Trip Report: Great Migration Safari 14-20 August 2016

Johan van Zyl All Authors, great migration, Johan 5 Comments

The Greatest Wildlife spectacle on the planet.

Thats really the only way to explain this safari, and unless you’ve seen it for yourself, it’s almost impossible to describe the vastness, numbers, smells, sounds and overall experience.

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After meeting our guests at OR Tambo airport, and seeing their excitement, I knew that this was going to be an amazing week, and a life changing experience for a lot of people.

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As soon as we arrived at Serena Airstrip in the Masai Mara, it was straight into action as some Wildebeest were building up at one of the crossings.  With everyone a little tired after the travels, we headed back to camp for a quick introduction of the camp, the staff and procedures.

The excitement however was just too much to handle and we headed out for a short drive in the afternoon to see what we could find.

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For those that think that this safari is all just about the crossings and that nothing else really happens, you could not be more wrong.  The amount of general game, Hippos, Elephants, Buffalo are staggering as well as one of the highest populations of Spotted Hyaena’s in Africa if not THE highest.

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One of the things that stand out about this Safari for me, is your time spent in the bush.  Although this is very flexible and will vary depending on demands, your time is maximised out there and you don’t have much time to twiddle your toes in camp.

Every morning we took breakfast with us which normally included Coffee, Muesli and Yoghurt and then pancakes or muffins and headed out of camp around 06:30. Depending on how the game viewing was we would only return between 12:30 – 13:30 grab a quick lunch at camp before heading out again.

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The hot air balloon safari is an absolute must do in this part of the world, and one morning all of our guests headed out on this bucket list experience.

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The most important thing on this Safari is patience.  If you have patience, you WILL see amazing things during this trip.  One morning we waited at one of the crossing points known as the “Peninsula” for a good hour plus for the Wildebeest to cross.  This could become one of the most frustrating things you have ever witnessed as the Wildebeest head down towards the water, looking like they are going to cross, only to turn around and think about it a little longer…

FINALLY one decided to take a leap of faith…  Next minute ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!  Wildebeest over and under each other…  We sat for more than an hour watching them cross over, some successfully, others falling prey to submarines (trust me those things are not Crocs, they are MASSIVE)!

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Witnessing a crossing like this, which was estimated to be 8-10 000 animals is hard to explain…  There is tension, suspense, excitement, sadness, more shutters going off than at a red carpet event, it is the definition of chaos.

After the crossing there is a stare of amazement, a sigh of “Did that just happen” a smile of “Thats what we’ve always wanted to witness” and a stare at camera’s that is borderline comical, blown away by what has just happened.

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But like I said its not only the crossings that make this place so special.

We had some great sightings of Lions, including a Lioness taking down a Blue Wildebeest at one of the crossings, a Lioness fending off 3 Male Lions who were trying to get to her cubs,  Leopard and 2 Male Cheetahs.

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So although these images will give you some idea of what it is like, it really is IMPOSSIBLE to explain the overall the experience, you really just have to see it for yourself.

What a week, what a great group of guests and what an experience!  I can’t wait to head back end of September.

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Johan

About the Author

Johan van Zyl

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The opportunity of visiting some of the wildest, undisturbed areas and sharing my passion for wildlife, conservation and photography with like minded people is a privilege that I am forever grateful.

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Comments 5

  1. Pingback: Trip Report: Great Migration Safari 14-20 August 2016 - Africa Freak

  2. Deloche

    One more time what an amazing trip with wild eye in this fantastic located camp in the Masai Mara.

    The contrast of the crossings with the actions of wildbeasts, zebras, crocs,… and the peaceful moments in this slow migration to the Serengeti in this unforgettable landscape of “out of Africa” will stay forever in our memories as an unique experience.
    We met during this trip wonderful people, thanks to Dixon, Jimmy, Gerry, Johan, … and all the rest of the camp.
    But the focus of this trip was Afrikaans, laughs, iso, aperture, shutter speed and panning.

    What a great experience over our expectations

    What will be next ?

    One advice : book now your migration safari for 2017

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  3. Martha Myers

    What a wonderful series of images, Gerry & Johan. The intensity [and gorgeous mane] of the lion took my breath away as did the closeup of the wildebeest and the leaping topi. You managed to capture some beautiful golden light, which is always at the top of my wish list. September 4 cannot come too soon!!

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