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When is the best time to see lots of animals in Tanzania?

West Sussex
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When is the best time to see lots of animals in Tanzania?

This will be a 'once in a lifetime' holiday, so I want to get it right!

Ideally I'm hoping(!) to see swathes of animals in the great migration. I have looked at dozens of websites, and they all say something different about when is the best time to go. Any definitive answers would be much appreciated. Thank you. Lou

Copenhagen
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1. Re: When is the best time to see lots of animals in Tanzania?

End of July to early August is the best time to see the wildebeest migration. You have to go to the northern part of the Serengeti Plains as well as to the Central part. Don't expect the animals to appear when you want them to. Expect to wait patiently in some areas, drive around for some time, etc, before you spot them. But when you do, it is fantastic.

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Isle of Man, United...
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2. Re: When is the best time to see lots of animals in Tanzania?

February! In the short grass plains around Ndutu. All 2 million will be there and dropping 8000 calves a day.

No apologies if this contradicts viv but that advice is incorrect.

Stanley, Falkland...
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3. Re: When is the best time to see lots of animals in Tanzania?

"I have looked at dozens of websites"

Have you looked at one that shows the rough route of the migration and the approximate timings?

The migration is a natural phenomena, dependent on rainfall. You can't get a definitive answer.

But the good news is that only a few species migrate. Many animals are territorial and so are there all year round. Think how little the BBC's "Big Cat Diary" could show if all the animals had gone away for the trek....

melbourne
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4. Re: When is the best time to see lots of animals in Tanzania?

There are lots of animals in Tz all the time. 4000 elephants roughly in Ruaha, 3000 in Tarangire another 3000 odd in the Serengeti. Lions and leopard in abundance all over the place ( not literally).

With the wildebeest migration only about 500,000 sometimes even less move into Kenya in the time Viv is talking about and if you are in luck you might see some river crossings. The other 1,500,000 odd with zebra remain in Tanzania.

The best time "definitive" which is the easiest time also to see "lots" is undoubtly on the short grass plains around Ndutu in Feburary.

Sorry Viv but I also disagree. Mfuwe is 100% correct.

Edited: 3:39 pm, October 22, 2012
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Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park
Iringa Region, Tanzania
Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park
Arusha Region, Tanzania
Kenya
Kenya
Africa
Findlay, Ohio
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5. Re: When is the best time to see lots of animals in Tanzania?

February is the absolutely best time to be in the Serengeti to see the migration, you will know exactly where it will be, Ndutu, and they will be their calving; which also attracts all the predators.

Right again Mfuwe and NE.

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Crane Lake...
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6. Re: When is the best time to see lots of animals in Tanzania?

Tuesday around 4:30...... they all march by in review. It is a real sight.

CS.

Sorry just got off airplane a

Isle of Man, United...
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7. Re: When is the best time to see lots of animals in Tanzania?

Is that every Tuesday or just when there is an R in the month?

Is that 4.30 A.M. or P.M? (16.30 to us who use 24 hours clocks)

Cummon CS. Be more precise!! The guy needs to know!

Edited: 8:03 am, October 23, 2012
New York
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8. Re: When is the best time to see lots of animals in Tanzania?

I think some of the "best time" confusion might be because the phrases "lots of animals", "migration" and "river crossing" are not synonymous but are often used interchangeably. To add to the confusion, the “best time” for one of these doesn’t appear to be the “best time” for another.

I’ve been trying really hard to figure this out since I’m trying to decide when to take my trip. As far as I can tell, the best place/time for the concentration of animals (the “tons of animals”) is as Mfuwe states in #2 but that doesn’t seem to be the best time for “river crossing”. If my research is correct that is June/July at Grumeti. The “migration” seems to be year round and you just need to be in the right area for the time of year.

Do I have this approximately correct? If so, what time of year would you suggest for someone (namely me!) whose primary objective is to see a significant number of wildebeest migrating near the river to maximize my chances of seeing a river crossing? I’ve just returned from a 5 day Safari in SA Sabi Sand reserve with terrific game viewing but not the open plains, profusion of animals that Tanzania is notable for.

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Denver, Colorado
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9. Re: When is the best time to see lots of animals in Tanzania?

Yea- I do like the answers since we will be there in Feb. On tuesday at 16.40 to be exact. So looking forward to it.

But seriously- I read that the rains are early this year. Will that effect the birthing? Will it also be early?

Isle of Man, United...
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10. Re: When is the best time to see lots of animals in Tanzania?

EH10014,

You are correct. There are no rivers in SE Serengeti so when the calving takes place there are no 'crossings'. "Mother Nature" had more sense than to risk doddering small calves in the floodwaters so the crossings take place when the calves are about 5 months or more so at least they have a chance. This does discount the numbers who for some reason cross and recross Lakes Ndutu and Masek and perish in the mud.

So to resolve your dilemma.

Lots of animals. All year round but huge concentrations build in in Dec-Feb to calve around Ndutu.

Migration . Is an ongoing process. Accessible all year in different localities.

River Crossing. Well you need a river. The main ones are Grumeti to the west and Mara to the north. When? There's the rub. Nobody knows, not even the animals. The long rains begin in April/May and so the main herd moves off to Western corridor. They may cross the Grumeti near Kirawira, or they may not. They may cross and recross depending on food(grass).

So any time April-July.

The second river, Mara,is usually more reliable as they 'come back' south in October/November.

Nobody on a short time scale should pin a Safari down to see a "crossing". Film crews hang around for weeks to get ten minutes of screen footage.

Yes, I know folks come back and say they have seen a crossing on their two night stop at xxxx Lodge. Good luck to them but a heck of a lot more come back disappointed ( and looking to sue somebody, anybody!).

So it is a lottery and only the wildebeeste can pick the lucky ticket.

5waldos. OK. CS and I were only partly joking. Have your lunch and go out into Ndutu at 16.40 on any Tuesday in February (Note that R in the month) and we will Guarantee you will see Wildebeeste. Or CS will give you your money back!

Rains have come as usual in November. They provide the new grass. It is how fast the Wildebeeste eat it down that governs when they move off. Whilst they can postpone birthing by a few weeks I don't think they can bring it forward. If in doubt ask your Mom!

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