Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rain in the Serengeti

There has been rain throughout the Serengeti. The herds are moving south towards the Ndutu plains where the grass is now starting to look lush. The are located across the eastern corridor of the Serengeto and into Loliondo Game Controlled area.

Gameviewing is excellent. The best places to be based are at Seronera or in the private tented camps in Loliondo.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Migration heading south

There has been been heavy rains across the Masai Mara and Serengeti. The herds are spread across a wide area. There are still huge numbers of wildebeest and zebra in the Masai Mara, north of the Mara River, but there are also large herds around the western Serengeti (towards the Grumeti) and the central Serengeti heading south towards Ndutu.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Migration update: Drought conditions in Kenya

In response to recent concern in the media about the drought situation in Kenya, Offbeat Safari Camps have issued this update on the situation on the ground in Kenya:

Whilst we appreciate that some areas of Kenya may be struggling due to drought conditions this is not affecting in any way the experience that our guests are having whilst staying at any of Offbeat's properties.

It is dry in Kenya right now as a lot of areas did not get the usual rain in April and May. However, this happens every few years. The forecast is that the short November rains are going to arrive early, in October, and should continue through November too, so we’ve just got a few more weeks to wait – if the forecast is right! At the moment game viewing is spectacular as the game is concentrated near water. We hope that the below description of the areas in which we operate will help to reassure you and encourage you to send more clients to Kenya.

The Maasai Mara from Piers Winkworth – owner of Offbeat Mara Camp

Again the Mara is very dry and this has no doubt been reported on a fair bit. In particular reference to the river being low and the Mau forest being encroached on.

Around the camp (in our Offbeat valley) game viewing has been and continues to be excellent. Our Offbeat lions are seen at close quarters by car and horse almost every day, our 7 resident buffalo come into camp at night as usual, elephants come and go, leopard are seen more frequently and are becoming more habituated to our cars. This valley of 1,000 or so acres is exclusive to Offbeat Safaris (Offbeat Mara and the riding safaris). Outside this area the wider North Mara Conservancy (formerly known as Koyiaki) is very dry and there are quite a number of cattle. This is not a new situation and occurs most years towards the end of the dry season. We have had the odd bit of rain, and the Olare Orok stream still has enough water for the wildlife. We have had the odd bit of rain, but not enough. When the predicted rain of November hopefully comes pressure from livestock will ease.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Migration Update: Mara River crossing

The northern Serengeti and Masai Mara have been exceptionally dry this season. The rivers are flowing, but are very shallow making the crossings much easier for the wildebeest and zebra. They can be seen strolling across the Mara River at leisure rather than facing the normal swim. This has made the job a lot harder for the crocodiles - with very little place to hide in the shallow waters.

The herds are spread across the Masai Mara and northern Serengeti. They are having to move more to find suitable grazing in these low rainfall conditions. Last week large herds moved into the northern Serengeti following some rain in that area. The recent back-burning by the rangers in the Serengeti meant there was some new shoots for the herds. The majority of the migration is still in the Masai Mara, but spread widely across the region.

Some of our recommended camps for this time of year are:
Camps in private concessions -
Porini Lion Camp
Kicheche Camp
Offbeat Mara Camp

Camps in the Masai Mara Reserve -
Governor's Camp
Mara Intrepid's Camp

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Migration Update: Mara Triangle

The migration is still moving widely across the Masai Mara and northern Serengeti. The core herds are located around the Mara Triangle. Paradise Plain is overflowing with wildebeest, zebra and Thomson gazelle. Safari guests have been enjoying exceptional gameviewing with lots of predators picking off the abundant plains game.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Migration news: Wildebeest still in the Masai Mara

The migration is still moving between the Serengeti and Masai Mara. In the last few days the Serengeti herds have been moving north into the Mara at Look Out Hill. The lower seasonal rains have meant the wildebeest and zebra have had to work harder to find good grazing. The Mara and Talek Rivers are flowing shallower than usual making crossing quite easy for the herds.

There are herds spread across the Masai Mara and northern Serengeti so any camp in this region will provide a good safari location.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mara River crossing underway

The Masai Mara is overflowing with millions wildebeest and zebra. The entire area from Paradise Plain, Look Out Hill and the Mara Triangle is teeming with game and predators. The Mara River is flowing well, but shallow at most of the crossing points. The crocodiles have been active, but finding it harder to disguise their attack.

The next few weeks should be excellent in the Masai Mara with constant river crossings as the herds criss-cross the Mara and Talek River to find grazing. Any camps in the Mara or adjoining private concessions are a good locations to be based as the herds are spread across the central, western and northern part of the reserve. But, as always, if you can be based close to the Mara River, you will be ideally placed to see the crossings without travelling too far.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Migration News: Wildebeest in Masai Mara and Serengeti

The migrating herds have been moving back and forth between the Masai Mara and the Serengeti. In July the wildebeest and zebra are normally located in the north western Masai Mara around the Mara River. But this July they arrived a bit later than in 2008 and were seen moving back into the Serengeti on a regular basis. They seemed to be going back into the Serengeti to graze on the new grass shoots that sprang up after the Serengeti rangers had back-burnt the long grass of close to the northern border with Kenya. At times the Masai Mara has been quite deserted of any wildebeest. Having said that, there has been regular crossings and the normal crocodile feeding frenzy that marks the highlight of the migration calandar.

As usual, best area to be based in August is in the north western Masai Mara around the Talek or Mara Rivers. The wildebeest may move off for a few days, but invariably come back to this area for the better grazing and water. The northern Serengeti camps are also reporting excellent sightings of wildlife.

Safari guest numbers are about the same as 2008, down on previous years. Last year the Kenyan elections affected the tourist numbers and in 2009 it is the global economy.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Migration News: Migration from Grumeti to Masai Mara

The lead herds of wildebeest and zebra have reached the Masai Mara, but the laggards are only now leaving the dutwa plains and Mbalageti River in the south western part of the Serengeti. There are still a large population of wildebeest in the western corridor around Musabi areas all the way to Grumeti Reserve.

Photograph courtesy of Mbalageti Serengeti Camp, an excellent camp to see the migration from March to June. They saw these herds leaving the Mbalageti River this week.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Migration reaches the Masai Mara

The first wildebeest and zebra have been spotted crossing from the Serengeti into the Masai Mara! The migration season has started in the Masai Mara! The herds having been crossing at Sand River. Only a relatively small number are now in Kenya, but the herds are massing in across a wide area in the northern Serengeti. There ha been plenty of rain over the past few months keeping the herds in the Serengeti. The grass is long and slowing the progress of the herds north.

The Loita herds that do not migrate into the Serengeti) have also moved south and have been seen around Musiara gate and the concession areas north of the Masai Mara.

The highlight of the migration season, the crossing of the Mara River, has not yet started. Everyone is waiting for this annual spectacle to begin - probably in the next week or two as the wildebeest and zebra push north.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Migration Update 2009: Central Serengeti

We would like to clarify the post from 16 June 2009. This was a comment from one of our readers who has just returned from the Serengeti. I thought it was interesting so included it. The comments were probably based on individual and personal conversations with guides. As always, opinions on where and how the migration moves is very subjective and can change quickly with a change of weather or any number of factors. The truth is: No one really understands exactly how the migration moves and any prediction is only that.

The Masai Mara is not only dependent on the Serengeti herds for the migration. Herds also migrate from other northern areas of Kenya (e.g. Loita Plains) and there are resident herds that remain in the northern migration region of the eco-system throughout the year. There will almost certainly be a large migration in the Masai Mara this year, but the exact timing is debatable. The herds from the Serengeti may arrive later this year than in 2008, as conditions have meant they are staying in the central Serengeti longer this year. But, who knows for certain?

Thanks for your comments and please keep them coming. Any first hand experience in the area is also highly valued.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Migration News: Central Serengeti

Feedback from a reader that was in the Serengeti:

Last week they were in central Serengeti - just south of Seronera.

We travelled down from Grumeti Sunday 7th & Tuesday 9th - about 3.5 hours each way.

Grumeti are not expecting to see them until mid-July & there was talk that they might not reach Kenya at all this year.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Migration in the Western Corridor heading for the Grumeti

There has been good rain in the western Serengeti and the Grumeti. The Grumeti River is flowing strongly and promises to facilitate some dramatic river crossing scenes in the coming weeks as the mega herds head into the Grumeti Reserve and north.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Migration still located in the Southern Serengeti

The main wildebeest and zebra herds are still located on the short grass plains of Ndutu. There has been good rains across the Serengeti. The grass is green, but more rain will be necessary to sustain the herds through the long dry season.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Migration update: Rain in Ndutu

This video shows the wildebeest migration during the rainy season. The video was taken in February 2009. During the rainy season, a Serengeti safari can be be a challenging (but rewarding) experience. Expect to get wet!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Migration Update: Wildebeest around Ndutu and Gol

The Serengeti has seen quite a bit of rain throughout April. The short grass plains around Ndutu and Gol Kopje are green and providing necessary grazing to the wildebeest and their new foal. The foal are building strength for the migration north and west once the rains stop in the next few weeks.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Migration News: Migration remains around Ndutu

The migration remains in the south eastern Serengeti eco-system. The rains have been sporadic and unreliable so far in 2009. The wildebeest and zebra move within the south eastern Serengeti depending on the rains and grass. Immediately after a downpour they will return to the short grass plains of Ndutu, where the grazing is the best in the entire Serengeti and Masai Mara. At other times, they will be spread around this region (on the slopes of Ngorongoro Crater, or around Olduvia, Maswa Game Reserve, Moru, Nasera, Naabi and Gol). But, the remain in the general area until the rains abate, which should happen in the next few weeks. At this point, the migration will head west and north west toways the western corridor or the Serengeti and into the Grumeti Reserve.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Migration Update: Rains across the Serengeti

There has been a lot of rain over the last week. This has caused the Ndutu plains to spring to life with new freeze grass. The wildebeest have returned in thousands back to their favourite grazing in the Serengeti, the Ndutu Plains. The rains have been welcome as 2009 started relatively dry.

There are wildebeest (with their new foals) and zebra as far as the eye can see around Ndutu. It is a spectacular time to the in the Serengeti, but moving around is a challenge as a lot of the roads are muddy. The best place to be based over the next couple of months is the permanent lodges in the central and southern Serengeti. They have better access roads to their camps and are generally more prepared for the rain. The mobile tented camps can be an adventure!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Migration News: Herds spread across the south eastern Serengeti

The lack of substantial rain on the Ndutu plains has pushed the wildebeest and zebra out across a wide area in search of grazing. They are finding grass on the outer slopes of Ngorongoro Crater, Mawza Reserve, around Olduvia and also west of Ndutu. These areas have seen more rain than the Ndutu plains. Foaling continues. The herds are trying to build up their strength before they start their migratory trek west and north west when the rains finally stop completely in about a month. The 2009 season has been much drier than last year and it will be interesting to see how this affects the herds movements in the coming months.

The best safari camps for the migration, at the moment, are:
Klein's Camp
Mobile Tented Camps: Budget
Mobile Tented Camp: Luxury
Ndutu Safari Lodge

Monday, March 2, 2009

Travel to see the migration in 2009

There are still some excellent special offers available to see the migration in 2009. The highlight of the 2009 calendar is the Mara River crossing that usual happens between August and October each year.

For more information on special offers or for further enquiries, contact or visit our website at

Friday, February 27, 2009

Migration news: Wildebeest foaling

The herds are spread from the western Ngorongoro Conservation Area to the south eastern Serengeti, around the short grass plains of Ndutu. There has been sufficient rain and heat to keep the plains green, but 2009 has started out drier than normal. There are a lot of wildebeest foal in the area with more to come. This is supplying the predators with abundant easy prey. Game viewing has been good, Ther are huge herds of wildebeest and zebra congregated on the plains and predators picking off the weak and vulnerable.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Migration news: Wildebeest start foaling

The first foals of the 2009 migration are being born on the Ndutu plains of the southern Serengeti. This is where the wildebeest always foal during the annual migration. It is here that the grass is the most nutritious throughout the entire Serengeti eco-system and where the young foals have the most chance of surviving. The wildebeest and zebra will remain in this area for another couple of months, giving the foals sufficient time to gain some strength before the long trek north to the Masai Mara. The predators are having a easy time picking off the young wildebeest from the herds.

There have been heavy rains and the area is muddy and wet. A number of roads have been closed. A safari at this time is rewarding, but challenging.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Migration on the short grass plains of Ndutu

This video show the migration in the south eastern Serengeti. The video shows the wildebeest scattered over the short grass plains around Ndutu. The video was filmed in January.

It also shows some of the big cats that track the migration. Watch out for the vehicles in the background at about 2 minutes into the video. These are the typical stretch 4x4's that most tour operators use. The vehicles have closed sides, but large windows, allowing everyone a good view. The roof normally pops up. Only a few of the camps use open-sided vehicles (e.g. Kusini, Klein's Camp, The camps in the Grumeti).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Migration Update

The rains have been intermittent throughout January, with some heavy downpours. A number of tracks are so muddy they are impassable and have been closed to vehicles. During January and throughout the rainy season, the wildebeest tend to leave the woodlands and long grass plains during the rains and move to the short grass plains between Naabi, Ndutu and Sanjan. During drier spells over this period, the migration tends to spread out over a wider area, moving back to the woodland and longer grass plains.
Game viewing is good, with large herds and good predator sightings. The advantage of this time of year is that the Serengeti is quiet, but expect rain and be prepared for rugged conditions as the roads can be an adventure. The central Serengeti (around Seronera) or southern Serengeti are the best locations to be based to see the migration at the moment.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Migration News: 2009 has started off dry

The migration remains in the south eastern Serengeti. The wildebeest and zebra are moving between the short grass plains of Ndutu and the surrounding areas. At the moment, the main herds favour the area around Naabi Hill and east towards the outer slopes of Ngorongoro Crater. The grasses are green and nutritious. This is mostly from December rains. January has been relatively dry so far.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Migration update: Sporadic Rain over Ndutu

The wildebeest are now spread across a wide area in the south eastern Serengeti from the slopes of Ngorongoro Crater (east); to Loliondo (north) and past Ndutu (west). November and December are commonly referred to as the “short rains”. This is generally followed by a drier period (January/February) before the “long rains” start. This season has been variable with quite a lot of rain in November, but little rain in late December. This has meant that the herds have now moved away from their preferred grazing on the short grass plains of Ndutu. These plains have not yet received enough water to fully florish. Ndutu has short nutritional grasses and this is where the wildebeest prefer to calve. They will return to this area as a few days after decent rains as the grass will quickly shoot at the first sign of rain.

The wildebeest are about to start foaling with lots of heavily pregnant wildebeest. The number of wildebeest and zebra appears large this year, mostly due to the excellent conditions in 2008. The 2009 annual wildebeest migration has once again started the year in Ndutu and will remain here until the foals are born (January/February) and strong enough to start their trek westwards.

The best place to be based to see the migration is around Ndutu or Loliondo. Kusini Camp or one of the mobile tented camps are ideal at this time. Most of the roads in the area can be travelled as the drier conditions have meant that the roads are not swamped. The recent rain over the past few days and today may quickly change the road conditions though.

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