Ask Angela is Thomson’s monthly advice column, where Angela Woods, Manager of Guest Services, answers your questions about safari and Kilimanjaro trekking. Subscribe to our newsletter to get her tips straight to your inbox!

Ask Angela Archives

I'm interested in the Great Migration in Tanzania and Kenya and planning to travel in January. It seems there aren’t many safaris at that time. Is it not a good time to see the most animals? When is the best time?
– Susan S.

Angela: January is actually one of my favorite times to go on safari! My first trip to Tanzania was during this season, and it was magical.

The green season begins in January, and the plains are lush, the weather is gorgeous and the wildlife is happy. It’s also when the calving season begins: just imagine, hundreds of thousands of wildebeest calves and zebra foals (and lion cubs, and piglets and so on!) being born across the Serengeti.

While calving only happens early in the green season, the Great Migration is visible year-round in Tanzania; there’s no “best” time to go on safari. So long as you avoid the heavy rains of April and early May, you’re going to see tons of wildlife!

In Kenya, you can only see the Great Migration during the summer months, which may explain why you didn’t see many safaris in January.

January tends to be quieter, since many travelers have more time to travel during the summer and winter holidays. But if you have the flexibility to safari in January, go for it! The wildlife is stunning any time of year. And because there are fewer people out there, you’ll have a lion’s share of sightings to yourself.

How do you keep wildlife from coming too close to us? To the tents at night?
– Tom Tobino, Bend, Oregon

Angela: One of the best parts about safari is that the animals are accustomed to safari vehicles–they’ll sometimes wander right up next to yours! It’s exciting, and it’s all the more reason for safety to be Thomson’s #1 priority.

When you’re on wildlife drives, you’re led by guides who have decades of experience understanding animal behavior. They’re always looking and listening, making sure the wildlife isn’t behaving in a way that suggests the vehicle is too close. Plus, your vehicle is designed with safety in mind: it has a tall frame and pop-top roof that can be closed at any time.

Same goes for camping! Thomson’s Nyumbas put you in the thick of the wilderness, where you’ll often fall asleep and wake up to the sounds of wildlife. These camps work so well because there are strict safety protocols in place. Guards patrol day and night. There’s no reason you’ll need to leave your tent at night, but if you do, you have a bell you can ring for assistance.

Long story short, in Thomson’s 40-plus years on safari, there have never been any notable interactions between animals and guests. That alone is a testament to the strength of the precautions taken by Thomson guides, staff and guests.