Migration and Predation
Tanzania February 2 to 17, 2023
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Timing is everything. The vast herds of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle that constitute the Great Migration of the Serengeti ecosystem arrive in the southern shortgrass plains shortly after seasonal rains green up the plants. February is the perfect time for production of babies, for herbivores and the dependent carnivores. It’s also time for the “snowbirds” from Europe and Asia to join many colorful resident species to partake in the flush of productivity. Flowers and butterflies also thrive on the bounty that nature fairly predictably provides. You may see about 50 species of mammals and over 300 species of birds, as well as some colorful and interesting reptiles. The montane forests and alkaline lakes at Arusha National Park, the massive baobabs and other habitats at Tarangire, the oasis within Ngorongoro Crater, and the plains and Precambrian outcrops at the Serengeti offer the very finest wildlife watching you can imagine.
- Watch Tarangire’s enormous elephants (dwarfed by towering baobab trees) as they frolic in wetlands or feast upon about 300 pounds of grass or leaves in a typical day.
- Search for dramatic predators—lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas—and observe their social systems.
- Enjoy colorful weavers building nests, rollers sallying out for fat flying insects, insanely colorful starlings popping up almost everywhere, oxpeckers feasting on small arthropods on giraffes and buffalo, stately secretarybirds and storks stalking the grasslands, and much more.
- Compare the distinctive ecological strategies of the herbivores (e.g., zebra, giraffe, hippo, buffalo, eland, impala, hartebeest, dikdik, hyrax, hare) or small carnivores (e.g., mongoose, bat-eared fox, jackal, serval, honey badger).
- Marvel at dense wildlife herds contained by the lush caldera walls of Ngorongoro Crater.
- Experience the astonishing abundance of large mammals involved in the Great Migration of the Serengeti.
- Learn of the discoveries of early hominids at Oldupai Gorge and see Maasai living their traditional pastoral lifestyles, albeit now with cell phone communication.
- Continue your journey on our Mkomazi extension from February 16 to 20, 2023. Discover many arid-adapted species such as southern gerenuk, fringe-eared oryx, lesser kudu, vulturine guineafowl, eastern yellow-billed hornbill, and golden-breasted starling. Visit repatriation programs for endangered African wild dogs and black rhinos.
- After the Mkomazi extension, continue your journey on our Mountain Gorilla extension. Trek the forests of the Virunga Mountains to encounter Rwanda’s gentle giant, the mountain gorilla. Contact us for more details.
Our Trip Leaders
Walt is one of the pioneers of ecotourism, having led expeditions in Africa, North and South America, and Australia for many years. He led the first World Wildlife Fund trips to Madagascar and the first ecotours from the US to the national parks of Brazil; his deepest international experience is in East Africa. Walt is an author, photographer, wildlife artist, and lecturer whose love for the natural world is conveyed with humor and enthusiasm. He was Professor of Environmental Studies at Prescott College in Arizona for 27 years and is the author of two books on California’s Sutter Buttes and a major chapter on ecotourism in International Wildlife: Contemporary Challenges in a Changing World.
Lema grew up at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, where his observations of guides taking visitors up the mountain inspired him to pursue a career in ecotourism. He exudes charisma and positive energy, and he shares his encyclopedic knowledge of birds and mammals with grace and humility. His birding skills, including recognition of vocalizations, are top-notch. He has over 17 years of experience guiding wildlife, natural history, and birding tours throughout Tanzania and is delighted to again be working for Cheesemans’.
David has been a popular safari guide for over 25 years. He has an uncanny ability to spot leopards and other wildlife even while driving with consummate skill. His flexibility, kindness, and charm complement his spotting talents, and he is adept at getting the vehicle into position for the best possible wildlife photos. David has earned certificates in Tour Guiding and Leadership, and he is passionate about continuing to learn and grow as a guide. When not guiding, he takes care of his farm and family on the slopes of Mt. Meru.
Augustine, founder and owner of our local safari operator, studied at Tanzania’s College of Wildlife Management and served with the Tanzania Wildlife Department, developing an invaluable set of connections and knowledge. He did his Master’s in Conservation Biology and Ecotourism with Walt Anderson at Prescott College in Arizona. Augustine’s warmth and humor, intimate knowledge of animal behavior, friendships with indigenous people, and command of logistical details have given him a well-deserved reputation in the safari field.
February is green on the Serengeti in Tanzania – a perfect safari backdrop for lions, cheetahs, and leopards.
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"I loved the view of the crater Ngorongoro from our hotel at the top. Impossible to capture. Breathtaking, especially because everything was so green and lush. Areas on the deck of the hotel provided a beautiful frame for pictures of the crater. Also watching the moon rise over the crater will stay in my memory forever. I also liked the entertainment provided by the hotel."
Lorrayne Bailey, 2020
"This was a magnificent experience! I am still processing all I saw and experienced two months later. I understand why Doug & Gail have returned so many times."
Phyllis York, 2019
"The guides exceeded my expectations! They were not only excellent wildlife spotters and drivers, and so personable and friendly—they also have a
remarkable depth of knowledge. They did a great job answering questions, answering what was asked and providing additional interesting info, but
not going on at such length that we missed new sightings. They were just superb, every one."