The African wildebeest migration safari is one of the remarkable experiences that take you to East Africa to witness the annual Wildebeest circular movement between the Masai Mara National Reserve of Kenya and Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania.
The great wildebeest migration is among the great natural wonders, and it is referred to as the greatest show on Earth and the last mass terrestrial wildlife movement left on Earth.
This is one of the reasons why safari goers come to Kenya and Tanzania for a Wildebeest migration safari adventure, especially around mid-year. The major key part of the wildebeest migration is during the river crossing.
Dramatic river crossings happen in the Grumeti and Mara rivers and these rivers are infested with Crocodiles which is an action pact to watch when the wild animals cross the rivers.
Other big cats are waiting offshore to prey on the newborn calves and weak wildebeest herds and the wildebeest migration gives fantastic opportunities to wildlife enthusiasts and this makes Masai Mara and Serengeti the most visited game parks in Africa.
The best way to enjoy the great wildebeest migration is through walking safaris, game drives in your 4x4 vehicle, or the hot air balloon which offers you aerial views of the animals and filming opportunities.
African wildebeest migration tours are memorable and offer ultimate adventures in the African wilderness.
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The great migration in Africa is the largest movement of wild animals on earth with over 1,000 animals per Km2.
The great migration in Africa evolves to over 1.2 million Wildebeest and 300,000 zebras alongside Topis and Gazelles as they move in a constant cycle through the Serengeti Mara ecosystem in search of greener pastures.
Animals are seen moving from Masai Mara National Reserve to the endless Serengeti plains as hungry predators like the Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Hyena, Wild dog, and Crocs await making sure that only the strong survive and this makes it the greatest show on earth and one of the natural wonders.
The circuit begins from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the south of Serengeti, up through the Serengeti in northern Tanzania into Kenya’s Masai Mara and back again. In the course of the Wildebeest migration, there are three groups of grazers having different eating habits.
The first batch feast up the top short grass plains, the next will eat the medium-height grasses, and the last one will finish up and they will move on. It is unclear how the Wildebeest herds know the direction to go but it is believed that it is the response to the weather.
The Wildebeest herds follow the rainy season and the growth of new grass.
The great Wildebeest migration happens only in Tanzania and Kenya though each country has its advantages. However, watching the great migration in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park exposes you to more open plains and a chance to see the calving period.
Serengeti Park has a variety though Masai Mara has a higher concentration of wildlife given its smaller size. However, we recommend that you visit both countries to experience an amazing Wildebeest migration.
You should keep in mind that the two parks are part of a wider wildlife conservation area which is only divided by human borders.
The Wildebeest herds do not stay in one area for so long as they move constantly. If you know the rainfall patterns, you can know where the mega herds are heading.
However, due to the climatic changes, it is hard to tell the seasons especially the rainfall patterns as they used to be, and hence the changes in the Wildebeest migration seasons.
This means that you need to plan your great migration in Africa trip on time in the right months that you want to watch the action.
From early November to mid-December, animals in groups move from Kenya and graze on the central plains of eastern Serengeti. Once it is late December, animals can only be seen grazing in the Ndutu plains and the Ngorongoro Crater.
This is also taken to be the best time to see predators preying on the animals as eastern Serengeti has a large number of Lions. Tourists can also leave the migrating Wildebeest herds and have a chance to explore the Ngorongoro Crater as it has amazing wildlife including the Big 5.
Within this time, the mega herds are quietly within the southern Serengeti plains as the food is abundant and this is the time when females show signs of the bigger bellies getting ready to give birth.
The calving season starts in late January and goes to mid-March. The highest calving rate is in February and by the end of the period, there are over 500,000 newborn calves.
This number of newborn calves replaces the 200,000 individuals killed during the river crossing.
This means that tourists interested in seeing the calving period should visit the Serengeti plains in February.
By the end of April and of May, animals start moving in lines to western Serengeti in the western corridor and are followed by predators as they move softly in the Serengeti plains around the Grumeti and Seronera River infested with giant Nile Crocodiles.
Within Seronera are the park headquarters of Serengeti and it is an area with a good savannah landscape, endless plains, and thorn trees.
In June, most Wildebeest herds, zebras, and antelopes have gathered in Grumeti and the surrounding areas of the western corridor. They are grazing in the area, but something triggers them to decide to cross the crocodile infested river.
Animals first cross the Grumeti River in Tanzania and the Mara River in Kenya, and the crossing is keenly awaited by tourists.
During this time, the wildebeest migration is centered in the Masai Maraa National Reserve. Herds spend their time grazing on fresh within the vast savanna plains and they are only disturbed by predators.
At the end of October, the tallest grass reduces in Maasai Mara and the animals begin to sense the annual rains in Serengeti which triggers them to migrate back for greener pastures as they head north to northern Tanzania.
The best time to go on the great Wildebeest migration depends on the events that you are personally interested in seeing.
To add to this note, you should know that Serengeti National Park and Maasai Mara have amazing wildlife and wide-open landscapes that are open to tourists all year round within East Africa.
|February to March
|April to May
|Western and Central Serengeti
|May to June
|Mating season and Grumeti River Crossings
|July to August
|Mara River Crossings
|Northern Serengeti and Masai Mara
|November to January
|Movement of the Wildebeest
|Masai Mara and Northern Serengeti to southern Serengeti
Tourists should know that the Wildebeest Migration is a year-round cycle and dramatic river crossings of the crocodile infested river cannot be predicted.
There are some key points you should know before you book your great migration safari.
Below are some of the key points.
Most of the good lodges fill up fast, especially for the great migration safari from June to October. This is because it is the peak season or dry season and this is when migrating animal herds cross Crocodile infested rivers, so you need to book in advance.
Some of the events of the great migration are unpredictable and that’s why it is significant to know places to go and when to go for the great Wildebeest migration safari and ensure that you meet your expectations.
Always be sure that you select and manage your timing well depending on what you want to see and experience.
Serengeti National Park and Masai Mara National Reserve receive many tourists, especially during the high season. The private conservancies close to Masai Mara offer luxury accommodation and excellent game viewing and you can be offered activities not permitted in the main reserve, like night game drives and walking safaris.
When you are not in the crowds, you get amazing, rare sightings of wildlife.
The Wildebeest migration experience should be removed from a Big 5 safari as it can get busy. We recommend ending at a lodge that is situated away from the herds so that you appreciate a bit of calmness and varied game viewing experience like during walking safaris.
Serengeti and Masai Mara can be put together in a safari itinerary as they work easily with each other. On your safari, you can also visit Amboseli and Laikipia, Ngorongoro Crater in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Nyerere National Park, Tarangire, and the Rift Valley Lakes to the Serengeti.
Researchers have it that the Wildebeest herds manage to successfully overcome any challenges because of what is known as swarm intelligence. They act and make decisions as a herd not only to protect themselves against predators but also to predict the direction of short rains.
Gazelles, Zebras, and Topis migrate with Wildebeest herds though they feast on different parts of the same type of grass meaning that there is no struggle for food.
It is very challenging to predict when will the animals cross the two rivers or into any of the parks. This means that tourists should book longer safaris if they want to witness any of the events.
Both Masai Mara and Serengeti welcome tourists all year round with resident game to see even when the Wildebeest migrate to a particular area. In Kenya, August and September are the best months to watch the great migration as it is the dry season.
You watch the great migration either by staying in mobile camps as you wait for the herds to arrive, or you can follow a million animals in semi-mobile tents.
This means that you need to book your safari in time as the mobile camps can be overbooked during the great migration season and the annual migration adventure should be on what you want to see and experience.
Always look out for the best accommodation for a great migration safari in East Africa. The accommodation is divided into two broad categories which are permanent lodges and mobile camps, choosing one depends on what is important to you.
Below is some of the accommodation in Serengeti National Park including mobile camps and safari lodges.
Below are some of the lodges or camps you can use for accommodation during the epic journey adventure.
No, river crossings are not predicted as even the Wildebeest herds do not know when they are going to cross. Most of them arrive and cross immediately and others spend days fresh grazing just near the shores, and others choose to turn back.
If you want to witness the river crossing, then you need to book a longer safari in East Africa.
Most travelers think that the Wildebeest migration is between July and October, but it is a cycle that is all year round. However, the dramatic river crossings mostly happen in the peak season (dry season) from June to October and this is when the Wildebeest begin moving.
The great migration in Africa is continuous as it is an all-year-round movement that sees off a million animals across the Serengeti Mara ecosystem, this means that there is no specific time on the start or end of the event.
The great migration is prompted by the annual rains and the animals follow an age-old annual migration route in the quest of fresh pastures.
This epic journey has animals across the Masai Mara plains of Kenya all the way south into Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and to the Ngorongoro Crater in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area before circling up again.
It is generally believed that the Great Migration in Africa is dictated primarily by the Wildebeest’s response to weather. They move after the short rains begin and the growth of new grass.
Experts believe that the animals are triggered by distant lightning and thunderstorms, though there is no proof of it.
Masai Mara is the best place to see the great Wildebeest migration due to its famed Mara River crossings. However, Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park also offers crossings at Grumeti River, and you should keep in mind that the movement of animals takes place throughout the year.
Yes, it is stunning to see hundreds of thousands of animals moving together to cross the Mara River or Grumeti River infested with giant Nile Crocodiles in search of pasture. The wildebeest migration attracts other wildlife like Zebras and Gazelles and the big cats who come to prey on them giving you a memorable experience.
You can follow the animals in mobile camps as you engage in game drives, walking safaris, and hot air balloon safaris.
The Wildebeest migrate on a path through Tanzania and Kenya following the rainy season even when it involves going through dangerous territories filled with predators.
The great migration begins with a calving season in Serengeti and then they proceed to central Serengeti across the Grumeti River. Later, huge herds move across the Mara River to Kenya’s Masai Mara endless plains.
The river crossings of the Mara and Grumeti rivers are one of the highlights of the great migration tour in East Africa.
Reach out to us so that we help you further tailor your African wildebeest migration safaris based on your travel interests and wishes: