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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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.
The Great Migration Diaries 2013: Part Two
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.
July 01, 2013 - Africa,Conservation,Environment,Experience,Safari,Singita Faru Faru Lodge,Singita Grumeti,Singita Mara River Tented Camp,Singita Sasakwa Lodge,Wildlife
As you will have read in Part One of this year’s Migration Diaries, the epic journey of over a million animals began in earnest a few weeks ago. The nomadic wildebeest began arriving right on time at the beginning of June and soon covered the savannah surrounding Singita’s lodges and camps in Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania.
They were expected to move on relatively quickly (not surprising, considering they have 1200 miles to cover!) and landed up spending only a week on the plains, in full view of our lucky guests staying at Singita Faru Faru Lodge in the east, and all the way to Singita Sabora Tented Camp in the west.
After seven days, having had their fill of the lush grasslands, they began to move and the view from Singita Sasakwa Lodge changed overnight. Where, just the previous day there had been thousands of wildebeest scattered across the plains, we awoke to the sight of long, organised lines of animals marching due east. This lasted four days and by the 20th of June, only a few small groups of stragglers were left. The bulk of the herds had successfully traveled to the the Ikorongo region and were making their way back into the Serengeti National Park, towards Singita Mara River Tented Camp in the remote Lamai triangle.
If they follow their projected route, the wildebeest could arrive at the camp in the next few weeks, readying themselves anxiously for the crossing of the crocodile-filled Mara River. The unique location of Singita’s newest camp provides spectacular opportunities to view these crossings and we look forward to reporting again for you from this next leg of the wildebeests’ annual journey.
The Great Migration is an annual event in the Serengeti in which 1.5 million wildebeest (and 200 000 zebra) travel from the Ngorongoro region of Tanzania up to Kenya’s Maasai Mara game reserve and beyond, following the rains in search of better grazing. This natural phenomenon passes right through Singita Grumeti and Singita Lamai, making our lodges the ideal vantage point from which to observe this epic journey.
It’s always a special time of year for our staff and guests at Singita Grumeti in Tanzania, when the dull rumble of hooves echoes across the savannah as the Great Wildebeest Migration begins. Over the next few weeks, more than one million animals will travel through the area and up through Singita Lamai, home of Singita Mara River Tented Camp. This year’s event is now in full swing, as the bearded creatures began arriving en masse from the southeast on the 1st of June, passing first alongside Singita Faru Faru Lodge.
A few days later, thousands of wildebeest flooded the Nyati plains, with the herds extending southwards into the Serengeti National Park, as far as the eye could see. By Wednesday the 5th, the herds that remained on Nyati plains were growing slowly more and more dense, spreading west and north towards Singita Sabora Tented Camp and the Sasakwa Plains. By Friday evening there was an incessant hum on Sasakwa Hill that originated from the thousands of animals murring on the plains below; a sound similar to that of flowing water.
On the morning of Monday, June 10th, the herds extended throughout Singita Grumeti, surrounding the lodges entirely. As it is also currently rutting season, it has been fascinating to watch the bulls running back and forth to protect their cows and calves from other bulls, while simultaneously having to continue the migration.
Although these herds are completely unpredictable, we expect that they will stay with us at least another two weeks, probably longer! We look forward to watching their antics and sharing more amazing photographs of them with you.
The Great Migration is an annual event in the Serengeti in which 1.5 million wildebeest (and 200 000 zebra) travel from the Ngorongoro region of Tanzania up to Kenya’s Maasai Mara game reserve and beyond, following the rains in search of better grazing. This natural phenomenon passes right through Singita Grumeti and Singita Lamai, making our lodges the ideal vantage point from which to observe this epic 1200-mile-long journey.
The great migration is an ancient phenomenon and it lies at the very heart of the Serengeti ecosystem.
The Great Migrations (image courtesy of La Lince)
Each year (during the months of June, July and August) over two million animals – including over a million wildebeest, half a million zebra and other antelope – migrate north, passing right through Singita Grumeti Reserves from the southern Serengeti to the adjoining Masai Mara (in Kenya), in search of food and water.
They return to the south – to mate and calve – when the grazing in the north is finished and the short November rains (in the south) have begun.