The Serengeti, Tanzania & the migration

Katie Cadar At Giraffe Manor, Kenya

We flew to Ndutu and our next destination in Tanzania. Our stay was at a mobile tented camp in the southern Serengeti, Tanzania, where the migration was passing through during January and February.

The East African safari camps are set up for several months, then moved to follow the migration. There were quite a few mobile camps in the area. Ours, Serengeti Safari Camp, has six very comfortably-equipped walk-in tents with a dressing area and an ensuite bathroom at the rear. Eco flush toilets and bucket showers, jugs of hot and cold water are at the ready. The main dining tent also has a sitting area, library/bar area.

We had a private vehicle and guide during our stay so we could set our own pace. We went out twice a day, seeing masses of wildebeest and zebra, moving along together as far as we could see. There were other game following the herds - we found lions, cheetah, gazelles, so many giraffe. The babies were dropping - we saw newborn wildebeests just standing up next to their mothers, baby zebras with brown stripes which will darken as they get older, baby giraffes sometimes with both parents. We saw baby lions playing in the midst of their pride. We saw elephants demolishing acacia trees.

In Tanzania there are no rules as there are in Kenya, so while we were were mostly on our own, there were times where many cars would converge on one sighting. This was troublesome and a good reason to try and find private conservancies to visit.

Seeing the massive amount of animals moving together, eating the rich grasses of this part of the Serengeti, seeing the new babies - was awe inspiring. At one point we were back in camp and an entire group of wildebeest, zebra, giraffes came walking through - a seemingly endless stream of animals just moving along. One of my companions was so excited he was shouting, “the migration is in our camp!” waking everyone from their afternoon rest. I have to admit, it was a sight worth seeing!

Finally, back to Nairobi to end with a highlight - we were able to stay at Giraffe Manor. This very special place is home of a herd of Rothschild giraffe who visit the manor each morning and evening to greet guests and be hand fed. They live on a sanctuary and move around at will. The manor is a house dating to the 1930’s, owned by a family dedicated to the preservation of this species of giraffe. 

There are now two buildings with a total of 10 rooms. Be sure to get one of the rooms where the giraffes come in the morning looking for snacks! At breakfast, the giraffes all come and poke their heads through the windows. The servers make sure the guests have snacks available to feed the giraffes, who are always ready to eat!

Giraffe Center is next door - guests who cannot stay at Giraffe Manor can book a tour to the Center where they can also hand feed the giraffes.

Nearby is the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. This is an amazing place which provides care and nurturing for baby elephants who have lost their mothers through poaching or other unhappy circumstance. Adopt a baby elephant for $50 per year and you receive email updates from the center on how your elephant is doing. Also if you foster an elephant in advance, you can visit the elephant center later in the day just with the other foster parents for a more intimate experience.

Giraffe Manor and the Elephant Orphanage were wonderful experiences with which to end our trip to Tanzania and Nairobi. This is a trip which I will never forget!

Katie Cadar