Another dream of mine has been to see the Great Migration. Imagine over 1 million wildebeest migrating in herds throughout the year in search of food and water, clambering over each other to cross the Mara River.
I wanted my best chance at seeing the migration and prefer small and intimate, luxury accommodation, so chose Serengeti under Canvas, a semi-permanent tented camp which moves location according to the movement of the wildebeest.
This lodge is operated by &Beyond, a luxury safari company which owns several lodges across Africa and India. I’d had the pleasure of visiting their Bateleur Camp in Kenya which was a dream so figured this would be just as memorable.
They call this a luxury camp with rustic charm. It’s remote and secluded. The grounds are unfenced. There are only 9 tents with capacity for 18 guests and private butler service. There’s an open-air, covered sitting area with comfy sofas. Dinner is a seated 3-course affair. The staff prepare nightly campfires. Morning toast is grilled on the barbecue.
I don’t fancy myself as much of an outdoors type so this was my kind of glamping.
You are indeed sleeping within the four walls of a canvas tent. However, this is a very nice, very luxurious tent – complete with a king-sized bed, running water, electricity, a flush toilet, and an outdoor bucket shower with hot water. But you are still practically one with nature; no matter how luxurious, I still had a large stick insect fall on my head while I was brushing my teeth before bed one evening.
We stayed 3 nights/4 days which was the perfect amount of time to see soak up the African sun and see the wildebeest in action.
The first day we had the 4×4 to ourselves, our own private adventure with just a guide and tracker. The guide radios ahead to his peers. He identifies the location where a herd of wildebeest are gathering on the side of riverbank. We drive up alongside many other 4x4s all waiting for the big moment.
First a few wildebeest, then fifty, then hundreds. All waiting. Waiting for just one courageous wildebeest to brave the first step. Crocs are also waiting for the wildebeest in the river. Waiting for one misstep. One frail baby.
Then you see one tentative wildebeest test the waters. Then a second.
And all of a sudden, the hundred surge ahead. Jumping clumsily over and through the water. Safety in numbers. One after the other.
And finally the last one makes it across the river unscathed. What a spectacle to behold!
The second day we had a Mexican couple join us. The husband is a musician and tells a story of how he was at the London Olympics wearing a mask so no one would recognise who he was. He tells us how his band played the Staples Center (an arena that seats 20,000 people). None other than Fher from Maná.
Animals galore. Millions of wildebeest. The endless plains of the Serengeti. Going on safari with the lead singer of a band which has sold 40 million albums and won four Grammys. Life is good.
From US$765 per person per night including accommodation, all meals, house wine and local spirits, transfers to the airstrip and game drives.
Serengeti under Canvas