Great Migration Wildlife Safari
You want to witness the Great Migration up close? We know the annual migration patterns of wildebeest through the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem and will take you right into the heart of the action! Our Great Migration Wildlife Safaris are designed to follow the wildebeest trails with overnights at the best spots. We will make all the arrangements for a truly unforgettable Tanzania adventure!
The Great Migration is one of the most supreme natural wonders of the world. Giant herds of grazers move in a regular pattern across Northern Tanzania and Kenya. Roughly 1.5 million wildebeests, 500.000 zebras and 200.000 gazelles take the trek of their life through the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, always following the rain in search of fresh grasses, water and mating partners.
Many associate the Great Migration with endless herds of wildebeest risking their lives in a spectacular river crossing where they face strong streams and have to fight off crocodiles. It is one of the most striking images in wildlife documentaries and inspires many travelers to visit Tanzania. However, these dramatic crossings are only one part of their annual cycle.
Depending on your time of travel, you will be able to experience different stages of the Great Migration. And we will place you in accommodations located right in the heart of the action. The Great Migration takes place all year round in Serengeti National Park but rarely in Kenya’s Masai Mara. Find below a month by month overview of the annual movements of wildebeests or contact us for more information.
January – March
During the months of January, February and March, the wildebeest migration will spread across the southern plains of Serengeti and around Lake Ndutu, which is located inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Here the wildebeest and zebra herds stretch as far as the eye can see: the perfect time to see the wildebeest migration in one spot.
Between February and March, pregnant wildebeest cows give birth simultaneously – a spectacular event. The combination of volcanic soil and rainfall stimulates the seasonal growth of nutritious grasses which are valuable for the lactating mothers. This massive event attracts a large variety of predators including cheetahs, hyenas, leopards and lions, which target the very young and weak animals.
There are a few permanent lodges such as Ndutu Safari Lodge, Lake Masek Tented Camp and Lake Ndutu Luxury Tented Camp. And there are also mobile seasonal camps that move with the Great Migration, including Serengeti Under Canvas. Other types of accommodation are available – let us know what you are looking for and we can help.
April to May
With the beginning of the long rainy season, the herds will start to move on in search of fresh grasses and water. They can often be found around Moru Kopjes and the western part of Serengeti. With a little luck, you will be able to see large wildebeest herds joined by zebras and gazelles trekking in long series.
By June the herds will have migrated yet further and it is quite challenging to determine their precise location. The herds usually split into groups with some proceeding into the Western Corridor and others remaining in the heart of Serengeti, always on the look-out for fresh grazing grounds and water.
The herds in the Western Corridor will gather on the south side of the Grumeti River, often forming a large group before crossing the river with its crocodiles. They will then enter the private reserve Singita Grumeti and proceed further north through the Ikorongo Game Reserve. The remaining herds will leave Central Serengeti and proceed further north via Lobo and Bolgonya. The front-runners arrive in Northern Serengeti by early July.
July to October
From July to October, the wildebeest migration is expected to concentrate in Northern Serengeti around Kogatende as well as partially in Kenya’s Masai Mara. Kogatende is a remarkable destination and the famous river crossings that you may be familiar with from wildlife documentaries take place here at the legendary Mara River. The Mara River, with its dangerous Nile crocodiles and strong current, is a major obstacle that the herds must overcome on their way to green pastures.
Many travelers assume that the wildebeest migration heads North from June onwards, proceeds to Kenya in July and stays in Masai Mara until October before returning to Tanzania in November. This sounds like a nice theory but the reality is quite different. The wildebeest migration spectacularly crosses back and forth over the dangerous Mara River. Rather than one big mass crossing of this dramatic obstacle, there are many small and hectic crossings based on spontaneous decisions.
November – December
With the beginning of the short rainy season in November and December, the wildebeest migration will return to the short-grass plains of southern Serengeti and Ndutu in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Finding the main herd during this time is very challenging as it covers great distances daily. Once the wildebeests reach their destination the cycle starts anew. A new generation is then ready to experience, for the first time, the great migration trek.