By November the herds have generally begun moving out of the Masai Mara and by December they are usually spread out on the eastern and southern plains of the Serengeti. Wildebeest continue to move south, and some leave the confines of the unfenced national park into the Ndutu and Ngorongoro Conservation Areas.
Toward the end of January or in February, all the wildebeest that will give birth that year do so within two weeks of one another. Needless to say, it is an incredible sight to behold and of course, predators take full advantage of easy prey during the calving season. This is a rewarding time to travel to East Africa - summer rains have transformed the landscape into a green paradise, there are all kinds of baby animals everywhere, fewer travellers and rates are lower.
The wildebeest herds enjoy the Serengeti’s ‘green season' and continue grazing for some time. Around April they begin to gather together and start travelling north into central and western Serengeti. By May, wildebeest have amassed into herds of up to 40 kilometres / 25 miles in length and are steadily moving north.
It’s important to note that all of the above timelines are based on historical data. Because movement is propelled by rainfall (which changes from year to year) you can’t predict too far in advance exactly when calving will begin and when the herd will arrive in various locations.
Serengeti is famous for its excellent selection of mobile camps - these camps move up to three times a year allowing you to always be close to the herd, whenever it may be. We know that each camp offers a unique experience and atmosphere. It’s our job and our pleasure to give you independent advice and match you with the perfect lodges and itineraries. Here are five lodges/camps that move close to herds during the calving season!
Ndutu Safari Lodge
- Neighboured by a small lake and surrounded by acacia woodland, Ndutu Safari Lodge’s location already seems serene enough.
- In the heart of the Serengeti, at the head of Olduvai Gorge and with the verdant Ngorongoro Crater highlands serving as a backdrop.
- Experience the Great Migration Calving Season.
- One of the most exciting wildlife display on earth thunders across the Serengeti annually and visitors flock in the hopes of seeing hundreds upon thousands of wildebeest and other ungulates follow the sweet grasses left by Tanzania rains.
- Despite this, the Serengeti is a year-round destination with a host of wildlife and over 400 species of bird to be spotted throughout the year.
- With a campfire lit every evening and an emphasis placed on authenticity - Ndutu offers a world-class and entirely authentic Serengeti safari.
Lemala Ndutu Tented Camp
- At the edge of a permanent marsh, seasonal Lemala Ndutu Tented Camp is the ultimate place to view the wildebeest herds when they arrive on the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti to calve.
- Carefully sited to ensure the breeze carries dust away from the camp, this beautiful mobile camp offers terrific game viewing together with an authentic safari experience far from the tourist crowds.
- Lemala Ndutu welcomes children, with specially designed activities available to keep young ones entertained including spoor identification lessons, learning how to use a Maasai bow and arrow, as well as lending a hand in the camp kitchen before dinnertime.
- High-quality safari experience with excellent guiding and tasty home-cooked meals freshly prepared.
- Great picnic breakfasts and lunches for those who want to go on extended full day game drives.
- Not only does the southern Serengeti draw thousands of wildebeest during the calving season, but it is home to Kusini Camp - the only permanent camp in the sector whose location has been carefully selected after extensive research by local guides and experts.
- Marvel at the Great Migration, enjoy superb safari all year round, or simply relish in this pristine African wilderness.
- Built around and hidden by a rocky outcrop, Kusini’s 12 tents are remote and private with en-suite bathrooms and magnificent views of the plains.
- Activities include vehicle safaris in search of Africa’s most prolific animals and cosmic safaris dedicated to unveiling the secrets of the night sky.
Lake Masek Luxury Tented Camp
- Ideally located between the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the southern Serengeti
- The Lake Masek Tented Camp in Tanzania offers year-round game viewing of the Big Five, and access to the annual Wildebeest Migration from roughly December to April each year.
- This eco-friendly camp is set on the edge of Lake Masek and enjoys panoramic views over the water and distant mountain peaks.
- With all the necessary amenities for a comfortable stay including a stand-alone bathtub and a romantic outdoor shower.
- The landscape consists mostly of short grass plains that allow for easy game viewing and attract the annual migration of wildebeest after the first spring rains.
- It is here where the mega herds congregate to calve, which attracts a large number of cheetah, leopard, lion and hyena to the area.
- After the ‘green months’ big cat sightings are rarer but there is a good chance of spotting elephant, smaller cats, flamingos and plenty of other birdlife that are attracted by the lake. In addition to game drives, optional extra visits to archaeological sites and hot-air ballooning can be arranged.
Ndutu Wilderness Camp
- Nestled under shady trees in the heart of the Ndutu plains in southern Serengeti, lies Ndutu Wilderness Camp.
- Typically open from December to March, to coincide with the ‘calving season’.
- This private camp allows guests to enjoy the abundance of wildlife that has made these endless plains so famous.
- It’s an area of a diverse ecosystem, from woodlands to plains and soda lakes, and is a unique spot for excellent bird watching.
- Plenty of predators can be seen year round
- Professional staff are on-hand to ensure you enjoy attentive service and are committed to making your stay as comfortable as it will be memorable.
November to May is considered low season in Africa so you can get away with booking just a few months in advance. We recommend booking at least three to four months ahead of travel to give yourself plenty of time to consult with an Africa Safari Expert and ensure you get the best value!