Africa hosts many wonderful wildlife events, but nothing beats the annual wildebeest migration. A migratory movement of approximately 1.5 million wildebeest, 400,000 zebra and 200,000 gazelles, the never-ending circular journey covers over 2,900 kms (1,800 miles) and includes both the Maasai Mara and the Serengeti ecosystems. A must see in East Africa, it is also recognised as one of the most spectacular wildlife shows on the planet!
And there is more… following in the migration’s footsteps are lions, cheetahs, and those cheeky hyenas. They all take advantage of the moving prey as the migratory mammals on their quest for greener pastures and water.
Our latest newsletter is only a guideline as the precise timing of the Serengeti wildebeest migration is entirely dependent on annual rainfall patterns. We’ve showcased some of the best months to travel, and we’ve also included the calving period, birding opportunities and the optimum time to see Africa’s predators in action – so start planning your adventure of a lifetime now!
————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————December – March
From as early as December wildlife start to congregate around the rich nutritious grassy areas of the Southern Serengeti Plains – their numbers extending into the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Calving season starts from the beginning of February to mid-month, with around 8,000 wildebeest born each day over a three week period. By March, when the plains grasses are almost at their end the peak wet season starts and the herds gather in preparation for their next big journey. If you want to see Africa’s predators in action – this is a key time to travel.
————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————April – May
April is when the wet season peaks. By now the great herds will have formed in their masses and by May (if they have not left already), they will begin to run in columns of up to 40 kms in length; the wildebeest moving north and west to the woodlands of the Serengeti corridor. By the end of that month, the rains usually start to slow and the migration will get ready to take its leap of faith across crocodile infested rivers. You’ll also be treated to a glorious feast of colour with migratory birds filling the skies – in fact, this is when birdwatching is typically at its best.
Don’t overlook the wet season as this is a fabulous time of year to go and you might catch a glimpse of the start of this mesmerising wildlife event. Check out our Accommodated Overland collection Tanzania Game Parks and Best of East Africa itineraries.
———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-June – July
June and July offer the best weather of the year and during this period the herds head for the grassy plains of Kenya’s, Maasai Mara. Before they reach these greener pastures the wildebeest have to pass through the crocodile infested waters of several rivers, notably the Grumeti in Tanzania and the Mara River in Kenya. Not to be missed, this last river crossing has been featured on documentaries from around the world. Best viewed from the Kogatende area, or the northern section of Maasai Mara, we can honestly say it is one of the most jaw dropping wildlife extravaganzas to witness in Africa!
Visit the Maasai Mara and experience the most spectacular show on earth, as the herds cross the Mara River. Grab a front row seat to the action on our Maasai Mara 4 day safari or our Kenya Lakes & Mara tours.
————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————August – November
Over the month of August, the great herds head to the lush green grazing areas on offer in Kenya’s best loved game reserve making this the most sought after time to travel. By September, the wildebeest migration will have arrived on the Mara’s bountiful landscape where they continually graze to stock up on their energy reserves. By November most of the grasses have gone and the wildebeest will start the gruelling, but epic trek back to the Serengeti plains. New and greener pastures await them and soon calving season and the circle of life will begin again…
Take on an adventure in the Maasai Mara on our Mountain Gorilla to the Mara or our Ocean to Gorillas camping overland expeditions and lose yourself in the magic of the migration as it rests on the plains and get ready for its onward round trip journey to the Serengeti.