East African Migration Safari
Days 1, 2 and 3 – Masai Mara
Arrive into Nairobi where you are met and transferred to the domestic airport for your flight to the Masai Mara for the start of your Kenyan Safari. The Masai Mara is world-renowned for its incredible game viewing and in particular big cats. Lions are fairly common in and around the Masai Mara making them the dominant predator of the region. Cheetahs prefer the open grasslands where they can use their speed to catch their prey, while leopard prefer the rocky outcrops, valleys and riverine woodlands where they can slink away unseen. If you are lucky you may get to highly endangered wild dogs in some of the community conservancies surrounding the Masai Mara.
The Masai Mara is known for the annual migration that moves through the park from the Serengeti in Tanzania. Every year millions of wildebeest and zebra move in a clockwise direction from the Serengeti through the Masai Mara and back south again, following the rains. The migration traditionally moves between the northern Serengeti and the Masai Mara between June/July and October before the herds head south to give birth. When the migration is in the Masai Mara it can offer some of the most dramatic game viewing in Africa with millions of wildebeest and zebra moving through the grasslands and often crossing large crocodile-infested rivers to get to the best grazing.
Outside of the migration, the game viewing is still spectacular as the majority of animals do not migrate. Elephant, topi, Thompson’s gazelle, cheetah, leopard, lion, buffalo, rhino, and giraffe all remain to make for a varied Masai Mara safari experience.
Within the Masai Mara ecosystem, guests have 2 choices on where to stay. There are the camps that are located inside the Masai Mara Game Reserve and often in the thick of the action, but the areas can get crowded as this is a public reserve. Surrounding the Masai Mara Game Reserve are community-run concessions that are private and so offer a more exclusive safari experience, away from the crowds. There are no fences between the Masai Mara and these conservancies and so the game moves freely between the main reserve and the surrounding concessions. The benefit of staying in the community reserves is more exclusivity and more freedom with the chance to do walking safaris and night drives and the chance to do a full day game drive inside the main Masai Mara Game Reserve.
Days 4, 5 and 6 – Northern Serengeti
From the Masai Mara you head through to Tanzania and the northern part of the Serengeti. There are no fences between the Serengeti and Masai Mara ecosystems and so the animals move freely between the 2 reserves and countries. The northern part of the Serengeti is a little more off the beaten track and away from the crowds, making it one of our preferred parts of the park.
The migration moves between the northern part of the Serengeti and Masai Mara between the months of June and October as they follow the grasses that sprout after the rains. Around October, November time they start moving south through the eastern corridor of the Serengeti towards the Ndutu section near the Ngorongoro Crater. Spending your time in the norther part of the Serengeti gives you the chance to see the herds crossing between the Masai Mara and Serengeti as well as the chance to observe an adrenalin packed river crossing.
Even if the migration is not in the northern section of the Serengeti, the area still offers very rewarding game viewing with exceptional lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant and other plains game calling these grasslands home.
Days 7, 8 and 9 – Southern Serengeti
From the northern Serengeti you move south towards the Ngorongoro Conservation area, still within the Serengeti National Park. The herds of traditionally here between November and May/June as they continue to move south to calve (around January/February) and then before they start to move north again.
During the calving season, the millions of wildebeest give birth to millions of babies. This spectacle last just a couple of weeks as the mothers time their births to coincide with each other so that there is safety in numbers. The young wildebeest take a couple of hours from birth to running with the rest of the herd.
Days 10 and 11 – Ngorongoro Crater
From the Serengeti you move to the world famous Ngorongoro Crater, an extinct volcano crater teeming with wildlife which includes black rhino, elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, buffalo, giraffe, topi, wildebeest, zebra and more. The view from the crater rim is spectacular, but it is when you get down into the bottom that you get to experience your own National Geographic documentary. Spend a full day down on the crater floor.