Every year between June and August, those who are lucky enough to experience it can watch the annual mass migration of wildebeest and other animals as they follow the rain through Tanzania and Kenya in search of fresh grazing areas. Here’s how to enjoy a front row seat.
Let’s get one thing straight – you’re not guaranteed to see the Great Migration when wildebeest, zebra, gazelle and eland in their thousands flock 800km across the Serengeti Plains towards greener pastures, followed of course by predators in search of a tasty meal. But you will definitely see a wealth of wildlife as you search for this annual event, groupings of animals en route to the migration that will take your breath away. Here is a stunning selection of luxurious lodges where you can watch this incredible phenomenon from the comfort of your own room or close-up in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Where to stay
Here’s our choice of four exclusive lodges in Tanzania where you can enjoy this bucket-list spectacle.
Located in the heart of the Serengeti, this luxury lodge offers exhilarating game viewing experiences to see the Big Five (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino) up close in dawn and sunset game drives, on a walking safari or a once-in-a-lifetime hot-air balloon safari. This exclusive lodge which accommodates only 27 people has a magnificent setting right next to a water hole, where a variety of animals come to drink, offering unique sightings of animals throughout the day and night.
Accommodation is in a choice of four double rooms, two of which have views of the waterhole and all offering comfortable four-poster beds. There are also two suites with elevated open-air terraces and private pools, all offering spectacular views over the Serengeti. Suites feature a master en suite bedroom, lounge area and second bathroom and one of the suites has waterhole views. In true Four Seasons style, there are also three plush villas with infinity plunge pools and elevated terraces featuring between one and three bedrooms. The lodge’s Discovery Center is part museum, part lecture hall, offering an interactive experience to learn about the people and animals who inhabit the Serengeti. Guests enjoy gourmet dining in a choice of three restaurants and everything here is on an all-inclusive basis, including drinks. There’s also a gym, business centre and two boutiques.
Unmatched luxury and elegance is the order of the day at this exclusive andBeyond establishment located in the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Right on the edge of the famous Ngorongoro Crater, the largest inactive volcanic caldera in the world, and one of its natural wonders. Here, on the top of the world, you can enjoy some of the best game-viewing on the African continent, including the Migration plus the opportunity to see the rare black rhino, giant tusked elephants, lions and other predators up close. The lodge is quite extraordinary, with stilted thatched buildings featuring an eclectic mix of teak panels, Victorian furniture and whimsical African touches. Stay in a choice of 30 sumptuous suites divided into three separate camps, all with ceilings made out of banana leaves and grass roofs. Each camp offers its own seating and dining area, and private butlers cater to guests’ every whim. Guests enjoy an experience as unique as the surroundings here, learning about the Masai warriors who live in the area, enjoying game viewing and picnics in the magnificent Crater and a pampered existence at the lodge that includes tea in bed, bubble baths and romantic fireplaces.
Luxury is the buzzword, with many special touches such as Swarovski Optik binoculars for game viewing, Thule luggage and special safari guides journals to enrich guests’ wildlife experiences. Of course, add in the Great Migration and you have the ultimate experience at this magnificent lodge. Children are welcome here; the lodge has a special Wildchild Program where kids enjoy a variety of fun interactive activities to discover new African experiences and cultures.
Singita Grumeti – Faru Faru Lodge
This luxury lodge has a fascinating story attached – it was created in 1994 by the Tanzanian government to not only protect the wildlife as they headed on their migration every year, but also to look after the area, which is vast and incorporates a very important ecosystem. This precious 350,000-acre area is managed by Singita, whose aim is to ensure low impact luxury tourism in a selection of lodges. Situated right next to Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park in front of a busy waterhole along the Grumeti River, Faru Faru Luxury Lodge & Safari is one-of-a-kind.
Singita has a very relaxed approach to luxury, which is evident at this contemporary lodge, which features spacious bedroom suites with every possible comfort and oversized windows to enjoy the views. The lodge has plenty of spacious outdoor decks for enjoying the breathtaking views, two glorious pools and a fire-pit where guests enjoy dining under the stars. Singita operates with strict conservation measures in place and their success includes conserving and recovering various species including buffalo, wildebeest, black rhino and elephants.
Known for its exclusivity and extraordinary uniqueness, this luxurious retreat, which opened at the end of 2017, concentrates on guests being able to experience the unique Migration every year. Guests stay in one of the ten exquisite luxury tents, each featuring a wooden deck, en suite bathroom, modern furniture and a personal attendant who fills the bucket showers. These tents are often packed up and moved to follow the path of the Migration, just like adventure seekers used to experience this phenomenon in the 19th century. But there is one difference these days – two centuries on, guests also enjoy all the modern comforts. The camp includes a central canopied area where guests enjoy stunning meals and learn about what it’s like to live in the wild.
As Sanctuary Kichakani follows the migration path, guests can expect to view a wide variety of game, from wildebeest and zebra to the Big Five. They also get to enjoy unmatched sunsets accompanied by welcoming sundowners every evening, celebrating the end of another magical day in the African wilds. This year, this unique camp opens from 1 June to 30 November 2022.
Game lodges all offer game viewing activities for their guests, usually in the early morning and late afternoon, in four wheel drive vehicles with experienced trackers and guides. Some lodges also offer walking safaris with expert guides, and some include an opportunity to enjoy a bucket-list hot air balloon safari, at a fee. Often lodges offer swimming pools as well as lectures on wildlife on the area so that guests can learn all about the Serengeti, the people and wildlife that live there, most of whom are from the Masai tribe. Many lodges include a spa where guests can be pampered in the bush with various beauty and wellness treatments at their own cost.
Guests stay at these four lodges on an all-inclusive basis, which means that all meals, services, etc are paid for in advance. There is no need to spend money at the lodges, except for tipping, unless you want to purchase something at the lodge boutique.
How to get there
At each camp, guests are transferred by road to the nearest airstrip to fly to a selection of airports in Tanzania, including Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro International Airport.
If you’re interested in experiencing the magic of the Migration for yourself, there’s still time to book a bucketlist adventure at one of these unique luxury establishment. It’s an incredible alternative to beach life in the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere.