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The Greatest Show on Earth: Africa's Wild Migration Explained

What is the Great Migration?

Every year, about two million wildebeest and 20,000 plains game travel from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Kenya’s Masai Mara in search of abundant grazing pastures and life-giving water. The seasons dictate this deadly Great Wildebeest Migration voyage, and when the rains come, the wildebeest follow.

This historic Great Migration Africa route begins in the north and ends in the south, stretching about 3000 kilometres and seeming to go on forever.

The Wildebeest Migration is a breathtaking natural phenomenon and a must-see safari for adventurers, wildlife enthusiasts, and those seeking a little more from their African vacation.

Because the Great Wildebeest Migration has no beginning or endpoint and moves in a clockwise route, herdtracking is difficult to forecast. Discover Africa, on the other hand, invented a great application called “Herdtracker” to assist customers to track the progress of the wildebeest migration and plan a once-in-a-lifetime safari.

Five Facts about the Great Migration

1. The Serengeti National Park has the world’s oldest ecosystem. It is home to a diverse range of plants and creatures that can be found nowhere else on the earth.

2. In the Mara River, crocodiles waiting for the herds, drown their prey by seizing them in their powerful teeth and pushing them below the water, twisting them to break them into bite-sized pieces. A crocodile may lunge more than half of its body length out of the water and use its tail as a secondary weapon to grasp a potential victim.

3. During the Great Wildebeest Migration Africa, around 1.5 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebra, and several other animals travel through the country.

4. Zebra and wildebeest will cohabit together since they eat different parts of the same species of vegetation.

5. The Serengeti environment is home to around 3,000 lions who follow the migratory herds across the reserve.

Where the Great Wildebeest Migration occurs

Many people think the Great Migration happens only once a year, however it happens all year, with each season offering a unique wildlife experience. While the Wildebeest migration Africa takes place in a clockwise loop between Tanzania and Kenya, the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Loliondo Game Managed Area, and Grumeti Reserve is the main destinations. 

The Masai Mara Game Reserve, which borders the Serengeti National Park to the north, is part of the Kenyan movement. Each month has its own set of advantages in terms of weather, wildlife, migratory movements, predator encounters, river crossings, and where to stay to make the most of your tour to see the Great Wildebeest Migration. This information can be found by having a look at the Great Wildebeest Migration Map.

What to Expect?

  • Many people think that the great wildebeest migration only happens once a year, but the migration is in fact an all-year-round event — with each time of year offering a unique wildlife experience.
  • Select a month below to find out what each month offers in terms of weather, wildlife, migratory movements, predator interactions, river crossings and where the best place to stay is, to get the most out of your trip to see the great wildebeest migration.

When is the best month to view the Great Migration?

Migration in January

  • Weather: A hot and humid summer month with average temperatures ranging from 15°C (59°F) to 28°C (82.4°F).
  • Wildebeest migration movement: Between Lobo and Naabi Hill, wildebeest herds converge on the Serengeti’s eastern edge in January. The herds are on the move in search of good grasses for their young.
  • Predatory encounters: Because it is calving season, big cats visit in January.
  • Accommodation options: Depending on the conditions, it is recommended that you stay in the city centre and only travel north or south from there.

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Migration in February

  • Weather: Maximum temperatures of 28°C (82.4°F) and minimum temperatures of 15°C (59°F) characterize this month’s weather.
  • Wildebeest migration movement: For the past ten to twelve years, wildebeest herds have been settling in and around Lakes Ndutu and Masek. This meadow is lush in February, making it an ideal location for wildebeests to give birth to their young.
  • Predatory encounters: As lions and leopards move into the area to hunt on young and vulnerable calves, predatory confrontations are quite frequent.
  • Accomodation options: For a migration safari to the Serengeti in February, you may reserve your Ndutu accommodation well in advance and have peace of mind.

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Migration in March

  • Weather: In Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, the first month of fall, March, remains warm, with average temperatures ranging from 28°C (82.4°F) to 15°C (59°F). March has a reputation for being a rainy month. The meadows are lush and fruitful, providing vital nourishment for the large herds of wildebeest.
  • Wildebeest migration movement: The Serengeti’s Ndutu and Kusini Maswa districts are home to the Serengeti’s wildebeest herds. They move slowly, while numerous newborn calves are fed.
  • Predatory encounters: Predators see calves as easy prey since there are so many of them. There will be a lot of lions and leopards to see.
  • Accommodation options: We recommend spending March in the Ndutu area. Mobile camps in Kusini and Maswa operate during the month of March, providing wonderful possibilities to be close to the herd during your Serengeti migration safari.

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Migration in April

  • Weather: The Serengeti is damp in April, but you’ll adore it. Bring a raincoat and your sense of humour. April showers are nothing to be concerned about. The rain falls mainly in the evenings, and the days are mostly sunny.
  • Wildebeest migration movement: Because it is the most consistent, April is one of the finest months to watch the herds. When newborn calves and foals reach the age of mobility, they begin to move.
  • Predatory encounters: The populations of lions and big cats in these areas are thought to be steady. Expect a lot of physical interaction between the hunter and the prey.
  • Accommodation options: The migration is best seen in April in the Simba kopjes districts of Moru and Kusini.

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Migration in May

  • Weather: In Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, April is a moderate fall month, with typical highs of 26°C (78.8°F) and lows of 16°C (60.8°F). May is the wettest month in the Serengeti. Roads can be dangerous and challenging to manoeuvre.
  • Wildebeest migration movement: As the calves’ legs become fully functioning in May, the herds take up the pace.
  • Predatory encounters: Crocodiles of the Grumeti genus.
  • Accommodation options: Staying in the Moru region is recommended, however, Serengeti migration safari arrangements should be arranged as soon as feasible.

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Migration in June

  • Weather: Temperatures at Serengeti National Park range from 13°C (55.4°F) to 25°C (77°F) in June, the first month of the winter. In June, the rainy season comes to an end. The fields are lushly green and densely forested.
  • Wildebeest migration movement: Wildebeest populations travel over great distances. It could take up to three hours to cover the distance between the leading and trailing herds.
  • Predatory encounters: Each migrating animal must first navigate a crocodile-infested river, the first of many dangerous river encounters.
  • River crossings: The Grumeti River crossing season runs from June to August, depending on the river’s water level. The river is rarely full enough to make dramatic crossings like those seen on the Mara River in July and August.

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Migration in July

  • Weather: July is another nice winter month in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, with average temperatures ranging from 13°C (55.4°F) to 25°C (77°F).
  • Wildebeest migration movement: In pursuit of water and greener grass, herds of wildebeests began to migrate quicker.
  • Predatory encounters: Expect predatory encounters, such as with crocodiles.
  • River crossings: The Grumeti and Mara Rivers are both crossed.
  • Accommodation options: If you want to see early river crossings, the Grumeti River is a fantastic site to come to in July. However, due to the limited number of rooms available, we strongly recommend that you book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

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Migration in August

  • Weather: August is the hottest month of the year in Serengeti National Park, with average temperatures ranging from 14°C (57.2°F) to 26°C (78.8°F). August is a hot and humid month when the dry season comes into high gear.
  • Wildebeest migration movement: Wildebeest herds will continue their search for lusher, greener vegetation, attempting to cross the Mara River’s treacherous, crocodile-infested waters.
  • Predatory encounters: Crocodiles are among the predators encountered.
  • River crossings: If you want to see river crossings, August is the best month to go. The animals will cross a foreign border between Tanzania’s Serengeti and Kenya’s Masai Mara.
  • Accommodation options: Book early on both sides of the Mara River. The Olakira Camp, Sayari Mara, and Mara River mobile camps offer a once-in-a-lifetime migratory safari.

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Migration in September

  • Weather: September offers more hot and dry weather, as the dry season continues in the Serengeti and Masai Mara.
  • Wildebeest migration movement: Most of the wildebeest have crossed the Mara River, and the majority of the herds will be in the Greater Masai Mara area, eating the lush green grass resources before venturing north towards the private conservancies (Mara North, Olare Orok).
  • Accommodation options: Similar to August, September is an easy month to predict where the herds will be. You can still stay in the Serengeti early in the month, but its safer to stay on the Masai Mara side to view the last of the Mara River crossings. The Olakira Camp or the Mara River mobile camps are unrivalled migration safari options.

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Migration in October

  • Weather: October will be milder, as the dry season approaches its climax. You might even experience early rain in the Masai Mara and the Serengeti.
  • Wildebeest migration movement: The wildebeest herds are in the Masai Mara, but will start to slowly move back into the Serengeti moving through Loliondo in the east.
  • Accommodation options: Its best to stay in the Masai Mara to have the best opportunity to see the wildebeest herds. Nomad’s Lamai and Lemala’s Kuria Hills are good migration safari destinations.

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Migration in November

  • Weather: November brings cooler weather, as the early rains start to fall in the Serengeti.
  • Wildebeest migration movement: The wildebeest herds are now in the Serengeti, stationed in the Lobo, Mbuze Mawe and Seronera Valley areas where water is abundant.
  • Accommodation options: The south-eastern Masai Mara itself, combined with north-eastern Serengeti is where you need to be. Sala’s Camp & the Lobo mobile camps are two authentic migration safari accommodations.

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Migration in December

  • Weather: Expect wet weather in December, as the short rains begin to fall in the Central Serengeti.
  • Wildebeest migration movement: The wildebeest herds will move quicker now, as far south as possible, towards the Southern Plains which they usually reach within a couple of days.
  • Accommodation options: If there’s been lots of rain in the northern Serengeti, then South of Lobo is the ideal place to see the wildebeest herds. Kleins Camp, Migration Camp and the Lobo Mobile Camps are all great migration safari accommodation choices in December.

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Planning a trip to see the wildebeest migration, but not sure when or where to go?

Find out where the herd will be, and what to expect each month of the year, using our migration map with monthly predictions.

Our experts predict how the wildebeest migration will move based on previous years migratory patterns and real time updates received from pilots, rangers and safari guides in the Serengeti.

View Migration Map and Monthly Prediction

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