The Great Wildebeest Migration of wild animals around the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is deservedly listed as one of the eight Natural Wonders of the world. Wildebeests are famous for their annual long-distance migration, seemingly timed to coincide with fresh grass after the annual pattern of rainfall and the breathtaking river crossings across the Mbalageti, Grumeti and Mara Rivers. The timing of how and where they trek to, in both the rainy and dry seasons can vary considerably (by weeks) from year to year.
What month is the great migration in Tanzania?
WHEN November and December, WHY: It’s the short rainy season when the wildebeests begin their migration back to the southern area of Serengeti from Masai Mara. In late November and December, the wildebeests in company of Zebras and other plains herds arrive during the short-grass savannah of the Serengeti. The grass here is sprouting, fresh and particularly nutritious given the layers of phosphorous-rich volcanic ash which were spread across centuries ago. The Lake Ndutu area which happens to be the preferred calving area offers exceptional grazing grounds that stretch well across to the northern area of Ngorongoro Crater. Where to stay: Lake Masek Tented Camp
WHEN January – March, WHY: It’s green season in Tanzania after the short rainy season and the wildebeests, zebras are spread out across the Serengeti plains. They converge here to give birth to their young ones, with most wildebeest calves born in a short window around February. The calving season coincides with availability of fresh grass so the calves get their first foliage. Where to stay: Lake Masek Tented Camp or Ndutu Safari Lodge
WHEN April – May, WHY: The herds start moving towards central Serengeti. This is typically the rainy season; however, game viewing is still excellent and there are some great discounts available at the safari lodges. From May the wildebeests and zebras are all starting to trek north, the area around Moru Kojes and west of Seronera. A series of marching herds, joined by many Zebra, and Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelles. Where to stay: Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge or Mbalageti Lodge
WHEN June – August WHY: Some of the wildebeest migration treks from central Serengeti, but most are usually further west. The wildebeest migration is often halted at the Grumeti River, which has some channels that slow their movement north. The wildebeest often congregate at the Western Corridor, where they build up in numbers before crossing the Grumeti River. River crossings may be seen in both the Western Corridor (Grumeti Area) and the North (Mara River) within the Serengeti. By July the wildebeests and their entourage begin the journey from the Serengeti plains towards the green pastures of the Masai Mara. Where to stay: Kirawira Camp or Grumeti River Camp
WHEN September and October, WHY: During this period, you will see herds spread out across the northern Serengeti, heading for the grasslands of the Masai Mara. Whilst some of the wildebeest successfully reach the Masai Mara, there are still hundreds of thousands remaining in the northern region of Serengeti, offering those with patience the chance to see river crossings (the Mara River runs through the Serengeti). In the Masai Mara, the grassy landscape and nutrient wealth for the great herds are created by abundant rains. Up to one and a half million animals pour in from the dry plains of Tanzania. Being in the reserve between August and September when the wildebeest have arrived is a mind-blowing experience. Where to stay: Mbalageti Serengeti Lodge
Tanzania Horizon Safari is our small group safari which departs every week on Saturday. The trip itinerary is carefully designed to follow the Migration–depending on the time of the year and the rains it will determine where you will spend the most time in the Serengeti National Park.