Peripheral infection by Trypanosoma brucei, the protozoan responsible for sleeping sickness, activates lymphocytes, and, at later stages, causes meningoencephalitis. We have videoed the cortical meninges and superficial parenchyma of C56BL/6 reporter mice infected with T.b.brucei. By use of a two-photon microscope to image through the thinned skull, the integrity of the tissues was maintained. We observed a 47-fold increase in CD2+ T cells in the meninges by 12 days post infection (dpi). CD11c+ dendritic cells also increased, and extravascular trypanosomes, made visible either by expression of a fluorescent protein, or by intravenous injection of furamidine, appeared. The likelihood that invasion will spread from the meninges to the parenchyma will depend strongly on whether the trypanosomes are below the arachnoid membrane, or above it, in the dura. Making use of optical signals from the skull bone, blood vessels and dural cells, we conclude that up to 40 dpi, the extravascular trypanosomes were essentially confined to the dura, as were the great majority of the T cells. Inhibition of T cell activation by intraperitoneal injection of abatacept reduced the numbers of meningeal T cells at 12 dpi and their mean speed fell from 11.64 ± 0.34 μm/min (mean ± SEM) to 5.2 ± 1.2 μm/min (p = 0.007). The T cells occasionally made contact lasting tens of minutes with dendritic cells, indicative of antigen presentation. The population and motility of the trypanosomes tended to decline after about 30 dpi. We suggest that the lymphocyte infiltration of the meninges may later contribute to encephalitis, but have no evidence that the dural trypanosomes invade the parenchyma.