards the Masai Mara and north east towards Lobo. There are still some wildebeest along the Grumeti River, but the main herds have moved off. June has been dry in the southern Serengeti and the new grazing and water in the northern Serengeti and Masai Mara Triangle are drawing the herds north. The north has received decent rainfalls.

Rangers are predicting the arrival of the migrating herds in the Mara Triangle in the next week, earlier than usual.
The best place to be based at the moment is Sayari Camp, the mobile camps based in the northern private camps or around the Mara Triangle. The Mara Triangle already has good populations of zebra and some wildebeest. The Grumeti camps are still reporting excellent game viewing. This week, both crocodiles and lions have been seen with kills.

Some camps to consider are:
Serengeti Premier Camps: Sabora Plains Camp, Faru Faru Camp, Grumeti River Camp
Serengeti Luxury Camps: Sayari Camp
Serengeti Comfortable Camps: Robanda Private Camp
Masai Mara Luxury Camp: Mara Explorer Camp, Rekero Camp, Governor’s Camp

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