by Daryll Williams on January 20, 2020
9 min read

If there is one thing that Africa is most famous for, it has to be the annual Great Wildebeest Migration – one of the seven wonders of the natural world.

It encompasses drama on a truly epic scale, featuring millions of wildebeest (as well as zebra and gazelle) moving powerfully across vast dusty savannas, filling the plains for as far as the eye can see. It’s a spectacle that sits high on the must-see lists of most visitors to Africa, and with good reason: you can’t help but be seduced by its glorious natural composition.

But in order for you to experience the full spectrum, you simply have to get up close and personal. So, how’s this: Kickstart your Great Migration Safari in Arusha, end in Nairobi, and stop at East Africa’s most legendary National Park’s along the way. This is an experience that follows the cycle from start to finish. And you’re guaranteed a front-row seat to the greatest wildlife show on earth.

First stop: Arusha

legendary-lodge-arusha-aerial-view

A look at Legendary Lodge, just outside of Arusha

The vibrant, cultural hub of Arusha serves as the gateway between many destinations in Tanzania. This relatively colourful town overflows with great restaurants, traditional markets and neon-clad nightclubs. In this way, Arusha will set the scene for the majority of your travels. It’s the perfect entry point to the northern circuit of stellar national parks that await, and a prime launching pad for an oh-so-memorable Great Migration safari.

Where you should stay

Located on a working coffee farm on the outskirts of Arusha, Legendary Lodge’s name says it all. With luxurious accommodation surrounded by tropical gardens, incredible views, an in-house spa and several activities on offer, it’s a great spot to relax before your journey gets underway.

Found just outside of Arusha with magnificent views of Mount Meru from its gardens, Onsea House Country Inn & Guest Cottage is a superb stopover for exploring the rest of Tanzania’s nearby treasures, from the Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Just over an hour from Kilimanjaro Airport, Arusha Coffee Lodge finds itself steeped in history – the 30 Cottages provide a tranquil retreat to unwind and soak up the gorgeous coffee plantation and its surrounding activities.

Next up: Tarangire National Park

A wide variety of wildlife encompass this Great Migration Safari

Tarangire rivals the Serengeti in its great number and diversity of wildlife.

Tarangire National Park is traversed by the Tarangire River, which never dries up. This sets the scene for a truly dramatic showcase, as the animals congregate in one space to survive. Since this park is overshadowed by the popularity of neighbouring parks, it’s less crowded and you’re promised a more exclusive game viewing experience. Although it’s best known for its thriving elephant population and endless baobabs dotting the landscape, it should also be celebrated for its hills, rivers and valleys that will undoubtedly take your breath away.

Where you should be staying

Experience untamed Africa at her best with Little Chem Chem, situated on the Baobab-dotted banks of Burunge Lake and backdropped by the magnificent Babati Mountains. Also known as ‘sunrise camp’, it offers a private setting to appreciate Tanzania’s stunning landscapes and wildlife.

Surrounded by kopjes, ancient baobab trees and grasslands, this lodge is a heavenly retreat. Offering various recreational and Great Migration Safari activities, it’s the perfect place from which to explore Tarangire National Park.

Resting in the branches of baobab and marula trees, Tarangire Treetops aims to capture the nostalgic atmosphere of a childhood treehouse. This serene treetop retreat lies on the border of Tarangire National Park, and offers exceptional views as well as close-up Great Migration safari excursions.

Next up: Ngorongoro Crater

ngorongoro crater in Tanzania forms a perfect part of this Great Migration Safari

The Ngorongoro Crater, once a gigantic volcano, is the largest intact caldera in the world.

The Ngorongoro Crater is one of Africa’s supreme geological features. This two million-year-old collapsed volcano forms an unbroken, 600-metre-high rim around a natural amphitheatre within which the high drama of predator and prey is enacted on a grand canvas. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is also part of the Serengeti ecosystem but was separated from the National Park in 1959. Today, it is home to an abundance of wildlife, including the Big 5, and is renowned for its beautiful year-round fauna and flora.

Where you should be staying

Located right on the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater, with expansive views over the wildlife roaming the caldera, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge could not be found in a better setting. The architecture of the lodge combines an exterior that calls to mind a traditional Maasai homestead and an interior reminiscent of an elegant baroque chateau.

Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp is found in an ancient acacia forest, close to the rim of the magnificent Crater. This prime location allows for a quick and easy drive down to the crater floor, giving you an advantage over other visitors to the area.

Located on the outer slopes of the Crater, Gibb’s Farm was founded in the 1920s as a coffee plantation, and today embraces traditional East African hospitality with roots extending deep into the land and heritage of the area.

Next up: Serengeti National Park

Zebra tend to join in on the action in this Great Migration Safari

The Great Migration includes 300,000 zebras and a whole assortment of antelope.

 

Finally, what you’ve been waiting for all along is about to unfold in front of your eyes. This large national park is home to a high density of game, in particular predators such as lions, leopards and cheetahs. It’s best known, however, as an ideal place from which to awe at the migration. Just imagine it for a second: over two million wildebeest scampering across the plains. Trust us, it’s incredible, and we can’t wait for you to experience it too.

Where you should be staying

Singita Mara River Tented Camp offers a front-row seat to one of the most exciting spectacles – the migration crossing a crocodile-infested river. With contemporary African chic décor and laidback luxury, this is the perfect location from which to witness this phenomenon.

Lemala Kuria Hills Lodge is perfectly positioned in the northern Serengeti’s Wogakurya Hills, in the path of passing wildebeest herds as they move to the Mara and back. The Mara River is the place to be, with river crossings proving to be the main attraction.

Overlooking the vast plains of the Serengeti and Mara River, and only a stone’s throw from the Maasai Mara across the border, Sayari Camp is the perfect marriage of opulence and authentic Great Migration safari-going. As a year-round destination, the camp allows guests to witness the migration in all its action-packed glory.

Next up: Maasai Mara National Reserve

 

Wildlife often come into conflict along the migratory route

Antelope cross the reserve and the Mara River, falling prey to predators along the way.

An authentic Great Migration safari extravaganza awaits you in Maasai Mara. Named after the local Maasai people, it’s a pretty special place and very apparent why it’s the most-visited national park in Kenya. Every year from July to October, thousands of zebra, wildebeest and gazelle stampede to the greener pastures, putting on a show that will stay with you forever.

Where you should be staying

Angama Mara, an award-winning luxury camp situated high above the Great Rift Valley floor and Maasai Mara, is set in the very location that Out of Africa was filmed. Less than half an hour from the Mara Triangle and with a plethora of activities on offer, this is a great place to experience the magnificence of the Great Migration.

Located at the meeting point between the Central Serengeti valley and the Southern Serengeti plains, the prime location of Dunia Camp promises prolific wildlife sightings, away from the heavy tourist traffic that frequents the region. It’s also the only Camp or Lodge in the Serengeti that’s run by women.

Found in the award-winning Naboisho Conservancy, a concession known for its abundant wildlife and a limited number of lodges, Encounter Mara offers some of the best wildlife safaris to be found in East Africa. Owned and run by local Maasai, you will be led through the area by those who know it best.

Finally: Nairobi

A panoramic view of Nairobi city at sunset

Modern Nairobi continues to be Africa’s Great Migration safari capital

Kenya’s beating heart is often referred to as the “city in the sun”, and it certainly lives up to its illustrious nickname. With the two largest mountains on the continent as its backdrop, Nairobi National Park just a short drive away, bustling nightlife and excellent restaurants abound, there’s no reason not to spend some time here.

Where you should be staying

Nairobi, one of East Africa’s most vibrant and fast-growing cities, is a hub of culture and history, providing endless fascination to those passing through. Nairobi Serena Hotel is a clandestine city-centre oasis minutes from the CBD, whose five-star status is undisputed thanks to its membership of ‘Leading Hotels of the World’ group.

Subtle touches of brass, mahogany and leather blend East African vintage with modern ecru and taupe elegance – a characteristic welcome to Hemingways Nairobi Hotel. Witness the sun set the Ngong Hills ablaze every evening from the balcony of your suite, and allow your butler to personalise your stay in any way you wish.

Feeding an endangered Rothschild’s giraffe through your window does not happen just anywhere, but at Giraffe Manor, on the outskirts of Nairobi, this is an everyday occurrence. A legendary establishment, this boutique hotel offers guests a unique experience in surroundings that embody the true romance of East Africa.

Why we love this trip

This Great Migration Safari is one of the ultimate bucket-list experiences

The Great Migration is an astonishing showcase of Africa’s wildlife

This tour is a showstopper, with the world’s ultimate wildlife spectacle taking centre stage. It’s a life-altering odyssey, bound to reinvigorate your sense of adventure.

That’s why we like to think of ourselves as magic-makers, constantly shaping a travel narrative that goes beyond the journey of your dreams. So without further ado: let’s start tailor-making your journey.