Wildebeest Migration Safaris Tour
Wildebeest Migration Safaris covers a huge area of the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem. The Great Wildebeest Migration Safaris in Africa – also known as the Gnu Migration, Serengeti Migration and Masai Mara Migration – is one of the last mass terrestrial wildlife movements left on the planet. Wildebeest Migration Safaris is the chief reason why so many travelers venture to Kenya and Tanzania for a Migration safari, especially around mid-year.
One of the most sought-after experiences for wildlife and nature enthusiasts, the Great Migration is the ever-moving circular migration of over a million animals across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. The constant movement of columns of wildebeest, joined by a host of companions, follow an age-old route in search of grazing and water. After calving in the southern part of Tanzania's Serengeti near the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the animals journey through the Serengeti up and around in a clockwise direction towards the Masai Mara in Kenya, before returning once again near the end of the year. Along the way, high drama is always present, as thousands of animals are taken by predators and thousands more are born, replenishing the numbers and sustaining the circle of life.
Every year the plains of East Africa are home to one of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles, the migration of 1.4 million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebra and gazelle, tracked by Africa’s great predators. The Wildebeest Migration Safaris is often described as a set circuit that occurs between Tanzania’s Serengeti plains in the south and Kenya’s Maasai Mara in the north between May and December each year, but the reality of the migration is much more complex.
Wildebeest Migration Safaris
The Great Wildebeest Migration Safaris in the Serengeti is the largest single movement of wild animals in the world, deservedly listed as one of its eight Natural Wonders and an exceptional inspiration for a dream nature tour of northern Tanzania. Trekking via the south-central Seronera outskirts into the Western Corridor and Grumeti River arriving during the month of April to May and residing till June, and then finally towards the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya crossing the perilous Mara River around July or August onwards with a return via the same death-defying river, this time heading to the bearing of Lobo and Loliondo in eastern Serengeti around October to November.
The white bearded wildebeest journey continues back to the southern Ndutu calving grounds with arrivals starting around December with temporary residence till March. The Migration is one of nature’s greatest paradoxes: timing is absolutely vital, but there is no way to predict the timing of the animals’ movements. We know that the wildebeest (and a smattering of zebra and antelope) will cross the Mara River – but nobody knows exactly when. We also know that rain will trigger the wildebeest to move onto fresh grazing – but nobody knows exactly when the rain will fall.
Wildebeest Migration Safaris
The Great Wildebeest Migration Safaris is a well-documented spectacle that you have probably heard from one source or another, but it is difficult to comprehend just how breath-taking this display is without witnessing it first-hand. Simply put, the Wildebeest migration is one of the most stunning events that you could ever wish to see. On top of this it’s not just wildebeest that you will be watching, expect to see all the diverse wildlife that Africa has to offer whilst embarking on your Wildebeest Migration safari with us.
The Wildebeest Migration Safari Tour – every year almost two million wildebeest, zebra, topi and antelope migrate from the vast Serengeti Plains in Tanzania, to the lush rolling grasslands of the Masai Mara, in Kenya. The journey is 1,800 miles and tough and arduous, with many animals falling prey to Africa’s lion, leopard and cheetah – not to mention the crocodiles which lie in wait each year for that first wildebeest to cross the Grumeti and Mara Rivers. Seeing the sheer magnitude of animals amongst the wildebeest migration, as well as the drama and action this extraordinary natural spectacle provokes, is nothing short of miraculous.
Wildebeest Migration Safaris
See our fantastic Specialist Wildebeest Migration Safari – a combination of the Masai Mara and the Serengeti. Each year, the patterns change, however see below for an idea of where the wildebeest migration will be at certain times of year (please note that many of our camps are mobile, so they are able to follow the migration throughout the year). Please note, not all camps are listed, although every camp in the Masai Mara (Kenya) and the Serengeti (Tanzania) will be in the center of the wildebeest migration at one point during the year.
Wildebeest Migration Safaris
The Great Wildebeest Migration Safaris in Africa – also known as the Gnu Migration, Serengeti Migration and Masai Mara Migration – is one of the last mass terrestrial wildlife movements left on the planet. It’s the chief reason why so many travelers venture to Kenya and Tanzania for a Migration safari, especially around mid-year. The Wildebeest Migration – every year almost two million wildebeest, zebra, topi and antelope migrate from the vast Serengeti Plains in Tanzania, to the lush rolling grasslands of the Masai Mara, in Kenya. The journey is 1,800 miles and tough and arduous, with many animals falling prey to Africa’s lion, leopard and cheetah – not to mention the crocodiles which lie in wait each year for that first wildebeest to cross the Grumeti and Mara Rivers. Seeing the sheer magnitude of animals amongst the wildebeest migration, as well as the drama and action this extraordinary natural spectacle provokes, is nothing short of miraculous.
The Migration is one of nature’s greatest paradoxes: timing is absolutely vital, but there is no way to predict the timing of the animals’ movements. We know that the wildebeest (and a smattering of zebra and antelope) will cross the Mara River – but nobody knows exactly when. We also know that rain will trigger the wildebeest to move onto fresh grazing – but nobody knows exactly when the rain will fall.
Can the Wildebeest Migration Safaris Be Predicted?
No, not even the wildebeest know when they’re going to cross! Some arrive at the water and swim over immediately; some arrive and spend days hanging around grazing; some arrive and turn back to where they came from. We wish we could predict the crossings, but no-one can. This is why it is best to have as much time on safari as possible if you hope to see a river crossing.
What Month is the Wildebeest Migration Safaris?
Most people think that the Wildebeest Migration only takes place between July and October, but it’s actually an ever-moving, circular migration with various but equally exciting events that occur year-round. The popular river crossings usually coincide with safari's high season (June to October), hence the perception that this is the only time of the year that the wildebeest are on the move or can be seen.
Where Does the Great Migration Start?
Because the Great Wildebeest Migration Safaris is a fluid, year-round movement of about two million animals across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, there are no defined start or end points. The Wildebeest Migration Safaris is triggered by East Africa’s rains and the animals follow an age-old route in search of fresh grazing and water. Wildebeest Migration Safaris is an epic journey that takes the wildebeest across the Masai Mara plains in Kenya, all the way south into Tanzania’s Serengeti and the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater, before circling up and around in a clockwise direction.
Why Do Wildebeest Migrate?
It is generally believed that the Great Migration in Africa is dictated primarily by the wildebeest’s response to the weather. They move after the rains and the growth of new grass, essentially following a natural instinct to find food to stay alive. Some experts believe that the wildebeest are triggered by distant lightning and thunderstorms, but there is no scientific proof of it.
Wildebeest Migration Safaris in January
The herds are in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, moving south from the north-east region and into the area near Lake Ndutu. The Serengeti is not fenced, so the herds are free to move where they can find grazing. Remember that although up to two million wildebeest, zebra and antelope form the Serengeti Migration, they are not all in a single herd. The animals break up into mega-herds of thousands or hundreds of individuals at time..
February to March Wildebeest Migration Safaris
It is calving season (over 8 000 wildebeest babies are born each day!) so prepare yourself for lots of wobbly calves... and lots of heartbreak as fearsome predators swoop in. The Serengeti’s big cats take the lion’s share, but hit-and-run jackals, packs of wild dog, and hyena clans add to the spectacle. It’s a bittersweet ballad; the circle of life played out as a live action drama.
If the short rainy season (Nov–Dec) produced good grazing, the herds feed frenziedly and remain in the Serengeti's southern plains until they slowly start moving west in March.
April Wildebeest Migration Safaris
It’s the start of the long rains (Apr–May) and the herds generally move in a north-westerly direction towards the Moru and Simba Kopjes. The action-packed rutting (breeding) season is in full swing, featuring testosterone-fueled jousts between males competing for the right to mate with receptive females.
May Wildebeest Migration Safaris
Wagons roll! The massed herds are on the go, huge columns of up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) in length can sometimes be seen as the wildebeest funnel up into the central Serengeti. Everyone’s moving a little quicker now that the calves are stronger.
June Wildebeest Migration Safaris
The wildebeest are usually in the central Serengeti and getting ready for the toughest part of their odyssey. The herds may have split up, with some already crossing the Grumeti River.
July Wildebeest Migration Safaris
The Great Migration have reached the Grumeti region and northern parts of the Serengeti and are peering closely at the treacherous waters of the Mara River they have to cross into Kenya. Why? Huge Nile crocodiles, that's why!
As mentioned, it is impossible to accurately predict river crossings – they depend entirely on the rains and the often-unpredictable wildebeest themselves. It’s vital to book your Wildebeest Migration safari in Africa up to a year in advance to get a lodge on or as close to the river as possible – this cut down on travel time to lookout points. The wildebeest do have historical crossing areas and you may spend days staked out in the hope of seeing the action. We recommend choosing a mobile safari camp that moves with the Migration to ensure you’re in the right place at the right time.
August Wildebeest Migration Safaris
August is generally considered the best time to witness the dramatic river crossings from the northern Serengeti into the Masai Mara. You'll need a passport to cross into Kenya; the wildebeest are exempt. The Masai Mara National Reserve is open to members of the public so for a more exclusive safari experience, head for the private conservancies that are contiguous with the reserve.
September Wildebeest Migration Safaris
The herds break up into smaller groups, as not all the wildebeest migrate into Kenya. Less than half of the animals remain in the northern Serengeti, the rest are swapping war stories in the Masai Mara. So you could still see wildebeest in the Serengeti (just not the mega-herds) but as a general rule of thumb, the Masai Mara is the best place to witness the Migration in September.
October Wildebeest Migration Safaris
Your best bet is still the Masai Mara, but bear in mind it is a far smaller reserve than the Serengeti and there may be a lot of other visitors. The neighboring private conservancies are much less crowded and, not only will you still be able to witness the Migration, you will also directly contribute to the Maasai communities who have lived there for thousands of years. Plus, you can enjoy off-road game viewing, night drives and walking safaris – activities not permitted in the national reserve.
November Wildebeest Migration Safaris
In a ‘normal year’ the short rains have begun, propelling the wildebeest to leave the now denuded grasslands of the Masai Mara and head back into the rejuvenated Serengeti. Bear in mind that the rain can be late or early, which is also unpredictable. The herds are generally on the move, but can be seen around the north-eastern parts of the Serengeti where they may split into smaller groups for their journey southward.
Tip: although many people think of Africa as a hot place, the rain can cool things down dramatically. You’ll be out on early morning and late afternoon game drives – the sun is at its weakest during these times. Take at least one pair of trousers, closed shoes that can cope with mud, and a fleece or waterproof jacket.
December Wildebeest Migration Safaris
Fresh grazing sees the wildebeest move south, covering the northern and eastern Serengeti to feast and prepare for yet another death-defying, 3 000-km (1 900-mi) odyssey.
When is the Best Time to Go on a Wildebeest Migration Safaris?
Now that you know how the Great Wildebeest Migration in Africa works, you can easily see that the best time to go depends entirely on which events you're personally interested in seeing. Remember, the Serengeti and Masai Mara’s abundance of wildlife and wide-open landscapes make them fantastic year-round safari destinations. Popular Wildebeest Migration Safaris in Africa.