Category: Wildebeest Migration Safari 2023 -2024

The Wildebeest Migration Safari 2023 – 2024 is one of nature’s greatest paradoxes: Wildebeest Migration Safari as it is known is the movement of a million plus wildebeest from Serengeti in Tanzania northwards into the adjoining Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya. Wildebeest Migration Safari is one of the world’s most spectacular and thrilling display of wildlife behavior.

Maasai in the Masai Mara

The Wildebeest Migration Safari 2023 – 2024 takes place every year with the animal’s primal instincts guiding them towards greener pastures following the climatic rain fall patterns over the Serengeti-Masai Mara eco system. For the 2023 and 2024 seasons we recommend planning your travel for mid-July as this is when the migration typically starts proper with the larger herds of wildebeest starting the move into Masai Mara. The Wildebeest Migration Safari takes place till end of August, before declining into mid-September.

Wildebeest in the Masai Mara

Wildebeest Migration Safari 2023 – 2024

The Great Wildebeest Migration 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.

Wildebeest Migration Safari 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.

Fortunately, we’ve been planning Wildebeest Migration Safari 2023 – 2024 in Africa since 1998. 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…

The Great Wildebeest Migration Safari 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 Wildebeest Migration Safari, especially around mid-year.

Although numbers vary every year, past migrations have seen up-to 1.5 million wildebeest, close to a million Zebra and large numbers of others animals undertake the long trek that lasts many weeks. Their journey is especially fought with danger as they cross the crocodile infested Mara and Talek rivers along the way, during which many cannot escape the giant Nile crocodiles lying in wait for their prey.

Wildlife in the Masai Mara National Park

Month-by-Month Breakdown of the Great Wildebeest Migration

Many people think that the Great Wildebeest Migration only happens once in a year, but the migration is in fact an all year round phenomenon event – offering different unique and exciting wildlife experience at various times of the year. The River crossing is one of the most requested event of the Wildebeest Migration Safari and usually coincide with the peak safari season, therefore the assumption that this is the only time of the year that the wildebeest are on the move or can be seen.

This crossing usually occurs at Mara River around late July to August with parts of September and again on their return south, around the last two weeks of October through early November. Hence, the best times to track and see the annual wildebeest migration in Masai Mara. Below is a general breakdown of more or less where the herds are during the year, bearing in mind it’s difficult to predict the herds movement as it’s prompted by rain, which can be early, late or ‘on time’.

With climate change, the long and short rainy seasons in Tanzania and Kenya are no longer as regular or predictable as they once were. The rains can be late or early, which will throw the whole wildebeest calendar out of sync. This is, once again, why it’s important to plan for as much time on safari as possible. You cannot fly in for two nights, see a river crossing and fly out again – nature simply doesn’t work that way.

This is a very general guideline for where the herds are during the year – bearing in mind that the entire Gnu Migration is triggered by rain, which can be early, late or on time:

Wildebeest Migration Safari – January 2023 – January 2024

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 Wildlife Migration, they are not all in a single herd. The animals break up into mega-herds of thousands or hundreds of individuals at time.

Wildebeest Migration Safari – February to March

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 (November – December) produced good grazing, the herds feed frenziedly and remain in the Serengeti’s southern plains until they slowly start moving west in March.

Wildebeest Migration Safari – April 2023 – 2024

It’s the start of the long rains (April 2023, 2024 – May 2023, 2024) 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-fuelled jousts between males competing for the right to mate with receptive females.

Wildebeest Migration Safari – May

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.

Wildebeest Migration Safari – June 2023, June 2024

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.

Wildebeest Migration Safari – July 2023, July 2024

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 cuts 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.

Wildebeest Migration Safari – August 2023, August 2024

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 Park 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.

Wildebeest Migration Safari – September 2023, September 2024

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.

Wildebeest Migration Safari – October 2023, October 2023, October 2024

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.

Wildebeest Migration Safari – November 2023, November 2024

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.

Wildebeest Migration Safari – December 2023, December 2024

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.

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