The Great  Ndutu Migration Safari

The earth vibrates with the thundering of millions of hooves as heaving herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles fill the plains to chase the rains in the epic annual struggle for survival known as the Great Migration. It is the greatest show on earth, a natural spectacle like no other and a life-changing experience.

Few lifetime experiences can beat that of watching over a million wildebeest plus hundreds of thousands of gazelles and zebra – followed by their predators – embark on a 1,000km-long circular trek through the unfenced Masai Mara and Serengeti in search of seasonal pasture and water. This natural spectacle is both thrilling and profoundly moving.

Deciding on the best time and place to witness this astounding phenomenon can seem daunting, but our network of camps are ideally positioned along the route to offer you a front-row-seat to all the action.

 

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Explore with us the Ndutu  wildebeest migration Safari   embark on a long-distance migration that coincide with the annual rain fall patterns and grass growth. Following the short rainy season in November, the herds of wildebeest arrive to the short-grass plains of the Serengeti around November. The short-grass plains are located in the area east and south of the Seronera, around Ndutu and the northern Ngorongoro Conservation area. Herds of wildebeest and zebra can be seen across these plains as they feed on the nutrient rich grasses. The majority of the wildebeest calve around February. They normally stay in the area till April and then start moving west towards to the Western Corridor of the Serengeti National Park.

What is the Great Migration?

The Great Migration is the largest herd movement of animals on the planet. In fact, with up to 1,000 animals per km², the great columns of wildebeest can be seen from space.

The numbers are astonishing: over 1,2 million wildebeest and 300 000 zebra along with topi and other gazelle move in a constant cycle through the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in search of nutritious grass and water. Guided by survival instinct, each wildebeest will cover 800 to 1,000km on its individual journey along age-old migration routes. Hungry predators – lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, wild dog and crocs – make sure only the strongest survive.

It is thought that rainfall over 50km away can trigger the start of the mass movement – perhaps through smell or the recognition of thunder and lightning on the horizon. The circuit takes the animals from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (although not into the Crater itself) in the south of the Serengeti in Tanzania, up through the Serengeti and across into the Masai Mara in Kenya, and back again. The journey is beset with danger: young calves are snatched by predators, the slow are brought down by prides of lion, brave beasts break legs on steep river slopes, crocodiles take their share of the stragglers, and the weak and exhausted drown.

When to see the Great Migration

There is no single ‘migration season’ as the Great Migration is, in fact, an eternal annual cycle from place to place, year in and year out.  However, depending on either the aspect of the Great Migration you want to witness (such as river crossings), or the time of year that you would like to travel, your safari can be tailored to give you the best chance of seeing what you desire.

Whether the great herds are calving in the south or on the move north in search of greener pastures – and then back again – there is a huge variety of astounding scenes unfolding before you.

January – March: The Calving Continues

The herds congregate on the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti and westernmost regions of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. An estimated 500 000 calves are born during a two- to three-week window in February. This mass calving draws a staggering number of predators eager to prey on the vulnerable newborns.

  • Dec / Jan – The Southern Plains are lush with fresh, sweet grasses for the wildebeest to graze on. The areas around Ndutu and the northern Ngorongoro Conservation Area are where the herds will spend some time enjoying the abundant grazing in preparation for the birth of the new calves.
  • February – Between late January and mid-March over 80% of fertile female wildebeest drop their calves within a few weeks of each other. Over 500,000 tiny wildebeest dot the plains and the predators swoop in to feast on the easy prey.
  • March – At this time, the wildebeest are still occupying the southern area of the Park but preparing to move north as the plains dry out.

April to mid-June: The Trek North and The Rut

As the rains come to an end and the ground dries, the herds start making their way north into the central Serengeti where the grass is still fresh and they can graze and tend their young. Moving slowly, they graze as they go, making the most of the fresh grass. Mating season begins and the male wildebeest do fierce battle for a mate. Throughout the rut, the journey continues as some herds head west into the Western Corridor and cross the Grumeti River.

  • April – The wildebeest begin their long trek north, through the central area of the park. The herds move at leisure, grazing as they go along.
  • May – The impressive columns of wildebeest up to several kilometers long can be seen flooding the Moru Kopjes in the central area of the park.
  • First half of June – Large concentrations of wildebeest can be seen on the southern banks of the Grumeti River in the Western Serengeti, ready to face their first challenge of crossing the crocodile infested river.

Mid-June to November: River Crossings

The herds head towards the north of the Serengeti. The river crossings, considered by some to be the most exciting events of the Great Migration, usually start in July, but timing all depends on the rains.

The herds can be found in the Northern Serengeti as well as in Kenya’s Masai Mara. Daily river crossings can be seen at the Mara and Talek rivers – both often central to highly dramatic scenes.

Later, the herds usually cross back to the Serengeti from the Mara and head towards the now fertile southern Serengeti. The herds travel fast and cover long distances in a single day. By the beginning of December, Ndutu starts seeing the herds return to calve, and the whole process begins again.

  • July – The migration gathers momentum and huge herds of wildebeest can be seen spread out across the Western corridor as they continue the journey north. The first herds will begin to arrive in the North in early July.
  • August – As the dry season approaches, the wildebeest face the second challenge of their trek: the Great Mara River. Many will perish but the thousands of calves that are born more than make up the numbers.
  • September – The herds are mostly concentrated in the Maasai Mara in Kenya, the northernmost range of the trek, but many still remain in the Serengeti.
  • October – The wildebeest face the swollen waters of the Mara River for the second time as they cross on their journey back south.
  • November – The short rains arrive, propelling the wildebeest down south to the rejuvenated grasses of the Serengeti.

December: The Calving Begins

The herds congregate on the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti and northernmost regions of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. An estimated 500 000 calves are born during a two- to three-week window in February. This mass calving draws a staggering number of predators eager to prey on the vulnerable newborns.

  • Dec / Jan – The Southern Plains are lush with fresh, sweet grasses for the wildebeest to graze on. The areas around Ndutu and the northern Ngorongoro Conservation Area are where the herds will spend some time enjoying the abundant grazing in preparation for the birth of the new calves.

Detailed Tour Itinerary

Day 0: Arrival Arusha
You will be picked up from Kilimanjaro International Airport and transferred by private vehicle to Arusha for first day stay at Tulia Lodge  HB included

DAY 1: ARUSHA TO TARAMGIRE NATIONAL PARK

The first day of your safari will begin by 8AM in the morning with a pick up from your hotel at Arusha. Once everyone is aboard, you will head towards Tarangire National Park. The 150 Km drive will be covered in about 3hrs.

The national park is extremely famous and special for its diverse landscape and nine different vegetation zones. As you begin your game drive, you will be welcomed by the ancient and gigantic Baobab trees, which make even animals like the giraffe look tiny.

The game drive goes on till about late afternoon and includes a small stop for a picnic lunch. The 3,000 Sq Kms park gets its name from the Tarangire river that flows through it. The river attracts a lot of diverse animals and you should be able to spot a lot of elephants, giraffe, lions, antelopes and zebra.

If it’s your lucky day, you might be able to spot the tree climbing python and the long necked Gerek. The Tarangire National Park has the highest concentration of elephants, which offers a unique chance for you to observe interactions between elephant families.

Don’t forget to capture this beautiful scenery with your camera ready at hand. Post the game drive, you will head back to your camp/lodge where a delicious dinner awaits you. Have good night’s sleep for tomorrow’s adventure. Overnight at Tiloma Lodge

Day 2: Drive to Ndutu area

You will kickstart your day after a delicious breakfast, by about 8AM. The destination for today is the Ndutu region which is a 3hr drive from your accommodation in Karatu.

After about an hour commencing the drive, you will enter the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) where you will notice the landscape changing from hilly forests to plain and green grasslands as you drive further.

Once you reach Ndutu you will begin your day game drive with a convenient stop for your picnic lunch. Sweeping grasslands of the Ndutu cover the region which gradually fades into the Serengeti.

Ndutu forms a part of the route for the annual migration of more than 2 million wildebeests and thousands of zebra, antelope and gazelle. During game drives at the right season between December and April, you will be able to see the fertile plains turn into calving grounds and nursery for the great migration.

The calving season attracts hordes of predators prying on vulnerable young wildebeest. Crested with Ndutu Lake and Lake Masek, these waterholes offer plenty of wildlife game during the dry season.

The Ndutu is also the home ground for 6 species of big cats – leopard, lion, cheetah, caracal, serval and wildcat. The action-packed game drive will end late in the evening by around 5PM.

You will now head towards your choice of accommodation, where a freshly prepared dinner awaits you. Ensure you get some good rest and recharge yourself for another eventful day. Overnight at Ndutu Tented Camp

DAY 3: FULL DAY GAME VIEW IN NDUTU

Stunned by the previous days spotting of the migration, today you get another chance to view the beautiful wildlife spectacle. The Ndutu region is a part of the glorious Serengeti National Park as well as the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA).

Heading out for a full day game drive after breakfast, today you will be following the migration depending on its location in either NCA or Serengeti. During game drives at the right season between December and April, you will be able to see the fertile plains turn into calving grounds and nursery for the great migration.

This season attracts hordes of predators prying on vulnerable young wildebeest. Watching the circle of life take it’s course will be an unforgettable experience etched for life.

The action-packed game drive will end late in the evening by around 5PM. You will now head towards your choice of accommodation, where a freshly prepared dinner awaits you.  Ensure you get some good rest and recharge yourself for another eventful day. Overnight at Ndutu Tented Camp

DAY 4: NDUTU TO SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

The excitement for today will be quite high as you make your way into the most celebrated wildlife park in the world – The Serengeti. After finishing up a good breakfast, you will head out towards the Serengeti National Park and travel in the midst of the never ending plain grasslands.

Serengeti means endless plains in the local African language and watching the grassland stretch out as far as the eye can see and eventually merging with the sky at the horizon is an absolutely breathtaking view.

With an overall land area of 14,763 Sq Kms, It puts our notion about distance to shame. The Serengeti also houses the glorious “Big 5” (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard). Along with the “Big 5”, a very pleasant sighting would be one of Africa’s most beautiful animal – The Impala.

The Serengeti ecosystem supports the greatest remaining concentration of plains game in Africa. You must also look out for the Serengeti “Kopjes” which are massive boulders of granite standing in a sea of grass. They provide ample shelter to a large variety of flora and fauna.

A picnic lunch will be done during the day long game drive itself. The eventful day comes to an end with a heavy dinner and a good night at Serengeti tortilis camp

DAY 5: SERENGETI TO NGORONGORO CRATER RIM,

In the morning, at 7am, you will head out for a short game drive in the Serengeti after a good breakfast. After completing a half day game drive along with a picnic lunch, we will branch out and head towards the Ngorongoro crater rim.

The 75km drive to Ngorongoro Crater rim will take about 2.5 hrs, with mild game action to see on the way. The crater is one of Africa’s impressive geological attraction and supreme mecca of wilderness.

The day comes to an end with a heavy dinner and a good rest in your choice of accommodation. Get a good rest and refuel yourself, for the following day you will descend into the massive crater. Overnight at Ngorongoro tortilis camp

DAY 6: NGONGORO TO ARUSHA

On this day of your safari, you will have an early start. Finishing up with a quick breakfast you will make an early descend at around 6:30am into the crater floor.

The Ngorongoro crater is the world’s largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera. It has a massive floor of about 260 sq kms with a depth of over 2000 feet. The 5 hour game drive in the crater floor, will show you a lot of animal action. Keeping the camera ready is definitely recommended.

The African elephant, buffalo, Black rhino, Hippos, Hyenas, Cheetahs and Lions are found in plenty. Post the picnic lunch at the beautiful Hippo pool, you will begin a steep ascend to the top exit of the crater.

This is the last leg of your safari, with a 4hr drive left to Arusha. You will be dropped off to your preferred location at Arusha by 6PM in the evening. With an incredible experience and loads of memories to cherish, this is the time you bid goodbye to your team.

End of safari

PRICE PER PERSON SHARING:

2Pax:2251 USD

3Pax: 1787 USD

4Pax: 1680 USD

5Pax:1585 USD

6 Pax:  1515 USD

Single supplement: 250 USD

*SSR = Single Supplement Rate for a non-sharing person in a room Supplements: All Lodges & Tented Camps: US$ 35 p/p/p/n applicable on 25 to 28 March 2020 –2021 & US$ 40 p/p/p/n applicable on 24, 25, 26, 31 Dec & 1 Jan.
Children Rates: (Children 3 to 11 years old) sharing room with 2 adults pay 60% of adult rate / Children sharing own room with other children pay 80% of adult rate / Children sharing room with 1 adult pay 100% of adult rate. No discount on holiday and other supplements.

  • All Park entrance fees to Ngorongoro Conservation Area and ndutu area
  • Transport in custom safari built four wheels Nissan patrol with roof hatches / pop-up roof
  • English speaking driver/guide, conversant with all requirements necessary for photographers
  • Unlimited game drives as per the itinerary
  • Picnic lunche, to the crater floor
  • All airport transfers on arrival / departure
  • Mineral water during game drives

Items excluded:

  • All beverages while on safari / Nairobi
  • Any international flights
  • Evacuation fees
  • Telephone, laundry & any items of personal nature
  • Visa fees & international flights
  • tips for guides & camp / lodge staff
  • Travel & Medical insurance
  • Balloon safari in the Serengeti – 490$ per person
6 Day Ndutu migration Safaris

6 Day Ndutu migration Safaris

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