best time for migration near Ndutu

Jun 5th, 2008, 09:05 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 27
best time for migration near Ndutu

I know the location of the Migration around Ndutu varies from one year to the next but can anyone advise whether early or late February is usually the best time to stay in that area? Or even late January?
sd_kifaru is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 09:28 PM
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Usually starts in mid-January, and February is about as good a guess as any.

A lot depends on the rains. In January 2006 it was very dry and we saw tens of thousands of wildebeests, most milling in the woodlands.

Same dates in 2007 (last two weeks in January), after heavy December rains, we saw many hundreds of thousands on the open plains, which were beautiful and green instead of dry and brown like a year earlier.

In 2008 we were there late Feb - early March and it was a bit dry, with long lines of wildebeests moving here and there but not the 500,000 in huge herds.

All three trips were great, regardless of the wildebeest tally You can see pics from each trip here:

Bill_H is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 05:41 AM
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You have asked the million dollar question.

One strategy is to go a bit later, such as early March because
a) availability is better
b) prices might also be a little better
c) you miss peak crowds
d) it is most likely you will see baby wildies, whether they were born in late Jan or early Feb or late Feb. Whenever they were born, they will probably be there by March. If you go earlier and the birthing is late, you may not see many babies. However if you want to see the actual birth, March would probably not give you the best odds. It also gets rainier into March.

Some itineraries include not only Ndutu, but further north in the Seronera area. You can either stay a day or two up there in Seronera or be sure you have access to drive up towards or into that region. This is in case the migration stalls up there due to lack of rains. That happened a few years ago. But with good rains, then your time up in the Seronera area would probably not be spent with wildes.

The above are mullings in my head for an eventual migration season trip I hope to take. So I thought I'd spill them here in response to your question and for others to make comments, suggestions, or re-direct my thinking.

Whenever you go, I am sure that, like Bill, your trip will be great. Africa delivers such a high quality experience that you do not have to hit areas at their absolute peak to come away satisified.

atravelynn is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 09:52 AM
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I have not been to Tanzania at that time of year. However, Iíve done a fair amount of research in preparation for a trip next year. I believe earlier February is probably better, but I am going in late February/early March 2009 for several reasons, many of which Lynn mentioned. We are dividing our time as follows: 2 nights Suyan Camp (southern Loliondo), 4 nights Olakira Camp (Ndutu), and 2 nights Sayari South Camp (south of Seronera).

We will have a private vehicle and guide so we can go where we want, stay out all day, and drive long distances if thatís what we choose to do. For example, while in the NCA at Olakira we will be able to go into the Serengeti NP if thatís where the herds are. Note that traversing the two areas means paying additional park fees.
Dana_M is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 10:12 AM
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My standard answer is January, February and the first few weeks of March. Pretty much anything can happen, and there is no way of predicting where they will be. If you arrive too early, they will at least be in NCA or Serengeti land. If you arrive too late, they might be in hunting land, and you cannot get there. This assumes that the migration is all that there is to see, which is completely not the case.
andybiggs is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 02:26 PM
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be aware that some of the camps close at the beginning of march as they are semi-permanent. so check that out!
divine54 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 02:27 PM
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i would definately chose feb - any time -. calving season as well as migration. you cannot go wrong that time of year doesn't matter whether the rains start early or rather late.
divine54 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 03:01 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
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It varies from year to year. We were at Ndutu for 2 weeks in mid-late February in both 2004 and again in 2005 and the rains had just started. In 2004, the wildebeest started birthing in the 3rd week. In 2005, they started at the end of the month.

We spoke with a woman from California who had stayed at Ndutu Safari Lodge every year for 10 years and she said it's most reliable in mid-February, but for our trips we found late February to be most reliable.
AZEBS is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 05:05 PM
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Posts: 1,715
No doubt quite a variance is possible from year to year. My personal strategy was to go for the end of February as I didn't want to time it too early and be there with no calves. No surprise that I would consider predator viewing, and based on that point of emphasis the hunting gets frequent and easy once the calves are there and the grocery store is fully stocked giving you your highest density of predators and best chance to see hunting action, as well as getting to see all the new young life that irrupts in such overwhelming numbers that the predators can eat all they desire and there will still be thousands and thousands of babies who survive. This year that was unfortunately too late to see any actual births but it worked great for seeing predators, action, and lots of very young calves.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
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