Combining the Northern Serengeti with the Masai Mara

Combining the Northern Serengeti with the Masai Mara literally gives you the best of both worlds.  The combination allows you to witness the Great Migration from two different perspectives and also maximises your opportunity to spend time with the migratory herds.

This was the first year that we have offered this exciting combo and my word it did not disappoint.

The tour started with an overnight in Kilimanjaro (it will be Arusha in 2022) where we enjoyed a dinner to discuss the plans for the coming days and what to expect during the course of the safari.

The first part of the safari involved 2 nights in Tarangire National park, an easy 4 hour drive from Arusha which takes you  through the hustle and bustle of Arusha, then through some local villages and eventually into the park.

Tarangire National Park is definitely one of the most underrated parks in Tanzania and produces some fantastic game viewing especially during the dry season.  The Park is known for the huge Elephants and Buffalo herds that can be seen, as well as massive Baobab trees which makes for breathtaking scenery and photographic opportunities.

With us only having 2 nights in Tarangire, we spent full days in the park to maximise the experience and photographic opportunities of which we were greatly rewarded as we had multiple good Elephant and Buffalo sightings, great general game viewing and even a Leopard in a Baobab!!

From Tarangire we boarded a chartered flight into Kogatende airstrip in the Northern Serengeti (about an hour's flight) for the next 6 nights of our safari.  Generally July/August is when the migration peaks around the Mara River and when the famous river crossings happen, and this was no doubt one of our focusses during our time in the Northern Serengeti.

Unfortunately for us, there weren't massive herds along the river, with the majority having reached the sand river already, making their way into the Masai Mara, but the predator viewing was unlike anything we could have ever wished for.  Personally I can't remember when was the last time that I've seen so many baby predators in one area.  On our first afternoon we were treated to as good a Leopard sighting as you could hope for as a Female Leopard and her sub adult cub entertained us the entire afternoon, climbing on the rocky outcrops, in trees, jumping and playing around...  It was the perfect start to our 6 nights!

During our first full day out we discovered a pride of Lions with two sets of litters, one set were about a couple of months old, while the second litter were much smaller and probably around  6-8 weeks old.  What made this even better was that the pride was only about 15 minutes from our camp which meant that we could spend a great amount of time with them in good light.  We were totally spoilt and enjoyed numerous great sightings of the cubs playing, the adults feeding and even had 3 big males joining the pride on a few occasions.

Having options on safari is every Guide's dream and just when we thought that we had all the bases covered, we came across another Female Leopard with two tiny cubs (around 6-8 weeks old) on a rocky outcrop!  I looked on in total disbelief at what was unfolding in front of us as these two cubs looked at us with their big blue eyes, providing us with endless entertainment.  How lucky are we to have three different sightings that we could return to at any stage with a high possibility of finding the individuals!

With the migratory herds now clearly having moved towards the Masai Mara, we decided to focus on and maximise our time with predators of which, like I already mentioned we had more than enough to choose from and enjoyed some spectacular sightings and photographic opportunities.

The huge advantage of combining the Northern Serengeti with the Masai Mara is that being on both sides of the Mara river, you give yourself the best opportunity to view the herds.  The Masai Mara proved to be where the herds were this time...

Combining the Northern Serengeti with the Masai Mara is a fantastic combo which offers loads of photographic opportunities and unbelievable experiences.

I cannot wait to do this combo again next year!


Northern Serengeti Safari

Every year from June to September the great migration moves northwards to the Mara River. This dangerous river flows right through their feedings grounds and in addition to the resident crocodiles, lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas all stake their claim to the abundance of prey. It’s an action packed experience, never a dull moment. Although the second half of the promises intense action, the tour kicks off in Tarangire, a short drive from Kilimanjaro itself. We’ll visit this part during the height of the dry season for a game viewing bonanza, and see one of Africa's greatest gathering of elephants.

A Private Safari experience in East Africa

A conscious and connected adventure in northern Tanzania, offering access to key private wilderness regions and the opportunity to support and contribute to the conservation and sustainable development of these protected areas. Legendary Expeditions are a conservation company with 2 million acres of land in their care. The Friedkin Conservation Fund (FCF) was established for the purpose of conserving these protected areas; including its wildlife, wilderness and the local stakeholders of these natural resources.

4 thoughts on “Combining the Northern Serengeti with the Masai Mara

  1. Erick


    Incredibly amazing shots. I have enjoyed reading.

    • Johan Van Zyl

      Thank you so much really appreciate it!

  2. Robert Johnson


    This makes for very good reading. Where can one view your images online or Instagram?
    I visited the Serengeti this year but unfortunately my tour guide took me to the central region where I did see some cats but no Migration as I was told it is all happening in the north.
    Maybe you can suggest camps to stay at in the North Serengeti and the Mara as well as the best time of year to be there to witness the crossing! I missed it!

    • Johan Van Zyl

      Thank you so much, really appreciate it. The best Camp to stay at in the Northern Serengeti is Legendary Expeditions and in the Mara without a doubt the Wild Eye Mara Camp.

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