CAPE TOWN, South Africa, January 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
- The updated app notifies travellers on last minute accommodation availability aligned to the migration
- Exclusive HerdTracker Migration Safaris launched for 2015
Discover Africa (http://www.discoverafrica.com/), the leading tailor-made safari operator has today released an updated version of HerdTracker, the innovative migration tracking app that enables one of nature's most spectacular wildlife events to be tracked in real-time.
HerdTracker (http://www.discoverafrica.com/herdtracker/ ) provides a real-time Google map, which sends instant updates of daily photos, videos and information about the wildebeest herds' movements, displayed through the connected app on the user's mobile devices and laptops. Created by Discover Africa's East Africa Safari Manager Carel Verhoef, who has lived in the Serengeti for ten years, Carel came up with the app idea after seeing travellers disappointed in 'missing' the migration after spending their hard-earned money for a migration safari to Tanzania and/or Kenya.
By providing real-time updates of the migratory herds' precise location, the app reduces the amount of fear and uncertainty for travellers when planning and booking a migration safari. Additionally, for those safari enthusiasts who are able to travel at short notice, they can book a last minute safari (1-4 weeks prior to travel) and select lodges that are nearest the herds. This results in an extremely high chance of being right at the epicentre of the migration action when on safari.
HerdTracker app updates include:
- Live online last minute accommodation availability in relation to the migration
- Detailed maps including popular river-crossings and other significant waypoints and landmarks
- Multiple photo and video sequences of the wildebeest, including river-crossing and interaction with predators like lion and leopard
- Social media sharing of specific HerdTracker updates
- Significant rainfall reports on the HerdTracker map (rainfall being a good predictor of wildebeest migratory movements)
The updated app has four times as many people contributing migration location updates, compared to when it launched, resulting in 95% coverage of the entire eco-system. Live updates and herd locations are based on data from the Serengeti itself; from pilots who fly over the Serengeti and Masai Mara, safari guides on the ground, Tanzania National Parks rangers, as well as safari lodges and mobile camps.
The newest HerdTracker update provider is Serengeti Balloon Safaris, who operate hot air balloon flights over the central, southern and northern Serengeti. They provide HerdTracker with unique aerial photos and low/slow flying video footage. Coastal Aviation is another aerial partner providing vital information to us, as where there are no roads they take to the sky to get updates on numbers and herd locations.
One of the key features of the app is the monthly herd migration prediction on the map which allows those planning their safari to see regular updates and changes, including a live feed of last minute accommodation available online. This is ideal for spontaneous travellers, giving them a last minute booking option and guaranteeing they see the desired migration, they're paying for.
Not all travellers are able to make a last minute spontaneous decision to go on safari. Realising this, Discover Africa has announced HerdTracker Migration Safaris for 2015.
Discover Africa's East Africa Safari Manager Carel Verhoef explains:
"We've identified three periods; February, April and July/August - where travellers have the absolute best chance of experiencing the wildebeest migration. The safaris have been scheduled for set dates and are 10-days each, ensuring enough time not only for numerous migration encounters, but also time to track down the Big Five and other unique species. The migration remains the main focus of all HerdTracker safaris, with each focusing on a different aspect of the annual migratory cycle: Feb is calving season, April is when the herds gather in their largest numbers, and July/August is when the much anticipated river-crossings happen. For 2015, we're running two departures for each period, with limited numbers to ensure an intimate and exclusive safari experience for our guests."
Andre Van Kets, Co-Founder of Discover Africa, showed tremendous enthusiasm when announcing HerdTracker's 2015 migration safari schedule:
"The HerdTracker safaris are the first of their kind to use crowd-sourced migration movement data to determine the best areas and the right lodges to stay at for migration safaris at specific times of the year."
"Being in the right parts of the Serengeti/Mara eco-system is the first step. Even more exciting is the fact that our guides - like Carel, who will be leading some of these safaris himself - will use HerdTracker on a day-to-day basis to guide our guests to those magical wildlife experiences they've travelled so far to experience."
HerdTracker updates are also available live on Twitter via @HerdTracker, aka 'Conrad', the world's first Tweeting wildebeest (in case you were wondering, Conrad's name is taken from the Latin name for his species - Connochaetes) Conrad shares all official HerdTracker updates from pilots, rangers and safari lodges. In addition to the HerdTracker updates, Conrad tweets 2-3 times a day, providing a first-person (or first-bovine) account of what life is like in the Serengeti for the migratory herds.
Notes to Editors
About Discover Africa
Discover Africa is a specialist travel operator, focusing on tailor-made African holidays. Based in Cape Town, the Discover Africa Group has been in operation since 2002 and the team has more than 40 years collective experience in the African travel industry.
HerdTracker is a real-time Google map, which shows instant updates of the migration's precise location. This is coupled with a migration map, which publishes accurate monthly migration predictions, based on data from the Serengeti itself.
HerdTracker has also partnered with Ranger and Pollman's Safaris in East Africa and together have launched two new HerdTracker scheduled departures making use of Serengeti HerdTracker Explorer Camps that are strategically located to position travellers right where they should be. This now means that not only does HerdTracker cover the Mara River and Ndutu areas for the calving and river-crossing seasons but you can now also see the migration when passing through the Serengeti's western corridor during the months of June and July and witness the possible Grumeti river-crossings. HerdTracker can now also catch the herds on the Eastern side of the Serengeti during July / August at The HerdTracker Explorer Camp based in Lobo area in the North Eastern Serengeti. This means that updates have access to the Sand, Bologonja and upper Grumeti rivers.
Most recently, Serengeti HerdTracker Explorer Camps will host HerdTracker guests exclusively and the Discover Africa team are extremely excited to be able to offer clientele the added benefit of migration focused accommodation combined with expert guiding and exclusive use of vehicles to get clients to where they should be, to follow the herds as they move through the Serengeti/Mara ecosystem in search for new grazing.
Serengeti Balloon Safaris Video Information URL:
SOURCE Discover Africa