Tanzania: Migration Calving Season - African Encounters

Tanzania: Migration Calving Season

(2 Reviews)
19 - 25 February 2024
19 - 25 February 2024

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    Availability : 19 - 25 February 2024
    Arusha, Tanzania
    Arusha, Tanzania
    Max People : 8

    February is baby animal season in the Serengeti!

    It’s perhaps the greatest spectacle of the Serengeti – the migration few know about. Millions of wildebeest, zebra, and antelopes gather in the southern Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation area to give birth to around 500,000 babies during this short calving season. The lush grass after the rains provides plenty of food for all these animals. It’s also a time of plenty for the predators who need to feed their own babies, so you can expect to see plenty of lions, cheetahs, and maybe even leopard cubs too. Travelling to the Serengeti during baby animal season guarantees exceptional game viewing. Your very comfortable mobile camp moves several times during the year to follow the migration so you will be in the middle of all the action! The spacious walk-in tents have proper beds and en-suite bathrooms, and the wonderful camp staff provide a fully serviced experience.

    Lake Manyara

    With its sparkling soda lake, steep mountain scenery, and dense woodlands Lake Manyara National Park offers a unique wilderness experience. The Park was established to protect elephants and it now boasts a large population. The area is also famous for its tree-climbing lions, and there are large herds of buffalo as well as cheetah, Masai giraffe, and impala. Flocks of pink flamingos are often seen on the lake shores, and more than 400 other bird species have been recorded here.

    Ngorongoro Conservation Area

    The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is part of the Serengeti ecosystem and adjoins the Serengeti National Park. The Ngorongoro Highlands presents a different side of Tanzania among the coffee farms before a dramatic descent to the game-rich Ngorongoro Crater, a World Heritage Site. Ngorongoro Crater is one of the wonders of the natural world – an extinct volcano that collapsed in on itself around 25 million years ago, forming a vast caldera that hosts around 20,000 animals. Large numbers of wildebeest, buffalo, gazelle, and zebra graze on the open grasslands in the crater, and they attract the predators, the black-maned lion, the leopard, and hyena.

    Elephants feed on the giant sedges and hippo wallow in the pools. The Fever Tree forests shelter monkeys, bushbuck, waterbuck, and the few black rhinos that have taken refuge here. A soda lake attracts water birds, including flamingos.

    Serengeti National Park

    The Serengeti National Park is the largest and best-known of all the Tanzania National Parks covering an area of 14,500 sq km. Its northern boundary is the border with Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve which is included in the Serengeti eco-system. With no fences, the animals wander freely between both countries. Located to the north and west of Ngorongoro, the vast Serengeti plains sustain the greatest and most spectacular concentration of wildlife found anywhere in the world.

    Every year the Great Migration of over 1.5 million animals, mostly wildebeest but also zebra and Thompson’s gazelle, follow a 1000 kilometre journey from the Serengeti to the fresh grazing of the Masai Mara. By October they will be returning from Kenya to their calving grounds in the southern Serengeti.

    This African Encounters exclusive safari will be personally escorted from Arusha, Tanzania by company director Karen Platzer* and local guides. The safari is limited to just 8 guests – early bookings are essential! 

    This safari can be combined with my Kenya’s Big Cats safari, or Tanzania’s Secret South.

    * T&C’s apply.

    Arrival: Arusha, Tanzania

    Departure: Arusha, Tanzania

    • A genuine small group safari with a maximum of 8 participants – personal service
    • Glamping in Africa – our stunning small safari camps offer superb comfort under canvas!
    • Experience the excitement of calving season from our mobile camp in the southern Serengeti.
    • Enjoy walks with Maasai guides, night drives, picnics & sundowners.
    • You’ll have incredible photo opportunities in open 4×4 safari vehicles – no packed minibuses for our guests!
    • Your NZ tour escort is an Africa expert with over 35 years of experience in travel in Africa.

    What's included

    • Arrival and departure transfers
    • Quality accommodation in luxury lodges & tented camps.
    • All meals
    • Domestic flight Seronera (Serengeti) - Kilimanjaro (Arusha)
    • All transport as per itinerary
    • All Park and Private Conservancy fees
    • Game drives in customised 4×4 safari vehicles
    • Contribution to Conservation and Community projects
    • Qualified professional safari guides
    • Flying doctor’s medical evacuation cover
    • Escorted from Arusha, Tanzania, by company founder and director Karen Platzer for a group of 4 or more participants. For a group smaller than 4 people the tour will be guided by qualified local guides.

    Not included

    • International airfares
    • Visas
    • Travel insurance (mandatory)
    • Drinks
    • Laundry
    • Tips & gratuities
    • Any Personal Expenses

    Day 1: Arusha 

    Independent arrival at Arusha’s Kilimanjaro International Airport where you will be met and taken to your accommodation. This beautiful private house is located on a wildlife and golf estate, halfway between Kilimanjaro International Airport and Arusha, and offers a great place to start your safari. (BB)

    Day 2: Lake Manyara

    After breakfast, check out with picnic lunches and drive to Lake Manyara for a game drive. A World Heritage Site, Lake Manyara National Park never fails to delight visitors. The 330 sq km park, of which the soda lake takes up 230 sq km, is flanked on the west by the sheer wall of the Great Rift Valley. The famous tree-climbing lions, hippos, elephants, buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe, monkeys, the elusive leopard, monitor lizards, and pythons, to the flamingos and other birds are all attracted to the area. Large areas of groundwater forest with giant fig and mahogany trees alternate with acacia woodland and open spaces make this a photographer’s paradise. 

    Later, proceed to your award-winning lodge at nearby Karatu for dinner and overnight  (LDBB). 

    Day 3: Ngorongoro Crater

    After breakfast, drive to the Ngorongoro Crater, the largest intact caldera in the world. Its enduring charm stems from its overwhelming beauty and the abundance of wildlife permanently resident on the crater floor. Afternoon tour of the crater. The journey down to the floor of the world-famous crater, a UNESCO heritage site, is spectacular. Enjoy a game drive and picnic lunch in the Crater before travelling back up to your luxury tented camp in an ancient acacia forest close to the rim of the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater. (LDBB)

    Day 4: Southern Serengeti

    After breakfast, drive to the Serengeti National Park, undoubtedly the most famous wildlife sanctuary in the world, unequalled for its natural beauty and the greatest concentration of plains game anywhere (your vehicle returns to Arusha, and subsequent game drives are in a 4×4 camp vehicle). Arrive for lunch at your accommodation for the next 3 nights – an authentic intimate tented camp set in a secluded part of the game-rich southern Serengeti Plains in the Ndutu area of the Ngorongoro Conservation area. It is a mobile camp that moves north and south with the seasons to ensure guests enjoy ringside seats to the spectacle of the magnificent wildebeest migration year-round. Afternoon game drive until sunset. (LDBB).

    Days 5 & 6: Southern Serengeti

    Tens of thousands of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle usually arrive in December to graze on the newly-watered, highly nutritious short grass plains, and then by February, the main calving season takes place. Predators – especially the big cats – are highly concentrated in the Ndutu area in these months. Our camp, with 9 tents, is perched on the edge of a permanent marsh which acts as the ultimate amphitheatre to capture the boundless drama that accompanies the migration. This area is classic savannah, characterized by flat grassy plains, and our camp is in one of the finest locations in Ndutu to see the migration between December and March.

    Perhaps the greatest spectacle of the Serengeti takes place during the wildebeest calving season when around 8,000 young wildebeest are born every single day. With thousands of baby wildebeest, zebra and antelopes running around it is much easier for a mother lion, cheetah or leopard to find a meal for their hungry cubs as well as give them the opportunity to learn how to hunt for themselves. Predators have to deal with extremely over-protective mothers who will do everything in their power to protect their young so you are guaranteed to see some action unfolding between mothers, their calves and the hungry predators. 

    A sundowner is the perfect end to a perfect day, enjoying the dramatic shades of the African sunset! Dinner and overnight. (LDBB)

    Day 7: Departure

    After breakfast, check out and transfer to Seronera airstrip for your scheduled flight to Arusha. Met at Arusha airport and transfer to Arusha Coffee Lodge for lunch. Later, transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport for your onward flight or join Karen on her Tanzania’s Secret South safari. (B)

    2 Reviews
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    Silva Bassett

    Solo Traveller

    I’ve now been on four trips with Karen, and they have all been above expectations. My most recent trip was to Tanzania in February with great travelling companions and wonderful experiences especially enjoying the animals in a private conservancy without loads of other people around as well as a terrific day spent in the Ngorongoro Crater. All magic!


    Silva Bassett

    Solo Traveller

    Although I’ve been on safari previously, the African Encounters ‘Baby Season in the Serengeti’ safari really appealed to me. I have to say it exceeded expectations with wonderful travelling companions, superb accommodation and a highly experienced guide who excelled in finding wildlife, catered for individual desires (such as trying to find a wildebeest giving birth – we almost succeeded) and frequently the best angles for photography.
    You can’t do better than travelling through a private conservancy although the whole trip was amazing with a special mention to the Ngorongoro Crater – a modern day Noah’s Ark of animals. The trip will live on in my memories, even more so now that overseas travel will be curtailed for some time by Covid 19. Thank you Karen and African Encounters.