Best time For the Wildebeest Migration

Hurry, this month (September) is probably your last chance this year to witness the epic Mara River crossings of the Wildebeest migration!

The Great Wildebeest Migration is often referred to as ‘nature’s greatest show on earth’. Over two million wildebeest (members of the antelope family), zebras and gazelles move from the Masai Mara through the Serengeti ecosystems in search of green pasture and water, in a pattern of circular migration followed for centuries.

To see hundreds of thousands of animals following different routes to the same destination, spread across the vast plains as far as the eye can see, will take your breath away.  High drama is always present, as thousands of animals are taken by predators and thousands more are born, in what is known as ‘the circle of life’.  The migration sightings are always spectacular, no matter which phase of life you witness.

Despite knowing the migration happens all year round, it is also one of nature’s greatest paradoxes, as there is no way to predict the timing of the animals’ exact movements or which direction they will move in! We know that rain will trigger the wildebeest to move onto fresh grazing – but when exactly the rain will fall is difficult to predict, more so now with the onset of climate change impacting weather patterns. This is why timing and planning are essential to experience this once in a lifetime Migration Safari. 

Key facts when planning your trip

  • The Wildebeest Migration is a year-round, circular journey (clockwise).
  • If you are planning a migration safari then decide on either Kenya or Tanzania. Logistically it is best to handle the Serengeti from Arusha, which is where we are based!
  • The bulk of the Migration takes place in the Serengeti (Tanzania) crossing into the Masai Mara (Kenya) for a few months (Aug-Oct).
  • December to March is when the wildebeest are in the southern area of the Serengeti, in Ndutu (the Ngorongoro Conservation Area) and it is calving season. February is the only time of year when you are almost guaranteed to see the big herds all together because of this. It is a fabulous time to see the herds congregate on the sweeping African plains.
  • April to June (plus November) is when the migration is considered as “in-between” locations and, as such, these months are slightly transitional times to see the herds
  • July to October is when the wildebeest are in the northern Serengeti plains and you have the chance of seeing thousands crossing the great Mara River – they are elusive, happen quickly but are unforgettable experiences to witness!
  • Your best chance of seeing river crossing will involve spending all day/s at a site where the wildebeest have massed. It is not wise to think that you can fly in and out on a specific day to witness such a spectacle – nature doesn’t work that way! There is a range of budget and luxury tented accommodation (mobile) to cater for your wait.
  • During the high season, you’ll find that the best space gets sold out quickly, so book early to get the best availability and reasonable prices.

Over the years Afro Lioness Adventures have built up a wealth of knowledge and a network of partners on the migration route to ensure we meet your every need, so please contact us if we can assist you in any way (info@afrolionessadventures.com).