The Great Migration and When to Visit

What is the Great Migration?

The Great Migration is the largest mass movement of land mammals on Earth, when more than a million wildebeest—along with hundreds of thousands of zebra and gazelle, stalked by predators like big cats and hyenas—circle through the Serengeti plains in Tanzania and Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya. Following instinct and the scent of moisture, the herds move clockwise from their calving grounds in the lush plains of the southern Serengeti, moving to the northern Serengeti as the plains dry out, and spending the summer and early fall here before heading south again in the fall to repeat the cycle. The scale of this event, and the encounters between predator and prey, offer an extraordinary and unequalled wildlife spectacle. Witnessing it firsthand is an awe-inspiring privilege.

When is the Best Time to See it?

The short answer is that you can’t go wrong, because the migration never truly stops. Whenever you choose to go, the wildlife experiences are always extraordinary. We move our Serengeti camps seasonally to follow the herds, giving you access to world-class game viewing on every departure. Wilderness Travel offers Serengeti safaris in two seasons: from December through March, when the migration is in the south and the wildebeest give birth and nurture their calves, and from June through October, when the herds mass at the northern end of the park, preparing to cross the Mara River into Kenya.

SOUTHERN SERENGETI:
December through March
Day 1
Arusha
Day 2-5
Serengeti National Park, Dulana Camp
Day 6
Olduvai Gorge / Ngorongoro Crater
Day 7
Ngorongoro Crater
Day 8
Lake Manyara National Park
Day 9-12
Tarangire National Park, Osunyai Lamarkau Camp
Day 13
Arusha

More than two million years ago, volcanic eruptions spewed ash and debris onto the southern Serengeti plains, enriching the surrounding soil. As a result, lush grasses grow here in the green season—making it the perfect feeding ground for pregnant wildebeest to graze and produce nutrient-dense milk. Over a period of just a few weeks, females give birth to more than 300,000 calves; the presence of these wobbly-kneed newborns draws predators like big cats and hyena.

Our Dulana Camp sits near their migratory route, where columns of wildebeest can be seen stretching for miles, sometimes passing right by the camp itself! This is also an excellent time of year for bird-watching, as there is an abundance of migratory flocks passing over the plains.

NORTHERN SERENGETI:
June through October
Day 1
Arusha
Day 2-5
Tarangire National Park
Day 6
Lake Manyara NP / Ngorongoro Crater
Day 7
Ngorongoro Crater
Day 8
Olduvai Gorge / Serengeti National Park
Day 9-12
Serengeti National Park, Akiba Kibwe Camp
Day 13
Arusha

By this season, the herds will be in the northwest, having made their way from the western corridor of the park, and by June arriving at the Grumeti River, which now runs low and teems with opportunistic Nile crocodile. As the main body of the herd continues north over the summer months, wildebeest mass on the banks of the Mara River in incredible numbers before the hardest single part of their long journey: a dramatic, life-or-death river crossing into Kenya.

This is one of the greatest wildlife shows on Earth. In the northern Serengeti, we stay at two camps, with one night by the Grumeti River en route to our Akiba Kibwe Camp, ideally positioned by the Mara River. We spend several days here, giving us a great chance of witnessing the dramatic river crossings made so famous in many wildlife documentaries.

Contact our Africa Specialists

Our Africa Specialists know every detail about our African safaris, and will be happy to answer any questions about our trips and help you choose the journey that’s right for you!

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Serengeti Wildlife Safari 2018 itinerary

Download our Serengeti Wildlife Safari itinerary to learn more about our day-to-day itinerary, prices and dates, lodging, and leaders.