The Wildebeest migration involves more than a million species across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystems. One of the most sought-after opportunities for wildlife and nature lovers.
The slowly shifting columns of wildebeests, along with a host of other browsers, pursue an ancient path, to find grass and water.
Taking them across the Masai Mara plains in Kenya and the Serengeti to the Ngorongoro crater’s edge, before turning around and head-over back.
Potent drama is always lurking along the way when predators capture thousands of animals, and thousands more are born, filling the numbers and keeping the life cycle.
Annual migration overview: The perfect time to visit the Serengeti migration
December -March: The vast grass fields of Southern Serengeti stretch to the protected region of Ngorongoro.
Between December and March, Serengeti wildebeests gather in large flocks around Ndutu lake in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
The herds divide up as they enter the plains and spreads out as far as the eye can see.
The only permanent lodges in the region are Ndutu Lodge and Kusini; Kusini is favorable at the end of the year, while Ndutu Lodge operates during the entire time.
Dunia Camp in Asilia is also a perfect alternative at the start of December, and when the sheep are pushing north in March.
The wildebeests are presently in the southern part of the Serengeti, more precisely in Ndutu, which is in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and it is the calving season.
February is the only time when you can almost definitely see the massive herds as they still gathered south for the calving season.
April to May: In Tanzania, this is the rainy season. The movement of the Wildebeest passes north through the plains of the Southern Serengeti, with front runners spreading to the Western Corridor and the Seronera Park core. At this time, Asilia’s Dunia Camp is a fantastic choice, as are some of the central Serengeti hotels.
Early herds could well have gone up to the Western Corrido Grumeti River Camp, Mbalageti and Kirawira Lodge.
June and July: June is the herd mating season, and if you see several of them together, it can be deafening.
By June, the wildebeest herds are scattered across the heart of the park from the western corridor.
Prior to leaving the park, one group tends towards the west to cross the Grumeti River to join the Singita Grumeti Reserves.
This wildebeest herd then crosses the Ikorongo reserve on the western corridor of the Serengeti in July before the front riders enter the Kogatende area.
The other herds travel straight to the north of the Serengeti, going through Seronera, Lobo, and up to the region of the Bologonja river.
The reality is that herds can be everywhere at this point from the west corridor on the east side of the park.
Splinter herds will spread out in search of fresh grasses from the main herds.
For the western corridor, Faru Faru , Grumeti River Camp , Sabora, Sasakwa, , Mbalageti Lodge, and Kirawira would be suggested.
At the same time, a few herds would have gone to the Northern Lobo migration camp.
August to October: The herds are concentrated in the northern Serengeti in Kogatende and the Kenyan Masai Mara. Kogatende is an excellent destination with just a portion of the tourist numbers that flock to the Mara.
Since the herds are tracking the rainfall, some are moving north, and some are moving south.
Throughout these months, the sprawling mass travels circularly, and this is an excellent time of year to see the herds as a result.
People who are not aware of the particular migration movements sometimes make the mistake of thinking that the herds head north from June, cross to Kenya and remain there until October, only returning in November after all the pastures are grazed.
It may have been a rational idea, but it’s just not the truth! You can see the river crossings.
They can cross over, then quickly cross-back – it’s not a coordinated, unified crowd migration, but a sequence of feverish snap decisions to “cross or not cross”! If one Wildebeest leaps, many will cross, too, and also, if one chooses to turn around and cross over again, more will most likely follow suit.
November: The herds commence their second migration south towards the Ndutu plains’ fertile lands at the end of October and November, where the rains have rejuvenated the fields.
It can be a daunting period for the herds as they travel long distances. The herds return to Ndutu in early December to calve, and the whole process will start all over again.
Kenya and Serengeti Migration Map
The boundary of Tanzania / Kenya and where each nation slices across the Mara River. The prevalent myth is that the river serves as a boundary between the two countries, but that’s not the case
Instead of crossing the river from Tanzania to Kenya, the Wildebeest crosses only ever from Kogatende to Lamai Wedge in Tanzania or the Masai Mara in Kenya.
Accommodation Options During the Great Migration While in Tanzania
If you want to be at the heart of the Great Migration of wildebeests and zebra, the best way is to book one of Serengeti’s renowned mobile camps.
Mobile camps are set up at specific sites during the year and frequently switch around twice or thrice a year, depending on where the herds are typically situated at the precise time.
Beyond’s Serengeti Under Canvas and Nomad Tanzania’s Serengeti Safari Camp set themselves apart from the others for their devotion to keeping up with the herds.
These are two mobile operations that can be deemed as entirely mobile.
They can be located near or amongst the herds at any time of the year. At the same time, they travel to more than two locations (the usual path for any other local camps).
It takes you to Asilia’s Olakira , Alex Walker’s Serian, , Ubuntu, and Kimondo mobile camps, which travel twice a year, offering breathtaking operations starting from the month of July to November and from December to March.
These great camps are closed reminder of the year.
Accommodation Options During the Great Migration While in Masai Mara
To ease your choice of accommodation in a pretty complicated wilderness with more than 100 camps and lodges only in Masai Mara, we have created the Safari rating Scale, which offers a competent, unbiased, and objective ranking for each lodge in the Mara.
The ranking is based on a detailed range of parameters, such as strategic location combined with optimum access to nature, leading standards, facility, food, condition of space, size of lodging, service, equipment, convenient logistical travel, etc.
Class 1 is the highest quality and stands for luxurious lodging. You have unique access to exceptional sites and top-class guides, limited camp spaces, the most satisfactory service, and delicious food, and much more.
For guests who want the right mix between quality and price, class 2.
With deluxe accommodations with comparable variables, but with a small improvement in camp space, flexible location, and accessibility.
Class 3 value-added accommodation options are suitable for budget-conscious travelers.
They enjoy the general nature of biodiversity and proximity to small camps and lodges with many guests rather than indulge in luxury, costly guides, and isolated locations.
The accommodation options in Masai Mara are further divided into five zones-north, east, south, west, and central. Private conservancies and the primary public reserve situated within each region.
Planning to stay in a bush camp or a rustic lodge in a wildlife conservancy gives you multiple benefits.
Firstly, you can engage in limited events within the available reservation, such as night games rides, walking safaris, and village tours.
Secondly, the overall number of visitors, cars, and rooms is restricted for each conservancy, so you feel linked to nature without being part of huge crowds and large numbers of public reserve safari vehicles.
Thirdly, the conservatory areas are situated adjacent to or near the reserve and provide easy entry.
Final Thoughts on the Wildebeest Migration
All year long in Tanzania, you can see the wildebeest migration, a continuing occurrence in a loop passing through the Serengeti National Park.
The great migration seldom happens at Masai Mara in Kenya, and the herds only head over there in search of fresh pastures and enlarge their grazing fields at the northern point of Tanzania.
Migration can only be seen on the frontier in Kenya within a couple of months of the year, even though most herds still roam across the northern part of the Serengeti anyway.
Determine what you wish to see most, as this will influence your visit’s times and location. The considerations are; the crossing of the river, tremendous herds on the plains, or calving seasons.
Choose your lodge wisely because it is essential to provide clear access to the animals. You wouldn’t want to waste time at the right place to eating dust behind a long trail of vehicles.
If, during the migration, you are searching for seclusion and unique animal observations, select a lodging in one of the conservatories within the parks.