Published: September 9th 2011August 30th 2011
Accommodation: Sayari Mara Camp
Game Viewing: Wildebeest Migration & a Crossing (words cannot describe this)
Game Viewing: Wildebeest, Lions, Elephants, Hippos, Buffalo, Cheetah, Black Rhino, Hyenas, Zebra (very few) & Birds
Game Drives: 6:30/7:30am to dark with a packed lunch. One not dare risk going back to the lodge early in case a crossing occurred. Some learnt a hard lesson while we were there!
Guide: Julius – very good
From the Crater via the Manyara Airstrip we fly to the Kogatende Airstrip, a few minutes drive from the Sayari Mara Camp. As mentioned before the flights on the Cessnas were amazing and provided from some spectacular game viewing from the air.
The Sayari Mara Camp was quite different from the Crater Lodge as it was no where near as luxurious as the Crater Lodge but it was much more social and the guests were very focused on witnessing the Wildebeest Crossing rather than just seeing animals. All the guests had been on safari’s in the past and were determined to witness to wait and wait and wait in order to see a Wildebeest crossing. This waiting makes for very different games drives (certaintly not recommended for
a 1st timer on a safari), in most cases sitting anxiously for hours to hopefully see a crossing. Before dinner we all sat around the camp fire to discuss the day’s game viewing and each parties wish list for the next day’s game drives.
The sole purpose of this part of the trip was to witness the Great Migration and more importantly the Wildebeests’ crossing of the Mara River. From the moment we were picked up at the airstrip we were given a climpse of what laid ahead. Although the Camp was only 15mins from the airstrip, we did an hour and a half game viewing which included a good viewing of a cheetah, a herd of elephants, giraffes and tens of thousands of wildebeest.
One cannot describe the lead up to a crossing, the sight of watching hundreds of thousands of wildebeest running in every direction and coming from everywhere to then stare down the river’s edge and decide to cross or not to cross. We waited (5) hours one day being teased by wildebeest whom would put one foot in the water and then dart back up the river embankment. These animals can lead to driving
one insane if you cannot find humour in the stupidity and unpredictable behavior of these animals. Needless to say after sitting for (5) hours and watching patiently, the wildebeest took a pass on crossing the river that day.
The following day we did witness the herd(s) cross that had taken a pass the previous day. It was incredible, the crossing lasted 35 minutes with no fatalities. Although the river is full of Wildebeest carcasses, the crocodiles were to full from the previous days’ feasts and the current was not running fast enough to drown the wildebeest. The crossing took place at the #7 crossing. In some parts of the river the smell of death from the wildebeest carcasses was overwhelming. At this time of year there is so much food available for the crocidiles and vultures, it is not an exaggration to say that within a (10) minute drive up the Mara River one would see (50+) wildebeest carcasses in the river hung up on the rocks or washed up on the river bank.
The overall game viewing in the Serengeti was amazing, as previously mentioned, highlighted by the sheer number of wildebeest. There were also a number
of good size lion prides, three cheetah brothers, loads of giraffes, and a very good black rhino sighting. The leopard once again alluded us, although we did do our best to try and see one.
There are more photos below