The Complete Great Wildebeest Migration Guide For Tourists – Everything you need to know
Although June is nearly over, now is the best time to visit East Africa to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration, where millions of animals each year move from the Serengeti to the grassy planes of the Masai Mara.
Cheetah Safaris have tailored a safari specifically for the awe-inspiring migration with access to the best vantage points in Kenya. We specialize in personalized trips to ensure that you have a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so you can choose any of our pre-packaged safaris and customize them around the migration if you prefer.
In this detailed article, we will discuss in depth when and where the wildebeest migration does happen, and also a detailed wildebeest migration guide for tourists looking to visit Kenya & Tanzania.
When is the Wildebeest Migration? Which Month does it take place?
Below, we have detailed a month-to-month Wildebeest Migration Guide for Tourists planning a visit to East Africa. From mid-June to the end of October, wildebeest and other animals risk everything to move their herd to the lush grasslands in the Masai Mara park where they can graze happily on the vegetation.
This mass migration is made up mostly of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles. However, where there is prey there are predators, and the migration is a fantastic opportunity to also see lions, wild dogs, and leopards.
Perhaps the most spectacular event of the migration comes with the river crossing as the animals head past Lake Victoria and to the west. The most dangerous part of their journey, the wildebeest must reach the other side of the river without being dragged in by the current or falling victim to the jaws of a crocodile.
More than 1.5 million wildebeest migrate in an enormous loop every year. The annual migration northwest, at the end of the rainy season (usually in May or June), is recognized as one of the “Seven Wonders of the Natural World.”
The Great Wildebeest Migration is one of the most breathtaking, spectacular events in the natural world, and to experience this amazing crossing is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Cheetah Safaris go above and beyond to provide you with an amazing adventure with memories to last a lifetime. But we have professional and informed safari experts to help you with the wildebeest migration guide and advise you on when is the best time to visit.
The whole family can join in on our three-day tour where you will embark on a game drive in a 4×4 pop-up van to witness the migration – which is why we think you’ll love our Wildebeest Migration Joining Safari.
Month to Month Wildebeest Migration Guide – From Serengeti to Masai Mara
We’re often asked, ‘When actually is the Migration?’ Really, it’s a year-round event, the herds moving in a constant clockwise circle throughout the Serengeti and Masai Mara. The reason why its referred to as the 7 wonders of the world, is due to the massive movement witnessed every year.
Every single year, millions of wildebeests circulate throughout Tanzania & Kenya during the Great Wildebeest Migration, following the rainclouds to greener grass plains. This annual migration is a natural phenomenon that you shouldn’t miss when visiting East Africa!
This event is so spectacular to witness, that you will dream endlessly of grassy plains and majestic wildebeest herds. It is officially the 8th Wonder of the World and it’s so powerful, giving a full representation of the circle of life.
Below is a month-by-month wildebeest migration guide to help you plan your East Africa Safari tour in case you are interested in the Wildebeest Migration and Crossings sightings.
January to March – Calving Season in Ndutu
The herds enjoy the short grass plains of southern Serengeti, the Ndutu area, and the northern part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The mother hooves prepare to give birth as the calving season commences by the end of January.
Wildebeest begin to gather in the southern plains, from Moru south to Naabi, Kusini, and Ndutu. The short grasses here are rich in phosphorus and magnesium due to the volcanic ash of the calcrete layer just below the plains’ shallow soil.
Pack your waterproof items, as there may be intense thunderstorms throughout the region. You may be rewarded with a few early calving sightings and almost a daily big cats hunting down wildebeests and zebras.
Every day during this season, about 8,000 baby wildebeests are born. Prepare to get amazed as these newborn hooves start to run with their feeble legs the moment they come out to the world.
As expected, predators lurk around for food. While adult wildebeests barricade around their young and fragile mothers, hungry predators plan for a savage attack. Expect to see a lot of action and drama unfold during these months.
April to June – Migration Moves to Seronera
It is the beginning of the long rains (Apr–might also) and the herds usually flow in a north-westerly path towards the Moru and Simba Kopjes. The movement-packed rutting (breeding) season is in complete swing, providing testosterone-fueled jousts between adult males competing for the proper to mate with receptive women.
The massed herds are at the pass, big columns of up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) in duration can once in a while be seen because the wildebeest funnel up into the primary Serengeti. Absolutely everyone’s shifting a bit quicker now that the calves are more potent.
By May the depleted short grass plains are unable to sustain the endless herds. The migration sweeps west and north, to the Serengeti’s Western Corridor and almost to Lake Victoria, where there is long grass and more dependable water.
Not all the wildebeest and zebra will follow the same route – whilst parts of the migration head to the Western Corridor and Grumeti before proceeding north, significant numbers simply head north via Seronera.
July to October – wildebeests enter North Serengeti & Masai Mara
One of the busiest and most activity-filled months in Kenya and Tanzania. The month of July is when the Wildebeest Migration moves from the Grumeti and Western Serengeti corridors approaching Kogatenge and closer to the Masai Mara National Reserve.
Both groups from Grumeti and Seronera or Central Serengeti converge within this month for a massive move up north. You can be amazed by the mass movement of the wildebeest and later a world wonder is sighted at the Mara River crossings.
It’s expected to see massive crossings in the Serengeti from the different crossing points, such as the Lamai wedge or the numbered points from 1 to 7. Most do survive the crossings, from the infested river, moving towards Kenya.
It’s easy to spot them in late July in Masai Mara Kenya around some of the famous crossing points such as the Sand river, lookout, and Serena areas. These beasts stay in the Masai Mara from August to either late Sept or early October before moving down to Serengeti National Park.
Within October and September, you will be lucky to spot numerous crossings as they jump high river cliffs, pass huge Nile crocodiles, and go to the other sides of the reserve. Sometimes they take days before you can witness a crossing, but when they are in plenty, you might be lucky to see them cross daily.
During this season, a biological aspect has to happen, the wildebeest come to the Mara to Mate, because the reserve offers them a good environment to mate. We call these seasons, biological seasons.
In late October, they move down to Serengeti National Park.
November to January – They Move back to Serengeti & Ndutu From Masai Mara
The migration from the Masai Mara will now be heading back to the Serengeti National Park, down to Seronera, and finally arriving in South Serengeti, and Ndutu Conservation Area. They actually do move very first due to the high rains experienced in Ndutu, in search of food in early Dec and January.
They arrive in Ndutu and are ready for birthing new claves for another cycle of life to Masai Mara and Back to Ndutu through Serengeti regions.
So where does the wildebeest migration start? We always get this question, but we don’t know, the best answer we can give is, the migration starts from Ndutu.
This is where new life starts from a wildebeest calf and moves up to Masai Mara as it matures, facing dangers all through the journey, and back to Ndutu either pregnant for a new calf, and for a male to keep the heard safe from predators.
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Wildebeest Migration safari Packages to enjoy all year round
Wildebeest migration wonder of the world
The Wildebeest Migration is a year-round event, with herds starting in the Serengeti, Tanzania where they birth their young and then travel across to the Masai Mara, Kenya where they stay until the latter months of the year until they are ready to return home.
You are in control of which stage of the migration you’d like to see, simply have a look at our range of private safaris where you can experience the Great Migration as part of your next trip. We also have amazing all-inclusive safaris from Nairobi to Masai Mara purposely for the migration.
Contact Cheetah Safaris to Plan Your Next Wildebeest Migration Safaris
If you would like more information then feel free to get in touch with our dedicated team of expert guides who can help you pick out the perfect safari, or personalize an experience for you. Why not give us a call today or Whatsapp us at +254 7 80 337652?
Alternatively, you can also contact us online and we will get back to you as soon as possible.