Welcome to Origins Safaris Special Events

Let's face it, you come to Africa for action and adventure - this is a vibrant continent with incredible wildlife, scenery and happenings... year round.  Steve Turner, owner of Origins Safaris, designs and leads a handful of 'original' trips each year.  He has just come back from the Serengeti with a group of photographers where they witnessed the first footsteps of the great migration - the wildebeest calving - hundreds and thousands of new born calves and their circling predators...


Safari: Serengeti - Small Steps

Event: The Great Migration begins with small steps... wildebeest calving, Serengeti
Location:Tanzania

Next Trip: To be advised

Trip Report: see below

Click here to download Serengeti Migration Itinerary.pdf

Click here to download photo album

  Small steps...                      

This years wildlife photographers expedition to the plains of the Serengeti to witness the calving of the wildebeest migration was better than ever.
We flew directly into Serengeti landing at the Seronera strip where our custom built safari Land Cruisers were waiting for us and had an immediate game drive to our private campsite at Olbaye. We spent our first night in camp comparing cameras and figuring out how to keep dust out of our digitals and enjoying a few cold beers round the campfire then dinner and bed.


On our first morning at first light we set out for our vantage point on a grass knoll, giving us a grand stand view as literally thousands of wildebeest streamed across the plains. The plains were so hot and dry that they were being forced into the western woodlands near Maswa Reserve in search of water and greener pastures. For the couple of days we haunted this area, moving with the male wildebeest herds and zebra as they migrated north surrounding our campsite. The noise and dust was awesome - very powerful images.

The Great Migration starts

As the males moved on, behind them travelling slightly slower were the female herds ready to start their mass calving. They appear to delay calving until the early morning has passed and by 10 am the hooves of fetuses were protruding from the rumps of most females - and within hours there were calves everywhere - we watched and photographed from start to finish calves being born, a process that invariably took 45-60 minutes and then once born taking their first steps within 2-3 minutes of hitting the ground.

Surprisingly for these first few days during the calving itself the Serengeti predators seemed to be keeping a surprisingly low profile - and although we saw a few lion, leopard, hyena and cheetah - there was not the killing bonanza that I had witness in previous years. The scale of the calving was spectacular as a female herd of maybe 30,000+ were now within a 5 mile radius of our camp, all day and all night we heard the chorus of several hundred thousand mouths young and old.

Within days this spectacle changed as the predators emerged - leopard, lion cheetah on one Kopje after another - one vehicle witnessed and photographed a lioness pulling down a young wildebeest to feed her recently weaned cubs, another saw two cases of crocodiles plunging out of a waterhole to drag a hapless drinking Zebra to it's death - and of course there were the hundreds of hyenas that were starting to gather on the periphery of the herds to take off the orphaned calves that seem to be so common at this period. For the next 2 weeks the herds continued their move northwestwards pushed onwards by the heat and drying rivers. The predators, like ourselves, remained behind, and on the day before our departure the rains returned and it seems the herds were planning an about turn for the next group of lucky visitors.

Our new classic mobile camp was as great as ever - great food, great hosts, wonderful guests. The facilities themselves more than one could expect - as we now have proper plumbed flushing toilets and running water into our en-suite bathrooms. The tents are wired with 3 sets of electric lights - so absolutely no compromise of comfort. In the main dining areas we had solar re-charging system, and a generator as a standby so that everybody could plug into to recharge those tired batteries and computers that digital photography seems to create these days. So... above is the trip itinerary.

 

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