Tarangire Lions and Mara Migration
TARANGIRE'S LIONS AND THE WILDEBEEST MIGRATION AT THE MARA RIVER
August is always an exciting safari month and combining Tarangire with the Northern Serengeti at this time of year is the very best Northern Tanzania experience.
Our guests from Toronto and New York flew into Tarangire to meet Marc Baker and I and the action started right away. Huge elephant herds greeted us at Silale swamp and the buffalos were everywhere we drove. On reaching the eastern side of the swamp system, on our way into camp, Albert Lucas, the Oliver's Camp resident guide called me on the radio to say that he had found our local pride eating a buffalo. We spent that first afternoon watching these familiar cats devour a massive bull.
All around us herds of wildlife were amassing at the waters edge- these lions will not move much before Christmas. We spent the next few days not having to drive or walk much at all- the wildlife was every where. Evening walks at the rear of camp watching elephants dig for water in the dry river bed was a great way to end the day.
On our drive out to meet our charter plane to the Serengeti we passed the buffalo kill site again and our pride was fat, lazy and happy. Then at about a mile away we could see 5 male lions walking in the tall blond grass- heading for our very position. We always worry a little when strange lions arrive. Not one of our well fed lion group saw the oncoming danger until the very last second- in came the new males - off ran our group. We dashed to meet our plane and flew to view the Ngrongoro Crater - dry as could be and full of vehicles - we then flew around Empakai Crater and around the top of the active volcano Oldonyo Lengai -3 times! What a view. Then on to land in the Northern Serengeti at Kogatende - The migration was below us as we came into land. Two Sayari Camp open 4wd vehicles awaited us, lunch and drinks on board and we headed across the Mara River seeing hundreds of hippos and fat and happy crocodiles for a pic-nic on the open grassland plains of Lemai. It was packed with animals. Huge numbers of wildebeest had already crossed the river and we just sat and took it all in.
During the following days the real force of the migration was experienced as hundreds of thousands of animals moved into this area. Both sides of the river were busy and we witnessed a wonderful river crossing of Zebra and Wildebeest. Many drowned in the panic. What a scene!