The Serengeti and the Wildebeest Migration
The Serengeti is one of the most famous wildlife areas in the world. The park cover’s 5,700 square miles of pristine African wilderness. In the Maasai language, “serengeti” means “endless plain”. The park is home to 500 species of birds, 70 species of large mammals, as well as dozens of species of incredible smaller animals.
The most famous sight of the Serengeti is the famed wildebeest migration. The migration is constantly on the move; moving in a clockwise pattern through the Serengeti and up into Kenya’s Masai Mara. Approximately 1.5 million animals make up this massive migrating herd of herbivores; over 1 million eastern white-bearded wildebeest, 200,000 plains zebra, and 250,000 Thomson’s gazelle.
Other numerous species of wildlife include lion, elephant, cape buffalo, eland, topi, Grant’s gazelle, spotted hyena, and Masai giraffe. Leopard and cheetah are common also as well as hippo and other species of antelope. Black rhino and African wild dogs are rare but are seen on safari in the Serengeti.
February is the peak of the calving season for wildebeest and other herbivores. We will be in the southern area of the Serengeti where this spectacle takes place. 400,000+ wildebeest calves flood the plains, a strategy to help maximize survivability in a land with a number of large predators. The cycle of life will be on full display. There are great chances to witness a birth, but also deadly interactions between predator and prey.
February in the Serengeti is one of the most beautiful and driest months of the year. Days are mostly sunny with average daytime temps in the upper 80’s and average nighttime lows in the low 60’s. There is a slight chance of rain, but if it comes, it is usually in the form of an afternoon thunderstorm.
Days start early in the bush and you are met with a literal orchestra of dozens of birds welcoming a new day with their songs. You are given a wake up call around 5:30 to 6 am, have a quick breakfast with fresh fruit, hot and cold cereal, fresh coffee, and fresh muffins or other tasty treat.
By 6:30 to 7 am, you are off for your morning game viewing activities. Unless we plan on staying out all day, we usually return to camp by 11 am for an incredible lunch followed by “siesta”. During siesta, catch up on sleep, relax, write in your journal, and take in the sights and sounds of the Serengeti.
After siesta, we meet for afternoon tea and snacks at about 3:30 to 4 pm and then embark for our afternoon safari. Before sunset, we stop and take part in a bush tradition called a sundowner where we toast the day with gin and tonics or your drink of choice. We return to camp by dark for an incredible dinner, drinks, conversation, and then off to bed. The nighttime is filled with all sorts of great noises. The roars of lions, the whoops of hyenas, the rumble of elephants, the grunts of the wildebeest, and more.
This is the daily “routine”, but there is nothing truly routine about a day out in the bush.
February 17th: Arrive at the Kilimanjaro International Airport where we are greeted and shuttled to the African Tulip Hotel for the night with dinner and breakfast included.
February 18th to 22st: After breakfast we are shuttled to the Arusha airport where we board an 8:00 am flight to the Ndutu region in the southern part of the Serengeti (Ngorongora Conservation Area) where the wildebeest migration and calving season is in full swing. The next four days we will be at Nasikia’s Mobile Migration Camp with morning and afternoon game drives.
February 22st to 25th: After breakfast and a morning safari, we will board a bush flight at 12:45 pm to our next camp located near the famed Moru Kopjes of the Serengeti. Our camp for the next three days will be Nasikia’s Naona Moru Camp with morning and afternoon game drives as well as 1 morning walking safari during our stay.
February 25th to 28th: After breakfast we set out on a game drive to our next camp located in a remote and little used area of the eastern part of the Serengeti. Over the next three days we will be at the luxurious Nasikia Ehlane Plains Camp with morning and afternoon game drives as well as 1 morning walking safari during our stay.
February 28th: After breakfast and a morning safari, we fly back to Arusha. We have day rooms reserved to rest, freshen up, and regroup before our flights back to the States. Lunch included.
- All accommodations plus 1 free night at Ndutu Mobile Migration Camp
- All meals and most drinks at the safari camps
- 2 Safari game drives a day and 1 walking safari at Naona Moru and Ehlane Plains
- Park fees
- Laundry at the camps
- Bush flights (limit of 33 pounds of luggage per passenger which includes handbags)
- Airport and hotel transfers
Does not Include
- Round-trip international airfare to Kilimanjaro International Airport
- Tips (recommended $20pp a day; $10 to guide and $10 to staff)
- Travel and Trip Cancellation Insurance
- Tanzania Visa – $100 which can be paid on arrival or obtained prior at http://www.tanzaniaembassy-us.org/
- Visit to travel nurse for recommended travel medications
- Dinner at the KIA day rooms and drinks at Arusha hotels
- Optional Balloon Safari at $650pp
- Flying Doctors medical evacuation insurance at $70pp but DOES NOT replace travel and trip cancellation insurance
- Items of a personal nature
- $8,695 per person which includes a 9% discount
- 20% non-refundable deposit to confirm your spot.