The name Serengeti comes from the Masai word for ‘endless plains’, and nowhere is this term more deeply felt than in the Southern Serengeti. With its rolling, endless landscapes, occasional kopje (rocky outcrop) and noticeable lack of trees, it’s the perfect setting for uninterrupted wildlife viewing year round.
During the Great Migration from about December to March, the region is full of wildebeest, zebra, and predators, and is well known for all the excitement the annual calving season brings. But, inevitably, the migration moves on in its never-ending pursuit of the rains, taking the vehicles, mobile camps and safari-clad tourists along with it. And it is at this point that the Southern Serengeti takes on a very different personality.
From June to November, Sanctuary Kusini is the only camp in the Southern Serengeti. Operated by boutique luxury safari specialist, Sanctuary Retreats, according to Michael McCall, the company’s Director of Sales Australia, NZ & Asia, it is the ideal time to visit.
Says McCall, “Right now, game drives are exclusive and sightings intimate. And while the bulk of the migration may be gone, the predators remain – tied to the territories they have fought for. In fact, this is the moment where the predators’ skill really comes into focus. No longer are they able simply to pick off young wildebeest. Instead they have to contend with far more substantial animals like buffalo. And watching these hunts can be an amazing spectacle for the real safari enthusiast, as they are often filled with peril – as much for the predator as for the prey.”
Hot, dry weather, brings wildlife in and around the Camp as the lions, leopards, elephants and buffalo search for water. Indeed it’s not unheard of for guests to experience the thrill of a kill right in front of their rooms according to McCall – an experience he says, is not for the faint-hearted.
The dry season also brings with it Big Cats’ cubs, which can often be seen playing innocently while their parents search for dinner. Says McCall, “The resident Kusini lion pride have a lot of young mouths to feed, meaning guests at Sanctuary Kusini are frequently treated to some amazing interactions with young cubs, not to mention some exhilarating hunts.”
Cheetah families are also particularly visible at this time of year, with Tanzania’s southern savannah plain their last significant stronghold. Keen to preserve the cheetah’s natural environment, Sanctuary Kusini actively enlists its guests to support the Serengeti Cheetah Project which monitors the region’s cheetah population, offering invaluable information on behaviour, ecology, ranging and social patterns.
The Southern Serengeti’s iconic landscape during this period is perfect for those who want to explore Africa’s wild and untamed side, with photography enthusiasts particularly drawn to its beautiful winter light and stark, dramatic scenery. Says McCall, “In many ways this is the perfect place – and the perfect time – to visit if you are seeking a truly authentic safari experience in Africa. Sanctuary Kusini’s remote location also produces some of the most astounding stargazing found anywhere in Africa.”
Sanctuary Kusini is the only permanent camp in this unspoilt and remote part of the Southern Serengeti. Built around a spectacular kopje, its location overlooking plains was especially selected after extensive research by the company’s guides and local experts and guarantees that game are a common sight pretty much all year round.
Accommodation is offered in twelve double tents scattered around the kopje, and each extremely spacious tent boast ensuite facilities with an indoor shower, large private decking with comfortable furnishings and views of the surrounding bush below.
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