Tanzania is a veritable wilderness extravaganza. From the snow-capped summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to the game-rich Ngorongoro Crater and the endless plains of the Serengeti, this vast and sparsely populated nation hosts some of the greatest wildlife experiences on earth. Throw in 14 national parks and numerous game reserves, home to some of the largest animal herds on the African continent, and it’s no wonder it’s the safari insider's hot tip.
It is also offers up amongst the best opportunities to take in one of the world’s most spectacular wilderness shows – the Great Migration as millions of wildebeest and zebra make their way around the Masai Mara and Serengeti – especially in the autumn, when the herds make their dramatic crossing of the Mara River in the Serengeti’s north.
But like all hot tickets, the autumn migration can come with its share of hassles, including higher prices and traffic jams as safari vehicles jostle for space near the best sightings. So when and where to go if you want to experience some great game viewing without the crowds?
Well, according to Michael McCall, Sanctuary Retreats’ Director of Sales Australia, NZ & Asia McCall, the Green Season in the Southern Serengeti from late January through to mid-March is seeing an increasing number of visitors heading to the region, where an estimated 400,000 wildebeest calves are born during the six-week period each year. But he says the winter months in this part of the Serengeti can be equally rewarding, offering up extraordinary opportunities to experience the Great Migration, in exclusive wildlife locations well off the tourist track.
Swahili phrase Baridi Nzuri means ‘the beautiful cold’ and it is an apt description of the Southern Serengeti in winter. By the June Solstice food is scarce; cold winds blow across dried golden grass; and the pastel colours of the sky give light to majestic days. It is also a time of considerable hardship as animals are pushed to their limits in the quest for water; with predators lurk at the watering holes, ready to pick off thirsty antelope, zebra and wildebeest.
Sanctuary Kusini is the only permanent camp in this unspoiled and remote part of the Serengeti, providing front-row seat to Tanzania's spectacular wildlife. According to McCall Kusini's location was specially selected after extensive research by the company’s guides and the local experts.
“The Camp overlooks the plains where game are a common sight pretty much all year round and every year wildebeest congregate on the camp's doorstep. It’s also built around a spectacular rocky outcrop and on the path of the wildebeest migration, which make it ideal for seeing wildlife on the grassy plains nearby.”
The park is also noted for its lion and cheetah populations and leopards and there is the chance to contribute to the cheetah watch project that is taking place in the region.