December 2015 - Wildebeest migration updates

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Only one member of the 3G wildebeest left?

30 Dec 2015 from Asilia Africa

Hi HerdTracker, 

Remember the 3G wildebeests we spotted a few days ago? We bumped to one today (Solo) so maybe two of them ended up in a predators belly.

Solo was with his new friends, topis. I hope Solo lives to see the new year.

Regards,
Onesmus
 

- Image by Asilia Africa
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Big herds close to the Kusini Airstrip

Hi HerdTracker,

Some our our drivers reported big herds in Kusini, mainly airstrip area

Regards,
Tom

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Three lone wildebeest spotted in the Mara Reserve

27 Dec 2015 from Asilia Africa

We were amused to see these three wildebeest (nicknamed the 3 G) cutting through the Mara Savannah plains looking a bit nervous and out of place.. They even tried to camouflage themselves with gazelles but they were too big and dark not to be noticed. They could be the only three gnus left in the Mara Reserve after the Serengeti herds went back home and also Loita/Residents went back into the Mara North/Olare Orok and Naboisho conservancies.

Regards,
Onesmus

Three wildebeest try to stay hidden in the Mara Reserve
Three wildebeest try to stay hidden in the Mara Reserve - Image by Onesmus Irungu
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Most of the herds are between Serengeti South and Ndutu

23 Dec 2015 from Captain Joel J Fernandes

Hi 

Most of the herds are between Serengeti South and Ndutu spread thinly over the open plains. 

Thanks and Regards,
Capt. Joel J Fernandes
Coastal Aviation
 

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Zebra and wildebeest have gone back to the conservancies

23 Dec 2015 from Asilia Africa

The Mara has been experiencing good rains for the last six weeks which has lead to swelling of the rivers and luggas, the grass is lush and green with herbivores having an early Christmas.

There are a few topi's still dropping their babies which is abit late since they normally do it in October and November. There are also buffalo's roaming in hundreds and looking fit. The zebra and wildebeest have gone back to the conservancies (east and northern part of the reserve) which is also the maternity/calving zone for the wildebeests (between late Jan-March).

Regards,
Onesmus
 

Topi with it's calf in the Masai Mara
Topi with it's calf in the Masai Mara - Image by Onesmus Irungu
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Herds spread out over the Ndutu Woodlands, as a few early calves arrive

22 Dec 2015 from Ndutu Safari Lodge

The plains are lush with new grass, and wildflowers. The migrating animals are spread out over vast areas, and through all the woodlands. Driving into Ndutu across the plains, through the woodlands, along the lake shores. 

I am reminded of Basil in Faulty Towers: "Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plain." Just a few early calves making an appearance too. The rain continues, although not in the unmanageable deluges of a couple of weeks ago.

- Video by Ainslie Wilson
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Lionesses has two small cubs that are perhaps 10 days old now

18 Dec 2015 from Governors' Camp

After a short rainfall last nigh and a warm night we awoke to a heavy blanket of mist this morning. The Musiara area is looking very green and healthy with many species of wild flowers growing amongst the green grasses.

Marsh pride news: The marsh lion were in the southern grasslands of Bila Shaka and the four females were in the Bila Shaka river bed. One of the lionesses has two small cubs that are perhaps 10 days old now. The BBC have been staying at Governors Camp for the last seven months filming the Marsh Pride and they have named this lioness Berry.

Red and four females were on the open plains south of Bila Shaka and while Charm,Tatu and four sub adults cubs were closer to Topi plains.

There are many Elephant scattered across the open plains, with dominant Musth bulls on the plains. Birding has been great too with Kori Bustards displaying, Grey Kestrels being seen more often, many plover species and water birds in the marsh waterways.

Photos courtesy of Patrick Reynolds, Governors Il Moran Camp Manager.

- Image by Patrick Reynold
- Image by Patrick Reynold
- Image by Patrick Reynold
- Image by Patrick Reynold
- Image by Patrick Reynold
- Image by Patrick Reynold
- Image by Patrick Reynold
- Image by Patrick Reynold
- Image by Patrick Reynold
- Image by Patrick Reynold
- Image by Patrick Reynold
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Migration is spread from Gol Kopies, Naabi heading across to Ndutu

Dear Carel

Jackson our guide returned from a full day game drive advising the migration is spread from Gol Kopies, Naabi heading across to Ndutu.

Kind Regards Alison & Tom

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Lots of rain and marsh pride had killed a large male buffalo south of the Bila Shaka river bed.

14 Dec 2015 from Governors' Camp

A small shower of approximately 16 mm of rain last night kept a blanket of cloud cover over the Mara until 9.30am. The marsh pride had killed a large male buffalo south of the Bila Shaka river bed in the early hours of the morning, all 11 lion had eaten well, this was well deserved meal a great sighting to see all of them participating. Red, Tatu, Sienna's three sub adults and Charm with the five lionesses, there were over 50 spotted Hyena and many Black backed Jackals this morning when the marsh pride was feeding; the Hyena eventually had the remains at 10.00 am.

Large herds of elephant will be seen on the Musiara plains as they move across and through the marsh and into the woodlands, an estimated 100 elephant with many calves were seen this morning. There are large Buffalo herds up on Rhino Ridge and also in the east marsh grasslands. Topi and Cokes hartebeest will be seen in the Bila Shaka plains and also on Topi plains, this month we have been seeing Topi male sparring with one another as they determine their lek properties. Paradise Plains still has longer grass than much of the other open areas within Musiara. A Large Eland bull was seen on Topi plains along with scattered herds of male and female Topi and a few resident Zebra, grass levels on the open plains are improving with showers of rain nearly on a daily basis.

On the west marsh grasslands within the periphery of the riverine woodlands there are many giraffe, Defassa water buck, Olive Baboons, Grants gazelles and impala, Impala are all year breeders young fawns will also be seen in these breeding herds. Two fawns were taken yesterday 10th by male Olive Baboons in the riparian woodlands close to the BBC campsite area.

The small Thompson gazelles will be more favorably seen on the open plains of Bila Shaka and rhino ridge.

Large flocks of open billed storks who are a highly gregarious small Stork, with an unusually-shaped and highly specialized bill will be seen in the centre of the marsh for water levels are higher and also most likely food value is more available, often at midday they can be seen circling high with the thermals. Black necked Herons and Grey herons will also be seen along the verges of the marsh and many other of the stagnant waterways.

Grey Kestrels are being seen widespread, with many termites building up their mounds since the rains these kestrels feed off these working termites.

And to cap it all off our clients had a good sighting of two Aardwolves it appear that it was a mother with a sub adult cub. Aardwolves are not often seen and this is probably one of the better photos seen in recent years.

- Image by Governors Camp
- Image by Governors Camp
- Image by Governors Camp
- Image by Governors Camp
- Image by Governors Camp
- Image by Governors Camp
- Image by Governors Camp
- Image by Governors Camp
- Image by Governors Camp
- Image by Governors Camp
- Image by Governors Camp
- Image by Governors Camp
- Image by Governors Camp
- Image by Governors Camp
- Image by Governors Camp
- Image by Governors Camp
- Image by Governors Camp
- Image by Governors Camp
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Two of Selinda Reserve’s pride males crossing a channel.

14 Dec 2015 from Great Plains Conservation

Two of Selinda Reserve's pride males crossing a channel. These two are powerful and have a close bond. It's always a treat seeing them.

- Image by Great Plains Conservation
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Migration all over the southern plains, from Kakessio in the south, to twin hills and Ndutu itself

08 Dec 2015 from Ndutu Safari Lodge

Morning Carel

Wildebeest all over the plains, they are certainly gettng denser each day, we have had reports from our guides that there are many towards twin hills (Matiti) and then also south of us towards Alex's Serengeti South Camp Kakessio area.  It seems the herds are here early for a reason, to give birth, so we are expecting the early calves to arrive late December and January this year!  All in all, it is great to see the Serengeti so beautiful and green, what a time to be here and experience this all with not many people around!

Keep well

Ainslie Wilson, Ndutu Safari Lodge

- Video by Ainslie Wilson

Marsh pride of lions poisoned, sad day for the Mara Reserve and surrounding conservancies

07 Dec 2015

It is with sadness that we can confirm that some of the lions we spend time with last October during our #MaraLive broadcast are now dead, poisoned by cattle herders aparently taking refenge on cattle being killed by lions recently.  How ficcle the relatioship between cattle herders and conservationists.  If we cannot look after The Marsh Pride how will we look after lions that are in remote areas and who are not famous?  

- Image by Mark MacEwen

Herds as far south as Alex Walker’s Serengeti South Camp, Kakessio

07 Dec 2015

Morning

The Serengeti is green all over and wonderful to see new cubs, pups, calves and the plains are alive with life!  The herds are a little scattered all over with so much water available but some good numberds arrived at Alex Walker's Seregneti South Camp, so if you are close then the next few weeks at least are looking hard to resist at both Kusini and Kekessio.  Lakes Ndutu and Masek still have some herds around with hidden valley and the marshes good areas.  With so much good nutrition and grass around do we expect the calving season the start a little early this year, so if you have tome off during January or even end december then make use of the southern plains, a wonderful timew to be there!

Carel Verhoef, HerdTracker

- Image by HerdTracker
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Mobile camps open early at Ndutu with the calving season to start any week now

07 Dec 2015 from Wild Frontiers

Morning Carel

We are opening a week early at Ndutu, so Ndutu Wilderness Camp will open on the 9th of December 2015 instead of the 15th as scheduled, so we have an extra week of availability.  As you know the southern plains are where you are suppose to eb right now!  See you soon

 

John Addison

Safari Collection, Wild Frontiers

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Excellent big cat sightings in the Mara Reserve

07 Dec 2015 from Asilia Africa

Hi Carel, I only saw a few zebras roaming within the reserve, however we've had very good cat sightings, especially cheetahs with cubs and lionesses with newborns. Interesting weather earlier today, fog and mist across the savannah. Regards, Onesmus

Mist in the Mara Reserve
Mist in the Mara Reserve - Image by Onesmus Irungu
Lion in the Masai Mara
Lion in the Masai Mara - Image by Onesmus Irungu
Lioness with her cubs in the Masai Mara
Lioness with her cubs in the Masai Mara - Image by Onesmus Irungu
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The plains between Naabi, Hidden Valley and Ndutu are covered with wildebeest

04 Dec 2015 from Ndutu Safari Lodge

Hi Carel,

It's hard to say exactly where the wildebeest are, as they are everywhere!  Driving through the woodlands and anywhere out on the plains, they are everywhere but really spread out.

The plains between Naabi, Hidden Valley and Ndutu are covered with wildebeest and the valleys surrounding the marsh areas are full. Unconfirmed reports of large numbers up round Barafu and Gol Kopjes and right out to Kakesio and Kusini. 

It's difficult to get a good photo on a flat plain to show the scale of the numbers, so, instead, a photo of the rain clouds, continually dumping rain all around the area.

Cheers
Ainslie

Rain clouds in Ndutu
Rain clouds in Ndutu - Image by Ainslie Wilson
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The herds are between Naabi and Ndutu

01 Dec 2015 from Captain Joel J Fernandes

Hi Carel,

The herds have moved quite far south now, with herds between Naabi and Ndutu. Unfortunately, no images or video at this moment in time. 

Thanks and regards,
Joel J Fernandes
Coastal Aviation, Arusha
 

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.