If you want your safari to include seeing the wildebeest migration, a little forward planning and cunning will help. Broadly speaking the movements of the Great Migration through the Masai Mara and the Serengeti depend on rainfall, so we can only predict this about as accurately as we can predict the weather. However, depending on the time of year you want to go on safari, and what you want to see, we can do our best to put you in the right place, and so far we’ve been pretty successful…
The wildebeest migration- where and when…?
Safaris in January-March: Head to the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti, where the mingled herds of wildebeest and zebra are usually to be found grazing. In January you’ll find baby zebras appearing, and in February the first young, knock-kneed wildebeest make their way into the world. We know a fantastic selection of mobile camps that’ll put you in just the right spot to catch this spectacle.
Try… A mobile camp like Serengeti Safari Camp.
Safaris in April and May: First and foremost, pack your raincoat! This is the season of the long rains in Tanzania, and the wildebeest herds in the Southern Serengeti will almost certainly be wet. It’s fair to say you’ll also enjoy some pretty spectacular slipping and sliding as you navigate the sticky black-cotton soil in search of the migration. If you can dodge the raindrops, you’ll be rewarded with fairly empty game reserves, and the frolicks of the rutting season in later May.
Safaris in June: June’s always a tricky one for the wildebeest migration, as the milling herds gather together and begin the great trek north. If there’s been poor rain in Tanzania they could be all of the way up on the Kenyan border, otherwise, they could still be tens of kilometres further south. Best bet? Probably to aim for the western corridor of the Serengeti, where there’s a whisker of a chance you’ll catch the migration in a crossing of the Grumeti River.
Safaris in July and August: By this time the megaherds are usually on the move, heading north over the plains of the Serengeti in long straggly lines. At the end of their long trek lies the rough grasslands of Kenya’s Masai Mara. Our favourite place to be at this time of year is in the far north of the Serengeti, on the banks of the Mara River. If you’re lucky, you may see a river crossing, but either way, this part of the Serengeti is ravishing, so enjoy!
Try…. two of our greatest favourites, Lamai Serengeti or Sayari, but book early as they’re often very full at this time of year.
Safaris in September: September is the month to catch the Great Migration in the Masai Mara – in fact, you’ll often find the herds there as early as July, and as late as November. However, if you want the most reliable chance of seeing a river crossing, this will be it. The herds cross back and forth across the Mara and Talek rivers with some regularity, so if you’re lucky you’ll experience the heart stopping drama and excitement that the migration is known for. As this is well known as the very best time to see the migration in a river crossing, it is unlikely you will have this experience to yourself.
Top tip from us? Try Governor’s Camp or Karen Blixen Camp.
Safaris in October – December: Again, this is a time when the migration is on the move. Once the first rains fall in the Serengeti (usually around late October) the herds will start gathering for the great trek south. As they’re on the move, the Northern Serengeti’s not a bad spot to be in, on the off chance that you’ll catch the herds on their way over the river. By late December the wildebeest will usually all be dispersed on the short grass plains of the Southern Serengeti.
Have questions about the wildebeest migration?