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.