Wildebeest Breeding Arena.
The Ndutu region forms part of the northern section of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and stretches to the unfenced southern reaches of the Serengeti National Park, a meeting point between these two incredible wilderness areas. This section of the park is made up of rolling grasslands peppered with alkaline lakes that attract flocks of flamingos, as well as acacia woodlands.
There’s year-round resident wildlife (such as giraffe, elephant, hyena, and various antelope species) in the Ndutu region, and you can spot animals around the waterholes during the dry season from June to November. Look out for the six cat species—lion, cheetah, leopard, serval, African wild cat, and caracal—that are present throughout the year.
The best months to visit the Ndutu Region are from December, when the Great Migration herds start to arrive from the north, until April, when the millions of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle have trekked northwards again. In the early months of the year – with a peak in February – the wildebeest herds are calving on the verdant grassy plains: thousands upon thousands of baby animals are born every day, attracting the attention of cheetahs, lions, and hyenas.
A big draw of the Ndutu Region is to see the full circle of the Great Migration, from the return of the herds to graze in December, and then the calving which takes place in January and February, and then the departure of the herds again in April as they start making their journey northwards. Calving season is particularly dramatic: a million wildebeest give birth to 8000 babies every day, and as these newborns take their first steps, they’re targeted by lions, leopards, cheetahs, and hyenas.
The prime game viewing spot in the Ndutu Region is around Lake Ndutu, where enormous herds congregate between December and April to graze and calve. The forests and granite kopjes around Lake Ndutu are also home to lots of game outside of the migration months.
Sightings of six species of cats – leopard, lion, cheetah, caracal, African wildcat, and a serval – are a big highlight of visiting the Ndutu Region. You can spot the cats throughout the year, but the best viewing is during the calving months of January and February when these predators pick on the fledgling baby animals.
It is estimated that at the height of the dry season in October the density of large mammals, elephants, buffaloes, elands, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, ostrich to mention a few are second only to Ngorongoro crater worldwide. This spectacular gathers around the scattered pools of permanent water along the Tarangire River bed, and also around the Silale swamp. Lion and Leopard are frequently seen here as well.
The huge baobab trees are characteristic of these savannahs and have been described by naturalists as a complete ecosystem by themselves, the nooks and crannies provide places for beehives or are occupied by small mammals like a genet, civet, and mongoose while their enormous flowers are pollinated by fruit bats. Many baobabs are hollow and have provided shelter for wandering bands of hunter-gathers in the past.
Tarangire is one of the finest places in Tanzania to watch elephants and spending unhurried time in the presence of these intelligent giants, often from a vantage point at a waterhole or spring is one of the greatest pleasures of a wildlife safari, Tarangire is also one of the few places in Tanzania to see Oryx, and more even gerenuk and both lesser and greater kudu, and even occasionally wild dogs. It’s also a birders paradise with more residence breeding species than anywhere else in Tanzania
These are a year all around, with the pick game viewing season coming from July to November when all is dry and the River calls all the seasonal migratory big mammals, and clusters around shrinking lagoons and water holes.
Tarangire fits well to the northern circuit safari itineraries, but if you have time at least give two days for this wonderful park and accommodation picked should be inside the park to offer maximum game viewing.
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