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Safari Newsletter Dated May 16, 2016

Dear Vacations To Go Customer,

The annual migration of nearly 2 million wildebeest, zebras and gazelles through Tanzania and Kenya is a spectacle unlike any other. I've witnessed the Great Migration firsthand -- the animals' journey follows a predictable route, but the exact timing varies a bit each year, depending on the start and severity of the dry season throughout eastern Africa.

Wildebeests and zebras typically spend December to April in Tanzania, nursing new calves born in the spring. The slow-moving calves draw the attention of lions, cheetahs and hyenas, and this mix of predator and prey offers prime wildlife-viewing opportunities in nature preserves like Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. For a list of safaris that visit the Serengeti and Ngorongoro between December 2016 and April 2017, click here.

The seasonal rains usually end in May. Grass and leaves wither, forcing grazing species to move west and then north in search of food. This is the start of the Great Migration, a steady stream of animals in columns that can stretch for miles, heading toward the western and northern Serengeti.

Predators -- more territorial than migratory -- await the zebra and wildebeest as these animals pass through their hunting grounds. The migrating herds must cross the Grumeti River, where crocodiles will feast on the weak and the slow. Scavenging birds watch from treetops and circle overhead. June and July are the best months for witnessing the Great Migration in the western and northern Serengeti of Tanzania. For a list of safaris that visit the Serengeti in June and July, click here.

As the summer progresses, the herds travel farther north. Between July and August, they cross the Mara River, where some are lost in surging floodwaters and others are seized by waiting crocs. They move into Kenya, typically reaching the abundant greenery of the Masai Mara in August or September, a dazzling number of animals within a single nature preserve. For a list of safaris that visit the Masai Mara National Reserve in August and September, click here.

Some naturalists claim that the Masai Mara contains the largest concentration of predators along the migratory route. The animals will stay here until October or November. Most safaris visit the area before fall brings another rainy season to the plains and the herds turn south toward Tanzania.

Those animals that complete the journey will have traveled more than 1,800 miles, covering Africa's vast grasslands in a clockwise direction. To see an animated map of the Great Migration, click here.

Top 10 Africa vacations

1) Tanzania Private Safari with Zanzibar, 11 days with Monograms Travel. Begins in Arusha and ends in Dar es Salaam. Save 10%. Starting at $5,329. Daily departures from June 5 through December 25, 2016. 

2) Botswana and Victoria Falls Adventure, 8 days with G Adventures. Begins in Windhoek and ends in Livingstone. Starting at $1,749. Departures from June 25, 2016 through December 23, 2017. 

3) Explore Southern Africa, 18 days with Intrepid Travel. Begins and ends in Johannesburg. Save 10%. Starting at $2,405. Departures from June 4 through December 10, 2016. 

4) Kenya Safari Experience (National Geographic Journey), 8 days with G Adventures. Begins and ends in Nairobi. Starting at $3,449. Departures from June 13, 2016 through December 23, 2017. 

5) In the Footsteps of Mandela, 8 days with African Travel. Begins in Cape Town and ends in Johannesburg. Starting at $3,495. Daily departures from June 8 through December 19, 2016. 

6) Zambia and Malawi, 8 days with SITA Tours. Begins in Lusaka and ends in Lilongwe. Starting at $4,945. Daily departures from June 3 through December 30, 2016.

7) East Africa: In Search of the Big Five with Nairobi, 13 days with Globus. Begins in Arusha and ends in Nairobi. Starting at $5,619. Departures from June 13, 2016 through March 6, 2017. 

8) Discover Africa, 10 days with AmaWaterways. Begins in Cape Town and ends in Johannesburg. Save $1,000 to $2,000 per couple off this trip. Starting at $8,499. Departs June 17, July 8, September 30 and November 4, 2016. 

9) Uganda & Rwanda in Depth, 11 days with SITA Tours. Begins in Entebbe and ends in Kigali. Starting at $8,945. Daily departures from June 3 through December 30, 2016. 

10) Kenya & Tanzania Wildlife Safari, 12 days with Abercrombie & Kent. Begins and ends in Nairobi. Save $2,500 per couple. Starting at $9,295. Departs October 11 and November 8, 2016. 

  Customers in the US and Canada can call us toll-free at 800-291-3346. For a list of our other toll-free numbers worldwide, click here.

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Please e-mail me your comments, suggestions and questions at alanfox@africasafari.com and I will respond the same day.

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Alan Fox
Chairman & CEO
Vacations To Go

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