The Great Wildlife Migrations

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To be counted as a true migration, the movement of the animals should be an annual or seasonal occurrence, such as birds migrating south for the winter, or a major habitat change as part of their life. Over two million animals surge through the Serengeti Plains in Tanzania. 1.5 million blue wildebeest and 500 000 zebra as well as a host of antelope too, in their annual quest for water and better grazing.

From December through to March, watch one of Africa’s most well-known and greatest migrations before you, as one of the natural wonders of the world unfolds.

During February the wildebeest spend their time on the short grass plains of the south eastern part of the Serengeti ecosystem, grazing and giving birth to approximately 500,000 calves within a two to three week period: a remarkably synchronised event.

Both the sight and the sound is something quite extraordinary to witness! Along with this birth and a congregation of animals comes the predators and a wealth of other wildlife. The Serengeti is home to 70 mammal species and around 500 bird species.

The migration of ungulates moves to the western corridor in June, crossing over the Grumeti River. The Grumeti region has its own resident wildlife so that in fact, throughout the year, wildlife viewing is always excellent here – especially for predators. There is even the opportunity of camping in private luxury camps that follow the migration.

Serengeti, Tanzania From December through to March, watch the world's greatest migration unfold before you in what is described as one of the 10 natural wonder's of the world. During February, the wildebeest spend their times on the short, grass plains, grazing and giving birth to approximately 500,000 calves within a 3 week period - in perfect synchronisation!

Where else in Africa?

The Kalahari Desert, Botswana – A zebra migration of around 20,000 animals takes place in central and northern Botswana through areas of Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan.

Liuwa Plain, Zambia - 20,000 to 30,000 wildebeest migrate between areas in eastern Angola and western Zambia. With the rainy season starting around November, large herds of wildebeests move from Angola into Liuwa Plain National Park. The herds move back north and west in May and June.

Hermanus, South Africa - Southern Right whale from Antarctica – the greatest migration. They travel to warmer waters to give birth from late July through to October.

Cape Town, South Africa - The great white shark is a long-distance traveller, making the journey across the Indian Ocean, between South Africa and Australia and back over the course of a year.

Ile St. Marie, Madagascar, Humpback Whale – Most humpback whales make enormous journeys each year between their feeding and breeding sites. Go out with scientists on their boats, following and listening to the whales with hydrophones. August and September.

Tanzania

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The Serengeti system is rich in grasses, being covered in Andropogon spp, red oat grasses, and Eragrostis spp.

In search of the new grasses, the Migration then moves over the border to the Masai Mara in Kenya from mid to late June, staying through to September.

This far north western side is covered by broadleaved Terminalia spp. and Combretum spp. And the underlying volcanic soils provide nutrients.

Around 80% of the Serengeti plains are protected. One scene that many want to witness are the crossings over the Mara River where huge crocodiles lie in wait. The migration very much depends upon the rains and if they are early or late which is why it is slightly a moveable feast.

However, if one spends time in the northern reaches of the Serengeti from July through to September, there is the overspill of the migration and the wildlife viewing is second to none.

This moving mass of animals crosses a diversity of habitats from open grass plains to riverine forests and woodlands. Rocky granite outcrops dot the plains. Actually it is from the Maa language that the Serengeti gets its name – ‘Serengit’ means endless plains.

We can also offer some wonderful walking safaris in the southern region of the Serengeti during this period. These again are completely private and tailored around you and your own fitness levels. Safety is paramount! Or you can have a combination of walking and game drives which offers you the best of both worlds!

How? First choice, must be to stay in a private, tented mobile camperected just for you or your party so that you can be as close to the animals as humanly possible whilst witnessing one of Africa’s greatest phenomena!

This allows one complete flexibility and freedom each day. To spend the day amongst wildlife and return to your very own tented camp is the way that all safaris were conducted in the early 20th century and beforehand.

Sit around an open fire, the stars glistening above and listening to the sounds of lion roaring in the distance. This is what memories are truly made of! Your guides will take you out each day in open sided 4x4 vehicles, perhaps taking a picnic with you.

Otherwise, for those in search of greater luxury, there are some truly wonderful lodges and tented camps where you can have your own private vehicle and guide and your days can still be spent amongst these creatures.

Pictures courtesy of Legendary Expeditions

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‘Greetings. this has turned out to be a paradise in so many ways....so a big thank you from us.

Wonderful support from your company over here....we were met at the airport (with flowers!!!!!) and introduced to our personal guide who is fabulous. Can't get over the attention to detail ....cool flannels, chilled water, fresh juice on arrival, bag full of thoughtful goodies for our trip, wonderful rooms with bathrooms bigger than our bedroom at home(!) and we were upgraded to a suite and as I write we are listening to tropical birdsong as we look out over the lagoon from our balcony. Wow!!!!!

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