February 2015 - Wildebeest migration updates

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Huge influx of Wildebeest into the small marsh

27 Feb 2015 from Lemala Camps

Hi Carel,

It's been great these last couple of days as we received a huge influx of guests (aka Wildebeest) into the small marsh area near Lemala Ndutu as the pictures show. In fact, our owl was keeping a very close eye on their arrival and departure and was desperately looking for Conrad the tweeting wildebeest (@HerdTracker) to share the news with but perhaps he was already in Serengeti!

Due to the lack of rain though in the area they are heading out to Naabi and moving into Southern Serengeti. We continue to pray for rain here.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Camp Manager, 
Lemala Ndutu

Wildebeest in the small marsh - Image by Benson, Lemala Ndutu
Migratory wildlife on the move - Image by Benson, Lemala Ndutu
Owl watching the wildebeest herds - Image by Benson, Lemala Ndutu
Herds are moving into the Southern Serengeti - Image by Benson, Lemala Ndutu
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Albino wildebeest spotted by Nomad Tanzania guide Cornelius Mukus

27 Feb 2015 from Nomad Tanzania

Hi there Carel,

Another wonderfully unusual sighting sent in today from Nomad guide Cornelius Mukus who spotted this incredible, seemingly albino, white wildebeest calf while with his guests in Ndutu. Peter Carrick kindly sent these images…a little indistinct because they were on the run but spectacular nonetheless!


Albino wildebeest in the Serengeti - Image by Peter Carrick
Albino wildebeest running with the herd - Image by Peter Carrick
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Update from the deep south, Kusini and wonderful images from Alex Walker

26 Feb 2015 from Alex Walker's Serian

Hi Carel,

Still some scattered herds here at Kakessio spread out acrosa the plains and headed west, the pans are drying out. Nursery herds mainly and numbering up to 80 000. 

On the Kusini side, Michael just returned from that side and reported that lots have headed north from Kusini to Moru but they had big rain there last night so some will certainly turn around again.  

I send you more pictures and video soon!


Crater far away - Image by Alex Walker
Serengeti south - Image by Alex Walker
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The herds are back from Maswa and some movement up to Moru

26 Feb 2015 from Captain Joel J Fernandes

‎Hi Carel,

The migration is back in the Serengeti! Most of the herds are moving North and past Ndutu and Kusini. Plenty are scattered around the Moru plains. We got a couple of pics but I don't think they begin to doo justice to what it actually looks like on the ground. It still doesn't cease to amaze me.

Thanks and Regards,
Captain Joel

Wildebeest migration in the Serengeti - Image by Capt Joel
Flying over the Serengeti - Image by Capt Joel
Aerial view of the Serengeti - Image by Capt Joel
Serengeti from above - Image by Capt Joel
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Lions having a field day with the herds around Naabi and the Ndutu Triangle

25 Feb 2015 from Mashine

Morning Carel,

I passed Naabi and the Ndutu Triangle on my way to Seronera where I picked up clients this morning and there are many wildebeest around Naabi hill and the Ndutu Triangle.

I bumped into lots of Zebra around Seronera and they generally lead the way so it might be the first sign of movement back to the north if there is more rain in the south the herds might turn round again to Ndutu. The video is of a young lioness still out of breath after her kill.  


- Video by Joseph "Mashine" Swai
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Zebra at Seronera, herds move towards permanent water sources

24 Feb 2015 from Lemala Camps

Morning Carel,

We drove from Ewanjan to Ndutu and was surprised with the numbers around Seronera, it seems that some of the herds opted for the more permanent water supply of the Seronera river system, a surprise to have them up with us this time of year.

It seems that if we don't have significant rain down south that we might have a breakup of the herds in general with some moving back up to Seronera and or Lobo, some heading deep into Maswa and the Western Corridor, others staying around the Ndutu marshes and even towards Gol and Piyaya.

Keep well,
Veronica, from Wildwaters Uganda :-)

Zebra in Seronera - Image by Lemala Camps
The herds in Seronera and Lobo - Image by Lemala Camps
Things are drying up in Seronera and Lobo - Image by Lemala Camps
Zebra close to a waterhole - Image by Lemala Camps

River Crossing Group Departures - book now, it is going to be a good one!

23 Feb 2015

HerdTracker, Lemala Camps, Ranger Safaris and Serengeti HerdTracker Explorer Camps combine efforts to bring you and your clients sought after HerdTracker River Crossing group departues.

These departures offer you and your clients high-end accommodation, private guiding and value for money at the exact time of year when the crossings happen.

Contact carel@discoverafrica.com for nett and rack rates, limited 2015/2016 seats available.

Keep well,

- Video by Lemala Camps
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Either side of Naabi Hill, full of wildebeest

23 Feb 2015 from Grumeti Expeditions

Hi Carel,

I am driving through Naabi to pick up guests from Seronera and I am amazed at the views that greeted me. Herds and herds of wildebeest flooding the open plains.

Still waiting on the rains to arrive but will update over the coming days as I am in Ewanjan central Serengeti for a couple of days then heading to Lemala Ndutu.

Grumeti Expeditions 

Wildebeest herds at Naabi Hill - Image by Grumeti Expeditions
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Welcome rain in Ndutu and Naabi prolongs the calving season

23 Feb 2015 from Lemala Camps

Morning Carel,

I flew into our camps and captured the video footage for you, it shows how quickly the black-cotton soil gets slippery and the return of some good numbers to Ndutu and surrounding plains. we saw big herds from Naabi to the Ndutu marshes and towards Kakesio and Matiti Hill.  

Tom Yule,
Lemala Camps

southern plains fly-in - Video by Tom Yule
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Ndutu marshes are packed with zebra and wildebeest

21 Feb 2015 from Nomad Tanzania

Hi Carel,

Nomad guide Ian Kiwelu reports fantastic numbers around the Big Marsh area of Ndutu from his drive there yesterday. And here's the proof!


Migratory wildlife in Ndutu - Image by Ian Kiwelu
Wildebeest herds at the Ndutu Marsh - Image by Ian Kiwelu
Zebra and wildebeest in Ndutu - Image by Ian Kiwelu
Game drive in Ndutu - Image by Ian Kiwelu
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The rain brings the herds back to Ndutu

20 Feb 2015 from Ndutu Safari Lodge

Good morning Carel,

Big movement back to Ndutu area after some good rain out on the plains. This morning Kusini plains full, and strong movement towards Two Trees and Small Marsh Plains.

This photo just in from our guide Hamisi, at Big Marsh this morning. The rain has been falling in a very localised way. Although very little right over the lodge, the Triangle Plains, Hidden Valley and Marsh areas have had quite a bit.

It still remains bone dry in the immediate vicinity of the Lodge, Masek areas and out towards Twin HIlls. Total rainfall for the area is well down on last year.


Rain has returned to Ndutu - Image by Hamisi
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Finally some good rain, and some of the herds return to Ndutu

20 Feb 2015 from Lemala Camps

Hi Carel,

I have just returned from Ndutu and for the past two nights, some nice soaking rains have fallen in the area. There are big herds still around Kakesio and Kusini but yesterday morning when I went out, I saw a lot of the animals moving back towards Ndutu.

Keep well,
Tom Yule

Flying over the Serengeti - Image by Tom Yule
Wet weather in Ndutu - Image by Tom Yule
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The wildebeest herds are on the move

Dear Carel

Lorry, our guide at SPC has just come back from Ndutu driving through Kusini. Big herds of wildebeest moving through Ndutu and Maswa. Then moving down past Lake Magadi to Naabi / Gol area. Also, smaller herds coming through Hidden Valley to Moru to Lake Magadi to Naabi / Gol area.

We will try and get some photos across to you in a day or two.

Kind Regards,
Alison and Tom

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Thanks HerdTracker, we got to see them!

18 Feb 2015 from On safari with HerdTracker

Hi Carel

We go to spend significant time with the migration and you guys have helped us a great deal in making our dreams come true, Asilia's Camps and guiding (Thanks Harry) were wonderful and we are looking forward to the crossing season!  

Thanks so much,
Dawn and Ern Cleverly

- Video by Ern Cleverly
- Video by Ern Cleverly
- Video by Ern Cleverly
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Burning up at the Mara River and rain in the Masai Mara

18 Feb 2015 from Captain Joel J Fernandes

Hi Carel,

Just to confirm, the location and burning that was done and it's still underway up in the northern Serengeti's Kogatende and Lamai areas

Keep well,
Captain Joel

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Good news for those heading towards Ndutu, but for how long

18 Feb 2015 from Captain Joel J Fernandes

Hey Carel,

Herds left the Maswa area a day or so ago. Good numbers nearer to Ndutu and some adventurous ones still around Lobo. That's all I have. Unfortunately we haven't flown any further south of Kusini in a while and not many photos ops from too high up.

Burning has been done in Northern Serengeti (Kogatende and Lamai) so we hope to have fresh rains up north soon to get the fresh grass through. Hope this helps!

Thanks and Regards,
Captain Joel

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Calves still dropping at Makao not too far from Ndutu

13 Feb 2015 from Ndutu Safari Lodge

Hello Carel,

Our guides were out on Makao Plain today and report that it is full of wildebeest. They were lucky enough to see two birthings in a short space of time.

Large numbers of zebra and eland out there too.  Elsewhere in the Ndutu area are large numbers of zebra, also with newborn babies. Guests this morning watched a cheetah take down an zebra yearling. No easy job for the cheetah!

This photo taken by Hamisi one of our guides out on Makao this morning.

All the best,

Newborn calf in Makao - Image by Hamisi - Ndutu Safari Lodge
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A hundred or so wildebeest in the vicinity of the Lobo airstrip

13 Feb 2015 from Captain Joel J Fernandes

Hi Carel,

You are probably not going to believe this but there are about a hundred or so wildebeest in the vicinity of the Lobo airstrip, I will ask the team to fly a little wider around airstrips to see how far into Maswa the herds are and if there is movement towards the north already.

We will also have a look at Lobo, Loliondo, Piyaya and surrounds for the eastern herds for you!

Keep well,

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Some lovely rain in Maswa!

13 Feb 2015 from Grumeti Expeditions

Hi Carel,

The wildebeest are following the rain and with there having been some lovely rain in Maswa. The beasts were found delightfully happy in the Makao area. Ndutu remains very dry but we are hopeful for some rain to come.

The wildebeests also enjoyed some company on their treks by wild dogs around the Matiti Hills area. Whilst the original sighting was four,  there are now 14 in the group so the others must have been hiding!

Thats all from me for now.

John Ngoma,
Grumeti Expeditions Guide

Ndutu is running dry - Image by John Ngoma
There's water in the Hidden Valley - Image by John Ngoma
Zebra close to Lake Ndutu - Image by John Ngoma
Wildebeest herds in the water - Image by John Ngoma
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Good cow and calves herds here in Kakessio

11 Feb 2015 from Alex Walker's Serian

Hi Carel,

We still have a good cow and calves herd here in Kakessio. However, the real concentration is up around the border of Maswa, Serengeti, and the NCA.

Several hundred thousand in numbers are spread out east to west in a broad band around 15kms west / southwest of Ndutu. Its dry right now, there have been local storms a little further west of us. Some light showers close by, the forecast shows storms early next week as the moon wanes.  

No great images, we have a very cool bit of video footage from one of our guides Baraka Nuru. A zebra mare defending her new born calf from a stallion intent on doing it harm. Its raw and unedited, so a little rough. The outcome however was positive and the foal walked away. Resilient, despite the stallion’s aggressive attention! 

The wild dogs are active and spotted some at Osinoni alongside the Kakessio river this morning. I haven’t been out myself, will get some new images up when I next get out.


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The majority of the herds seems further south

11 Feb 2015 from Captain Joel J Fernandes

‎Hey Carel,

Sorry I missed the last one. Struggling to get good photos from the air. Quite a few of the herd is in and around Ndutu and calving season is coming to a close soon it seems. The majority of the herd seems further south and not much movement seems to be happening. 

Thanks and Regards,

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Painted dogs ruling the plains

09 Feb 2015 from Nomad Tanzania

Hi Carel,

These great wild dog pictures just sent in by Nomad guide Kennedy John who found them near Kakesio yesterday.  These water pools are shortly to be the only water source on the plains.


Wild dog and the wildebeest migration - Image by Kennedy John
Wild dog watches on - Image by Kennedy John
Wild dogs on the prowl in Ndutu - Image by Kennedy John
Pack of wild dogs in ndutu - Image by Kennedy John
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Ndutu update from Kathleen Butler, a Lemala Camps guest

09 Feb 2015 from Lemala Camps

Morning Carel,

Kathleen Butler kindly shared the images and video with us, she stayed at Lemala Ewanjan but went through to Lemala Ndutu for a few days, the plains are drying out and the herds are slowly moving west towards Kusini and Maswa to the west.

Still some herds around drinking out of the small and big marsh in the late afternoon.

Keep well,

Wildebeest herds in Ndutu - Image by Kathleen Butler
The Ndutu Plains are drying out - Image by Kathleen Butler
Wildebeest migration in Ndutu - Video by Kathleen Butler
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Wildebeest migration update from Lemala Ndutu

08 Feb 2015 from Lemala Camps

Hi Carel,

Just got back from Ndutu area and our guests have seen some impressive numbers of zebras and wildebeest around the Mti Wa Shetani area as well as around Ndutu itself.

Yesterday whilst I was driving out, there were long lines of animals marching into the area from the east. It is very dry there now but did see some thunder and lightning out towards Maswa yesterday afternoon. I have shared a video with you on drop box let me know if you get it.  

Take care and have a good weekend!

Tom Yule
Lemala Camps

Wild dogs on the Ndutu plains - Image by Benson Lemala Ndutu
Wildebeest on the move in Ndutu - Image by Benson Lemala Ndutu
Big marsh crossing - Image by Tom Yule Lemala Camps
Wild dogs in the Serengeti - Image by Benson Lemala Ndutu
Calving season in Ndutu - Video by Lemala Camps
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Hidden valley is the place to be these days

07 Feb 2015 from Ndutu Safari Lodge

Good Morning Carel,

Hidden Valley is the place to be these days. The lake is still very full, and every morning, up until lunchtime, there are thousands of zebra coming in to drink. It is a continuous stream in and out, and the noise also is incredible. A wonderful spectacle. 

Still just large pockets of wildebeest dotted around, through the woodlands.

All the best,

Zebra in Ndutu - Image by Ainslie Wilson
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Ndutu still has plenty to offer with lots of interaction on the plains

06 Feb 2015 from Nomad Tanzania

Hi Carel,

Nomad guide Ian Kiwelu just sent this update: There's a big herd heading south from Ndutu plain towards Kakessio and probably onwards towards Maswa. Still good numbers around Hidden Valley for water and also plenty of cats on the plains, even a pack of 10 dogs today!


Wildebeest in Ndutu - Image by Ian Kiwelu
Wildebeest calf - Image by Ian Kiwelu
Cheetah cubs and mother in Ndutu - Image by Ian Kiwelu
Leopard spotted in Ndutu - Image by Ian Kiwelu
Cheetah cub playing in Ndutu - Image by Ian Kiwelu
Zebra in Ndutu - Image by Ian Kiwelu
Wild dogs on the Ndutu Plains - Video by Ian Kiwelu

What to look forward to, will we have a Grumeti River crossing this year?

06 Feb 2015

For visitors to the Serengeti to experience the Grumeti River crossings a few things need to align and would it be this year?  

You need an early move up the western Serengeti (Maswa) for the herds to reach the Grumeti River within the long rainy season (April May), you need good rain in the Lobo / Kleins Camp / Loliondo areas (Grumeti River catchment) for the river to have enough water to force crossings.

It seems that this might happen this year! These wonderful images from Lemala Camps reminds us of what is expected during the "crossing" season, you might have two opportunities this year, the Grumeti and Mara Rivers.  

Thanks for the pictures James and Veronica!

Wildebeest migration on the move - Image by Lemala Camps
A Grumeti River crossing on the cards? - Image by Lemala Camps

Calving season round-up and wonderful images from Alex Walker

05 Feb 2015

As we move into February, the traditional calving month, do we report that the new generation of migratory wildebeest, zebra, Thompson's gazelle and eland's arrivals are at its peak at present.

The big numbers are presently around Kakessio south of lakes Ndutu and Masek and also at Kusini plains and into Maswa to the west of the Serengeti.

The calving a little early this year with early big rains during January sparked the early arrivals. Ndutu plains are drying out but you still have access to the big herds if you pack a lunch picnic and go out the whole day from traditional Ndutu accommdoation options. Lots of cheetah, wilddog interaction with some wonderful sightings.  Have a look at these superb images sent through by professional guide / photographer / filmmaker, Alex Walker.  For last minute bookings, look towards the south-west.

Carel Verhoef - HerdTracker 

Wildebeest at sunset - Image by Alex Walker
Wildebeest on the move - Image by Alex Walker
Wild dog with it's share of a kill - Image by Alex Walker
active around the Kakessio area - Image by Alex Walker
Wild dog and the wildebeest herds - Image by Alex Walker
Much needed rain on the Serengeti plains - Image by Alex Walker
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Thousands coming from Olduvai Sunset Rock

04 Feb 2015 from Nomad Tanzania

Hi there Carel,

More just in from Nomad guide Kennedy John who drove from Ngorongoro this morning via Endulen-Matiti and this is where he saw the herds in their hundreds if not thousands coming from Olduvai Sunset Rock side, heading towards Maswa via the big trench of water that lies between Maswa and Matiti Plains.


Massive herds coming from Olduvai Sunset Rock - Image by Kennedy John
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Big wildebeest herds at Kakessio

04 Feb 2015 from Alex Walker's Serian

Hi Carel,

Big herds still here around us at Kakessio. The pans are still full of water and it is significantly greener along the Kakessio and close in by the plateau. A pack of wild dog - ten in all have been pretty active over the past week here close to co at Serian's Serengeti South.

Kusini is dry and there is some movement from the north south westerly into Maswa. With some reasonable herds to be seen I the middle of the plains about 20km south of Ndutu where it rained earlier in the week.

Keep well,
Alex Walker

Big wildebeest herds at Kakessio - Image by Alex Walker
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Crossing the valley that goes to Naibardat from lake Masek

04 Feb 2015 from Nomad Tanzania

Hi Carel,

This picture just in from Nomad guide Nathan Lasaru who said he captured it crossing the valley that goes to Naibardat near one of our Serengeti Safari Camps. The herd was coming from Lake Masek.

Warm wishes,

wildebeest-herd-coming from-lake-masek
Wildebeest herd coming from Lake Masek - Image by Nathan Lasaru
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No rain of any substance for some weeks now

04 Feb 2015 from Ndutu Safari Lodge

Hi Carel,

There has been no rain of any substance for some weeks now and the landscape has dried out considerably.

Random reports of small groupings of wildebeest across the plains, Hidden Valley, Marsh etc but as far as I know the bulk of the migration is out Makao / Maswa / Kusini way. There are large groupings of zebra all through the woodlands, and many new zebra babies. 

Lots of guests are travelling the distance each day out towards Makao and coming back with wonderful reports of great cheetah action. Close by the lodge here, the local lions are feasting on the zebra that come to the causeway for a drink.


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To Ndutu some of the herds return

03 Feb 2015 from Lemala Camps

Hi Carel,

Last week Ndutu was rather quiet as the great herds with their calves kicked up their heels and followed the smells of the rains to the Kusini area however the last few days we have seen some herds turning once more towards Ndutu sited around the Mti wa Shetani with a lovely herd and their calves taking up residence in camp last night and providing our guests with some lovely noisy entertainment throughout the night.


Great wildebeest in Ndutu - Image by Veronica Otter
Wildebeest calf in Ndutu - Image by Veronica Otter
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Herds back at Ndutu but still no rain

03 Feb 2015 from Nomad Tanzania

Hi There Carel,

News and pics just in from Nomad guide Ian Kiwelu who is busy watching a nice big herd in the Ndutu woodlands.

Keep well,

Wildebeest herds in Ndutu - Image by Ian Kiwelu
Wildebeest in the Ndutu woodlands - Image by Ian Kiwelu
No rain in Ndutu yet - Image by Ian Kiwelu
Wildebeest migration in Ndutu - Image by Ian Kiwelu

Lodges closest to the herd right now

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1 km

from herd

Chaka Camp

$ 279

per person per night

Chaka Camp, is a mobile Serengeti safari camp designed to be lightweight enough to move seasonally, is located in the Ndutu area from December through March. The camp relocates to Western Serengeti from May through June, and again to Northern Serengeti from July through November.

From December through March, the wildebeest migration moves in and out of the Ndutu area. Ndutu is located in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, just south of Serengeti National Park. Chaka Camp’s location provides easy access to prime game viewing areas around Lakes Ndutu and Masek. In addition to the almost two million wildebeest and zebra that move through the area each year, Ndutu is home to cheetah, lion, giraffe and hundreds of bird species. During February’s calving season, the wildebeest give birth to 8,000 babies a day.

From May through June, Chaka Camp relocates to Western Serengeti. The wildebeest migration is generally in this area during this time, and crossings over the Grumeti River are sometimes seen in this area. Access to Central Serengeti is also possible from this area as the drive is only two hours.

From July through November, Chaka Camp is located in Northern Serengeti. The camp is close to the Mara River, allowing easy access to several river crossing points in the area. During this time of year, the wildebeest migration is crossing the Mara River back and forth from Tanzania to Kenya. River crossings are common with crocodiles, hippos and large cats scattered throughout the area.

Follow the link the see the best time to visit Serengeti or visit our HerdTracker app. 

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1 km

from herd

Woodlands Camp

Price on Request

Tucked within a grassy corridor that links the Lake Ndutu area with the Moru Kopjes and Hidden Valley is the seasonal Woodlands Camp. During the calving season, this area is teaming with wildebeest as hundreds of thousands of pregnant females converge to give birth. While most properties are compacted in a central location, Woodlands Camp is slightly removed from the main tourist venue, allowing for more privacy without sacrificing access to this awe-inspiring event.

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2 km

from herd

Ndutu Safari Lodge

$ 256

per person per night

Ndutu Safari Lodge is situated in the south-eastern part of the Serengeti eco-system. Shaded by majestic acacia trees, each of the thirty four cottages, which are built of local materials, has a private verandah facing Lake Ndutu.

The Lodge is surrounded by indigenous trees and shrubs which encourage a host of birds and mammals to come right to your front door. Tucked well away from the busy tourist circuit, Ndutu offers peace and tranquillity far from the madding crowd. Spend some time with us and unwind. Relax to the rhythm of an African day as a myriad bird calls herald the rising sun. Stay close to the lodge and enjoy the resident wildlife or go for a drive and explore the range of habitats that lie within easy reach. After sunset return to the homely warmth and hospitality of Ndutu Safari Lodge.

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2 km

from herd

Lemala Ndutu

$ 556

per person per night

Perched on the edge of a permanent marsh, Lemala Ndutu is the ultimate amphitheater for the wildebeest migration between December and March.

9 suite tents of a very high specification are relocated from the Northern Serengeti to this stunning Ndutu site to capture the boundless drama that accompanies the migration. The migrating herds of over 1.5 million wildebeest and zebra begin to arrive in December and begin calving in February.

The camp is situated inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, near the border of Southern Serengeti, in what is perhaps the finest location in the whole of Ndutu because of its shady umbrella acacia trees and grass cover which reduces dust considerably and also attracts grazers. The camp offers fantastic views of the marsh whose permanent fresh waters attract an abundance of game including predators. The camp enjoys regular visits from resident wildlife ranging from lions, leopards,cheetahs and hyenas to elephant and giraffe. Lion hunts close to the camp are not uncommon.

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2 km

from herd

Camp Zebra

$ 495

per person per night

Like the animal it is named after, Camp Zebra follows the wildebeest migration to the northern part of the Serengeti National Park in June, July, August, September, October and November; and to the southern part of the park from December till March. Camp Zebra is closed from the middle of April till the end of May each year.

Camp Zebra consists of six accommodation tents, each of which can be used for single, double (or twin) or triple occupancy. Each sleeping tent consists of a bedroom area, dressing area and ensuite shower and toilet. The dressing area, shower and toilet are all “open air” so as to heighten the experience of living as one with your surroundings. Despite being able to enjoy some breathtaking views as you prepare yourself for the day ahead, privacy is still assured due to the clever design of our tents. As an added convenience, each tent is provided with sufficient electricity for lighting as well as for charging mobile telephones, cameras, tablets, laptop computers or any other electronic devices you may carry with you.

Camp Zebra is Serengeti camping at its finest. The mobile nature of the camp makes it easy to follow the wildebeest herds as they complete their long journey, ensuring the best wildlife sightings during the incredible Great Migration in Tanzania. See our HerdTracker app for the latest migration updates.