The Great Migration

River Crossings - Great Migration - by Roger and Pat De La Harpe
Cheetah in Serengeti - By Paul Joynson-Hicks

Introduction

The Great Migration – the annual migration of massive herds of over two million wildebeest, zebras and gazelles across Northern Tanzania (Serengeti) and Kenya (Masai Mara) – could well be rated the “Greatest natural show on earth.” Although most visitors seek out the iconic river crossings, or the predator-filled calving season, the migration is on the move constantly – and resident game is plentiful wherever and whenever you choose to travel.

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The Migration Explained

The following should be used as a guideline to explain the seasonality of game viewing, and should be useful when planning your safari to East Africa. Movement of wildlife depends on a great many aspects and cannot be guaranteed. Remember there is resident game throughout the year in the Serengeti/Ngorongoro eco-systems.

JAN / FEB / MARCH

The large herds of wildebeest are generally in the southern plains of the Serengeti eco-system, calving takes place over approximately two weeks. An abundance of predators, good visibility of game, mix of open plains and some woodland.

APRIL / MAY

The herds start moving toward central Serengeti. This is typically the rainy season, however, game viewing is still excellent and there are some great discounts available at lodges and camps. It generally doesn’t rain all day. Conditions for photography are generally superb with moody skies and good depth of colour.

JUNE / JULY / AUGUST

The wildebeest move from the central area and split to the west and north, continuing their trek toward the Mara River. River crossings may be seen in both the western corridor (Grumeti area) and north (Mara River) within the Serengeti.

SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER

Whilst some of the wildebeest successfully reach the Masai Mara, there are still hundreds of thousands remaining in the northern region of Serengeti, offering those with guests with loads of patience the chance to see exciting river crossings (the Mara River runs through the Serengeti).

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER

The massive herds start to return from the north, to the southern plains, before the cycle repeats again!

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River Crossings

The northern Serengeti is beautiful — a mix of gently rolling hills and riverine forests broken by small rivers and occasional granite outcrops and ‘kopjes’. This is THE place to be between July and October when masses of migrating Wildebeest and Zebra cross over the Mara River. With millions of wildebeest and zebra migrating, big cats aren’t far away and lie in wait for an easy hunting opportunity. Dramatic river crossings ensue as tens of thousands of animals hurl themselves into the waters in a desperate bid to safely reach the other side. From June to November there is plenty resident game in the area, including huge eland herds, loads of predators and a few elusive rhino.

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Calving Season

Plenty of predators can be found year round in this area: Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Serval, African Wildcat, Caracal as well as Hyena and many other smaller species – some easier to spot than others! The diverse eco-systems, from woodlands, to plains, to soda lakes, within the Ndutu area make it a unique place for bird watching. This is the best place to be to witness the annual wildebeest calving spectacle. Once the rains start (usually late November), the huge herds make their way down from the Mara River to graze the short grass plains of the Serengeti. For up to five months of the year the wildebeest remain in and around this area, making it an excellent base from which to explore.

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Our Camps and Safaris

We at Wild Frontiers are lucky enough to own and operate 3 fantastic camps in the Serengeti as well as a fleet of specially designed safari vehicles. Each of our camps is perfectly positioned to see the Great Migration at different times of the year and offers our renowned Wild Frontiers quality. Check them out below:

1) Serengeti Wilderness Camp: Located in the Seronera Region in the central Serengeti, this camp is open year round and offers great game at any time of year.

2) Ndutu Wilderness Camp: This camp is open from December to March to coincide with the Calving Season on the southern plains of the Serengeti Ecosystem, a great time to see the herds as well as some of the area’s big cats and other predators.

3) Serengeti North Wilderness Camp: The Northern Serengeti is famous for its dramatic river crossings and our northern camp is perfectly positioned to show you this spectactle of nature. Open from July to October, our seasonal camp is the perfect base to explore the diverse landscapes of the northern Serengeti with a Wild Frontiers touch.

If glamping isn’t up your street then check out our chosen partner properties across the Serengeti in the next tab.

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Our Partner Properties

Wild Frontiers can tailormake a trip to anywhere in Africa, but we do have a preferred group of hotels, lodges and camps across the Serengeti that we feel give our clients the same Wild Frontiers Quality that we are so proud to offer at our own properties.

Serengeti – North

Serengeti North Wilderness Camp

Kuria Hills

Lemai Serengeti Camp

Sayari Luxury Camp

Serengeti Migration Camp

Serengeti – Central

Serengeti Wilderness Camp

Kubu Kubu Tented Lodge

Dunia Camp

Serengeti Pioneer Camp

Ewanjen Luxury Camp

Four Seasons Luxury Lodge

Serengeti – West

Grumeti Reserves’ Lodges

Kirawira Tented Lodge

Serengeti & Ndutu – South

Ndutu Wilderness Camp

Dunia Camp

Olakira Camp

Serian (Alex Walker) Camp

Ndutu Safari Lodge

Lake Masek Lodge

Kusini Camp

Mwiba Lodge

Ngorongoro & Karatu

Entanamu Tented Lodge

Crater Lodge

Gibbs Farm

Plantation Lodge

Bougainvillea Lodge

Kitela Lodge

Tarangire & Manyara

Olivers Camp

Mpingo Ridge Luxury Tented Camp

Honeyguide Tented Camp

Kirurumu Tented Lodge

Tarangire Treetops

Tswala Luxury Camp

Talk to one of our knowledgeable safari designers to choose the perfect stay for your trip.

Great Migration Packages

Wild Frontiers can tailormake a trip to just about anywhere in Africa. So if you’re looking to visit this destination then get in touch and we’ll help you design your perfect trip!

Enquire Now