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The Great Wildebeest Migration In Kenya & Tanzania​

Understand the Wildebeest Migration

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What is the Great Wildebeest Migration

understand the wildebeest migration & crossings

So What is the Great Migration in Africa? The great Serengeti & Masai Mara Wildebeest migration is the movement of vast numbers of wildebeests, accompanied by large numbers of zebra, and smaller numbers of Grant’s gazelle, Thomson’s gazelle, eland, and impala. These wildebeests and zebras move in an annual pattern that is fairly predictable. They migrate throughout the year, constantly seeking fresh grazing lands and better quality clean water.

The Great Migration is the largest herd movement of animals on the planet. In fact, with up to 1,000 animals per km², the great columns of wildebeest can be seen from space.

The numbers are astonishing: over 1.2 million wildebeest and 300,000 zebra along with topi and other gazelle move in a constant cycle through the Sout to North of Serengeti National ParkMasai Mara National Reserve ecosystem in search of nutritious grass and water.

Guided by survival instinct, each wildebeest will cover 800 to 1,000km on its individual journey along age-old migration routes. Hungry predators including lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, wild dogs and crocs make sure only the strongest survive in this natural spectacle also known as ‘the greatest show on Earth.’

The circuit takes the animals from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (although not into the Crater itself) in the south of the Serengeti in Tanzania, up through the Serengeti and cross into the Masai Mara in Kenya, and back again. The journey is beset with danger: young calves are hunted by predators, the slow and old are brought down by the pride of lions, crocodiles take their share of the stragglers, and the weak and exhausted drown.

Best Places to Witness The Wildebeest Migration

The Wildebeest Migration safaris in Kenya & Tanzania

The best wildebeest migration safari destinations in Africa are Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. They both host millions of wildebeests and antelopes and zebras migrating from the South of Serengeti to the North and later entering Masai Mara in Kenya. 

The wildebeests spend more than 7 months in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, as they look for greener pastures, and 5 or 6 months in Kenya Masai Mara National Reserve. The best places for wildebeest migration and crossings are in Northern Serengeti and Masai Mara, during the months of June to Nov of every year. 

For the wildebeest calving sightings, the best place to be is in the Ndutu Conservation Area, south of Serengeti, which borders both Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park. More than 8000 wildebeest calves are born daily in the months of Jan to March, but most births are sighted in February.

Wildebeest Migration Safaris in Kenya and Tanzania - Cheetah Safaris

Masai Mara is known for its best show of wildlife sightings and actions. Wildebeest Migration Safaris are some of the best you can see here including some big cats and big five species.

Wildebeest Migration Safaris in Kenya and Tanzania - Cheetah Safaris

Witness the great migration and wildebeest crossings in the Serengeti, where millions migrate from south to north of the park as they enter into Masai Mara Kenya in search of green grass and clean water.

How the Great Migration moves throughout the year

Where is the Wildebeest Migration?

If you have any questions regarding any of our Wildebeest Migration Safaris & Tours, you may find your answer below in our most frequently asked questions. However, don’t be afraid to get in touch if your query is not included in order for our experts to help you design your best Kenya Safaris. 

Our team is happy to help discuss any of our safari packages, destinations, or general information, so you have peace of mind! Get in touch with us now.

The Great Wildebeest Migration in January, February, and March

Around January each year, the wildebeest migration will be ending their trek from Masai Mara, moving along the eastern edge of the Serengeti and into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the Ndutu Conservation Area. Here the plains are rich in nutritious grass, providing the herds with the best conditions for raising their newborn calves.  

Although there is no real beginning or end to this migratory circuit — other than birth and death — it seems reasonable to call the wildebeests’ birthing season as the start of the migration. Around late January or February, the herds occupy the short-grass plains that spread over the lower northern parts of the Ngorongoro Crater highlands. Some 8000 calves are born here every day, within a period of two to three weeks, or nearly 400,000 new calves within 1 month.

The Great Migration in April, May & June

Gradually they spread west across these plains, then around April, they start their great migration north. around April the wildebeest herds begin to drift northwest toward the fresher grass of the central Serengeti, drawing with them thousands of zebra and smaller groups of antelope.

By May, columns of wildebeest stretch for several kilometers as the animals start to congregate by the Moru Kopjes. Mating season begins toward the end of May and male wildebeest battle head-to-head. Throughout ‘the rut,’ the journey continues at leisure with the wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle grazing as they go along.  

With all the newborn wildebeest, this is a time when the herd size is especially high. Central, southern Serengeti is the place to be as the herds amble northwards, getting ready for the big push towards Lobo and the far north.

As the dry season approaches during May and June, the migrating herds begin moving once again, this time towards the Grumeti River, where the crocodiles wait for an easy meal. Seeing the thousands of wildebeest crossing the river is a sight not to be missed, and has to be one of the highlights of a Tanzania safari.

Being located near the Grumeti River is ideal at this time. However, being in the Seronera and Western Serengeti area will also give you fantastic access.

The Great Migration in June, July, August, September & October

These are the most exciting months of the great migration as the herds move further into the Northern Serengeti and toward the Mara River. At this time of year, you can witness thousands of wildebeests battling their way through the waters and trying to avoid the crocodiles. The best place to be is in the Northern Serengeti or across the river in the western part of the Maasai Mara.

These are the major migration months as the herds are in the middle of their major push north. The first wildebeest herds start crossing the crocodile-infested Mara River – it is a fabulous time to be in this remote part of the park.

September sees the wildebeest herds spread out across the northern Serengeti park, where the Mara River provides the migration with its most serious obstacle infested with crocodiles. This river meanders through the northern Serengeti from Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Watching the thousands of herds of wildebeest migration crossing the Mara River can be very spectacular; there are often scenes of great panic and confusion. It’s common to see herds cross the Mara River north on one day, and then back south a few days later.

 

The Great Migration in November and December

This is a fairly difficult time to predict the movement of the herds as they push south. Some move east to Loliondo, others move through the heart of the park.

After the East African short rains in late October and early November, the wildebeest move down from Kenya Masai Mara National Reserve and into the eastern limits of the Serengeti National Park past Namiri Plains, an area known for outstanding cheetah sightings. By December, they are spread throughout the eastern and southern regions of the Serengeti.

In the early months of the new year, the grasses in the deep south of the Serengeti are lush with rain. This draws the herds of wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebra and other plains animals. The cycle continues as the calving season starts once again.

Best Time For Wildebeest Migration

When is the wildebeest migration & Crossings

Generally, Kenya & Tanzania are best to visit in the dry-season months of July – October when the parks are dry and wildebeest herds are in plenty, viewing is dramatic, easy and action packed. 

LOW SEASON:

1st April to June 15th and 15th Nov to 15th Dec

During this Season, the herds are in Central & North Serengeti in April to June. The grass are tall and better time to spend with them. 

In Nov, they wll have Migrated from the Masai Mara down back to the Serengeti National Park.

high SEASON:

Jan 10th to 1st April and 1st Nov to 15th Dec

The best time to witness the calving  of wildebeest calves in the Southern Serengeti. Ndutu Conservation area offers the best ground for calving of more than 8000+ Calves.

In April, they start moving up to Northern serengeti, and in Nov, they start moving down to Serengeti from Masai Mara.

PEAK SEASON:

15th June to 30th Oct, 15th Dec to 10th Jan

These are the best month to witness the dramatic migration and crossings in Serengeti and Masai mara with over 1.5 Million wildebeests crossing the Mara River. 

It’s easier to spot them in Masai Mara Kenya and Northern Serengeti in Tanzania.

Wildebeest Migration Safaris & Holidays FAQs

The Great Wildebeest Migration Safaris Q&A

If you have any questions regarding any of our Wildebeest Migration Safaris & Tours, you may find your answer below in our most frequently asked questions. However, don’t be afraid to get in touch if your query is not included in order for our experts to help you design your best Kenya Safaris. 

Our team is happy to help discuss any of our safari packages, destinations, or general information, so you have peace of mind! Get in touch with us now.

What is Wildebeest Migration?

The Great Migration is the largest herd movement of animals on the planet. In fact, with up to 1,000 animals per km², the great columns of wildebeest can be seen from space.

The numbers are astonishing: over 1.2 million wildebeest and 300,000 zebra along with topi and other gazelle move in a constant cycle through the Sout to North of Serengeti National Park – Masai Mara National Reserve ecosystem in search of nutritious grass and water.

What’s the Best Time to See the Wildebeest Migration and Crossing?

Wildebeest Move Yearly from Tanzania Ndutu Region To Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to Masai Mara Kenya. Almost 2 Million Wildebeests, Gazelles, Impalas, Topis, and Zebras do migrate every year. 

Read More about Wildebeest Migration Month by Month Guide.

  • December to March is the best time to witness the Wildebeest Calving Season in Tanzania Ndutu Ngorongoro Conservation Region
  • May to July of every year is best to Witness herds Move from Ndutu Region up to Serengeti Central towards the west of the park called Grumeti Region.
  • July every year happens the wildebeest are around Serengeti North, and high probability to spot Wildebeest crossings in the major Mara River.
  • July to October they move towards Masai Mara and spend the days there till the start or end of October. They now start moving back towards Serengeti Tanzania. 
  • Major Wildebeest Crossings over Mara River and Sand River happen Between July and August and in October.

Just to Note:- The Wildebeest Migration is not guaranteed to follow the months as stated above, though the months are 80% of what happened before and the experience we have had with them over the years. Wildebeests and other migratory wildlife like zebras, follow rain patterns, and where the grass is green. Due to their biological culture such as mating, and calving (giving birth), they have to migrate across the plains in order to meet these demands.

 

Which Are the Best Camps and Lodges to Stay in While on a Wildebeest Migration Safari?

While on a Wildebeest Migration Safari, we prefer our guests stay at these lodges and camps that are in close proximity to the event. Please see below some of the best camps and lodges we work with to deliver the best wildebeest sightings experiences to our guests.

Masai Mara National Reserve

  1. Sand River Mara Camp 
  2. Mara Serena Lodge 
  3. Ashnil Mara Camp 
  4. Governors Mara Camp 
  5. Little Governors Mara Camp 
  6. Naboisho Luxury Camp 
  7. Mara Eden 
  8. Mara Entim Camp
  9. Mara Ngenche Camp 
  10. Ilkeliani Mara Camp
  11. Basecamp Mara

Serengeti National Park 

  1. Lamai Luxury Camp 
  2. Serengeti Acacia Migration Camp 
  3. Serengeti Migration Camp by Elewana
  4. Alex walker Safari Camp 
  5. Lemala Mara Migration Camp
  6. Nasikia Migration Camp 
  7. Karibu Migration Camp 
  8. Olakira Migration Camp by Asilia
  9. Grumeti Migration Camp by Elewana
  10. Namiri Plains
  11. Nomad Serengeti Safari Camp
  12. Singita Mara River Camp

Which Are the Best Wildebeest Migration Safaris to Kenya and Tanzania?

Ever had the situation of not knowing what to choose? We know you want the best Wildebeest Safari Experience in Kenya and Tanzania. Our Experts have listed below some of the best Safari to witness the Wildebeests’ Migration and Crossings all through the year. 

  1. 12 Days 11 Nights Kenya and Tanzania Combined Wildebeest Safari

    This safari is a unique tour that takes you through some major parks in Kenya, and Tanzania. It’s Specifically meant to expose you to the wildebeest Migration experiences. Visiting the prime Wildebeest Destination, Serengeti National Park and Masai Mara in Kenya

     

  2. 8 Days Exclusive Wildebeest Migration Safari in Serengeti Tanzania

    Traversing the prime park in Tanzania, Serengeti National Park has a high chance of witnessing wildebeest migration and wildebeest crossings. With entirely 7 nights of exposure, you will enjoy the exclusive wildebeest safari here. 

     

  3. 12 Days Wildebeest Calving Safari Tanzania Exclusive extended to Ruaha National Park

    Witness the Wildebeest Calving Season in Serengeti and Ndutu Conservation Area. The Calving of wildebeest happens South of Serengeti. It’s estimated that 8000 Wildebeest Calves are born daily. Join this experience with a 3 nights visit to the Ruaha National Park, an exclusive wilderness experience. 

     

  4. 5 Days Lake Nakuru National Park and Masai Mara Wildebeest Flamingo Safari
    Explore the greatest park in Kenya known for hosting the greater and Lesser Flamingos in Kenya, the rare endangered southern white rhinos, and other flora and fauna. With an extended visit to the Masai Mara, this combination completes your safari experience in Kenya.

     

  5. 7 Days Serengeti Ngorongoro Tarangire Safari 

    Traversing the major attractions in Tanzania as well as having a chance to witness the Wildebeest Migration in huge herds. Visit the Ngorongoro Crater and spot the black rhinos, the big five, and the Olduvai Gorge later visit the Tarangire National Park as an extending tour. Spot huge herds of elephants in Tarangire and other wildlife and bird species.

 

Where’s the best place to see the wildebeest migration? Kenya or Tanzania?

Kenya and Tanzania share the same ecosystem between the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya and the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. They are all spectacular to visit for the Wildebeest Migration. Tanzania is considered more favorable due to its length of 8 months in hosting them, as well as with an exclusive event of the calving season that happens from Jan to March every year.

  • Each destination is good at completely different times of the year. The migration is usually active in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park for 8 months. It’s most active in Kenya’s Masai Mara for 4 months July, August, September, and October.
  • If you’re planning a migration safari then decide on either Kenya or Tanzania. Don’t think of combining or switching at the last moment on the cheap. Logistically it’s best to handle the Serengeti from Arusha and the Mara from Nairobi. This will help with decisions on beach breaks on the Kenyan coast or in Zanzibar. Or other safaris into southern Tanzania or elsewhere in Kenya.

 

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We are a safari company in Kenya that believes in sustainable safari practices, community support, and environment management and protection.

By Booking this safari, you contribute 1% of the bookings to sustainable safari practices and carbon offsetting programs in the world. We are a strong advocate of travel sustainability by ensuring we have all that it takes to protect everything for our future generations and healthy living. 

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