Serengeti Wildebeest Migration

“Sat in our jeep by a river with thousands of wildebeest massing on the other side, then they started to cross right in front of us, the noise, the smell, the sheer size of the herd, truly amazing”

When to Go

December – March: Southern Serengeti. (calving and Newborns).
April – June: Herds head north and west. Serengeti’s Grumeti region is the place to be, but central Serengeti can also be very good.
July – October: Northern Serengeti (including Lamai Wedge) and Kenya’s Masai Mara.
November – December: Wildlife heads south, mostly via the eastern side of the Serengeti

Wildebeest Migration

The migration is a cycle based solely on the availability of food and water, in simple terms, the wildlife follows the rains. If it rains in the north in December, then the animals will move north. If it rains in central Serengeti in August then the animals will follow and so it goes on….

The ecosystem where migration takes place can be divided into several distinct areas:

  • Southern Plains: these short grass plains include Ndutu and Maswa
  • Central Serengeti: including the Seronera Valley
  • Northern Corridor: covers the northern Serengeti, the Mara triangle and Kogatende where the Mara River flows and almost all of the river is within the Serengeti
  • Western Corridor: this is where the Grumeti River flows.

Each area plays a role in the migration. So you can see, when you are travelling has a bearing on where you would visit.

The Great Migration: Month by Month

The migration in January

The Migration has settled in the southern Serengeti. The short rains that fell in November and December have resulted in lush, nutritious grazing. As the month progresses the wildebeest prepare for the intense calving period to begin.

Places to Stay

Below you will find a selection of accommodation which should be close to the migration action this month. There is obviously never any guarantee of migration sightings, but this list might give you a pointer as to which camps to consider.

The migration in February

Calving reaches its peak this month with about half a million wildebeest entering the world. They hit the ground running, or at least have to be ready to run pretty quickly. The mass birthing and the abundance of vulnerable young increases the predator action. The herds keep moving, following localised showers that rejuvenate the grasses, but are still usually firmly in the southern short grass plains of the Serengeti.

Places to Stay

Below you will find a selection of accommodation which should be close to the migration action this month. There is obviously never any guarantee of migration sightings, but this list might give you a pointer as to which camps to consider.

The migration in March

As the southern plains become practically bare from grazing, the Migration begins to follow the rains and thunderstorms that are brewing and they start to move slowly north with their young. The pace is slow so that the calves can keep up and get used to the trek. The herds may begin to splinter off into smaller groups each in search of the best grazing conditions, some carrying on north and others heading northwest.

The migration in April

April is wet with the start of the long rains that will continue through May. The migration continues to move north from Ndutu towards the rocky outcrops of the Moru and the Simba kopjes in the central area, and northwest towards the western corridor. There is often good predator action at this time of year, but be aware the going can be tough and challenging with bad road conditions.

Places to Stay

Below you will find a selection of accommodation which should be close to the migration action this month. There is obviously never any guarantee of migration sightings, but this list might give you a pointer as to which camps to consider.

The migration in May

As the calves grow stronger the wildebeest continue to move north, picking up the pace as the long rains start to taper off. Most of the herds enter Ndoha and Dutwa Plains flanking the Mbalageti River in the west of the park, while some head north to Seronera in the centre. As May progresses, the Migration begins to gather in anticipation of crossing the Grumeti.

Places to Stay

Below you will find a selection of accommodation which should be close to the migration action this month. There is obviously never any guarantee of migration sightings, but this list might give you a pointer as to which camps to consider.

 The migration in June

The rains have stopped and more and more wildebeest gather on the south bank of the Grumeti, the river in the west of the park. The wildebeest rut is fully underway. The crossings usually start early in the month and as more and more animals cross the Grumeti’s crocs enjoy their annual feast as the Migration runs the gauntlet.

Places to Stay

Below you will find a selection of accommodation which should be close to the migration action this month. There is obviously never any guarantee of migration sightings, but this list might give you a pointer as to which camps to consider.

The migration in July

With the Grumeti crossing behind them the Migration continues on its quest for fresh green grass and continues to move north towards northern Serengeti and the Masai Mara. Depending on rainfall, the crossing into Kenya can happen from early in the month, through to August and September, it’s hard to predict. At any one time, you can see the herds in both Kenya and Tanzania.

Places to Stay

Below you will find a selection of accommodation which should be close to the migration action this month. There is obviously never any guarantee of migration sightings, but this list might give you a pointer as to which camps to consider.

The migration in August

August and September are the main months that the river crossings happen, both in northern Serengeti and in the Masai Mara, which combine as one big ecosystem of course. The wildebeest, zebra and gazelles leap into the river, ever hopeful of avoiding the crocs. It’s a popular spectacle and you are likely to see lots of other visitors at prime viewing points, though northern Serengeti is quieter than the Mara. With vultures, corpses and general mayhem, it can be a gruesome yet captivating sight.

Places to Stay

Below you will find a selection of accommodation which should be close to the migration action this month. There is obviously never any guarantee of migration sightings, but this list might give you a pointer as to which camps to consider.

The migration in September

The river crossings continue as the herds roam to and fro looking for the best grazing. Predators are always lurking in anticipation of an easy meal, the conservancies surrounding the Mara are also busy with wildlife.

Places to Stay

Below you will find a selection of accommodation which should be close to the migration action this month. There is obviously never any guarantee of migration sightings, but this list might give you a pointer as to which camps to consider.

The migration in October

The herds start to move again in earnest, in anticipation of the rains about to start on the southern plains of the Serengeti and the nutritious green grasses that will follow. They begin the push south and enter the north-eastern Serengeti and the Loliondo area just outside of the eastern boundary of the park.

Places to Stay

Below you will find a selection of accommodation which should be close to the migration action this month. There is obviously never any guarantee of migration sightings, but this list might give you a pointer as to which camps to consider.

The migration in November

The short rains generally come in about mid-November, and the herds begin to move at a faster pace, eager to get to the fresh new grasses as they start to shoot. As the month progresses, the herds will stretch from Lobo area down to the central Seronera in their quest to follow the rains.

Places to Stay

Below you will find a selection of accommodation which should be close to the migration action this month. There is obviously never any guarantee of migration sightings, but this list might give you a pointer as to which camps to consider.

The migration in December

They made it! The herds have travelled down through the eastern and central areas of the park and reached the southern Serengeti with its fresh new grass covering the plains. And so the cycle begins again!

Amanda Marks

Managing Director

Self confessed Africa-lover, but keen on all new travel experiences, Amanda is passionate about getting to know different cultures.

Tracy Edwards

Travel Consultant

Tracy was been born and spent her youth in South Africa, the draw of the animals, the people and wilds of Africa have always run through her veins.

Sinead Bailey

Travel Consultant

Sinead caught the travel bug following a year out after university. She has worked in the travel industry ever since, and visited many countries including South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana and recently Namibia.

Christine MacDougall

Travel Consultant

The African dust is firmly planted in Chris’s heart. Born in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania she spent much of her childhood in and around Ruaha. It was pure fun. Travel and safari was part of life and through into adulthood fun and travel has never left her.

Wildebeest

The Great Wildebeest Migration

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