Serengeti Under Canvas
An authentic back to nature experience with nothing separating you from the surrounding landscapes of the Serengeti.
The annual movement of wildebeest across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is one of the greatest spectacles in the natural world. Originating on Tanzania’s short grass plains of the southeastern Serengeti, the dwindling of the available grass is the impetus for this primal trek. The horizon fills with 1.5 million wildebeest,200 000 zebra, 18 000 eland and 500 000 Thompson’s gazelle, relentlessly tracked by Africa’s great predators.
Essentially, the wildebeest are taking advantage of the strongly seasonal conditions, spending the wet season on the southeastern plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania, and the dry season in the woodlands of the Masai Mara. The wildebeest give birth between January and March on the short-grass plains.
The Migration is rarely the same in terms of precise timing and direction, as local conditions influence grass growth. The wildebeest may therefore move off the open plains earlier in some years, and remain in the northern woodlands for longer in others. Typically, they head slowly northwest towards the western corridor of the Serengeti and the Grumeti River. From there, the herds move north before crossing into the Masai Mara. Here, they must ford another river, this time the Mara. The Migration remains on the productive Mara grasslands until the storm clouds gather in the south, and they return to their breeding grounds.
These luxurious tented camps move around the Park year round, bringing guests within reach of the Great Migration and exploring remote, beautiful corners of the Serengeti with excellent resident game. Using only private campsites, these migratory camps are entirely intimate and exclusive, featuring Tanzania’s most spacious safari tents, each with double bed, ensuite bathroom, separate w.c. and al fresco bucket shower.
A dedicated sitting and dining tent provides deep sofas from which to contemplate the vastness and peace of the surrounding landscape. Custom made Indian rugs and polished brass samovars add a touch of elegance and romance. Relax under the dark velvet night sky and sample hearty cuisine served on sparkling crystal and silver that reflects the sparkling light of millions of shining stars. Cluster around a roaring campfire to share stories of the day’s magic and listen to the African night come alive.
Twice daily game drives
Explore the endless plains of the Serengeti on early morning and late afternoon / evening game drives in an open 4×4 safari vehicle. Morning game drives begin as the sun is rising and the nocturnal predators are ending their nightly hunts. There is always the chance of seeing a pride of lion lingering over last night’s kill or a leopard relaxing on a branch where it has wedged its prey.
The smaller denizens of the bush come to life as the daylight hours make it easier for them to spot any predators still on the prowl. In the late afternoon, sit in the midst of antelope, buffalo and elephant as they make their way down to the river, either singly or in herds, for a last, refreshing drink. Serengeti Under Canvas is carefully positioned in an attempt to always be within easy driving distance of the massed herds of the Great Migration and game drives focus on finding the wildebeest and the various carnivores that accompany them. Should guests prefer, the two daily game drives can be replaced with one, much longer, daily outing, with a picnic lunch provided.
Environment and local community
Temperatures are generally pleasant in the Serengeti. September, October and January are the warmest months, while July is usually the coolest. Rainfall is seasonal, with short spring showers taking place in November and December, followed by a longer rainy period from March to May. The wildebeest migration is dependent on the rains taking place when expected and seasonal variations may affect the timing of the animals’ movements. Our Serengeti Under Canvas semi-permanent camps move around the Serengeti year round, bringing guests within easy reach of the Great Migration.
Large parts of the northern Serengeti are dominated by woodland, which is made up of trees of over four metres (13 feet) in height interspersed by dense grass. The most commonly found trees in such areas are various species of thorny acacia. Taller trees are interspersed with dense thickets of stunted vegetation. Woodlands are good areas for browsing animals such as giraffe, impala, elephant and dik-dik. The acacias attract Grant’s gazelle, olive baboon, vervet monkey and bushbabies. Birds are especially abundant in woodlands, which offer a wide choice of comfortable nesting sites.
During the wet season, the Grumeti River is prone to flood its banks in the western corridor. Numerous oxbow lakes form and become seasonal swamps once the floodwaters recede. This terrain is favoured by elephant, buffalo and reedbuck. Although vast grassy plains have become largely synonymous with the Serengeti, they actually only form about one quarter of the total area. During the rains, wildebeest, zebra and gazelle gather in the highly productive open grasslands in the southeast of the park. Long grass plains extend throughout the west of the Serengeti and provide fodder for the huge concentrations of wildebeest and other grazing herbivores that migrate back and forth through the region.
Serengeti under canvas is arguably one of the best options in the area. Its proximity to the wildlife is fantastic without a compromise on standard. It should be on everyone’s list.