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The 3 Best Great Migration Safari Tours of 2024

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Devryn Panaino

Safari Travel Planner

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 Devryn Panaino

Author: Devryn Panaino - 31 July 2023

Last Update: 13 May 2024

The Great Migration is probably Africa’s most spectacular wildlife spectacle. Each year, over two million Wildebeest follow the rains across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in search of fresh grazing lands.

After calving in the southern part of Tanzania’s Serengeti near the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the ungulates journey through the Serengeti National Park up and around in a clockwise direction towards the Masai Mara in Kenya, before returning once again near the end of the year. 

The Great Migration.
The Great Migration.

High drama is always close at hand as thousands are killed by ever-present predators along the way. Whether the wildebeest are dropping calves or attempting to cross rivers while avoiding crocodiles, the migration is constantly on the move throughout the year.

In this article, we list in detail the best three Great Migration safari tours you can take this year. 

Affordable Migration Safari from June to October in Tanzania 

Between mid-June to mid-October, the herds congregate mostly in the northern Serengeti. This private safari gives you the best chance to spot the herds (and if you’re lucky, a river crossing) and combines the Northern safari circuit in Tanzania with the Tarangire National Park and the renowned Ngorongoro Crater.

9 Day Tour Summary:

  • Optimal Timing for Migration Sightings: This 9-day safari from June to October capitalizes on the migration peak in the Northern Serengeti, offering an excellent chance to witness the iconic wildebeest river crossings and explore the diverse landscapes of Tarangire National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater.
  • Personalized and Private Experience: From the moment of arrival at JRO Kilimanjaro airport, enjoy the exclusivity of a private vehicle and personalized tours that can include everything from game drives in Arusha National Park to cultural experiences like coffee plantation tours.
  • Strategic Accommodations for Wildlife Viewing: Stay in strategically located camps like Tarangire Ndovu Tented Lodge and Nasikia Mobile Camp, designed to enhance your chances of witnessing the Great Migration up close, along with a plethora of wildlife from massive elephant herds to the Big Five within Tanzania’s most famous conservation areas.

Day 1: Arusha National Park 

After arriving at JRO Kilimanjaro airport, you’ll be met by your driver and transferred to your hotel in Arusha. Depending on your flight time, additional excursions can be arranged, such as a city tour, coffee plantation tour, bike ride, visit to Lake Duluti, or half-day game viewing at Arusha National Park. 

Days 2-3: Tarangire National Park  

You’ll have the services of a private vehicle for the next few days while you visit Tarangire, Lake Manyara, and the Ngorongoro Crater. Spend two nights at Tarangire Ndovu Tented Lodge with your daylight hours spent game viewing in Tarangire, famous for its massive elephant herds, true sense of wilderness, and some of the largest baobab trees in Africa. 

Day 4: Lake Magadi

Today you’ll leave Tarangire National Park and make your way to Lake Manyara National Park. This incredible wilderness destination features diverse habitats, from the Rift Valley soda lake to dense woodlands and steep mountainsides.

Flamingos in Lake Manyara National Park
Flamingos in Lake Manyara National Park

The shores of the lake teem with pink flamingos and attract over 400 species of birds. Besides large predators, you can expect to see herds of buffalo, Masai giraffes, and impalas. You’ll eventually exit the park and continue to your camp on the Ngorongoro Crater Rim. 

Day 5: Lake Magadi

After an early wake up, you’ll make your way down to the Ngorongoro Crater to enjoy a couple of hours viewing the game. Dubbed ‘Africa’s Eden’, the crater is a stunning sight to behold and you’ll have a good chance of spotting the Big Five here. 

Days 6-8: Northern Serengeti

Fly into Kogatende airstrip where you’ll be met by your camp’s safari guide to embark on a shared game drive. Your seasonal camp is geared for the migration sightings and you should be lucky enough to witness a thrilling river crossing.

Large wildebeest herd crossing the Mara river.
Large wildebeest herd crossing the Mara river.

You’ll spend three nights at Nasikia Mobile Camp where you’ll have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view the migrating herds and the throngs of predators that accompany them. 

Day 9: Journey’s End   

Spend one last morning in the bush before taking a meandering drive back to the airstrip for your charter flight to your next destination.

Great Migration Tour from June to October in Tanzania

Over this time of year, the wildebeest gather in the Northern Serengeti. This safari journey will give you the best chance to see the herds in action and, if nature wills it, even a spectacular river crossing. Take in the Northern Circuit in Tanzania, Tarangire National Park and the amazing Ngorongoro Crater. 

9 Day Tour Summary:

  • Epic Wildlife Encounters: Embark on a safari that takes you from the diverse ecosystems of Tarangire and Ngorongoro Crater to the Northern Serengeti, where you’re poised to witness the thrilling river crossings of the Great Migration. Enjoy the chance to see a vast array of wildlife including the Big Five and massive elephant herds against the backdrop of iconic landscapes.
  • Strategically Located Accommodations: Stay in top-notch camps and lodges such as Sanctuary Swala and Sanctuary Kichakani, strategically located to maximize your chances of witnessing the migration and other wildlife activities. These accommodations offer comfort and convenience, ensuring you’re always close to the action.
  • Comprehensive Safari Experience: From the moment you land in Arusha to your departure, enjoy a seamless safari experience that includes private vehicle transfers, flights to key viewing areas, and expert guides. The itinerary also offers flexibility, allowing for city tours, relaxing by the pool, or engaging in game drives, ensuring a personalized adventure tailored to your interests.
A river crossing during the Great Migration of wildebeest.
A river crossing during the Great Migration of wildebeest

Along the way you’ll be staying at superb and comfortable camps situated close to the wildlife. Start your safari in a private vehicle with a guide, then fly north to see the migration up close.

Day 1: Arusha

You’ll be picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel. If time allows, you can take a tour of the city, marvel at Lake Duluti, visit a coffee plantation, or spot game in Arusha National Park. The in-house restaurant provides delicious meals and you can enjoy the spacious gardens and swimming pool.   

Days 2-3: Tarangire National Park

Breakfast at the hotel before your driver escorts you on a journey through Tarangire, Lake Manyara, and the Ngorongoro Crater. You’ll spend two nights at Sanctuary Swala Camp and get to see a host of wildlife.

Buffalo in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania.
Buffalo in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania.

Tarangire features massive elephant herds, gigantic baobabs and a sense of being out in the wild. Whether you want to spend your day on safari with a packed lunch or simply laze poolside, the choice is yours.

Day 4: Ngorongoro Crater

Leave Tarangire National Park and make your way to Lake Manyara National Park. Here you’ll find the Rift Valley soda lake, its shores crowded with pink flamingos and, season-dependent, over 400 species of birds.

Giraffes in Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania.
Giraffes in Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania.

The lake also attracts herds of buffalo, Masai giraffes, various big predators, and impalas. After a few hours viewing the game, you’ll exit the park and journey on to the Ngorongoro Crater rim and your camp.

Day 5: Ngorongoro Crater

Rise early and head down into the Ngorongoro Crater. Enjoy a few hours of spectacular game viewing (you’ll probably spot the Big Five) in what has been called ‘Africa’s Eden’.

Formed over 2 million years ago when an extinct volcano collapsed, there’s nothing on Earth quite like this natural spectacle. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the caldera before heading back to camp.

Days 6-8: Northern Serengeti  

Today you’ll return to Manyara before your flight to the north of the Serengeti. After your arrival at Kogatende airstrip, you’ll head out on a shared game drive arranged by knowledgeable local guides.

Your seasonal camp is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the animal’s movements and if the conditions are right you’ll even spot an exciting river crossing.

Aerial view of the Great Migration.
Aerial view of the Great Migration.

Spend three nights at Sanctuary Kichakani mobile camp while you get front row seats to the greatest show on Earth. Along with thousands of wildebeest, you’ll get to witness the rich predator life that follows the herds. Between sightings, enjoy delicious meals back at camp and share stories of the action around a fire under the stars. 

Day 9: Bid Farewell to the Great Migration

Savor your final breakfast in the bush before enjoying a relaxed drive back to the airstrip for your charter flight to JRO airport. 

Luxury Great Migration Safari from June to October in Tanzania 

This luxurious safari experience combines some of the best camps in the Northern Tanzania Circuit with the opportunity to spot the migrating herds in the north of the Serengeti. Mid-June to mid-October, the wildebeest herds make their way through the Northern Serengeti. 

9-Day Tour Summary

  • Prime Migration Sightings: Enjoy the migration from mid-June to mid-October in Northern Serengeti, where you can witness the dramatic river crossings of the wildebeest herds into the Masai Mara. Base your stay at top-tier camps positioned for optimal viewing, accompanied by expert guides to enhance the experience.
  • Diverse Wildlife Encounters: Start your adventure in the Chem Chem Concession and Ngorongoro Crater, where you can observe a wide range of wildlife, from lions and rhinos to pink flamingos, in varied landscapes from savannah grasslands to volcanic calderas. The itinerary promises intimate encounters with nature and ample photographic opportunities.
  • Luxurious Accommodations and Services: Unwind in luxurious lodges and camps like Sayari, which offers amenities such as a rim-flow pool and a solar-powered microbrewery. Your journey combines comfort with adventure, including private game drives and relaxation in scenic settings, making for an unforgettable safari experience.
Wildebeest herd crossing the Mara River into Masai Mara National Reserve.
Wildebeest herd crossing the Mara River into Masai Mara National Reserve.

You’ll have a good chance of witnessing a thrilling river crossing during July and August. Stay at the top camps with all the creature comforts perfectly located to be in the thick of the migration action, and get front row seats thanks to world-class guides and rangers. 

Day 1: Arusha

Your driver will collect you at JRO Kilimanjaro airport for the transfer to your hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, you could add in a tour of the city, go game viewing in Arusha National Park, visit Lake Duluti, or see a working coffee plantation.

Go for a stroll in the large gardens, take a dip in the swimming pool and enjoy being immersed in lush vegetation. 

Days 2-3: Chem Chem Concession

Over the next few days you’ll travel in a private vehicle exploring Tarangire, situated in the spectacular Chem Chem Concession. Life moves slowly here, and you’ll experience a strong sense of connection with the wilderness and the wildlife within it.

Lions drinking water in Chem Chem Concession, Tanzania.
Lions drinking water in Chem Chem Concession, Tanzania.

Settle in at Chem Chem Lodge, perfectly positioned between watering holes, savannah grasslands, and a vast salt pan, before embarking on your afternoon game activity. Here, the immense sense of space is rivaled only by sublime privacy and sophisticated comforts.

Day 4: Ngorongoro Crater

Meet your safari guide in the morning for a drive through Lake Manyara National Park. The park’s range of habitats includes steep mountainsides, thick woodlands, and the Rift Valley soda lake. Thousands of pink flamingos gather at the edges of the lake, and depending on the time of year, you can expect to see over 400 species of birds.

Masai giraffes, impalas, large predators, and herds of buffalo roam the edges of the lake and the surrounding forested slopes. Then it’s on to your camp on Ngorongoro Crater Rim.

Rhino with her calf in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.
Rhino with her calf in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.

Meaning ‘circle’ in the Maasai language, Entamanu is the perfect name for this luxury destination on the crater’s edge.

Day 5: Ngorongoro Crater

Today you’ll get an early start to travel into the Ngorongoro Crater and enjoy a couple of hours of uncrowded game viewing. Created 2.5 million years ago when an extinct volcano collapsed in on itself, the caldera is the largest of its kind in the world.

Here, you’ll get to see an amazing range of wildlife, including the Big Five, in Africa’s ‘eighth wonder of the world’.

Days 6-8: Northern Serengeti

Today you’ll drive back to Manyara before your flight to the Northern Serengeti. You’ll be met at Kogatende airstrip before taking a shared game drive with the safari guide from your camp. Sayari is a permanent camp, perfectly located within easy reach of the river.

The Great Migration.
The Great Migration herds along the Mara River.

You’ll stay here for the next three nights, observing the migrating herds and the array of predators that trail them. In between viewing the action, you can rest up in your bright and spacious suite with a walk-in shower, al fresco tub, and a veranda which is perfect for lazing on with a good book. 

Wildebeest crossing the Mara river.
Wildebeest crossing the Mara river.

Sayari’s rim-flow pool is tucked away between natural rock formations and is the perfect spot to cool off while watching elephants and zebras ambling past the camp.

Enjoy an ice cold beer at the Serengeti’s first solar-powered microbrewery before venturing out on an afternoon game drive ending the day sipping sundowners around the campfire.

Day 9: Safari’s End

Enjoy one last breakfast in the bush before a wonderfully winding drive to the airstrip. From here you’ll take a charter flight to your next destination.

Want to experience any of these spectacular itineraries? Speak to one of Discover Africa’s travel experts today. Or head on over to the HerdTracker Prediction tool to be inspired by the latest sightings across the Serengeti-Mara region and start planning your trip today.


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