October 2014 - Wildebeest migration updates

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Migration is just south of Seronera

31 Oct 2014 from Captain Joel J Fernandes

Hi Carel Sorry for the late reply, been in Mozambique with some sketchy wifi. At the moment, the team says, the migration is just South of Seronera, not really making missions in any direction really. The rains have been quite plentiful the past couple of weeks and rather evenly spread across the Serengeti, this should slow down the general movement towards Ndutu and will certainly break up the mega-herds into smaller ones. Some have moved down via Fort Ikoma and the west, others straight down the center of the Serengeti via Sero and the Four Seasons area and the bulk via the more traditional eastern route of Lobo and Loliondo, Turner Spring and Barafu and Masai Kopjes. Simba Kopjes is where they are at the moment. Keep well and talk soon! Capt Joel

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They are all in Central Serengeti now

30 Oct 2014 from Alex Walker's Serian

Dear Carel - There have been no crossings of the Mara the last couple of days and very around Kogatende, Lamai Wedge and Nyamalumbwa, they are all in Central Serengeti now. Here in Mara North Conservancy we still have the Loita herds hanging around. We have had no rain, but build ups are starting so it will probably keep them here for a while. One of our guides was down in the Loita’s not so long ago and there is no grass that way so that is probably why they continue to hang out here. Keep well Roisin and Belinda

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Small scattered herds between Sero and Pioneer Camp

Morning Carel Update on migration: Heavy rain yesterday afternoon - 75mm in 2 hours at Serengeti Pioneer Camp Wildebeest - small herd of approx 50 in front of Serengeti Pioneer Camp heading to Moru Kopjes this morning. Otherwise very small scattered herds between Sero and Pioneer Camp. North of Sero to Four Seasons Turn off on the main road, large herds of wildebeest, approximately 1 km either side of the main road. We will sort out some photos in the next couple of days... Kind Regards Alison

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Herds could arrive early at Ndutu

29 Oct 2014 from Lemala Camps

Morning Carel, we drove to Seronera from Kuria and we bumped into the herds as they are moving south from Bolagonja to Mbuzi Mawe and Four Seasons areas, there seems to be herds spread out from Moru in the south west to Barafu and Masai kopjes in the east and into Loliondo to the east of the Serengeti, it seems that there might be some of the herds going through to Piyaya to the south-east of the Serengeti on the NCA border. It seems that the herds could again be at Ndutu early this year. Keep well Veronica, Lemala Camps

Wildebeest migration heading to Lobo - Video by Lemala Camps
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Wildebeest enjoying the fresh grass

27 Oct 2014 from Four Seasons Safari Lodge

Hi Carel more showers here at Four Seasons Safari Lodge each evening, resulting in beautiful sunsets and it's really starting to green up. On the drive to Seronera today I drove through many scattered herds of 100+ wildebeest enjoying the fresh grass all over. Frankfurt Zoological Society staff and TAWIRI researchers reported that the area around Barafu is thick with wildebeest, with huge numbers enjoying the fresh grass there too... so they should be in the NCA soon. Cheers Oli

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Rain is drawing the wildebeest south

23 Oct 2014 from Four Seasons Safari Lodge

Hi Carel We have been having showers at Four Seasons the past few evenings and a large amount of rain last night. Small herds of 50 to 100 wildebeest have started appearing within view of the lodge and along our access and game drive roads the past few days, as the grass turns green again. I know that they have had good rains in Seronera too the past few weeks, with large herds in the thousands being seen to the delight of many of our guests. Seems like the rain is drawing the wildebeest south. Cheers Oli

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Lots of rain around

22 Oct 2014 from Ndutu Safari Lodge

Hope all is well. Lots of rain around, Gol, Seronera, Naabi, Hidden Valley, Moru and Ndutu. There are lots of gazelle now around Naabi and south towards Ndutu. Many zebra and large herds of wildebeest have advanced past Seronera onto the short grass that was burnt earlier in the year around Simba Kopjes and is now sprouting green. No wildebeest currently at Ndutu area but with the ongoing rain forecast I would not be surprised if some herds keep advancing south. Cheers, Rob Barbour

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Thousands of wildebeest in their lines moving south

20 Oct 2014 from Lemala Camps

Hi Carel. There has been no river crossing activity for the past 4 days now so we suspect it mostly over. I went out early this morning and did see an incredible sight of thousands of wildebeest in their lines moving south into the Kitchwa Temba area which, if they keep that line will bring them into the Lobo area. I have taken some video footage which I have dropped into Veronicas drop box and she can pass that on for you. I have also attached a photo. The picture can never match the reality but it does give a taste of the splendor. Unless something happens like they turn around and come back I am afraid that there will not be much more we can offer you from up here. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this and I look forward to renewing the relationship next season, better equipped and organized to help with Herd Tracker Kind regards' Mark

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Wildebeest migration heading towards the Kichwa Tembo area - Image by Mark Stroud
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Heavy rain at Serengeti Pioneer Camp

Hi Carel Heavy rain in the afternoon / early evening at Serengeti Pioneer Camp for the last 2 days. This morning approx 100 wildebeest rang through the camp past all the tents. Currently around Serengeti Pioneer Camp 500 wildebeest. Wildebeest are scattered covering the areas of Moru Kopjes, Pioneer Camp, to Sopa Lodge and spreading across to Lake Magadi - 4,000-5,000 in total Kind Regards Alison

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Middle spread through central Serengeti

15 Oct 2014 from Captain Joel J Fernandes

Hi Carel Morning Carel, sorry for the delayed response. The team say a few pioneers have hit Ndutu already and the middle is spread through the central Serengeti miles and miles in every direction. The trail-enders are as far up as 30nm north of Sero. No pics unfortunately at the moment as the weather has been quite interesting in these parts. We should have pictures soon though. Thanks and Regards, Joel

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Some of the wildebeest were crossing Lake Magadi!

The wildebeest have moved more to the south of Seronera. When driving from Sero to Pioneer camp, lots of pockets of wildebeest and zebra ranging from groups of 500 to 1000 all the way down to the Sopa/Magadi junction. Morning Carel - About 500 wildebeest around Dunia camp and lots of zebra and wildebeest around Moru. Groups of 1000 to 2000. Today some of the wildebeest were crossing Lake Magadi! When driving the Alan root road in front of Pioneer camp towards Asanje crossing, saw small groups of 500 to 1000, mainly scattered. Here is a picture taken from that road with Moru kopjes in the background. Regards Tom - Elewana Pioneer Camp Manager

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Wildebeest migration close to Elewana's Serengeti Pioneer Camp - Image by Elewana Collection
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Thousands of wildebeest grazing on the lush grass

14 Oct 2014 from Great Plains Conservation

Morning Carel, The Loita herds have been on the plains right in front of camp for the past 2 days. Thousands of wildebeest grazing on the lush green grass. They seem to be happy here for now but “talk” is that they might start heading back south in a couple days. Attached a cool picture of the wildebeest in sunset. Picture taken from camp! Regards, Amy

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Wildebeest grazing while the sun sets in front of the Mara Plains Camp - Image by Mara Plains Camp
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Crossing of 300 animals at number 7

14 Oct 2014 from Lemala Camps

Morning Carel I spoke to some guests last night who saw a crossing yesterday at Number 7 of around 300 animals. Our guys out full day today so another report tonight. Regards Mark

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Lots of wildebeest at Seronera

13 Oct 2014 from Asilia Africa

Hi Carel - news from the central Serengeti Lots of wildebeest at Seronera, some are at Moru Kopjes heading south. Thanks, Nathoo, Asilia Africa Guide

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Scattered crossings up to 50 on the Serengeti side

13 Oct 2014 from Alex Walker's Serian

Morning Carel, scattered crossings up to 50 or so on the Serengeti side, the bulk seems to be further south, the past week has been dry and it started raining again last night in the north. If the pattern matches last year, significant herds will turn back north for a month or so. Keep well, Alex.

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Wildebeest crossing the Mara River - Image by Alex Walker
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Marsh pride took one Zebra down last night

10 Oct 2014 from Governors' Camp

Hi Carel - A few days ago on the 6th,7th and 8th there were groups of Zebra that crossed the Mara river at paradise coming into the Musiara areas. One particular crossing there was a lot of crocodile activity with three Zebra being taken at once. I spoke with some rangers in the Trans Mara conservancy and that there are a few Wildebeest in pockets west of Serena towards the Tanzanian border. There are still large herds of Zebra that look like filing down towards the river via the Serena area Those few Zebra perhaps an estimated 500 that crossed are in the Bila Shaka, north Rhino Ridge plains and Musiara plains. The Marsh pride took one Zebra down last night. Patrick Reynolds Governor's Camp

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Some movement back into the Mara

09 Oct 2014 from Lemala Camps

Hi Carel, the crossings your clients had the privilege of seeing at no 7, things are still green and plenty of water and grazing so the herds are a little scattered at the moment, some movement back into the Mara but nothing significant. (Image Credit, Mark Lemala Kuria Hills Manager)

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Serengeti migration crossing the Mara River - Image by Mark Stroud
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Fewer and fewer wildebeest crossings

07 Oct 2014 from Asilia Africa

Hie Carel There have been fewer and fewer wildebeest crossing with also numbers slowly decreasing. Some herds crossed this morning at no 10. An estimate of 150-200 wildebeest.No rains since yesterday and the water quickly disappearing from natural waterholes. Best Regards Lewis Asilia Africa Headguide

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Wildebeest making it across the Mara River - Image by Lewis Mangaba
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Gathering at Makutano

07 Oct 2014 from Lemala Camps

Hi Carel, there was a small crossing, in that the beasts started to cross, but then the vulture activity on the far bank scared the remainder and the crossing stopped. The wildebeest then gathered for a few hours and around 16:30 they crossed. It was large and was about 45 min. We worked magic and your clients, Alex and partner, were there to see it so lovely timing. I don't have pics of the big crossing because Tabby had to leave before they crossed. I can also inform you that right now there is another gathering of them at Makutano. Regards Veronica

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Small wildebeest migration crossing at Lemala - Image by Lemala Camps
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Plenty of action

06 Oct 2014 from Alex Walker's Serian

Carel, the zebra crossed at Fumbi Fumbi crossing point close to the main Serena crossing point, the Zebra were heading north into the Mara reserve, 4 Zebra killed so plenty of action. More pictures later - Keep well, Alex.

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Zebra walking across the Mara River at the Fumbi Fumbi crossing point - Image by Alex Walker
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Massive crossing again towards the south

06 Oct 2014 from Alex Walker's Serian

Carel, just the crossing at no 3, massive crossing again towards the south, our clients really enjoyed this one - Alex

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Wildebeest entering the Mara River at crossing point three - Image by Alex Walker
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Plenty of crossings over the weekend

06 Oct 2014 from Alex Walker's Serian

Morning Carel, plenty of crossings over the weekend all heading south, we had some huge herds crossing at no 8, 3 and 7 on the Serengeti side and then then a few crossed just south of Serena on the Mara. so a wonderful week. The Mara is extremely wet and lots of rain. I will keep you up to date with what is happening in the next few days. Keep well, Alex

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Huge wildebeest herds at crossing point eight, three and seven - Image by Alex Walker
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The first wildebeest are back at Ndutu!

06 Oct 2014 from Ndutu Safari Lodge

Good Morning Carel Very pleased to inform you that the first wildebeest are back at Ndutu!! We found a group of about 250 in small marsh woodland, and approx 80 at Long gully. Although we have had some good rain, there is still nothing to eat here, so I think they will head back towards Hidden Valley and beyond for a while yet. The 12 lions of Marsh Pride were following the large herd very determinedly! Have a good day Ainslie

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Wildebeest migration arrives in Ndutu - Image by Ainslie Wilson
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More urgency towards the south

05 Oct 2014 from Asilia Africa

Afternoon Carel. Huge herds of Wildebeest and Zebra crossed at no 7 this morning(Photo Credit-Oredi Nondo).they were heading south. We received 55 mm of rain yesterday afternoon and it seems that it has sparked more urgency towards the south. As I was flying across the southern plains from Arusha, I saw a few herds already arriving at Seronera as seen from the plane.There is huge herd of Wildebeest at Makutano and our guides are anticipating that the herds might cross this afternoon. Best Regards Lewis

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Huge wildebeest herds crossing the Mara River - Image by Oredi Nondo
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All the movement in the Mara is southbound

05 Oct 2014 from Alex Walker's Serian

Morning Carel, Andrew Brown (image credit) took this picture at number 7, 5000 or so crossed heading southwards. All the movement in the Mara is southbound despite all the rain and the Loita herds are still fairly stationary in Mara North Conservancy enjoying the new growth. Lovely to be here, keep well - Alex

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Wildebeest migration crossing the Mara River at crossing point seven - Image by Andrew Brown
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The trailing end are at Kogatende airstrip

04 Oct 2014 from Captain Joel J Fernandes

Morning Carel, I've been back for 2 days now and you won't believe the coincidence but I was planning to mail you right now. So, they are everywhere. The trailing end are at Kogatende airstrip and the leaders just went past Seronera. They are tonnes at Lobo and Fort Ikoma. I can't believe it but these are what I saw personally in the 2 days of flying!!!‎ So good to be back. Pics attached. Have a good one, Capt Joel

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The trailing end of the wildebeest migration is at Kogatende airstrip - Image by Captain Joel J Fernandes
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Loita herds still at Olare

03 Oct 2014 from Alex Walker's Serian

Hi Carel - more crossings today from Lamai southbound across at no 3 and Makutano. Loita herds still at Olare and Mara North all spread out grazing. Image is of the crossing at no 7 yesterday. Keep well and more when we get feedback from the Mara and Mara Triangle. Alex

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The migratory herds crossing the Mara River at crossing point seven - Image by Alex Walker

Lots of rain

03 Oct 2014

Lots of rain, all the way from Mara North and Olare Motorogi to Kogatende, Bologonja, Lobo and even Seronera onwards to Moru Kusini and Ndutu, this would make for an interesting few months ahead where we could see some of the front-end make a dash for it to the southern plains and or the back-end even staying on the Masai Mara side a little longer. The Loita herds are lingering around Mara North and Motorogi so they have been around since June. Thanks Ariana and Patrick from Governor's Camp that sent through a wonderful map of the Mara crossing points - watch out for the second version of HerdTracker to be launched soon with more detail and last minute availability - Carel

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A map of the Mara River crossing points - Image by Ariana Grammaticas
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Loita herds are still scattered all over Mara North

02 Oct 2014 from Alex Walker's Serian

Carel, just an image of the Mara River water-level, it will make for interesting crossings. The Loita herds are still scattered all over Mara North. Our Lamai Camp will move south to Kusini late October and our main camp will only move mid November, you never know, I have seen the herds turn around for 1 last visit of the Mara but we will be setup in the south by mid December. Keep well, Alex

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The Mara River water levels are high - Image by Alex Walker
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Five thousand wildebeest crossed this morning

02 Oct 2014 from Alex Walker's Serian

Hi Carel - a quick update from the Serengeti side, sizable herds are headed south through the Lamai. 5 thousand crossed this morning around no 3 just west of camp heading south. Heavy rain in the Mara has filled the Mara River, it looks like there are more heading our way during the afternoon. Keep well Alex

the-serengeti-wildebeest-migration-crossing-the-mara-river
The Serengeti wildebeest migration crossing the Mara River - Image by Alex Walker
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Wildebeest moving out of Musiara and Bila Shaka

02 Oct 2014 from Governors' Camp

Hi Carel - In the last few days there has been quite a lot of rain with 28th receiving 38 mm and the 29th receiving 30 mm. Many Wildebeest starting moving out of the Musiara and Bila Shaka areas as of the 28th of September. Large numbers congregated around the bottom end of Bila Shaka and on Rhino ridge, this morning the grassland plains of Bila Shaka, Musiara and Marsh were empty with large numbers of them on Paradise plains, The grass here is a little longer and also supports the two large herds of Buffalo which have moved out of Bila Shaka due to the many wildebeest that were in residence. Keep well Ariana Governors Camp Collection

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The wildebeest migration congregating at Rhino Ridge - Image by Ariana Grammaticas
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Herds moving south down towards Olkiombo

01 Oct 2014 from Great Plains Conservation

Hi Carel - On the 28th & 29th we had some big rain after which the herds around camp were in their thousands, all the way from Musiara to the northern side of rhino ridge and into Olare Motorogi Conservancy. Yesterday, coming from Olkiombo, they were still up on rhino ridge all the way to the Ntiakitiak River, we still have a large number on the plains in front of camp. The herds do seem to be moving south down towards Olkiombo. Regards Shaun - Mara Plains Camp Manager

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Heavy rain falls as the wildebeest migration starts heading south - Image by Shaun Mousley
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Good rain in the Southern Serengeti

01 Oct 2014 from Lemala Camps

Hi Carel, the crossing at no3 of earlier, lots of thunderstorms and weather around, reports of good rain in the southern Serengeti too so I think this would be the push towards the south for this year. There should be more coming from the Mara triangle side. Your guests should be right on time arriving on the 4th. Keep well, Veronica (video credit @lemala1 Kuria Hills Guide Freddy)

Wildebeest migration crossing the Mara River at crossing point three - Video by Freddy - Lemala Kuria Hills Guide

Lodges closest to the herd right now

Watching an Elephant on an African game drive safari at the Masai Mara, Kenya

1 km

from herd

Ngare Serian

$ 640

per person per night

This refuge of serenity may not suit those who seek a tame, barren surroundings Rather, it fits the more audacious voyager who seeks out safari's real character. Because of its intimate and select character, Ngare Serian is suited to being set aside in its entirety for family gatherings or close friends on a private basis. Each of the four, tented suites stands on a rich hard wood deck, sat above the burbling Mara river deep in the North Mara Reserve.

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.

Guests having a Bush Meal at Karen Blixen Camp

3 km

from herd

Karen Blixen Camp

$ 502

per person per night

Karen Blixen Camp is an eco-friendly luxury camp that gives a sense of the exiting explorer days when the savannah was seldom visited and elaborate and comfortable camps were set up providing a luxurious and stylish retreat after each day’s adventure.

Karen Blixen Camp comprises 22 large luxury canvas tents each placed with an undisturbed view along the Mara River. The stylish restaurant, the reception, the lounge and bar and the gift shop with internet are set on a raised wooden deck and furnished with accurate reproductions of Karen Blixen’s private furniture to fit in with the cozy atmosphere. The beautifully laid swimming pool offers relaxation and even a little exercise in-between game drives.

Karen Blixen Camp is the perfect place to sit back and relax with a gin and tonic overlooking the Mara River and the wildlife coming to drink, whilst exchanging stories about the adventures of the day.

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5 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.

Cheetah Spotting at Sayari Camp, Serengeti

7 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.