Details of Five Day Wildebeest Migration Calving Season Safari (December - March)
About Calving Season (January to March)
Life begins for a huge number of animals in the Ndutu region of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. In the space of a few short weeks, the calving season sees half a million young wildebeest brought into the world. This is due to the rainy season combining with the fertile volcanic soil of the region to create a lush carpet of short grass rich in essential vitamins.
It is here that the vast herd begins to take shape, and it is here that the predators begin their yearlong assault upon the herd. With so many young and weak calves stumbling around, it becomes easy for the lions, leopards, and cheetahs to pick off a tasty morsel.
DAY ONE - ARUSHA - TARANGIRE OR LAKE MANYARA
On this day, you can choose to go to Tarangire National Park or Lake Manyara National Park. Depending on the time of year, each of these parks offers a different safari experience. Your guide can advise you as to which is best to visit during your safari.
IF TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
You'll depart from Arusha after breakfast for the approximately two hour drive to Tarangire National Park. Along the way you'll pass bustling Masai villages and the vast, open plains that have become synonymous with images of Africa.
Once you've entered Tarangire, you'll begin your game drive across a rich vista of endless golden savannah that surrounds the Tarangire River. The river itself runs throughout the year and is a vital source of water for the animals of the region during the dry season. Lined with acacia and Baobab trees, the river is regularly visited by the park's large elephant population as well as other herbivores such as zebras and antelopes.
A picnic lunch with a view of the river is a great way to take it all in, but you'll have to keep on your toes as the local monkey population does its best to separate you from your lunch!
Driving through the park you'll also have the opportunity to see lions, leopards, cape buffalo, and a huge variety of antelopes. If you're particularly lucky, you might even see endangered animals such as the Greater Kudu or the Fringe-Eared Oryx.
After your day's drive is done, you'll retire to your accommodation for the evening.
IF LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
You'll depart from Arusha after breakfast for the drive to Lake Manyara National Park. The journey takes approximately two hours, but we'll pass through the market town of Mto Wa Mbu along the way. This agricultural and fresh produce market is a melting pot of local cultures and a souvenir hunter's paradise.
After a brief stop at the village market, you'll enter Lake Manyara National Park. The park is truly a photographer's playground and offers some of the best game viewing in the world. You can expect to see many of Africa's most well-known animals, with the tree-climbing lions a particular treat. These proud predators lounge in acacia trees practically begging to be photographed.
Bird-watchers will find Lake Manyara is an absolute delight, with a huge variety of birds on display in the park. Even the novice can expect to be amazed by large flamingo flocks, circling birds of prey, and the brightly coloured lilac breasted roller.
You'll then retire to your chosen accommodation for dinner and a good night's rest.
DAY TWO - TARANGIRE/LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK - SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
We'll take an early breakfast, as we've got a big day of exploration and adventure ahead of us!
We'll begin the day with the scenic drive towards the Serengeti. Along the way, we'll pass through the mist-shrouded rainforests of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area where you might be lucky enough to glimpse cape buffalo, baboons, or even elephants and leopards in the dense undergrowth.
It's a nearly four-hour drive to the Serengeti park gates, but you can choose to break up the drive with one or both of the below optional activities:
- Oldupai Gorge Museum: Sometimes known as the Cradle of Mankind, the Oldupai Gorge Museum commemorates some of the oldest evidence of human habitation ever found. Here you can see some of the oldest fossil evidence in the world of human habitation, visit the Oldupai Gorge Museum to learn more about the human journey, and take in the stunning views of this stark gorge country.
- Maasai boma visit: Pay a visit to one of the famous Maasai bomas, where you'll have the opportunity to witness (and participate in) traditional Maasai dance, tour an authentic Maasai village, and even do a little souvenir shopping at the local market.
Both of the above activities attract an additional cost. Speak with your safari expert about adding them to your itinerary.
After a delicious lunch at the Serengeti National Park picnic area, it’s time to explore the Serengeti itself. Witness Africa’s iconic savannah landscape and be amazed by the sheer number of animals that roam these grassy plains.
Dinner and overnight in the heart of the Serengeti National Park according to the standard and the type of accommodation requested from our options.
DAY THREE - CENTRAL SERENGETI - NDUTU REGION
You'll be up before dawn so that we can enjoy a sunrise game drive across the Serengeti. See the sun set fire to the savannah as carnivores such as cheetahs and lions in action while it is still cool enough for them to hunt.
After your sunrise game drive, you'll return to your lodge for breakfast before taking a picnic lunch and heading down into the Ndutu region of the Serengeti/Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
You'll enjoy a day long game drive through the region, taking in the shores of both Lake Ndutu and Lake Masek as well as the surrounding land where tens of thousands of young wildebeest take their first steps.
After your day long exploration of Ndutu, you'll overnight in the region.
DAY FOUR - SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK (NDUTU REGION) - NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA
You'll be up before dawn so that we can enjoy a sunrise game drive along the shores of Lake Ndutu. As far as the eye can see, thousands upon thousands of animals graze on the lush grass.
You'll then head to the nearby Gol Plains, where you'll have the chance to spot carnivores such as cheetahs and lions in action while it is still cool enough for them to hunt.
From here, it's on to Lake Masek, a freshwater lake that is home to water birds and hippopotamuses. Surrounding the lake is enough undergrowth to attract elephants, giraffes, and antelopes, making it a fantastic place to snap pictures of these beautiful creatures against a unique backdrop.
You'll then venture out onto the Serengeti proper for a game drive. Here you'll have the chance to spot graceful giraffes and leaping antelopes, foraging hyenas, lean cheetahs, shy leopards, and the regal lions that have become symbolic of Africa.
You'll overnight on the Ngorongoro crater rim.
DAY FIVE - NGORONGORO CRATER - ARUSHA
After breakfast, you'll depart for Ngorongoro Crater; considered by some to be the Eighth Wonder of the World. When you get your first glimpse of this vast, verdant caldera from the panoramic viewpoint, you'll soon understand why it has earned such a lofty reputation.
Home to over 120 species of mammal including the fabled Big Five, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is one of the most sought after safari destinations in the world. It's a particularly good place to see the endangered black rhinoceros enjoying a lonely meal out on the grass plains, as well as a place to see large numbers of hippopotamus enjoying the cool water.
From the comfort of your open-top vehicle, you'll be able to observe and photograph some of Africa's most recognisable faces. The crater is home to a large number of predators including lions, leopards, cheetahs, jackals, and hyenas, as well as a large population of wildebeest, zebras, antelope, cape buffalo, and more. It is truly one of Africa's premier safari destinations.
After the thrills and excitement of the day, you will have a picnic lunch by the park's famous hippo pool before returning to Arusha to overnight.