Kenya & Tanzania - Great Migration
Day 1: Arrive at JKIA in Nairobi and transfer to Ole Sereni Hotel.
After your arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, luggage collection and passport control, you will be met by your ORYX Photographic tour leader and host, Penny Robartes. From here you will be transferred to Ole Sereni Hotel for an overnight stay. During dinner tonight, you will have an opportunity to discuss the next 10 days of this incredible Great migration private safari.
Overnight Ole Sereni
Day 2: Transfer to Wilson Airport and fly to Maasai Mara National Reserve
Following a delicious breakfast, we will transfer to the nearby Wilson Airport from where we will enjoy a very scenic flight into the game rich grasslands of Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve.
After landing in the Reserve, we will be transferred in a private safari vehicle to the beautifully positioned Nkorombo Camp. Located on the banks of the Mara River, our Camp is the perfect base from which to explore the wonders of the Mara. The camp’s remote location means that we can experience the joy of night sky saturated with stars on clear nights, all the while listening to the classic African sounds of the Lion’s booming roar, Hippos laughing in the river, the Leopard’s saw-sounding call and Spotted Hyaena vocalizing as they prowl through the darkness. Upon waking at dawn, we can expect tea, coffee and freshly-baked biscuits to ease us into a morning of game drives or bush walks across the conservancy, in the company of highly experienced local guides and wildlife rangers.
August and September in the Mara finds us in the thick of one of the biggest natural phenomena, the annual Great Wildebeest Migration. From the Itong Hills, the local herds of Eastern White Bearded Gnu, numbering an estimated 1.5 million strong, grace these scenic planes with their presence. By now, majority of the main Wildebeest Migration herds should be on the plains of the Mara, with more herds crossing the mighty Mara River to join the rest, or cross back into Tanzania depending on where the rains fall. Along with hundreds of thousands of Zebra and gazelle, this is truly a sight to behold.
This is also the time of plenty for the larger predators, which they will encounter along the way. It is estimated that a one-quarter of a million of these wildebeest will not return.
From our location on the banks of the Mara River, we are in close proximity to some of the best wildlife activities and major river-crossing points in the Mara. Over the next few days of our Great migration private safari, we can choose whether we would prefer to do packed breakfast and possibly lunches as well so as to maximize our time in the field, or return to the camp for lunch and relaxation after our morning drives.
Overnight Serian’s Nkorombo Mobile
Day 3 to 5: Maasai Mara National Reserve
The Maasai Mara and the adjoining Loita plains form the northern-most (8,000 km²) portion of the Serengeti – Mara ecosystem, a 25,000 km² area usually encompassing the annual movements of the migratory wildebeest. The Mara is higher in altitude, cooler, has more hills, is more fertile and receives more rainfall (approximately 760mm per year), and is therefore lusher and greener than the expansive plains of the Serengeti.
The eco-system is home to the world’s greatest wildlife spectacle, the annual great Wildebeest migration. These grazers, together with Plains Zebra and Thompson’s gazelle traverse the eco-system through the year, and whilst there are resident animals in the Mara throughout, numbers swell to gigantic proportions during the drier season stretching from July/August to October/November.
The Mara’s abundant herbivores make it a paradise for predators. The large carnivores include the big cats – Lion, Leopard and Cheetah are seen regularly and will provide us with truly magnificent photographic opportunities.
More than a million Wildebeest and two hundred thousand Plains Zebra migrate annually following the rains in search of better grazing.
Crossing the Mara River is the greatest obstacle they must face, and includes steep banks and strong currents, but the biggest menace is, without a doubt, the enormous Nile crocodile that has been living in this river for hundreds of years.
Although the enormous herds and large populations of charismatic predators are the undoubted stars of the Mara show, other wildlife including African Elephant, Giraffe, Topi, Thompson’s Gazelle, Defassa Waterbuck and Cape Buffalo, as well as various primates are all here too, providing one of the most holistic photographic experiences in Africa.
Also regularly seen are smaller carnivores such as Black-backed Jackal, Bat-eared Fox and the elegant Serval. Black Rhino are a little shy and hard to spot but are regularly seen at a distance.
One of the highlights of this Great migration private safari is without a doubt photographing the phenomenal Cheetah, and the Mara offers arguably the finest viewing of these felines in Africa. The undulating landscape, savanna woodlands and rich riparian habitats provide a theatrical setting for our photography, not to mention the soul-soothing sunsets.
As with the rest of Kenya, the birdlife is abundant, offering remarkable opportunities for bird photography. Common species include colourful starlings and rollers, and a rich assemblage of raptors, including large numbers of Ruppell’s Vulture and the hulking Lappet-faced Vulture. As the day heats up, vultures can be seen riding the hot air thermals that rise off the plains, utilizing their acute vision to search for a carcass on which to feast.
Overnight Serian’s Nkorombo Mobile
Day 6: Transfer from Maasai Mara to Lamai Wedge, Serengeti North.
After an early breakfast at the Camp, our Serian guides will transfer us to the Serengeti North in Tanzania for your last portion of your Great Migration Safari.
Our camp is situated opposite Crossing Point 4, midway among all crossing points along the river – and is perfectly positioned to spectate the wildebeest river crossing. With us being in such close proximity to the river, we are sure to be privy to many crossings as well as to be able to situate ourselves and get the best angle possible for photographic opportunities. Such as with the Mara, this portion of your safari is dedicated to the Great Migration as many of the significant number of wildebeest and zebra will be making their arduous journey back over the Mara River to the lush grass in the Serengeti South.
Night at Serian’s Serengeti Mobile Lamai
Day 7 to 9 Day: Lamai Wedge, Northern Serengeti
Renowned for its outstanding concentrations of predators and the Great Wildebeest Migration, the Serengeti guarantees an exceptional safari, which is one of the reasons why it is Africa’s most famous park.
Endless grassy plains offers its diverse and numerous grazers the richest grazing grounds on the continent, making it home to the largest herds of grazers and therefore, the highest concentrations of predators on the planet. For the next few days of our Great migration private safari, we will be exploring the many photographic opportunities that are teaming in this area from the river-crossings, to the rolling grassland plains, the magnificent boulders strewn in the hillside, and fig-tree groves.
Described by all those who have set foot upon it, and those who dream to, as one of the most beautiful areas in the norther Serengeti, the Lamai Wedge is situated between Kenya’s Maasai Mara’s border and the section of the Mara River that’s flows through Tanzania. It remains wonderfully quiet and largely unvisited due to it being relatively inaccessible and lacking large hotels. This makes our camp and the area a perfect destination for your intimate exploration and stay in northern Tanzania.
The photographic opportunities are outstanding. During July to November the Serengeti’s main attraction is the Great Migration, which sees great herds of Wildebeest, Zebra, Impala, Grant’s gazelles, and Thompson’s gazelle moving between the Serengeti in Tanzania and the Maasai Mara in Kenya. The predator viewing here is truly exceptional and even more so with the concentration of high numbers prey. There are approximately 3-4,000 Lion and huge numbers of cheetah, leopard and hyena, so predator sightings as well as predator and prey interaction is sure to be had!
Other animals commonly found in the park include topi, eland, hartebeest, buffalo, elephant, caracal, serval, bat-eared fox, hyrax, genet, hares, porcupine, aardvark, giraffe, jackal, mongoose, crocodile, monitor lizard, aardwolf, many kinds of primates including baboons, vervet and colobus monkeys, and over 500 species of bird.
Nights at Serian’s Serengeti Mobile Lamai
Day 10: Departure Day
Sadly your Kenya and Tanzania Great Migration Photo Safari has come to an end. At a time to be confirmed, we will depart our Lamai camp and board your flight to JKIA. From here we say our goodbyes as you board for your flight back home.