Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Safari

Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Safari is the annual migration of giant herds of grazers across Northern Tanzania and Kenya is a truly spectacular event. Over two million wildebeest, zebras and gazelles move through the Serengeti and Masai Mara ecosystems in search of green pasture, in a regular pattern. Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Safari is surely one of the greatest wonders of the natural world. The Great Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Safari 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 Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Safari moves in an annual pattern which is fairly predictable. They migrate throughout the year, constantly seeking fresh grazing and, it’s now thought, better quality water. The precise timing of the Serengeti wildebeest migration is entirely dependent upon the rainfall patterns each year.

Great Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Safari Packages

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. The Great Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Safari involves millions of wildebeest, zebra and antelope moving around the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem in search of fresh grazing. The animals cover vast distances and are never in one place for too long. All of nature’s momentous events happen en route, including rutting, mating and calving.

The vast majority of the Migration occurs in Tanzania’s Serengeti and the short period that it moves into Kenya’s Masai Mara coincides with peak safari season. Both countries offer equally thrilling – but different – aspects of the Migration. The overlapping portion of their journey is the crossing of the Mara River at various points, which we explore in more detail below.  Fortunately, we’ve been planning Wildebeest Migration safaris since 2008. We’ve helped thousands of travelers to be in the best possible place at the best possible time for the best possible price. If you’re looking for expert planning advice, look no further. We’ve compiled all our specialist tips in this handy beginner’s guide to a Wildebeest Migration safari…

Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Safari

Great Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Safari Holidays: the basics

You can see the Great Migration in Tanzania all year round – they migrate in a circular motion around the Serengeti National Park as such it is an ongoing event. Below we will dissect where the wildebeest usually are at different times of the year. The Great Wildebeest Migration is rarely in the Masai Mara Kenya; the herds only ever venture there as an extension of their grazing lands in the northern point of Tanzania if they need fresh pastures. You can only find the migration in Kenya from July to November when they head towards the border, and even then, most of the herds are still mulling around the northern parts of the Serengeti.

The Annual Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Safari overview: The best times to visit The Wildebeest in Africa.

July – October:

This is when the wildebeest are in the northern Serengeti plains, and you have a chance of seeing up to thousands crossing the great Mara River. As the sight of the wildebeest crossing the so dramatic, it is considered by many the most desirable time to see the migration. By October the wildebeest herds are migrating again with more accord: all are heading south, through western Loliondo and the Serengeti National Park’s Lobo area, returning to the green shoots which follow the rains on the short-grass plains of the southern Serengeti in November. October is a good time to see the wildebeest herds move back into the Serengeti. October will be milder, as the dry season approaches its climax. You might even experience early rain in the Masai Mara and the Serengeti. The wildebeest herds are in the Masai Mara, but will start to slowly move back into the Serengeti moving through Loliondo in the east. Where to stay in October. Its best to stay in the Masai Mara to have the best opportunity to see the wildebeest herds. Nomad’s Lamai and Lemala’s Kuria Hills are good migration safari destinations. Then the whole Serengeti Wildebeest migration starts again.

December – March:

Currently the wildebeest are in the southern area of the Serengeti, more specifically in Ndutu which is actually in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and it is calving season. Along with the river crossings, this is a real highlight of the wildebeest’s journey and a fabulous time to see the herds congregate on the dramatic sweeping plains of the south. February is the only time of year when you are almost guaranteed to see the big herds all together as they always come south for calving season.

The rest of the year: In November, April, May and June the migration is “in between” locations and as such these months are slightly transitional times to see the herds. November is the short rains, April and May are the long rains and as such the grass is green in these months across the Serengeti, so the wildebeest are more dispersed than in the prime time of July – October and December – March. Thus, you don’t get as many of those condensed big herds which people get excited about! Although we try to be as comprehensive as possible, something that is quite difficult to express on paper is a lot easier to explain over the phone, so please do just give us a call for a simple overview of the Migration’s route.

Wildebeest facts: Why does the Great Migration occur & why do the Wildebeest Migrate?

The wildebeest migrate around the Serengeti, and into the Masai Mara for the sole purpose of following the rainfall. For their calving from December – March they always begin their cycle in the Southern Serengeti area of Ndutu and follow wherever the grass is greener… Whilst we have a good idea of where the wildebeest should be at any given time of year, it really does depend on where the rain falls. The wildebeest are notoriously unreliable, as although they generally all head from south to north Serengeti and back around again, they often zig-zag along the way, making it sometimes impossible to predict where the big herds will be at any given time.

The type of Migration the Wildebeest make; Wildebeest in Africa

The migration undertaken by the wildebeest is an annual event which sees one and a half million wildebeest accompanied by hundreds of thousands of zebras and numerous other antelope species as they search for pastures greener. The animals follow a clockwise movement through the Serengeti following the rains for the lushest of grass.  The five hundred kilometers is fraught with danger with many predators such as lions, cheetahs and crocodiles preying on the animals. It is a truly amazing spectacle.

Although we do our best to be as informative as possible, it really always is best to give us a call and chat to an expert who can give you the low-down on where the wildebeest are right now.

When does the Great Wildebeest Migration happen in Tanzania and when is the wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara, Kenya?

Throughout the entire year, the wildebeest herds are always in Tanzania. For a short time of the year some of the herds are in Kenya. This time period is from July – October when the wildebeest are always crossing the Mara River in Tanzania between Kogatende and the Lamai wedge (the land between the Mara River and the border to Kenya). The herds are sometimes crossing the Mara river from one side of the Masai Mara to the other (all in Kenya). So the famous river crossings are most likely to be seen in Tanzania. Tanzania also has far fewer tourists on any one crossing, so we would always recommend basing yourself in northern Serengeti as opposed to the Masai Mara to catch the wildebeest crossing the Mara River.

The annual Great Wildebeest Migration dates & seasons: a month by month explanation of the Serengeti Wildebeest Migration

December to March

The Southern Serengeti’s huge grass plains extend into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. From December to March the Serengeti Migration congregates in large herds around Lake Ndutu in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. When it reaches the area the herd splits up and spreads out leaving wildebeest herds as far as the eye can see. Ndutu Lodge and Kusini are the only permanent lodges in the area; Kusini is best towards the end of the period whereas Ndutu Lodge works throughout.  Asilia’s Dunia Camp is also a good option at the beginning of December and again when the herds push north in March.

Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Safari

See our month-by-month blog posts; December, January, February, March for further details.

April to May

This is rainy season in Tanzania. The Wildebeest migration moves north into the plains of the southern Serengeti with front runners stretching out to the Western Corridor and centre of the park at Seronera.  Asilia’s Dunia Camp is a great option at this time as are any of the central Serengeti hotels such as the Serena or Sopa.  Early herds may well have pushed up to the Grumeti River Camp, Kirawira and Mbalageti Lodge area of the Western Corridor.

See our month-by-month blog posts, April and May for further details.

June and July

June is mating season for the herds, so can be very noisy if you catch many together. By June there are wildebeest herds spread from the Western corridor through the heart of the park. One group tends to head West into the Western Corridor and crosses the Grumeti River before leaving the park and entering the exclusive Singita Grumeti Reserves.  This herd will then head up through the Ikorongo game reserve on the Serengeti’s Western corridor before the front runners arrive into the Kogatende area in July.  The other herds head directly to the north of the Serengeti, passing straight up the middle through Seronera, Lobo and up to the Bologonja river area near the Eastern border with the Loliondo reserve at Kleins.  It is true to say that at this time herds can be anywhere from the Western corridor through to the Eastern side of the park.  Splinter herds will break from the main herds, covering huge areas in their search for fresh grasses.  We would recommend Grumeti River Camp, Faru Faru, Sasakwa, Sabora, Mbalageti Lodge and Kirawira for the Western corridor, whereas some herds will have pushed up as far as Mi

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