Friendly Planet Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Tanzania’

Why the National Geographic Channel’s ‘Great Migrations’ is a must-see

If you’re a nature lover, you probably have the National Geographic Channel set on your DVR, I know I do.

This Sunday night, I’m looking forward to its new new seven-part series, “Great Migrations.” It will cover the annual journey millions of animals take to ensure the survival of their species.

One migration that I’m very excited to see, which centers around Kenya and Tanzania, is that of wildebeest. Their annual migration is considered one of the most spectacular in nature.

Over a million wildebeest, along with 450 other species of wildlife, make the circular migration year after year. Friendly Planet Travel offers several tours to Africa where these migrations take place. Travelers frequently ask me about when and where they occur, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you a little bit more about it.

Wildebeest are herbivores and need to graze constantly. As a result, they move as the seasons change to find fresh land and water. In Tanzania, the wildebeest herds gather in the Southern Serengeti. During the rainy season in April and May, the herds begin their migration northward by heading west first.

The wildebeest herds move to the flourishing grasses and open woodlands of the Western Serengeti, whose sweeping vistas make it the best place to watch the migration unfold. This is also the time when the wildebeest mate.

By June, the herds are heading north towards Kenya. One of the most breathtaking sights of the migration is that of the herds congregating to cross the Grumeti River in Tanzania and the Mara River in Kenya. From July to September, wildebeest tackle the strong currents and the crocodiles that wait for them in the waters.

For tourists, it’s amazing to watch the lions, leopards, hyenas, and wild dogs follow the herds. Unfortunately, a quarter of the wildebeest won’t make it, falling prey to predators or drowning in the rivers.

By the time November rolls around, the wildebeest return south to the Serengeti plains to give birth to their calves. Until the end of March, this is the perfect time to see almost a half million calves running with their mothers. The sight of the mothers and their young also attracts predators, including lions which hunt them as prey.

Then the migration begins all over again. The wildebeest migration is often spontaneous because it revolves around the weather. If the rainy season starts earlier, so does the migration. But no matter when it starts, their migration is an integral part of Africa’s ecosystem.

Wildebeest crop the grasses, fertilize the soil, and serve as food for predators. It’s important for people to understand this, and I’m sure “Great Migrations” will let us enjoy a view of their incredible journey as never before seen. That is, unless you are lucky enough to join us in Africa to see it for yourself, in person.

So I’ll be tuning in Sunday night. Will you? If you do watch it, let me your thoughts in a comment on this post.

Ten days on Kenya’s incredible wildlife safari for $2,999

FP_Kenya.jpgI’ve come across so many travelers who have always had Kenya and Tanzania at the top of their lists of dream destinations, and for very good reason. Both countries are blessed with an abundance of spectacular wildlife and lavishly gorgeous, incredibly photogenic landscapes.

Everywhere you go, from the teeming cities to the plains of the Masai Mara, people are friendly and welcoming. Every day life in Kenya is a powerful image of juxtaposition. Imagine traditional tribe members mingling with urban families at a market, bustling cities that give way to rolling grasslands, and white-glove service where the basics of running water and electricity are scarce.

Wildlife safaris have been the bread and butter of Kenya’s tourism for decades, and several Kenyan parks are among the best places in Africa to see lions, elephants, leopards, and the breath-taking wildebeest migration. And for the bird watching enthusiasts, Kenya rates as one of the top five bird-watching destinations in the world.

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With more than 50 parks to choose from in Kenya alone, and almost 25 percent of Tanzania’s lands protected as nature reserves, it’s hard to decide where to go. But Africa travel experts agree that the Masai Mara and Samburu parks in Kenya and the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania are must-see sites.

 

That’s why we’ve designed our 10-day Kenya Wildlife Safari plus optional Tanzania Extension around these culturally significant and awe-inspiring natural destinations, and so much more! And like all Friendly Planet tours, you’ll enjoy the best of Kenya and Tanzania at prices that are as amazing as the countries themselves. At $2,999, you won’t find a deal anywhere else that offers all the luxuries and experiences as this tour.

You’ll find the full itinerary and all the details on our Kenya Wildlife Safari, plus optional Tanzania extension page on the Friendly Planet Travel Web site.

A customer’s thoughts on Kenya Wildlife Safari

I already told you how receiving positive feedback from our travelers is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Traveling is my passion, and when I know that everything we’ve done at Friendly Planet Travel has made for an unforgettable life experience for one of our travelers, well, there’s nothing better than that.
Here’s another one from our files, written by an experienced traveler after her first Friendly Planet Travel vacation on our Kenya Wildlife Safari. As always, we’ve done no editing to the original letter.
“Traveling to East Africa has been a long awaited dream for me. Last November, I was finally able to realize my dream by going on Friendly Planet’s 2 week jeep safari to Kenya and Tanzania. The trip was organized locally by Vintage Africa. I cannot sing enough praises for Vintage Africa, and especially our driver guide in Kenya, James Mungai. James was an extremely knowledgeable and attentive guide. His ability to intelligently answer all of our sometimes unusual questions and spot wildlife from miles away never ceased to amaze us. James went out of his way to accommodate our needs and was always patient with all our requests, from stopping to photograph every sunset and tree cluster to positioning his vehicle for the perfect photo opportunity. As a seasoned traveler, I can truly say that this trip has been one of my favorites and having James as our guide contributed to making it so memorable. I can only hope that my next group excursion will be as enjoyable and well organized.
– Magda Laska”
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About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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