July 2014 - Wildebeest migration updates

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Broken backs and legs

31 Jul 2014 from Governors' Camp

Hi Carel - After watching wildebeests go back and forth to the cliff face debating whether to jump a baby was pushed off which kick started a crossing. Many broke their backs and legs, then the marsh pride of lions came waiting for them at the other side killing all the injured as well as many baby's... everyone was hunting including the sub adult cubs, 9 wildebeest killed then a leopard turned up and began hunting too they were throwing themselves off a really high cliff face to jump into the water it was hard to watch. Our guides have never seen anything like it and we have been in the Mara 40 + years, I will send you the proper write up and photos when I get them. Photo credit Moses Manduku

Wildebeest jumping to their peril at the Mara River - Image by Moses Manduku
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Grass is turning greener

31 Jul 2014 from Lemala Camps

Morning Carel - Meanwhile on the Serengeti side - crossing point no 5 has had some good crossings - the grass is turning green after all the burning we have had and it really would make for a spectacular return of the herds from the Masai Mara, what a season we are having - Joanne, Lemala Camps

Good wildebeest migration crossings on the Serengeti side - Image by Joanne, Lemala Camps
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Marsh Pride interaction

30 Jul 2014 from Governors' Camp

Carel, talk about not having to leave camp, our guests had the privilege of seeing the herds cross from the bar deck this morning and it made for happy faces and lots to talk about over lunch. The Marsh Pride was close to camp for more wonderful interaction, the cubs are growing up way too fast. The Serena South plains are full of wildebeest. We talk soon - Ariana (image credit - Moses Manduku, Governors Camp Head Driver-Guide)

The wildebeest migration in front of Governors Camp - Image by Moses Manduku
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Wonderful sounds all night

28 Jul 2014 from Ndutu Safari Lodge

HI Carel Update from Kogatende, Alex Walker's Serengeti North Camp, where I had a few days leave - A few days late but I know the wildebeest are still there. Saw crossings at number 4 and number 3. Spectacular stuff. Plains around that area absolutely full kabisa. Wonderful sounds all night surrounding the camp. Cheers Ainslie

The wildebeest heading into the Mara River at crossing three and four - Image by Ainslie Wilson
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Witnessing the thrills of the crossings

25 Jul 2014 from Lemala Camps

Hi Carel, l hope all is well, the wildebeest are now in full flood here in the Kogatende and Wogakuria areas of the Northern Serengeti and last night guests enjoyed the sounds of the animals as they passed by Lemala Kuria Hills Lodge. Our guests at Lemala Kuria Hills Lodge and Lemala Mara Mobile Tented Camp are witnessing the thrills of the crossings (in both directions) of large herds of wildebeest and zebra. Exciting times!! Tom Yule - Lemala Camps

Large numbers of wildebeest crossing the crocodile infested Mara River - Image by Tom Yule
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Herd scattered around Kogatende

24 Jul 2014 from Captain Joel J Fernandes

Serengeti side update Carel - Things going pretty well. The busy season is on in full force. There seems to be a herd scattered around Kogatende, quite large but not moving anywhere it seems. As for the crew and myself, we are doing ok, loving the busy season and lots of "airtime" - Captain Joel

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Millions of wildebeest on the plains of Trans Mara

23 Jul 2014 from Governors' Camp

Carel, Millions of wildebeest on the plains of Trans Mara moving towards Oloololo Gate - Courtesy of Jacob Lelesara, Governors Camp Guide

The wildebeest migration on the plains of the Trans Mara - Image by Jacob Lelesara
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Another beautiful day in the Mara

23 Jul 2014 from Governors' Camp

Another beautiful day in the Mara. The fun kicked off with a morning game drive full of lions and migrating wildebeest - we started off with a group of playful juvenile males and females wandering through the grass, before moving on to a lioness with her three cubs polishing off the remains of a wildebeest kill, although the cubs appeared to be more interested in fighting over the tail than they did in the meal sitting in front of them! We then came VERY close to my first crossing since arriving in the Mara - a seemingly never-ending line of wildebeest strolled towards the river, gathering in an ENORMOUS group right by the water's edge... it seemed certain that a crossing was on the cards - crocs were in position; untouched pastures lay waiting on the other side... but no, not today. A shame, but with so many amazing crossings viewed over the weekend, there had to be a false-starter in the pipeline somewhere... Photo credit - James Townsend Governors Camp

A lion cub with the remains of a wildebeest kill - Image by James Townsend
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Big crossing to the Mara Triangle

22 Jul 2014 from Governors' Camp

Hi Carel Lots of wildebeest on the plains around our camps, big crossing to the Mara Triangle this morning, the last few days we had daily crossings. From Musiara airstrip to Rhino ridge is covered with wildebeest quite a few on paradise plains too, they are moving towards the crossing sites on a daily basis. Images are from Jacob Lelesara Guide Governors Camp Collection, until tomorrow, Ariana

The wildebeest migration heading into the Mara Triangle - Image by Jacob Lelesara
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Plenty of wildebeest and zebra in Naboisho

22 Jul 2014 from Encounter Mara

Morning Carel, there are big crossings of the Sand and Mara rivers. Our guests are having great sightings of lion, cheetah and leopard all taking advantage of the herds, lots of "interaction" big herds / numbers in the reserve now. There are plenty of wildebeest and zebra in Naboisho as well, but not the main bulk yet and because of that, Naboisho is full of elephants getting away from the wildebeest, so a good time to be here, the best of both worlds, keep well Zarek

Wildebeest males rutting - Image by Zarek Cockar

Leopard forced to hunt during the day

21 Jul 2014

Meanwhile in the central Serengeti at Lake Magadi korongo - no 6-month old wildebeest around so leopard forced to hunt during the day - special sighting Mashine, thanks for the picture

A leopard with its latest prey in the Serengeti - Image by Mashine

Good numbers crossed from the Mara Triangle

21 Jul 2014

Front-end, some good numbers crossed from the Mara Triangle into the Musiara marsh area, good news for the marsh pride with their new cubs, so finally the herds are where they should be and right on time. At the Kogatende area things are still busy, some regular crossings at crossing point number 4 in-front of Lemala Mara and 7&8 in-front of Sayari. A little rain in the Mara so the herds should stay there for a while. The new grass expected at Lamai and Kuria (Serengeti) should result in some crossings back and forth in a few weeks from now. See some zebra crossing picture, thank you Ariana at Governors!

Zebra crossing the Mara River - Image by Ariana Grammaticas
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Thousands around the Lookout Hill area

18 Jul 2014 from Governors' Camp

Front-end update - So yesterday there were thousands around the Lookout Hill area and crossing here. They looked to be moving northwards, this morning we saw a very big crossing of wildebeest at the main crossing area on Paradise Plain close to Governors Camp incredible - Jacob Lelesara Governors Camp Guide

Big crossing of wildebeest at the main crossing area - Image by Jacob Lelesara

Good month ahead in the Masai Mara

18 Jul 2014

Some really good crossings the last few days, we have received some good footage from our guides on the ground, thanks Mashine, "clients are happy". I would say that there is a good month ahead in the Masai Mara with some crossings back and forth, there should be some movement from the Mara Triangle towards Musiara Swamp and the Governors Camps area and then further towards the east - the Mara Talek River confluence should be the place to be in a month from now - hope you all get to see them soon! Carel - Discover Africa

The wildebeest migration at the Mara - Talek River confluence - Video by Carel Verhoef
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Many Wildebeest building up near Look Out Hill

15 Jul 2014 from Governors' Camp

Latest migration news from Patrick Reynolds Governors Il Moran Camp Manager "many Wildebeest are building up near Look out hill and on the Burrangat plains, seems a crossing could be eminent on the Talek River. There are the Wildebeest that crossed in late June, some big herds of wildebeest are seen coming in towards the sand river." so a good few weeks ahead and we have 1 or 2 rooms available for your clients Carel. Ariana Governors' Camp Collection

The wildebeest migration at Look Out Hill - Image by Ariana Grammaticas
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A very interesting sighting

14 Jul 2014 from Lemala Camps

Morning Carel - we were near crossing 5 yesterday when a cloud of dust near the river bank attracted me. When I got there I was in time to see the last few wildebeest climbing out the bank from what was a large crossing (pic 259) There were still a few hundred left on the right bank. About 30 seconds later a whole group of younger wildebeest decided to return and we had a very interesting sighting of them hurtling back across the river. Then there was another lull and the remainder crossed onto the left bank - Veronica Lemala Camps

The wildebeest migration crossing the Mara River at crossing point five - Image by Veronica Otter
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Continuing to see big river crossings

14 Jul 2014 from Governors' Camp

Morning Carel We have been continuing to see big river crossings over the last few days, it seems that the big spearhead of wildebeest that came from Serengeti have swung back away from our areas for now towards the Mara Triangle, we have resident wildebeest on the plains. I will send you some photos. We are expecting a good month or two in the Mara! Ariana Governors Camp Collection

The big Mara River crossings have continued - Image by Ariana Grammaticas
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Numerous crossings in the last 10 days

10 Jul 2014 from Lemala Camps

Hi Carel There have been numerous crossings in the last 10 days, mostly all going over to Kenya side. The rain has also not started so the herds are splintering into smaller groups in search of food. There is a large group of about 5000 behind our lodge at the moment and Veronica has the pics. We have a large group of guests arriving on Saturday and I will send the camera along with that and try get shots of actual crossings. Mark - Lemala Kuria Hills

the wildebeest migration going over into the kenyan side
The wildebeest migration going over into the Kenyan side - Image by Mark Stroud

You can easily see 4 to 5 crossings daily

10 Jul 2014

So the crossings on the Serengeti side of the Mara River are in full swing, the back-end is still arriving from all directions and is crossing between crossing points 1 to 4 at Lemala Mara Camp to point number 7 just in front of Sayari Camp. The crossings are back and forth and with the rivers fairly low, are frequent. You can easily see 4 to 5 crossings on a daily bases with good numbers and enough energy for the wildebeest to make the jump.

Crossings on the Serengeti side of the Mara River are in full swing - Image by Carel Verhoef
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Trailing crowd of the migration just off the Kogatende airstrip

08 Jul 2014 from Captain Joel J Fernandes

Hi Carel The trailing crowd of the migration is just off the Kogatende airstrip. We got a couple of photos yesterday from different pilots on the climb out. Have a good day. Joel

The wildebeest migration is close to the Kogatende airstrip - Image by Captain Joel J Fernandes

Wonderful crossings on the Serengeti side

07 Jul 2014

We watched a crossing of a few hours today at the Bologonja Mara River confluence and there are many many more on their way from Lamai to Kuria Hills. Wonderful crossings on the Serengeti side - wow! The water level is fairly low now so easy and many crossings expected the next month - greetings from Lemala Kuria Hills - Carel

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Many were taken by crocodile

04 Jul 2014 from Governors' Camp

Resident wildebeest, zebra and the spearhead of the main group of wildebeest from the migration that came in in the last week of May are going back and forth between the Masai conservation areas and then back towards the Musiara, Marsh, Topi, Rhino Ridge and Bila Shaka grassland plains. Crossings on the Mara River at Paradise have been going on since the last week of the month with estimated of 10-15000 animals at a time, many were taken by crocodile. On the 28th, a good number crossed at the rocky crossing where at least 20 animals died while crossing and this was often the case when the wildebeest all converged on a narrow exit and the exit passage-ways get wet from massing bodies and hoofs. At each crossing up to three animals were being taken by crocodile. On the 30th at 3pm, a large number of wildebeest estimated by guides to be over 20,000 crossed the Mara River at the main crossing point, one was seen taken by crocodile and three were seen floating down. Today there are large numbers on Bilashaka, and the north fan of Rhino Ridge.

Wildebeest migration Mara River crossings at Paradise Plains - Image by Governors Camp

Zebra and wildebeest around Mbuzi Mawe

04 Jul 2014

Back-end update - Zebra and wildebeest around Mbuzi Mawe and Four Seasons moving north slowly as there's plenty of new grass. There are some river crossings happening at Kogatende but will update that tonight when we get there.

Want to know what the Masai Mara sounds like?

02 Jul 2014

Want to know what the Masai Mara sounds like? This 10-hour video meme will make it seem like you're actually there. It's pure relaxation. Enjoy!

Relaxing sounds of the wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara - Video by Carel Verhoef

Back end of the migration has arrived

02 Jul 2014

The back end of the migration has arrived at the Mara River Serengeti side and we have seen some of the first crossings this morning. As they arrive over the next few days will we keep you updated.

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Big increase in sightings in the last 48 hours

01 Jul 2014 from Lemala Camps

The pockets of beasties are gathering along the north bank of the Mara. There has been a big increase in sightings in the last 48 hours. Some guests have witnessed mini crossings of 50 to a couple hundred but always dramatic thanks to the presence of the ever lurking crocs. There have been a few reports of crocs taking wildebeest. A drive along the another section of the river is showing increased presence of crocodiles, maybe they know something. The big herd is still to the south of us but those that snuck across a few weeks ago are coming back and there are a few thousand wildebeest all close to the river at various points waiting to cross. Just got to be at the right place at the right time.

Lodges closest to the herd right now

Guests viewing Elephants in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

3 km

from herd

Wayo Green Camp

$ 326

per person per night

Our walking safari camp is part of the Wayo Africa Walking Safari experience. It is truly one-of-a-kind and is the highlight of many people's safaris. The aim of our camp is to access remote areas in the easiest manner possible while maintaining high levels of comfort. Our camp is designed to fit on a small trailer that can easily be towed in to the bush, allowing for movement as the animals move.

Tents are 3-man dome style tents that are easy to set-up with plenty of floor space for two people. It is great for a good nights rest in a really remote area. Sleeping is on comfy 4-inch mattresses on the ground and the bedding is cotton covered duvets and cotton sheets.

Exterior Mara Engai Wilderness Lodge in Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

8 km

from herd

Mara Engai Wilderness Lodge

$ 734

per person per night

This new and distinctly unique Mara Engai Wilderness Lodge is nestled amongst pristine Kenyan Ravine forest on the Oloololo (Siria) Escarpment.

Overlooking the amazing Masai Mara National Reserve and Wildebeest Migration Route, with around 120km of unbroken views across the vast savannah of the Masai Mara – it is simply breath-taking.

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10 km

from herd

Kimondo Camp

$ 714

per person per night

Like the herds of antelope that have made the Serengeti the most famous wilderness region on earth, Kimondo is a traveller. As the seasons wax and wane so this migration camp crafted of wood and canvas follows the herds on their never-ending journey across the grasslands of East Africa.

From July to October home for Kimondo is near the sinuous Mara River on the famous Lamai Wedge, where massive herds brave the jaws of hungry Nile crocodiles. As winter eases and summer warms the land, the herds move south to calve in the lush grasslands of the southern Serengeti. As the herds move, so does Kimondo, to ensure you’re never far from the heart of the migration.

But unlike the thundering wildebeest, Kimondo – like its sought-after sister-camp Olakira – leaves no footprint behind. Entirely solar-powered, it’s a migration camp that touches the earth lightly while providing authentic luxury on the Serengeti plains. With just eight comfortable tents Kimondo offers an intimate safari experience; a sumptuous taste of how the early explorers discovered the wonders of East Africa.

From rich hand-woven rugs to burnished copper lanterns a sultry mix of Moroccan exoticism and East African safari romance resonates at Kimondo, where king-size cast-iron beds rest under canvas ceilings as the rustle of the savannah lulls you to sleep. Or leave sleep for a while and linger at the fireside, swopping tales of your day in Africa as the embers crackle up towards the Milky Way. Kimondo translates as ‘shooting star’ and in Tanzania’s crystal-clear skies you’ll be sure to see more than a few.

Entim Camp Bedroom in Masai Mara, Kenya

12 km

from herd

Entim Camp

$ 568

per person per night

Situated in the heart of Kenya’s legendary Maasai Mara Game Reserve, near the Mara River, Entim camp is right in the middle of the very best game-viewing areas.

While many other visitors to the Mara will be staying in camps in the surrounding areas and conservancies, at Entim you don't have to drive for hours to get to the wildlife action because you are right there in the middle of it. Nor do you have to be hurried out of the Reserve before gates close at 6.30 pm: at Entim you can continue to witness the wild's most important and dramatic events, which often take place at dusk and dawn. There’s actually no obligation to go out on game drives because you can sit in camp and watch the animals passing by right in front of you.

Cheetah Spotting at Sayari Camp, Serengeti

12 km

from herd

Sayari Camp

$ 753

per person per night

When Sayari Camp opened in 2005 it blazed a trail in Tanzania, allowing safari travellers to access one of the most dramatic and under-explored corners of the northern Serengeti. Today, this upmarket Serengeti lodge is one of the finest in Africa, offering luxurious lodgings in some of the best Big Five countries on the continent.

The remote and starkly beautiful landscape forms the inspiration for Sayari, with the turret-shaped roofs on each of the 15 expansive tented suites mirroring the iconic Turner Hill to the north. Indoors, rich mahogany floors and delicate tones of sand, stone and acacia reflect the views washing in through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

En-suite bathrooms, with spacious showers and egg-shaped baths large enough for two, offer similarly impressive Serengeti views. Fine linens and safari-chic décor offset the wilderness that lies just beyond the canvas walls, with king-size beds and private verandas to complete the world-class experience.