April 2012 – Ngorongoro and Ndutu

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This years rains had been erratic to say the least. The poor wildebeest had been migrating backwards and forwards since the first rains of November. This puts added stress on them, remember that they want to give birth in early February. Each time it rained on the Serengeti Plains they would dash out of the woodlands sometime covering 75 kilometer in 2 days or so. Then the rains stopped and back they came. When I landed at Ndutu on my way to Katavi in late January it was dusty and dry. Safari goers were disappointed not to see the main migration.  Under these conditions many less wildebeest calves would survive. April is usually wet, this year the rain didn’t really get going until well into April. As I sit and write these notes in mid May I’m happy to report that the rains are continuing and things are improving! Long may it fall. Usually by Mid May it has stopped.

Our safari with 9 English guests was a full on 7 days around The Ngorongoro highlands and the Plains of The Serengeti.  Ethan Kinsey joined me to guide in conditions that could have been in January not April, some areas were green whilst others were quite dry.

Crater bulls

Thankfully as we arrived in the highlands huge storm clouds could be seen to our north West.  After a full and wonderful day in the crater seeing 9 rhino with hardly any other cars we drove in the morning light via Endulen and out onto the plains of Southern Ndutu. This route is special and with flowering plants along the roadside our bird species count improved.

Golden winged sunbirds are special

Once on the plains and exploring we soon found good numbers of wildebeest but many more way south of the woodlands and along the Maswa Game Reserve boundary.  Rain had just come again to these plains so it took a couple of days before the big herds arrived. Lions and cheetah were happier as were we all.  Wonderful wildlife encounters followed and as our group was into birds as much as ma04als everyone was having fun.   

Lions will be lions

The Ndutu lions are fascinating and gave us hours of quality viewing. They were very active and with inter pride classes and a kill event we felt entranced. For some of our guests this was the 3rd safari in April. Each one has been completely different.  Once again seek advice on where to go in April but do not discount it just because the safari travel agents and others say it is not the best time to come!

He claimed the kill

Having been quite busy since November 2011 I am now looking forward to some down time to catch up and rest a little. I plan a coastal trip and perhaps a safari to The Australian outback!  Best wishes Paul.