ONE YEAR

3000 KM

1.5 MILLION HERD

The Most Spectacular Sight On The African Plains

It looks like chaos but great migration is shaped by some extraordinary behaviour. They are on the permanent quest for the rain and the fresh green grass that it brings. Since the African plains are always changing and the rains are unpredictable, wildebeest follow the rains in order to find enough food to survive. Herd upon herd they form a  mega herd of one and a quarter of million individuals.

No one knows what triggers the migration, there is no discernible signal, it just takes one to sniff the air and decide the time is right to leave. The wildebeests  journey is long and arduous one. Even without the attention of predators around 200000 of the weakest wildebeest and zebras will die from starvation and disease and over exertion during the trek.

Although internet is flooded with great migration fancy maps, you should know there is no firm schedule about the movement of wildebeest herds in Serengeti. The path is driven solely by instincts and weather conditions, rainfall, water stand and grazing conditions.

Great Wildebeest Migration Between January and March

February is Calving Season

In December great migration starts to gather in areas of Southern Serengeti and  Ngorongoro Conversation area. Don’t mix it with Ngorongoro crater! Ngorongoro Conversation area is more than 8000 km2 area while Ngorongoro Crater is only a part of it.

Sometime between late January begins calving season and lasts about three weeks. During the calving period more than 400 000 little wildebeest are usually born.

Salei Plains and Southern Ndutu area are the best place to see wildebeest migration during January and March.

Southern Serengeti is one of out of four locations  where its possible to go on hot air balloon safari and observe amazing wildebeest migration from the air. It is definitely the perfect timing to book that hot air ballon flight and watch dotted plains full of wildlife.

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Where to Stay For Best Wildebeest Safari Experience

From January till March
There are many camps and lodges in the area, just to name a few:

  • Ndutu Safari Lodge,
  • Kusini Camp,
  • Angata Camp,
  • Lemala Ndutu Camp,
  • Nasikia Luxury Mobile Camp
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Great Migration Between in April and May

Not Recommended

Great Migration continues their journey in the search for  grassland. Herds are moving to west and north plains to the grassier plains and woodland of the Serengeti’s western Corridor In April and May rains in Tanzania are in full swing, roads are muddy or impassable and many safari camps are closed during this season.

great migration serengeti

Wildebeest migrating in Serengeti

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Where to Stay In April And May

In case you do decide to give it a try during not so favorable months, you can stay in
There are many camps and lodges in the area, just to name a few:

  • Dunia Camp
  • Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge
  • Serengeti Sopa Lodge
  • Osupuko Tented Lodge
  • Seronera Wildlife Loge
  • Serengeti Kati Kati Tented Camp
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Great Wildebeest Migration in June, July, August, September, October

Crossing of Grumeti and Mara River – Time to Book Wildebeest Safari in Kenya

In June the great migration herds continue the journey towards Grumeti River. Usually by July herds reach Grumeti river which is their first obstacle and for safari goers a spectacular yet dramatic event: many wildebeest will not survive the crossing due to drowning or being attacked by crocodile predators. If they survive lions are preying on the banks of the river.

Commonly from late July to mid October the wildebeest  herds will stay in n the northern Serengeti and  till late November in Masai Mara Triangle. 

After crossing the Grumeti River great migration will head to Masai Mara Triangle and Lamai Wedge. On the way to Masai Mara there is another river to be crossed  – Masai Mara River and this is the time to book your wildebeest safari in Kenya.

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Where to Stay From June to November

For viewing migration in June, check out these:

  • Faru Faru River Lodge,
  • Sasakwa Hill Lodge,
  • Sabora Plains Tented Camp
  • Grumeti River Camp
  • Kirawira Camp

For migration viewing during July consider:

  • Kichwa Tembo Camp
  • Mara Serena Safari Lodge
  • Sayari Mara Camp
  • Mara Bushtops
  • Lamai Camp

When Migration is in Mara plains we suggest the following camps and lodges:

  • Governors Camp
  • Mara Wildebeest Camp
  • Grumeti River Camp
  • Kirawira Camp
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Great Migration in November and December

Rain starts again in Serengeti plains and herds move from Mara to Southern Serengeti.

serengeti landscape safari

Wildebeest Migration Safari Tips

Choose the Right Time  and Place for Wildebeest Safari

  • Whenever you are planning wildebeest safari in Tanzania, wildebeest will be grazing somewhere in vast Serengeti between the months of late October to late June. However months between April and May are considered off season due to rainy season and many lodges and safari camps are closed.
  •  If you plan to go on wildebeest safari in summer months between late July to mid October it is better to be on Kenyan side in Masai Mara. Plan safari from Kenya and skip Tanzania. This safari tip is applicable to those safari goers that are after wildebeest migration, but those who have no special desire to witness great wildebeest migration will equally enjoy safaris in Tanzania, just skip Serengeti. In summer is not much to see in Serengeti, you will only loose time and money. Choose rather Ngorongoro and Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Park in case you choose Tanzanian safari.
  •  Every good safari operator will have  up to date information about wildebeest migration, so make sure to double check the area of Serengeti  you are travelling is populated with wildebeest herds. You can also check wildebeest migration updates on our site.

wildebeest migration safari tanzania

Book At Least Two Nights in Serengeti

  • Don’t spend one night in Serengeti  – try to spend at least two to three nights. If you start safari in Arusha, you will be driving all day to Serengeti. Those starting wildebeest migration safari from Karatu or Ngorongoro will need between 5 to 6 hours of driving  on rough roads or maybe more if  safari driver stops for short photo sessions on the way. You have to know entrance fees are charged per 24 hours in Serengeti if you decide to spend a day there you will loose driving time, come there in late afternoon, in the morning you might have an early morning drive but then you will have to proceed back to next destination and all you will see of Serengeti is in the rushing car.

wildebeest migration

Go on Balloon Safari in Serengeti or Masai Mara

Yes,it comes with a price tag but you will probably be on safari only once in a lifetime! Book balloon safari in Serengeti or Massai Mara during wildebeest migration and you will be awarded with spectacular views of endless Serengeti panorama! Tours usually start early in the morning before sunrise (including with preparations) and end with a group breakfast in savannah.

balloon safari in serengeti

Expats Get Cheaper Entrance Fees to Tanzanian National Parks

  • If you are holder Tanzanian resident  visa make sure to mention this to safari operator. Expats  with resident visa get  50% cheaper entrance fees  in Tanzanian national parks. (source: tanapa price list for Tanzanian national parks)So the total cost of safari should be a bit cheaper than for ordinary tourists.

Save on Safari in Kenya in Low Season and Catch the end of Wildebeest Migration

  • During September and October  many properties drop  prices  up to 20 %. You might not see the best of great migration but still able to catch the herds on the way back to Tanzania.

 

Also read: What to pack for African Overland  Safari