The Annual Migration in the Masai Mara is without a doubt one of the main reasons to opt for a safari holiday, but Acacia Africa has uncovered some less well-known migratory extravaganzas, with opportunities to view some spectacular wildlife including, celebrity sharks, dragonflies, and literally, millions of sardines.
Dubbed “the greatest shoal on earth,” the sardine run on South Africa’s Wild Coast holds two titles – the world’s largest animal migration also featuring the greatest gathering of predators on the planet. Sharks, dolphins, Cape Ganets, cormorants, seals and sometimes even Orcas, Albatross and penguins, follow the sardines north west as they head to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. The spectacle is best viewed on a scuba dive, however, if you have a snorkel, you can still get in on the underwater action. 7-day Coast To Cape Town small group safari £485pp + local payment from £221pp. Best time to go June through July. Twin-share accommodation.
With any migration you have to employ a certain amount of chance, but when it comes to Hermanus on the Western Cape, you can hedge the bets in your favour. The historical fishing village employs its own whale crier so you’ll have advance warning – several hundred Southern Right Sperm whales migrating past its shores between July and November. 14-day Kruger To Cape Town £965pp + local payment from £448pp. Twin-share accommodation.
Big Five fans should watch out for the Kalahari elephant and buffalo migration in Botswana. When the rains start to fall in November these huge herds gather into smaller family groups, heading away from the riverfront and deeper into the Chobe National Park. 6-day African Insight overland tour £315pp + local payment from £152pp.
South Africa is one of the world’s top shark diving destinations making it the ideal country for a migration with a bit more bite. The first ever-recorded, and now the fastest transoceanic migration was documented in 2004, Nicole (a great white named after the celebrity and shark lover, Nicole Kidman), completing her return journey from Australia in August of that year. You can capture a “Carcharodon Carcharia” on camera between May and October, and for those who dare there’s always Great White shark cage diving! 3-day Cape Town Shark Dive £285pp. Twin share accommodation.
Kenya’s Lake Nakuru will be “pretty in pink” in May, as up to two million flamingos return to the national park. (39-day Ultimate African Adventure from £1,375p + local payment from £655pp + gorilla permit from £350p). A birders paradise, Africa also plays host to a less-well known migration in Kwazulu-Natal, the Hluhluwe/Umfolozi reserve attracting the Barn Swallow. From mid October to mid-April, millions of these tiny birds gather just before sunset, offering up a feathered feast for twitterers.
The Cape Cross Seal Colony in Namibia is home to the largest breeding colony of Cape Fur Seals on the planet, but for an all out seal frenzy, October is the ultimate time to travel. Keep your camera handy as when the bulls return to establish their breeding colonies they often throw in some heroic chest-to-chest combat. 19-day South West Safari £575pp + local payment from £284pp.
Botswana’s Savuti National Park is a hidden gem, and from November through March a dazzle of migrating zebras race across the open savannah. Contained within the more familiar Chobe National Park, the wildlife hub also packs in plenty of predatory action, the lion, jackal, cheetah and wild dog inhabiting the same plains. 32-day Southern Explorer (Botswana) £1,395pp + local payment from £636pp.
The longest insect migration in the world covers 11,000 miles, the route stretching all the way from southern India to Mozambique. Millions of dragonflies make the mammoth annual trip between June and October – the well-timed event coinciding with the optimum time to travel. 7-day Mozambique Escape adventure £975pp + local payment from £212pp (two sharing). Twin-share accommodation.