Every year well over a million wildebeest, zebra and antelope migrate clockwise around the Serengeti and Masai Mara ecosystem. According to David Attenborough, this is one of the world’s most spectacular natural events.
Personal travel manager, Gail Hughes, specialises in safari tours and shares her experience witnessing the migration across Kenya and Tanzania with us here.
To book a place on Gail’s 2016 September safari package, get in touch with her here.
When and where to go
The annual migration is a continual, cyclical movement, in which you have to be in the right place at the right time to witness it.
It’s best to stay at mobile camps that follow and track the migration throughout the year so that you’re in the best location at any given time.
January – February
In January the herds will be in and around the southern plains of the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Conservation area and Ndutu, where they will be getting ready to give birth.
February is the start of the calving season, and predators such as cheetahs will be close behind. This is the perfect time to travel; besides witnessing thousands of wildebeest giving birth, there are less tourists and therefore great value for money when staying at these mobile camps.
Herds are still feeding on the green grass and the last of the babies have been born by the end of March. The herds begin to get ready to move as the grass thins out and the wet season commences. This is also the time that mobile camps start to pack up until May.
April brings the “long rains” and many camps close up until May. The migration will now have moved into the central and western part of the Serengeti.
May – June
In May and June, the mass herds continue their long journey to the central and western corridors of the Serengeti. This is a great time to see the herds in action – you’ll be surrounded by wildebeest as they head toward the Grumeti river and the Northern Serengeti to get ready for the crossing of the Mara river (where crocodiles wait patiently!).
July – September
Herds start searching for fresh grass in July and August. Now is the time to witness the spectacular river crossings. The best vantage points are in Northern Serengeti and the Masai Mara.
The herds have broken up by September, with some stragglers staying in the Northern Serengeti whilst the mass herds are now across the river.
This is the peak tourist period for Masai Mara, so be sure to stay outside of the National Park; you’ll encounter less tourists, brilliant guides and be able to do other activities such as guided bush walks and night game drives, as well as giving back to local communities.
November – December
The short rains arrive in November, and grass in the Serengeti is replenished. The wildebeest, zebra and antelope make their way back across the river into the Northern Serengeti. By December, they are spread out between Lobo and Central Serengeti, ready to start their journey back towards the Southern Plains… and so the circle of life begins again.
Other sights to see
For your next unique adventure, contact your Personal Travel Manager or find one here.