1 Witness the Great Migration, Masai Mara, Kenya
During September the perpetual pilgrimage of 1.5 million wildebeest, 500,000 Thomson’s gazelles and 200,000 plains zebra edges slowly eastwards through the Masai Mara. The herds will wander wherever there is fresh grazing, so you can also expect to find them in conservancies surrounding the national reserve. From Nairobi, travel by road to the Masai Mara (5hrs) or take a light aircraft.
2 Mingle with mountain gorillas, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Seven gorilla families have been habituated in the mountain forests of Volcanoes National Park. Kenya Airways flies Nairobi to Kigali, from where it’s a 2-3hr drive to the Park. Expert guides lead you on foot for an intimate encounter with these impressive apes.
3 Focus on Carmine bee-eaters, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
When the carmine bee-eaters arrive in the Luangwa Valley each September to nest they form colourful, noisy colonies along the riverbanks. South Luangwa National Park is also prime territory for walking safaris – they were pioneered here by Norman Carr in the mid-1900s. Kenya Airways has flights to both Lusaka and Livingstone, from where it’s possible to join a safari to the Luangwa.
4 Watch the humpbacks, île Sainte Marie, Madagascar
Humpback whales migrate to the east coast of Madagascar from Antarctica each year to calve, nurse their young and take part in courtship rituals between July and September. A hotspot for cetacean activity is in the seas off île Sainte Marie (or Nosy Boraha), from where whale watching tours can be organised. Kenya Airways has five flights a week to Antananarivo.