One of Africa’s most incredible spectacles, the annual wildebeest migration, offers a unique wildlife experience that no words or photographs can do justice to. The movement of more than 1.5 million wildebeest, 500,000 zebra, 200,000 Thompson’s gazelle and 18,000 eland across the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Masai Mara in Kenya. It is a phenomenon that offers action packed game viewing and stunning photographic opportunities. The migration follows the annual rainfall and is thus weather dependent, but we thought you might find our Migration Explained guide useful in understanding and planning a trip to the heart of the action
The Migration Explained
The following should be used as a guideline when planning your safari to East Africa as movement of wildlife depends on a great many aspects but this helps to explain the seasonality of game viewing. Remember there is resident game throughout the year in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro eco-systems.
January, February and March
The herds of wildebeest are generally on the southern plains of the Serengeti ecosystem at this time, where calving takes place over approximately two weeks. There are lots of predators, good visibility of game, mix of open plains and some woodland.
April and May
The herds start moving towards the central Serengeti, and this is typically during the rainy season. Game viewing is still excellent and there are some great discounts available at lodges and camps. Rains are generally short and don’t last the whole day. Persistent and prolonged rains may cause some areas of the park to become flooded. Photography is normally superb with moody skies and a good depth of colour.
June, July and 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 the north (Mara River) within the Serengeti.
September and October
Whilst some of the wildebeest successfully reach the Masai Mara, there are still hundreds of thousands remaining in the northern region of the Serengeti, offering those with patience the chance to see river crossings (the Mara River runs through the Serengeti, not to far from the border with Kenya).
November and December
The main herds start to return from the north, to the southern plains and the whole cycle starts all over again!
Travel During the Months of April and May and save! (‘Green Season’ Specials)
April and May in the Serengeti are two of our favourite times to travel. Not too busy or dusty, with amazing skies and spectacular sunsets. Generally, during this time, the migration is around the central area and Moru Kopjies. During this period less people visit the area which means hotels and lodges lower their rates. Which means you can take advantage of paying less and having less people around a wildlife sighting. We offer many other fabulous safaris (including walking, photographic and bird-watching safaris) to this part of the world. .
We tailor make itineraries from camping to upmarket lodge safaris for individuals and groups. A great example of this would be our Essence of Tanzania Safari which is run at a leisurely pace, ensuring plenty of time to explore the different regions, and particularly the Serengeti, where three nights are spent at one of our intimate tented camps.