Almost everyone has heard of the Great Migration of the Serengeti, where millions of wildebeest, Njari Treks and Safaris
gazelle and zebra traverse the plains in search of food and water. But how many
of us know the real story?
At Njari Treks and Safaris we believe in setting the right expectations. There’s so much more to a safari than the Migration!
There’s more wildlife, culture and beautiful scenery than you can imagine, and with new animal species still being discovered, who knows what exciting sightings you’ll make.
We think an informed traveler is a happy
traveler, so here are some important facts about the Migration that you need to
Fiction: The main goal to go on safari just to see the Migration.
Fact: There’s so much more to a safari! The Great Migration consists largely of wildebeest, gazelle, and zebra,
all of which you will see in abundance whether you witness the Migration or not. What about elephant, lion, giraffe, African buffalo, rhinoceros, flamingo, hippo, leopard, warthog, hyena, impala and countless other species, some of
which you may have not even heard yet?
One thing is certain, Tanzania has the largest biodiversity on the planet, has the greatest concentration of wildlife, devotes
fully one-third of its land to national parks, conservation areas and reserves and has wowed innumerable safari-goers with its sheer beauty and its diversity and quantity of wildlife.
Fiction: The Great Migration takes place during a specific time of
Fact: It’s actually a year-round phenomenon. The simple story is that these vast herds are on a continual search for food and water and spend
the entire year moving in a more-or-less clockwise direction around the Serengeti ecosystem.
Weather, specifically rain, is the driving force of the Migration, so any change in the seasonal weather patterns (more,
less or no rain) has a huge impact on the location of the Migration and the size of the herds.
Fiction: The Migration is predictable.
Fact: While we can do our best to reference historical patterns, study weather trends and stay in touch with a superior team of guides out in
the bush, no one can predict with any certainty where the great herds will be. When was the last time you were able to accurately predict the rainfall totals and regional location of rain within your state?
Fiction: If there are so many animals on this migration, it would be impossible NOT to see them.
Fact: First of all, it’s important to understand that Serengeti National Park is the size of Connecticut, and the much larger Serengeti
ecosystem spans far beyond the park’s borders. It includes not only the park itself (6,000 square miles!), but Kenya’s Masai Mara (only 600 square miles), parts of the neighboring Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and beyond.
Then, you must consider that wildebeest, while they tend to travel in herds, are not joined at the hip! Groups of wildebeest
may range from 10 to 100 to 1,000 or 100,000 individuals, and these can be spread over miles and miles. Sometimes, you may see what appears to be a single-file line of wildebeest that spans the horizon. Other times you may see clusters of smaller herds here and there. And, yes, sometimes you may even be lucky enough to see the massive herds that turn the grassy plains into a vast
tapestry of ungulates.
Finally, you must also understand that the reason the National Park is so rich with wildlife is because the land is so
highly protected. Keeping as much of the landscape as possible in pristine condition means limiting the road system in the park. There are vast swaths that are – wonderfully – ONLY accessible to the wildlife.
Taking these facts into consideration, Njari Treks and Safaris
Tours will arrange expert guides with rugged, customized vehicles to take you as close as possible to the wildlife – with the most up-to-date
information from the bush and without any mileage restrictions.
Fiction: The Great Migration consists of vast herds crossing
rivers, dodging crocodiles and making death-defying escapes as they flee.
Fact: Well, yes that does happen, and, yes, it’s just as dramatic as what you’ve seen on the Travel Channel. The reality, however, is as
much about luck as it is about patience. In order to get that kind footage, a film crew positions themselves for weeks or months in one spot, waiting patiently for these bursts of absolutely astounding activity. On safari, it is
much more likely that you’ll see varying sizes of herds grazing quietly on the plains.
Fiction: Other companies can guarantee that I’ll see the Great
Fact: This is simply not true. Mother Nature offers no guarantees. To anyone. Ever. But don’t worry!
You will definitely see examples of all the animals that comprise the “great migration”: wildebeest, zebra and Njari Treks and Safaris gazelle
throughout your trip. They may not necessarily be part of the Great Migration of the Serengeti (for example, at Ngorongoro Crater the herds are mostly non-migratory). Even the quantities may vary widely from one location to another and from one time of year to another.
Still, having said all that, it is true that
on a Njari Treks and safaris you are very likely to see some part of the
migration. You may not see that dramatic river crossing (few people ever do),
but you’ll probably see varying sized groups of wildebeest, zebra and Njari Treks Safaris
Holiday Tours’s gazelle as they graze, play and gather on the plains.
Almost all Njari Treks and Safaris itineraries
include staying in two separate, seasonally appropriate regions during your
four days in the Serengeti. It’s all about maximizing your chances of seeing
the most abundant wildlife during your safari.
Above all else, do not get your heart set on the TV-version of the Great
Migration. There is SO MUCH MORE to the safari experience.
You WILL see a great deal of wildlife! You are
not only going to Tanzania, the world’s best safari destination, but you are
going with one of the best, most experienced companies out there; it’s a given
that you will see a magnificent variety and quantity of animals.
Twenty-seven years of experience in the wilds
of Tanzania allow us to make that promise without hesitation.