24 May 2008
The rains have been very unpredictable across the country. Some areas have been hit by serious flooding and crop damage while others look as if they might be heading for a drought.
The Crater Highlands are the balance in this weather pattern. East of the range there has been lots of rain but the Western side has not been so lucky. The Serengeti plains are drying out early and the Parks have started their early burning. However, in many places, the grass is already well dried.
The Wildebeest are likely to move off before the norm. Currently there are scattered groups across a wide area and even some still high up towards the crater where there is good grazing and water. However, they have all moved from the short grass plain areas and are focussed more on central Serengeti.
29 March 2008
Easter came early for many this year. The spring hares and African hares were plentiful and the weather decided to join in the fun. Over the last two weeks, there have been dramatic skies, thunder and lightening and heavy showers all over the northern circuit. For the last few years, the long rains at the end of the green season have not broken until mid-April but this year was different.
The rains were very welcome in the Serengeti where a long dry patch during late Feb and early March had meant that the wildebeest had dispersed and moved out of the short grass plains and south into the Macau, Maswa and Simyu areas. As soon as the heavens opened, the long lines of wildebeest headed straight back to the Ndutu area arriving in force over the Easter weekend.
The weather predications for the next week still indicate more rain to come but it might ease off in intensity towards the end of the coming week. This rain is especially welcome as the general rainfall figures over the last 3 months have been low which can then cause a problem later on as the dry season sets in.
27 February 2008
The rains have carried on in their unenthusiastic way, this season. Some heavy showers but mostly localised and not sustained. Consequently the main Migration herds are quick to move where the best options for food and water are. In the last two weeks, they have spent time in the Loliondo, Gol and Sanjan area but as soon as it started drying up, they moved south and west, passing through Ndutu onto the mid grass plains the other side.
Since the Migration does not move as one, there are still pockets of wildebeest to be found all over this area but the main concentrations are in the south and west. The forecast shows light showers towards at the end of the week, though these are unpredictable. The calving season is also nearing an end with the majority of the babies already here. Despite this, the other game remains excellent throughout the whole south and eastern areas of the eco-system, with plenty of cheetah and lion sightings.
Update 5th February 2008
Despite coming a little early this year, the rains in the Serengeti eco-system have been rather light so far, in fact, worryingly so. January was characterised by lots of dusty drives, as the plains dried out. There have been showers, and some quite heavy, dotted throughout this time but no real sustained period of rain. It is green across the short grass plains now and some more showers are predicted, so hopefully the grass will receive a prolonged boost.
The wildebeest calving season has started - in fact the first babies appeared around mid/late Jan and it is in full swing now. This is where we really hope for regular rainfall to keep enough nutritious grass for the babies to survive. The carnivore sightings are plenty, as they all crowd in for the fest and the terrain makes for good photo opportunities.
So long as the plains do not dry out, we would expect the herds to remain around the short grass and medium grass plain area from now till mid April.