Developed by Discover Africa in 2014, HerdTracker was launched to accurately track the movement of the great wildebeest migration in Kenya and Tanzania. Since its inception, it has afforded wildlife enthusiasts and travellers the unique opportunity to explore the revered migration with real-time information based on the location of the migratory herds.
Now, in 2017 HerdTracker has been updated to include crowd-sourced data from Twitter by anyone sharing sightings about the migratory herds with #HerdTracker and the location in their Tweets.
This will automatically pull through to the live feed on the web app and contribute to the overall accuracy, while the real-time movement can be viewed on the migratory map. Thousands of citizen journalists now become the eyes and ears of the would-be Mara or Serengeti visitor.
Although continuous updates are still being received from HerdTracker contributors like Tanzania National Parks Authority rangers, lodges in the Masai Mara, pilots who fly over the Serengeti, safari guides on the ground and even hot air balloon operators. The additional updates from the public via Twitter will provide an (even) more accurate depiction for travellers wanting to book a migration trip.
“The enormity of tracking such a prolific wildlife event takes a collaborative effort and we value the contributions from our partners and now the public at large. We developed HerdTracker to help make planning the journey easier for our customers,” says Andre van Kets, co-founder of HerdTracker.
The app ultimately aims to reduce the amount of fear and uncertainty that travellers may experience when planning and booking a safari to watch the migration which, before HerdTracker, was not an exact science. However, using the app assists in eliminating the guesswork of where and when the best place and time is to view the migration.
"The HerdTracker safaris are the first of their kind to use crowd-sourced migration movement data to determine the best areas and the right lodges to stay at for migration safaris. Being in the right parts of the Serengeti/Mara ecosystem is the first step," adds van Kets on the difficulty when booking a migration safari.
How to get involved
Share your updates about the migratory herds by using #HerdTracker with a location and any imagery on Twitter to help us make one of the world’s greatest wildlife events accessible.
Over 800 updates over the last three years
Detailed maps including popular river-crossings and other significant waypoints and landmarks
Multiple photos and video sequences of the wildebeest, including river-crossing and interaction with predators like lion and leopard
Live, online last-minute accommodation availability in relation to the migration
Social media sharing of specific #HerdTracker updates
Significant rainfall reports on the HerdTracker map (rainfall being a good predictor of wildebeest migratory movements)