Every year, roughly three million plains game traverse the Serengeti in the Great Migration; a spectacular wildlife phenomenon that is affectionately known as the Greatest Show on Earth. The animals typically arrive in Singita Grumeti around May, as the herds move northwest towards Kenya.
Recent reports from the area indicate a very early migration, as a portion of the wildebeest, zebra and antelope has already arrived. Large herds of wildebeest were first spotted crossing the Grumeti River onto the property last week, and were initially thought to be “strays” who had broken away from the bulk. It only took a few short days however, with thousands more pouring in, for the plains of Sasakwa and Nyati to be overrun by close to 100 000 wildebeest.
Adding to the fun are the younger calves traipsing alongside their mothers. These calves would usually already be three months old by the time they reached these parts of the Serengeti, as the animals spend the first months of the year on the short grass plains of the southeastern part of the ecosystem where they birth their young.
It is speculated that the early migration can be attributed to the dry weather experienced in the southern and central Serengeti this year. The herds have been forced to travel two months ahead of schedule, in order to find fresh grazing – a clear sign of their agility in reacting to environmental conditions. The herds will need to continue on their flexible schedule as there have been no major rainstorms in Singita Grumeti since February, which means that the herd is expected to move on shortly.
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This time of year at Singita Grumeti is always very exciting for guests and staff alike, as millions of wildebeest and other plains game move through the Serengeti on their annual migration. The low rumble of hooves started very early this year, beginning in early May; six weeks before it was expected. Field Guide Elizabeth Hamrick reports from Tanzania:
“The 2014 ‘long rains’ saw little precipitation at Singita Grumeti, but while our location in the Northwestern Serengeti had very little rain, the central Serengeti saw almost none. The result of the extreme lack of rain was a lack of suitable grasses so when the wildebeest left Ndutu in the southern Serengeti at the end of March, the 80km trip through to Singita Grumeti (which usually takes about three months) only took one month. By the first of the month, the Ikorongo Game Reserve was full of at least 50,000 wildebeest. Within the next two days, wildebeest in the multiple hundreds of thousands engulfed Singita Grumeti; the Great Migration had arrived.
By the end of the month the herds started forming long lines, marching eastwards out of the reserve and by about the 5th of June only the weak and the wounded remained.
There are currently herds scattered about 1.5km south of Singita Mara River Tented Camp in the Lamai Triangle, and we have also received reports that a big chunk of the migration has turned south again, and are hanging out in the central Serengeti. 2014 continues to prove how unpredictable this phenomenon can be, and we wait in anticipation to see what happens next.”
Guests at Singita Mara River Tented Camp were also lucky enough to witness the first crossing this week from start to finish. It occurred a short way from the camp near the Kogatende airstrip and lasted close to an hour!
Elizabeth compiles a monthly Wildlife Report from Singita Grumeti, which is situated adjacent to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. You san see Instagram photos from our guests who visit the region with the hashtag #singitagrumeti and follow us on Instagram here.
It’s that time of year again! The wildebeest have started arriving on the Sasakwa Plains of the Serengeti and the herds seem to be multiplying at an astonishing rate with each passing day. Overnight, the grassland below Singita Sasakwa Lodge has been flooded by tens of thousands of wildebeest, making for some very exciting horseback game-spotting for our lucky guests.
Singita Grumeti, situated adjacent to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, is an integral part of the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem, the home of the Great Migration. Singita manages 350,000 acres of this land, and generates the funds necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of the reserve via low impact tourism. Visit our website to find out more about our conservation and community development projects in the area.
One of the wonderful benefits of being in the path of the annual migration through the Serengeti is getting to observe this natural phenomenon at close range. This was especially true for our guests at Singita Sabora Tented Camp in Singita Grumeti a few weeks ago, when the herds of zebra and wildebeest joined them for lunch! These unexpected visitors were photographed by lodge manager, Wilson Owino, grazing quietly on the doorstep of the intimate, 1920s-style explorer’s camp. These beautiful shots illustrate the truly immersive safari experience at Singita, with the added thrill of knowing there isn’t much separating the comfort inside from the elements and wildlife outside.
We’ve been covering this year’s migration in a series of blog posts (read part one, part two and part three) and also tracking the animals’ movements in our monthly Wildlife Reports.
If you’ve been following the blog for the past few weeks, you will have seen that we’ve been tracking the progress of this year’s wildebeest migration. Singita’s lodges in Tanzania are perfectly situated in the path of this epic annual event where over one million wildebeest and other plains game travel over 200 miles of grasslands, following the rains in search of better grazing.
Having passed by Singita Faru Faru Lodge in early June, and then moving through the Serengeti to surround Singita Sabora Tented Camp and Singita Sasakwa Lodge, the herds have now reached Singita Lamai. As you will see from these amazing photographs, which were taken earlier this week, huge numbers of wildebeest have started gathering across the river from Singita Mara River Tented Camp.
They began by crossing the river in small groups, but soon larger herds began to traverse the water, all the while threatened by waiting crocodiles. Greater numbers are expected to cross over the coming weeks, eventually crossing back over multiple times, possibly even into September. The annual migration will draw to a close at the end of the year, until only a few stragglers remain.
Read Part One and Part Two of this year’s Great Migration Diaries, and find out more about Singita Lamai.
Talented photographer and experienced Field Guide, James Suter, spent the better part of a year exploring Singita’s lodges and camps in Southern Africa. Towards the end of 2012, he visited Singita Grumeti in Tanzania and was lucky enough to experience part of the world-famous animal migration through the Serengeti.
One of the most popular attractions for visitors to East Africa is the annual migration of hundreds of thousands of zebra and over a million wildebeest and other plains game who follow the rains for more than 1800 miles. Witnessing this natural phenomenon as the animals move through the Serengeti is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, especially since Singita Grumeti offers the perfect vantage point from which to view “The Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth”.
From December to March, Northern Tanzania is home to massive herds of wildebeest who give birth to roughly 500 000 calves over a period of just three weeks in a remarkable, synchronised event. The main reason for this is that very young calves are more noticeable to predators when mixed with older calves and therefore make for easier prey.
The month of July is the ideal time to visit Singita Grumeti, as this is roughly when the herds reach their first major obstacle and are forced to navigate across the Grumeti River. The western corridor of the Serengeti National Park – Africa’s No. 1 World Heritage Site - is where the action takes place and is the best place to watch the migration unfold.
We spent some time at Singita Grumeti in September and were blown away by the sheer numbers of game and the large herds of wildebeest. We drove out onto the vast plains and watched while a hundred thousand of the animals advanced slowly towards the game vehicle. The sights, sounds and smells were mesmerising and completely unforgettable.
There are six Singita lodges and camps to visit in Tanzania, including the brand new Singita Serengeti House, an exclusive-use retreat on the slopes of Sasakwa Hill. To learn more about Singita Grumeti and Lamai, read more on our blog or catch up on the monthly wildlife journals from the region.
Singita Grumeti Reserves consists of two exceptional lodges and one unforgettable camp all situated on a 350 000 acre concession. The area covered by Singita Grumeti Reserves is as large as the Masai Mara but, even so, the number of beds has been limited to 76.
The focus here, as with all Singita properties, is to create the best private bush experience for guests. One way that this is achieved is through the coupling of low-density tourism with high-density game.
The two Grumeti Reserves Singita lodges and Singita camp are located along the famous Serengeti and Masai Mara annual migratory passage. To ensure a unique experience each lodge and camp has been thoughtfully positioned in completely different (and therefore unique) terrain.
Singita Sasakwa Lodge is elevated above the plains, Singita Sabora Tented Camp is located on the plains – in the heart of the Singita Grumeti Reserves – and Singita Faru Faru Lodge snakes unobtrusively along the Grumeti River.