THE SERENGETI WILDEBEEST MIGRATION
It is one of the most breathtaking events in the world. The Serengeti Wildebeest Migration is a dream for many to witness this incredible natural wonder.
The Great Migration is one of the most remarkable events one should never miss out on, and nothing is thrilling like watching these animals in significant numbers running up and down in the grasslands and crossing rivers, it gives an unforgettable experience in the wild.
The Serengeti wildebeest migration is Africa’s great migration. It happens every year when large numbers of wildebeests (over 2 million) and other animals like Grant’s gazelles, impalas, zebras(over 200,000), elands, and Thomson’s gazelles migrate from the Serengeti plains in Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya.
They move clockwise over 1,800 miles annually, making their migration easy to predict. They mainly migrate in search of better water quality and new grazing grasslands.
When does it happen?
DECEMBER TO MARCH
The mega-herds will trek down into Tanzania and further south during December, depending on the rainfall in the previous year in the Maasai Mara. By January, expect the migrating herds in the Southern Serengeti Plains or Southern Loliondo in Tanzania, grazing on the green, lush grass recently revitalized by good rainfall.
APRIL AND MAY
The long rains are falling in Tanzania, and the herds migrate to grassier plains and woodlands of the Serengeti Western Corridor. The rain can sometimes make it tricky to follow the herds during this migration stage, as roads become sodden and challenging to navigate. Several camps close for annual maintenance during this period. That being said, if you are on safari, it is an incredible time to visit, and although it is wet, there are few tourists. You may experience the migration and have the Serengeti almost exclusively to yourself. The end of May marks the end of long rains in the Eastern Serengeti and Northern Ngorongoro, and as the rain ceases, the herds gradually move north.
JUNE AND JULY
See the arrival of the Wildebeest to the Serengeti’s Western Corridor and onwards to the Grumeti Reserve. During this period, the herds reach their first high-risk hurdle, the Grumeti River. This is the first of the breathtaking river crossings you will see.
JULY TO SEPTEMBER
Both sides of the Mara River are essential during this period. The herds begin to cross central Serengeti into the Western Corridor, then through the Ngurumet River into the northern plains of the Serengeti. Come late July/early August, the grasses of the western Serengeti die, and the herds move on north, seeking further grazing.
However, before they can reach the succulent grassy plains of Kenya’s Maasai Mara, they face the next dangerous river crossing, the Mara River.
OCTOBER TO NOVEMBER
At this stage, the herds move through the northern Serengeti and the Maasai Mara plains should be scattered with large herds, naturally followed by their hungry stalkers. From October onwards, the herds will slowly begin their journey south, back to the Serengeti in search of better grazing.
This is a tricky month. If the short rains start early and there has been rain in the south of Tanzania, then the herds would move down to the Serengeti quickly, and there could be few wildebeest left in the Maasai Mara. If there has been a lack of rain in the south of Tanzania, then the herds would opt for permanent water in the central Serengeti or Lobo areas and move less quickly to the southern plains.
Planning a safari
Planning a safari to witness the Great Migration can sometimes be tricky, as you must be at the right place and time. To get the most out of your trip, we have listed a monthly migration guide, including a Serengeti map with the predicted route for the best migration experience.