Migration - river crossings - places/times

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Feb 11th, 2005, 01:23 AM
  #1
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Migration - river crossings - places/times

Hello all

Iím seeking opinions on the wildebeest migration.

Where is the best place to see the wildebeest river crossings and crocodiles in action - Grumeti River in the western corridor of the Serengeti, or the Mara River in Kenya?

As for timing it seems the best chance of seeing this happening is early June for the northward migration through Tanzania and Grumeti River crossing, and early October for the southward migration and Mara River crossings. (I want to avoid July and August).

How well placed is Ikoma Bush Camp as a base for visits to the Grumeti river crossings?

Swala Safaris have an informative website and are registered with TATO. Any feedback on them?

Thanks in advance for responses.

Regards

Al

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Feb 11th, 2005, 03:44 AM
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Hi AI

The two crossings are different experiences.

The Grumeti (western corridor) happens during June normally but the animals don't have to swim across unless there is a sudden heavy rain. In many places they can walk across without getting wet!

So here the crocs and tourists wait until they come to drink. After a week or so the herds get smarter and the crocs have to be really good to get them!

In the Mara, they have to swim. Early in the season it all very clinical as the crocs are hungry and the river flow is not that strong.

Later on the crocs get lazy and many crossing happen without incident.

Late Oct/November is a good bet for southwards migration across the Mara. When heavy rains fall, the stragglers may get caught in a flooding Mara which is quite tragic to watch.


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Feb 12th, 2005, 09:56 PM
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Thanks. Yes, I understand that when the wildebeest pass the Grumeti in June the river is already down to pools and then dries up soon after. So I wonder where these crocs (up to 18 foot long) go when there is no water. If the Grumeti is a bit dicey with crossings, water levels, as well as being more difficult to get to, then the Mara seems a better bet.

Al
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Feb 12th, 2005, 11:43 PM
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Hi there
be aware that near the mara where the tourists stand in their hundreds to see the scene, you might wait2-3 days and there is no actual crossing,,,
the herds stand on the river bank there and everyone awaits for the bravest one to be the first to cross. Sometimes it can happened only after hours or even days of abnoxsious waiting... so the best way is to stay in a camp in the area so you can come back and try to catch tit...
hamitzer is offline  
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Feb 13th, 2005, 02:45 AM
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Hi.
This is good advice too. So it would be best to spend about a week in the Mara not to miss one of nature's greatest spectacles. If the place is really crowded maybe a combination of camping and lodge stay, and on the western side.
Al
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Feb 13th, 2005, 04:08 AM
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In the Mara, the Serena Lodge is the best in terms of seeing from the property what is going on. You also see the most animals at this location in the early months of the migration. Also Rekoro Tented Camp is not too far away, but Serena is on the other side of the river and it is not as crowded on that side. The animals cross both ways so you can always see them coming and going. I'm saying that they cross over and back for unknown reasons they will return to the Mara Triangle, this is early in the season, August and September. At least this is what they did in 2003. Liz
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Feb 13th, 2005, 05:20 PM
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Liz
Thanks for your response. Serena Lodge would be my first choice absolutely.
Can one book directly with them or is it best to go through a tour operator? Does the lodge or the tour operator provide the game drives?

As to timing, I know there are no guarantees and many variables, but I would like to identify a two week period outside of the peak July-August season, when there is a reasonably good chance (to justify the trip) of seeing the crossings. So far, from lots of posts, lodge reports and animated maps I'm inclining towards late October.

[[Herd mentality is always difficult to predict, but at least the drama filled beach crossings of penguins are a nightly event.]]
Al
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Feb 14th, 2005, 03:42 AM
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Sorry but I don't know which is the better when booking in East Africa. Its different than in SA. The Serena would be booked through the Serena Lodge site I think. When we went I booked direct with Governors Camp but they couldn't book other camps for me so we spent all the time in that camp. Not the best thing to do. It is better to visit at least two camps and spread out your chances of seeing things. Rekoro Tented Camp is close to the river area and is smaller. You can book them direct but when I tried to go through them to book other camps too, the prices they quoted, including their own, shot up dramatically. I gave up and went with Governors who posted their rates and kept with them. Its further from the river but in October the migration will be closer to Governors and some of the encounters at the swamp with the lions looks exciting. I have only seen that on the Big Cat Diary. Liz
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