Today, surrounded by so many thousands of wildebeest, we were able to focus on just one as she gave birth. From birth to trying to stand: 2.23min; standing at 4.20mins and hunting for a drink 9 minutes later.
Having been unceremoniously dumped into a howling wind, the poor little thing shivered and wobbled uncertainly before finally locating the milk bar. By the time we left, 15 minutes later it was following Mum. Wonderful to watch.
Out on the plains, the wildebeest calving is in full swing. When the moment arrives it happens quickly, the mother looking mildly surprised at the wet bundle which has suddenly appeared.
Within minutes the baby is standing on wobbly pins, searching for the first feed of nourishing colostrum to gain strength to be able to keep up with it's mother. These magic moments were captured by Hamisi Masawe.
(Warning: images not for sensitive viewers)
The birth of a wildebeest calf - Image by Hamisi Masawe
A wildebeest calf being born in Ndutu - Image by Hamisi Masawe
The newborn calf touches ground for the first time - Image by Hamisi Masawe
The newborn wildebeest takes in it's surroundings - Image by Hamisi Masawe
The newborn calf and it's mother make eye contact - Image by Hamisi Masawe
Mom gets close to her newborn calf - Image by Hamisi Masawe
The newborn calf gets ready to feed - Image by Hamisi Masawe
I just spoke to one of our guides who has just come in from a game drive and he says there are huge herds of wildebeest still around Kimuma Hill and across to Ubuntu and north of there on the plains towards Ndutu.
It’s still sunny and dry here and plenty of green grass so hopefully they will be around here for a bit longer!
There are huge herds of wildebeest between Kimuma and Ubuntu and north on the plains towards Ndutu at the moment. Lots of calves but still many to calve yet. The guides said there are a lot of wildebeest around Kusini too.
Gerard will try and get some images to you in the next couple of days. Thanks.
Beautiful sunny days here giving some time for us and the landscape to dry out a bit after a lot of heavy rain.
In the immediate vicinity of the lodge, there are not so many of the wildebeest or zebra, however reports are that Hidden Valley has a lot of water and large numbers of animals coming to drink all day long.
The majority of the masses seem to be out south of here - Makao - Kusini direction, as well as the plains around the main road between Olduvai and Twin HIlls. Once guests actually reach the herds, there are babies popping out left right and centre.
The majority of the herds are in Makao and Kusini - Image by Ainslie Wilson
A small group of wildebeest have been seen at Shamba la Maharage which is Naabi Plains and more concentration is from this area up to Gol area. The guests saw two newborn wildebeests seems a sign they have started calving.
Yesterday, we just had rains in the evening and guides are expecting them to be moving closer to us .
Please see the picture taken yesterday about the calves. Should I hear more info today will get back to you.
Newborn wildebeest spotted in Naabi - Image by Lemala Camps
The calving season has started - Image by Lemala Camps
There are masses of wildebeest north of here and south of here - north of the main road across the Serengeti up towards Lemuta, Angata Kiti and Piyaya. South of here also, between Twin Hills and Makao masses.
Reports are now coming in that the calving has started. You are not having to drive very far from here to be in the middle of it all. Guest are seeing some awesome cheetah chases and kills. Several sets of new Cheetah cubs have been sighted.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.