If you’re contemplating a Great Migration safari, but you’d like an experience that couples rustic simplicity with a certain amount of glamour, then a value-for-money safari is perfect for you. Whether you’re travelling alone or as a family, this approach to an African adventure means maximum game viewing on a medium budget.
Tanzania or Kenya?
The question often asked is which destination is better value-for-money when it comes to viewing the migration. The migration is a fluid affair that takes place throughout the year as the wildebeest and other plains game traverse the Serengeti in Tanzania on their way to the Masai Mara in Kenya. Seasonal weather patterns affect the animals’ journey, but with the HerdTracker we developed, plotting the wildebeests’ movements has become much easier.
The Great Migration is divided into two seasons, the green season (or calving season) and the dry (or predator season):
The months of January, February and March mark the season for heavy rains in the Serengeti. This in turn marks the start of the calving season, where hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and plains game give birth to about 200 000 babies. The rains also transform the landscape into fields of green pastures and flowers, a very beautiful spectacle. However, increased vegetation makes game viewing a challenge, as it hides many animals. This is why you can expect reduced rates for a Great Migration safari during this period.
As the herds migrate north towards the Masai Mara, the rainfall stops and the vegetation recedes. This exposes both the herds and the predators, which is why game viewing is so spectacular during the dry months of July to September. Forced into the open, the interaction between predator and prey can be experienced easily. Less rainfall also means that wildlife must find water quickly, and waterholes around camps and lodges attract thousands of them. This is the most expensive time of year for a Great Migration safari, but the wildebeest crossings at the Grumeti River in Tanzania and the Mara river in Kenya are the highlights of the wildebeest migration.
The epic September Mara river crossing, which can be accessed from both Tanzania and Kenya, takes place during the dry season. This is the most expensive time to go on a Great Migration safari, so bear this in mind when you plan your trip. Another notable resource is our Migration map, which will give you a little more insight into the movements of these animals.
A suggested safari that is medium-budget is the June Grumeti river crossing in the Serengeti. This is a smaller river compared to the Mara river but presents its own challenges for the wildebeest. Crossing the river is equally as thrilling as the more expensive Mara river crossing.
The Grumeti river crossing | Image credit: CNN
Another factor that will determine the price of your safari is the camp or lodge that you stay at. Accommodation ranges from budget to luxury. Budget accommodation is by no means sub-par, the only difference being the variety of activities on offer, the level of service (for example, having a private butler) and the overall look and feel of the lodge. We can attest to the quality of every one of the accommodations we suggest in our itineraries, regardless of the level of luxury.
Your length of stay will also affect your safari cost. By tailoring your experience to suit your budget, you’ll be able to create a well-rounded experience that will take you as close as you can get to the action.
Elephant Pepper Camp
Best of both worlds
Why not combine a migration safari with a beach safari in either Kenya or Tanzania? This will reduce the total cost of your safari and allows you to experience all that your chosen destination has to offer.
Almost every traveller that has witnessed the Great Migration can attest to the fact that this amazing spectacle is one of the most intriguing things they have ever experienced in nature. From the journey into the African wilderness, to the animal interaction you’ll see on safari, your experience is customisable, so for medium-budget safaris, let us advise you on where to stay and when, so that you won’t have to skimp on your experiences.