Asilia's Serengeti Camps-An overview
Asilia Camps and Lodges are doing a wonderful job at siting their camps in prime areas what ever the month. This takes a lot of work! Please have faith and trust Asilia in their choices, if only because guides such as me have been advising them since day one of this massive investment of expertise and money.
Beware of Serengeti Lodges that promote the finest wildlife viewing all year round. It is just not possible from a fixed location! But why would you move a camp? What are the best areas in July, or December or April? If you are interested to learn more of this slightly complex wildlife area - read on!
Map credit: Asilia Lodges and Camps
The Serengeti Wildlife ecosystem covers an area of over 40,000 square Kilometers of protected habitant. Some of that area is deemed worthy of total protection (meaning no hunting). Those areas are; The Serengeti National Park itself and of course the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Combined these two World famous wildlife Areas protect over 23,000 square Kilometers. The other areas where the migration passes through each year are hunting areas from July 1st to December 31st and are called The Loliondo Game Controlled Area and Maswa, Grumeti and Ikorongo Game Reserves. In certain parts of these 'hunting areas' photographic operators such as Asilia Camps and Lodges have struck up agreements with Village communities to site their seasonal camps. Obviously during the hunting season these camps can only operate where the hunters do not. But come the non hunting season these camps can and do move around more freely.
Asilia Camps and Lodges took over my old Tarangire Camp in 2004 and then concentrated their efforts into making sure that their camps give visitors excellent location options throughout the year. This is done by moving seasonal camps into the best wildlife areas for that part of the year. This ethic is close to my heart for a number of reasons. By far the most important reason is by moving these camps the site recovers well and remains pristine. As long as the camp itself is not too large this is very possible. Another reason is that these varied locations collectively combine to follow the migration. This gives the visitor, whatever the month, the best chance of witnessing the huge herds of wildlife on offer. The sites chosen are usually away from the main roads and chosen to maximize habitats encountered or wildlife variety.
Only 4 species of large mammals actually migrate over these large areas and they are; The White Bearded Gnu (Wildebeest) +/- 1.5 Million; The Common Plains Zebra +/- 250,000, The Thomson's gazelle +/- 250,000 and the Common Eland of which numbers are not known. The main trigger that moves these animals is the availability of good drinking water. Rain in other words. A lot of the available water is alkaline and not suitable for drinking when concentrated, as it becomes when the rain stops or hasn't fallen recently. These herds can either linger in an area or run right through it almost overnight. The quality of available drinking water will dictate.
To site a camp for 3-6 months in one location is slightly hit or miss, agreed, but when you have guides that have been leading Serengeti safaris every year for the past 20-30 years advising you, you get it right most of the time. Imagine owning a lodge and seeing all the animals walk away.
I'll say it again. Beware of Serengeti Lodges that promote the finest wildlife viewing all year round. It is just not possible from a fixed location!
The Sayari Mara River Camp Area with 9 tents from June to November and 4 tents from December to March
The Sayari South Camp Area near Moru Kopjes wth 5 tents from December to April
The Suyan North Camp Area near Loliondo with 6 tents from June to mid December
Walking near the Suyan South Camp Area at Piaya with six tents from Mid December to May
The short grass plains near Olakira Camp Ndutu with 8 tents from December to May
Watching Lions near the the Olakira Camp Central Serengeti area from June to November