January 2015 - Wildebeest migration updates

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The birth of a new wildebeest calf - wonderful footage

29 Jan 2015 from Alex Walker's Serian

Hi Carel,

Wonderful sights all round, the calving season in full swing, this particular birth was with us on the Masai Mara side of the Serengeti/Mara ecosystem. More updates to follow.

Keep well,

Wildebeest birth - Video by William Kasale
Wildebeest birth - Video by William Kasale
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Long lines of dust heading towards Maswa

29 Jan 2015 from Nomad Tanzania

Hi there Carel,

Nomad guide Ian Kiwelu has been out for a full day today and has seen big herds heading towards Maswa. He says there’s no sign of rain and it’s pretty dusty around there at the moment.

More to come later,

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Plains are drying out, herds on the move

29 Jan 2015 from Ndutu Safari Lodge

Good Morning Carel,

There has been no rain here for nearly three weeks now so most of the migration has moved off towards Maswa, Makao direction. Reports indicate that there are a lot of wildies still out on the Makao plains, with a lot of cheetah sightings and action out there, and also long lines heading into Maswa.

Here at Ndutu we still have pockets of wildebeest with their calves, in the woodlands but nothing of any significance.

All the best,

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Don’t be alarmed, there’s still some good numbers at Ndutu

28 Jan 2015 from Lemala Camps

Hi Carel,

I have a report from our camp manager at Lemala Ndutu saying that there are big numbers around Ndutu area at the moment which the guests are enjoying. They are also witnessing a number of births and many calves are being seen. 

Here are a few photos which he has sent to me.

Best wishes, 

Wildebeest in Ndutu - Image by Tom Yule
Wildebeest at a waterhole in Ndutu - Image by Tom Yule
There are still big wildebeest numbers in Ndutu - Image by Tom Yule
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It’s all happening at Kusini towards the west and Alamana to the east

27 Jan 2015 from Wildlife Explorer

Hi Carel

Just to let you know there is a lot of birthing going on around our camp at The Alamana, the little ones are getting mobile. These photos just in. 

The bulk of the herds are towards Kusini and Maswa though. Hope you also got the photos from Gary, taken at our Kusini camp?


Last year's wildebeest calves - Image by Lois Blalock
Migration on the move - Image by Lois Blalock
Things are drying out in the Serengeti - Image by Lois Blalock
Migration heading west soon - Image by Lois Blalock
Newborn wildebeest calves - Image by Lois Blalock
Wildebeest calf takes its first steps - Image by Lois Blalock
Survived my first day in the Serengeti - Image by Lois Blalock
Wildebeest migration close to Alamana - Image by Lois Blalock
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It is drying out and the herds are moving west towards the Maswa treeline

27 Jan 2015 from Alex Walker's Serian

Morning Carel,

Just a quick update, dry days, some good numbers heading west into Maswa and the area south west of Kusini. Will try and keep in touch.


Wildebeest migration heading west - Image by Alex Walker
Wildebeest herds on the move - Image by Alex Walker
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Some big numbers at Kusini and some more rain

23 Jan 2015 from Wildlife Explorer

Hi Carel,

Yesterday we had a super-herd file into the area in front of the Dulana Serengeti Camp staying for the whole day, evening and moving out east during the night time rain.

This morning we are left with a few thousand enjoying the refreshed grass in front of camp, whilst the main grouping is massed a kilometre away mostly on the Serengeti side of the boundary between the Ndutu woodlands and Kusini.

Its worth noting that a large calving group has been in residence at The Alamana in the Loliondo Game Conservancy Area for the past two weeks and have been consistently dropping calves as large build ups of rain have been consistent. Cumulus, blue skies and great game viewing!

Wildlife Explorer

- Image by Gary Strand
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The first few almost steps of our 2015 new arrivals

22 Jan 2015 from Lemala Camps

Morning Carel,

Some good numbers around the Ndutu marshes and Hidden Valley with some of the bigger herds having moved towards the south-west of Ndutu.

Some sunshine over the last week or so, plenty of new arrivals and very good predator interaction on the plains. Enjoy the snippet of the first few almost steps of a new wildebeest calf.

Keep well,

The bigger herds have moved towards the south-west of Ndutu - Image by Veronica Otter
good-numbers-around-the ndutu-marshes
Good numbers around the Ndutu marshes - Image by Veronica Otter
Wildebeest calf walking for the first time - Video by Veronica Otter
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Wildebeest moved towards Kusini south west of Ndutu with zebra close to the lakes

20 Jan 2015 from Ndutu Safari Lodge

Hello Carel,

Although most of the large numbers of wildebeest seem to be out Makao direction, there are still good numbers around the woodlands of Ndutu, mixed in with good numbers of zebra.

Our resident leopards are seen most days at the moment, and lots of cheetah with cubs and the large herd of elephant are at the gravel pond most afternoons for a swim. Last night we had a small amount of rain, much needed, and will hopefully develop into more.

All the best,

- Video by Ainslie Wilson Ndutu Safari Lodge
- Video by Ainslie Wilson Ndutu Safari Lodge
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Very good numbers south west of Ndutu towards Kimuma Hill

20 Jan 2015 from Alex Walker's Serian

Morning Carel,

Nice big herds all south west of Ndutu Makau road. Babies galore, lots of cheetah action on the plains. 

The largest concentrations are here around Serengeti South and Kimuma hill. Probably amounting to a hundred thousand. Images to follow.  

Keep well,

Calving season in full swing

19 Jan 2015

It seems that we are having a wonderful calving season at Ndutu and the surrounding plains, all the way from Kusini through to Ndutu and Masek, to Olduvai and beyond to Piyaya and Gol Kopjes. 

With enough rain and good new grass do we expect the herds to be stationary for the next month or so with little movement other than the odd new born stretching their new legs. Cheetah, lion and a like are all having a feast of a time and most people would have timed their visit to the southern plains well with a few departures into late March probably a little late this year.

Wonderful video shared by Alex Walker and his team. Thanks Alex!

Art Wolfe East Africa Daily Journal 3: The Serengeti - Video by Art Wolfe
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Some movement towards the west and wonderful sightings

16 Jan 2015 from Alex Walker's Serian

Hi Carel,

The herds are headed westward towards the tree line. Despite there being plentiful water on the open plains, not all the herds are birthing as yet so we should have a good February as usual. But it is happening.

In the south the herds are headed towards camp and Kimuma having spent the past few days in Kusini. The woodlands of Ndutu are full of Zebra.


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The first calves have arrived

16 Jan 2015 from Ndutu Safari Lodge

Morning Carel,

Caracal Plateau, Kusini and Makao Plains full. Babies popping out left right and centre too. Wonderful to drive into the middle, switch off the engine and just listen.


Newborn wildebeest calves at Ndutu - Image by Ainslie Wilson
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Lake Ndutu crossing with calving season in full swing

15 Jan 2015 from Ndutu Safari Lodge

Hi Carel,

This afternoon we heard a large lake crossing and soon after hundreds of wildebeest streamed past the lodge. I climbed onto the roof of my house to record this. Spot the new calf. They soon settled down and grazed quietly round the rooms.

All the best,

From the roof of my house at Ndutu Safari Lodge - Video by Ainslie Wilson
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The herds have filled the southern plains from east to west

14 Jan 2015 from Captain Joel J Fernandes

Hey Carel,

It has been a bit busy only for a couple of days. The migration has been in the Ndutu area and calving season has been in full swing. We got a couple of pics from the air. Hope they are good enough. The migration has been scattered for miles to the east and west of the Ndutu airstrip.

The rains have been calming down a bit.

Thanks and Regards,
Capt. Joel J Fernandes 

Wildebeest migration in Ndutu - Image by Capt. Joel J Fernandes
Aerial view of the great migration - Image by Capt. Joel J Fernandes
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Herds are around lakes Ndutu and Masek towards Hidden Valley and the marshes

13 Jan 2015 from Lewis Mangaba

Morning Carel,

The rains are patchy in the Ndutu area and there is a lot of movement with wildebeest herds following the front. They are moving between lake Ndutu and the small and big marsh. They have been a shift towards Miti Mitatu and the Hidden Valley with the herds following the lush green grass.

Keep well,

Wildebeest herds in Ndutu - Image by Lewis Mangaba
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It is wet in the Serengeti, and a beautiful time to be at Ndutu

12 Jan 2015 from Ndutu Safari Lodge

Hi Carel,

Lots of rain and lots of mud and lots of wildebeest, so many in fact they are literally on my doorstep. The wildebeest all spread out through the valleys, plains, woodland and marsh areas.

Within one valley yesterday were a pride of lions, a cheetah with 3 cubs large numbers of wildebeest and giraffe and amazingly, wild dogs too. This is not a bad place to come on safari.

All the best,

It's wet in the Serengeti - Image by Ainslie Wilson
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The herds are between Lake Ndutu and Matiti Hill - some groups at Piyaya towards the east

12 Jan 2015 from Lewis Mangaba

Hi Carel, 

I just came from Ndutu. It is raining and the area is teeming with wildebeest and zebras. The herds had been around Lake ndutu through to small and big marsh heading towards Miti Mitatu and the Hidden Valley.

Great lion, hyena and cheetah sightings following the herds with some kills executed during the day.

Best Regards,

Herds between Lake Ndutu and Matiti Hill - Image by Lewis Mangaba
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Wildebeest Victory at Sala’s Camp Masai Mara

09 Jan 2015 from The Safari Collection

Morning Carel,

The Loita and resident herds are still around and we have had some good numbers on the Meta plains. This funny video was filmed by one of our clients of a young male lion learning his trade - he seems to have a long way to go. We forget that cats are grown-up after only a year but that they still lack confidence, needed for survival outside of dad's pride.

We look forward to the return of the Serengeti herds a little later!

Keep well,
Tash Clementis,
The Safari Collection

- Video by Dixit Family visiting Sala's camp
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Wild dogs having a field day at Ndutu - easy pickings

07 Jan 2015 from Nomad Tanzania

Hi Carel,

These images of 9 wild dogs on a kill in the middle of Ndutu were just sent in by Nomad Tanzania guide Kennedy John. So it’s not all about the wildebeest this week! 

Warm wishes,

Wild dogs surround a kill - Image by Kennedy John
Wild dogs in Ndutu - Image by Kennedy John
Protecting the kill - Image by Kennedy John
Pack of wild dogs - Image by Kennedy John
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Rain rain and more rain - herds spread out all over the southern plains

05 Jan 2015 from Alex Walker's Serian

Morning Carel,

Rain everyday for the last 10 days and the herds are spread out from Kakesio as far as Nasera Rock and the plains beyond.

We have seen several newborn babies over the past two days, the first on 1 January 2015!

Keep well,

Flooded path in the southern Serengeti - Image by Alex Walker
Cloudy Serengeti skies - Image by Alex Walker
No way through - Image by Alex Walker
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Migration update from Serengeti Balloon Safaris flying over the plains south of Naabi Gate

05 Jan 2015 from Serengeti Balloon Safaris

Morning Carel,

We had a wonderful flight in Serengeti South this morning with two balloons MXC and MWD with Shawn and Moses as pilots respectively.

Flight duration was 1.1 hours with wildlife sighting including thousands of wildebeest, hyena, large herds of eland, black backed and golden jackal, ostrich and tawny eagle among others.

The entire Serengeti Balloon Safaris experience was enjoyed by all!

Balloon safari over Ndutu - Video by Amanda Strowbridge
Balloon safari over Ndutu - Video by Amanda Strowbridge

Lodges closest to the herd right now

Guests viewing Elephants in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

2 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.

Cheetah Spotting at Sayari Camp, Serengeti

3 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.

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3 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.

Lamai Serengeti Balcony View in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

8 km

from herd

Lamai Serengeti

$ 725

per person per night

Lamai Serengeti sits tucked amongst the rocks of Kogakuria Kopje with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, only a few miles from where the wildebeest cross the Mara River.  For roughly a quarter of the year, between late July and October, this is where you'll find the migration. Right here, on our doorstep! For the rest of the year, it is wild Serengeti with all the resident game of the Masai Mara but without the people.

Each of the rooms is designed to fit into the complex geometry of the kopje and to make the most of this sensational location,  its views and its natural space and light. The rooms are a blend of canvas, plaster and natural poles.

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.