January 2023

An epic journey – the Great Migration

in Experience

An epic journey – the Great Migration

Widely regarded as one of the most magnificent natural spectacles on earth, the Great Migration draws countless travellers each year to East Africa to witness this marvel firsthand. We've compiled some of our most-asked questions to give you an easy overview of this incredible occurrence.

In visiting our lodges in Tanzania, visitors are in effect helping to preserve the ancient natural migratory route of the wildebeest

What is the migration?

Millions of wildebeest, along with zebra and impala make the life-preserving journey across the plains of Tanzania towards Kenya, driven by an instinctual need to find food and, in so doing, ensure the survival of their herds.

The migration is the cycle of life playing out in real time. This phenomenon demonstrates the order and wisdom of nature – how changes in the seasons drive the movement and dictate the behaviour of wildlife. As the weather shifts and food sources dwindle or become more prolific, so the herds move in accordance with where grazing is more plentiful, ensuring their health and abundance.

The movement of the herds is dictated by their need to find food, which is in turn dependent on the seasons Photographs by Penny Telfer

What can I expect to see during the migration?

Abundant plains game in the form of thousands upon thousands of wildebeest, as well as antelope and zebra moving in herds across their migratorial path. Great numbers of game in turn attract numerous predators – as this is a prime opportunity to hunt. As such you can expect to witness dramatic encounters between predator and prey.

Additionally, in the course of their journey, these herds encounter other challenges, such as the famed river crossings, which are fraught with danger (from rushing water to the crocodiles that lie in wait). As well as an awe-inspiring game-viewing spectacle, the migration and all its tension is a visceral and poignant reminder too, of the duality of nature’s great power and fragility.

The tension and drama of the migration is a visceral reminder of nature's dual power and fragility

Where is the best place to stay?

Our five lodges in Tanzania all offer varying proximity to the migratory herds, while also benefitting from the exclusivity of our private concession within Singita Grumeti’s vast wilderness, thereby putting you in the middle of the wildlife action while simultaneously offering a truly peaceful and secluded experience.

Each lodge and camp in this region is unique, but all honour and celebrate the awe-inspiring splendour of the landscapes that have made the Serengeti such an iconic safari destination. From the close-to-nature appeal of Singita Explore and Sabora Tented Camp on the plains, and Mara River Tented Camp in the Lamai Triangle (where you will experience awe-inspiring proximity to the river crossings synonymous with the migration), to the earthy luxury of Faru Faru Lodge, and classic sweeping grandeur of Singita Sasakwa, which offer a higher vantage point of the scenery, Singita offers many ways to immerse yourself in Tanzania’s iconic beauty.

Our travel experts are well situated to advise on the best lodge for you and your travel companions and facilitate a seamless and easy journey into East Africa – click here to get in touch.

What are the best months to see the migration?

The migration is typically unpredictable in nature, and any number of slight shifts in the environment can alter the precise timing of the herds’ journey each year. How long they remain in any one place, and ultimately the duration of the process itself is all dependent on the subtle nuances of nature itself.

Because the Great Migration is such a popular attraction, lodges and camps located within prime areas for access to the action are in high demand over key periods and as such, we do advise you plan and book in advance where possible.

Planning your trip to see the migration is best done with the advice of our travel experts

What else can I do while visiting Singita Grumeti?

While there are certain points of the year at which the action and activity of the game is at a peak, the migration is an annual journey rather than a single event, and there is a plethora of wildlife to be seen throughout the year in this spectacular part of Africa.

Based at any one of Singita’s Tanzanian lodges or camps, you will have access to a range of activities in the lodge, and out, beyond simply game viewing. From hot-air ballooning over the plains, to picnicking on them, or wine tasting guided by our expert sommelier, to conservation-oriented excursions and community visits, a stay with us will inspire and offer enjoyment on many levels. We also encourage an itinerary that includes more than one of our lodges and camps in the area – as each has unique appeal and personality – to further enrich your experience.

In addition to the action of the migration, the Serengeti offers a multitude of activities and diversions

What should I pack?

In terms of what to bring with you on safari to East Africa, see below a list of some of the items we recommended to ensure you have the most comfortable experience possible:

  • Cotton clothing in neutral colours is recommended for all game drives and bush walks. It is best to avoid white clothing and dark colours for bush activities, as they tend to attract certain bugs. Formal wear is not required at any of our lodges.
  • Comfortable walking or track shoes, or hiking boots for walks as well as sandals to wear around the lodge. 
  • Activewear if you plan on using the facilities at the fitness centre or your private in-room fitness area. 
  • A swimming costume or bathing suit, sun block, sun hat, sunglasses, lip balm, mosquito repellent. (Lip balm and insect repellent will be provided, but if you prefer a particular brand, you are welcome to bring it along.) 
  • Video camera, camera, binoculars and extra memory cards.
  • Please note that in the event of rain during a game drive, waterproof ponchos will be provided.
  • All of our lodges are located in remote areas and therefore guests should remember to bring an extra pair of correction glasses (if required), contact lens solution and an extra set of contact lenses (if required) as well as a sufficient supply of any prescription medication.

Due to flight regulations and the size of the aircraft that will carry you to and back from the Serengeti, our airline partners also require that you travel with luggage of max 15kg (33lb) per person and a piece of hand luggage weighing no more than 5kg (11lb). Only soft-sided luggage is accepted (duffel bag).

Extend your stay in East Africa…

Wind down an adrenaline-filled stay in the Serengeti by making the easy transition over to Rwanda and spending a few days soaking in the peace and tranquility of Singita Volcanoes National Park and trekking with golden monkeys and the rainforests' mountain gorillas.

By Julia Freemantle

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