The Wildebeest Migration Adventure

The great wildebeest migration is an annual animal migration between Serengeti and Masai mara ecosystems in Kenya and Tanzania. It features vast numbers of wildebeest, zebras, gazelles and other antelope species moving over the plains of Serengeti and Masai mara for fresh pasture. This natural phenomenon happens month per month gradually transitioning into the other as the grazers move facing deadly predators especially the big cats.

Wildebeest Migration Visit East Africa. 3 Days Masai Mara
Wildebeest Migration Maasai Mara. Photo by Thomas Vijayan

The Wildebeest Migration Annual Road Map

In January at the beginning of the year the migration is often in Southern Serengeti. Here they evenly spread throughout the Ndutu conservation area and part of the Ngorongoro Crater. They would have returned from Kenya’s Masai Mara around mid October spreading through out Northern Serengeti.

The wildebeest stay in southern Serengeti throughout the months of February and March that also double as a calving period. The young ones are a great addition to the wildebeest population that eagerly await to take on their journey up north once again. The calves are however targeted by the predators like lions, leopards, cheetahs that often hide in the lush grasses ready to take down their prey.

In April and May, the wildebeest steadily start moving towards northern Serengeti as the wet season ends. This ushers in the dry season in June as the animals spread further west. Here they encounter River Grumeti their first major obstacle on their journey. The high water levels from the rains in the wet season discourage the wildebeest from quickly crossing over. The River banks are also graced with some of the deadliest Nile crocodiles that the wildebeest have to look out for.

In July and August at the peak of the dry season quite a number of them would have crossed Grumeti River. They move further north towards Masai Mara crossing the Mara River that has a number of predator crocodiles that take advantage of the wildebeest numbers. The Nile crocodiles feast big time on the herbivores that also fight hard to continue on course northwards. The wildebeest move over the Masai Mara Ecosystem till around mid October when they start crossing back to Serengeti.

The Migration cycle then starts allover again a journey that wildlife enthusiasts often want to be part of.

The Big cats

Serengeti and Masai are among the few places in East Africa with highest concentrations of big cats. These have large prides of lions whose survival is directly linked to the wildebeest and the many herbivores that they prey on. The wildebeest migration is among the few places where you can catch live action hunting in the wild.

Apart from the lions, the wilds’ most stealth predators the leopards are also many in Serengeti and Mara ecosystem. These also take advantage of even the calving period to hunt prey for their survival. Cheetahs are also present here and use their speed advantage to race out herbivores. The big cats are often accompanied by hyenas that like to steal some of the already hunted prey.

Hyenas are also deadly predators that are evenly distributed in the region. These attack in groups to easily maximize their chances of a kill.

The wildebeest Migration Experience

The best way to enjoy the wildebeest migration is on a day game drives in the parks and the respective conservancies. Luckily the migration can be easily predicated month per month which enables travelers to plan accordingly on where to visit at a particular time. Early morning game drives are highly recommended for those who would like to catch up with the early risers.

Evening game drives are ideal for you to see the wild animals retire from a busy hunting and grazing day. You are also able to catch up with the African sunset while on evening game drives. The nocturnal wildlife then start heading out as they are most active at night including the big cats.


Hot air ballon safaris are also highly recommended as they offer a panoramic view of the wildlife. It is always refreshing to observe wildlife from an elevated point of view and in the masai mara and Serengeti it is even more spectacular. The best time for ballon safaris are early mornings and late evenings. For the early morning expeditions, you can have bush breakfast that is prepared and served in the wilderness offering you uninterrupted views of the game.

Accommodation

There are a number of accommodation facilities that are strategically located within and at the outskirts of the parks. Staying at one of these beautiful Wild places ahead of your wildebeest safari expedition is very ideal. You can start your game drives right from your lodge or tented camp and occasionally have wildlife visitors like lions and other big five mammals including elephants.

It is very important to book the appropriate accommodation depending on the wildebeest migration movements. There are temporary safari camps that move with the migration throughout the year. Before you book your tour it is better to be certain where the wildebeest are for you to book the most convenient accommodation option.

The dry season from June to September doubles as the peak tourist season a time when accommodation facilities get fully booked. Incase you plan to travel during this Time it is highly recommended for you to book your accommodation in advance. October is a transition month from the dry to wet season but still busy and features River crossings of the wildebeest from Masai Mara to Serengeti. You would still need to book your accommodation in advance a year or couple months before to avoid missing out.

During the wet season mainly in November, March, April and May, there are high chances of rainfall which makes some game drive trails impassable. This however does not prevent one from enjoying the migration especially with the calving period. A number of lodges also offer discounted rates during this time of the year and could ideal to travel if you want to save some money.

Birding

For birders, the wet season is the best time to visit as the migratory birds set in coming from as far as Europe. General wildlife viewing is also great including the big cats that are spotted hiding in the lush vegetation.

Now that we are in the middle of the peak tourist season, you can plan your safari now and visit towards the end of year or book for the next season come 2023. Visit East Africa for these and much more wildlife adventures.

Rwanda Birding Safaris To Be Part of this August

Rwanda popularly is an incredible destination for birding safaris thanks to its wildlife diversity. Over the years the country has slowly emerged as a leading birding and wildlife destination in East Africa as adventure lovers Visit Rwanda to fulfil their bucket list desires.

Birding safaris are a niche in overall wildlife adventures giving one an opportunity to explore the various avian species. Rwanda is a diverse ecosystem ranging from open savanna’s, swamps and tropical rain forests that are all homes to various bird species.

Lets us look at the leading Rwanda birding safaris one must not miss while in Rwanda this August.

Great Blue Turaco Nyungwe National Park. Rwanda Birding safaris
Great Blue Turaco Nyungwe NP Rwanda. Photo by Eric Manzi

Nyungwe Forest Birding Safaris

Nyungwe forest is the regions oldest and best preserved rain forests comprising of a tropical rain forest, swamps, bogs and bamboo. At a land area of 1019 square kilometres, the forest is home to over 300 bird species and 13 primate species.

Forested national park has a number of bird species endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley and is recognised by Birdlife International as an Important Birding Area. It is Rwanda’s leading destination for birding safaris that can be complemented by primate treks in the park.

Notable birds in Nyungwe forest include the Rwenzori Turaco, Kivu ground thrush, Regal sunbird, great blue turaco, crowned hornbills, long crested eagles among others. Being a forested park birding safaris can be enjoyed on guided nature walks along the different trails in the forest.

August is among the best months to visit Rwanda as being in the middle of the dry season, hiking through the forest is easy. With this you have more chances of exploring the forests bird life and other wildlife species. The wet season from October to May is also a great time for birding safari species as the migratory birds set in.

While visiting Nyungwe for chimpanzee or other primate treks entree to add a birding safari as it is worth the adventure.

Akagera Birding Safaris

Akagera national park is the only savanna national park in Rwanda. The park is the regions largest protected wetland with over 480 bird species making it an ultimate destination for birding safaris. About 100 of the bird species are endemic to the park and can not be seen in any other place in Rwanda.

The park is located in the eastern part of the country just about a 3 hours drive from Kigali Rwanda’s capital city. Akagera national park ranks second after Nyungwe in Rwanda’s leading birding destinations. Birding safaris in Akagera are doable year out with the dry season a good time to see wetland bad as there is minimal rainfall disturbances and the wetlands can be easily accessed.

Notable birds in Akagera include grey crowned cranes, papyrus gonolek, Amur falcon, shoebill storks, African fish eagle, African Jacana, crested barbets among others. Those interested in migratory birds can visit the park from November to May.

As we enter the month of August, visit Rwanda and add birding safaris to Akagera on your bucket list.

Gishwati Mukura Birding Safaris

Giswhati Mukura is among the newest protected national parks in Rwanda. The forested park covers a land area of 34 square kilometres and comprises of two main forests Giswati and Mukura.

The forested park has over 200 bird species including the Albertine Rift Valley endemics. The park is past of an extension of the Virunga massif and had been greatly affected by deforestation. Over the years however there has been a lot of conservation efforts and the park has been fully restored open to nature enthusiast including birders.

Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes national park Rwanda is also a good place for birding in Rwanda. The park has over 180 bird species however many of these occur in Nyungwe forest as well. Some bird species can be seen while gorilla trekking or hiking in the park. Just like in Nyungwe forest, some Albertine endemic bird species can be seen in Volcanoes national park. Notable birds here include the Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori apalis, Rwenzori night jar, African long-earled owl among others. Volcanoes national park is most famous for the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. It among the few places on the planet where you can have a great primate experience.

Overall Destination Rwanda is an incredible place for an African safari. In Akagera national park you will be able to enjoy the big five mammals and classic African safaris. The park can be explored on game drives and boat cruises that are still great opportunities to see some of the birds in the park. On foot rhino tracking has been recently introduced in the park enabling one to track one of the big five mammals. Akagera has both Black and White rhinos that were reintroduced in the park as a move to restore the park’s wildlife species.

Nyungwe forest national park is most famous for chimpanzee trekking and other primates. There are also a number of guided nature walks to the waterfalls and other leading trails for birding and other primate treks.

Visa Policy

For Visas, Rwanda has some of the friendliest visa policy where many can get the visa on arrival at the airport. The Rwanda single entry visa costs $30 per person the most affordable one in the region. In case you want to visit Uganda and Kenya then you can opt for the East African tourist visa that is multiple entry and can give you access to the three countries. There is a provision for online visa application but in case you fail to get the link you can still get the Visa upon arrival at the airport.

Accommodation

There are a number of accommodation facilities in the different wildlife and birding destinations in Rwanda. These range from budget to high end luxury options. The best time to visit Rwanda for either birding or general wildlife safari is in the dry season from June to October and from December to March. The dry season doubles as the peak tourist season and it is very important to book your accommodation and tour in advance as parks get fully booked sometimes.

Congo the Ultimate Primate Trekking Destination

The Democratic Republic of Congo is no doubt the ultimate primate trekking destination all thanks to the country’s wildlife diversity. Congo remains one of the less explored wildlife destination offering virgin and authentic wildlife experiences. The country is home to East Africa’s leading primates including endemics found in no other place on the planet.

Much as the country is disturbed by security issues, tourism activity is still ongoing in the Kahuzi Biega national park area. Virunga national park is still closed since the Mount Nyiragongo Erupted but we hope it will eventually be opened.

Let us briefly look at Congo’s major primates trekking experiences that make the country an ultimate primate trekking destination.

Chimpanzee at Lwiro Sanctuary. Congo Primate expeditions
Chimpanzee at Lwiro Sanctuary. Courtesy Photo

Democratic Republic of Congo is among the 3 countries on the planet with the remaining populations of mountain gorillas. These rare primate have over 95% DNA similar to humans and their total population is currently estimated at 1100. They in live in the Virunga massif a chain of volcanic mountains along the Uganda, Rwanda and DRC border and in Bwindi impenetrable forest.

The Virunga massif has over 600 mountain gorillas and rest of the population is in Bwindi impenetrable forest. The Virunga massif has 3 major gorilla parks Virunga national park included which is also Africa’s oldest national park.

Virunga national park has a number of habituated mountain gorillas families that are open to tourist visitation. Mountain gorilla trekking here is very enjoyable as you get to meet some of man’s wild relatives. Much the park is currently closed, it will open again with time when it is safe for visitation giving way to the much desired primate trekking expeditions.

Eastern lowland gorillas live in the forest mountains of Kahuzi Biega national park. These are the largest of the all the gorilla subspecies and also live in families headed by a dominant male called Silverback. Just like the mountain gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas are also vegetarian and depend on plant vegetation and wild fruits.

Eastern lowland gorilla offers a great primate trekking experience and an opportunity to see other wildlife species in the park. Kahuzi Biega national park is home other primates including chimpanzees, Colobus monkeys, L’hoest monkeys among others. There are also birding opportunities here as the park is home to over 400 bird species.

There are however lowland gorilla trekking regulations to be followed while in the park. Only tourists are allowed to track a gorilla family staying in their presence for a minimus of 1 hour. This is to limit behavioural change among the mountain gorillas which results from the long hours of human and mountain gorilla exposure. Since they have over 95% DNA similar to human beings they can easily adapt human behaviour.

One is also required to keep a distance of about 7 meters away from them as they can easily charge when they feel threatened. Flash photography is strictly not allowed and one is advised to wear clothes that blend with nature colours.

Lwiro Sanctuary is a rehabilitation centre for chimpanzees but it is also home to other wildlife species. The sanctuary is located just 4 kilometres from Kahuzi Biega national park in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Despite its wildlife diversity and abundance, the country has the highest rates of poaching in the region. Many wildlife species are poached to be sold for food in local markets while others are hunted for medicine.

The Lwiro sanctuary was therefore set up as home to look after primates especially chimpanzees that are rescued from the poachers. There are currently over 107 chimpanzees, various monkey species including red tailed monkeys, Patas monkeys, Blue monkeys among others. Other wildlife at Lwiro include porcupines, parrots that are highly poached in the Congo.

A visit to the Lwiro Sanctuary is highly recommended for more exciting primate expeditions. The sanctuary can be visited after gorilla trekking in Kahuzi Biega national park.

Senkwekwe Gorilla Sanctuary Experience

Senkwekwe Mountain Gorilla Sanctuary is the only facility for orphaned mountain gorillas. It was set up in 2009 and now acts as home to mountain and lowland gorillas rescued from poaching or traps (snares) in the park.

A visit to the centre gives one more insight about mountain gorillas offering exclusive primate experiences. Looking after the gorillas here follows a routine that must be maintained for the safety and well being of the gorillas. They are given early morning breakfast and then left to go out and play. Later in the evening they are lured back into their sleeping area with food where they stay until the next morning.

While seeking for more intimate primate trekking experiences in Virunga national park ensure to add Senkwekwe Mountain Gorilla Sanctuary to your itinerary.

Golden Monkey trekking experiences

Golden monkeys are other rare primates species endemic to the Virunga massif. Just like their name golden monkeys are covered with golden fur and also live in families like other major primates. Congo is one of the few places where you can experience golden monkey trekking.

Other places with golden monkeys include Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park and Uganda’s Maghinga gorilla park. These are all part of the great Virunga massif.

Golden monkey experiences can be enjoyed in Virunga national park as you get to know more about these least explored primate species of the Virungas’.

As the security situation is slowly getting back to normal, many primate adventure travellers would love to Visit the Congo. For now Kahuzi Biega national park is open for those interested in Eastern Lowland gorillas. The Lwiro sanctuary is also currently open for Visitation. Virunga national park the most famous of all the primate parks will eventually open.

Visit East Africa’s other leading primate destinations that include Rwanda and Uganda. In Rwanda Nyungwe forest in the south western part of the country is home to 13 primates including the chimpanzees. For Mountain gorilla trekking then a visit to Volcanoes national park is very ideal. In Uganda, Kibale national park is popularly known as the primate capital of the world because of the parks high chimpanzee population as well as other primates.

Other popular chimpanzee trekking destinations in Uganda include Budongo forest, Kyambura forest, Kalinzu forest among others. For Mountain gorilla trekking, Uganda has 2 gorilla parks that are Bwindi impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla park.

Kenya Wildlife Adventures To Do This July

Kenya is a renown destination for epic wildlife adventures thanks to its wildlife diversity. The country offers by far some of the most enjoyable classic African safaris experienced in over 20 national parks. Aside from the usual savanna parks and game reserves, Kenya has marine national parks along the coast. These gives one opportunity to enjoy marine wildlife adventures featuring dolphins, sea turtles among others.

Let us briefly look at the leading Kenya wildlife adventures you must not miss this July.

Kenya Wildlife Adventures
Zebras in Kenya. Courtesy Photo

The wildebeest migration is an annual animal mass migration over the Serengeti and Masai Mara ecosystems. It involves over 1 millions wildebeests, Thompson gazelles, zebras and other major grazers. These move in search for fresh pastures and are often times guided by rains.

The great wildebeest migration is a true life cycle that involves every stage of life with births, survival and deaths. It attracts the lands most feared predators that readily take down their prey. They include larges prides of lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas and many scavengers.

Every month features a unique wildebeest migration wildlife adventures transitioning to the other. In this month, the River crossings have started from Serengeti to Masai Mara and the wildebeest have to over come the deadly Nile crocodiles in the Mara River. Those that make it alive sweep across the Mara ecosystem until late September when they start going back to Serengeti.

While on a visit to Kenya ensure to visit Masai Mara to be part of the great wildebeest migration. Look out for other wildlife in the park and reserves including elephants plus a number of bird species.

Amboseli African elephants

Amboseli national park is among Kenya’s most famous national parks. It is the best place to see African elephants as they freely roam the open savanna of the park. Mount Kilimanjaro Africa’s highest mountain can be best seen in Amboseli national park. Wildlife safari adventures in Amboseli are a great deal with the magnificent background view of the Kilimanjaro.

Apart from elephants, you can see other wildlife species in the park like giraffes, buffaloes, zebras among others. The park is also home to over 400 bird species including flamingos that are present in the wet season. Given that the park has diverse ecosystems of grasslands, woodlands and swamp vegetation, it attracts different bird species.

The park can be visited any time of the year but the best time is in the dry season. This ranges from December to February and June to September. A visit to this park can be done in additional to a wildebeest migration safari in 6 to 7 days for better chances and maximisation of wildlife.

Nairobi City Safari escapes

Nairobi is Kenya’s capital city and it is the only city in the world in the proximity of a national park. Nairobi national park is situated just a 40 minutes drive from the city centre. This gives nature lovers an opportunity to go for short wildlife adventures with ease and convenience.

The park is home to various wildlife species including Rhinos, giraffes, lions, zebras, wildebeest and a number of antelope species. Even in a day trip to the park you will be able to enjoy game drives and later return to the city for an overnight.

Birders are also well catered for here as the park is home to over 500 bird species. Notable birds here include black-headed heron, Ostriches, blacksmith lapwing, kori bustard among others. The migratory birds also set from November to April coming from as far as Europe.

For those with little time in Kenya but would love to enjoy African Wildlife adventures this is the place to be.

Mombasa is Kenya’s biggest sea port and city. It is strategically borders the Indian Ocean and is a one stop centre for Marine wildlife experiences. Mombasa has beautiful white sand beaches where one can relax and enjoy the African sun with uninterrupted ocean view. Leading beaches in Mombasa include Diani beach, watamu beach, Tiwi beach, Nyali beach, Kalifi beach among others.

All the beaches have accommodation facilities where one can stay incase they are visiting for more than a day.

The key wildlife attraction in Mombasa are the aquatic wildlife that are not found in any place in Kenya. They include sea turtles, dolphins, fish species among others. Diving is a major activity done giving one an opportunity to see the aquatic wildlife and enjoy the adventures in the Indian Ocean.

A visit to Mambasa is a great supplement to the classic wildlife adventures on the mainland. It also enables one explore the ocean side and get to relax at the beach. Other activities one can engage in include beach football, volleyball, wind surfing, boat rides on the ocean.

The great rift Valley adventures.

The eastern arm of the great Rift Valley in Kenya is a wonder it self and the Rift Valley floor is home to a number of wildlife species. They are a number of Rift Valley lakes in Kenya including lake Nakuru that was gazetted into a national park. Lake Nakuru national park’s location not only offers a great Rift Valley experience but also incredible wildlife adventures.

Lake Nakuru is famous for flamingos and was one of the best places to see flamingos. Due to climate change and weather conditions, flamingos migrated but still occur in smaller numbers. Great white pelicans though occur in large numbers making the lake a birders haven. Other notable birds here include grey crowned cranes, shining sun bird, crab-plovers, Kenya rufous sparrow among others.

For those interested in the big five there are four of the big five mammals present here. These include White and black rhinos, buffaloes, leopards and lions. Other wildlife species present include giraffes, hippos, zebras, that are often sighted while on game drives in the park.

Kenya is no doubt a safari giant and a must visit for those seeking incredible wildlife adventures in East Africa. Safaris here are possible all year round though for best experiences it is often recommended to visit in the dry season when there are minimal rainfall disturbances. The dry season stretches from June to September and from December to January.