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2014 Migration prediction: updated 08 April 2014

Carel Verhoef 08 April 2014

Carel Verhoef has predicted the annual wildebeest migration for 10 years now. He has lived in the Serengeti at Lobo for 2 seasons and has since designed itineraries so that the migration is not a disappointment like it has been for so many. “It is all about minimising risk and getting it right”, says Carel. “There is no point in visiting just the Serengeti or just the Masai Mara; you have to do both (June to October).  With an easy flight you can combine these two areas easily these days. The rest of the year you also have to ensure that you combine different areas to minimize risk. Spread the risk and make sure your park fees are paid so you have access to areas outside of the ordinary.  Book with the right people to ensure you’re guided by the right person that will go that extra kilometre for you to see them.”

Year 2013 showed us all again how unpredictable the herds can be and TANAPA’s burning of most of the Kogatende area with little to no rain that followed forced the herds into Kenya’s Masai Mara early this year. Many tourists were disappointed having booked safaris on the Tanzanian side of the Mara River only with the herds crossing early last year. June and July saw some crossings and this was earlier as expected. There was a scramble, at a late stage, to change accommodation from the Serengeti side to the Masai Mara and within peak season last minute changes were not always possible.

April 2014 Update
Some good rain the last weeks in and around Ndutu and Lake Masek has brought the herds back from the short move towards Maswa in the west and there are now two distinct large groups made out of thousands of smaller herds or family units, there is a huge number just south of Ndutu and then a similar size herd just north west of Naabi towards Gol kopjes.  There is a definite move towards the north west again as we speak and we think that there will be a move towards Moru and Simba kopjes soon.  

We are thankful for the daily information from our Coastal Aviation pilots and the guides and rangers on the ground.  

 


Hot air ballooning over the migration

April & May 2014
My favourite time to be on safari. It is wet, quiet and with a sense of humour you will not just have a good migration experience but the Serengeti to yourself. Loads of new arrivals in the form of predator cubs and ungulate new-borns make for spectacular interaction. Flowers on the plains and dust-free photography make April-May not just half the price but a special time to visit for the naturalist. Combine Moru Kopjes with the western corridor (late May). April-May is perfect for Makoma hill, Moru and Seronera. No camps will be up, so Sopa Lodge, Serena and/ or Kusini Camp would be perfect.


Accommodation combinations for April and May
Serengeti Pioneer Camp (Moru)
Dunia Camp (Moru)
Serengeti Sopa Lodge (Moru)
Kusini Camp (south western Serengeti)

In combination with:
Kati Kati (Makoma)
Lemala Ewanjan (Makoma)
Serengeti Serena (Seronera)


June 2014
We have seen during 2013 that if TANAPA’s burning policy, if not backed up by good rain, can definitely influence the pace of the trek from Lake Magadi to the Masai Mara. So, during June, to minimise risk it is important to book accommodation on the western Serengeti corridor/ Grumeti Reserve (Mbalageti, Grumeti River Camp, Sabora Plains, Faru Faru and Sasakwa) in combination with central Serengeti camps and lodges (anything at Mokoma Hill or even mobile camps on the Grumeti River). June’s best combination would probably be Mbalageti with an extension into Grumeti Reserves making use of Singita Explore.

Accommodation for June
Kati Kati (Makoma)
Lemala Ewanjan (Makoma)
Serengeti Serena (Seronera)

In combination with:
Mbalageti Serengeti
Grumeti River Camp
Kirawira
Singita Sabora Plains, Faru Faru, Sasakwa (only available June to mid July)


A herd of wildebeest grazing

Early July – end July 2014
July is the hard month to predict and it is made more difficult with limited accommodation available at Singita Grumeti Reserves. The owners traditionally would make use of Sasakwa, Sabora and Faru Faru but check with us if there is space at Singita explore or similar.

Accommodation for early July
Mbalageti Serengeti
Grumeti River Camp
Kirawira
Singita Sabora Plains, Faru Faru, Sasakwa (only available June to mid July)

In combination with:
Olakira Camp (Mara River)
Sayari Camp
Singita Explore
Namad’s Lamai
Lemala’s Kuria Hills
Mara River mobile camps


End July – October 2014

Both sides of the Mara River are very important. Here I would not just include camps and lodges inside the Serengeti and Masai Mara but also include Olare Orok and/ or Mara North conservancies. Olakira Camp has a great location and the old Sayari mobile camp location is just as good (I think this is now a Lemala Camp location), combine this with the Governor’s Camp, Rekero Camp areas and then a hop into the conservancies so you can walk and get good cat-and-predator sightings in either Mara North of Olare Orok.

Accommodation end July to end October
Olakira Camp (Mara River)
Sayari Camp
Singita Explore
Namad’s Lamai
Lemala’s Kuria Hills
Mara River mobile camps

In combination with:
Governor’s Camps
Mara confluence camps
Entim Camp
Rekero Camp
Naibor Camps


Wildebeest crossing the Mara River during the migration
 

November to end December 2014
Combine the south-western Masai Mara, Keekorok with Lobo, Loliondo and Bologonja spring as the herds might still linger around the Sand River and/ or Klein’s consession and into Lobo and the upper Grumeti River area.

Accommodation November to end of December
Sala’s Camp Masai Mara
Bologonja mobile camps
Klein’s Camp
Migration Camp
Lobo mobile camps

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