You have decided to take a safari and without hesitation I would advise a Serengeti Safari in Northern Tanzania. A Safari across the endless plains of the Serengeti to witness the last, great migration on earth is an unforgettable experience. The whole safari across the huge Serengeti is a package with an abundance of animals rivaled no where else in Africa. It is compounded with majestic landscapes and the fascinating tribes you meet. It is here you will realize that you are in Africa proper.
The great migration safari in the Serenegeti comprises of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest in a never ending cycle of movement, closely followed by the predators looking for an easy meal. The Wildebeest follow the rains and migration is therefore as unpredictable as these rains. It is the last remaining great migration on our planet, and as such, it is a must to take a safari to witness first hand this great event.
Many safari companies try to predict the whereabouts of the animals. The success of this is dependent on three main things. a. The rains being on time. b. The rains lasting long enough to influence the animal to move. c. The experience of the company organizing migration safaris in the Serengeti. The problem with these predictions is that in recent years the rains have not been on time or they have even failed, leaving some safari-makers with clients in the wrong lodges in the wrong area of the Serengeti. Recently many people on safari in Kenya [as the migration crosses the border and for a short time the migration is in Kenya] experienced the failure of the long rains and with this failure most of the animals remained in the Northern Serengeti, leaving many people on the safari not only in the wrong lodges but in the wrong country!
How to solve this problem involves a little work on your part, in researching your subject and booking your safari vacation with care. Below are a few simple steps as a basic guideline.
1. If you are wanting your safari from late July through to the end of September/October then it is necessary to book well in advance. This time of year is so busy that most of the lodges will become full.
2. Have you heard of overcrowding in the Serenegeti? If you have, the chances are the safari took place between these over crowded summer months and most probably the safari was in the Seronera Valley, in the central Serengeti. This area of the Serengeti has a good, reliable concentration of animals with a year round water supply. Many safari companies [especially the bargain priced safaris] are lazy and send their clients to this part of the Serengeti only. This ensures lower mileage, bigger profits and happy clients because of the abundance of animals. Do ensure your safari includes two areas of the Serengeti. One should be the south or the north of this huge park, depending on the time of year and where the migration is heading.
3. If you have the luxury of booking when tourists are few in Tanzania, then try to leave the actual booking of the safari until a few weeks before your departure. If it is low season, March through to the end of June, then the safaris [that is the accommodation and to a lesser extent transport] are at bargain basement rates. Keep checking on the whereabouts of the migration and then book your accommodation through a quality operator accordingly. Safari operators should be able to get luxury accommodation cheaper than your booking directly – this is how the safari operators make their profit.
4. Unfortunately the easiest way to a successful migration safari in the Serengeti is also the most expensive. Book a luxury safari in a semi permanent luxury tented lodge. They are semi permanent as they move several times per year as the migration moves. This almost guarantees you will be up close and personal with the great migration.
[Do not let the tent bit put you off. They are huge tents with double beds and furniture and even en-suite bathrooms. Some boast of private butlers for each tent. They are small camps and have an intimate relationship with the surroundings.]
How it is possible to keep a check on the whereabouts of the migration is easier said than done. There are many sites that claim to have regular updates but some I checked recently are almost two years past their sell by date. I would suggest keeping in touch with two or three of the small boutique tour operators in Tanzania – they have vehicles with drivers who are returning from the Serengeti every week and so know the movements of the animals. They will not mind keeping you well informed of what is happening in order to [hopefully] get a safari booked.
Take time and plan your safari carefully as the planning is a part of the adventure. Take time to research a little and make sure your ground operator in Tanzania is willing to make your safari special. Many of the safari operators are [rather sadly] only bothered about making a quick buck and the client’s wishes are of no concern to them. Beware of such companies as they exist at the luxury end as well as the budget end of the spectrum. Tanzania and the Serengeti are amazing. Ensure that with careful planning your safari experience will be an exciting and memorable one.